Annex to Chapter 10

Ref 1

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Edgar Bertie, son of Thomas & Catharine:
He was independently minded, and was soon to have some business interests of his own. Unlike his father and brothers, he was a member of the Liberal Club. From 1904-1910 he had separate, rented rooms in the family home, on the first floor of number 20, and in 1905 set up the Gresham Works, an engineering business which he ran for at least 30 years, and had offices at 8A Church Green East, near to the Adams family who lived at number 5.(his sister Nora married William Adams).
In addition to his own business, he did all the bookkeeping for Webbs, and passed his skills on to his nephew John. Several members of the family entrusted their financial matters to him, and he was subsequently a beneficiary in most of their wills! He never married, but was very much attached to a Mr & Mrs Laugher, from another long-established Redditch family. When Mr Laugher died, Bertie made a will (in 1920), in which he requested that he be buried next to Mr Laugher, and leaving most of his estate to Mrs Laugher. He maintained a close friendship with her after her husband's death, but, strangely for a man so meticulous in business affairs, never revised his will, which was still in force at his death in 1956.

Ref 2

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Gertie, daughter of Thomas & Catharine:
The Hickleys were very attached to Gertie, having had no children of their own, and she spent a great deal of time with them in Aldershot.Gertie was a good-looking girl, and it is a wonder she never married. She set up a confectioners shop in The Parade (Webb & Co) , which she ran until her early death from tuberculosis at the age of 33 (in 1919). The photo is of Gertie in about 1912, and the letterhead is from the time after Gertie's death, when Bertie and Nora were running the business for a time.

Ref 3

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Victor, son of Thomas & Catharine:
Perhaps influenced by the story of his great-great uncle Joseph (assuming that he knew about it) Victor opted for a naval career. Having attended the old Redditch Grammar School, at the age of 15 he became an apprenticed officer in the English Merchant Service and then took his captain's certificate at the early age of 24, one of the last to pass out in sail . A year or two later took command of a ship and spent most of his career with the Union Steamship Line of New Zealand, eventually becoming chief marine superintendent. During the second world war he was liason officer to the New Zealand Naval Board and in 1956 he was awarded the OBE for service with the New Zealand navy. He was to marry a woman with some Maori blood in her, of which she was fiercely proud. On one of their many visits to England, Aunt Bridget outraged Catharine by teaching the grandchildren to burp to the rhythm of the national anthem, as well as some Maori boat songs. She was apparently well-known in her native country for her campaign for the provision of public toilets for women!

Ref 4
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The Buckleys and Herbert Watts :

It is not known why they moved to the area from Manchester, but Christopher Buckley's wife Mignon was related to the Harrisons, (grocers at Unicorn Hill, Redditch). Neither Frank nor his brother Christopher seem to have had a farming background, but they bought, or rented Lodge Farm in about 1910, and stayed until about 1915. Herbert joined them, but did not put his name on the electoral roll. Lillie's mother, who was separated from Herbert, allowed Lillie to move to Worcestershire with her step-father (Herbert) and the Buckleys. Lillie took her step-father's name and called herself Lillie Watts, naming him as her father when she married (though we know from his will that this was not the case - he refers to her as his wife's daughter). Before that she was known as Lillie Armstrong-Watts. Armstrong was her mother's name, although it would seem that Lillie was illegitimate.

Lillie - perhaprs dressed up for the marriage of her mother to Herbert Watts Lillie with Herbert

Lillie's school prize in 1909 giving her name as Armstrong-Watts - did Herbert pay for her convent education?

Herbert was by this time very wealthy, having inherited from his father, (a cotton merchant from Manchester, who had been the equivalent of a millionaire in today's terms). Herbert had never had to work, and one wonders how good he was at farming. He used to drive up to Webbs for supplies, and this was no doubt how Ernest ("Ted") met Lillie. Despite being very fit in his youth, winning cycling competitions with the Longsight Cycling Club, (25 miles in 1 hour 18 ½ minutes, in heavy rain) Herbert was apparently an alchoholic, and died at Lodge Farm of cirrhosis of the liver in 1913, aged only 36.
In his will he left Lillie his mother's ring (two rubies and three diamonds), other diamond jewellery of his own, the cups he had won with his ponies, and his twenty three horse power six cylinder Daimler Motor Car with all accessories! It is not known whether 21 year old Lillie ever drove the car.

Lodge Farm

Ref 5

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There must have been some family dispute about religion, as the second surviving son of "Ted" and Lillie (Edward Gordon) was baptised at St George's in January 1921, when he was already nearly a year old. The family address was given as Church Green, so they must have been living temporarily "above the shop" while waiting to move to Easemore Farmhouse. Youngest son Peter was also baptised at St George's (in June 1923, by which time the address was Easemore Farmhouse). Once again he was not a new-born, but nearly 10 months old, and at this ceremony his brother John was received into the Church of England. (John was not therefore "twice baptised", as he used to boast). So the boys were not brought up in the Catholic faith - Catharine took them with her to St Stephen's, but this must have caused Lillie some distress.