These members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn were all related: Harriette Dorothea Butler and Chris Cohen were sisters; Edmund Hunter and Amy Turner were brother and sister; and Fanny Beatrice Hunter was the first cousin of Edmund and Amy. All five were united by the marriage of Dorothea Butler to Edmund Hunter in April 1896.
I’ve done three files on these five people: one on them in the GD; one on St Edmundsbury Weavers, the firm which was owned and run by Edmund and Dorothea Hunter from 1901 to the late 1920s; and this one, the file which charts the lives of the five of them outside the GD. There’s a theme running through their lives of people dying young; and three occasions of family members dying on the same day or within a couple of days.
THE BUTLERS – Harriette Dorothea, who was called Dorothea; and Mary Ann Louise, who was called Chris.
The Butlers were Anglo-Irish. Dorothea and Chris’s family claimed descent from the earls of Ormonde. They were related to the Yeats’s but very distantly – the common ancestor was Mary Butler (1751-1834), great-great-grandmother of Dorothea and Chris. Despite their aristocratic ancestors, the parents of Dorothea and Chris were from the strata of Victorian society where the professions met the landed gentry. Their father, Henry Walter Blake Butler (born 1829) was a younger son of Henry Butler of Millbrook, county Clare, and his wife Anne of the Blakes of Oran Castle Galway. Their mother was Charlotte Daly Briscoe, daughter of James Briscoe of Ross House, county Offaly.
Henry Walter Blake Butler went to Trinity College Dublin. In 1853 he was ordained as a priest in the Church of Ireland. His career began typically, with a series of short-term posts as a curate, all in Ireland and including one in the slums of Dublin. He and Charlotte were married during his time as curate of Lynally in Donegal. Dorothea later recalled that the marriage had been opposed by Charlotte’s parents, as both partners to it had so little money; they had to wait three years to gain the Briscoes’ consent. Dorothea was Henry and Charlotte’s eldest child, born on 20 March 1867 while her father was curate of Gweedore in Donegal.
The family moved to England so that Rev Henry could take up a post at Christ Church Watney Street in what is now Tower Hamlets. They took a house at 8 Commercial Place which is where Chris – Mary Ann Louise Butler – was born in December 1869. It may have been during this period working in the East End that Rev Henry caught the pneumonia that Dorothea later felt had shortened his life. Perhaps Rev Henry had a long spell of recuperation in Ireland – the family isn’t on the 1871 census in the UK. However, by autumn 1871, when Dorothea and Chris’s only brother was born, Rev Henry had returned to work in England, in the rural parish of East Marden in Sussex. The boy was given names frequently used by generations of Butlers – Theobald FitzWalter.
The Butlers’ peripatetic life continued, with every move being accompanied by a great throwing-away that meant there are few family records. The youngest child in the family – Amanda – was born in 1873 during Rev Henry’s spell at Fethard in Wexford. Then he moved the family back to England to take up the post of curate of the Laura Chapel in Bath. It’s pure speculation on my part but perhaps Dorothea and Chris might have gone to school during the family’s time in Bath.
The day of the 1881 census came during Rev Henry’s last posting, as curate of Cleobury Mortimer in Shropshire. There was no sign of Dorothea in the UK on the day of the census; she might have been visiting relations in Ireland. Rev Henry and Charlotte were both at home; with Theobald, Chris (entered under her correct name of Mary) and Amanda. The posting did not have a large stipend, I think, because Charlotte was making do with one general servant.
Rev Henry Butler died in 1885, in his mid-50s, and for three years his family struggled on a small Church pension; until rescued in 1888 by Chris, who married Maximilian Cohen, a comfortably-off Jewish man much older than herself.
Information on Maximilian Cohen has been hard to come by. Accounts of his age are not consistent and I couldn’t spot such a child being registered in Marylebone, where he said he was born. At his death he left personal estate valued at £11000-and-odd, which left his widow with no money worries. It’s a long shot, but he might have been the owner of the firm Max Cohen and Co, probably an engineering firm, which was a prize-winner at the Brussels International Exhibition in 1897. Otherwise, I have not found any evidence to indicate how Cohen amassed his wealth. The only thing that is certain about him is his generosity. On the day of the 1891 census, he and Chris were living with the other Butlers – Charlotte; Dorothea (entered as Harriette); and Amanda. Theobald had joined the Merchant Navy but was at home on leave. And a friend had come to stay – a Scotswoman, Miss Eliza Boyd. Charlotte Daly Butler was head of the household; but Dorothea’s reminiscences make it clear that it was Cohen who was paying the bills. Cohen’s willingness to fund the whole family just made them more aware of their dependence: Dorothea said of the 1890s that she walked everywhere rather than take a bus; and on census day Charlotte was managing with just the one general servant that she had got used to. By the mid-1890s Dorothea, and possibly Amanda as well, was training to be a teacher in order to ensure some financial indepence; though marriage intervened in Dorothea’s case.
On census day 1891 the Butlers and Cohens were at 30 Flanders Road, on the edge of the new Bedford Park estate in west London. They had been there about two years and Dorothea at least was well esconced in the district’s social life. For more on that social life, see my file on the Butlers and Hunters in the GD. It was through that social life that Dorothea met W B Yeats and her future husband Edmund Hunter. And it was Yeats who put her name forward as a suitable initiate in the GD.
HENRY WALTER BLAKE BUTLER
Walford’s County Families of the UK. Seen via google, I couldn’t see a page number; entry for
Henry Butler of Millbrook county Clare.
At www.tribalpages.com there’s a list of Butlers connected with the web pages ‘Lynch and Wade to the Colonies’. There are several Theobald Butlers and two Theobald Fitzwalter Butlers in a list not including Dorothea and Chris’s brother.
Crockford’s Clerical Directory 1880 p 158 entry for Henry Walter Blake Butler.
Marriage to CHARLOTTE DALY BRISCOE
Gentleman’s Magazine volume 221 1866 p104 marriages on 5 June 1866: at Lynally. Rev Henry Walter Blake Butler curate of Lynally; to Charlotte Daly, daughter of James Briscoe of Ross House King’s County.
I couldn’t find any baptism record or birth registration for Harriette Dorothea Butler but her exact date of birth is on the 1939 Register.
Via familysearch to baptism of Mary Ann Louisa Butler on 19 February 1870 at Christ Church Watney St Tower Hamlets. Parents: Henry Walter Blake Butler, clerk in holy orders; wife Charlotte Daly Butler; both of 8 Commercial Place.
Freebmd for birth of Theobald FitzWalter Butler; registered Westbourne Sussex January-March quarter 1872.
Via familysearch Ireland Births and Baptisms 1620-1881 to registration of birth of Amanda Butler, 8 September 1873 at Fethard, New Ross, Wexford.
Yeats and Women editor Deirdre Toomey. 2nd edition Macmillan Press Ltd 1997. Dorothea Hunter occupies Chapter 3: “The Music of Heaven”, by Warwick Gould. Gould was able to use a draft memoir written by Dorothea for her grandchildren, covering the years until her marriage. He also used drafts of letters Dorothea had written in the 1940s to an earlier Yeats scholar, Richard Ellman. The final versions of those are now in the Richard Ellmann Papers, McFarlin Library University of Tulsa. It’s on those that Chapter 3 is based. Early life: pp74-75; that Mary Ann Louisa Butler was called Chris by her family – p75; ancestors and relationship to W B Yeats - pp76-77; the great clear-outs on moving house - p122 note 46; life in Bedford Park, west London - pp82-84; marriage to Edmund Hunter – p100.
IS THIS MAX COHEN?
Times 20 October 1897 p10 list of British prize-winners at the Brussels Intl Exhn. Amongst the firms awarded the Diplôme d’Honneur was Max Cohen and Co, possibly an engineering firm as it appeared in a list of other such.
In this section on his early life I’m going to call the future GD member Edmund Arthur Hunter; to distinguish him from Edmond Ernest Hunter, a first cousin.
While Dorothea and Chris Butler had a childhood of continual changes of address and moves back and forth between Ireland and England, the Hunters were long-established in their home town of Bury St Edmunds, with links by marriage throughout East Anglia. The three GD members – Edmund, Amy and Fanny Beatrice Hunter – were all grand-children of John and Anne Hunter who in the early years of the 19th century were members of the congregation at the town’s Whiting Street Independent Chapel. Fanny Beatrice was a daughter of John and Anne’s son John (born 1816) probably their eldest son. Edmund and Amy were children of John and Anne’s son Arthur (born 1824), probably their youngest son. In the mid and late 19th century the brothers John and Arthur were in business together as wine and spirit importers and merchants. The firm was run from various addresses on Abbey Gate Street and was a big concern – in 1871 it had 10 employees, and in 1881 it had 11, 9 men and 2 boys. It was John Hunter who gave the details of the firm’s employees to the two census officials; he was the senior partner. Arthur represented the firm’s interests in the wider sphere by becoming a local councillor; he was mayor of Bury St Edmunds in 1884/85. As J and A Hunter the firm was still going in the 1920s. The families of John and Arthur Hunter grew up close in every way.
John Hunter married Jane Wood, who had been born in Liverpool. On the day of the 1861 census – that is, two years before future GD member Fanny Beatrice was born – John and Jane were living at 22 Abbey Gate Street with five of their large number of children. The family was being careful with its money: the month-nurse hired to help with a baby who had been born a few weeks before was still in the household but would be leaving shortly; and the only other help Jane Hunter had was one general servant. 23 Abbey Gate Street, where the Hunters’ wine and spirit business would be in future, was occupied by woollen draper William Munnings and his family.
Arthur’s wife was born Charlotte Lankester, in Bury St Edmunds in 1841. In the mid-19th century her father, Frederick Lankester, owned the book shop and printing firm at 17 Abbey Gate Street. Charlotte was the youngest of Frederick’s children; her mother Sarah had died shortly after Charlotte’s birth. Frederick Lankester might also have died while Charlotte was young because I couldn’t identify him on any subsequent census. On the day of the 1861 census, Charlotte was working as governess to the children of Edmund and Henrietta Barlow, both Suffolk-born but now living at Rutland Gate Westminster.
Arthur Hunter and Charlotte Lankester were married in 1864. Like John and Jane Hunter, they had a large family.
Fanny Beatrice, Amy and Edmund Arthur Hunter were all born within three years of each other: Fanny Beatrice in 1863, Amy in 1865 and Edmund Arthur in 1866. Amy and Edmund were Arthur and Charlotte’s two oldest children, while Fanny Beatrice was the second-youngest of John and Jane’s family. Jane Hunter died in 1868, in her late 40s, and Fanny Beatrice’s father John Hunter didn’t marry again.
By the day of the 1871 census, Arthur and Charlotte Hunter had moved to 13 Angel Hill, an address that remained in the family for several decades. They chose to live more comfortably than John Hunter, with more servants than John, though their family at this stage was smaller than his – just Amy (6), Edmund Arthur (5), John (1) and Elsie (a few months). Arthur and Charlotte employed a cook and both a nursemaid and a nurse.
On census day 1871 the widowed John Hunter and his family were still living at 22 Abbey Gate Street, with the household being managed by Fanny Beatrice’s eldest sister, Elizabeth. The next daughter, Maria – with whom Fanny Beatrice was living on the day of the 1901 census - was still living at home but was working as a day-governess. Edith (aged 18), Edmond Ernest (aged 16), Flora Mabel (13), John William (9), Fanny Beatrice herself, and youngest child Margaret (5) were all still at home and as if there were not enough people in the house, John Hunter’s niece Jessie Portway, aged 13, was also living with them. Elizabeth was managing this much larger household with just a cook and a housemaid.
I’ve found records of several sons of John and Arthur Hunter in a list of pupils at King Edward VI School Bury St Edmunds, so perhaps this is where the GD’s Edmund Arthur Hunter had his schooling.
On census day 1881, Arthur and Charlotte Hunter were still at 13 Angel Hill. Amy was not at home on that day but Edmund Arthur, John (aged 11), Olive (9), Eva (8) and the twins Ellinor and Winifred (7) were; and John and Arthur’s widowed sister Louisa Last was living with them too. These Hunters still had three women servants but with the children older now, there was no need for nurse-maids; a cook, and two housemaids were being employed. John Hunter had moved, and his daughter Elizabeth had left his household. On the 1881 census day, John was living at 22 Northgate Street and his household was being managed by his next daughter, Edith. Flora Mabel, John William, Fanny Beatrice and Margaret were all still living at home. John William will have been at school. John Hunter was employing a live-in, English governess to teach his younger daughters, perhaps expecting that they would have to earn their living at some stage (in which he was very enlightened for a Victorian).
Both the brothers died in the 1880s, John in 1884, Arthur in 1887, and the family business passed to their sons, including Edmund Arthur’s cousin Edmond Ernest.
I won’t be referring to Edmond Ernest Hunter again so I’ll now start calling the future GD member Edmund Hunter. He also should have gone into the family business, but Arthur and Charlotte had allowed him to take up a line of work more to his liking. In the early 1880s he went to live in Munich and begin to train as a designer; read more about that and what followed in my file on St Edmundsbury Weavers.
Edmund’s sister, future GD member Amy Hunter, married Alfred Turner late in 1889. The name ‘alfred turner’ is a relatively common one and the only information about him that I’m certain of is from the 1891 census: on that day, he told the census official that he was 29, born in Kentish Town north London, and that he was a surveyor. He, and Amy, and their only child, Arthur David Turner (aged 8 months) were living at 168 Cliff Terrace, Woodland Road, Darlington; in Yorkshire. Alfred had died, or had left, definitely by 1901, probably by 1895.
I think that in 1884 John Hunter’s death hastened the process of his family going their separate ways. I haven’t followed up all of them; I’m concentrating on two of Fanny Beatrice’s sisters, as Fanny Beatrice lived with them later in her life.
Fanny Beatrice’s much older sister Maria (born in 1851) had married George Largent Keer in 1879. George Keer had been born in Suffolk but was living in Wallingford by the time they married. He owned a grocery business; a big concern, with 9 employees. On the day of the 1881 census, George and Maria were living above the shop in Market Place Wallingford; with their daughter Margaret, aged 1, a children’s nurse and one general servant. George Keer died in 1893, however, aged only 40, and Maria moved to London with Margaret and her younger daughter Constance. By the day of the 1901 census they were living 124 Coningham Road, just west of Shepherd’s Bush. Both Maria’s daughters were working. Margaret was a clerk in an office; a daughter listed as Muriel Keer but who must be Maria’s younger daughter Constance was a teacher. Fanny Beatrice was living with them.
Fanny Beatrice’s sister Flora Mabel Hunter may have been called Mabel rather than Flora. She was closer to Fanny Beatrice in age than Maria Keer was – she was born in 1858. I couldn’t find her on the 1881 census but in 1891 – several years after their father John’s death - she and her sister Edith Hunter were joint principals of a small grammar school at10 Angel Hill, very near their widowed aunt Charlotte Hunter’s house at number 13. Edith and Flora had 8 pupils on census day, all boys and varying in age from 14 to 8. They did some teaching themselves and employed two other teachers, both women and both English. In addition the school employed a cook and two housemaids. The tendency of census days to fall in the Easter holidays makes it difficult to know whether Flora Mabel was still in business with Edith in 1901 but she was certainly not in Bury St Edmunds on that day. She was living at 10 Avenue Road Finchley, the sole occupant in the second household at that address. She was probably renting rooms from the first-listed householder, a gardener’s labourer who was living there with his unmarried daughter; I couldn’t read their surname. Flora Mabel was still listed as a teacher on that day; perhaps she was now working for the local council.
BIRTHS OF JOHN AND ARTHUR HUNTER
Via Familysearch to English Births and Christenings 1538-1975: John Hunter born 7 April 1816; baptised Whiting St Independent Chapel Bury St Edmunds. Parents John and Anne.
Via Familysearch to English Births and Christenings 1538-1975: Arthur Hunter born 16 July 1824; baptised Whiting St Independent Chapel Bury St Edmunds. Parents John and Anne.
THE FAMILY BUSINESS:
History, Gazetteer and Directory of Suffolk 1874: list for Bury St Edmunds has John and Arthur Hunter, wine merchants of 23 Abbeygate (sic) Street. There was a second entry for Arthur at 13 Angel Hill; suggesting that John and his family lived above the shop.
Trades’ Guide for Midland Counties… 1879 p315 has Hunter, J and A still at 23 Abbeygate Street.
Harper’s Manual 1920 p305 has Hunter, A & E, wine and spirit merchants wholesale and retail.
Biographical List of Boys Educated at King Edward VI…to 1900 published 1908 p201 has John, son of John Andrew (that is, John the father of Fanny Beatrice – I think); p263 entry f Arthur Hunter and he’s also on pxiii in a list; I think it’s a list of ex-pupils who became mayor of Bury St Edmunds. Other members of the family were also in the book, though not specifically Edmund Arthur Hunter the future GD member.
ARTHUR HUNTER and wife CHARLOTTE parents of Amy and Edmund Arthur:
Frederick Lankester is a bookseller and printer:
Website historyofsuffolk.co.uk has a list of traders in Bury St Edmunds from 1865: Frederick Lankester listed as a bookseller, of 17 Abbeygate St.
At www.richardfordmanuscripts.co.uk in August 2018 you could buy an undated book Watts’ Divine Songs printed by Frederick Lankester of Bury St Edmunds. The website had found other books printed by him, on COPAC, printed 1824-37.
The National Portrait Gallery catalogue has a mezzotint printed by Frederick Lankester of a painting by T G Lupton of Charles James Phipps Eyre. 1846.
I’m not the only one to have failed to find Frederick Lankester on the census, other than in 1851:
the www.john-attfield.com family history site couldn’t find him either. I couldn’t find a probate registry record for Frederick Lankester. As I found Charlotte on the 1861 census anyway, I didn’t try looking for the death on freebmd.
Via Familysearch and the British Newspaper Archives to the Norfolk News date of issue unknown but likely to be June 1864: the marriage of Charlotte Lankester to Arthur son of John Hunter had taken place on 28 May 1864 in Norwich.
ARTHUR ON THE COUNCIL:
Kelly’s Post Office Directory of Cambridge, Norfolk and Suffolk 1879 p809 Arthur, but not John, is in a list which I think is current members of the town council.
At www.burystedmunds-tc.gov.uk/index_files./OldMayors1.htm: Arthur Hunter 1884.
House of Commons and the Judicial Bench issued Debrett’s 1885 p222 Arthur Hunter as mayor of Bury St Edmunds.
DEATHS OF THE BROTHERS JOHN AND ARTHUR HUNTER: probate registry entries 1884 and 1888.
FANNY’S SISTER MARIA KEER
Freebmd; census information 1881-1901. Probate Registry entries 1893, 1929.
THE 1890s: WHILE THE BUTLERS AND HUNTERS WERE IN THE GD
Dorothea Hunter later recalled the busy, though not expensive, social life she was able to lead in the years after the Butlers settled in Bedford Park. She didn’t mention her sister Chris Cohen as taking part in it, but that was probably because she was being asked about W B Yeats, not about her own family. I’ve said more about this period in the Butlers’ lives in my file on the Butlers and Hunters in the GD. Here I’ll just say that though the Butlers were distant relations of the Yeats’s, Dorothea didn’t meet W B Yeats until they were introduced by a mutual friend, at a talk on theosophy, probably in 1889/90. And that a large number of future GD members lived in Bedford Park in the early 1890s, and formed a social group with artistic and creative leanings; with non-GD members like Katharine Tynan also involved. This group of future GD members was part of a wider one of people drawn to the Bedford Park estate by its cheapish rents; and by its nearness to William Morris’s London house in Hammersmith., also the centre of an artistic social circle.
Though not specifically mentioned by any of the reminiscers, Edmund Hunter must have been a part of these social groups. In the mid-1880s he had served an apprenticeship with Arther Silver’s design firm, Silver Studio, in Brook Green near Hammersmith. He continued to live in the area after his apprenticeship was over - in 1895, when he joined the GD, he was living at Trafalgar House on Kew Green – and he regularly went in to Hammersmith to hear talks by William Morris. It was inevitable that he would meet Dorothea Butler eventually. They were married in April 1896 and set up home on the Chiswick fringes of Bedford Park, at 45 Stile Hall Gardens. Their sons Ralph Butler Hunter and Alec Butler Hunter were born there, in 1897 and 1899; and the family was still living there on the day of the 1901 census. Edmund described himself to the 1901 census official as a “decorative artist” rather than a designer, and of course he wasn’t asked who his employer was, the census wasn’t interested in that; but money must have been tight, because Dorothea was keeping house with just the one general servant to help.
Edmund’s sister Amy didn’t have the same education or attitudes towards work that her first-cousins Maria, Flora Mabel and Fanny Beatrice had: she never worked, probably because she was not expected ever to do so and consequently not trained for it. When her husband died or left her, she was unable to find work and possibly even unwilling to do so, seeing having to work as a loss of social status. Amy’s story of the next couple of decades is therefore of managing for herself and her son, on a small income. If her husband was dead, the income might have come from life insurance or investments he had; if she had been deserted I can’t imagine where her income might have come from – perhaps the Hunter family all contributed what they could. Amy’s initiation into the GD took place in November 1895 and I think it might have been suggested to her as part of the moving on process – she could make some new friends that way. She gave the GD an address in Bury St Edmunds for correspondence, but by 1901 she had moved to London. On the day of that year’s census she and her son Arthur were living at 44 Acton Lane, renting rooms in the house of an unmarried woman called Emily Charlotte (I couldn’t read her surname) who was possibly in as bad a financial predicament as Amy herself – she was earning money by letting some of her rooms and by teaching - though not in a school (was she not well enough qualified?), she was giving lessons at home. Acton Lane was a short distance from Bedford Park, and Chiswick, where Dorothea and Edmund Hunter were living; and a tram-ride from first-cousin Maria Keer; but in terms of the gradations of the late-Victorian social scale, it was several notches below Chiswick and Hammersmith.
I’ve mentioned that Fanny Beatrice’s two closest sisters both worked before they were married. Fanny Beatrice didn’t marry, and worked probably until retirement age. Fanny Beatrice had been 20 when her father John Hunter died and I think she left home soon afterwards. She went to King’s College Hospital to train as a nurse. By the day of the 1891 census she was a nursing sister at the hospital, living in its nurses’ home. She was listed that day as Beatrice Hunter and perhaps had always been called that rather than ‘fanny’. In 1895 she applied for one of the top jobs in nursing, and got it: she was appointed matron at the Royal Hospital for Children and Women, on Waterloo Bridge Road. However, the promotion had an unhappy outcome – she was no longer matron there by 1899 and in an age where people remained in the same job sometimes for decades, her having left after such a short time suggests she had struggled to meet the demands of what was a very stressful post.
As with Amy, initiation into the GD may have been suggested to Fanny Beatrice as a distraction, during or just after a very difficult time – she was initiated in 1898. On the day of the 1901 census she was living with her sister Maria Keer, in Shepherd’s Bush. She told the official that she was a “hospital nurse” but she may not actually have been working as one at the time. - nurses did usually live in.
Dorothea’s sister Chris Cohen occupies a slot slightly outside all these accounts of women needing to make ends meet, both before and after marriage. She was married and comfortably off through the early and mid-1890s. Later she moved further out of town than any of the others: by 1898 the Cohens were living at 11 Grange Park Ealing. And then she was in mourning – her husband Maximilian Cohen died in August 1898, aged 53. Dorothea later said that Max Cohen had left Chris very comfortably off – his personal estate alone was worth £11000-odd, which the measuringworth website calculates as equivalent to a purchasing power in 2018 of £1,165,000.
Chris was able, therefore, to continue to be the main source of income for her mother and unmarried sister; and to lend a large sum of money to her married sister to start up a business. It did not look that way to the 1901 census official who visited the Butlers at their new home of 495 High Road Gunnersbury – a very short walk from Dorothea and Edmund in Stile Hall Road. The residents of 495, as described in that census, were laid out with Chris Cohen (listed as Christine) and Amanda Butler, as apparent dependents in the household of Charlotte Daly Butler. There was also a visitor in the household, Adelaide Smith, an unmarried woman who made sure the census official wrote her down as a professional artist. There were no live-in servants. Dorothea and Chris’s brother Theobald was no longer a member of the household. He was away with the Merchant Navy of course, but he had also got married in 1899, to either Ellen Elizabeth Horder or Louisa Jane Parnell; I haven’t been able to find out which. Theobald and his wife had a daughter, Kathleen Dorothea Butler, whose birth was registered in the Brentford district (which includes Gunnersbury) in 1900. Theobald died in 1902, aged 29; and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that Chris Cohen took her niece Kathleen in – Chris never had any children of her own.
Florence Farr, Bernard Shaw’s New Woman by Josephine Johnson. Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1971. Chapter Hammersmith and Bedford Park especially pp31-43. Johnson’s sources were the Autobiography of W B Yeats; published New York 1965. British Museum Ms Collection. And John Todhunter’s papers at Reading University.
Chris Cohen in the 1890s: probate registry entries 1898.
I couldn’t find anything about Adelaide Smith.
The Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940 is based on contemporary exhibition catalogues. On p465 there was no entry for Adelaide Smith. There were a couple of A Smiths but their dates didn’t look right.
Fanny Beatrice Hunter as a nurse:
Census 1891, 1901.
The Hospital volume 18 1895 pxix Appointments: confirming her training at King’s College Hospital, and her new post.
There’s a wiki on the Royal Hospital for Children and Women, founded in 1816 for children only. That the number of patients out-stripped the number of beds was a continual problem. The hospital must have been raising money for an expansion while Fanny Beatrice Hunter was matron: a new building was constructed in 1903-04. London Metropolitan Archive has the hospital’s archives archives but staff files only from 1907.
Via archive.org to Burdett’s Hospitals and Charities issue of 1899. On p288 there’s a detailed staff list for the hospital. Fanny Beatrice Hunter does not appear, and the hospital’s matron is Miss K M Moore.
I looked with google to try to find what other work Fanny Beatrice might have done in the years after 1899 but couldn’t identify her for certain. I was hampered by an F Beatrice Hunter, home economist in the USA.
AFTER THE GD
I tried to do this section in date order but I got in such a muddle I gave it up. It’s now in person/persons order and is hopefully more intelligible.
To sum up the Butlers and Hunters around census day 1901: Dorothea and Edmund with their two sons were living in Chiswick. The widowed Chris Cohen – initiated into the GD a few months before – was living with her mother in Gunnersbury. Amy Turner – a GD member since 1895 – was living on the borders of Chiswick and Acton; as either a widow or a deserted woman, and with one son, then aged 11. And nurse Fanny Beatrice Hunter, a GD member since 1898, was living a tram-ride away, with her sister Maria Keer in Shepherd’s Bush.
Dorothea and Edmund to 1937:
Within months – possibly weeks – of census day 1901, Dorothea, Edmund and Ralph and Alec moved to Haslemere in Surrey. This was to set in motion the plan Edmund had of starting his own design and weaving business. He went to Haslemere to learn the technicalities of weaving. In 1901/02 he founded St Edmundsbury Weavers; managed by him and Dorothea, and initially financed by a loan of £500 from Chris Cohen. The firm continued in business until the early 1930s. In 1908, due to business demands I deal more fully with in my file on the firm, St Edmundsbury Weavers moved to a purpose-built factory in Letchworth. Edmund and Dorothea moved there too, with Ralph and Alec, to a new house, also built specially for them. On census day 1911 they were living in it - St Brighid’s, on Sollerstott West; the house name having been chosen most probably by Dorothea, who had a special interest in the saint with Irish connections. Their sons Ralph and Alec were both at home and Dorothea was managing the house with one general servant. Alec, and possibly Ralph as well, later went to St George’s School Harpenden.
Though St Edmundsbury Weavers never made extraordinary profits, there was money to spare for enlargements to the house St Brighid’s. In 1913 the studio in the original house was enlarged. This was probably to accommodate Alec, who by as early as 1916 was making designs for the firm. In 1923 a second studio was added to the house, again for Alec, who was working full-time for his father by this stage; and a garage was built. Alec was a keen Morris dancer and that was how he met teacher Margaret Eleanor Perkins. They were married in 1921 and had at least one child, John Michael Hunter, who became an architect. Both Edmund and Alec continued to work for St Edmundsbury Weavers in the 1920s but at the end of the decade the firm was bought by Morton Sundour Fabrics Ltd. As part of that purchase, Alec and Edmund and presumably their families as well, went to live in Scotland to set up Edinburgh Weavers under Morton Sundour’s auspices. That arrangement couldn’t survive the aftermath of the 1929 financial crash. Production at St Edmundsbury Weavers also ceased. In 1931 Alec found design work with another firm; and Edmund retired.
While Alec followed his father into design; Ralph pleased his parents in another way by being ordained a Church of England priest in 1921. Both Dorothea and Edmund were practising, high church Anglicans. Ralph married Vera Edith Miles in 1922. After short periods as a curate at Southend-on-Sea and Romford, he spent several years in the offices of the dioceses of Chelmsford and St Alban’s. In 1928 he was appointed curate of St Jude on the Hill, the parish church of Hampstead Garden Suburb. He spent four years there before becoming vicar of St Olave, Fritwell in Oxfordshire. In 1934, Edmund and Dorothea moved to 15 Brim Hill in Hampstead Garden Suburb, a bit too late to be two of Rev Ralph’s parishioners. They had been there a few months when Ralph died, unexpectedly, aged only 38. Edmund died at 15 Brim Hill on 19 March 1937. Dorothea wrote to W B Yeats – now the grand old man of Irish culture – in 1937 after a gap of three decades; probably moved to do so by her husband’s death.
Chris Cohen followed the Hunters to Haslemere; probably taking Mrs Butler, Amanda and Kathleen Dorothea Butler as well. I’m not sure when this happened, but it was before 1907: in 1907, Chris got married again; in Haslemere. Her second husband was David Hercules Robertson. At least, I’m pretty sure ‘robertson’ was his name. The marriage was registered twice, though, with the second entry giving his surname as Robinson. ‘Robinson’ does seem to be wrong but the uncertainty has hampered me in finding out about him, and I’ve discovered very little other than the information he wrote on the census form in 1911 – that he was now 48 (so had been born around 1863); had been born in New South Wales; and was the owner of a ranch in Australia.
Of course, by 1911 Dorothea and Edmund were living in Letchworth. Chris and her new husband hadn’t moved to Letchworth yet; but they too had left Haslemere. They were in Twickenham, at 7 Clifden Road; Mrs Butler and Amanda Butler were still living with them and so was Kathleen Dorothea Butler, grandchild of Charlotte Daly Butler and niece of Chris and Amanda. Also in the household were one general servant, and a sick nurse who was probably only there temporarily but who might have been looking after Mrs Butler, who was now 70. Charlotte Daly Butler died in 1915.
The Twickenham address may have been temporary. Three events in the Brentford registration district suggest that Chris and her entourage were living in Chiswick between 1913 and 1921: Amanda Butler’s marriage to Harold Catemer (or Catmur) Brushfield, early in 1913; Charlotte Daly Butler’s death in 1915; and Kathleen Dorothea Butler’s marriage to Frederick Barrington Graham in the spring of 1920.
Chris, David Robertson, Kathleen and her husband moved to Letchworth in time for Kathleen’s daughter Pamela to be born there in 1921. They set up home at Christowell, Green Lane, which was their address when David died, in June 1924. They didn’t remain there very long after his death, I think; by 1929 someone else was living there. They had probably gone to 32 Brim Hill, in Hampstead Garden Suburb; where they were living in 1946. This time it was Dorothea and Edmund’s turn to follow Chris to a house just down the road; in 1934. However, on 29 September 1939, the day the 1939 Register was taken, Dorothea and Chris were both staying with Alec and his wife Margaret at The Rails, Dunmow Essex. Having joined its design department in 1931, Alec was now general manager for Warner and Sons of Braintree, the wallpaper and textiles firm.
Despite being the younger, Chris died before Dorothea, in January 1946. Kathleen was her executor and probably the main beneficiary too: the evidence I’ve found points to a relationship between Chris and Kathleen that was mother-and-daughter in everything but the accident of birth. Kathleen and Frederick both died on the same day, in October 1946. They had continued to live at 32 Brim Hill after Chris died, but died in hospital in Worthing – was that as a result of some dreadful accident? Alec and Margaret Hunter were executors for both of them.
In an odd coincidence, Dorothea Hunter and her son Alec also died on the same day, 10 January 1958. Dorothea had been living with Alec and Margaret at The Market Cross Thaxted. However, she died in Bexhill-on-Sea. Alec died at Addenbrookes Hospital.
Sources for Dorothea, Edmund and Chris after the GD:
Firstly and for the sake of completeness: Amanda Butler, who didn’t join the GD or either of its daughter orders. After her marriage, she and Harold Brushfield went to China, where Harold was presumably working. Amanda died in the isolation hospital in Shanghai in January 1914; Harold died in a sanatorium at Davos in Switzerland in 1916. Two more Butler/Hunter family members who died young.
Freebmd, 1911 census, 1939 Register, probate registry entries 1914, 1917, 1924, 1935, 1937, 1946, 1958 (2).
I don’t know where Dorothea and Edmund lived while they were in Haslemere. There’s much more information on the premises in Letchworth: at www.gardencitycollection.com there are photos of the house and fact they had built. Both buildings were designed by the architects Richard Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin:
- LBM2545 photo of St Brighids Sollerstott West.
- LBM2520 photo of the St Edmundsbury Weaving Works.
- LBM541 photo of Dorothea in the St Edmundsbury Weaving Works, with the women at their looms.
London Gazette 19 July 1929 p4808 in a set of notices issued under the Trustees Act 1925, one for Leonard Butler of Christowell, 12 Green Lane Letchworth, who had died on 1 July 1929.
British Public School War Memorials by C F Kernot 2012 p113 section on St George’s School Harpenden. Alec had definitely been a pupil at the school; so it’s likely Ralph was as well.
Ralph Butler Hunter: freebmd; probate registry entries 1935.
Crockford’s Clerical Directory 1930 entry for Ralph Butler Hunter. He was ordained by the bishop of Chelmsford, whose office he later worked in. The entry mentions that from 1925 Ralph was the editor of a magazine called The Fiery Cross.
Wikipedia: short article on [Frederic Sumpter] Guy Warman 1872-1953. He was bishop of Chelmsford from 1919 to 1947.
St Jude on the Hill: it has its own website at stjudeonthehill.com. There’s also a wiki: it was founded in 1907 by Henrietta, wife of Rev Samuel Barnett of St Jude Whitechapel, who was also the prime mover behind the building of Hampstead Garden Suburb. The church was consecrated in 1911 but was still under construction when Ralph was its curate.
Via British Newspapers Online to Chelmsford Chronicle 30 September 1921, which noted Ralph’s appointment as curate of All Saints Southend. He was a graduate of King’s College London.
I was hampered October 2018 in my searches for The Fiery Cross by a modern novel; and by a magazine published in the US by the Ku Klux Klan during the 1920s. This must be the correct magazine: The British Commonwealth Europa Publications Ltd 1956 in a list of Chrstian societies pp86-87 The Fiery Cross is mentioned as the magazine outlet of The Church Union; monthly. The Church Union was founded in 1859 to uphold tradition and discipline in the church – the Church of England, that is.
Via British Newspapers Online to three issues of the Hendon and Finchley Times following Ralph’s death:
- 2 November 1934 death notice and announcement of a Requiem service for him;
- 9 November 1934 account of funeral;
- 26 April 1935. Dorothea was trying to raise money to have a stall made, dedicated to Ralph, to be installed at St Jude on the Hill.
At www.findagrave.com details of Ralph’s grave, in the cemetery at Fritwell Oxfordshire.
Times 20 March 1937 p1a: death notice for Edmund Hunter.
Sources for Alec and you can also read more about him in my file on St Edmundsbury Weavers:
Times 14 January 1958 p11: an obituary.
There’s a profile of him on a pdf at www.estherfitzgerald.com, the website of E F Rare Textiles, of Hampstead.
Alec has a wikipedia page.
Fanny Beatrice Hunter:
In 1902 Fanny Beatrice’s sister Flora Mabel married George James Buscall Fox, a civil servant working at the India Office. This information is more relevant than it seems, because when Fanny Beatrice died, all three were living in the same block of flats.
I cannot find any information at all on what Fanny Beatrice Hunter was doing between census day 1901 and the date of her death in 1938. I don’t know whether she was working; or where. I think she must have worked at least some of the time though – after all, that’s nearly 30 years and she hadn’t been brought up to be idle. At her death Fanny Beatrice’s personal effects were worth £3845; a purchasing power equivalent to £233,400 in 2018 terms, according to the measuringworth website. I can’t believe Fanny Beatrice had inherited that from her father, so she must have earned it.
In 1911, George Buscall Fox was still working at the India Office. Flora Mabel had given up work on their marriage – she will have had to do that, of course, even if she hadn’t wanted to. George and Flora Mabel were living at 23 Bellevue Road Upper Tooting, keeping house with one general servant. I think they moved when George Buscall Fox retired; to 45 Stanwick Mansions, Stanwick Road London (now W14). It’s a big block - at least 60 flats in it – just off Cromwell Road, nice and handy for the Natural History Museum. Though George had spent his working life in the civil service, retirement gave him the chance to pursue his real interests – he was a keen naturalist, archaeologist and palaeontologist and also fascinated by place-names. Perhaps Flora Mabel shared those interests, but that’s difficult to tell because it’s mostly George who is the society member.
George and Flora Mabel Fox were living at 45 Stanwick Mansions by 1924. When Fanny Beatrice died, in February 1938, she was living at 42 Stanwick Mansions, perhaps across the corridor from them. Flora Mabel was Fanny’s original executor; probably her beneficiary as well. Flora Mabel and George Buscall Fox died within a few days of each other in 1940. They had both made Vera Katharine St John Hunt their executor and while she was going through their papers she must have found more assets owned by Fanny Beatrice; there’s a second probate application for Fanny Beatrice’s estate, by Vera Hunt, from 1941. Vera must have been a friend of Maria Keer and her family too: she had been executor to Maria’s daughter Constance Last, when Constance died two days before Fanny Beatrice, in 1938.
Sources: Fanny Beatrice and Flora Mabel Fox.
Census 1911. Probate registry entries 1938, 1940, 1941.
George James Buscall Fox:
Edinburgh Gazette 7 August 1877 p581 list of new civil service appointments including George James Buscall Fox as one of three men appointed as book-keepers in the Stores Branch of the India Office.
At www.britishmuseum.org he’s listed as donor of a number of stone tools collected in the UK, Africa and the Middle East; donated between 1918 and 1934. Perhaps the results of visits to those places; though he could also have bought them in sales in London.
Annual Reports of the English Place Name Society issued 1925 and 1937 have him listed. Issue of 1925 he’s on pvi, pxiv, p16 – perhaps newly a member this year. Both have his address as 45 Stanwick Mansions.
Botanical Society and Exchange Club of the British Isles volume 8 part 1 1926. On p57 a reference to the Gilbert White Fellowship; George Buscall Fox was one of its two secretaries.
At www.lamas.org.uk the Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society; NS volume VI part 1 1929. On p4 George Buscall Fox is mentioned in connection with a recent Appreciation of Society’s President, William Martin FSA. Annual Report 1927 pxix he’s mentioned as the leader of a day out for members to Ickenham, talking about the local architecture. A list of members to 31 December 1927: pvi George Buscall Fox was elected a member in 1924 at the Stanwick Mansions address.
At www.essexfieldclub.org.uk its history section has several mentions of him, taken from its magazine The Essex Naturalist. At the AGM of 4 March 1933 it was noted that George Buscall Fox had made a “generous donation” to the club’s museum, which was in Stratford; as a result he was elected an honorary member of the club.
Procgeedings of the Prehistoric Society volumes 5-6 1939 p285 has G J Buscall Fox of 45 Stanwick Mansions in a list, presumably of members; with date 1908.
The Archaeological Journal volumes 99-100 1943 p145 also has him in a list, presumably of a society’s members though I cldn’t read which society; with date 1913.
When Dorothea and Edmund left west London for Haslemere it meant there was no particular reason for Amy Turner to stay in the district. Unlike Chris Cohen, though, she didn’t move to Haslemere, she stayed in London. On the day of the 1911 census she and her son Arthur David were living at 22 Cambridge Mansions, Cambridge Road SW11 in what is now called Battersea Park. Arthur was working as a civil servant so money was less tight than it had been. He was also studying engineering at London University and later qualified as a structural engineer: he was an associate member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1921. He was working in Bristol by that time and was living in Clifton at 37 Cornwallis Crescent. I think Amy went with him. They were living together, still in Clifton, at 7 Royal York Crescent, on the day the 1939 Register was taken.
Arthur died befoe Amy, in Southmead Hospital in August 1943. He hadn’t married. Amy died in Bristol in 1945.
Sources: Amy Turner: 1939 Register, probate registry entries 1943.
University of London Calendar for 1911 p656 Arthur David Turner is in a list issued by the Faculty of Engineering which I think was of students who had passed the Faculty’s General Intermediate Exams.
Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers volumes 211-12 1921 p223 Arthur David Turner is an associate member.
Institution of Civil Engineers list of members issued 1922 p240 as a member; perhaps a full member by now; with address 37 Cornwallis Crescent.
Copyright SALLY DAVIS
8 October 2018
Email me at AMandragora@attglobal.net
Find the web pages of Roger Wright and Sally Davis, including my list of people initiated into the Order of the Golden Dawn between 1888 and 1901, at: