This file is about the rest of the lives of Henrietta and Henry Marriott Paget. Henrietta joined the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in 1892, Henry was initated in 1894. It also includes a fair amount of information on Henrietta’s sister Florence Farr (known as Florence Emery from roughly 1885 to 1894) as Florence’s biography was one of my main sources of information. I shall be calling Henrietta Paget, née Farr, by her nickname – Etta. Henry Paget was called Harry by his friends, but for some reason he doesn’t seem like a ‘harry’ to me so I’ll stick with Henry.



Henry Paget and Etta Farr had similar family backgrounds. They both had grandparents who had lived in the rural Midlands. All four of their parents had moved to London as adults. And both their fathers had found work in the expanding fields of government, local and national.



Henry’s father, Robert Paget, had been born in Gloucestershire. His wife Martha (née Clarke) came from Atherstone, on the border where Leicestershire meets Warwickshire. They arrived in London in 1856 so that Robert could start work in the offices of the Vestry of St James and St John, Clerkenwell, on the border of the City of London. He was still working for that Vestry when he died in 1892; he was then its head clerk, with his eldest son Robert Ernest (known as Ernest) employed as his immediate deputy. I wish I could have found as much information on the Pagets as I could for the Farrs, because the children of Robert and Martha Paget were very creative: three sons became artists, three daughters were musicians.


Future GD member Henry Marriott Paget was Robert and Martha’s third son, and the first of their children to be born in London; he was born in Clerkenwell in 1857.


On the day of the 1861 census, Robert and Martha were living at 60 Pentonville Road, as sub-tenants of widow Fanny Ferris. Martha Paget is listed as a teacher of music. It was rather unusual for a married woman to tell the census official that she was working. Martha was also busy with the older children in her and Robert’s large family: Ernest (aged 7), William (5), Henry, Emily Elizabeth (2), and Sidney (6 months). Also in their household was Robert’s widowed mother Susannah, aged 75.


By 1871 Susannah Paget had died. Census data from 1871 show that Robert and Martha’s financial situation had improved by then: the family had moved, to 42 Pentonville Road where they had the whole house to themselves; and they were employing one general servant. This time, Martha didn’t tell the census official that she was working – she had a much larger family now. Ernest and William had both left school and started work, but they were both still living at home. Henry, Emily Elizabeth and Sidney had been joined by Walter (9), Helen (7), Arthur (5) – all of whom were at school – and by one-year-old Frederick. In addition, Robert’s niece Louisa Paget, aged 7, was living with the family.


Henry was educated in London at the City Foundation Schools, and also for a time at Atherstone Grammar School, in the town where his mother had been born. He grew up a very active man and a very outdoor man, liking boxing – he was very strong, physically – sailing and swimming. In 1879 he joined a voluntary regiment, the 38th Middlesex Rifle Corps, as a Lieutenant, and served in it until 1885. While living in Bedford Park in the 1880s and 1890s he was a volunteer with the local fire brigade. He was fascinated by mechanical things and he had the ability to build them – later in life he had his own model railway set, and was always making mechanical toys. It sounds as if he had all the skills to become an engineer. Instead he became the eldest of three sons of Robert and Martha Paget to choose to train as an artist, studying at the Royal Academy from 1874 to 1879. Sidney and Walter Paget followed him into art in due course.


Sources: freebmd, census 1861, 1871

On Robert Paget:

At the years Robert spent working for Clerkenwell vestry are given, in a file on the collaboration between Henry’s brother Sidney Paget and Arthur Conan Doyle – Sidney illustrated many of the Sherlock Holmes stories when they were published in Strand magazine.

On Clerkenwell vestry: // a Report of the Medical Officer of Health for St James and St John Clerkenwell published in 1884 lists its current senior employees on p1, beginning with Robert Paget, as the most senior of them; 2nd on the list is Robert Ernest Paget.

Seen at google: The Eternal Slum: Housing and Social Policy in Victorian London by Anthony Wohl 2017. An important piece of evidence used by Wohl is the Royal Commission report on the Housing of the Working-Classes, published in 1885. Robert Paget had given evidence to the Commission. Clerkenwell vestry was notorious for its reluctance to spend money on public health.

Who Was Who 1929-40 volume 3 p1037: entry for Henry Marriot Paget.

On Henry’s collection of mechanical toys: Collected Letters of W B Yeats volume IV 1905-1907 edited by John Kelly and Ronald Schuchard. Published Oxford University Press 2005: p95 footnote 1, referring to a letter from Yeats to Lady Gregory [21 May 1905].

On Henry Marriott Paget being called Harry; and his involvement with the fire brigade: Mainly About Bedford Park published Lawrence Dutton 1994: p40.

On Henry’s physical strength and the railway set: Florence Farr: Bernard Shaw’s New Woman by Josephine Johnson. Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1975 p32.

Henry in the volunteer force:

London Gazette seen via google so no exact date but 1879 p5047: Henry Marriott Paget to be 2nd Lt in the 38th Middlesex Corps.

The article on Henry at // covers his short career in the volunteer force.

Wikipedia on the Artists’ Rifles formed in 1860 as the 38th Middlesex Rifle Volunteer Corps, with HQ in Burlington House and Frederick Leighton as one of its most active members. It was renumbered the 20th Middlesex in 1880.

Military Drawings and Paintings in the Collection of HM the Queen volumes 1-2 by Archibald E H Miller and Nicolas Payan Dawnay 1969 p244.




Henrietta’s father, William Farr (1807-83, FRS 1855) came from a family of farm labourers in Shropshire. A wealthy neighbour took an interest in him and paid for him to train as a doctor. William did go into general practice for a while, in London, but his real genius was for the collection of statistics of health and medicine, and the analysis of those statistics. He went to work for the General Register Office that had been set up to process the information in the censuses and 1837 registration act returns, where he became the first epidemiologist, doing particularly important work on the statistics of cholera outbreaks. He came to national prominence as Florence Nightingale’s right-hand-man, the supplier of statistics for her continuing arguments with Government about public health; and as one of the founders (in 1857) of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science, a forum for the discussion of the scientific, social and health issues of the day. He had personal experience of the tragedies concealed in the bald numbers of medical statistics: he was widowed twice, his first wife dying of TB and his second at the age of only 58; his daughter Anne died aged 10 and his son Frederick in his teens; his daughter Emily Alice was disabled as a result of a diseased hip she had as a child.


William Farr was married twice, but he and his first wife had no children. His second wife, Mary Elizabeth Whittall, had connections with William’s own county of Shropshire – her father Joseph was a Shropshire man; though by the time his daughter married Joseph was living in Deal, Kent, as the licensee of the Fleur de Lys pub on Union Row. Mary Elizabeth Whittall and William Farr were married in Stoke Newington, north London, in 1841. They had seven children: Mary Catherine, born 1842; William born 1841; Frederick, born 1844; Anne Elizabeth 1845-55; Emily Alice born 1850; the GD’s Henrietta, born 1852; and lastly, the GD’s Florence Beatrice Farr born in 1860 and named after Florence Nightingale.


William and Mary Elizabeth Farr began their married life in Stoke Newington, but by census day 1851 they were living at 1 Melina Place, Marylebone, with Mary Catherine, Frederick, Anne Elizabeth, William and Emily Alice. They employed two servants, a cook and a nurse. They moved out of London, to Bickley, in time for Florence to be born there early in 1860. On the day of the 1861 census William and Mary Elizabeth were at 27 Southlands Road Bromley. Anne Elizabeth had died, but still with William and Mary Elizabeth there were Mary Catherine, now 18; Frederick 17; Emily Alice aged 10; Etta, 9; Florence aged 9 months; and William’s father John Farr aged 78. Etta’s brother William was at school in Portsmouth. The Farrs were still employing only two servants, though they did rather different work from those of 1851 – they were a housekeeper and general servant.


By 1871, William and Mary Elizabeth had moved to 3 Crofton Lodge Bromley. Frederick had died, and William had joined the navy, but all the daughters were still living at home. The Farrs kept to the set of two servants that they had preferred for the last few decades, but they had gone back to employing a cook rather than a housekeeper, and the second servant was now called a housemaid rather than a general servant.


Florence Farr’s biographer Josephine Johnson gives some details of Florence’s education, which encompassed short spells at Cheltenham Ladies’ College – where she got to know May Morris daughter of William Morris – and Queen’s College Harley Street. Johnson doesn’t mention whether any of Florence’s older sisters went to these schools. I know nothing of how or where Etta was educated until she appears as a more-or-less trained artist, at Heatherley’s around 1877/78.


Sources: freebmd, Familysearch, census 1851, 1861, 1871.

That Henrietta was known as ‘Etta’ to her friends: Collected Letters of W B Yeats Volume I 1865-95 p 165 footnote 7.

At there’s a copy of Vital Statistics: A Memorial Volume of Selections from the Reports and Writings of William Farr editor Noel Humphrys. Published Sanitary Institution of Great Britain 1884.

Victorian Values: The Life and Times of Dr Edwin Lankester MD, FRS by Mary P English. Bristol: Biopress Ltd 1990: p114, p147.


Mary Elizabeth Whittall. I’ve seen the surname spelled with one ‘l’ but two ‘l’s’ is what the official records have.

Familysearch England-VR GS film number 1469430: baptism of Mary Elizabeth Whittall 25 January 1818 at St Margaret, Lee in Kent. Parents Joseph and Mary.

At // list of licensees of the Fleur de Lys, 13 Union Row Deal, taken from contemporary directories, and the census. Joseph Whittall first appears as licensee in 1847. On the day of the 1861 census he was still licensee there, at the age of 83.

Familysearch England-EASy GS film number 413298: marriage of Mary Elizabeth Whittall to William Farr 23 December 1841 in Stoke Newington.

The date of the move to Bickley:

Florence Farr: Bernard Shaw’s New Woman by Josephine Johnson. Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1975 p8.


The disappearance of Frederick; and William joining the RN:

Florence Farr: Bernard Shaw’s New Woman by Josephine Johnson. Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1975 p4. Johnson was able to interview Etta’s children Dorothy and Geoffrey. They told her Frederick had run away to the US, under an assumed name, and enlisted for the North in the Civil War. He was captured by the Confederates, and died of a fever in March 1864.




Please see my file on the Pagets’ friends for the people Etta Farr and Henry Paget got to know when they were students at the Heatherley School of Fine Art. I also have more to say about how the School worked in my file on Etta and Henry as artists. Here I’ll just say that it was at Heatherley’s that Etta Farr and Henry Paget met.



Heatherley’s was founded in 1845 and still exists, though not at the rooms Etta and Henry will have known, in Newman Street off Oxford Street: see its website at It’s based at 75 Lots Road SW10. There is a list of well-known ex-pupils at the website but it doesn’t include either Etta or Henry, so I haven’t actually got prime evidence that either of them were ever there. There’s plenty of indirect evidence though:

The Collected Letters of George Gissing 1892-1895 by Gissing and Paul F Matthieson, Arthur C Young and Pierre Coustillas. Ohio University Press 1994 p272 footnote 8 which is actually about Henry’s younger brother Walter Paget 1863-1935, says that all three Paget brothers studied at Heatherley’s School of Art.


A Long Engagement 1878-81: Cameos from the Life and Times of Thomas Cooper Gotch by Pamela Lomax 2002. Shears and Hogg Publications. Based on Gotch’s papers at the Tate Archive, which include letters from Henry Paget, also mention Etta as a student at Heatherley’s: p3, p32, p46.




Etta’s mother, Mary Elizabeth Farr, died in the spring of 1877, either just before Etta went to Heatherley’s, or during her first few months there.


Etta Farr married Henry Marriott Paget in Bromley on 4 September 1879. Just noting here that Etta was five years older than her husband; not actually so unusual as you’d think, in Victorian times. In a letter to another ex-Heatherley’s student, Henry Scott Tuke, the Pagets’ friend, Samuel Butler, mentioned how much in love with Etta Henry was. Most sources for Henry note what a Romantic he was. Several also mention that Etta was more beautiful than her more-photographed sister Florence Farr; though I think myself that Etta didn’t have whatever quality it was in Florence that bewitched and baffled admirers like George Bernard Shaw.


Henry and Etta Paget went on an extended honeymoon, visiting Switzerland – where they stayed with Samuel Butler – Italy, Greece and even Crete which was not yet a popular destination for British travellers. On their return, Henry hired a studio and got down to work; it’s not recorded whether Etta did the same. Etta and Henry had four children over the next 11 years and that must have brought them great happiness; but housekeeping and child-rearing on a limited budget – with neither of them having families whose wealth they could rely on – did influence the kind of art work they both could do. Etta did very little; and Henry did a lot of illustration work for books and magazines, rather than the ‘great art’ kind of painting I think he would have preferred to do.



The wedding:

Medical Times and Gazette 1879 p335 marriage announcements. The notice also appeared in the London Evening Standard Sat 13 September 1879 and Pall Mall Gazette Thurs 11 September 1879 p3 but none of the papers had more detailed coverage of the wedding so I haven’t found a list of guests or who were the bridesmaids.

The honeymoon:

The Correspondence of Samuel Butler with his Sister May edited and with an introduction by Daniel F Howard. University of Cambridge Press; University of California Press 1962: pp80-81, letter Samuel to May 21 August 1879. The promising artist who is going to visit Samuel in Switzerland is unnamed but footnote 2 p81 identifies him as Henry Paget, on his honeymoon with Henrietta.

A Long Engagement 1878-81: Cameos from the Life and Times of Thomas Cooper Gotch by Pamela Lomax 2002. Shears and Hogg Publications. Based on Gotch’s papers at the Tate Archive which include letters from Henry Paget: p36, p49, letter from Butler to Henry Scott Tuke 12 July 1880.



Etta and Henry moved to the new suburb of Bedford Park Chiswick in time for their eldest child, Gladys Mary Paget, to be born there early in 1881. A few weeks later the 1881 census official found them at 5 The Avenue, both Henry and Etta telling him that they were artists (a piece of information Etta was never to give again). They were able to employ the one, basic live-in servant.


The Pagets didn’t stay for more than a few months at 5 The Avenue before moving a couple of streets to the house they and Florence Farr are most associated with, especially in GD terms – 1 The Orchard. Etta and Henry’s younger daughter, Dorothy, was born there in the spring of 1882. The house had two features ideal for a couple of very sociable artists who enjoyed amateur dramatics. Unusually even for Bedford Park, the house had a north-facing artists’ studio built into it, which (at least for a year or two) Etta used as well as Henry. One of the rooms had a raised daïs which the Pagets used for amateur dramatics – Florence Farr coached her niece Dorothy Paget for a role in a play by W B Yeats on it. Amongst what sounds like a continual stream of callers were family – Henry’s sisters Elizabeth and Helen and Etta’s sister Florence all lived a short distance away in the early 1890s – and friends they very soon made in the district including many future members of the GD. For much more on some of those friends, see my file on them. Here I’ll just say that they included the Yeats family; future GD members John Todhunter, Dorothea Butler and Edmund Hunter; and George Bernard Shaw.


Etta’s father Dr William Farr died in April 1883. The biography of Florence Farr says that he left her enough money for her to live independently, at least in the years immediately after his death. The subsequent lives of his daughters Mary Catherine and Emily Alice indicate that they too had some money of their own; Etta may have been given her money already, when she married. William’s death seems a good point at which to say what happened to his other children.


The younger William had joined the Royal Navy in 1871. After serving in the Channel Squadron and the Mediterranean fleet he was paid off in 1887. He went to work for the coastguard service on its ship the Rupert, based in Whitby. In 1888 he married Sarah Jane Hancock of Whitchurch in Shropshire. They hadn’t had any children when he died in February 1892, aged 44.


Mary Catherine Farr and Emily Alice Farr never married; but they didn’t live together after the death of their father. On the day of the 1891 census Mary Catherine was the only person in the household of number 23 Oakley Flats, Oakley Street, Chelsea. By 1901 she had moved to a block of flats round the corner in Cheyne Walk, and was the sole occupant of 24 Adair House; she was still living there on the day of the 1911 census. At some later point she moved to 29 West Heath Drive Hampstead, where she died in April 1928. Etta was her executor.

Immediately after her father’s death Emily Alice moved in with Etta and Henry for a while. She was a talented violinist and needlewoman and was particularly close to her niece Gladys. On the day of the 1891 census Gladys and Emily Alice were visiting Frederick Buff and his wife Sarah, at 40 St Peter’s Square Hammersmith; Frederick was a piano maker. On census day 1901 Emily Alice was at home, renting a room at 76 Ledbury Road Paddington. She isn’t on the 1911 census, but later in her life she moved to 22 Denman Drive Finchley. She had kept up more contact with her Whittall relatives than any of her siblings seem to have done, and named two of them as her executors.


Florence Farr is the sibling of Etta about whom there’s most information, which means you can get an impression that the two of them were closer than either was to their other two sisters; an impression that may be quite wrong. Florence’s biography never mentions Mary Catherine or Emily Alice as being as much involved in the social life of Bedford Park as Florence and Etta were; but that might be because Josephine Johnson, its author, didn’t ask about them much. It’s true, too, that neither of them joined the GD. It does seem that Etta had always looked out for Florence, as her youngest sibling by several years.


Even before her father’s death, Florence had decided she wanted to be an actress: after some training with the actor-manager J L Toole she made her first professional appearance in March 1883. Through her acting, she met Edward Anderson Emery, a member of a family of professional theatre and music hall entertainers. Henry Paget gave away the bride on 31 December 1884 when Florence and Edward Emery married. In the next few years Edward Emery was well enough known to the Pagets for Gladys and Dorothy to call him ‘uncle Ted’. And the Pagets got to know Edward’s more talented actress sister, Maud Isabel Emery, who used the name ‘Winifred Emery’ for professional purposes. Henry painted Winifred in 1888, probably as a marriage portrait – that was the year she married the actor-manager Cyril Maude. But by then the marriage between Florence and Edward was over. The tale told Florence’s biographer by the Paget said that Etta and Winifred played major roles in managing its collapse. In January 1888 Winifred organised Edward’s departure to the US to find acting work there – he hadn’t been very successful finding it in the UK; he never came back and was possibly never meant to. Florence didn’t go with Edward, and Etta supported Florence’s decision to consider the marriage at an end. Florence moved into rooms in Dalling Road Hammersmith and began to take an active role in the Bedford Park social scene; leading to her being invited by W B Yeats to join the GD, in July 1890. To George Bernard Shaw’s irritation, Florence soon became more interested in magic and the occult than in pursuing the career as a professional actress that he thought she was capable of. She became the GD’s most theatrical ritualist and one of its experts in ancient Egyptian magic; and from1897 to 1902 she was the GD’s most senior figure in London.


Etta and Henry followed Florence into the GD, but not for several years. They had two more children, both boys: Ferrand, born early in 1888; and Geoffrey, born in spring 1890. On the day of the 1891 census Etta, Henry and the two boys were not in the UK. I’ve mentioned that Gladys was with her aunt Emily Alice Farr. Dorothy had gone to stay at 19 Lloyd Square Islington with Henry’s parents, Robert and Martha Paget. Also at home with Robert and Martha on that day were their children Sidney, the youngest of the three professional artists in the family; Helen, who was a music teacher as her mother had been; and Frederick, who was working for a wholesale tea firm.


Newspaper articles in 1891 said that all the Paget family had been going on holiday together for several years to Hayling Island, where they had become quite well-known. On 22 August 1891, what should have been an enjoyable sail in a yacht chartered for the day by Henry turned into a tragedy when a boat taking two of his sisters and two young friends from the shore to the yacht sank. Henry, on the shore, and his brother Arthur, already on the yacht with Etta and the children, went into the sea to the rescue, but Helen Paget and the boatman were drowned. Henry and Arthur were awarded a Royal Humane Society medal for their part in the rescue but one consequence of the tragedy was that Etta and Henry started spending their summers elsewhere; I imagine they weren’t the only family members to do so. Robert Paget died in 1892, speeding up the process of family members going their separate ways; Martha died in 1898.


For summer 1893, the Pagets went with a friend of theirs, Frederick York Powell, firstly to Broadstairs and then to St German’s in Cornwall. Frederick York Powell’s wife had died in 1888; he had a step-daughter, Florence, was was older than the Pagets’ children; and a daughter Mariella who was a little younger than Dorothy.


It was while the family were still in mourning for Helen that Etta was initiated into the GD, in March 1892. It was not until September 1894 that Henry joined the GD. He was very busy with his design, illustration and painting work by that time, and perhaps not as interested as Etta and Florence either. He involved himself in Bedford Park’s social scene as much as his work would allow but did not make much effort to become an occultist.


Florence had been glad when her marriage was finally admitted to be over. During the next few years she doesn’t seem to have found her status as a wife whose husband had gone, at all problematic. Edward Emery had not supported her financially to any great degree when they were still together and she was still able in the 1890s to live on the income left her by her father. However, by the mid-1890s Florence’s anomalous marital status had begun to worry George Bernard Shaw in particular: he thought that there would be trouble if Edward Anderson Emery ever came back to England, still legally married to her. He suggested Florence get a divorce. Other friends were concerned that a Court might not believe that the marriage was over. All women wanting a divorce had to show two causes (men only had to show one). Adultery and desertion were the obvious ones for Florence to pick, but she hadn’t been deserted in any sense the Law would understand; and there was no suggestion at the time Edward was sent away, that he had been unfaithful. In the end, in 1894, Florence did begin divorce proceedings. Given the flimsiness of her case, she was very nervous about having to give evidence in Court, so Henry went with her on 30 July 1894 to support her as she claimed misconduct (that is, adultery) and desertion. Edward Emery did not contest her case – perhaps he didn’t even know about it – and Florence was awarded a Decree in February 1895. She valued her freedom and didn’t marry again.


The Pagets left Bedford Park very abruptly at the end of 1895, and for the oddest reason: two different people turned up saying that they were the owner of 1 The Orchard and demanding rent. Rather than stay in the house to find out which owner was the real one, the Pagets descended on Florence in her rooms in Dalling Road, staying for several months before moving away from west London altogether. By February 1897 they had moved into 76 Parkhill Road Belsize Park. I think the choice of district may have been Etta’s: see my file on the Pagets in the GD for more details but here I’ll say that in the 1880s Etta had read at least one work by Rev Edward Lewes Cutts – his Turning Points of General Church History – and it had helped her through a time of spiritual trouble. Rev Cutts was vicar of Holy Trinity, Haverstock Hill, which was within walking distance of Parkhill Road. Etta may have wanted to join his congregation.


76 Parkhill Road was a big house, but the Pagets could afford it: Henry’s artist friend John Butler Yeats wrote rather wistfully of how much money Henry was making at the time, with his design and illustration work. Though the Pagets’ friendships with people living in Bedford Park couldn’t continue at the ‘seeing them each day’ level, their involvement in their various projects continued much as before, particularly the series of theatrical productions led by W B Yeats (as author) and Florence (as producer and actress).


76 Parkhill Road continued to be the family base until World War 2 and the Pagets made some new friendships in Hampstead. It was probably Shaw who introduced the Pagets to Alfred and Hannah (Nannie) Dryhurst, who lived a few streets away from them, in Downshire Hill. There’s more on the Dryhursts in my file on the Pagets’ friends. Here I’ll just say that Alfred and Nannie had musical and artistic interests similar to the Pagets. They had two daughters, Norah and Sylvia, and though both were older than any of Etta and Henry’s children, the two families became friends. It might have been Nannie who encouraged Etta to paint again after many years in which she had exhibited nothing and may have painted nothing. Etta’s portrait of Nannie was shown at the Royal Academy in 1907. In 1914, Norah Dryhurst married Geoffrey Paget.


Henry had met Hugh Fairfax-Cholmeley in 1893 or 1894 at one of Frederick York Powell’s Sunday afternoon gatherings. See my file on the Pagets’ friends for more on him. Here I’ll just say that Hugh owned land at Brandsby in north Yorkshire but kept up connections that he had made in London in the late 1880s. In 1903 he married Alice Jane Moverley, the daughter of his gardener, and asked Henry to paint a portrait of her as a wedding present. Hugh and Alice were married in Hampstead and lived at 6 Wychcombe Gardens until 1907 before setting up home back in Brandsby. Etta also painted Alice, this time with her son Francis (born in 1904) and both the Pagets’ portraits of her were shown at the Royal Academy in 1906.


On the day of the 1901 census, Henry and Etta were at home at 76 Parkhill Road, and as it was the school holidays, so were all their children – Gladys now 20, Dorothy 18, Ferrand 13 and Geoffrey 11. Though the Pagets were comfortably off, with school fees to pay and the income of an artist as unpredictable as ever, Etta was still running the house with just the one live-in servant.


Dorothy had been at school in France as late as 1899 but by 1901 was trying to push her career as a professional actress further. She was still being helped in her efforts by W B Yeats and Florence Farr; and by her parents, who in 1899 had allowed her time out from her French school after Yeats had offered her the leading role in his play, Countess Cathleen, due to be staged in Dublin. Yeats’ collaborator on the project, George Moore, didn’t think Dorothy was experienced enough for the role and in the end it was played by May Whitty. Instead, a prologue to the play was written for Dorothy. In 1900 she appeared in The Heather Field, by W B Yeats’ Irish friend Edward Martyn.


In February 1901, a few weeks before census day, Dorothy had played the psaltery at some of Florence’s earliest public attempts at recitation with musical accompaniment; including a demonstration Florence gave at Clifford’s Inn in Fleet Street to illustrate a lecture by Yeats on poetry and performance. Also in 1902, she took part in a production of Florence’s Beloved of Hathor, a play Florence had based on her understanding of ancient Egyptian myths and magic. This was a very Paget-family affair with Dorothy playing Nouferou and Henry’s brother Sidney Paget playing Aahmes. It also involved the Dryhursts – Nannie and Alfred’s daughter Sylvia had a role in it. Beloved of Hathor was one part of a double-bill. The other play was Olivia Shakespear’s The Shrine of the Golden Hawk; and Dorothy had a part in that too.


Beyond those family-based productions, Dorothy’s career as a professional actress stuttered; and I note that she was never given a leg up in this competitive world by George Bernard Shaw. It was not until 1906 that she was taken on by a theatre company for regular work, and her job then came through her parents’ friend Johnston Forbes-Robertson. He hired her for a tour of the USA which included some of the first performances of Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra. On tour, and in the production’s season at the Savoy in London, Dorothy played Cleopatra’s maid Charmian. In 1908, Dorothy married one of the other actors in the company, Percy William Rhodes. Though he also never made it to acting’s heights and was often out of work especially at the start of his career, there’s always more work for actors than for actresses, and he was still acting in the 1930s, working for BBC Radio. I couldn’t find any evidence that Dorothy was still working by that time.


Etta and Henry’s eldest daughter Gladys may have taken part in the lecture and musical recital at Clifford’s Inn, but in general she pursued a more conventional route as a young woman than her sister: in 1904 she married an architect, Thomas Millwood Wilson. She and her husband had three sons. On the day of the 1911 census they were living at Wayside, 130 Hampstead Way and they continued to live near the Pagets, in the Hendon/Golder’s Green area, until Glady’s death.


Ferrand Paget, the elder of Etta and Henry’s two sons, is the child I’ve found least information on; the only one who went to live permanently abroad. He got a job with the Bombay Burma Trading Corporation Ltd in their office in Bangkok. He wasn’t on the 1911 census so I take it he had already begun work there by then; and he was still there in 1913, possibly until the first World War broke out. He inherited Henry’s skills with mechanical things and was elected a fellow of both the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and the Chemical Society.


By the day of the 1911 census, then, only Geoffrey Paget was still living with his parents. Henry and Etta were at home at 76 Parkhill Road on census day and as it was the university vacation, Geoffrey was at home. After leaving St Paul’s School, Geoffrey had gone to Cambridge University where he was reading Natural Sciences. Live-in servants were getting less common by 1911, at least amongst my GD members, but the Pagets still had one.


There’s more evidence in existence for closeness between Etta and her sisters than there is for Henry and his siblings, though their all holidaying together until 1891 indicates how close they were. Later, Sidney was inveigled by Florence Farr into starring in her Beloved of Hathor; and Henry and Etta’s son Ferrand married one of his first cousins.


Henry and his sister Emily Elizabeth might have been a particularly close pair within the larger family; they did at least live near each other for several decades. On the day of the 1881 census – that is, two years after Henry married Etta – Emily Elizabeth was still living at home. She was studying at the Royal Academy of Music, which must have delighted her mother. She married Stephen James Martin in 1888: he worked for a bank and eventually became a branch manager. On the day of the 1891 census Emily Elizabeth, Stephen and their daughters Emily and Mary were living within a longish walk of the Etta and Henry, at 42 Hammersmith Road. However, by 1901 they had moved to 54 Upper Park Road Belsize Park, the next road along from Etta and Henry’s Parkhill Road.


Henry’s youngest sister Edith was living with Emily Elizabeth Martin and her family on census day 1901. Edith had survived the boating disaster in which Helen Paget had drowned – she managed to swim to the yacht and hang on to the side. It’s not clear whether Edith was working on the day of the 1901 census but by 1911 she was music teacher at Old Hall School, a boys’ preparatory school in Wellington Shropshire. In 1911 Emily Elizabeth and Stephen Martin were still living in 54 Upper Park Road.


Florence Farr and Etta had left the GD in 1902. Florence had joined the Theosophical Society and over the next few years had become more drawn to theosophy as a spiritual path; not an interest either of the Pagets shared with her. The income she had inherited from her father was being seriously eroded by inflation and rent rises by the early 1900s. She had hoped that her recitation-with-musical-accompaniment might ease her financial troubles but, in the long run, it didn’t. In 1912, she accepted the offer of a job as the headmistress of a girls’ school, run on theosophical lines; in northern Ceylon [Sri Lanka]. She moved in with the Pagets for a few weeks in August 1912 before leaving for Ceylon in September. This must have been a sad time for all Florence’s sisters but particularly for Etta, after years of being involved in so many of Florence’s projects and schemes.


Ever since around 1880 Henry had been working regularly as an illustrator of magazines and newspapers. Drawings of important events were a basic part of this work; but Henry had not been sent abroad as a roving reporter. However, in 1909 and again in 1912 he did go on working trips overseas, sent by Sphere magazine. In 1909 he went to western Canada, and in October 1912 he was sent to Constantinople [Istanbul] to draw and report on the first Balkan War from the Ottoman side. Reporters following the war from the other side included Nannie Dryhurst’s ex-lover Henry Nevinson, and Leon Trotsky. Henry had the great good luck – in journalistic terms – to be the only artist/correspondent in Constantinople when the Ottoman chief of staff, Nazim Pasha, was assassinated, on 23 January 1913 during a coup. I presume he wasn’t standing in the vicinity when the man was killed but his drawings of the event were the only near-the-spot account of what happened. The war was short, ending with the Treaty of London of 30 May 1913; whereupon, I suppose, Henry came home.


On graduating, Geoffrey Paget had hoped to find a job in a museum; perhaps he hoped Alfred Dryhurst, who was by this time Assistant Secretary at the British Museum, would be able to help him in this. However, in the end he went to work for the civil service in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries; before – by the 1930s – becoming an Inspector of Schools. Early in 1914 he and Norah Dryhurst were married; and that was the last important occasion in the Paget family before the first World War.




I couldn’t find any references to Geoffrey having fought in World War 1; I think his job in the Ministry may have been protected. I saw some evidence at that Ferrand Paget had joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He was still in Canada in 1916, when he married Cecile Duval there. Dorothy’s husband Percy was called up but appealed against it on grounds of ill-health. And, under special circumstances, Henry was recruited into the Royal Engineers in March 1916 at the age of 59. He joined a unit set up to design and make camouflage and became its expert on creating camouflage for tanks. The unit was based well behind the front line, at a disused factory near Boulogne.


After Florence went to Sri Lanka, Etta, Mary Catherine and Emily Alice never saw her again and from what her biographer could discover, Florence didn’t make much effort to write. In the weeks before she left England Florence had had the mother of all clear-outs of her possessions, giving or throwing away almost all of them. Geoffrey Paget would have had her occult library if he had been given the chance, but she sold every item in it to a dealer as a job-lot for £15 before he even knew what she was up to. It was as if, in leaving England, Florence was abandoning all her past life. So when she died, of breast cancer in April 1917, Etta only learned of it though a notice in the paper. Etta was Florence’s executor. Florence had left a Will but some of its contents were invalid by the time of her death. In addition, the difficulties of proving Florence’s death at such a distance and in wartime meant that it was nearly a year before Etta was able to obtain probate and distribute Florence’s small estate.


In 1917 Ferrand and Cecile braved the dangers of the north Atlantic and arrived in England in time for their son Henry to be born in Hampstead, probably in Etta and Henry’s house. Joy was short-lived however: Cecile died in the autumn of 1918 aged 23, in the middle of the worst of the Spanish Flu epidemic. I imagine she was one of the victims. A widower with a very young child, Ferrand got married again within the year. His second wife was his first-cousin Joan Paget, daughter of Walter and his wife Sophia, née Bowles. At some point before 1939 – probably long before – Ferrand and Joan moved to Canada. Ferrand died in Edmonton, Alberta, in 1957.


No one came through the years of war and flu unscathed but Etta and Henry were luckier than most: Etta lost a sister and they both lost a daughter-in-law but their two sons and two sons-in-law all survived. The camouflage designs of 1916-18 were the last art Henry did and I haven’t found any art works by Etta from later than 1907: they were retired now, with at least six grandchildren, probably more.


People they knew continued to die, of course. The last paragraphs of so many of my GD biographies read like a list of who died when. Etta’s sister Emily Alice Farr died in 1927 and her sister Mary Catherine Farr in 1928. 1930 brought two deaths that probably hit a lot harder even if they were expected: those of Nannie Dryhurst; and Etta and Henry’s daughter Gladys who was just short of 50.


Henry Marriott Paget died at 76 Parkhill Road on 27 March 1936. Etta stayed on in the house at least into World War 2 but she continued the family tradition of getting out of London to spend summer on the south coast. World War 2 was declared during Etta’s 1939 summer holiday and she was still at her holiday home – Furze Croft on Filsham Road in Hastings – on 29 September 1939 when the 1939 Register information was collected. Dorothy was staying with her, and two other people whose details have been blanked out (meaning they were still alive in 1980); two of Etta and Henry’s grandchildren, perhaps? There were also three servants living in the house – a cook/housekeeper, and two housemaids. Percy Rhodes was working for the BBC; he was in digs in the village of Greenhill near Evesham. Geoffrey and Norah were at home, at Ovingham House near Hexham.


76 Parkhill Road was bombed during the Blitz and I think that the Pagets moved out at that point. When Etta died, on 4 October 1947 at the great age of 95, she was living at 3 Talgarth Road Ferring-on-Sea, between Worthing and Littlehampton. Dorothy was still alive in 1973; that year, she was interviewed by John Kelly, one of the editors of W B Yeats’ letters. Geoffrey retired to Horsham in Sussex and died in 1986; I don’t think he and Norah had any children.




Bedford Park addresses: 1881 census

Kelly’s Directory of Chiswick 1894-95 p251 has them still at 1 The Orchard still. However, Kelly’s Directory of Chiswick 1896-97 street directory p157 doesn’t have a listing for 1 The Orchard, so the property was empty when the Directory went to press. Kelly’s Directory of Chiswick 1897-98 p161 shows new tenants at 1 The Orchard. I hope they only had one landlord.


William Farr senior:

Probate Registry 1883.

William Farr RN:

Florence Farr: Bernard Shaw’s New Woman by Josephine Johnson. Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1975 p4 but this has his year of death wrong.

Navy List 1871 p186.

Navy List 1877; I couldn’t read the page number.

Times Sat 30 May 1885 p7.

Times Wed 17 June 1885 p7.

Times Mon 7 Sep 1885 p7.

Times Mon 15 Nov 1886 p7.

Times Mon 10 Jan 1887 p7

Familysearch England EAS-y GS film number 1702245: marriage of William Farr to Sarah Jane Hancock.

Probate Registry 1893. I found a Probate Registry entry in 1928 for a widow named Sarah Jane Farr.



Florence Farr: Bernard Shaw’s New Woman by Josephine Johnson. Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1975: pp19-22.

Mary Catherine Farr and Emily Alice Farr: census 1891, 1901, 1911

Florence Farr: Bernard Shaw’s New Woman by Josephine Johnson. Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1975 p4.


Death of Helen Paget; which was covered by papers in Islington as well as those in Portsmouth.

Portsmouth Evening News Mon 24 August 1891 p2.

Portsmouth Evening News Wed 26 August 1891 p2 and Hampshire Telegraph Sat 29 August 1891 p6 covered the inquest. It was never established exactly why the boat had sunk but the verdicts on Helen Paget and the boatman were both accidental death.

Islington Gazette Wed 26 August 1891 p3.

Portsmouth Evening News Fri 28 August 1891 p2.

Islington Gazette Tue 8 September 1891 p2 had more on the inquest.

See //, Robert J Kirkpatrick’s notes on Henry Paget.

At Bill Fevyer has transcribed the details of medal receivers from the Royal Humane Society Annual Report 1891. Case 25633 is Henry and Arthur Paget.


Florence’s divorce:

Florence Farr: Bernard Shaw’s New Woman by Josephine Johnson. Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1975: p24.

[London] Standard Tue 31 July 1894 p2 Court Reports – Emery v Emery.

Prodigal Father: the Life of John Butler Yeats William Michael Murphy 2001 p190.


The move to Belsize Park:

There’s a wiki on Rev Edward Lewes Cutts (1824-1901): antiquarian and church historian. He took up his appointment at Holy Trinity Haverstock Hill in 1871 and was still in post at his death. The Pagets won’t have met his wife Marian – she had died in 1889, leaving 10 children.

Bernard Shaw: The Diaries 1885-1897 in 2 volumes, annotated and edited by Stanley Weintraub. University Park Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press 1986: p1102 entry for Sunday 29 December 1895, the first day Shaw went to Florence’s rooms and found the whole Paget family esconced; p1156 entry for Sunday ?21 February 1897 – first mention of 76 Parkhill Road. Shaw went there to read his The Devil’s Disciple to the Pagets; it’s not clear from the entry whether Florence was there as well.


The Dryhursts’ marriage:

War, Journalism and the Shaping of the 20th Century by Agnes V John 2006: pp85-88.

The Fairfax-Cholmeleys:

Most of my information on Hugh comes from this wide-ranging website: // The Last Squire of Brandsby. It includes details of his land reforms at Brandsby; a photograph of him, Alice and their two eldest children; and a Timeline from which I discovered how long Henry had known Hugh, and that they both knew York Powell.


Henry and Etta’s children:

Gladys: freebmd, 1911 census, probate registry 1930.

Florence Farr: Bernard Shaw’s New Woman by Josephine Johnson. Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1975: p107.

I spotted a probate registry entry for Glady’s husband, Thomas Millwood Wilson, in 1957.


Dorothy, the one about whom most is known:

Collected Letters of W B Yeats volume 2 1896-1900 editors Warwick Gould, John Kelly, Deirdre Toomey. Oxford: Clarendon Press 1997. On p395 footnote 1 and footnote 3; p404; p596;

Florence Farr: Bernard Shaw’s New Woman by Josephine Johnson. Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1975: p103; p90; p107; p126.

Prologue to Countess Cathleen:

Evening Herald Tue 9 May 1899 p2. The performance took place at Dublin’s Antient Concert Rooms “last evening”.


The Forbes-Robertson Theatre Company. See the Illustrated London News issue 3580 Sat 30 November 1907 p801 for a series of drawings of the cast of Caesar and Cleopatra in full costume and standing on-stage; probably at the Savoy Theatre London where it was about to open after successful performances in the US. Dorothy is listed as playing Charmian in these drawings though I wasn’t quite sure I had picked her out correctly; Percy Rhodes is also there, as Rufio.

Percy Rhodes: freebmd, census 1911, 1939 Register

I couldn’t find much information about Rhodes on the web. I wasn’t helped by someone with the same name – I suppose it is another person - a tenor who sang at several Proms in 1904 and 1906.

The website, has some details about him though without sources.

Searching the BL’s newspaper collection I came across several adverts announcing Percy Rhodes’ availability for work, eg in The Era theatre magazine: 1902, 1905, 1909.

Wikipedia on the 1913 silent film of the Forbes-Robertson company’s Hamlet, which used the staging from the Drury Lane production of 1913.

At // listings from the Radio Times of 1934 and 1935 show Percy in some of its radio plays: eg 16 January 1934 playing Engstrand in Ibsen’s Ghosts; and 18 January 1935 in Azeff: a Melodrama of Czarist Russia.

At there’s a photo of him looking very severe. It’s a still from the film Death at Broadcasting House 1934.

At MH 47/115/237 is case number RM1/1077, Percy William Rhodes’ appeal against being called up; on grounds of ill-health. Address: The Third House, Finchley Village. Occupation: actor.

I haven’t been able to find any evidence of when or where Dorothy Rhodes died. I couldn’t see a probate registry entry for either her or Percy.



Via to The Chemical News and Journal of Industrial Society p114 issue of 7 March 1913; p273 issue of 6 June 1913. Unlike some other new members, Ferrand is not listed as having a university degree.

Via //dokumen.tiips to Proceedings of the Chemical Society volume 29 no 411 issue of 27 February 1913 p50.

Institution of Mechanical Engineers a list of members issued 1915 p230 includes Ferrand Paget of Bombay Burma Trading Corporation of Bangkok.

On web you can see both spellings of Bombay-Burma/Burmah Trading Corp but the firm’s wikipedia page has the ‘h’.

Directory and Chronicle for China...[and SE Asia in general] 1912: entry for Paget, F, Bombay-Burmah Trading Corp, resident in Bangkok.

Modern mentions of the Corporation:

History of Asia by B V Rao seen on google p158.

The State in Burma Robert H Taylor 1987 p133.


List of death registrations at includes that of Ferrand Paget: Edmonton 17 November 1957.


Geoffrey: freebmd, 1911 census, 1939 Register, probate registry 1986.

Biographical History of Gonville and Caius College 1349-1897 by Ernest S Roberts, Edward J Goss and Frederick J M Stratton 1912 p109.

Florence Farr: Bernard Shaw’s New Woman by Josephine Johnson. Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1975 p90, p182, p202.

1939 Register at Ovingham House, Hexham.

Probate Registry 1986.



The first Balkan War 1912-13:

There’s good coverage on wikipedia of this and its follow-up which broke out only a few days after the Treaty ending its predecessor. A league of disaffected Balkan parts of the Ottoman Empire fought together and won a quick victory, seizing virtually all the land claimed by the Empire on the European side of the Bosphorus. Wikipedia has a list of the correspondents who covered the two Balkan wars. Henry Paget only covered the first of the two.


World War1. See also the file on Etta and Henry as artists.

Military Drawings and Paintings in the Collection of HM the Queen volumes 1-2 by Archibald E H Miller and Nicolas Payan Dawnay 1969 p244 Officer in The Artists’ Rifles 1879-84. Served in the Royal Engineers during WW1.


Deaths of Etta’s sisters: probate registry entries 1918, 1927, 1928.

Florence Farr: Bernard Shaw’s New Woman by Josephine Johnson. Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1975 p185, p211.


Henry Paget’s death: probate registry 1936.

Times 31 March 1936 p1a death notice and Times 2 April 1936 p16 obituary.

Who Was Who volume 3 1929-40: p1037.


Etta’s last years: 1939 Register, probate registry entries 1947.

Prodigal Father Revisited: Artists and Writers in the World of John Butler Yeats editor Janis Londraville. In the Locust Hill Literary Studies Series; 34. Published West Cornwall CT: p356.

Times 7 October 1947 p1b death notice.

London Gazette 7 November 1947 p5283 series of notices probably required by the 1925 Trustees’ Act; indicating that Etta had income from a trust fund.



BASIC SOURCES I USED for all Golden Dawn members.


Membership of the Golden Dawn: The Golden Dawn Companion by R A Gilbert. Northampton: The Aquarian Press 1986. Between pages 125 and 175, Gilbert lists the names, initiation dates and addresses of all those people who became members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn or its many daughter Orders between 1888 and 1914. The list is based on the Golden Dawn’s administrative records and its Members’ Roll - the large piece of parchment on which all new members signed their name at their initiation. All this information had been inherited by Gilbert but it’s now in the Freemasons’ Library at the United Grand Lodge of England building on Great Queen Street Covent Garden. Please note, though, that the records of the Amen-Ra Temple in Edinburgh were destroyed in 1900/01. I have recently (July 2014) discovered that some records of the Horus Temple at Bradford have survived, though most have not; however those that have survived are not yet accessible to the public.


For the history of the GD during the 1890s I usually use Ellic Howe’s The Magicians of the Golden Dawn: A Documentary History of a Magical Order 1887-1923. Published Routledge and Kegan Paul 1972. Foreword by Gerald Yorke. Howe is a historian of printing rather than of magic; he also makes no claims to be a magician himself, or even an occultist. He has no axe to grind.


Family history: freebmd; (census and probate);; familysearch; Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage; Burke’s Landed Gentry; Armorial Families;; and a wide variety of family trees on the web.


Famous-people sources: mostly about men, of course, but very useful even for the female members of GD. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Who Was Who. Times Digital Archive.


Useful source for business and legal information: London Gazette and its Scottish counterpart Edinburgh Gazette. Now easy to find (with the right search information) on the web.


For the GD members who were freemasons, the membership database of the United Grand Lodge of England is now available via Ancestry: it gives the date of the freemason’s first initiation; and the craft lodges he was a member of.

To take careers in craft freemasonry further, the website of the the Freemasons’ Library is a good resource: // Its catalogue has very detailed entries and the website has all sorts of other resources.

You can get from the pages to a database of freemasons’ newspapers and magazines, digitised to 1900. You can also reach that directly at


Wikipedia; Google; Google Books - my three best resources. I also used other web pages, but with some caution, as - from the historian’s point of view - they vary in quality a great deal.


To put contemporary prices and incomes into perspective, I have used which Roger Wright found for me. To help you interpret the ‘today’ figure, measuringworth gives several options. I pick the ‘historic standard of living’ option which is usually the lowest, often by a considerable margin!




22 January 2019


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: