Victor Conyers Ebenezer Toller - known as Victor - was initiated into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn at its Isis-Urania temple in London on 18 December 1894.Two other men were initiated in the same ritual: George Samuel Minson, and Edward Boxer.Minson and Boxer may have known each other, but I donít think Victor knew either of them before that evening.Victor did get as far as choosing a motto, ĎEurekaí but only a few weeks after he was initiated, he resigned from the Order.

 

This is one of my short biographies.There may be more information on Victor Toller out there, but it will be in local record offices for Liverpool, Cardiff and West London; and the archives of the old General Post Office...Iíve had to admit that lifeís too short!

Sally Davis

April 2016

 

My basic sources for any GD member are in a section at the end of the file.Supplementary sources for this particular member are listed at the end of each section.

 

 

This is what I have found on VICTOR TOLLER

 

IN THE GD

Although he was only a member for a few weeks, Iím able to suggest that he was offered initiation through Dr George Rowell, who had become a GD member in February 1894.The two men were friends.Dr Rowell stayed in the GD for a little longer than Victor but then let his membership lapse.The two men stayed in touch, though: when Victor died, George Rowell was one of his executors.

 

Source for the continuation of their friendship: probate registry 1915.Thereís nothing relevant to Victor Toller in the GD archives that still exist, apart from the details on the Membership Roll.

 

ANY OTHER ESOTERIC INTERESTS?

Not that I can see.Itís possible, I suppose, that he was interested in spiritualism but I havenít seen his name in any of the sources for spiritualism that Iíve looked at.

 

Sources checked: Theosophical Society Membership Registers 1889-1901.Database and other records at the Freemasonsí Library.Names of people who were interested in spiritualism are rather harder to come by: there were lots of spiritualist societies but they were very locally based and - for the most part - their records have been lost.There was no over-arching organisation for spiritualists whose membership lists I could look at.

 

BIRTH/YOUTH/FAMILY BACKGROUND

Victor Toller was the eldest child of Ebenezer Toller and Mary Elizabeth Brown, who married in Scarborough in 1863.Ebenezer Toller had qualified as a doctor and had married on the strength of being appointed medical superintendent of the Gloucester District County Lunatic Asylum, run by the local Poor Law unions.He remained in post at the Asylum in Wotton St Mary until he retired.

 

Victor Toller was born in 1864.He had four brothers: Seymour Graves Toller born 1866; Harold Dowling Toller born 1867; Neville Percy Toller born 1868; and Hubert Joseph Toller born 1871.

 

For the first few years of Victorís life, employees of the Asylum were part of his parentsí household.On census day 1871, the household included two other doctors and the Asylumís matron.Itís not clear from the census entry whether the nurse/governess, the cook and the two housemaids worked only for the Tollers or had duties in the Asylum as well.By 1881 a separate house had been built or rented for the Tollers, next door to the Asylum itself.On census day 1881 therefore, the household consisted of the Toller family, their cook and their general servant.On census day Victor, Harold and Hubert were at home but Seymour and Neville were still at school.

 

Ebenezer had retired by 1889.

 

Sources: freebmd; census 1871, 1881.

 

 

EDUCATION

The Toller boys went to different schools.Seymour went to Malvern College.Neville was sent to Epsom College, a school founded specifically to teach the sons of medical professionals, before being moved to Honiton Grammar School.Harold and Hubert seem to have been taught solely at home; a possible reason for this will become clear a bit further down this file.Victor was at Epsom College from 1878 to 1880, but was then sent to Oxford Military College for a while, before ending his schooling at Kingís School Gloucester.Perhaps Victorís parents were having trouble deciding on a career for him.

 

Seymour Graves Toller was the star amongst the Toller boys: from Malvern, he went to St Thomasís Hospital London in 1885 to train as a doctor.He won student prizes every year and very soon after he graduated was employed at the hospital as clinical assistant in its ear, nose and throat department.During the 1890s he rose smoothly through St Thomasís ranks as a doctor and teacher in its medical school.But in 1898 or 1899 what was shaping up to be a brilliant career in medicine in England was halted by illness.

 

Harold Toller died at Scarborough in 1890, aged 22; and Hubert had died at Hastings in 1891, aged 19.Seymour Tollerís obituary implies that the illness he contracted in 1898 or 1899 looked to his doctors like TB; and thatís possibly what his young brothers had died of.Seymour was advised to find work in a warmer climate and took the jobs of Physician of Clinical Medicine at Kasr-el-Aini Hospital in Cairo and professor at its medical school.However, the warmer climate of Egypt brings its own hazards, and Seymour Toller died in February 1902 after an illness lasting a couple of weeks.Neville followed his brother Seymour Toller to St Thomasís Medical School.Unlike Seymour he was better known as a good rugby player than as an outstanding student.He graduated in 1892 and continued at St Thomasís for a few years before going to work for P&O.He died in 1900, aged 31.

 

Iíve gone through the history of Victorís younger brothers here in order to make a couple of points about Victor: firstly, that he didnít enter his fatherís profession; and secondly, that by early 1902 he was the only brother of the five who was still alive.

 

Sources:

Epsom College Register from October 1855 to July 1905.Published 1905, London: Richard Clay and Sons.Pxi, p121, p126.

At archive.epsomcollege.org: Old Epsom Biographies Between 1855 and 1889: a short paragraph on Neville which also mentions Victor.

The Malvern Register 1865-1904 originally compiled by L S Milward and E C Bullock.2nd edition from 1905, updated by R T C Cookson: p170-171 Seymour Graves Toller.

Times 20 September 1887 p10c exam results and prizes, ďSummer Session 1886": both Seymour Toller and Rowland Thurnam appear.Toller was awarded the prize for the yearís best student.

Seymour Toller and GD member Rowland Thurnam both started their training at St Thomasís in academic year 1885/86, though Thurnam was by no means as brilliant a student as Seymour Toller.

St Thomasís Reports New Series volume 26.It being a google snippet, I couldnít see a year but I think itís an issue from the early 1890s: p115 in a list of old students: Seymour Graves Toller.

At www.bmj.com 1902 volume 1 p564-65 issue of 1 March 1902 obituary of Seymour Graves Toller.

Medical Directory volume 1 1892 p326.

Medical Directory volume 1 1895 p342.

Medical Directory volume 1 1897 p371.

Medical Directory volume 1 1898 p376.

Medical Directory volume 1 1899 p380.

 

 

VICTORíS WORK/PROFESSION

It looks from the various schools his parents tried, that Victor Toller was first scheduled to become a doctor like his father; and then sent to prepare himself for a military career; before finishing his schooling nearer home, perhaps with no clear end in view.He was working for the Post Office by 1885, and it would have been a typical working pattern for him to have remained an GPO employee until his death.In September 1885 he was in Liverpool, in the telegrams office.He was moved to Cardiff in 1886.In April 1890 he was moved again to become Junior Clerk in the Confidential Enquiry Department.This job was based at the GPO headquarters at St Martin-le-Grand in the City of London.From the records it seems that Victor continued to work in that department until he died, though it isnít clear whether or how often he might have been promoted.ĎConfidential Enquiryí sounds like snooping to me: did Victor spend his working life after 1890 opening peopleís letters without their knowledge?

 

Sources for Victorís employer:

Seen at Ancestry, in the Postal Appointment Books 1737-1969; from microfilm at the British Postal Museum and Archive.Two entries (only) for Victor Toller: POST 58 (of 80) September 1885; POST 58 (of 80) December 1886.

Edinburgh Gazette 4 April 1890 p299 in a list of Civil Service appointments.

 

 

VICTORíS MARRIAGE

Victor Toller married Martha Fauriel Dickson, in Wandsworth, in 1896.†† Martha Fauriel was born in 1878, a daughter of James Dickson and his wife Fanny Amelia.James Dickson was the Superintendent of Covent Garden fruit and vegetable market.He died in 1885, aged 43.†† In 1889 Martha acquired a step-father when Fanny Amelia Dickson married Hamilton Williams Price, who ran an import/export business specialising in goods from the Far East.Thereís a pattern in both the Tollers and the Dicksons, though, of men dying decades before their time and both Fanny Ameliaís husbands followed it: Hamilton Price was 10 years younger than his wife but he died in 1904, aged 39.

 

On the day of the 1901 census, Victor and his wife - who is listed on the census as Fauriel, not as Martha - were living at 2 Hogarth Road, very near Earlís Court station.There were two households at that address: that of the Tollers, and that of Henrietta Lascelles.Mrs Lascelles is listed first so itís likely that Victor and Martha Fauriel were renting some rooms from her.They were employing one live-in general servant.They had no children.

 

On the day of the 1911 census, Victor and Martha Fauriel were at separate addresses.Victor was living in a residential hotel on the corner of Pembridge Square and Moscow Road in Notting Hill.Martha Fauriel was living with her mother Fanny Amelia Price on the other side of Hyde Park, at 2 Gloucester Mansions, Harrington Gardens South Kensington.This could have been a temporary arrangement - in between house rentals, say - but I think they had separated and thereís a bit of evidence from 1915 to back up that view.I havenít found any evidence that they divorced.

 

Sources: census 1891-1911; probate registry 1907.

 

DEATH

Victor Toller died in October 1915.At that time he was living at 45 Clanricarde Gardens Bayswater and - as far as I know - was still working for the GPO.He had made a Will, with three executors - his mother, GD member Dr George Rowell, and editor and academic Robert Hope Case.By this time appointing your widow to be your executor was normal but Victor did not name Martha Fauriel as an executor of his Will; which adds fuel to my suspicion that the two of them were living apart.She may have been its beneficiary of course - I havenít seen the Will myself.

 

Sources: probate registry 1915.

For George Rowell, anaesthetist at Guyís Hospital and elsewhere, see my biography.

I wasnít able to find out very much about Robert Hope Case but the British Library has some works by him; always as editor rather than author:

English Epithalamies London: John Lane 1898

The Bodley Head Anthologies London: John Lane 1896-1902.

And an edition of the works of Christopher Marlowe from after both George and Victor were dead.

 

DESCENDANTS?AND WHAT (IF ANYTHING) HAPPENED NEXT.

When Ebenezer Toller retired, in the late 1880s, he, Mary Elizabeth, and their two youngest sons moved to Scarborough, where Mary Elizabeth had grown up.If they died of TB itís likely that both Harold and Hubert were ill by that time.Ebenezer and Mary Elizabeth continued to live at the house called Zephyrs, on Holbeck Hill in Scarborough, as two more of their sons died; until Ebenezer died too, at the end of 1906.Victor Toller and his mother were two of Ebenezerís executors.After her husbandís death, Mary Elizabeth went to live in Brighton with a distant relative, Edith Crosse, and Edithís son Dennis.

 

Mary Elizabeth lived on for nearly 20 years after the death of her last surviving son.There were no grand-children.She died in St Leonardís-on-Sea in 1932.A tragic life.

 

Martha Fauriel Toller went to live in Eire and died in Dun Laoghaire in 1949.

 

 

Sources: probate registry 1932, 1949.

 

 

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 Dawnís administrative records and its Membersí 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 itís now in the Freemasonsí 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 Howeís 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; ancestry.co.uk (census and probate); findmypast.co.uk; familysearch; Burkeís Peerage and Baronetage; Burkeís Landed Gentry; Armorial Families; thepeerage.com; 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.

 

Catalogues: British Library; Freemasonsí Library.

 

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

 

 

 

Copyright SALLY DAVIS

24 July 2016mailto:Amandragora@attglobal.net

 

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:

www.wrightanddavis.co.uk

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