Ada Whisstock Waters was initiated into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn at its Isis-Urania temple in London, on 28 May 1895. She chose the Latin motto Recta pete. One other person was initiated that evening - Florence Maitinsky – but I don’t think the two women knew each other before the ritual. Ada was initiated into the GD’s inner, 2nd Order in October 1896, having done the necessary study in about 18 months. She was one of the 12 members of Florence Farr’s Egyptian Group – later and better known as the Sphere Group – which was probably formed in 1898. She went abroad in 1900 and took no part in the great changes that engulfed the Order in the years 1900 to 1903.




I couldn’t find evidence for Ada in the Theosophical Society. Nor did I see her name in the main spiritualist journals; so any interest she had in spiritualism was at a local or family level. However, she came into the Isis-Urania temple at level 5=6, which suggests she already had some occult knowledge. This sort of thing is difficult to prove, but mentions of her in the GD records suggest to me that when she joined, she may have known the GD’s founder William Wynn Westcott, and perhaps his co-founder Samuel Liddell Mathers, too. If she did, it may be because of what went on at the address she gave the GD for correspondence – 97 Westbourne Grove.


Ada got married in 1900 to a man called Pierre Édouard Bernard. I think her husband was the Pierre Bernard who was initiated into the GD on 25 January 1896 at its Ahathoor Temple in Paris. At the time of his initiation he was a Lieutenant in the French army, stationed at Fort du Cap Brun, Toulon. He didn’t progress as far as Ada within the GD – he was not in the 2nd Order as far as the records show. He resigned later, it’s not known quite when; perhaps because he was serving abroad.


How they met is a question I haven’t been able to answer; though surely their GD membership must have something to do with it. After their marriage they went to live in France, and Ada may have joined the Ahathoor Temple herself.



Below I give evidence to back up my assertion that Ada knew the GD’s founders before she became a member.


Samuel Mathers and his wife Mina/Moina Bergson had gone to live in Paris early in 1892. Samuel Mathers continued to be a senior GD member in London, through short visits to England to attend major GD rituals; and sending instructions by letter and through GD members, which were carried out by members in London he’d appointed as his deputies. Ada didn’t join the GD until several years later, so she won’t have known Mathers very well, unless she had known him from before she joined. Around the time of her initiation into the GD’s 2nd Order she may have heard the first rumbles of a crisis that blew up at the end of the year. In the crisis, she acted as a friend of Mathers’ might do. Or was it just as a relatively new member of an hierarchical occult order might do towards its leader?


The crisis was Samuel Mathers’ expulsion of Annie Horniman from the GD in December 1896. The reasons he gave for his decision can be summed up by the word ‘insubordination’. The real reason was because Annie had – after several years of generous financial support – stopped sending him and his wife Mina/Moina the money they were living on in Paris. As the news of the expulsion spread, there was consternation amongst the GD’s members in London: though Annie could be very difficult, most people were well aware of the amount of time, effort and money she gave to the Order. Frederick Leigh Gardner organised a petition asking Mathers to reinstate her, and contacted most of the members who lived in West London asking them to sign it. On 26 December 1896, Ada wrote to Gardner refusing to sign the petition. She told him that she regretted Annie’s expulsion as much as anyone, but couldn’t be comfortable asking for her reinstatement without knowing more about the circumstances; a view also taken by a few other members, including John Hugh Armstrong Elliot.


When Mathers heard of the petition, he condemned it furiously. He refused to reverse his decision and made it a point of obedience that everyone who had signed the petition submit to his authority in the matter. At the end of January 1897, Samuel and Mina came to London for a few days, and went to stay at 97 Westbourne Grove; presumably at Ada’s invitation. Perhaps he was aware of Ada’s decision not to sign the petition, and saw her as an ally in hostile territory; or perhaps she was a friend and he knew she would give him her support. The visit was an opportunity for supporters of Annie Horniman to speak to Mathers in person about changing his mind. Helen Rand was amongst those who called on Samuel and Mina/Moina during their stay. Mathers wouldn’t even see Helen and she had to talk the matter over with Mina/Moina instead. There’s no evidence that Ada involved herself with any of the attempts to bring Mathers to reason; she may have been at work, though she may have sympathised with Mathers’ fury at having his authority challenged.


The Mathers returned to Paris but were back in London in mid-March, staying at 97 Westbourne Grove again. Then it was Ada’s turn to go visiting: in late April or early May 1897 she went to see Samuel and Mina/Moina in Paris. She found them already struggling to make ends meet. On 6 May 1897 William Westcott reported to Frederick Leigh Gardner that “Waters has come back from Paris with the news that if he [Mathers] does not get £75 in three weeks, they will be sold up”. Westcott was able to tell Gardner that some people had promised money already: Florence Kennedy was sending the Mathers £10; Ada was sending £5. Florence Sherard Kennedy was one of the GD’s wealthiest members; she wouldn’t be missing the odd £10. I’m not sure whether Ada was being paid for the work she was doing; if she was, it was probably not a great deal, so £5 was serious money to her.


William Westcott – a great believer in the importance of good record-keeping - had a high opinion of Ada’s administrative abilities. Was this because he had seen them in operation at 97 Westbourne Grove? In March 1897 he resigned from the various offices he held in the GD. He suggested the administrative work he had been doing for the Order be divided into three, and taken on by Frederick Leigh Gardner, Charles Rosher, and Ada. Gardner followed up Westcott’s suggestion, and contacted Ada. I don’t know for certain what Gardner had in mind for her to do, except that it wasn’t going to be looking after the GD’s collection of occult books, manuscripts and study-notes – Gardner was going to do that himself. I think it’s more likely that he suggested that Ada do the admin involved in keeping the GD’s address book and notifying members about forthcoming rituals and meetings. In a note to Gardner written in May 1897, Ada indicated that she had talked his proposal over with Percy William Bullock, who had done quite a lot of GD admin himself down the years; and with Florence Farr, to whom she would be reporting if she took the job on, as Florence would be succeeding Westcott in the role of Isis-Urania temple’s most senior member. The note shows that Ada was still not sure whether to accept; and in the end it seems she didn’t – Mary Briggs took over the role I think Ada was offered. I wish Ada had accepted, if Westcott knew her as an efficient record-keeper: there’s a noticeable deterioration in the standard and regularity of the GD’s admin, after Westcott stepped down.


Perhaps Ada declined the admin work she was offered because she felt she couldn’t do it well in the spare time that she had. It might have been because she felt she was already too involved in paper-work! It’s clear from GD records from the late 1890s that she preferred any extra commitment of hours to the GD to be on the ‘magic’ side.


Ada was one of several GD members asked by W B Yeats to be part of a project to get to know more about the old Irish gods. He also recruited friends from outside the GD. He wanted the GD members to focus on using their astral travelling techniques to learn more about old myths and the meaning of now-obscure symbols. Ada went to Yeats’ first astral travelling session. It took place at the 2nd Order’s rooms at 36 Blythe Road Hammersmith, on 29 December 1897, and William Forsell Kirby and Mary Briggs were also there. I note here that, like Ada, Kirby and Briggs had no Irish connections that I know of.; perhaps they had been chosen for their astral travelling skills. Ada didn’t go to a second session, held on 1 January 1898, and it’s not clear how many other sessions were held, because Yeats seems to have lost interest in the project quite soon after he got it together. Perhaps the astral travelling wasn’t getting the results he’d hoped for.


A much more successful group, very popular with its members, was Florence Farr’s Egyptian Group, later and better known as the Sphere Group. Florence set the group up in 1898 to study Egyptian symbolism and methods of invoking the Egyptian gods – subjects on which the GD regarded her as an expert. The group did meet at the 2nd Order’s rooms a couple of times but according to notes made by one of its members, Robert William Felkin, actual face-to-face meetings weren’t really needed. The members could all do their practice in their own home, though it does seem that they all had to do it at the agreed time of Sundays at noon. Each member had their own globe and concentrated their minds to project particular images onto it; in the middle of the sphere was a “certain Egyptian astral form” chosen by Florence Farr from her own magical practice, and hence the group’s original name, the Egyptian Group. Each of the 12 mortal group members had one station assigned to them around the sphere.


The practice took one hour and began with each member of the group focusing their mind on the members of the group. Then their thoughts would gradually reach further out into the cosmos – planet, stars - before drawing in again. The psychic energies thus raised were to be concentrated on spiritual growth and purification. Perhaps this intensely-focused meditation was not quite what Henrietta had envisaged for her reverent communion in 1888 but of course she had learned a great deal about the power of the mind since she had joined the GD; and had come together with 11 other people who shared her belief in the importance of the process.


In 1901 Florence decided to retire the Egyptian astral form and replace it with a simple sphere; that’s when the group got its more familiar name. However, if I’m right about what happened to Ada, she won’t have been an active member of the Isis-Urania temple after spring 1900.



Sources: Ada in the GD

There is nothing by or about Ada in the Freemasons’ Library GD Collection.

For full publication details of R A Gilbert and Howe, see the main Sources section at the end of this file.


Initiation of the man I think Ada married: R A Gilbert p126 with information taken from the Minute Book of Ahathoor temple in Paris


Ellic Howe p92 for when the Mathers moved to Paris; p140; p143; p163 where Howe describes George Waters of 97 Westbourne Grove as Ada’s “brother” - that’s not correct but he wasn’t to know that; pp164-66; p170; p173; p251.


Warburg Institute Gerald Yorke Collection catalogue number NS73 - letters mostly to, but occasionally from Frederick Leigh Gardner:

- 26 December 1896. To Gardner from Ada Waters at 97 Westbourne Terrace (sic) Bayswater

- 10 March 1897. To Gardner from Samuel Liddell Mathers writing c/o Ada Waters at 97 Westbourne Terrace (sic)

- 17 March 1897. To Gardner from William Wynn Westcott; about his resignation

- 8 May 1897. Brief letter – more like a note – to Gardner from Ada Waters at 97 Westbourne Terrace (sic).


Yeats’ search for the old Irish gods:

Yeats and Women edited by Deirdre Toomey. 2nd edition Macmillan Press Ltd 1997. Chapter 3: “The Music of Heaven”, by Warwick Gould: p95.


The Egyptian – later Sphere – Group c 1898 to c 1902:

Cauda Pavonis was the newsletter/journal of the Hermetic Text Society. At there is a list of articles published in it, beginning 1982. It was issued by the Department of English, Washington State University at Pullman. In

Volumes 11-16 1992 pp7-12 article by Sharon E Cogdill on Florence Farr’s Sphere Group, based on notes at the time made by Group member Robert William Felkin. Felkin’s notes included the “mortal” members of the Group: Robert Felkin; Ada Waters; Cecilia Macrae; Marcus Worsley Blackden; Helen Rand; Florence Kennedy; Etta Paget; Robert Palmer Thomas; Edmund Hunter; Dorothea Hunter; Fanny Hunter.


Collected Letters of W B Yeats volume III 1901-04. On p33 there’s a note that the Editors believed that Reena Fulham Hughes was also in the Group.





It’s infuriating, but I haven’t found the evidence I need to prove that Ada’s father, and the proprietor at 97 Westbourne Grove, were brothers. However, I’m as sure as I can be, without it.


I’m going to start with the parents of Frederick Loder Waters (definitely) and George Evans Waters (probably): William Waters and Jemima née Hales, who were married in 1823 in St George’s Hanover Square. Frederick Loder Waters was born to them in 1837 and may have been their youngest child. By the time of his birth, the Waters were living in Bayswater. Though I haven’t found out what William Waters did for a living, he and Jemima were a well-to-do couple: a family history website maintained by a descendant of Ada’s sister has a portrait of Jemima Waters on it, putting her and her husband squarely in the group of people who can afford to hire a painter.


Though I couldn’t find a birth record for George Evans Waters, information he gave to various census officials indicates he was born in 1832 or 1831 in the St George’s Hanover Square district; so he could have been an older child of William and Jemima. I couldn’t find anyone from the family on the 1841 census; so I can’t prove it from there. And by 1851, Jemima had died and the family had begun to split up as children found work or got married.



FREDERICK AND ANN (sometimes seen as Anne but I’m sticking with the shorter spelling)

Frederick Loder Waters trained as a butcher. Early in 1861 he married Ann Dance Whisstock. Ann came from Woodbridge in Suffolk. Several other GD members lived in that area at one or other time, including Helen Rand, and Dorothea Butler Hunter. The 1861 census took place a few weeks after Frederick and Ann were married. At the age of 24, Frederick already had his own butcher’s shop, at 75 Mare Street Hackney. He and Ann were living above the shop, with George Bye who was probably Frederick’s shop assistant.


Ada was the eldest of Frederick and Ann’s children: born in Hackney, in the autumn of 1862. She had four younger sisters: Annie (born 1864 or 1865), Jessie (born 1866), Edith (born 1871 or 1872) and Grace (born 1873). On the day of the 1871 census, Frederick and Ann were not in the UK. Ada, Annie and Jessie were all at the school run by their aunts Louisa and Mary Whisstock, in a house in Castle Street, Woodbridge; the head of the household at that address was their grandmother, Mary Whisstock.


By 1874, Frederick’s butcher’s business had moved along Mare Street, to number 177. In the late 1870s, he had enough spare money – either through inheritance or from the business – to buy shares in two banks, the Metropolitan and the Royal Exchange. The information on the Royal Exchange Bank comes from 1880, by which time Frederick had moved his business from Hackney to 79 Old Kent Road. By this time, Frederick and Ann must have been able to finance two separate addresses – they weren’t living above the shop any more - and to afford to employ the basic general servant. On census day 1881 the Waters were at Southdown House; admittedly it was next door to a pub, the King’s Head Inn, and won’t have been a particularly quiet house; but it was in the still-rural village of Mitcham in Surrey. All the family except Jessie were at home on census day. Frederick’s nieces Emily Evans and Edith Evans were living with them; both were employed as teachers, adding to my general impression that this was a family where women were allowed to and did work, at least until they got married. As well as the family and the servant, there were two young men in the household: one who worked in Frederick’s shop; and an ostler, who probably looked after horses and carts involved in the business. He might also have been maintaining a horse and carriage for Frederick’s use: by the late 1890s Frederick was involved in local politics as a member of the Vestry of St George the Martyr, whose district his butcher’s shop was in; involving a lot of trips back and forth from Mitcham into town.


Though her first cousins were working in 1881, Ada was listed as having no occupation on the 1881 census form; though I imagine that as the eldest daughter she was helping her mother run the large household. By the day of the 1891 census, Ada does seem to have got work in someone else’s household. I think that she is the Ada Waters listed as the governess in the large and sprawling household of Bertha Benson, at 9 Netherhall Gardens in Hampstead. Bertha was a widow aged 48, originally from Queensland. She had some at least of her children still at home with her in 1891: John and Percy, both medical students; and Bertha, Alice, Arthur and Knox all still doing lessons. Bertha’s niece and nephew, Louisa and Allan Gabriel were also in the household; Allan was also studying medicine and Louisa, aged 19, was no longer a school-child. Then there was Bertha’s sister Mrs Goldsmith and her son Philip; and another medical student, Guilford Davidson, who doesn’t seem to have been related to anyone else in the household. Bertha managed the household with the help of the governess, a cook and three other servants; with the gardener and his wife occupying a separate household next door. Depending on exactly what she had been hired for, Mrs Benson’s governess could have been giving lessons to young Bertha (aged 16) and Alice (10) while chaperoning them and their cousin Louisa (19); she might also have been expected to take charge of Arthur (8), Knox (5) and Philip (3), if the two older boys were not yet at school.




Ellic Howe assumed that Ada was George Evans Waters’s sister; that she was his business partner; and that she lived at 97 Westbourne Grove when she was in the GD. I’ve said I think the first two assumptions are wrong. It’s possible the third one is as well – I show below that 97 Westbourne Grove was a well-known accommodation address for many years; Ada may just have been using it that way, not wanting her family to ask awkward questions about her letters.


I’m going to assume, though, that Ada did work at 97 Westbourne Grove, and possibly lived there too; arriving some time between census day 1891 and May 1895. After all, she was able to offer it to Samuel and Mina/Moina Mathers as a place to stay when they came to London. And there’s plenty of evidence of George Evans Waters employing at least one person in his business from its earliest years, and that he had already employed one family member for a time.


George Evans Waters had served an apprenticeship in a printing business in Deptford in the 1850s. On the day of the 1861 census he was at 10 Dockhead in Bermondsey, probably living above the shop, as manager of a printing works. I’m not sure exactly when he went into business for himself but (assuming he was Ada’s uncle) he chose premises near where he had grown up in Bayswater, to open a shop which originally was a book-shop and stationers.


I’ve seen a wiki that describes Westbourne Grove in the second half of the 19th century as going down the social scale from the upper classes to the middle classes. It had one powerful thing in its favour in those years, though: William Whiteley’s store, founded as a draper’s shop at 31 Westbourne Grove in 1863 but by the mid-1870s turning itself into the first department store, diversifying into selling meat and vegetables, offering its customers a restaurant; and taking over shop-front after shop-front down the road.


George Evans Waters seems to have arrived at 97 Westbourne Grove at about the same time as William Whiteley opened his first drapery store. The earliest evidence I could find of him at that address was from 1866: he advertised in the Publishers’ Circular for a junior assistant. Perhaps following Whiteley’s example, but also making sure his business kept afloat, George Evans Waters diversified, once he had got himself established. He began printing booklets and pamphlets. By 1868 he had established the shop as an accommodation address known as Waters’ Library or Waters’s Library; on google you can see it being used by advertisers in the small ads of The Athenaeum and the Morning Chronicle (for example) through to the 1890s. He became an agent for wholesale stamp dealers Stafford Smith and Co. And most publicly, he became either the owner or the printer of the Bayswater Chronicle, which went to press from offices above the shop. On press day and the day before it, 97 Westbourne Grove must have been heaving like an ant-hill! That’s why I’m wondering if there was room for Ada to live in the house.


The weekly newspaper originally known as Bayswater Chronicle was founded in 1860 and continued to be published, under several different names, until 1949. Between 1872 and 1899 it was edited by Henry Walker, brother of Thomas Walker who edited the Daily News. Walker, and thus the Chronicle, was a Liberal, a supporter of Gladstone. He promoted higher education for women; but on the other hand opposed William Whiteley’s application to serve alcohol in his department store’s restaurant, on the grounds that drinking in a public place might damage the reputations of the female customers who dined there. Though he was the mouthpiece of the Chronicle, I’m not sure Walker was its owner: a libel case from 1880 suggests that – at least at that stage – George Evans Waters was, as it was Waters who was taken to court.


The shop and rooms above at 97 Westbourne Grove were already busy by the day of the 1871 census. George himself lived on the premises and so did the man who perhaps had got the job advertised in 1866: David Johnson. Also in the household on that day were David’s wife Elizabeth, probably managing the household; the Johnsons’ infant daughter Mabel; and, doing the role that perhaps Ada succeeded to in the early 1890s, George’s sister-in-law Jane (whose surname I couldn’t quite read, I think it might be Levison) aged 23, who was employed in the book-shop. In addition to David Johnson and Jane, George also employed 2 other men and 2 boys; but they all lived elsewhere. By 1881, the Johnsons had moved out of 97 Westbourne Grove; and so had Jane. George now had no employees of the business living on the premises but he had taken on a housekeeper, Rebekah Boltz, who probably remained with him until he retired. On the day of the 1891 census George Evans and Rebekah Boltz were both at home, and there was a visitor staying with them - Cathrine (sic) Smith, aged 22 and working as a hairdresser.


The reason I think Ada Waters might have known William Wynn Westcott before she joined the GD has to do with two more businesses run by George Evans Waters from 97 Westbourne Grove: there was a second-hand section in the book-shop; and the business also undertook searches for particular books on behalf of clients. While working away at my GD biographies at the Freemasons’ Library, I’ve come across plenty of evidence for a second-hand trade in occult books and manuscripts, through particular dealers and individual exchange, with clients from as far away as Canada and South Africa. GD member Frederick Leigh Gardner later ran a small-scale book-finding service from his house, for his occult friends. Westcott’s occult collection was extensive by the time the GD was founded (in 1888) but he was always adding to it. He was still asking Gardner to obtain particular titles for him as late as the 1920s. I can see him calling in at 97 Westbourne Grove and browsing through its second-hand section when he had the time to spare.


I presume Ada worked at 97 Westbourne Grove until George Evans Waters retired; I think that happened early in 1898. He died in June 1898, in the house to which he had moved, 20 Rockley Road Shepherd’s Bush. He hadn’t married and it isn’t clear from the information I’ve been able to access, whether he left the business to anyone, family or otherwise. I think not: Waters’s Library continued to be an accommodation address during 1898 but by 1903, 97 Westbourne Grove had been taken over by John Harries’ drapery store, which now occupied all the shops from 95 to 103.




If Ada had been living at 97 Westbourne Grove, she will have been back at home by mid-1898. There had been changes ‘at home’: between 1897 and 1900, Frederick Loder Waters retired from his business. The family left Mitcham and moved to West Dulwich, to what was then called New Clive Road (the ‘New’ was dropped in 1912). Probably in 1897 (though I couldn’t find the registration) Ada’s sister Jessie married George William Gibberd, who worked as a bookbinder and book-dealer; I daresay he and George Evans Waters did a lot of business. Jessie’s daughter Mary Kathleen Whisstock Gibberd was born in 1898; she would be named by Ada as the executor of her Will.


Ada married Pierre Édouard Bernard in March 1900. They went to live in France; at which point Ada more or less disapears from my view as I have no idea how to access French family history records. I did find a short account on the web, in French, of her husband: born in Paris in 1872 (so around 10 years younger than Ada) he was a cadet at the École Militaire in 1893. In 1897 he joined the 3rd Régiment de Tiralleurs Tonkinois, so he may have spent time serving in the Far East. I think the French source says that he joined the army reservists in 1900; perhaps this was in preparation for marriage to Ada. He came out of retirement or semi-retirement at the outset of World War 1 and was killed on 1 September 1914 at Mauberge. The French source also says that Pierre and Ada had two children; it didn’t give their names though!


A French-language website on the history of the Baha’i movement in France says that Ada was a member of the Baha’i group in Paris during World War 1; and that she changed her forename, to ‘Claire’. It’s not clear from the website whether Ada had already become Baha’i before the war broke out; or whether she continued in the group when peace was finally reached; and whether she kept to her change of name once the war was over. If the atmosphere in France was anything like that of the UK at the outset of the war, Ada’s decision was a brave and generous one. Baha’i teachings emphasise equality at all levels; they promote independent thinking, and world peace. Two other ex-GD members became involved with the Baha’i movement: Alice Beatrice Simpson (in the US), a poet and lighting designer whose professional name was Beatrice Irwin; and Andrew Petri Cattanach (in the UK), who became Baha’i after many years of dedication to theosophy.


After that brief glimpse of Ada during the first World War, she disappears again. I could not find her on the 1939 Register, the details of which were collected a few days after the declaration of World War 2. I presume she was still living in France. However she died in Brailes in Warwickshire; in August 1952. Her probate registry entry still has her name as Ada, which I think means she had not gone through any official name-changing process which would be recognised in English law. Ada appointed her niece, Mary Kathleen Keyte (née Gibberd) as her executor; perhaps Ada and Pierre’s children and grand-children still lived in France.




Sources: Ada biographical.

Censuses 1841-1911; freebmd; probate registry entries 1898, 1900, 1919, 1952.

Grandparents of Frederick Loder Waters ?and George Evans Waters:

At wikitree: a family history page compiled by a Gibberd descendant of Ada’s sister Jessie. It also has information on Frederick and Ann but not on George Evans Waters.

The marriage of William Waters and Jemima Hales is listed in Publications of the Harleian Society 1896 Marriage Registers of St George’s Hanover Square p263.


Frederick Loder Waters in business:

At //, transcription of the Hackney Directory 1874.


The two banks; I think it’s more likely that the lists are of shareholders though they might be lists of creditors:

London Gazette Supplement 27 February 1878 p1475 which is a middle page of a long list; despite being in business as a butcher the entry for Frederick Loder Waters of 177 Mare Street Hackney describes him as a “Gentleman”.

London Gazette Supplement 25 February 1880 again in the middle of a long list. Frederick Loder Waters is still described as a “Gentleman”; and his address is now Mitcham.


Kelly’s London Directory 1891 seen online Commercial Directory section p1435: Waters, Frederick Loder. Butcher, 79 Old Kent Road.

At // Annual Report of Vestry of St George the Martyr for year ending 1897. In the list of its vestrymen for Ward 3.

Just noting here that Ann Dance Waters died shortly after Ada was married; in the summer of 1900. Frederick Loder Waters died in January 1919.


George Evans Waters and the business at 97 Westbourne Grove:

Censuses 1841-1891.

Whiteley’s: there’s a wikipedia page and a wiki.

As a stationer and bookseller:

Publisher’s Circular 8 December 1866 p944.

Waters’s Library also seen as Waters’ Library: lots of mentions over several decades in the Morning Chronicle and also in The Athenaeum. This early one in The Athenaeum is typical, from issue number 2132 5 September 1868 p290 in the small ads: a Mrs H gives Waters’ Library, 97 Westbourne Grove as a ‘c/o’ address for replies to her advert.

British Books volume 52 1889 p203 advert from George E Waters for a man under 25, with West End experience, to take charge of the bookshop’s stationery department, do window dressing etc.

PO London Directory 1890 street directory p702.

PO London Directory 1896 street directory p745 with George E Waters, bookseller, listed first, then at same address, the offices of the Bayswater Chronicle.


As an agent for a stamp dealer; I was surprised to find how soon stamp collecting became popular:

The Philatelist 1874 pxv and pxvi 2-page advert for Stafford Smith and Co, wholesale dealers in collectable stamps, based at Royal Colonnade Brighton. On pxvi in their list of branch depots: G E Waters 97 Westbourne Grove.


As printer of small books. This is typical of the small (in size and in print-run) kind of booklet being printed and then sold at 97 Westbourne Grove: West London Scientific Association and Field Club; session 1875-76 Inaugural Address by Rev G Henslow, lecturer in botany at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. London: printed for the Association by G E Waters 97 Westbourne Grove.

In the bibliography of A History of Playing Cards… by Catherine Perry Hargrave, published 2000: p434 under Pembridge, who’s the author of both:

The Decline and Fall of Whist published London: G E Waters 97 Westbourne Grove 1884.

Whist, or Bumblepuppy? Ten Lectures Addressed to Children. Hargrave lists its 3rd edition, published London: G E Waters 97 Westbourne Grove 1887.


As owner (I think) and printer (definitely) of Bayswater Chronicle:

Dickens’ Dictionary of London by Charles Dickens Jnr 1879. Transcription seen at

Old Bailey case 1880: see case 583 heard 22 and 23 October 1800. Richard Jones and George Evans Waters were the defendants. They were being accused of libel as a result of articles or letters written by Jones and printed in copies of the Bayswater Chronicle during 1879. The libels were allegations made against David John Copping, owner of the billiard hall at the Monmouth Club. George Evans Waters’ assistant David Johnson was one of those who gave evidence. While being cross-examined, he explained that Waters was the publisher of the Bayswater Chronicle; at 97 Westbourne Grove. Both defendants were found not guilty.

Naturally, the case got a lot of coverage in local papers. Their reports confused me because they seemed to agree that despite being its publisher, George Evans Waters was not the owner of Bayswater Chronicle at the time of the offending articles: coverage of the case in Woolwich Gazette Sat 30 October 1880 p2 (for example) states that the owner was Henry Walker.


For a short history of Bayswater Chronicle see Paddington Social and Cultural Activities. Originally published in A History of the County of Middlesex volume 9; Victoria County History 1989.

Some modern mentions of Henry Walker:

Shopping for Pleasure: Women in the Making of London’s West End by Erika Diane Rappaport: p90-91, p235 note 85.

Understanding the Victorians by Susie L Steinbach: p116 in chapter Consumption.

Neither Rappaport nor Steinbach mention George Evans Waters.


The second-hand department:

Dictionary of Second Hand Booksellers 1886 p33.

International Directory of Second Hand Booksellers 1894 p35.


The book-search service:

Seen at //…, The Publishers’ Circular issue of 15 March 1890 p368 in its list of ‘books wanted’. G E Waters of 97 Westbourne Grove was advertising for several books. The first few were, I imagine, typical: legal textbooks, on Roman Law and on Rhetoric. The last is more interesting: a copy of a book I think the typesetter hadn’t heard of in a language he wasn’t used to: Poésies Saturniens by Paul “Verlame”. I think the book that was wanted was Paul-Marie Verlaine’s Poèmes Saturniens, published 1866.


Change of resident at 97 Westbourne Grove: PO London Directory 1903 street directory p845.


Ada’s husband and Ada in France. Just confirming neither of them are on the UK censuses of 1901 and 1911.

At, in a list of those who entered the Infanterie de Marine in 1895.

At, a small amount of information on the Baha’i in Paris during World War 1.

See wikipedia for more on the Baha’i religion; founded in 1863 in the Middle East.

1939 Register: Ada was not listed either as Ada or as Claire. I couldn’t find Jessie Gibberd or Mary Kathleen Keyte either.




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!




17 February 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: