Arthur Wilson was initiated into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn at its Horus Temple in Bradford, in July 1894.He chose the Latin motto ĎVox stellarumí.He did do some of the study recommended for initiates who wanted to progress further in the Order, but never made it to the inner, 2nd Order.I think he had a rather busy life.


This is one of my short biographies.They mostly cover GD members who lived in Bradford, Liverpool and Edinburgh. Iíve done what I can with those people, using the web and sources in London.Iím sure thereís far more information on them out there, but it will be in record offices, the local papers...Iíd need to be on the spot to look at them, and Iíve had to admit that lifeís too short!

Sally Davis

February 2016



This is what I have found on ARTHUR WILSON.The difficulty of being sure Iíd got the right person has meant I havenít looked for much more than is listed below.



Iím fairly sure that Arthur Wilson found out about the existence of the GD through Alfred Ernest Scanlan, a doctor in Middlesbrough; who in turn had found out about it through Theosophical Society contacts in Bradford where virtually everyone who was in the TS was also in the GD.A third man from Middlesbrough also joined the GD in Bradford - GP William Charles Hopgood was initiated in September 1894.



Arthur Wilson applied to join the Theosophical Society in June 1892.At that stage, your application had to have a sponsor who was a TS member already.Arthurís was Baker Hudson.A Middlesbrough branch of the TS was being mooted at this time and Baker Hudson became the Middlesbrough Lodgeís first secretary when it was officially founded in 1893.Alfred Ernest Scanlan was also a member of the TSís Middlesbrough Lodge.In November 1893, Oliver Firth came to Middlesbrough from Bradford TS Lodge to give a talk on Karma, Free Will and Fate.Firth was one of the TSís most active members in the north of England at this time; and he was also in the GD.Later, Firth and the members of Middlesbrough Lodge worked together to set up the magazine The Northern Theosophist.


The founding of lodges in Bradford and then in Middlesbrough was part of a big expansion of the TS in England in the early 1890s.This came to a halt in the mid-1890s when a dispute broke out within the TS worldwide over who should lead it, now that Helena Petrovna Blavatsky had died.The dispute became vitriolic, and eventually very public.Large numbers of individual members left the TS or just stopped paying their annual subscriptions and entire lodges closed down for lack of members.Both Arthur Wilson and Alfred Scanlan had notes on their TS membership notes saying that their membership was considered lapsed, in December 1897.This meant that they hadnít paid their subscriptions for three years in succession, so both men had ceased to be active members at the height of the dispute, in 1894.After its promising beginning, Middlesbrough TS Lodge only lasted a couple of years.



Theosophical Society Membership Register September 1891-January 1893 p119 entry for Arthur Wilson of 14 Grange Road Middlesbrough.

Lucifer: A Theosophical Magazine Volume XII covers March-August 1893.Edited by Annie Besant, published by Theosophical Pubishing Society of 7 Duke Street Adelphi.Volume XII number 70 issued 15 June 1893 p341 in news section: formation of a new TS lodge based in Middlesbrough.None of its members are named, but both Arthur Wilson and Alfred Scanlan had notes on their membership record that they were members of it.

Lucifer: A Theosophical Magazine Volume XIII covering September 1893 to February 1894.Annie Besant as editor, published by Theosophical Pubishing Society of 7 Duke Street Adelphi.Volume XIII number 75 issued 15 November 1893 p254 in the news section: Oliver Firthís visit to the Middlesbrough Lodge.Volume XIII number 76 issued 15 December 1893 p265 mentioning how active members of Middlesbrough Lodge had been, in setting up the magazine The Northern Theosophist.



There may well be, but only in the local papers.It would have helped Arthur in his profession if he had taken a part in the musical life of Middlesbrough (see below).If he had been well enough known, there would have been obituaries in the local papers.



If I have identified the right man, the GDís Arthur Wilson was born in 1868, the eldest child of John Wilson and his wife Eleanor, nťe Woof.Arthur was born in Darlington, where his father owned a pharmacy.In 1871 John Wilsonís business was at 40 Archer Street; by 1881 it had moved to 8 East Terrace.John and Eleanorís family was a large one: after Arthur came Lizzie, John Edward who may have died young, Frederick, James, Thomas, Kate, Annie and Nellie; all by 1881.The Wilsons could afford one general servant to live in.If John employed anyone to help in the shop, they were living elsewhere and perhaps Eleanor took that role, when she had time.


Sources: freebmd; census 1871, 1881.



John Wilsonís business was a small, local one.What spare money there was for Arthurís education was spent on one subject - see below.I imagine all the children went to the local National School; provided their parents were Church of England and Iíve no information about that.



By 1891 Arthur had left home and moved the few miles to Middlesbrough.He was already working as a music teacher.My searches of the web havenít come up with any indication that he went to any of the major music colleges, so itís most likely he reached music-teacher standard through private lessons.†† Allowing Arthur to take those lessons must have been where the Wilson familyís spare money had been spent.At least as far as 1911, Arthur worked as a self-employed music teacher, giving lessons in his own home; I suppose majoring on the piano, but he may also have taught singing.Those two aspects of music are likely to have been the ones most in demand amongst the newly comfortably-off of industrial Middlesbrough, whose children must have formed the majority of his pupils.


In 1891, Arthur was living at 118 Grange Road Middlesbrough, as one of Mary Carterís lodgers.


Source: census 1891.



Not that I can identify.


ANY PUBLIC LIFE/EVIDENCE FOR LEISURE TIME?Bearing in mind, of course, that most leisure activities leave no trace behind them.


See my comments in the Ďobituaries?í section above. Arthur did the kind of work where itís difficult to tell where professional interests end and leisure time begins.



Early in 1892, Arthur married Annie Thackeray.Though I havenít been able to identify Annie for certain, despite her relatively rare surname, she did consistently tell census officials that she had been born in Darlington; so I guess she and Arthur had known each other since childhood.They set up house further along Grange Road, at 106, and were still there in 1901.By that time they had a large family: Elsie Wilson born 1893; Alfred Thackeray Wilson born 1895 and named, perhaps, for Alfred Scanlan; Arthur Woof Wilson born 1896; and John Ellick Wilson born 1900. In 1911 Arthur also wrote on the census form that they had had a child that had died; perhaps one born between Arthur and John.After the day of the 1901 census two more children were born: Muriel Kathleen Wilson in 1902; and Austin Wilson, whose birth registration I couldnít identify for certain but who was aged 6 in 1911.


This was a big household; and there also had to be somewhere in the house given over to Arthurís music lessons - as the familyís source of income.By 1911, the Wilsons had moved to the west of Middlesbrough; to Hartington Road, Stockton-on-Tees.The house was big - it had nine habitable rooms - and Arthur was also earning enough money to employ one servant; in 1901 they hadnít had any servants living in.


Sources: freebmd; census 1901, 1911.



I havenít attempted to look for death registrations for Arthur Wilson and Annie.



I did take a look with google to see if I could find out anything about the children Arthur and Annie had given names that might be easy to find.I also had a look in the Probate Registry records; finding one of those, only - but the others might have lived beyond 1966, when Ancestryís set of probate records comes to an end.I couldnít see anything on Alfred Thackeray Wilson so Iíve no idea what happened to him



Arthur Woof Wilson started as an apprentice merchant seaman in 1913, being indentured in West Hartlepool.In 1915 he was one of the junior members of the crew of the Agenoria, a cargo ship owned by the Byron Steamship Co Ltd.The voyages Agenoria was making were very dangerous and eventually, in November 1917, she was torpedoed, off Ireland, while on the way from Archangel to Nantes with a cargo of timber.The third engineer was killed but the rest of the crew survived, including Arthur, and were able to beach the damaged ship on Belfast Lough.


JOHN ELLICK WILSON went to live in Darlington.He died there aged 28, in 1928.



At - Royal Museums Greenwich - their record RSS/CL/1915 - Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen. At, details of whatís on the Tower Hill Memorial to seamen and fishermen lost in war.

Probate Registry 1928.


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; (census and probate);; familysearch; Burkeís Peerage and Baronetage; Burkeís 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.


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.






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: