HENRY NORRIS - a profile; which is as short as I can make it but I never was any good at pruning, and he did have a very busy life!  With each entry I’ve included a not particularly systematic set of important events in the world outside.

Last updated: Revised October 2008


GETTING STARTED: 1865-end 1902

23 July 1865

Revolution in Jamaica; British governor executes 400.  Founded: Salvation Army, Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.  Firsts: Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, ascent of the Matterhorn; first woman doctor (Elizabeth Garrett Anderson); formulation of theory of eugenics (Francis Galton); integrated sewage system for London (Bazalgette).  Published: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll).

Birth of Henry George Norris, at 23 Royal Terrace, Walworth in south London.  He was the second child, and elder son, of John Henry Norris and his wife Georgiana née Shaw.  The Norris family were involved in the mattress-making trade; Georgiana Shaw’s father was a decorative painter.



Serious cholera epidemic in London.  Invented: clinical thermometer.  First: transatlantic telegraph line.



Second Reform Bill.  Fenian uprising in Ireland.  Firsts: Marquis of Queensbury rules (boxing); demonstration of dynamite (Alfred Nobel); Lambeth Conference (Church of England); Barnardo’s childrens’ home; football match in Argentina (between two English ex-pat sides).  Founded: Sheffield Wednesday FC, Wasps RFC, TUC (though it wasn’t called that yet).  Last: use by Britain of Australia as a penal colony.  Published: Dover Beach (Malcolm Arnold). 


Birth of Henry Norris’s sister Annie.



Firsts: Trades Union Congress held; traffic lights (Parliament Square).  Last: public hanging in Britain (a Fenian rebel).  Founded/opened: Smithfield meat market, London.



Firsts: international cycle race (at Crystal Palace) issue of science magazine Nature (it’s still going).  Founded: Girton College Cambridge (first residential women’s university college).  End: clipper ships - Cutty Sark, the last built, launched this year.  Published: Lorna Doone ® Blackmore), 20000 Leagues Under the Sea (Jules Verne); 2nd set Idylls of the King (Tennyson).

Probably 1869, certainly by 1871

The family moved to 234 Blackfriars Road, on the southern end of Blackfriars Bridge.  The move was probably because John Norris had a new job, as foreman of the Wandsworth Flock Company’s warehouse which was below the rooms in which the family lived, next to the railway yard.  The company’s mills were at Dunt’s Hill, Garrett Lane, Wandsworth.



Firsts: Pasteur and Koch put forward the germ theory of disease; railway under the Thames Tower Subway very near to where Henry Norris grew up; postcards; Married Women’s Property Act.  Education Act - which Henry Norris was amongst the first children to take advantage of.  Founded: British Red Cross.


Founded/opened: Royal Albert Hall; Rugby Football Union.  First: rugby international match; bank holidays.  Legalisation of trade unions.  Removal of religious tests from entrance procedures to Oxford and Cambridge universities.  “Dr Livingstone I presume?”  C W Alcock proposed what became the FA Cup.


Firsts: international football match (Scotland v England); Licensing Act; secret ballots in UK elections; FA Cup competition.  Published: Middlemarch (George Eliot); Erewhon (Samuel Butler), Around the World in 80 Days (Jules Verne).


Birth of Henry Norris’s sister Ada Patience, who lived with him at least from 1900 until his death; she never married.


Founded: Natural History Museum.  Published: Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism (James Clerk Maxwell).

Probably 1873 though I’m not completely sure I’ve identified the right woman: death of Henry Norris’ grand-mother Ann Stannard Shaw (his mother’s mother).


Invented: barbed wire; lawn tennis.  Ban on use of children as chimney sweeps (Earl of Shaftesbury).  Published: Far from the Madding Crowd (Thomas Hardy).  First exhibition by the group known as the Impressionists (in Paris).

Birth of Henry Norris’s only brother, John Edward; trained as an accounts clerk, he worked for Henry Norris at Fulham FC and later at Arsenal FC, and was one of the executors of his Will.


Firsts: daily weather map (Times).   Founded: local public sanitation systems, and food standards: Public Health Act, Food and Drugs Act; Liberty’s; Theosophical Society (by Helena Blavatsky and others, in New York).  Published: The Way We Live Now (Anthony Trollope).


Not an exciting year!  Published: Daniel Deronda (George Eliot; her last book).

Birth of Lilian Norris, the youngest of the family; she married Percival Gillbard and lived for many years in Kobe, Japan.


Queen Victoria proclaimed Empress of India.  Firsts: test cricket match; Wimbledon lawn tennis tournament.  Founded: Distillers company.  Britain annexes South Africa; provoking decades of wars.  Only ever dead-heat in the Boat Race.  Published: Black Beauty (Anna Sewell).  Charles Bradlaugh and Annie Besant convicted of obscenity for publishing a leaflet on birth control.


Queen Victoria watched as Alexander Bell demonstrated the telephone.  Edison patented the phonograph.  2nd Afghan War.  Cleopatra’s needle reached London.  Firsts: floodlit football match (Bramall Lane) and first floodlit rugby match (Salford); Gilbert and Sullivan (HMS Pinafore); production of cathode rays.  Founded: Newton Heath FC (became Manchester United), Everton FC.

Against his parents’ wishes, Henry Norris opted to leave school; the story told me by his grand-children was that he felt he’d learned all that school had to teach him.  He got a job as a clerk in a solicitor’s office: AND THEREBY HANGS ONE OF THE GREAT MYSTERIES OF HIS LIFE  - I haven’t been able to find out where this solicitor’s office was.  So IF ANYONE OUT THERE, READING THIS, KNOWS, please let me know.  FFI SEE MY FILE ON ALLEN AND NORRIS.

During his youth although I have no dates for this: Henry Norris played football as an amateur. I presume he played according to the Football Association rules.  I would really love to know what position he played in, and whether he was any good; but alas! I haven’t found any information on the subject.

Between 1878 and 1896 Henry Norris served in a local, volunteer militia: the 3rd Middlesex Artillery Volunteers Corps.  Various history books I’ve been reading have referred to the very militaristic nature of leisure activities for boys and men in this heyday of the British Empire.  Being a volunteer involved doing military drill and learning how to use weapons; but it had a social side as well.  The 3rd Middlesex Artillery Volunteer Corps had been formed in 1861.  It had twelve local groupings, some of which were located in south London.  Between 1886 and 1891 its headquarters were at Charing Cross; then they moved to Cockspur Street, Westminster.


Anglo-Zulu war - Rorke’s Drift, Isandlwana.  Founded: Eddystone Lighthouse.  Firsts: women students at Oxford University; electric street lighting (Thames Embankment, Waterloo Bridge near where Henry Norris lived and worked); Blackpool illuminations.  Tay Bridge disaster.  November into March 1880 - longest ever fog/smog in London.



Firsts: Boer War (to 1881); test cricket match in England; degrees awarded to women (London University).  Rent strike in Ireland got to be named after a particular rent-collector: Charles Boycott.  Published: The Trumpet-Major (Thomas Hardy).

Death of Henry Norris’ grand-father Ebenezer Shaw (his mother’s father).


Published: London Evening News.  Charles Parnell was imprisoned for his role in the Irish rent strike.  First: postal orders; London building to be lit by electricity (Savoy Theatre).  Opened: Natural History Museum. 

Death of Henry Norris’ other grand-father, George William Norris.


Assassination of Lord Frederick Cavendish in Phoenix Park Dublin.  Queen Victoria survives an attempted assassination (not the first time).  Anglo-Egyptian War ends with Britain taking control in Egypt.  Firsts: ship with refrigerated holds; chamber of commerce (London); polytechnic (Regent Street Poly).


First: bombs on the London Underground (Irish); electric railway (Brighton).  Founded: Boys’ Brigade.  Published: Treasure Island (Robert Louis Stevenson).  In August: eruption of Krakatau.

Death of Henry Norris’ grand-mother Alice Bates Norris.


First: cremation; edition of Oxford Engish Dictionary; armed police in London; international football championship (England, Scotland, Wales).  Founded: NSPCC, Fabian Society.  Siege of Khartoum.


First/invented:  pneumatic tyre (Dunlop); safety bicycle.  And on 20 July, professionalism in football became legal.  Irish group attacked Westminster Hall and Tower of London with dynamite.   Berlin Conference began the Scramble for Africa.  Founded: Lever Brothers.  Published: last set Idylls of the King (Tennyson).


First: Irish Home Rule Bill; Crufts dog show.  Founded: British Hockey Association.  Britain annexed Burma.  Published: King Solomon’s Mines (Rider Haggard), The Mayor of Casterbridge (Thomas Hardy), Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Robert Louis Stevenson).  Impressionism moved into post-Impressionism (Seurat, Signac).


A bloody Sunday riot in LONDON.  Buffalo Bill’s circus came to London. Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee.  First/opened: appearance of Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet); Hammersmith Bridge; Glenfiddich whisky.  Published: She (Rider Haggard).  Experiments by Michelson and Morley proved the speed of light was a constant.


Founded: Football League (22 March); Lawn Tennis Association.  Jack the Ripper.  First: ciné film; football league competition (6 teams, season 1888/89); pneumatic tyre for bicyles (Dunlop).  Matchgirls’ strike.  Local Government Act set up the county councils.  Sunflowers (van Gogh).

Death of Henry Norris’s elder sister Alice, in her mid-twenties.



A big strike in London docks.  The Cleveland St scandal. Birth: Adolf Hitler.  Published: Also Sprach Zarathustra (Nietsche); Three Men in a Boat (Jerome K Jerome); Agnosticism (T H Huxley).  Founded: London County Council; first football club in Spain (Recreativo Huelva, by English workers at the Río Tinto mine; the club still exists). 

Probably 1889 though I haven’t been able to verify the date beyond doubt.

Death of Henry Norris’s father and the break-up of the family.  Henry’s mother Georgiana started up her own gift shop, at 65 Stanstead Road, Southwark.  Her daughters Ada and Lilian lived over the shop while Georgiana herself, Henry, Annie and John moved to 98a Glengarry Road, Camberwell.


Early 1890s

Fulham FC were playing their matches in Putney, not far from where Henry Norris lived and worked (see my file NORRIS AND WANDSWORTH).


First: county cricket championship; ‘picture paper’ (Daily Graphic); deep-level underground line (City and South London); electric power station (at Deptford, south London).  Prince of Wales called as a witness in libel trial over cheating at baccarat.  Founded/opened: Forth Bridge, Battersea Bridge.  Barings Bank had to be bailed out by the Government.  Published: Volume 1 of The Golden Bough (Frazer).

By 1891

Henry Norris had been promoted at his work, to become a manager of the other clerks employed there: exhibiting the leadership skills and drive that were a feature of the rest of his life.


Founded: Ramblers’ Association; first football club in Italy (by an Englishman living in Turin).  First: telephone link London/Paris.  Published: Strand magazine; Tess of the d’Urbervilles (Thomas Hardy); The Picture of Dorian Grey (Oscar Wilde).



First: use of maxim gun.  Founded: Liverpool FC, Newcastle United FC (from two previous teams).

Henry Norris’s sister Annie married his good friend Alfred Ellis.

25 June 1892 at St Barnabas parish church, Kennington, Henry Norris married Mary Jane Pearson (born 1867), the daughter of an engine-driver.  Before her marriage, Mary Jane had worked as a dress-maker.  Henry and Mary Jane set up home at 29 Rutland Street, Battersea, but moved several times over the next few years, as was typical of the period, especially in south London.  They had no children.


First: (unofficial) meeting of what became the Labour Party (led by Keir Hardie); women’s golf championship.  Founded: an Argentinean football league (with all ex-pat clubs including three that still exist).


A French anarchist tried to bomb Greenwich.  Finished/opened: Tower Bridge, Manchester Ship Canal, Blackpool Tower; theory that mosquitoes spread malaria; public performance by Charlie Chaplin (at age 5).  First: football played in Brasil (via Charles Miller of the Sâo Paulo Railway Company); play by George Bernard Shaw (Arms and the Man); parish councils, and women were allowed to vote in elections to them; death duties.  The London Building Act was passed, a piece of legislation very important in Henry Norris’ professional life.  Discovered: argon.  Founded: Marks and Spencer, on a market stall in Nottingham.  Published: Jungle Book (Rudyard Kipling); Salome (Beardsley).  Published in English: Salome (Oscar Wilde).

On 10 October 1894 Henry Norris and his friend and brother-in-law Albert Ellis became Freemasons, being initiated into Kent Lodge, number 15.  The process of becoming a freemason is long-winded and careful: your name has to be put forward for consideration by people who are already members of a particular lodge; then you are invited to meet the membership, to be interviewed to see if your face will fit.  If the members decide in your favour, you attend a meeting of the lodge and undergo an initiation into it.  I do not know who recommended Henry Norris and Albert Ellis as possible members of Kent Lodge number 15.


As members, Norris and Ellis would then have been eligible to attend lodge meetings: a freemasons’ ceremony and discussion of lodge business, usually followed by a dinner.  Once a year the meeting would be more elaborate, and the elections would take place to decide the lodge’s officials for the next twelve months, who would preside over the ceremonies and lead the decision-making.  Kent Lodge number 15 met very regularly: nearly every month at this time, at the Freemasons Hall, on the site of the current headquarters of English freemasonry in Great Queen Street between Kingsway and Covent Garden.  The meeting at which the officials took office was in March.


Later in his life Henry Norris became a member of several other freemasons’ lodges; and achieved quite high rank on the wider stage of English freemasonry.  So meetings of freemasons’ lodges figured largely in his schedule, at least until the mid 1920s.  For further details on his life as a freemason see my file Henry Norris as a Freemason and in the Feltmakers’ Company. [ROGER I NEED A LINK HERE TO Henry Norris as a Freemason and in the Feltmakers’ Company WHEN ITS WRITTEN].

Late in 1894 a surveyor employed by the Premier Land Company Ltd began to draw up plans for a housing estate on the ex-Morrison’s Farm, by Wandsworth Bridge Road in Fulham.


First: production of The Importance of Being Earnest (Oscar Wilde); proms concert; US Open golf tournament (won by an Englishman). Oscar Wilde convicted of sodomy.  Founded: National Trust; the Rugby League.  Published: The Time Machine (H G Wells).  Jameson’s Raid: the invasion of the Transvaal by British forces.  Lowest ever UK temperature recorded - -27ºC at Braemar Aberdeenshire.


SO FAR, SO DULL AND PREDICTABLE!  Henry Norris was leading a life fairly typical for a young married man, educated out of the expectation of a life of manual labour, and working in the expanding bureaucracy of empire.  BUT THEN, ALONG CAME:

1896 - a red-letter year in the life of Henry Norris, about which I don’t know nearly enough!

First: conviction for speeding while driving a car; death as a result of a car accident; Brighton car rally.  Repeal of the law requiring a man to walk in front of a car waving a red flag.  War in Sudan.

Between October 1895 and March 1896 builder William Gilbert Allen won the contract to build houses on the Premier Land Company’s site at Morrison’s Farm, on the west side of Wandsworth Bridge Road.  Allen sent in his first drainage application probably during February 1896.  The elected vestrymen of Fulham Vestry considered it at their meeting on 11 March 1896: several properties along Wandsworth Bridge Road south of the newly-built library.  Over the next three months Fulham Vestry approved several more drainage applications by William Gilbert Allen, for houses in Clancarty Road, Ashcombe Street and further down Wandsworth Bridge Road.  Building had to begin within six months of local authority approval being given.

16 May 1896 Henry Norris was elected to serve on the Vestry of St Mary Battersea.  His election began a career in local government which lasted on and off (mostly on) until October 1919.  He always stood as a Conservative/Unionist; though his political views were not entirely orthodox (see my file NORRIS AND POLITICS).

20 May 1896 Henry Norris got a promotion in the voluntary militia: he was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant in the 2nd Tower Hamlets Rifle Volunteer Brigade.  By July 1897 though, pressure of work had caused him to drop out and he was not active in the military again until World War I.  The pressure of work resulted from:

sometime during 1896, definitely by September

The founding of the Allen and Norris partnership, to join which Henry Norris had gave up his job at the solicitor’s office. 


The story in his family is that his solicitor employer - finally, after nearly 20 years - offered him a chance to qualify as a solicitor, to keep him from leaving.  But Henry Norris preferred to jump ship to the notoriously risky building and property speculation business, in company with William Gilbert Allen, a builder already doing very nicely from the boom in housing which was covering the old market gardens of Fulham.  HERE IS THE SECOND OF THE GREAT NORRIS MYSTERIES: no one I have spoken to, either in Norris’s family or in Allen’s knows how the two of them met.  I have my own theory (see my file ALLEN AND NORRIS).  There’s only circumstantial evidence for it; it makes sense though and they’ve got to have met somehow.  Anyway, they did meet and trusted each other enough to go into business as Allen and Norris: to the huge financial benefit of both, and of Fulham FC and Arsenal FC.

September 1896 in the records of the Vestry of Fulham there is the first evidence that the Allen and Norris partnership had been set up: the resubmission of a drainage application for houses in Narborough Street comes from Allen and Norris, not from William Gilbert Allen on his own.  Later that month, and in December, the Vestry approved Allen and Norris’ drainage plans for Narborough Street.


Some more evidence that Allen and Norris was up and running: during October 1896 the vestrymen of Fulham Vestry heard that the Vestry’s surveyor had become embroiled in an argument with Allen and Norris.  Allen and Norris had complained that as Clancarty Road (where the partnership was building houses) was still a private road, not yet adopted by the local authority, the Vestry had no legal right to drive its slops carts along it.  The Vestry’s surveyor was arguing to the contrary; and I don’t think Allen and Norris got anywhere with this complaint.  I have to say, though, that the complaint sounds like typical Henry Norris to me! - thinking, of course, of the effect on potential buyers of having carts full of night-soil going past while they were house-hunting.

Saturday 10 October 1896 Fulham FC played their first fixture at Craven Cottage.

Sometime during 1896 Lord Kinnaird - Arthur Kinnaird the famous footballer - decided to develop the family’s small estate at Plaistow, just north of Bromley, for housing.  He and his family moved out of the Lodge, which was eventually leased to a school.  A Kinnaird Park Estate Syndicate was formed to oversee the plan; its solicitors were Rodgers and Gilbert of 4 Wallbrook in the City of London.  I’m quite sure that at this stage Henry Norris had nothing whatsoever to do with the plan; he and probably William Allen as well, did become involved in it later - how much later I’m not sure.  For more Norris’ involvement in housing development in Bromley and Chiswick, see my file on Kinnaird Park Estate Company. [ROGER I NEED A LINK HERE TO KPEC].



For the next few years the main thrust of Henry Norris’s life was the Allen and Norris partnership; (see my file ALLEN AND NORRIS ffi).


Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee.  Founded: RAC.  First: conviction for drunk driving.  Finished/opened: Tate Gallery, Blackwall Tunnel.  Discovered: the electron.  Published: Dracula (Bram Stoker). 


During 1897 Fulham Vestry approved a number of Allen and Norris’ applications to build:

134-142 and 198-256/58 Wandsworth Bridge Road; all the houses in Beltran Road, two houses in Friston Street (the rest came later); and a set of shops and offices which were probably Allen and Norris’ new office and joinery workshop, at 296 and 298 Wandsworth Bridge Road.

On 24 February 1897 Fulham Vestry agreed to adopt Wandsworth Bridge Road: from now on the Vestry would be responsible for keeping the roadway and pavements up to standard.  The first time a local authority standard roadway was laid, owners of property fronting the road were expected to pay their share of the costs.  In due course, Fulham Vestry sent Allen and Norris a bill for £554 which they had to pay before any work on the roadway was carried out.  They and two other property owners refused to pay their bills; the bills were very high, but when the case duly reached court, their barristers argued that Fulham Vestry had done some work on the roadway as far back as 1877, so this latest time was not the first time and their clients didn’t have to pay anything.  The case dragged on for 18 months!


Up until the formation of the partnership, William Gilbert Allen seems to have been running his business from his own flat in Claybrooke Road.  However, by June 1897 - probably sooner than that - the new partnership had an office in Ashcombe House, 296-298 Wandsworth Bridge Road.  They had had to build it first, of course.  Also by June 1897 Allen and Norris had begun to diversify out of constructing buildings and into other areas of the industry.  They were acting as a local source of information for Stimson and Sons, a big estate agents which held regular auctions of property in the City of London.  They were also doing property valuations, for probate and other purposes; and acting as agents for life and property insurance companies.  If prospective buyers of houses and flats built by Allen and Norris needed a mortgage, Allen and Norris’ office would help them negotiate one.

On 13 October 1897 Arthur Gilbert was initiated as a freemason and became a member of Kent Lodge number 15.  Gilbert was a solicitor, a partner in the firm of Rodgers and Gilbert, which acted for the Kinnaird Park Estate Syndicate.  He became a close acquaintance - I think you could say a friend - of Henry Norris; and put business Norris’ way. 

On 27 October 1897 Battersea Vestry passed an application made by the architect W C Poole on behalf of Henry Norris: one house, on the north side of Thurleigh Road in Clapham.  Originally called Hill Crest, when the street was numbered it became 109; it was the only house in England that Norris lived in, that he had had built for him.  Since Norris lived in it, the street has been renumbered; the original number 109 is now 123.



Battle of Omdurman (Kitchener).  Published: The War of the Worlds (H G Wells).  Discovered: radium (Marie Curie); neon, krypton, xenon.  First: football championship in Italy (won by Genova); world figure-skating championship.  Britain leases Hong Kong from China for 99 years.


During 1898 Fulham Vestry approved the following applications to build, made by the Allen and Norris partnership:

a workshop and stables on Wandsworth Bridge Road: probably the partnership’s

joinery workshop at 296, next to its offices

numbers 29-34 Beltran Road

35 houses (no numbers given) in Crabtree Lane, off Fulham Palace Road; this was

the first move by the partnership out

of the Wandsworth Bridge area to the other side of Fulham


Spring 1898: Fulham FC were elected to Southern League Division 2; and turned professional to play there in season 1898/99.


Also in spring 1898 Allen and Norris and two other property owners on Wandsworth Bridge Road were issued with summonses by Fulham Vestry for non-payment of their shares of the costs of laying the roadway.  They were ordered to appear in West London Magistrates’ Court, where the magistrate decided that Fulham Vestry were in the right of the dispute.  Allen and Norris and the other two owners got together to hire some barristers to appeal against that decision.  On Friday 17 June 1898 their case - Allen v Fulham Vestry - was heard as a test case in the Queen’s Bench Court.  Most of the case was legal argument about the history of the roadway; it doesn’t look from the Times’ account of it as if any of the three sets of property owners actually had to give evidence.  They lost, and were ordered to pay the amounts Fulham Vestry had demanded.  However, they were given leave to take the case to the Court of Appeal.  At this point, however, Allen and Norris may have dropped out on the rather legalistic grounds that they didn’t own the freehold of their properties on Wandsworth Bridge Road, the properties were all leasehold so it was up to the freeholders to carry on.  Whether the £554 was ever paid, and who by, I haven’t been able to discover.


14 September 1898 Battersea Vestry considered an application by Henry Norris for a stable block to be added to the house he was having built on Thurleigh Road.  But then Norris changed his mind about having stables and withdrew his applicaton; so the house was finished without them.



First: radio signal across the English Channel (Marconi); motor buses in London.  2nd Boer War - siege of Mafeking, use of concentration camps.  Published: The Interpretation of Dreams (Sigmund Freud).  Enigma Variations (Edward Elgar).  Founded: Barcelona FC. 

By 1899 development of Lord Kinnaird’s estate at Plaistow, Bromley, had got as far as laying out new roads; and having an office in London Lane.


During 1899 Fulham Vestry approved the following long list of applications to build made by Allen and Norris:

38-108 Settrington Street

4 houses in Lysia Street

2 houses on Fulham Palace Road

unspecified properties in Settrington Road, Crabtree Lane, Woolneigh

Street and Fulham Palace Road

18 houses in Kingwood Road

another list of properties in Lysia Street and Fulham Palace Road

21 more houses on Fulham Palace Road, 6 more in Lysia Street

unspecified properties in Niton Street

42 houses in Atalanta Street

12 houses in Branksea Street

1 property on the corner of Niton Street and Fulham Palace Road.


On 8 February 1899 Henry Norris’ business partner, William Gilbert Allen, was initiated as a Freemason, becoming a member of Kent Lodge number 15, of which Norris was already a member.  To become a member you had to go through a process of recommendation by members and assessment by the membership as a whole; I am pretty sure Norris recommended Allen for membership and saw him through the selection process.  The Allen family became part of Kent Lodge number 15's bedrock until the 1940s, with all William Gilbert Allen’s sons becoming members.

On 27 May 1899 the local elections in London saw Henry Norris re-elected to the vestry of St Mary Battersea.  By this date his house called Hill Crest, Thurleigh Road Wandsworth Common had been finished and he and his wife had moved in.  William Allen was having the partnership’s workmen build him a house further down the road: Brooklands, later number 74 Thurleigh Road.


However, 1899 was not a year Henry Norris could have savoured to the full:

Over Christmas 1899/New Year 1900

Mary Jane Norris died, probably of TB and in that case after an illness of several years.



Founded: Madrid FC now known as Real Madrid; Labour Party.  Ladysmith.  Invasive expedition by Britain and other powers to Peking to rescue foreign nationals besieged in the diplomatic quarter during civil war (Boxer rebellion).  Planck’s Constant; and his theory of black body radiation.  Art nouveau.  Prince of Wales survived an assassination attempt.  First: Davis Cup lawn tennis competition.


During 1900 Fulham Vestry kept on receiving applications to build from the Allen and Norris partnership:


2-48 Niton Street

5 houses in Branksea Street

51-73 and 50-74 Niton Street

2-14 Lysia Street

5 houses at the corner of Fulham Palace Road and Lysia Street

unspecified properties on Childerley Street

16-26 Lysia Street

3-35 and 23-38 Lysia Street

All the applications were approved.


January to March 1900 In the three months after his wife’s death Henry Norris undertook no public engagements, not even attending the regular meetings of Battersea Vestry: this was the conduct expected at that time of a widower.  During 1900 he also moved out of the house in Thurleigh Road where his wife had died.


On Thursday 1 November 1900 local elections were held prior to the coming into force of the London Government Act 1899 which replaced the old vestries with new London Boroughs and redefined their powers.  Henry Norris stood in Fulham rather than Battersea.  He wasn’t elected, and stayed out of politics for the next six years.



Death of Queen Victoria, accession of Edward VII.  Founded: Imperial Tobacco (Wills); Storage Battery company (Thomas Edison); commonwealth of Australia.  First: cinema (in Islington, north London); patent on an electric vacuum cleaner; British submarine; electric trams (London, Glasgow, Portsmouth).  Published: Kim (Rudyard Kipling).  Winston Churchill became an MP.  End: Boxer rebellion (China).


During 1901 the new London Borough of Fulham approved more building applications made by the Allen and Norris partnership:

1 house in Lysia Street

5 houses on the corner of Fulham Palace Road and Queensmill Road

40-74 and 37-71 Lysia Street

2-46 Queensmill Road

4 houses on the west side of Fulham Palace Road where it meets Queensmill Road

71 and 74 Lysia Street

1-15, 17-65 and 48-70 Queensmill Road


On Wed 13 March 1901 Henry Norris went to the main meeting of the year at Kent Lodge number 15, held at the Freemasons’ Hall, Great Queen Street, Covent Garden.  At this meeting, Norris got his foot on the ladder of hierarchy up which you had to move, year by year, to achieve the distinction of serving as its Master for one year: he was elected the lodge’s Junior Warden.  The wardens helped the Master in the organisation and running of its ceremonies and dinners.


On 16 July 1901 at the parish church Wimbledon, Henry Norris married a second time.  His second wife was Edith Anne Featherstone (born 1876) the daughter of a man who worked as an asphalt layer. (See my file EDITH NORRIS for an account of her life).  According to one of Henry Norris’s grand-children, Henry and Edith had got to know each other while she was working in the Post Office, probably one on Wandsworth Bridge Road.


1902 another important year for Henry Norris

Coronation of Edward VII.  Shackleton’s  expedition reached the South Pole.  Ended: Second Boer War (May).  First: excavation of a Tyrannosaurus Rex; production of Mrs Warren’s Profession (G B Shaw); conviction on fingerprint evidence; borstal.  Discovered: hormones.  Ibrox Stadium disaster.  Published: The Hound of the Baskervilles (Conan Doyle); The Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad); The Wings of the Dove (Henry James); The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Beatrix Potter).

During 1902 the number of applications to build in Fulham made by Allen and Norris tailed off a bit after several years of quite frantic activity.  The Borough Council approved the following applications:

15-22 and 23-26 Queensmill Terrace

2-62 and 3-59 Langthorne Street


6 February 1902 Henry Norris was initiated into a second Freemasons’ lodge: Fulham Lodge number 2512.   He seems to have had a rather turbulent relationship with this lodge, resigning from it twice; but it was an important link in Allen and Norris’s circle of contacts in Fulham.  If he had not done so already - I expect he had - he would have met George Peachey at this initiation: one of his closest and most loyal friends.  Fulham Lodge number 2512's regular meetings were on the first Thursday of February, May, October and December and the third Thursday of January, April and November; and at this stage the meetings were held at Fulham Town Hall in Walham Green.  May was the most important meeting of the year, the one at which the new officials took office.  Henry Norris never served as an official in this lodge and I don’t know how regularly he attended its meetings.


On Wednesday 12 March 1902 Henry Norris was installed as Master of Kent Lodge number 15, after making his way slowly up the ranks in the proper manner.  The ceremony took place in the lodge’s usual meeting place, the Freemasons’ Hall in Great Queen Street Covent Garden.  The Master of a freemasons’ lodge serves for one year, interpreting the rules, leading all ceremonial and representing the lodge in the wider world of freemasonry.  As this lodge held meetings nearly every month, being its Master was a serious commitment of time and probably money too, over Norris’ next twelve months.

PROBABLY Saturday 5 July 1902

As part of the celebrations, 14,000 residents of Fulham sat down to lunch in 42 tents set up in the grounds of the Bishop of London’s residence off the Fulham Palace Road, being joined for part of the time by the Prince and Princess of Wales (George V-to-be and Queen Mary).  The press couldn’t name everyone who’d been there!  And Henry Norris wasn’t amongst the very few who were named.  But as a prominent businessman in the borough, he may have been there. 

Thursday 16 October 1902 at the age of 37 and after (in the 1890s) facing the prospect that he might never have any children, Henry Norris became a father: Mary Joy Norris was born at his and Edith’s home in Woodborough Road, Putney.



Copyright Sally Davis August 2007