Author note: I am grateful for the assistance of my “cousin” Trevor Bushell who was able to provide a lot of detail related to the life and times of Samuel and Catharine and their children. While I am descended from their son Samuel, Trevor is descended from William Watts Gardiner. A post about William will appear at a later date.
When Samuel Gardiner Jr. was born on June 5, 1822, in Deptford, Kent, England, his father, Samuel Gardiner Sr. (1775-1858), was 47 and his mother, Martha Taylor (1801-1828), was 21.
A family story suggests Samuel met Catharine Jones at school, although no specific documentary evidence has been uncovered to support this. Significantly, Samuel is also 12 years older than Catharine, making it unlikely that this family story correct. Nonetheless, on December 20, 1854, in Llanfyllin, Montgomeryshire, Wales (Catharine’s hometown). An announcement of the marriage appeared in multiple newspapers across London and Wales. Witnesses to the marriage were Catharine’s father, her older sister Sarah Lloyd Jones and John Haywood Williams, her brother-in-law.
When Catharine Jones was born in 1835 in Llanfair Caereinion, Montgomeryshire, Wales, her father, Frederick Lloyd Jones (1799-1880), was 36, and her mother, Sarah (née Beard) (1799-1863) was 36.
Although documents switch back and forth between the spelling “Catherine” and “Catharine”, I have used the latter as it is believed to be the form that she used.
They had 12 children in 15 years:
- Frederick Samuel Gardiner (1856-1884)
- Sarah Elizabeth Gardiner (1857-1857)
- Robert Martin Gardiner (1858-1939) married Laura Eleanor Bovaird (1870-1932) and Nellie Werner (1862-1942)
- Samuel Gardiner III (1859-1914) married Theresa Monica Stevens (1861-1921)
- Charles Edward Gardiner (1860-1940) married Florence Sybil Thompson (1852-1898) and Minerva Cordelia Bovaird (1868-1948)
- John Henry Gardiner (1863-1888)
- Rose Agnes Gardiner (1864-1919)
- Catherine (Kate) Gardiner (1866-1943)
- William Watts Gardiner (1867-1947) married Julia Lacey (1859-1942) and Maude Frances Marshall (1884-1970)
- Sarah Gardiner (1868-1903)
- Amy Kezia Gardiner (1869-1945)
- Martha Gardiner (1871-1949)
The couple’s first child is a son, born February 4, 1856, and named Frederick for his maternal grandfather, Frederick Lloyd Jones Esq. and his middle name is Samuel for his father. When Frederick Samuel Gardiner is baptized at St. John, in Deptford, Kent on April 2nd, the family is living on St. John’s Place, and his father’s occupation is “Grocer.”
Frederick’s birth is followed just over a year later by his sister, Sarah Elizabeth, born February 17, 1857, taking the name of her maternal grandmother. Sarah is baptized on May 20th, but at this point, the family is living at “Bellevue College.” I have not been able to locate this home on modern maps. Samuel’s occupation is “wholesale grocer.”
Sarah Elizabeth may have been poorly at the time of her baptism. She dies and is buried just over a month after her baptism on July 1, 1857. The record suggests that the family is living on Lewisham Road, but this is likely Bellevue Cottage, as it’s still the family home in future records. I have not been able to find the home on modern Google Maps, but London was bombed extensively during two world wars and multiple homes and streets disappeared during that period.
By the winter, Catharine is pregnant again, with Robert Martin Gardiner born August 21, 1858. Robert is baptized at St. James, Hatcham on December 17, 1858. Samuel’s occupation has changed to “Engineer.”
The following fall, a third son, named for his father and grandfather, Samuel Gardiner (the third) is born on October 17, 1859. Little Samuel is baptized in Hatcham on December 23rd. The family is still at Bellevue Cottage, and Samuel Sr. is an Engineer.
On April 10, 1860, a small article appears in the Kentish Gazette suggesting that Samuel, along with his partner Charles Mackintosh, manufactured and tested a steam traction engine on the roads of Woolwich.
A traction engine is a steam-powered tractor used to move heavy loads on roads, plough ground or to provide power at a chosen location. Below is an image of a ploughing traction engine (although not built by Messrs Gardiner and Mackintosh).
Following Samuel comes Charles Edward, born on October 7, 1860. Charles is baptized on February 18, 1861 back at St. John, Deptford.
On the 1861 England Census, the family is listed at 1 “Belle Vue” Cottage. Samuel is 38, and listed as a Civil Engineer. Catharine is 36, Frederick 5, Robert 2, Samuel 1 and Charles 5 months. None of the children are old enough for school, and it appears that Catharine was caring for four boys under the age of five…what a handful!
John Henry Gardiner is born on April 10, 1862. He is also baptized at St. John, Deptford, on October 15, 1862.
Another daughter, Rose Agnes Gardiner, is born on March 20, 1864. She is baptized on June 29th.
Catherine Gardiner, named for her mother, is born on August 30, 1865. She is baptized on October 1, 1866. Unlike her mother, Catherine spelled her name with a central “e” and went by “Kate.” For simplicity, I will use “Kate” when I refer to her.
Shortly after Kate’s baptism (that very same month in fact), several newspapers carried a story about Shaw’s Pneumatic Railway Brake. This article in the South London Press suggests: “Mr. Shaw invented a pneumatic railway brake, which has been attached, by way of experiment, to a carriage in the works of Messrs. Gardiner and Mackintosh, New-cross. The principle of this brake is simply that the buffer of each carriage, working in a pneumatic tube, by the aid of very simple machinery, brings the full brake force to bear upon the wheels.” The invention, designed to rapidly decrease the speed of railway carriages, was examined by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway Works and several scientific and practical men. If it worked, it was said that it would be immediately adopted by all the railways and would make its inventor a great deal of money.
One of Samuel and Mackintosh’s engines (pictured below) is included in “A Treatise on the Steam-Engine in its Various Applications to Mines, Mills, Steam, Navigation, Railways and Agriculture” by John Bourne, published in 1866. The machine is described as “an elevation of Barrans’ cup-surface boiler with engine attached, furnished with variable expansion gear, the whole as made by Messrs Gardiner and Mackintosh of New Cross. An engine of this kind has been working successfully at the shipbuilding yard of Messrs Young and Co. at Limehouse for some years. The main peculiarity of the boiler is, that the heating surface is to a large extent obtained by the introduction of cups studded all over the interior of the fire box.”
William Watts Gardiner is born on January 27, 1867. Sarah Gardiner (named for her deceased sibling and her maternal grandmother) is born on February 8, 1868). Amy Kezia (taking her middle name from her mother’s sister) is born on March 26, 1869. Martha Gardiner is the final daughter born on October 9, 1871. None of the children are baptized within a year of their birth – instead they are all baptized together on February 4, 1875, at All Saints Hatcham Park.
Messers. Gardiner and Mackintosh are also attributed with the creation of a horse-power condensing engine for the Lopez Chocolate Factory in Madrid in The Engineer Volume 26, 1868. The article (with drawings) suggest that “these engines are neat and compact, occupying moderate space, and working with considerable economy.” At the time, two of the engines had been fitted in Madrid.
In the middle of October 1869, several London papers carried a story about an appearance of the Great M. Blondin, a French tightrope artist famed for crossing Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Blondin appeared in London at the Crystal Palace Harvest Fete. He traversed the long rope on a bicycle expressly made for the occasion. The bicycle was manufactured by Messrs. Gardiner and Mackintosh, engineers at New Cross and had no weights or attachments of any kind. The bicycle was a replica of a normal bicycle with the exception of the wheels which were deeply grooved to hold the rope.
The 1871 Census predates Martha’s birth by a few months. Their address is still 1 “Belle Vue” Cottage. Samuel is 48 and the census lists him as a Millwright, Engineer, Boilermaker. Catharine is 36 and at home. Frederick (15), Robert (13), Samuel (11), Charles (10) and John Henry (8) are all at school. Rose (7), Kate (5), William (4) and Sarah (3) are at home with their mother.
On May 13, 1876, just short of Samuel Sr.’s 54th birthday, Lloyds List reports that “Gardiner and Mackintosh, manufactures of machinery, Railway Foundry, New Cross, Kent” have dissolved their partnership.
Son Samuel (III) goes to Canada in May 1880 and Robert follows in June.
In December 1880, Frederick Samuel is granted Freeman status.
On the 1881 Census, we find the family at 2 Drakelow in Camberwell. I have not been able to locate this address on modern maps. Samuel (58), is listed as “Engineer.” Catharine is 46. Frederick Samuel (25) and William (14) are both Clerks at the East India Company. Charles (20) and John Henry (18) are not employed. The younger girls are all at school.
Frederick Samuel died August 16, 1884, at the Adelphi Hotel in Harrogate. The building still exists and is currently a care home. His death certificate suggests that he’d been suffering with Bright’s disease for several years, and that it caused his death. His probate record suggests he left a personal estate of £110 to his father Samuel, who was living at 22 Wildash road, Champion Hill, east Dulwich. Frederick was a Commercial Clerk (likely still for the East India Company) at the time of his death. The probate record suggests that Samuel is also a Commercial Clerk at the time of Frederick’s death. Frederick is buried in Nunhead Cemetery on August 20.
Samuel (III) married in 1886 in Canada. He and his wife raised their family in Hamilton, Ontario. It is likely his brother Robert attended the wedding, but it does not appear that the rest of his family was able to attend.
John Henry died July 5, 1888. The death certificate suggests that brother William was present at the time of death at 22 Wildash Road. John Henry died of Tuberculosis. At the time of his death, he was working as a piano finisher. He was buried on July 10th in Nunhead Cemetery.
Samuel died on October 8, 1888, at the age of 66. Reports of his death appeared in several local newspapers. He is buried in Nunhead Cemetery with his children.
Charles married in 1894. At some point after his marriage, he moves to India, and, like brother Frederick, works for the East India Company. After his wife dies in 1894, Charles spends time in both the US and Canada, eventually remarrying and settling in Hamilton, Ontario not far from his brother Samuel.
None of the younger girls marry. After Samuel’s death, they leave the house on Wildash road and we find them at 3 Hillside Road in Lambeth on the 1891 Census. Catharine, a widow at age 57, is living on her own means. Rose (27) is a schoolmistress. Kate (25) is an “assistant in the house.” William (24) is a Tea Merchant’s office clerk (presumably still with the East India Company). Sarah (23) is a kindergarten teacher and Amy (22) is a drawing teacher. Martha (19) is a student at a training college.
It is around this time that Samuel and Catharine’s daughters open a school at the home on Hillside.
William marries his first wife in 1895. Unlike his brothers, he and his family remain in England.
In 1901, we find Catharine (66) with Rose (37) and Sarah (33) both schoolmistresses and Amy (32), an artist and sculptor still on Hillside Road. There is a servant (Lydia Brooke) and three very young borders, Dorothy Green (5), Winifred Blackaller (6), and Cecil Phillips (7) in the home. These are likely students of Hillside School.
At this time, Martha (29) and Kate (35) are living together, but not with their mother. We find them instead at 2 St. Jacob Terrace in Thanington.
Later in 1901, we find Sarah admitted to Lambeth Infirmary with her mother named as her relative. The next several years see her transferred between home and several different mental health institutions. Sarah died in August 1903. (Read her story.)
In 1911, the home on Hillside is described as “Hillside School” on the census. The census confirms that Catharine (76) had 12 children, of which eight are still living. Of her daughters, only Amy Kezia (42) remains in the home, and is a principal schoolmistress. Also in the home is Catharine’s great-nephew through her sister Kezia, John Frederick Jones (18), a clerk with the Globe Insurance Company and Grace Gay (17), a teacher at Hillside School.
On the same census, Rose Agnes (47) is running a guest house around the corner from Hillside School at 24 Palace-road, Streatham. The property was known as Home Court. Her sister Kate (45) is living with her, and there are 18 borders, a mixture of men and women of all ages, in the home. Both sisters are still single. In modern times, the site is occupied by a small apartment building.
Rose Agnes Gardiner died in 1919, leaving her estate split between her surviving sisters.
Catharine died on July 22, 1927. It is likely that she was placed in the family plot at Nunhead Cemetery, but there is no headstone. At the time of her death, she was living at 24 Palace-road. Her estate is left to her daughter Kate, who presumably cared for her mother in her old age. The obituary suggests that Catharine was 94 at the time of her death, but most of the other documents suggest she would have been in her 92nd year (born in 1835). Catharine was cremated at West Norwood Crematorium on July 25, 1927, after arrangements were made by her son William Watts who is described as a bookkeeper.
Catharine’s will was probated on September 7, 1927. The will explains that 24 Palace Road was bought between Catharine and her daughters and so her share is left to them equally, as is her furniture, plate, money and other effects. Nothing is left to her sons Robert, Charles and Samuel in Canada and the US by this point. Son William Watts Gardiner is left only £50.
Nunhead Cemetery in Linden Grove is one of the “Magnificent” seven Victorian cemeteries in London. The Victorian part of the cemetery where the Gardiner family plot sits, is significantly overgrown and neglected. The Friends of the Nunhead Cemetery are currently working on restoration and is badly in need of funding. This video shows some glimpses of the cemetery.
The larger Gardiner family plot stands on a small hill but the headstone has been damaged by a fallen tree and weathering and vegetation makes it impossible to read. The main plot is the final resting place for six members of the family.
Samuel Gardiner Senior 1858
Sarah Isabella Gardiner 1876 (Samuel’s second wife)
Frederick S. Gardiner 1884 (Samuel’s grandson)
John Henry Gardiner 1888 (Samuel’s grandson)
Samuel Gardiner 1888 (Samuel’s son)
Sarah Gardiner 1857 (Samuel’s baby granddaughter)
Main image: Home Court, Streatham