Edward Henry Collins was invariably referred to as ‘Sammy Collins’. He was born on 2nd June 1896. Edward’s marriage certificate shows Thomas Collins as his father, but we believe that he was actually the son of Thomas’s unmarried sister, Mary Ann. There is a baptism of Edward Henry Collins, son of Mary Ann Collins of Upper Bath Road on 10th June 1896. There is also a record of Mary Ann’s death in December quarter 1899 although the transcription of this record shows she was aged 50 when she would have been 40. Thomas and Eliza must have adopted Edward as a very young child. The family home was on the corner of Upper Bath Road and Rock Street, the house which later became known as 9 Upper Bath Road. Click here to read more about Tom & Eliza Collins
On 9th December 1915 Edward was attested into the Army Reserve. He was described at the time as being a porter, aged 19 years 6 months, unmarried and height 5ft 4 inches with 33 inch chest when expanded and a 2 inch range. His next of kin was given as Eliza Collins, Upper Bath Road and his religion was Congregational. He was mobilized on 8th February 1916 into the Oxford and Berkshire Regiment and posted to India on 19th October 1916 where he served until 25th November 1918 when he was posted to the Salonica force. He fought in this area until 14th April 1919 when he was allowed home and demobbed.
On 8th October 1927 Edward Henry Collins, a steam wagon driver aged 31 married Edith Emma Bennett. Emma was aged 26, the daughter of William Bennett, groom and his wife, Emily, who lived at the house which became known as 5 Horseshoe Lane. He and Emily had a daughter, Gwendoline Hilda, born on 7th March 1928.
Edward was known locally as ‘Sam’. Although he started his working life as a lorry driver, Sam is best remembered as a porter at the nearby Thornbury Railway Station. He was also a part-time volunteer fireman. Later in his life he became caretaker for the Cossham Hall.
On 7th June 1948 Sam was offered the opportunity to buy the house. Arthur Charles (Charlie) Pitcher had just bought the row of 3 houses from Frances John Yates who lived in Shifnal in Shropshire on 6th May 1948. Sam bought the house which he was renting (number 9), and the house next door (number 7) occupied by the Williams family. The two houses cost £250.
The image on the left shows Gwen as a bridesmaid in 1932. On 15th July 1950 Gwendoline married Anthony Billett. Tony was born 10th August 1926, the son of William Henry Billett and his wife, Sarah Primrose (nee Clutterbuck) who lived at Eastland Avenue. His siblings include: Donald W born in 1920, Joan P born in 1922, Royston Herbert born on 2nd September 1923, Josephine Hand born on 27th January 1930 and Valerie Elizabeth born on 21st January 1936.
Tony started his working life with Trayhurns, working in the slaughter-house, but he didn’t like the smells and the killing of the pigs. After working for Francis Hopkins as a driver, he became a shop assistant with the Coop and then moved to Rolls Royce as a timekeeper. Gwen was a postwoman working for Charlie Pitcher at the post office.
We understand that Gwen and Tony lived with Sam and Emily until the house next door, 7 Upper Bath Road became vacant and was done up. This appears to involve the construction of a two story extension at the rear, which doubled the size of the house.
On the 17th November 1954, Sam conveyed number 7 to Gwen and Tony for £125. The 1954 electoral register shows Sam and Edith with Tony and Gwen at 9 Upper Bath Road, but by 1958 Tony and Gwen had moved next door to number 7. The two houses were closely connected and following Sam’s and then Edith’s deaths, it was eventually converted into a single house which became number 9. The land registry documents also show that the house was now called ‘Sams Cottage‘.
Sam died on 28th July 1973 aged 77 years. Edith died on 2nd October 1996 aged 94 years. Gwen died on 21st March 2014 aged 86 years. Tony still lives in the house.
We have been lucky enough to be given access to photographs of the Collins family. See the album of the Collins family