Leonard Pitcher and wife Ellen (nee Eddington).

Leonard Pitcher was born in 1873, the son of Walter William Pitcher and his wife, Anna Maria.  Read more about the Pitcher family

We are fortunate to have been allowed to copy a collection of photos of the Pitcher family.  Click here to see the Family Photo Album

Len Pitcher at Castle chimneys

Leonard Pitcher with the Castle chimneys

When Walter died in 1912 the business was taken over by Leonard.  Leonard was not the eldest son, that was Edgar Walter, but Edgar had become a solicitor’s clerk.  Although Leonard was the third eldest son, he had followed his father’s footsteps and taken an apprenticeship with him in coach building.  By the time of the 1901 Census Leonard had become a carpenter and joiner.

Leonard was born in Thornbury on 14th March 1873.  In 1899, he married Ellen Eddington, daughter of Thomas Henry Eddington, a decorator, who was deceased at the time of their marriage.  They had two children, Helen born on 18th July 1904 and Elwyn on 22nd July 1911.  Although Leonard took over the business which continued to operate from Gloucester Road, Leonard and Ellen lived at 69 High Street, at least until 1922.  From 1924 onwards they are shown in the Electoral Register as living in 24 Gloucester Road.  We understand that this image above is a photograph of Ellen and Leonard Pitcher taken when they attended a family wedding.

The image on the right shows Leonard on the roof of Thornbury Castle in 1904.  He had skilfully restored the Tudor chimneys.

The Rate Book for 1925 and 1926 appears to indicate that Leonard Pitcher acquired 48 Castle Street and that it was occupied by William Eddington.

As the business expanded, Leonard need more space.  He leased some buildings and land in Gloucester Road opposite number 24 from the estate of John Hodges Williams.  Some people can still remember gravestones being stored here.  We know from his accounts that the annual rent in 1934 was £33.  However Dick Shipp told us that Leonard got into trouble when he sublet the property (or part of it) without the agreement of the property agents and he was forced to give up the lease.

The Electoral Registers show that from about 1932 Gladys Mabel Walker lived in the house with Leonard and Ellen.  Gladys was employed as the housekeeper and became a family friend.  She stayed there until the late 1970s.

Helen Pitcher 1937

Helen Pitcher in 1937

Ellen had died on 3rd February 1946 aged 74 years.  The Gloucestershire Gazette of 16th February 1946 has an account of the funeral of Ellen Pitcher which took place at what was then the Congregational Church,  The funeral was well attended by many members of the large Pitcher family and Ellen’s brothers Rob and William Eddington as well as many of the business people in Thornbury.  She was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 7th February 1946.  Leonard carried on living at 24 Gloucester Road until his death.  He died in June 1961 aged 88.

Of their Children

  • Helen Pitcher.  Helen was born in 1904.  She attended Thornbury Grammar School.  Helen became a school teacher and taught at the County Secondary School in Thornbury.

Helen is 3rd from right in front row

We have a photograph of her with the staff that was taken about 1962.  Please click on it for a larger image.  According to the Old Thornburian Magazine Helen retired from her teaching career in 1966.  She died in 1993 aged 88.  In her memory the Thornbury Horticultural Society awards the ‘Helen Pitcher Trophy for Cookery’ at their annual show and they also a donated a bench with Helen Pitcher’s name on it which was placed in the Rock Street gardens.  She will always be remembered for work collecting money for the British Legion’s Poppy Day Appeal and for her talks on Thornbury history.