No 8a

8 Gloucester Road

The numbering of houses within streets in Thornbury was not introduced generally until the early 1950s, but there were numbers allocated to the houses in the terrace from a lot earlier.  The house that is now 8 Gloucester Road in Thornbury was originally described as ‘1 Laburnum Terrace’.  The earliest reference to ‘1 Laburnum Terrace’ is in the accounts of John Hodges (the son of George Hodges) showing some building work being done on the house in September 1886.

The 1840 Tithe Map shows that there was a workshop and yard on the land now occupied by number 8.  The workshop and yard were owned and used by John Hodges, the builder who was living just down the road and building the properties which would form Laburnum Terrace.  To the rear of the workshops was a garden also owned and used by John Hodges.

We have no precise knowledge as to when No. 8 was built.  The earliest date in the Schedule of Deeds for the house is a conveyance between John Hodges and his son, George Hodges dated 18th August 1865.  There is some doubt about this date as the only conveyance included with the deeds was actually dated 14th August 1865 and this document clearly refers only to the transfer of the two properties in Gloucester Road now known as numbers 16 Gloucester Road and 18 Gloucester Road.

The Census taken in 1861 suggests that the house was not built before that time and it doesn’t seem to be listed in the 1862 rate book.  The house was however listed in the 1867 rate book so we have to assume that the house was erected between 1862 and 1867.   In this case, it is likely that the house was not built by John Hodges who would have been about aged about 75, but built by his son, George Hodges.

John had arranged for the transfer of his property to his children before his death and ownership of number 8 was transferred to George Hodges.  George carried on as owner until his death in 1905.  In his Will, George arranged for Trustees to manage the property.   The trustees were initially his four surviving daughters, Sarah Ann Hodges, Fanny Staley Hodges, Emma Jane Hodges and Laura Evelyn Balls and one of his two surviving sons, Austin Edgar Hodges.  Over the years, these Trustees gradually died off and new ones were appointed to ensure that the Estate was managed properly.  Other houses were gradually sold off, but the Trustees continued to own 8 Gloucester Road until 1971 when it was sold for the first time.

On 29th April 1971, the property was conveyed to Joan Elizabeth Cox.  Joan became Joan Hall when in 1973 she married Iva Hall.  Read about Joan Hall and her husband, Iva.

During the time it was owned by the Hodges family the house was let out to tenants including:

The Hudson family – by the 1871 census the Hudson family were living in 8 Gloucester Road.  Thomas was aged 28, an officer of the Inland Revenue, born in St Giles, Camberwell, Surrey.  Elizabeth, his wife, was aged 32 was born in Thornbury.  They had one daughter, Catherine Elizabeth, aged 1. Elizabeth Smith aged 14, a general servant from Plymouth was lodging with the family.

Thomas was born in Camberwell in Surrey about 1842.  He was the son of Manfred Pitt Hudson, an Inland Revenue Officer and his wife, Catherine (nee Jones).  In the Census of 1851 the family lived in Witham in Essex. By 1861 Thomas had left home and become a grocer’s assistant in Chelmsford in Essex.

Thomas Hudson had moved to Thornbury by 1868 as he married Elizabeth Smith in April 1868 in what is now the United Reformed Church in Thornbury.  The Thornbury Journal of February 1870 mentions that Thomas was the Secretary for the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge which met in the Reading Room in the High Street on Tuesday evenings.  At that time Thomas was being re-elected as Secretary so it seems likely he had been a member for at least a year.  When the birth of their daughter Catherine was announced in the March 1870 Thornbury Journal, the address given was Laburnum Cottages Gloucester Road.  On the 20th July 1872 their son Manfred Pitt Hudson, named after Thomas’s father, died aged only seven weeks and was buried at the United Reformed Church.

By 1881 the family had moved away.  Thomas was working in Battersea, London, lodging in Chatham Villas.  Elizabeth was living with her in-laws in Chelmsford with her two sons, Thomas Smith Hudson aged 11 and Henry aged 5.  Thomas’s father Manfred Pitt Hudson, Thomas’s father was a retired Inland Revenue Officer born in Gloucester.  By 1891 Thomas was a widower living in Staffordshire with Catherine and Thomas who were both born in Thornbury and 15 year old Henry Charles who had been born in Liverpool.  Thomas was by this time a supervisor for the Inland Revenue.

Of Thomas and Elizabeth’s children:

  • Catherine Elizabeth Hudson, aged 22, departed Liverpool on board the “City of New York”, arriving in New York 9 September 1892.  She married William Henry Whittingham in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan on 11 September 1892.  Catherine was naturalised in 1929 and William Henry in 1938. 
  • Thomas Smith Hudson, aged 31, departed Liverpool on board the “Oceanic” 25 February 1903 bound for New York.  Thomas gives his occupation as “Grocer” and his final destination as Detroit.  He was naturalised in 1905 and married Mary Gibson about 1905.  Thomas died, aged 77, on 14 May 1948 at Chelan in the State of Washington, USA.
  • Henry Charles Hudson married Eliza Millie Bayliss in 1898, Aston, Warwickshire. Henry and his family emigrated to the USA 1904 or 1905.

Hester Milner – the Special Drainage District Rate Book of 1876 shows that the tenant at that time was Hester Milner.  In 1871 the census showed that Hester was a 32 year old governess with the Staley family in Kington.  Her birthplace is shown as Whitson.  There is an entry in the trade directory of 1877 for Miss Hester Milner who had a ladies’ boarding school in Laburnum Cottage in Gloucester Road.  This seems to have been short lived as the Phelps family were living her in 1881.  We think that Hester was Welsh.  Later censuses up to 1911 show her living in Cardiff.  These records show her as being born in Nash, Monmouthshire which is a neighbouring parish of Whitson.  She was a music teacher in these later records.

The Phelps family – the 1880 rate book and 1881 census shows that the house was occupied by John Evomy Phelps and his family.  Click here to read more

John Hodges – the Special Drainage Rate Book of 1885 shows that there was a period when John Hodges lived here.  This John Hodges was the son of the owner and builder of the house, George Hodges and his wife, Tracey.  John died and was buried on 15th February 1892 aged only 37.  Click here to read more about John

Revd C. W. Rhodes – the 1887 Rate Book shows that Revd C. W. Rhodes was the tenant at that time.  He must have been in Thornbury for a very short time as he wasn’t listed in the 1885 or 1890 rate books.  A report in the Bristol Mercury of October 15th 1886 states that the Rev C.W Rhodes opened a bazaar at the Tennis court at Thornbury Castle to raise funds for the Methodist Church. His wife also attended the bazaar.

Davis family – in the 1891 Census, the house was now occupied by another officer of the Inland Revenue.  This might suggest there was some connection with the Inland Revenue at that time.

Albert Davis was aged 30, a Second class Officer of the Inland Revenue, born in Woolwich.  Isabella, his wife, was aged 29 and also born in Woolwich.  They had two sons, Albert R. aged 7 who was born in Woolwich, and Algernon who was born in Lambeth.  They had a servant, Annie Bennett aged 14 who was born in Cromhall.

It is difficult to say how long Albert Davis lived in this house.  His name appears in the Kelly’s Directory of 1889 and he is listed as the tenant of number 8 in the Special District Rate Rook of 1890.   Interestingly, the Inland Revenue Office is actually at the Swan public house.  We know from an article in the Bristol Mercury dated 1892 that Albert was about to leave Thornbury.  He was presented with a purse containing £30 and an illuminated address as a mark of public esteem and in recognition of his efforts in organising a series of smoking concerts.

By 1901, Albert George Davis had moved to 17 Crescent Road, Kidderminster.  Despite being 40, he had a new wife, Elizabeth Jane, aged 21 from Tottenham.   He had three sons, Albert Robert, a clerk aged 17, Sidney Algernon aged 11 and their new baby, Frederick Reginald aged 1 born in Kidderminster.

Austin Hodges – the Rate Book of 1894 shows that Austin Hodges was a tenant of the house at that time.  Austin was the youngest son of George and Tracey Hodges.  He was born 29th January 1868.  He married Eleanor Mary Barber in the March quarter of 1893.  Their son Geoffrey Stephen was born in Thornbury on July 4th 1897 but by 1901 they had moved to Surrey and lived near Epsom.  The 1911 Census shows Austin was a dairyman living with Eleanor Mary in Weybridge, Surrey.  Austin Edgar Hodges died in Surrey on 1st November 1945.  On his death, he appointed his son, Geoffrey Stephen Hodges, as executor.

The Burchell family – the rate book of 1899 shows that the next tenant was Frederick Henry Burchell and his family.  Click here to read more

Joseph Underhill – in 1909 when he completed the entry form for joining the police force Joseph gave his address as Laburnum Cottage.  We are provisionally assuming that he was a tenant in this house for a short time.  Click here to read more

Augustus Ernest and Annie Pitcher – we know from the 1910 rate book that they were living at that time.  Also we were told that when Annie was presented with flowers on her 100th birthday she told Joan Hall (then the Mayor) that she had lived in number 8 Gloucester Road when she first got married.  Augustus Ernest had married Annie Symes in 1908 . Click here to read more

Caroline Pitcher – the 1925 Valuation List shows that Caroline Pitcher was living in the house.  We had assumed that Caroline was in some way connected to Augustus Ernest Pitcher (who lived in the house earlier) and the family of Walter William Pitcher who lived in the Gloucester Road for such a long time.  However we now suspect that she was the daughter of George Edward Pitcher, a farmer from Morton and his wife, Eliza (nee Ogborn).  This Caroline was baptised on 11th August 1878, at the same time as her twin sister, Matilda.  Caroline was listed as living in Gloucester Road in the 1921 electoral register.  The 1923 Kellys Trade Directory lists Caroline in connection with a business described as ‘Apartments’ in Laburnum Terrace, Gloucester Road.

Caroline is not listed in the area in 1927 electoral register.  We suspect that she married William England in Thornbury area in 1932 and that she died in Bristol in 1953 aged 74.

Maurice Symes – the 1926 Rate Book shows the house occupied by Maurice.  The Electoral Register from 1927 to 1930 list Maurice Gilbert Symes and his wife, Louisa as living in Gloucester Road.  Click here to read more

The Hand family – from about 1931 until about 1970 the house was occupied by the Hand family.  The earliest record we have seen so far that we have seen so far showing Percy Hand and his family in number 8 Gloucester Road, Thornbury, is the Electoral Register of 1931.

Percy Hand had caused us some concern as we heard several different stories about him.  One that he worked for BAC, another person said that he worked as a tile cutter for Edmund Cullimore in his brickworks.  Both these people said that Percy was well known as a football referee.  We were told that when he died there was a big funeral organised by the Bristol and District Football Association and attended by a number of their members who turned out in full referee outfits.  However we were also told that Percy was definitely working as a senior cutter for Thomas Cox Smith & Son, a tailor at Porch House, 11 Castle Street.

It took us some time to realise that amazingly there were two Percy Hands, both of whom were said to be living in the terrace.  It was the Percy Herbert Hand, the tailor, who lived in 8 Gloucester Road.  Win Jenkins (who was later to live next door at number 10) told us that as a young girl she had delivered newspapers to Percy the tailor at number 8.  She also said that the other Percy William Hand, the referee, lived next door at Laburnum House.  This Percy was to move from Gloucester Road in 1937 to live at Eastlands Road.

Percival Herbert Hand was born in Clevedon, Somerset on 19th October 1896.  He was the son of Herbert George Hand, a life insurance agent and his wife, Elizabeth (nee Vines).  In the 1901 Census the family were living at 4 Melbourne Terrace, Clevedon.  By the 1911 Census the family had moved to 19 Griffen Road, Clevedon.  Percy had become an apprentice tailor and he was living with his parents and seven siblings.

In the First World War Percy joined the Royal Engineers as a Sapper.  He served in France and was discharged on 16th May 1919.

In 1921 Percy married Beatrice Louise Hedges in the Long Ashton area.  She was born in Clevedon on 6th February 1896.  She was the daughter of Henry Hedges a postman and his wife, Ruth (nee Rowland).  In the 1901 and 1911 Censuses the family lived at 92 Old Street, Clevedon.

Raymond 'Tim' Hand

Raymond ‘Tim’ Hand

They had a son, Raymond Frank born in Bristol area in 1923, but by 1926 they had moved to live in Easton Hill, Crossways in a house owned by P. G. Hawkins.  Percy was paying a rent of £7 16s per quarter.  They vacated this house on 24th June 1930.  The 1931 Electoral Register shows they had moved to Gloucester Road, presumably to the house now known as 8 Gloucester Road.  They had another son, Derek James, born in Thornbury in 1933.

The Council School records show that their son, Raymond Frank, entered the school in 1930 and another, Derek James, entered in 1939.  Win Jenkins had said that the family had three sons, but we have no record of the third one.

During the War Percy became a Special Constable.

  • Raymond joined the RAF and was still in uniform when he married in Upton in December 1949.  His wife was Joan Godwin.  We understand that Raymond was known as ‘Tim’ by his friends. We are not sure why?  We believe Raymond died in the Cheltenham area in 1964 aged 40.  We have been told that the cause of death was a tropical disease  which he came in contact with in India.
  • Beatrice died in September 1969 aged 73.  The 1970 Electoral Register lists just Percy as living in the house.  It appears that Percy moved to Tetbury, as he was there when he died in October 1973 aged 75.  His body was brought back to Thornbury for the funeral.

Percy’s wife, Beatrice, died in Thornbury in 1969.  Percy died in the Cirencester area in 1973.  We do not know the connection between the two Hands families, but an elderly neighbour who used to deliver newspapers to the two families has said that she thinks they were cousins.

The Hall family – on 29th April 1971, the property was conveyed to Joan Elizabeth Cox.  Joan became Joan Hall when in 1973 she married Iva Hall.  Read about Joan Hall and her husband, Iva.