This house was one of the four houses built by the Thornbury builder, George Hodges around 1870. George named the houses ‘Victoria Terrace’.
As far as we know the first occupants of the house were John and Jane Drake.
John and Jane Drake – the 1876 Rate Book tells us that John Drake was the occupant of the house and that by 1880 Rate Book Jane Drake was the tenant. Jane’s maiden name was Heard and she was born in Hartland in Devon about 1821. There are a few Heard families in Hartland at this time and we have not established who her parents were, as by 1841 she was a servant in Parkham, not far from Hartland. By 1851 she had moved further away from home – she is shown as an unmarried servant aged 34 working for Henry Britton, an attorney at his home in Chudleigh House, Clifton.
She married a widowed master sawyer from Thornbury, John Liddiatt in Bristol in June quarter 1854 who had been living in Horseshoe Lane in 1851. In 1861 Jane and John were living in Rotten Row (now called Chapel Street) in the Wheatsheaf beerhouse. John Liddiatt was a sawyer aged 56. Jane was aged 40. John appears to have died. Jane Liddiatt re-married in Bristol in December quarter 1869, to another widower, John Drake. In 1871 she was living in 25 Victoria Street, Bristol with John Drake, a shoemaker, aged 53 from Crediton in Devon. Jane’s age was given as 50. John’s first wife, Elizabeth, had died earlier in the year aged 49.
By 1876 they had returned to Thornbury and were in 17 Pullins Green. John died in Thornbury in December quarter 1879 aged 68. In 1881 Jane was a widowed annuitant aged 55 living at 17 Pullins Green with an unmarried lodger, Alfred S Freer, a shoemaker aged 21 from Woodstock in Oxfordshire. Jane isn’t listed in the 1885 Rate Book, but in the 1887 and 1890 Rate Books she is living in 21 Pullins Green. She was described as a 70 year old widow born in Hartland in Devon and now living on her own means. We are not sure when Jane died – she might be the person
whose death was registered in Clifton in 1895 aged 79 – her age seemed to vary a lot in previous censuses!
The Hemming family – in the 1887 Rate Book and the 1891 census the house was occupied by John William Hemming. He was a police constable aged 34 from Stroud and his wife, Elizabeth Ellen aged 34 from Challon, Berks. Also living there were two lodgers including Frank Yeomans a railway porter aged 18 from Studley in Warwickshire and Edgar Marsh a bird taxidermist aged 76 who had been born in Thornbury.
John’s occupation obviously kept the family on the move. Earlier, in 1881, John had been an unmarried police constable in Cirencester. They lived for a time after their marriage in Iron Acton where their first child, Albert William was born about 1884. Percy, their second son, was born in Thornbury about 1888. Later they seemed to leave Thornbury to move to Fishponds where two more children, Violet H and Elsie M were born in 1892 and early 1901. At the time of the 1901 census, the family were living at 6 Filwood Road, Bristol. Their son, Albert had become a tram car conductor.
Rev David D. Evans – shown as living here in the 1894 Rate Book. David (whose photo is on the left) was a minister with the Congregational Chapel from 1889 until 1895. He was described by Edgar Pitcher in his brief history of the Chapel as being a warm hearted Welshman. Read more about the Rev Evans
James and Eliza Hodges – the 1901 census shows James and Eliza living in the house with Jane Elmer, Eliza’s widowed mother who was aged 85 from Warboys in Huntingdonshire. He was the son of George Hodges, the builder and owner of the house. Click here to read more
George and Edna Ord – shown as living in the house from about 1935 onwards. George was born in the Sunderland area on 13th February 1907, the son of William Ord, a miner of Ryhope, Sunderland. He moved south to Thornbury and on 24th May 1934 he married Edna Frances Thompson, the daughter of Albert Ernest Thompson, the baker.
Edna was born on 5th May 1909. ‘Her birth was registered in Chipping Sodbury area. At the time of his marriage, George was a carpenter. We understand that he later worked for Hortham Hospital as a charge nurse. George was a keen cricketer playing for Thornbury Cricket Club and he also played football. The photos on the right show Edna before she married and George when he was playing in 1936.
We are grateful to Les Summerfield, Thornbury Cricket Club and Mike Grace for allowing us to see the documents written by Edgar Mervyn Grace on the history of the Cricket Club. These included the following interesting references to George:
‘George Ord came to us from the North, where he had had experience in the Sunderland League, in 1930, being a carpenter by trade and working at Hortham Hospital. George was a good all-rounder, and as a batsman scored his runs quickly and could be relied on to make scores up to 30. He did however score a century for the 2nd XI and in 1941 hit a brilliant 110 not out for the first team against the Maritime Regiment at the Ship. A good change or stock bowler he had a lovely easy action at a pace just short of medium, taking 259 wickets for an average of 15.1, plus many good performances with the 2nd XI which are not recorded here. A safe field, he was noted for his noisy appeals, and he would have made a good wicket-keeper if he had not been wanted as a bowler, and when called on in an emergency kept exceedingly well. His full record over the 17 years he played for the Club shows that he totalled 3,110 runs for an average of 13, while his best bowling was against Hamset in 1959 when he took 9 wickets for 41.’
George died on 19th June 1980 aged 73 years. Edna died in Chipping Sodbury on 17th November 1993 aged 84 years.
One of the photographs above shows the Ord/Thompson wedding group. The other photograph shows the three Thompson bridesmaids, Betty, Eileen and little Jean.