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We don’t know anything about the occupants of the house prior to the 1840 Tithe Survey which listed the property as Plot 263, a house and court owned by John Birt and occupied by John George Dyer.

John George Dyer – the 1840 Tithe Survey shows John living at 15 The Plain.  We think the 1841 census shows John, a shoemaker and his family were living at 11 Pullins Green.  Click here to read more

Jacob Husband – the 1841 census shows the property occupied by Jacob Husband, a shoemaker aged 37 and his wife, Mercy aged 37.  They had 4 children: Sampson aged 9, William aged 7, Thomas aged 4 and John aged 2.

Jacob was born in Bristol about 1804, the son of William Husband, a shoemaker and his wife, Lydia.  Jacob was baptised in Thornbury on 28th December 1828.  On 29th April 1831 Jacob married Mercy Barnett in Thornbury.  According to the IGI, Mercy was born on 11th December 1803, the daughter of John and Sarah Barnett.  They had several children whilst living in Thornbury: Isaac Samson baptised on 18th april 1832, William baptised on 23rd February 1834, Thomas Barnett baptised on 4th June 1837, John Barnet baptised on 22nd September 1839, Henry baptised on 12th June 1842 and James baptised on 14th May 1843.

By the 1851 census the family had moved to 11 Clarkes Court, West Street, St Phillips and Sampson had become a shoemaker like his father, and William had become a french polisher.  Thomas and John were working as errand boys.   On 20th October 1854 Thomas enlisted in the 97th Regiment of Foot.  He served for over 21 years and was discharged in 1875.

Joseph Smith – the 1851 census Joseph Smith, a saddler, and his family, were now occupying the property and we know from the Rate Books that he owned the property from at least 1867 onwards.  He continued to live there until about 1880 when he sold it at auction.  Click here to read more

Francis Gayner – Francis was a draper and milliner.  The rate books show that Francis bought the property in 1880 and he moved there, presumably following his marriage to Jane Goodson.  Although the rate books show Francis continued to be the owner of the property up to at least 1910, by the 1891 census, he had moved from 15 The Plain and opened City House, the large premises in the High Street.  Click here to read about Francis and his family

William Penduck – the 1887 and 1890 rate books and 1891 census indicate that the property was occupied by William Penduck, although the census suggests that William and his family were only occupying four rooms, the other four being occupied by William Vowles and his family.  The census shows William Penduck was a cabinet maker aged 29 living with his wife, Elizabeth aged 39 from Newport in Wales and their four children: Ethel aged 8, Arthur aged 7, Blanch aged 4 and Hector aged 3.  Click here to read about the Penducks

William Vowles – the 1891 census shows that William occupied 4 rooms in the property, the other rooms being occupied by William Penduck (see above).  William Vowles was described as a widowed baker aged 48 from Pill living with his daughter, Millicent M aged 16 born in Thornbury.  Click here to read more

Samuel Fudge – the 1894 rate book shows that Samuel Fudge was now renting the property from Francis Gayner.  The 1901 census shows the family still there.  Samuel was then 39 and an architect and Eliza was 30.  The census shows that by that time they had two sons.  The elder son was Gerald Edward Samuel Fudge who was born on 7th March 1894 in Thornbury.  The younger son was Hubert Henry born on 27th November 1898 and in this census aged two.  By 1905 the Fudges family had moved to 4 Castle Street.  Click here to read more

Charles Eddington – the 1905 rate book shows that Charles Eddington, was renting the property from the owner, Francis Gayner.  We understand that Charles had a photographic studio in the back garden of this property.  This building had glass panels in the roof to provide suitable lighting.  By 1910 rate book Charles had moved into the High Street.  Charles was a composite printer.  Click here to read more

Charles Phelps – the 1910 rate book shows that Charles Phelps was renting the property from the owner, Francis Gayner.  Charles was a tailor, tobacconist and hairdresser.  He was the son of Robert Phelps.  Click here to read about the Phelps family

Alfred John Southcott – the 1918 electoral register and subsequent directories show that Alfred John Southcott was living in Castle Street.  The trade directories show that Alfred was a hairdresser and we know from early photographs of The Plain that he operated from 15 The Plain.  The 1916 Prewetts Street Directory also lists him on The Plain.  Notes in the Museum record that a ‘W. Southcott ran a haircutting and shaving saloon whose hours were 9am to 9pm on weekdays (except Tuesday 9am to 5pm) and Saturdays from 9am to 11pm’.  We think that the initial ‘W’ is a mistake as all other sources show his name was Alfred John.

Alfred was born in Bristol in June quarter 1870, the son of Robert Southcott, a grocer and butcher from Devon and his wife, Frances, who were living at 56 Prince Street, Bristol in the 1871 census.  In the 1891 census Alfred was a hairdresser aged 20 lodging at 4 York Buildings, St Werburghs, Bristol.  In 1901 he was listed as a hairdresser aged 30 living with his brother, William, in 58 Twinnell Street, St Phillips & St Jacobs, Bristol.

Alfred died aged 59 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 5th December 1930.  His business continued to be listed in trade directories until 1936.

Bert Iles

Bert & Phyllis Iles

Eric Hubert Iles – the electoral registers show that ‘Bert’ as he was known, and his wife, Phyllis Gladys lived at 15 The Plain from 1935 onwards.  We understand from his son, Tony, that Bert took over the hairdressing business previously carried out by Alfred Southcott around 1931 and that initially he ‘commuted’ each day on a motor cycle to and from his home in Gloucester.

Bert was born in Gloucester on 18th July 1905.  He learnt the hairdressing trade from his father in Gloucester but wanted to branch out on his own and found a suitable business on the Plain in Thornbury.  In 1932 Bert married Phyllis Grace Smith in the Gloucester area.  Phyllis was born on 12th April 1908.  Their daughter, Sheila Elizabeth Grace, was born in Thornbury on 27th June 1936.  Their son, Anthony Hubert was born on 18th March 1939.  The photograph on the right shows Bert and Phyllis.

The register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the War shows Bert as a hairdresser and tobacconist.  He also joined the auxiliary fire service.

Horace Walker

Horace Walker

For at least part of the time that the Iles ran their men’s hairdressers business in the one side of the property, a woman’s hairdressing business was operated on the other side by Horace Walker (shown in the photo on the right).  Horace had been an apprentice hairdresser under Bert Iles in Gloucester and he became a friend of the family.  Bert gave Horace the opportunity of running a woman’s hairdressing business in the room on the right of his building and Horace moved to live with the Iles family at 15 The Plain.  As well as being a hairdresser, Horace was also a volunteer fireman for many years.

The register compiled in 1939 in preparation for the War shows Horace was also living at 15 The Plain.  Horace was listed as an unmarried ladies hairdresser born 20th April 1914.   He was also in the auxiliary fire service. We have heard of several instances of ladies being left under the dryer whilst Horace was called away to put out a fire.  He became the officer in charge of the fire service in Thornbury and was well respected for his leadership.

In the late 1950s Bert bought the property from Doris Lucy Anstey and the family continue to own the property until the present day.  Both Bert and Horace are listed in the 1967 programme for the Thornbury Flower Show.

Bert’s son, Tony, also became a hairdresser working for his father for a few years.  After his national service he took over the business from his father. He had married Margaret Doyle in Coalpit Heath on 3rd September 1960 and they made 15 The Plain their home.

Bert died in 1977.  Phyllis died in 1986.

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