Shortly after publishing the last blog, I was really pleased to discover an advertisement placed by William Robert’s two sons, James Ernest and Charles Edward. This was from the period when they were in business together for a few years before James set up his own pet shop in Soho Street.
And then, hot on the heels of this discovery, I received a fantastic email from Chet Haywood in Ontario. He is a great-great-grandson of William Robert Hubbleday and I had been in touch with his mother, Pamela Haywood (née Hubbleday) since 1998. She is my second cousin once removed but, like me, had been researching the Hubbledays without knowing of the existence of other branches of the family. We had both been excited to make contact and, a few years later, my brother, Brian, visited her when he was in Canada on holiday.
Pamela’s father was Charles Henry Hubbleday, born in 1909, who was the son of James Ernest Hubbleday who had the pet shop in Soho Street. As a boy, Charles had lived above the shop with his parents and elder brother. In 1951, when in his forties, he emigrated to Ontario, Canada.
Pamela had told me a lot about her father’s life but Chet’s email contained a beautifully written memoir by Charles himself. Chet had come across it while looking through some of the family’s papers.
Charles wrote his memoir in 1990, the year that his beloved wife, Elsie, died. He was able to remember his grandfather, William Robert, and knew that he had been a professional soldier. He seems to suggest that William Robert had fought in the Boer War but this would have been impossible as he was 57 years old at the time. He was probably confusing it with the New Zealand War, in which we know that William Robert fought. It would have been Charles’s father, James Ernest, who, I surmised in the last blog, might have gone to South Africa with the militia.
Here is Charles’s memoir.
Charles did travel back to England in 1991 and one of the places he wanted to visit was Coventry Cathedral because he had been involved with chrome-plating the cross of nails. He was very moved to be allowed to touch it as his eyesight had deteriorated so badly he couldn’t see it properly.
Charles died in Ontario in 1994 and the local newspaper published a wonderful obituary. This was clearly a life well lived and I am proud to have had the opportunity to celebrate it in this blog.
Charles’s memoir suggests that his brother, James, died at the age of 47, which is not quite right. In fact, James lived to be 70 and died in 1977. He had two sons, one of whom, Charles James (1933 – 2009), had two sons who, I believe, still live in the Birmingham area. However, I have not been able to confirm whether they have any sons themselves so it it is quite possible that the Hubbleday name may disappear from James Ernest’s branch of the family.
The next blog will look at my branch of the family name starting with my great-grandfather, Charles Edward Hubbleday (1869 – 1935), and his four sons.