Chapter 6

Thomas Hewett Ponting

Thomas Hewett Ponting was born on 2 February 1840 at Hengastone Farm, in the parish of Breadstone, Berkeley, the son of Henry Ponting, farmer, and Jane Jones (Reg Gen March Qtr 1840 Thornbury 11 477) (Chapter 4). Jane registered the birth. Thomas was baptised on 4 March 1840 at Berkeley Parish Church. His father was described as Henry, farmer from Hengaston.

The 1841 census shows Thomas, aged 1, living with his father, Henry Ponting, aged 30, a farmer at Hengastone Farm, Berkeley. Mother Jane was visiting relatives with her 4 month old daughter Mary.

At the time of the 1851 census Thomas was living with his mothers parents at Newpark, Highfield, Berkeley. The entry reads

  • John Jones, head, married, aged 72, farmer of 350 acres of land employing 15 labourers, born Berkeley
  • Mary Jones, wife, aged 69, born Hill
  • Daniel Jones, son, unmarried, aged 26, farmers son, born Berkeley
  • Thomas Ponting, grandson, aged 11, born Berkeley
  • Augusta Cowley, housekeeper
  • Harriet Mills & Ema Ball, house servants
  • James Taylor, George Blizard & James Perkins, farm labourers.

Thomas's grandfather had married Mary Hewett (Appendix K & Appendix L).

By 1861 Thomas had moved to London leaving his mother and sisters in Berkeley. At the time the census was taken he was, aged 21, an assistant to Wilmer B Barnes, a 39 year old linen draper (employing 1 man and 3 boys) and living at 68 Upper Street, Islington. He was living with Barnes, his wife, their son and 2 daughters as well as an apprentice linen draper, aged 17, and 2 domestic servants Elizabeth Harden, aged 32, a cook and Charlotte Hoare, aged 20, a nursemaid.

Thomas was believed to be the first of the Ponting brothers to set up independently as a draper first in Archer Street in about 1863, moving to 123 Westbourne Grove, "Thomas H. Ponting and Company's address from 1868". However it is unclear whether either initially or later he went into partnership with other family members, particularly his sister Mary Jane.

By the time that the 1871 census was taken, 31 year old Thomas was at 123 Westbourne Grove, Kensington. He was living with his widowed mother, Jane, aged 59, sister Mary, aged 30 and brother John, aged 28, all described as drapers, employing 4 assistants. Also at the address were those 4 drapers assistants, Annie Florence, aged 20, Alice J Clarke, aged 19, Emma Barnes, aged 17 and Martha H Pidgeon, aged 19, and Margaret Byrne, aged 14, a general servant.

Thomas Hewett Ponting, a bachelor, a draper, of full age, living at Bayswater married Martha Louisa Allen, spinster of full age living at Alsace Terrace, Southsea at St Bartholomew's Church, Southsea on 31 March 1875 (Reg Gen March Qtr 1875 Portsea Island 2b 617). Thomas's father is shown as Henry Ponting, farmer. Martha's father is Edward Allen, Inspector H M Dockyard. The certificate shows that they were married by licence rather than the more usual banns. The witnesses were William Ponting (Chapter 11) and Matilda Emma Mitchell.

The image below is a cerified copy of the marriage certificate from the General Register Office. 

Martha Louisa Allen had been born on 9 April 1837, the daughter of Edward Allen and Martha Ann Hicks who married on 7 November 1835 at St Faith, Havant. At the time of the 1841 census Martha, aged 3 and her younger brother Edward Allen, aged 1 were living with 80 year old merchant, William Hicks and 50 year old Louisa Hicks at Langston. Their father Edward was staying with his mother Mary Allen (nee Binstead) at Portsea Town. There was no trace of their mother. She had certainly died by 1851 and by the time that the census was taken 13 year old Martha was already a servant although living with her 40 year old widowed father, a shipwright inspector, and her brothers Edward Allen and Alfred Allen aged 11 and 5, scholars at Hereford Street, Portsea. Another son Charles Robert Allen had been born and died in 1843. In 1861 Martha is shown as visiting Henry L Lilley, a 32 year old schoolmaster and his wife at 64 Wick Street, Portsea. It is originally notes that Martha has "no occupation" but this is amended to show "preparing for a governess". It does not appear she ever became a governess for in the 1871 census Martha is living and working for Edward Palmer, grocer and wine merchant at 1 Palmerstone Road, Portsea.

Thomas and Martha's marriage and the birth of their three children are recorded in the family bible. Photographs were posted on Ancestry.co.uk by Liz Greenwood. This appears to be same type of bible as owned by William and Emily Ponting (chapter 10).    

Thomas and Mary's first child Charles Allen Ponting was born on 1 January 1876 (Reg Gen March 1876 Fulham 1a 221) but died on 14 March 1876 (Reg Gen March 1876 Fulham 1a 172).

Thomas and Mary's eldest daughter Mary Louisa Jane Ponting was born on 24 December 1877 at 312 Goldhawk Road, Shepherds Bush (Reg Gen March Qtr 1878 Fulham 1a 222), daughter of Thomas Hewitt Ponting and Martha Louisa Ponting formerly Allen. Father Thomas, described as a draper, registered the birth.

Their second daughter, Edith Florence Ponting was born on 17 June 1879 (Reg Gen Sept Qtr 1879 Fulham 1a 214). Her birth certificate shows her parents as Thomas Hewitt Ponting, linen draper, and Martha Louisa Ponting formerly Allen of 312 Goldhawk Road, Shepherds Bush.

Still at 312 Goldhawk Road in 1881, the census reads

  • Thomas H Ponting, head, married, draper, aged 41, born Berkeley
  • Martha L Ponting, wife, married, aged 43, born Langstone, Hampshire
  • Mary L J Ponting, daughter, aged 3, born Middlesex, London
  • Elizabeth F Ponting, daughter, aged 1, born Middlesex , London
  • Martha Godfrey, domestic servant, aged 25
  • Louisa E Garney, domestic servant, aged 126

Thomas's younger daughter's name must have been misheard as Elizabeth rather than Edith.

Thomas is listed on the electoral register in 1881. This shows he is living at 212 Goldhawk Road and qualifies through the property. Voting rights had changed throughout the 1800's. In early-19th-century Britain very few people had the right to vote. A survey conducted in 1780 revealed that the electorate in England and Wales consisted of just 214,000 people - less than 3% of the total population of approximately 8 million. The three parliamentary Reform Acts in 1832, 1867 and 1884 gave the right to more of the population, but not many. The Reform Act of 1832 only gave the vote to men in towns who occupied property with an annual value of £10, which excluded six adult males out of seven from the voting process. The second Reform Act of 1867 gave two in every five Englishmen the right to vote and even the third Reform Act of 1884 only allowed all male house owners in both urban and rural areas to vote and added 6 million people to the voting registers. Unmarried woman householders had been given the vote in local elections in 1869, but not in national elections. The right was extended to married women in 1894. Women over 30 were given the full vote in 1918 with men over 21. Equal voting rights finally came into being in 1928.

Although by 1881 Thomas was no longer living at Westbourne Grove, he was clearly still running the business there and it looks like this had expanded. His mother, Jane is resident at 123 and 125 Westbourne Grove along with

  • S A Tuckes, aged 15, L Potts, aged 18, G Madwick, aged 20, G Harley, aged 21, E M Monk, aged 25, C J West, aged 21, M Hope, aged 19, E Laker, aged 16, E M Tucker, aged 17 and L Wills, aged 25, all 10 drapers assistants and
  • E Blackhall, aged 22 and Emma Grove, aged 25, both domestic servants.

At this time 121 Westbourne Grove was occupied by a J Woolnough, jeweller and 127 Westbourne Grove by L Chavenbre, a hairdresser, born in Germany.

At some point Thomas moved back to 123 Westbourne Grove and the 1891 census records

  • Thomas H Ponting, head, aged 51, draper, born Berkeley
  • Maria (should read Martha) L Ponting, wife, aged 53, born Havant, Hampshire
  • Jane Ponting, mother, aged 78, living on her own means, born Berkeley
  • Mary J Finnemore, daughter (sister), aged 50, living on own means, born Berkeley (Chapter 7).
  • Emily E Challon, aged 33, housekeeper
  • Lucy W Dales, aged 23 and Laura B Doughty, aged 20, drapers clerks
  • Florence M Corley, aged 17, Edith H Hunt, aged 23, Blanche Banks, aged 23, Sophie E Siegel, aged 21 and Sarah M Taylor, aged 23, all drapers assistants
  • Edith M Bridges, aged 18, Mary L Young, aged 17, Florence H Salter, aged 18, and Constance M Parcel, aged 18, all drapers apprentices

Thomas's daughters, Mary L Ponting, aged 13 and Edith Florence Ponting, aged 11 were not present at the time the census was taken as they were both pupils at Tanfield Private School in Watford.

Of all of Thomas's apprentices I have highlighted Mary L Young. The census shows that she was born in Rudgeway in Gloucestershire. She was the daughter of Henry Young and Elizabeth Wetmore Jones. Thomas Ponting and Elizabeth Wetmore Jones were 2nd cousins through the Jones line and would be related more distantly through the Wetmore line (Appendix I (Subsection 2)).

As has been described and illustrated it was not uncommon for employers to provided their employees with living accommodation and it seems that by 1891 Thomas Ponting's staff were also occupying 121 Westbourne Grove. The census shows:

  • Jane E Roberts, aged 31, Walter W Bourne, aged 25, Cordelia C Holman, aged 23, May Arnold, aged 22, Ida Hayward, aged 22, Julia J Storey, aged 22, Emily A Brower, aged 21, Annie Lavender, aged 20, Emma Parrott, aged 20, Amanda A Wortley, aged 19, Annie M Cunningham, aged 14, all drapers assistants
  • Bessie Lane, aged 39, Elizabeth Payne, aged 24, both cooks
  • Martha M Coleman, aged 27, Charlotte Wise, aged 26, Sophie Oldridge, aged 22, Alice Drew, aged 20 general servants.

125 Westbourne Grove was occupied by Lillian Burnside, aged 18, drapers apprentice. 127 Westbourne Grove continued to be run as a hairdressers, but 131 Westbourne was also home to draper's employees;

  • Marie A Buckley, aged 19, drapers assistant
  • Katherine A Hutchins, aged 28, Florence A Perry, aged 18, Agnes Earl, aged 18 and Walter Parker, aged 17, all drapers apprentices
  • Ann E Kirkham, aged 31, domestic servant

These employees did not work for Thomas, but possibly for S Bradley and Co. "Shops and Shopping 1800-1914", states that 129 and 131 Westbourne Grove had been occupied by S Bradley & Co, silk mercers and furriers trading as Ulster House from 1871. It suggests that it is more than likely that S Bradley & Co and the Arctic Fur Company were related, as furrier businesses run in families and this would seem to be supported by the postcard below which shows the two businesses next door to each other.

This picture postcard was kindly sent to me by Keith Goold. I believe this shows from the right 121, 123 and 125 Westbourne Grove and whilst illegible as shown here, when magnified you can just make out "T H Ponting & Co, 121, 123, 125".

Number 127 Westbourne Grove is clear from the picture and the name Smith is above the door although the initial is obscured this could be Edward Smith, hairdresser who was there in 1891.

The Arctic Fur Company had been opened by a Mr Bradley in Chepstow Place off Westbourne Grove in 1870 but had moved to Westbourne Grove by the time the photograph was taken. The Arctic Fur Company not only made up furs, but also traded as direct importers of raw skins and was one of the first firms to have a series of cold air chambers for storing furs. These were seemingly times of progress.

Number 131 Westbourne Grove was occupied by Bradley and Sons. The business had traded from this premises since 1870 although initially established elsewhere back in 1858. Much later in the 20th century Bradleys were to become immensely high class dressmaking and tailoring establishment, as well as furriers - a model house for couture furs and clothes with workrooms and showrooms occupying an area of nearly six acres (clearly not in Westbourne Grove) with eighty-six private fitting rooms. It was run under the direct control of the Bradley family until 1953 when it was acquired by Dagenham's & Freebody.

Things were changing for Thomas as well, a notice in The London Gazette on 30 June 1891 states

"Notice is hereby given that the Partnership heretofore subsisting between the undersigned, Thomas Hewett Ponting and Mary Jane Finemore, formerly Mary Jane Ponting, spinster, carrying on business as Drapers at 121, 123 and 125 Westbourne-grove in the county of Middlesex, under the style or firm of T.H.Ponting and Co, has been dissolved, by mutual consent, as from the 19th day of February 1891. All debts due to or owing by the said late partnership will be received and paid by the said Thomas Hewett Ponting who will in future carry on the said business under the aforesaid style or firm of T.H.Ponting and Co. Dated this 23rd day of June 1891

M J Finemore

Thomas Hewett Ponting

It is not clear whether Mary had been in partnership with her brother throughout his time at Westbourne Grove or whether this had come about more latterly. However it is apparent that the dissolution of the partnership takes place at around the same time as not only Mary's marriage but the events giving rise to Mary Jane's divorce (Chapter 7). 

On 4 March 1899 the Hampshire Telegraph lists the visitors staying at Southsea and includes Mr and Mrs T H Ponting and Misses Ponting, Mrs Ponting and Mr Dudley James Ponting who are staying at the Royal Pier Hotel. 

Telephone Directories for 1901 show T H Ponting & Co, Fancy drapers at 121 Westbourne Grove.

In 1901 Thomas was living at 6 Talbot Road, Paddington. He had been there since at least 1893 when he was granted probate of his mothers will. The entry includes

  • Thomas H Ponting, head, aged 61, linen draper (employer), born Berkeley, Gloucestershire
  • Martha L Ponting, wife, aged 63, born Langstone, Hampshire
  • Edith F Ponting, daughter, unmarried, aged 21, born Hammersmith, Middx
  • Mary L J Osborne, aged 22, married, born Hammersmith, Middx
  • George M Osborne, visitor, aged 26, married, grocer (employer), born Middx
  • Lillian G Allen, visitor, aged 27, unmarried, born Southsea, Hampshire
  • Adam F Boyce, housemaid, aged 24
  • Emily A Mar, aged 31, domestic cook

Lillian was the daughter of Martha's brother Edward.

Thomas's wife Martha Louisa Ponting died on 27 May 1909, aged 72, at Harrold in Bedfordshire (Reg Gen June Qtr 1909. Bedford 3b 171) . She is described as wife of Thomas Hewitt Ponting, draper. The cause of death was an epileptic attack and cardiac failure. The informant was Zilpah Pettit who was present at death. Zilpah Pettit was born in 1888 (Reg Gen March Qtr 1888 Bedford 3b 310). In 1901, 13 year old Zilpah living with her 39 year old father, Harry Pettit, a leather dresser, his 34 year old wife Martha Pettit and siblings at London Yard, Harrold, Bedfordshire. Zilpah would have been 21 by the time she witnessed Martha's death. Was she still living with her father, was this where the death took place? What was the connection, if any between the families? Earlier census returns indicate that the Allen family and Pettit family are related but the exact relationship has not been established at present. Martha was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery, Harrow Road, Kensal Green, London, W10

In 1907, 1909 and 1910 the business is listed in telephone directories at 121 to 125 Westbourne Grove.

At some time, Thomas had entered into another partnership. On 11 May 1909, the London Gazette records that the partnership between Thomas Hewett Ponting and William Beake carrying on business as drapers at 121, 123 and 125 under the style or firm of T H Ponting and Co had been dissolved by mutual consent from 11 February 1909 and that all debts due to and owing by the firm would be received and paid by Thomas Hewett Ponting, by whom the business will in future be carried on.

There is no trace of the business in the 1911 or later directories. It is assumed that when Thomas retired the business did not continue.

By 1911, Thomas Hewett Ponting was living at 35 The Avenue, Brondesbury Park. Thomas was a 71 year old widower and gives his occupation as a retired draper. Living with him is his 33 year old daughter Mary Louisa Jane Osborne. Also at the address are Thomas' housekeeper, 48 year old Annie Arthy and another servant, 21 year old Elizabeth Mackay.

Thomas appears in the 1912 (and 1914) London telephone directory at 35, The Avenue, Brondesbury Park, Willesden. This is the first time a private number had been listed for him and is around the time that T H Ponting & Co at Westbourne Grove stopped appearing.

Thomas Hewitt Ponting died on 17 February 1915 at 35 The Avenue, Brondesbury Park (Reg Gen March Qtr 1915 Willesden 3a 448). Thomas was 74 and is described on the death certificate as a draper master (retired). The causes of death were acute bronchitis and cardiac failure. The informant was M Osborne, who I take to be Mary. Her address is given as 35 The Avenue, Brondesbury Park.

In his will dated 10 October 1910 Thomas

  • Appoints William James Bergman Tippets, solicitor and Arthur Ponting (Appendix J), draper of 285 to 297 Commercial Road, Whitechapel as executors and leaves them both the sum of £200.00
  • Leaves his housekeeper Mrs Arthy £50.00, provided she is still in service when he dies, with a further £5.00 for every additional year she is in service following the making of the will
  • Sets aside part of his remaining assets to purchase an annuity which will pay his sister Susanna Love (Chapter 8) £50.00 per annum throughout her life
  • The remainder of the estate is to be held in trust, the trustees being his executors. One half of the income is to be applied for the maintenance of his daughter Mary Louisa Jane Osborne and the other half for the maintenance of his daughter Edith Florence Carter, the trustees having absolute discretion over the amount to be paid and whether it is to be paid direct to his daughters, to another person on their behalf or in any other way the trustees deem advisable. Following the death of his daughters the estate is to be divided between their children with the proviso that Edith can provide up to half of the income in which she and her children are interested for her husband William Bowman Carter during his life or until he remarries.

It then goes on to say that in the absence of Mary or Edith having children then the estate is to be divided between any of his sisters or his deceased brothers or sisters children who survive his daughters and their children (the will was made 20 days after his last surviving brother - John Jones Ponting - had died). This provision is limited to John Jones Ponting's children by his second and third marriages as the children of his first marriage have 'already been provided for.'

Thomas appears to have held property from which he received rental income. His will gives his executors the authority to postpone sale of any of his 'reversionary' property until such a time as it falls empty and states that prior to sale the net income is to be distributed as set out in the will.

He sets out a number of ways that his estate can be invested and this includes the purchase of further property.

In a codicil to the will dated 12 December 1913, Thomas revokes his legacy to his sister Susanna Love on the basis that he has sustained various losses and if any of his property remains unlet there may be insufficient income to provide for his daughters. He replaces this by asking the trustees to pay one ninth of the net income from the property at Leister, Westbourne Grove or one ninth of the income from the capital realised on its sale to his sister for her lifetime.

The value of Thomas's estate was £17,379.18s.9d, later revised to £14,051.3s 9d (around £985K in 2006).

Mary Louisa Jane Osborne nee Ponting

Although not described as such in the 1901 census, Mary Osborne is Thomas's daughter. Mary Louisa Jane Ponting married George Montague Osborne on 26 April 1900 in St Matthews Church, Bayswater (Reg Gen June Qtr 1900 Paddington 1a 1). Mary, aged 22 year gives her address as 6 Talbot Road. Thomas is described as a fancy draper. George Montague Osborne was 25 years old, a wine merchant who gives his address as 98 Westbourne Grove. His father was also George Montague Osborne, wine merchant. His mother is believed to have been Julia Maria Phipps. The witnesses were T H Ponting, E F Ponting, G M Osborne and J M Osborne. Below is an extract from the original parish record showing the participants actual signatures

In 1911 Mary was living with her father Thomas at 35 The Avenue, Brondesbury Park

George Montague Osborne of 3 Sackville Gardens, Hove, Sussex (which appears to be his mothers home) died on 14 July 1911 aged 36 years old. George a retired grocer died of pneumonia (4 days) and heart failure. The informant was his brother Percy Gerald Osborne, present at death, but who usually resided at 48, Home Park Road, Wimbledon Park (Reg Gen Sept Qtr 1911 Steyning 2b 337) . Probate was granted to his mother Julia Maria Osborne and brother Percy, grocer. His effects were valued at £1,546.4s.7d.

George and Mary had one son, Guy Montague Osborne who was born on 12 December 1903. In 1911 Guy was staying with his uncle Percy Gerald Osborne, a 48 year old grocer and his family at 48 Home Park Road, Wimbledon.

Mary Louise Jane Osborne of Rest Dene, Audley Road, Hendon, a widow, died on 7 January 1928 at 120 South Road, Hendon. She would have been about 50 years old.

Administration of her estate was granted to her son, Guy Montague Osborne, a dealer from Halstead. Her effects were worth £247 4s. 

A little is known of Guy Montague Osborne after Mary Louise Osborne's death.

  • On 11 January 1932, Guy Montague Osborne of 38 Charles Square, London, aged 26, arrived in Southampton from Durban, South Africa on HMS Arundel Castle. Under occupation he writes 'Nil'. The two passengers listed above him are Nita Le Strange, a 79 year old widow and Gordon Le Strange, aged 24.
  • On 25 November 1939 he sailed on the Statenden from Southampton arriving at New York on 5 December 1939. He was 36 years old, an antique dealer possibly travelling with a colleague Geoffrey Avory.
  • On 26 November 1940 Guy crossed the border from Canada into Buffalo, New York on a 60 day transit visit. He gives his occupation as merchant.
  • On 29 August 1941 he is mentioned in the London Gazette and then again on 7 October 1941 when he is promoted from Acting Pilot Officer on probation to Pilot Officer on Probation.

He was awarded the 1939-1945 Star (Battle of Britain) and the 1939-1945 War Medal (Oak leaf)

Guy Montague Osborne of 38, Chester Square, Belgravia, London died on 17 July 1942 on war service. Probate was granted to Gordon Le Strange, Lieutenant, H.M. Army. His effects were worth £150 19s 3d. "Armed Forces Deaths Abroad" confirms that Guy was a Flying Officer with Ahq Iraq Unit. The command was formed on 1 November 1941 by renaming HQ British Forces, former RAF Iraq Command. AHQ Iraq was renamed AHQ Iraq and Persia in 1943.

The Commonwealth War Graves 1939 - 1947 lists Guy under Baghdad (North Gate), Habbinuya, Khanaquin & Mosul

Edith Florence Carter nee Ponting

Thomas and Martha's younger daughter Edith Florence Ponting married William Bowmar Carter on 1 July 1903 at St Matthews Church, Bayswater (Reg Gen Sept Qtr 1903 Paddington 1a 1). Edith is described as a 24 year old spinster living at 6 Talbot Road. William is a 29 year old bachelor, a merchant, resident at 16 St Peterborough Place. His father was Joseph Bowmar Carter (deceased), a merchant. Both parties signed the marriage register. The witnesses were T H Ponting and G M Osborne. Below is an extract from the original parish record showing the parties actual signatures.

The 1901 census describes both William Bowmar Carter and his father as "trimming merchants" so the same area of trade as the Pontings.

In 1911 William and Edith were living at 8 Audley Road, Hendon. William, aged 38, is a commercial traveller in drapery. He and 31 year old Edith have a 5 year old son Hewitt Bowman Carter, born on 23 August 1905 (Reg Gen Dec Qtr 1905 Paddington 1a 2)

Edith Florence Carter of 147, Audley Road, Hendon (wife of William Bowmar Carter) died on 24 March 1928 at 24, Hayes Crescent, Golders Green, Middlesex. Probate was granted to William Bowmar Carter, merchant. Her effects were valued at £110 8s 1d.

William Bowmar Carter and Hewitt Bowmar Carter were registered as electors living at 147, Audley End, Hendon in 1931. William Bowmar Carter appears to have died on 5 July 1939 (Reg Gen Sept Qtr 1939 Barnet 3a 627)

William and Edith's son, Hewitt Bowmar Carter married Esther Bertha Floringer on 16 October 1935 (Reg Gen Dec Qtr 1935 Rochford 4a 1764). In 1939 they were living at Bryant Avenue, Southend on Sea where Hewitt  was a night garage charge hand. Hewitt and Esther had two daughters

  • Jean Mary Carter. (Reg Gen September 1937 Rochford 6a 1205). Married Edward John Greenwood in 1960. They had three children. 
  • Marian Edith Carter. (Reg Gen March 1945 Southend on Sea 4a 1082)

Hewitt Bowmar Carter died in 1977 aged 71 years old in Southend on Sea (Reg Gen March 1977 Southend on Sea 9 3161). His widow Esther died in February 2004 aged 96 years old (Reg Gen February 2004 Southend On Sea B18C 475/1B 245). 

Click here to go to "Chapter 7 - Mary Jane Finemore nee Ponting".

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