Henry Powell and his Family

You can read here about Henry Powell, his wife and family and something about their life in Taunton, Somerset, England.

Click on any of these items to jump straight to the topic concerned:

  1. Introduction, starting with the family's origins in East London.
  2. Henry and his wife Mary Ann (Polly).
  3. Homes and housekeeper.
  4. The Children.
  5. Postscript.

There are also links to photographs, within the text.

In a few instances, there are uncertainties. Explanatory notes have been added in square brackets and italics [like this].


1. Introduction to Henry Powell and his family

With ancestors traceable (by implication) back to the Powell and Breach families in East London in the late 1700s, Henry Powell was born in Hoxton Old Town (East London) in 1848. At age 20, Henry was working for the shirt manufacturer "McIntyre & Hogg" at their Mile End factory. He married an East London girl (whose ancestors were Franklin, Brown and Olley) in 1875. The ancestors were ordinary people; tailors, warehouse men, mercantile clerks, etc. Henry had six children between 1876 and 1890. The family moved to Taunton, Somerset towards the end of the 1800s. Henry eventually became a partner and director of a major shirt manufacturing company and was then moderately wealthy. Because of his wife's long absences in mental hospitals, the children had a difficult upbringing. One brother spent a month in prison and then emigrated to the USA. A second brother fought in the British Army during the First World War, was injured and returned to hospital in England, and subsequently emigrating to Canada. A sister emigrated to the USA to have a baby. Henry died in 1929, aged 81, leaving £11,522.

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2. Henry Powell and Wife

Husband - Henry Powell (7 April 1848 to 15 June 1929).
Henry was born in Hoxton Old Town (East London) on 7th April 1848 to a father (also called Henry) who was a mercantile clerk. At age 20, Henry went to work for "McIntyre & Hogg", the shirt manufacturers, at their Spa Factory in Copperfield Road, Mile End. At an early stage in his working life, he was a warehouseman, but by the time he was 60, he was one of the Directors on the Board of "McIntyre Hogg Marsh & Co Ltd" when the company was registered as a limited company in 1908. At age 27, on 7th August 1875, he married Mary Ann (Polly) Franckling at St Peter's Church, West Hackney (East London). They had four sons and two daughters, all born in London: Harry (26/7/1876), Maud (6/7/1878), Emma (18/3/1880), Albert (24/11/1881), Arthur (23/12/1884) and Dick (23/5/1890). At some stage (probably around or before 1897), the family moved to Taunton, Somerset. The "McIntyre & Hogg" factory in Bristol had moved first to Cheddar and then to Taunton (where it was called the Taunton Manufacturing Company at Poolwall Mills). According to his daughter Emma, he was very strict, never listened to his servants tales and "didn't appreciate me". However, he improved greatly when he became a grandfather (ie when Robert and Elizabeth Henderson, and Richard Powell were born). With his wife mentally ill and frequently in hospital, Henry had housekeepers to look after him. He died on 15th June 1929, moderately wealthy, leaving £11,522.

It is common practice for the value of the estates of wealthy people and associated legacies to be published in the newspaper (probably the Telegraph). This small scrap of newspaper saved from c1929 states:
Mr. HENRY POWELL (81) of 4, Mount-terrace, Taunton, Somerset left £500 to his housekeeper, Rose Walling ... £11,522.

This was actually a large sum of money; an estate of £414,000 and a legacy to his housekeeper of £18,000 in today's money - using the UK Retail Price Index figures (4.6 in 1929 and 165.4 in 1999).

Wife - Polly Franckling (16 August 1849 to c15 January 1912)
Mary Ann (Polly) Franckling was born in City Road, Middlesex (now London EC1), a long road that borders Islington, Hoxton and Shoreditch. Her ancestors were tailors, perfumers and warehousemen. Her daughter Emma says she does not remember many things about her mother, except one visit to her, when in hospital. This was some place in Exeter which included a hospital, nursing home and mental home. What she remembers of this visit is her mother saying "Oh yes, that's my little Emma. Oh, no, that's not my girl". This must have been when Emma was 13 or 14. Before this, her mother was frequently getting ill, going away to hospital and coming home again. She was possibly a schizophrenic; always quarrelling with the servants or accusing them of putting poison in her tea. When Emma was about 12, she remembers an occasion, sitting on the doctor's knee, while he was discussing the situation with her father. The doctor said "You'll have to put her away, she can't stay here or you will never keep any servants". It seems as though the only reason her father did not want to put his wife into an asylum, was because of the money he would have to pay. Emma was only taken once to see her mother and does not know if any of the others saw her, but she believes her father visited her. Polly was dying around the time of Emma's marriage, and Emma thinks she died the day after the wedding.

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3. Homes and Housekeeper

According to daughter Emma, the family moved from London to Wellington Road in Taunton. [Unfortunately, records are unclear; although it seems as if 4 houses were involved]:
1) Woodbine Lodge
2) Willoughby (built for the family) had 3 storeys and was too much as Arthur was away at boarding school.
3) 6 Mount Terrace was a very small 2 storey house. They had a housekeeper there.
[The newspaper cutting about Henry's Will gives the address as 4 Mount-terrace].
4) One of her father's travellers, when she was growing up, said "You have to come down and see the house I have chosen for your father" - this was Ashleigh and the last house they lived in. As the servants were getting pretty awful, Harry suggested "perhaps Emma can do the housework". Her father's business was doing better at this stage.
[There is one unclear issue. Emma's wedding photographs were taken in front of Ashleigh House in 1912 and this house was eventually passed on to the eldest son, Harry, where he lived until his death. However, the newspaper report of Henry's Will gives his address as Mount Terrace. Either the Will was written at Mount Terrace and never needed to be amended or, more likely (as Emma's comments about her siblings suggest), the main family home was Ashleigh House with Harry and Emma living there all the time, whilst the father continued to live at Mount Terrace with the housekeeper].
According to daughter Emma, the housekeeper, Rose Walling, "was boss of the show. Always 'on' with him [her father]". He would take her out for drives. She used to send presents to Emma, whose brother, Harry, would say "throw them on the fire". Rose Walling was a fairly big busted woman, who dressed well.
Emma said that Rose Walling was "so disappointed when I said goodbye to her and she kissed me". Referring to the death of her father, Emma said that Rose "was on with him till the very last - she cried when the Will was read. A house was bought for her and Harry saw that it was properly furnished".

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4. The Children

Harry - Henry Franklin (26 July 1876 to c1974).
The eldest son and heir. Christened Henry Franklin; known to friends as Henry but to family exclusively as Harry. Harry hated the housekeeper and he and Emma went to Ashleigh House. Rose Walling said "No I'm not going to live with Mr. Harry", and she remained at Mount Terrace with their father.
Harry took over Ashleigh House on his father's death. He never married but had a housekeeper to look after him. He had an expert gardener and, as a result, a beautiful garden (being the source of a sermon in c1925 by the Rector of St Mary's). He was a keen collector of the Irish water colour artist Frank Eggington. His working life was spent with shirt manufacturing; managing both the Londonderry (City Factory) and Taunton (Taunton Manufacturing Co, Poolwall Mills) factories. He later became Deputy Chairman of McIntyre Hogg Marsh & Co Ltd.
He divided his time between Taunton and Londonderry (staying there in the City Hotel). After his nephew (Robert Henderson) became manager of City Factory, he kept an office there, but only came to Ireland for long fishing holidays (staying in local hotels in Clonmany and Milford, Co.Donegal).
Maud - Maud Florence (6 July 1878 to ?).
According to her sister Emma, Maud was hot tempered. Her schooling was in London. After their move to Taunton (when she was about 19), she didn't want to stay home to do the housework, but wanted a ladies life. She seemed to stay with relatives in London. Maud was 'adopted' by this Aunt with her two children. Henry Powell had 2 or 3 sisters and brothers in London, and Maud was with one of these brothers and his wife "Aunty Pop". Emma thought that their father "asked them to have her". Maud left England for America. There was some mystery about this and no family knowledge that she was married before she left. She later wrote her sister Emma a post card saying "I am married and going to have a baby"; received from America.
[There are no further family records of Maud].
Emma - Emma Breach (18 March 1880 to 20 August 1972).
She had a Governess for 2 years. Her first school was Hayes Hill. An Aunt Emma (Paddington, London) wanted to adopt her when she was aged around 12-14 but this did not happen. Later, she went to Bishop Fox's Girls School in Taunton until she was about 17. Emma was less than 10 when she had to look after her baby brother Dick; possibly her mother Polly had post-natal depression that she never recovered from. Emma was aged about 26 when they went to Ashleigh - "if I do the housekeeping I must have 2 servants", but her father never thought about this. Apparently, she used to go and see her sister Maud.
On 15th June 1912, she married George Henderson at St James' Church, Taunton, and subsequently moved to Surrey (Wallington and Cranleigh) and finally to Chester. They had two children: Robert and Elizabeth. She died on 20th August 1972 in Chester.
Albert - Albert Olley (3 December 1881 to ?).
Had a Governess, and then schooling as a weekly boarder. He went away fairly early to business, with Babcock & Wilcox in Nottingham. He married Evelyn (b.24/12/??) and they had at least one child Richard H. Powell (b.4/7/??). He in turn married Margaret and they had two children, Barbara and Michael.
Arthur - Arthur Sidney (23 December 1884 to September 1977).
His schooling was as a weekly boarder. He was always a worry to his father who said he wouldn't have him in his factory because he wouldn't get up in the morning. His father gave him an awful time because he wouldn't look after the business properly. He went into banking. Arthur apparently stayed on at Mount Terrace rather than moving to Ashleigh House.
According to his sister Emma, the Police were always after him:
1) some incident of him stealing sweets (chocolate) from a shop counter.
2) Maud, Arthur, Emma, Dick and father were in Weston-Super-Mare for a holiday. Arthur stole a solid silver mustard pot from someone's sideboard and was sent to prison for a month. His father never gave him a chance to live his own life. He wouldn't have him home after this, but knew some friends who would take him in to do some work; (apparently heavy work where trains were made). He emigrated to America where he married Anna (21/4/1897 to 4/1972), but they had no children. Their (final) address was 406 Pine Street, Kelso, Washington, USA 98626-2311.
The Social Security Death Index gives the following:
SSDI for Anna:
· Birth: 21 April 1897, Death: April 1972
· Last Residence 98626 Kelso, Cowlitz, WA
· Last Benefit (none specified)
· SSN 532-32-8270
SSDI for Arthur:
· Birth: 23 December 1884, Death September 1977
· Last Residence 98124 Seattle, King, WA
· Last Benefit 98626 Kelso, Cowlitz, WA
· SSN 534-01-6999
Dick - Richard William (23 May 1890 to 10 January 1966)
Educated by Governess, then Dame School (Taunton) and Ardingly (Godalming, Surrey). According to sister Emma, "not much education at all", and he was only at Ardingly for about a year. He came home and started work in a factory and hated it so much. He didn't like being stared at by the work people and disliked working among "factory girls" after being to school. He was waiting until he was old enough to get into the Army, and was quite happy in the Army. During the First World War he was shot in leg in France. In a post card to his sister Emma he wrote "Now I've got a blighty one". He was brought back to hospital in Taunton. He didn't like it at home and eventually emigrated to Canada. He never married. Dick died in hospital on 10th January 1966, and was buried at White Rock Veteran Memorial, Fairmount, Building Park, Broadway.
His (final) address was RR2, 17165 Boundary Road, White Rock, BC, Canada.

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5. Postscript

The Powell line has been carried on via Albert to Richard to Michael. Whether Maud's baby survived, and if she had some more children who subsequently had children of their own in USA, is unknown at present.

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Now go to: Henry Powell (grandfather)
HF Powell (son)
Emma Breach Powell (daughter)
Robert Henderson (son of Emma Powell)


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Revised on 24 December 2003