An Abraham BECK died in 1805, (was this the Abraham who married Elizabeth Withers in 1755?) his sons were Abraham born 1761, John and William. On 15th October 1786 a John BECK (widower) married Anne Long (widow) in the Parish of Hanwell Middlesex, but there is no proof if this John was part of the family! Then there is a Christening on October 6th 1788 of an Abraham son of Abraham and Mary BECK of Shoe Lane. So many questions!
In the Universal Directory of Great Britain 1791 at Brentford there is an entry for a John BECK Linen-draper and an Abraham BECK Victualler of the Cannon Public House. There was a John BECK born in Brentford in 1796, I’m sure this was my great, great grandfather. I have the will of Abraham BECK, Gentleman of Ealing, Middlesex dated 27th November 1805 Catalogue reference PROB 11/1433. Written proof that his brother was John Beck, his son John Beck (of Down Barnes farm), Grand children John Stone Beck and Ann Zipporah and his wife Ann.
My other great, great, grandfather Samuel HARBROE was born in East Sheen between the Northern edge of Richmond Park and the River Thames in 1806, his father was John HARBROE born about 1770.
At Northolt near Hayes in the county of Middlesex in 1819, farmer John BECK and his wife Sarah (nee Stone) were delivered of a son John Stone BECK. There is a grave in remembrance of Mr William Stone late of Down Barns who died April 11th (?) 1796 aged 48 years also of Mrs Sarah Stone his wife who died November 18th 1794 aged 46 years - much of this gravestone is unreadable though.

Down Barnes was, I understand, a large dairy farm at the West End of Northolt it appears to be situated next to the remains of an ancient mound which was surrounded by a moat. 1821 was the year farmer John BECK and his wife were delivered of a daughter they named Ann Zipparah she was baptized on 31st October at St. Mary's Church. In 1823, Henry BECK was born. There is a will for a ‘John BECK formerly carrying on the trade of Linen Draper now of Gardening of Ealing, Middlesex 16th October 1823 (PROB 11/1676’). Is this the father of them all? Then there is a London Probate record of Abraham BECK in May 1829 in the Count of Middlesex.
At Down Barns in Northolt, a second son for John BECK and his wife was born, they named him William. Then in 1827 came Ellen. In 1829 there was a son they named Abraham he was baptised on the 1st of April at St. Mary's, Northolt.
© Copyright David Hawgood and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Emma BECK was born at Down Barnes Farm in 1833. Alfred BECK was born in Northolt in 1837 and died at Westend, Northolt on August 15th of ‘Inflammation in the Bowels’. I presume this would be the son of John & Sarah. The certificate does not give parents name, the informant being John Brown, Undertaker of Hayes and the registrar a William Martin. There is also a stone relating to Zipporah Stone, Richard Wilson, Betty Wilson which has an inscription in memory of Sarah Beck, wife of Mr Beck of Down Barns who departed this life June 1837. That same year on the 16th November Samuel HARBROE married Margaret COLLINS marriage was solemnized in Christ Church in the Parish of St. Mary le Bone in the County of Middlesex, after Banns. Samuel was living in Yeading, Hayes in Middlesex and stated that his father John was a ‘Keeper’. Margaret’s father was George, a ‘Fisherman’. On the January 30th 1839 Margaret HARBROE was born in Yeading near Uxbridge, Middlesex. In the meantime the Beck family men were playing cricket & racing greyhounds (note the following article was headed North Hall which is the old name for Northolt).

Item in the Sunday Times on 7th January 1838.
When the 1841 census was taken on the evening of June 6th Samuel HARBROE, his wife Margaret and two year old daughter Margaret were living in Northolt, Sarah HARBROE age 46 (born 1795) was living with them, there was also an Edward HARBROE (born 1821) living in another house. The BECK family comprising of John age 46, Ann age 20, William age 17 and Emma age 9 and a Titus Love were living at Down Barnes Farm, Westend, Northolt. John Stone BECK, age 22 was living in the Strand, St. Ann’s Soho, (in the London directory of 1843 he was at Frith Street in Soho).

I haven’t found Henry age 18. There was a tin plate worker, Mathias BECK, age 79 recorded as a resident in Hanwell Lunatic Asylum, Norwood near Hayes then a death certificate registered in Uxbridge for the 28th June 1842 ‘Matthias BECK, male, 79 years, Lunatic Patient, cause of death Decay of Nature, informant was W C Begley, Resident Surgeon, in attendance County Lunatic Asylum, Norwood.’ Was this my great, great, great grandfather? I’m beginning to have some doubts. The Board of Guardians of the Uxbridge Union Workhouse met every Friday at Hillingdon, a John BECK is vice-chairman. Which John was this? Sou
rce: Post Office 1846 - p 486
Anne BECK, age 24 died and was buried at St.Mary's Church on 2nd December 1843.
On 5th November 1848 in the parish Church of St. Mary, Whitechapel the marriage, (by Banns), took place of John Stone BECK, draper and Anne Ellen KESTEN in the presence of George Kesten and Susannah Caroline Kesten and on December 2nd 1849 their sister Matilda Emma KESTEN married Johns brother William BECK at All Souls Church, St. Marylebone London in the presence of John George Kesten and Emma Beck.


Henry BECK married Susannah SMITH on July 12th 1849 in the presence of a William Porter and Ellen BECK.
The 1851 census taken on Sunday March 30th shows the following: Living at Greenford Road, Northolt, Samuel HARBROE, age 44, Publican (of ‘The Hare and Hounds’ in Uxbridge) and Farmer of 110 acres employing 4 men, Margaret, his wife, age 40 and Elizabeth HARBROE, Samuel’s niece, age 25, unmarried, (born in Brighton, Sussex and baptised at St. Nicholas, Brighton on the 16th of March 1825, daughter of Jane of Princes Street). Their daughter, Margaret, age 12, was at the National School House, 47 Wood End Green, Hayes where she was a pupil of George Lamb and his wife.

In the Civil Parish of Northolt were widower John Beck, head of household age 55, son William age 26, daughter-in-law Matilda age 23, daughter Ellen age 24, son Abraham age 22, daughter Emma age 18 and 5 servants – Ann Clayton age 18, Thomas Hutchins age 15, Henry Jusslar age 14, William Jusslar age 19 and Alfred Meads age 20. At 31, Dean Street, St. Ann Soho were John Stone BECK age 32 born Northolt, a Warehouseman, his wife Ann Ellen age 28, born St. Anns Westminster (now under the name of Ellen but not to be confused with Ellen Beck born 1827 in Northolt), 1 servant & 2 visitors, (Dean Street was where George Kesten & family had lived in 1841 and as both John Stone Beck & Henry Beck were drapers I imagine this is how the Beck boys met the Kesten girls.) Henry was living at 14 Pett Street, Pancras where his wife, Susannah, had given birth to Ellen Elizabeth in July 1850.

Twenty five year old Ellen Beck of Northolt married widower Reuben Amiss of Leigh Street on the 24th April 1852 at St. Martins-in-the-Fields in the presence of Emma Beck and John Beck, (which John this is I don’t know). Reuben’s profession was a Tailor, and his father, Richard, an Ornamental Plasterer. Reuben’s first wife Caroline Smallbone had died between 1848 and 1851 leaving him with son Reuben born in 1845 and Caroline born in 1848, (another Caroline had been born but died in 1846). Ellen gave birth to Emma Valentine in 1853.
The largest railroad station in Europe, King’s Cross in London was finally completed and David Livingstone was on a four year expedition up the Zambesi River. Britain declared war on Russia on March the 31st 1854 with Anglo- French forces landing in Crimea, the Crimean war would last for eighteen months. In 1855 Ford Madox Brown painted ‘The Last of England’. He was inspired by the departure of Thomas Woolner for Australia and Brown used himself, his wife and child as models. Three year old Emma Valentine Amiss sadly died in 1856 the same year as another daughter was born. They named her Ellen Jane C, her birth was registered at Paddington.
Abraham Beck (of full age) married Margaret Harbroe (age 18), in the Parish Church of Saint John, Nottinghill in London on Thursday the 4th of June 1857 by licence. At the time of the marriage they were both staying in James Street, Kensington. The witnesses to the marriage were his sister Emma Beck and brother-in-law Ruben Amiss who was married to his sister Ellen. In Kensington at that time were sand quarries, little more than a mile from Marble Arch. They were the main supply for the building industry in the early Victorian period. Abraham and Margaret returned to Northolt and a year later Abraham Harbroe Beck was born, registered in Uxbridge in June.
‘The ancient parish of Northolt lay to the northwest of Ealing in the parish of Elthorne Hundred, Uxbridge Union, near the Paddington Canel, 4 miles north of Hanwell station, containing 2,193 acres, assessed to the Property Tax, in 1852 at £3,661 11s. 5d.; the population about 614. the church of St. Michael is a structure of the 14th century, with a chancel of somewhat later addition; it contains a brass memorial of the ancient family of Rolkdell, long since extinct and of several former rectors of this parish; close to it still subsists an ancient monument, the only remaining memorial of the former manor house, which it appears to have surrounded. There is an extensive brickfield in this parish, from which are supplied bricks of a peculiar quality, used in the sewers of London. The extensive valley on the north-west of this parish is remarkable as containing, at so short a distance from the metropolis, but two or three habitations in the space of several square miles. It was formerly the scene of several skirmishes, both in the Wars of the Roses and during the Parliamentary war and bones are still occasionally turned up by the plough. The living is a vicarage endowed the great tithes, of the annual of £630, in the presentation of the Bishop of London; the vicar, the Rev. William Gilson Humphrey. West End is a hamlet, with a population of 220, 1 mile south-east on the bye road to Ruislip, near Yedding Brook, about 11 miles from London. Wood End is a small hamlet, three-quarters of a mile north-east. Ilus Green adjoins Northolt. Down Barnes is one and a half miles west.’ Except for a low ridge which runs in a north-easterly direction from Down Barns to Harrow and reaches more than 150 ft. north-west of Northolt village, most of the parish lies below 125 ft. The old village is sited in a shallow depression between this ridge and further rising ground which inclines gradually north-east to the slope of Harrow Hill. With the exception of two areas of brickearth in the extreme south, the soil is exclusively London Clay.
Some of the people living there were Daniel, Francis, John and Joseph Gurney, Rev. William Gilson Humphrey (gentry), Abraham and William Beck (farmers), James Cockman (farmer), James Dean (baker & grocer), Samuel Greenhill (farmer), Samuel Harbroe (Hare and Hounds), James Hitchcock (Crown Inn), William Hawkins (White Hart), Richard Henry La Thanue (schoolmaster), Thomas Moore (farmer), William Roberts (farmer), Samuel Stanbrooke (farmer Wood end), William Thompson (blacksmith).’ [Source:Directory of Middlesex 1855].

Queen Victoria became a grandmother when the future Kaiser William II was born in Berlin on January 27th 1859. Announced in The Times Newspaper on Monday 3rd October under the Game List was ‘a General Game Certificate given to Abraham Beck of Northolt’ at a cost of £4.0.10p and in the same newspaper on 14th April 1860 was an announcement concerning West-end, Down Barnes Farm, a copyhold Estate comprising residence, cottage and land of 4acres, 1 rod and 25 perches. Abraham Beck annual rent of £40. In that year Joseph Swan invented the electric lamp, Robert Burke and William Wills left Melbourne with an expedition seeking to cross Australia from south to north, Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States of America. In Northolt another boy, John Harvey Beck, was born registered in Uxbridge in March.

The census was taken on the night of 7th April 1861. There appears to be no sign of John senior, who would have been 65 years old, but John Stone Beck was a 42 year old Linen Draper living at 3 St. Ann’s Terrace, Fulham with his wife Ellen. Henry Beck age 38 Commission Agent was at 17 Johnson Street, St. Pancras with wife Susannah (nee SMITH) age 35, Elizabeth P age 8, Henry Goe age 5 and Alfred R age 2. At Down Barnes in the West End of Northolt were William Beck age 36, farmer of 380 acres employing 6 men and 1 boy, his wife Matilda was age 32 and general servant, 19 year old Mary A Watson. Just down the road was Abraham Beck age 32 farmer, his wife Margaret age 22, Abraham Harbroe age 2 and John Harvey age 1. The AMISS family were at 25 Upton Place in the Romford Road, West Ham, Reuben was a Master Tailor age 46, Ellen age 34, daughter Ellen Jane age 5, Reuben’s children from a previous marriage, Reuben age 15, apprentice to a Chemist, Caroline Alice age 13. Emma Beck age 28 was staying with them; maybe she was in London training to be a nurse. Samuel Harbroe age 54, his wife Margaret age 50 born in Chiswick. Samuel was a Farmer of about 75 acres as well as a victualler at the Hare and Hounds, West End, Northolt employing three men (Thomas Russell unmarried carter age 39 born Northolt, William Nailowns unmarried potman age 42 and Mark Shanloeth unmarried carter age 25 born Greenford). I wonder if at Christmas all the BECK family, thirteen adults and 8 children, gathered at the Hare and Hounds or maybe back at the farm.

The outbreak of the American Civil War took place on April 12th 1861, in June much of Southwark was destroyed in a great riverside fire and on December 14th the Prince Consort died from typhoid fever at Windsor. Margaret Ellen daughter of Abraham and Margaret Beck was born in September 1861, her grandmother Margaret Harbroe (nee Collins) died at the Hare and Hounds age 51, on July 3rd 1862 of a rupture of a large blood vessel in the chest. The informant was Charles London of 56 Wenlock Street, London who was present at the death (his son went on to marry Margaret Ellen Beck). Henry Beck died and was buried at St. Mary, Northolt on 6th November 1863, he was only 41 years of age.  On August 12th 1864 an article in the London Gazette announced an Auction of Down Barnes Estate two farms "in the respective occupations of Messrs. Beck and Mr Greenhill" at rents amounting together of 750 pounds per annum.
William Arthur Beck was born on 8th May 1865 at West End and baptised on 7th June 1865 at St. Mary's Church, Northolt.

Also that year a Joseph Beck was born in Northolt, There seems to have been another Beck family registered in Uxbridge, Emma Maria born 1862 who died in 1863 and Johannah who died in 1864. Only time will tell which part of the Beck family they all fit into. John Beck age 73 died on 2nd March 1869 at Weymouth.

The Amiss family must have been in Ireland as twins were born in Dublin in 1862, Mary Ann Matilda and Emily. By the 1871 census taken on the night of 7th April the girls were 9 years old and Mary was living with William Beck and family at Down Barnes Farm in Northolt and her twin sister Emily was still living with John Stone Beck, now age 62, a drapery Warehouseman and his wife Ellen. They had moved to a cottage in Wiseton Street, Wandsworth. Why the twins were split up I do not know, I am presuming their parents Reuben and Ellen were still in Ireland as I cannot find them in the English census. Still no sign of Ann age about 50. At Down Barnes Farm, West End were, head of the household, Abraham Beck, married, age 42, Farmer, born Northolt, his wife Margaret, age 32, born Hayes, son Abraham Harbroe, age 12 scholar, John Harvey, age 11 scholar, Margaret Ellen age 9 scholar, William Arthur age 5, plus widower Jessie Emily Schoreider, a visitor born Westminster, age 26, James Lynn unmarried, visitor (Agent), age 42 born Chelsea, Emma White unmarried age 26, born Hillingdon, general servant. (Both Abraham Harbroe and John Harvey were also enumerated as being at Caves House School, Uxbridge). Emma Beck age 38 was Head Nurse at St. Johns Hospital in Hackney. Still living at the Hare and Hounds were Samuel Harbroe widower age 64, Farmer of about 200 acres employing 12 men and 1 boy, plus Susan Reed widow age 62 housekeeper born in Yeovil. Samuel died eight months later on 7th December at the Hare and Hounds; Susan Reed had witnessed the will on 1st August 1871 along with R. Adamson of 10 Salisbury Street, Strand, Clerk to Mr C H Hodgson. On the 11th January the will was proved in the Principal Registry of Her Majesty’s Court of Probate. He left everything except ‘stock in trade’ for ‘her own sole use and benefit’ to his daughter Margaret Beck, he doesn’t mention Abraham or the children by name.

Samuel may have sold much of the land, as in the 1873 return of Land in Middlesex gave Samuel Harbroe’s address as Greenford and extent of land as 13 acres 1 rood, 30 perch estimated gross rental £29 and Mrs Abraham Beck of Northolt with 14 acres, 3 rood, 39 perch estimated gross rental £52. (A rood is 40 perches and a perch is 30 square yards. In today’s measure that would be about 5 or 6 hectares each.) The Beck family could have ended up with money from the sale of the Hare and Hounds as well as the sale of a large amount of land. What happened in the next ten years is only guess work. There was dairy farming in the area then whereas today there are houses, shops and even a University in Uxbridge.

By the 1881 census taken on Sunday evening April 2nd John Stone Beck, warehouseman, age 62 was residing at 3 Cambridge Road, Barnes with his wife Ellen A age 57. Susannah Beck, the widow of Henry was at 30 New North Road, Holborn, London with daughter Elizabeth Peete, a forewoman machinist, age 28, Henry George, a cabinet maker age 25, Alfred Reuben, an unemployed bookseller age 22, Annie Susannah, a machinist age 19 and a lodger, Ben Johnson a certified teacher from Norwich. Both John Stone and the family of Henry seemed to have drifted away from the rest of the Becks. Abraham Beck, his wife Margaret, twenty-two year old Abraham Harbroe, twenty-one year old John Harvey, Margaret Ellen age nineteen and fifteen year old William Arthur were living with Julia Partridge (annuitant age 42) at 49 Eardley Crescent, Kensington. A dreary dwelling according to Yeats. ( a particularly hated London house that J Butler Yeats had rented in Eardley Crescent during 1887 -- gloomy, with a dismal back yard.’ Source: W.B. Yeats: A Life’ by R. F. FOSTER.) (No 49 is now a typical large London townhouse, painted white and was converted into seven flats in the 1980s by a company called Hedgehog Homes and owned by a man called Ian Stanbury. Flat 1 is in the basement, Flat 2 had a lovely original huge marble fireplace and wooden floors. There was a fire in the early 1990s, it started in the space between two flats, which turned out the wiring was faulty. The whole house suffered smoke damage but only Flat 2 and the one above suffered any actual fire damage. It is very close to Earls Court tube station and the back of the house overlooks Earls Court Exhibition Centre).

At Farm House Northolt in 1881, were William Beck age 56 (born 1825 Down Barns, Northolt) a farmer with 8 acres, his wife Matilda age 52 (born 1829 London) still living with them was Mary Ann Matilda Amiss age 19 (born 1862 Dublin, Ireland) an unmarried niece (daughter of Williams sister Ellen). There was also a general servant, Margaret E. Little age 13 (born 1868 Ruislip, Middlesex). Mary Ann’s twin sister had, in the last year, moved in with her older sister Ellen Jane (nee Amiss) who had married a William Hoff, a head draper. They lived at 4 Panama Grove St Hilda Street, Sculcoates, Yorkshire and their young 3 year old daughter, yet another Ellen! Emma Beck, age 48 unmarried, was Head Nurse at the Smallpox Hospital in Stockwell, Lambeth (next to Theobalds Farm where there were horses. Imagine a farm in Lambeth!) The Stockwell Hospital occupied a 7.5 acre site at the south of Landor Road, which had cost over £15,000 for the land alone. It had opened on 31st January 1871, at the height of a smallpox epidemic in the capital. It would have been the Metropolitan Asylums Board first hospital but an outbreak of relapsing fever the previous year had forced the Board to erect temporary wards on a site at Hampstead. Stockwell was actually two hospitals in one, with a 100-bed smallpox hospital designed by Thomas Henry Wyatt at the north of the site, and a 200-bed fever hospital designed by F Marrable at the south.

By 1882 Abraham Harbroe Beck was an assistant overseer and his uncle William age 57 was still a farmer at Westend Northolt. He may have left Down Barnes Farm about the time his sister Margaret Ellen married Walter George London (who was the son of Charles London who in 1862 was staying at the Hare and Hounds). In 1884 agricultural workers were given the vote, and on 6th December 1886 young Abraham Harbroe married Caroline Marion Lansley in the Parish Church, Paddington. As far as I know they had at least seven children, the first, Edith Marion, was born in 1886. Abraham Beck senior, died age 62 at 8 Rochester Terrace Pancras, Kentish Town, London on August 9th 1890 of Anasarca Aortic disease (2 years) and Hepatic Cirrhosis. The death was certified by E. C. Andrews MB and the informant was J. Stanford of 83 Hall Place, Paddington. I have found no will. In the same house, by the 1891 census on April 5th , his widow 52 year old Margaret Beck was keeping house for John Birch and Julia Partridge was visiting. Abraham and Margaret had been living with Julia in 1881. William Arthur was in the census as ‘W. Beck, lodger at 11, St. Helens Gardens, Kensington, age 25, bus driver born Northolt’. He married (by license) Emma Louisa Jackson at the Registry Office, St. Georges Square, Belgravia, London on August 5th 1891. The witnesses to the marriage were Marie Bobbett (her older sister, who had married Arthur Bobbett in 1884) and I. Hooper Mercer. At this time William’s profession was stated as a Bus Driver, Groom, so he could have been in charge of a couple of horses with the bus carrying about twenty three passengers. His address was given as 11 St. Helens Gardens, Kensington, next door to Samuel Kingdon Bennett. The house was near Oxford Gardens and St. Quintin Avenue. Emma stated she was living at 100 Horseferry Road, Westminster very near to St. Mary’s Catholic Chapel and ‘The Barley Mow’, the residence of her sister Maria and Arthur Bobbett and their son James age 6. One month later on September 6th there was a private baptism of a son William Henry Beck where they were living at 14 St.Helens Gardens, he died so could have been a premature baby. While all this was going on, 52 year old widow Margaret Beck had married John Manley Birch (Sep qtr 1891), she died on June 20th 1892 and was buried next to Abraham in the church yard of St. Mary's Northolt.

The 1891 census also showed John Stone Beck a retired draper, age 72 with his wife Ellen at 12 Maisonette, South Barsted, West Sussex. Henry Beck’s widow Susannah, a shirt seamstress age 65, was living at 2 Bruce Villas, Seaford Road, Stamford Hill with daughter Elizabeth, an unmarried machinist age 36, and son Alfred, a clerk age 32. Susannah died 19th December 1892 giving probate of ₤63.12s to Elizabeth Peete Beck.

Sidney Arthur Harbroe Beck was born on the 4th December in Kensington, 1892 followed by another two boys, Horace Walter in 1895 (nicknamed ‘Non’), and John Edwin in 1897, both born in Lambeth. John Harvey BECK married Emily Samual, a spinster age 30, on the 28th September 1897 at the Parish Church of All Saints, Knightsbridge in the presence of J.Marshall and George Trueman, (why not family?) John was a Licensed Victualler and they both gave an address as 8 Raphael Street, nine months later on the 21st June 1898 John died at the ‘Star and Garter, 33 St. Martins Lane, London. He died intestate with the Gross value of Estate of ₤381.18s 7d granted to Emily on 2nd August. Mrs Emily Beck is listed in the Post Office Directory of 1899 as the proprietor of the Star and Garter. Emily was born in Disserth, a small village in rural Radnorshire, mid Wales in 1868 and must have moved to London. After John died she went back to live in Wales and died in Cardiff age 34 in the spring of 1902 of consumption.

John Stone Beck, age 80, died on 30th March 1899 at 18 The Abby, Romsey, Southampton. Johns will reads as follows ‘This is the last Will and Testament of me John Stone Beck of 11 Earlsfield Villas, Earlsfield Road, Wandsworth Comn. In the County of Surrey and Parish of Wandsworth made this my last will on the day of 26th April in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and six (sic. 1886). I hereby revoke all Wills by me at any time heretofore made. I appoint my Wife Ellen Annie Beck to be my Executrix of this my Will to be my Executor and direct that all my just Debts and Funeral and Testamentary Expenses shall be paid as soon as conveniently may be after my decease. I give and bequeath unto my Wife Ellen Annie Beck all and every my household furniture linin wearing apparel books plates pictures china and also all and every sums of money which may be in my house or about my person or which may be due to me at the time of my decease and also all other any monies invested in stocks funds and other securities for money and all and every other my estate and effects whatsoever and wheresoever both real and personal whether in possession reversion remainder or expectancy unto my Wife Ellen Annie Beck to and for her own use and benefit absolutely. Signed by the Testator in the presence of us present at the same time who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have subscribed our names as Witnesses. 1st Witness Jno Darvall, Gentleman of 20 Moncrieff Road, Peckham. 2nd Witness Douglas J Church, clerk of 10 Earlsfield Villas, Earlsfield. Probate was granted to Ellen Annie BECK on 7th July 1899. Gross value of Estate ₤123.2.6. Net value of Personal Estate ₤93.3.0.

In 1899 the first motor-bus was in London and in 1900, on June the 27th the ‘Tuppeny Tube’ was opened, the central London railway underground from Shepherd’s Bush to the Bank at a flat rate charge of 2d. Westminster Cathedral was finally completed after eight years. On January 1st 1901 the Commonwealth of Australia was inaugurated. Twenty one days later Queen Victoria died at Osborne House. The fashion in women’s dress was full-bosomed, wasp-waisted, light fabrics with much lace; floral hats, often worn with veils. Men wore lounge suits for informal wear, high collars to shirts, trilby hats, boots rather than shoes, if they could afford them! By the 1901 census on 31st March William Beck was a retired farmer living at Sythe Villa, High Road in East Hillingdon (he died there three months later on the 15th of June of ‘senile decay’ a Joseph Mathews was present), Emma Beck (ex nurse) age 68 may have been visiting at 23 Church Square, Margate, Abraham Harbroe Beck was a Licensed Victualler at the Prince of Wales, 294 Clapham Road, Lambeth with Caroline and seven children. William Arthur Beck, cab proprietor, wife Emma Louisa, Sydney Arthur Harbroe age 8, Horace Walter age 6, John Edwin age 4, and Margaret Ethel 8 months were at 32 Regency Street, Westminster. The Beck family had a photograph taken about this time, William Arthur and Emma Louisa with four children the youngest of these being Margaret who unfortunately only lived for a year.

Margaret Ellen (nee Beck) and Walter G London were living at 33 Parkholm Road Dalston with sons Percy 15, Reginald 13, Alfred 9 and daughter Margaret 11. (Walter died on 27th May 1907 leaving effects worth £284.10s to his wife). Isabel Louise Beck was born on the 26th of January 1904. At this time William Arthur’s occupation was a Cab Proprietor. All motor cars had to be licensed and fitted with number plates, 23,000 cars were registered, the speed limit was 20 m.p.h. They were living at 20 Osten Mews, Kensington. Cecily Maud BECK (my mother) was born at 26 Tynmouth Street in Fulham on February 9th 1906, William Arthur’s occupation now states he is a Cab Driver. In 1905 Mrs Pankhurst organised the first outdoor protest meeting at Westminster. The Daily Mail invented the word ‘suffragette’.

The 15th Olympiad was held at White City stadium in London in July 1908. The first payment of 5 shillings a week to people over the age of seventy was made on January 1st 1909, it was known as ‘the old age pension’. King Edward the 7th opened the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington, (it had taken ten years to build). The University of Bristol was founded and on November 14th Winston Churchill was attacked by a suffragette at Bristol railway station. The Union of South Africa was proclaimed in December. The King died at Buckingham Palace on May 6th 1910 and on the 20th the funeral cort├Ęge was followed by the Kaiser, eight kings, five heirs apparent and some fifty royal princes or dukes. My mother’s younger sister Alice K. Beck was born on October 18th in Fulham. Dr. Crippen, the murderer, was hanged on November 23rd.

By 1913 with George V on the throne men were wearing less formal clothing and women’s skirts were long but tight and restrictive around the ankles. The lace and frills were discarded, hats had wide brims, neck lines were lower and their hair was waved back into a bun. Fifteen year old John Edwin died at the beginning of the year.  Sidney Arthur Beck age 22 married Florence Thorn on February 15th 1914 at the Parish Church of St. Luke, Chelsea and Sid said his father, Arthur Beck, was a Chauffeur. Their daughter Dorothy was born and Britain declared war on Germany on August 4th. In 1915 German naval airships bomb Yarmouth and Kings Lyn, in April British, Australian and New Zealand troops land on the Gallipoli peninsula and the first Zeppelin raid was made on London. My grandfather, William Arthur Beck, enlisted in the Army Service Corps saying he was only 40 years old. He was sent to France on the 3rd October 1915 until 3rd March 1916. I wonder if he was involved in the Gallipoli evacuation at Anzac and Suvia Bay on December 20th. He was discharged ‘no longer physically fit’ on 25th September 1916, his wife Emma and the three girls, Isobel 12, Cicely 10 and Alive 6 were living at 347 North End Road in Fulham (now ‘The Casbah’). Sid was conscripted to the army in 1916 in the Kings Royal Rifles, he also served in France, Horace Walter (Non) was 21 but I can find no information on his serving. Women were recruited as bus and tram conductors, Nurse Edith Cavell was shot in Brussels for alleged spying and Rupert Brooke’s ‘1914 and Other Poems’ were published posthumously. There was an epidemic of Spanish ‘flu in October and in London alone more than 2,200 died in one week. The German Armistice was signed on November the 11th 1918 ending First World War fighting, total dead for British Empire 947,000 of whom 745,000 were from the United Kingdom.

There was a general election on December the 14th and women were allowed to vote for the first time. David Lloyd George became the Prime Minister and in July victory parades were held all over Britain as peace was declared. The education act, introduced by H.A.L. Fisher, rose the school-leaving age to 14. Over the next few years women's dresses became shorter with a tubular look, flattened breasts, a mock waist at the hip, bare arms and bobbed hair. The ‘jazz’ age had arrived, ‘the roaring twenties’.

The twenty-four year old Duke of York re-met Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon while on holiday in Scotland. During the 1920s the new Waterloo Station opened, the B.B.C. began transmissions from 2LO (Marconi House in the Strand, London) and motoring became widespread due to the low cost of the Morris-Cowley car, although petrol is £1 for ten gallons. William Arthur would have been driving a taxi around London at this time. The Duke of York married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon on the 26th April. Men’s informal wear favours plus-fours or wide trousers (‘Oxford bags’) of grey flannel, with sports jackets. Women’s skirts remain short, narrow and straight although some of the older woman wore much longer skirts, when the Unknown Soldier arrived in London in November most of them wore black, The Charleston and the foxtrot become popular dances and the three Beck girls danced in such places as the Trocadero dance hall in London. Sid and Florence were living at 14 Alexandra Avenue, Battersea when son Arthur John died of Bronchitis and Whooping Cough age 5 months on the 4th July 1920.

Mrs Wallis Simpson was introduced to the Prince of Wales at Melton Mowbray and over the next few years they were seen together quite frequently. They married on June 3rd 1937 in France. Among my mothers photo’s was one of the Duke and Duchess taken in Yugoslavia (maybe on their honeymoon), there were none of any of the Beck family weddings in her collection!!

Alice (Babs) K. Beck married Archibald Rayment in 1930, a son John was born on 6th June. She divorced two years later and went on to marry Robert (Bob) Southgate whose wife had died. He had two young children, Joan and Brian, to bring up. Cecily (Joan) Maud Beck married Henry Gerald Seymour Butler at the register office at Wandsworth, London on 2nd June 1934. Alice Beck and Ted Wakefield were witnesses. Their only daughter, Angela Margaret, was born at 13 York Place Brighton, Sussex on 16th March 1935. (Number 13 is now ‘GOBS’ organic burgers shop).

Emma Louisa Beck died of bronchopneumonia on March 7th 1939 at St. Stephens Hospital in Chelsea, she was 73. She was ‘Laid to rest’ at Putney Vale Cemetery. She had been living with William Arthur at 10 Putney Road, Putney. He died of Uraemia and Chronic pyelonephritis on November 2nd 1946 age 81 at Farnborough County Hospital, Kent the informant was his son Sid. He had been living with Babs, Bob and their children at 13 Homefield Road, Old Coulsdon. I seem to remember going to see the old boy in hospital. During World War Two many places the Beck family had lived in were destroyed by bombs including the Prince of Wales, 294 Clapham Road, Lambeth where 43 people lost there lives.

Non (Horace Walter) never married, he died in 1959 at Battersea age 64. Isabel (Bobs) went to live in Newnham-on-Severn, Gloucestershire with George Fefer, they had no children, Bobs died April 30th 1992 in Cheltenham age 88. Sid was presented with an M.B.E. in 1966 and died age 90 on the 15th January at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey.

Babs, Bob, John and family emigrated to Western Australia in 1964 and Joan, Gerry, Angela and family followed in 1969. Babs, age 68, died in April 1978 and Joan died June 30th 1993 age 87, the last Beck.
Emma Louisa Jackson born at Back Lane Putney, Surrey, England on 18th November 1865 daughter of William Jackson and Eliza Ann Sayers. Photo taken about 1935.