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Brentford Families - Pither

Lynn Hayter wrote in April 2018 with details of the life of her great grandfather James Pither.

The Life of James Pither, a bricklayer of Brentford

James Pither was born on the 10 March 1846 at Wargrave in Berkshire, the illegitimate child of Emma Pither, who was aged about 16 years & 9 months at the time (she was baptised on the 14th June 1829). I have been unable to find any clues as to who might have been James’ father. In the 1851 census James is listed as ‘grandson’ with his grandparents, Robert & Ann Pither at their home at Hinton, The Liberty of Broad Hinton, which was an enclave of Wiltshire in Berkshire. At the same census I found James’ mother Emma at Sandhurst in Berkshire, now married to Joseph DRAPER & with a child aged two, named William. At the 1861 census James is again listed with his grandparents at the same abode but by this time the village of Hinton was classified as being in Hurst, Berkshire.

James evidently became a bricklayer & at the 1871 census he is listed at The Ham, New Brentford, with his wife Selina & son James Richard Pither, who was baptised on the 13th June 1869. At the 1881 census James & Selina are listed at 23 The Ham Square, Brentford, & they have four more children, Richard baptised on the 27th August 1871, William baptised on the 14th September 1873, Emma born on the 2nd April 1877 at Ham, New Brentford & baptised on the 22nd April 1877 & Mary baptised on the 31st August 1879.

By the 1891 census James & Selina were living at 256 High Street, Brentford (deduced with Celia’s help, my own information & the census microfilm at the National Archives), & they had two more children, Thomas Henry baptised on the 20th November 1881 & Benjamin baptised on the 16th December 1883. All of the children were baptised St. Lawrence’s church, New Brentford & I think this means that all of them were born at the abode in The Ham. Number 256 High Street was also where James’ building business was based & an early 1900s postcard view of the British Schools shows the name of J. Pither Builder above the shop front.

Although James & Selina were always listed as husband & wife in the various censuses, they were not in fact married until the 29th March 1874 at the parish church of St. Mary, Barnes, when Selina gave her maiden name as PRICE although this was actually her mother’s maiden name. I can only guess that this had something to do with the fact that James & Selina had been living as husband & wife & already had three children, & that Barnes was chosen because their friends Henry & Louisa Emily WOODARD lived there. When Henry WOODARD & Louisa Emily PROSSER married on the 15th December 1867, James & Selina were witnesses & Selina gave her name as Selina Pither. Henry Woodard was also a bricklayer, born about 1838 possibly in Berkshire & it seems that the two couples were long-term friends.

Selina died aged 50 on the 22nd April 1896 at 256 High Street, Brentford & was buried at Ealing & Old Brentford Cemetery at South Ealing on the 27th April 1896 at Grave: 5Q, Ground: D, Division: con, a grave which James had purchased in perpetuity. (See a plan of the cemetery)

By the 1901 census James & family were still at 256 High Street, with James now a widower aged 54 & listed as ‘Bricklayer’ ‘Own account’, with daughter Emma aged 23, soon to be married to William George Langley & become my paternal grandmother, listed as ‘Housekeeper-Domestic’ ‘At home’. Sons Thomas aged 19, plumber & Benjamin aged 17, plumber’s labourer, were both still single & also living at home, both listed as workers but I do not know whether or not they worked in their father’s business. Testimony from inside my family says that James’ building business built several houses in Darwin Road, South Ealing & by the 1911 census James now retired was living in one of them with his unmarried son Benjamin & his new wife, Louisa Emily, whom he had married on the 20th October 1903 at The Register Office, Richmond & who was the widow of Henry Woodard, Henry having died aged 53 & was buried in the parish of Barnes on the 29th August 1891.

James Pither died at his home in Darwin Road on the 11th April 1919 & was buried in the same grave as his first wife, Selina & two of his sons who had pre-deceased him, James Richard aged 30 in 1899 & Richard aged 33 in 1902. His memoriam card has survived. The final family member to be buried in this grave was James & Selina’s youngest child Benjamin aged 58 in 1942, & the grave was then marked as full & was sealed.

My paternal grandparents William George & Emma LANGLEY & Thomas Henry Pither & his wife & family, lived a good deal of their married lives in two other of the houses built by James in Darwin Road. Our family believes that James built other properties in South Ealing, more at Darwin Road & also in Carlyle Road but I have yet to do the research that might give more information about this.

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Page published June 2018