The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

Silk Weavers named Collier


My wife Chris' Great Great Grandfather was Charles Collier who was a silk weaver in Bethnal Green (1841-1871).

Family legend had it that some of Chris' ancestors were of Huguenot descent.

I mounted this project to see if I could prove the legend and establish a link between Charles and the other silk-weaving families.

I collected:
- entries in Parish Records
- some birth, marriage and death certificates
- entries in the Censuses

I made a number of visits to East London and corresponded with other members of the Collier Family and others.

As shown in the attached Register of Families, I found out that there were many other Silk Weavers named Collier that I have gradually put into families where possible!

Register in Families

Conclusions To Date

In an absorbing hobby, we have found out a number of key things to date:

1. For a time silk-weaving was an important industry in the East of London but the demand declined and workers had to move into other industries.

I found a useful report on the Silk Weaving Industry in East London 1685-1931:

Background to Silk Weaving in East London

2. There appears to have been a dynasty of Silk Weavers named Collier starting with 3 William Colliers:

The 3 Williams

3. There was real wealth in the family through William Collier who married Phoebe Booth:

William's Will

4. We have not been able to find any link between Charles Collier, Chris' Great Great Grandfather, with William Collier.

5. In fact, it appears that in 1881 Clara Collier (Charles' daughter) had hit hard times. Though she was living in Fournier Street, her husband James Collier was in the Bethnal Green Workhouse!

As a few examples show the family generally hit upon hard times:

Hard Times

6. We have not proved who the parents of James Collier (Charles' father) were, though this year we discovered a new weaver Abraham Collier, who may prove to be James' father according to the following Timeline:


7. We have though found 2 links to Huguenot ancestors to prove the family legend:
- Eliza Collier (daughter of Charles Collier) married Isaac Godier
- Emma Collier (also daughter of Charles Collier) married William James Cordell

I am sure that there are still Silk Weavers named Collier we are yet to find, which may mean that some of the Collier Silk Weavers Families in the Register may link up in some way.

I have summarised what we have found out and things we wish we knew,under each family:

Colin Bower
23 January 2017

Links to:

Silk Weavers named Collier - Introduction & Index

Silk Weavers named Collier - The Story So far

Collier Family - Progress to Date

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