The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

Collier Family

Progress Report

Progress To Date

Great Grandparent: Charles Collier, Ropemaker
- His Parents: Charles Collier, Silk Weaver, and Eliza Adams
- His Grandparents: James Collier& Elizabeth (?) Mason

Mini Family Tree (Direct Ancestors)

The family tree to date may be summarised:

Collier Family

James Collier Silk Weaver b c 1765
?married St Matthews, Bethnal Green 22.12.1785
Elizabeth (?) Mason b c 1765

Charles Collier bp 4.9.1803
Silk Weaver of Bethnal Green
married St Dunstans, Stepney 25.8.1822
Eliza Adams b c 1803/4

(subsquently Charles Collier married Maria Sanders in Croydon in 1863)

Charles Collier b 15.9.1833 bp 19.1.1844
Ropemaker of Hackney & Homerton
married South Hackney 15.10.1853
Matilda Gardiner bp 25.2.1835

Walter James Collier b 09.06.1862
married St Luke’s, Hackney 13.05.1894
Mary Perrier b 02.12.1869, d 10.02.1949 (Age 79)

Leonard Stanley Collier b 30.11.1909 d 9.5.1988
married 6.06.1936 St John’s, Clay Hill, Enfield
Phyllis Marjoram Hunt b 06.06.1912 Died 1991

Christine Elizabeth Collier b 26.03.1946
married 15.10.1966 St John’s, Clay Hill, Enfield
Colin Bower b 12.01.1944

Link to Family Tree

Charles Collier & Descendants

Summary of Research Todate

Ted Collier (cousin of Len Collier, my Father in Law) did a tremendous job in visiting member of the Family (including a large branch of the Family Tree in Canada) and writing up the Family Tree (see Progress 2006 below).

We thoroughly enjoyed visiting the historic ropeyard (still in operation) at Chatham where Charles Collier worked and also Bethnal Green with one of my wife Chris' cousins who is descended from Emma Collier, sister of Charles Collier, Ropemaker.

Charles and Emma's father was a silk weaver and there were many silk weavers named Collier in the East End of London.

Birth Marriage & Death Certificates Held
- Births: 7+21 Silk Weavers/Unwanted - Marriages: 9+21 Silk Weavers/Unwanted - Deaths: 1+3 Silk Weavers,Unwanted

Certificates Held-Collier family

Sik Weavers named Collier - Certificates Held

Census Records Obtained
- 1841 Charles & Eliza Collier & family
- 1851 Charles Collier & Maria (second wife) & Family
- 1851 Eliza Collier (first wife of Charles Collier Senior) & family
- 1861 Charles & Maria Collier & Family
- 1861 Eliza Collier (staying next door to her daughter Emma Cordell)
- 1861 William & Emma Cordell & family
- 1861 Charles Collier Junior & family
- 1871 Charles & Maria Collier
- 1871 Charles Collier Junior & family
- 1881 Charles Collier Junior & family
Walter James Collier
- 1891 Charles Collier Junior Widower & family
including Walter James Collier
- 1901 Charles Collier Junior Widower & family
including Walter James Collier

Census Records Held

Other Research Undertaken
- IGI - sheets for London held
- Parish Records - see Progress 2007 and 2011 below
- Wills
- Businesses - there were silk weavers named Collier in the East End of London
- Correspondence - A correspondent provided information on one particular family of Silk Weavers with Huguenot links but no link has been made as yet. We have corresponded with relatives in the UK and Canada and obtained photographs as a result.
- Visits - East End of London (Spitalfields, Shoreditch, Bethnal Green (including where Harrold Street was) and South Hackney) and Chatham Dockyard


- Photographs - Spitalfileds, Shoreditch, Bethnal Green and South Hackney
- Misc Info/Documents - Ted Collier's Family Tree - see Progress 2006

Progress 2004

At the Public Record Office in Kew, I was able to trace the Army career of my wife Chris' grandfather, Walter James Collier. He saw service as a rifleman with the Sherwood Foresters and we now have his Army record to go with photographs of him taken in and out of uniform in which he is wearing his medals.

Progress 2005

Leonard Stanley Collier - My Life

I have added the information given to our daughter Helen and our son Steve by our parents when they researched the family tree in their first year at St George's School, Harpenden:

Leonard Stanley Collier - My Life

Progress 2006

Charles & Eliza Collier's Family

My cousin found an entry in the 1841 Census which gave us a great deal more information about Charles & Eliza's family including 8 more children we did not know about:

Pleasant Place, Bethnal Green

Charles (35)
Eliza (35)
Jane (13)
Emma (10)
Charles (9)
Sarah (7)
Elizabeth (6)
Phoebe (5)
Maria (3)
George (10 mos)

Ted Collier's Family Tree

I typed up the original and remarkable Family Tree drawn up by Ted Collier:

Ted Collier's Original Family Tree

Silk Weavers named Collier

I obtained more information about Silk Weavers named Collier:

Silk Weavers named Collier

Progress 2007

So far I had found 14/15 silk-weaving families (many inter-related) with 32/33 weavers in all.

In a bid to try to link Charles Collier to other Silk Weavers named Collier, I had an article published in Cockney Ancestor, the journal of the East of London Family History Society:

Spitalfields & 19th Century Silk Weavers named Collier

By a process of elimination, I decided to accept information in the IGI that:

- Ann Collier born 28.2.1840 was not the first born of Charles & Eliza (Adams) Collier, i.e. Charles & Eliza married on 25.8.1822 and by 1841 had 10 children:

St Dunstan and All Saints Church, Stepney

Charles Collier of Hamlet of Mile End Old Town
Eliza Adams of same Hamlet
married 25.8.1822

(witnesses: John Jennings, Elizabeth (?) Eade or Eude)

- Charles Collier bp 4.9.1803 might be the son of James & Elizabeth Collier.

- James Collier's wife might have been Elizabeth Mason for whom there was a potential marriage on 22.12.1785:

St Matthews, Bethnal Green

James Collier of this Parish
Elizabeth Mason of same Parish
married 22.12.1785

(Witnesses: Wm Purser, Elizth Collier)

Progress 2008

In 2008 we had a major find in establishing that Charles Collier the Weaver left his first wife Eliza and at some point married Maria with their children split between Charles & Eliza.

In 2008, two descendants in the Collier/Cordell family made contact.

One was a descendant of Eliza Collier a sister of Charles Collier, the Rope Maker. Eliza married James Godier in 1853.

The other was another descendant of Emma Collier, a sister of Charles Collier, the Rope Maker. Emma married William James Cordell and would have been my correspondent's great great grandmother.

I also heard from someone whose husband was descended from William Kemp (Mary's brother) and Ann Collier (Thomas' sister).

I added entries from the 1851, 1861, 1891 and 1901 Censuses.

We continued to research silk weavers named Collier to develop the family tree:

Silk Weavers named Collier - Progress

From the research to date it does appear that Charles Collier's parents may have been James Collier & Elizabeth Mason who married in 1785 though Elizabeth would have been c 38 if and when she had Charles.

It was a major disappointment that I could not attend a gathering of people interested in the Collier/Kemp/Gaucheron Family Tree and have not been able to obtain any information that they exchanged, other than it was a great success and enjoyable!

Progress 2009

In 2009 only I circulated a Newsletter so that I could be sure that all my correspondents were advised of developments:

Cockney Colliers - Newsletters

One of the correspondents was able to obtain an 1852 birth certificate which gave the full name of Charles Collier's second wife..Maria Sanders. They had children together but did not get married until 1863.

Another major disappointment was missing the second gathering!

Progress 2010

I obtained the marriage certificate dated 30.4.1863 for the marriage of Charles Collier (57), Widower, Carpenter and Maria Sanders (45) at the Parish Church in Croydon. Though the dates of birth do not tally with other records, it appears safe to accept this is the right Charles Collier, Silk Weaver and Maria Sanders who lived in Bethnal Green before and after the marriage. Charles' father is given as James Collier, Carpenter which also appears to be correct.

Collier/Cordell Family

Emma Collier was a daughter of Charles Collier, Silk Weaver

A further descendant of Emma Collier and William James Cordell made contact via Genes Reunited.

I was able to provide her with:
- a (rather grainy) photo of William James Cordell sent to me by another descendant of Emma and William James.
- a drawing of the Providence Chapel, Hackney Road near Shoreditch High Street where Emma & William James were married
- a photo of Charles Collier, Ropemaker Emma's brother (and my wife Chris' great grandfather)

William James Cordell

Providence Chapel, Hackney Road near Shoreditch High Street

Charles Collier, Ropemaker

Progress 2011

In 2011, I made a concerted effort to update and expand the mini-project, Silk Weavers named Collier.


I resumed issuing Newsletters to correspondents interested in the Collier family.

Family of Charles & Eliza Collier

I found an extraordinary entry on the internet, with 4 of Charles& Eliza's children baptised on the same day:

St Matthews, Bethnal Green

Eliza Elizabeth Collier born 17.9.1822
Emma Collier born 6.2.1831
Charles Collier born 15.9.1833
Elizabeth Collier born (14?).7.1837
- all bp 19.1.1844
- Parents Charles Collier Weaver of 14 Harrold Street and Eliza

Third Gathering of the Gaucheron/Kemp/Collier Family

I attended the third Gathering of the Gaucheron/Kemp/Collier Family:

Visit to City of London October 2011

and met:

1. a descendant of Charles Collier and his second wife Maria Sanders and also Charles brother Joseph:

Charles Collier
married 1863
Maria Sanders

Clara Collier
James Collier
(son of Joseph Collier and Mary Ann Sanders)

2. a descendant (of Thomas Collier) who I had been corresponding with for some years:

Thomas Collier, Widower (father James Collier, Weaver)
Married 1839
(2) Elizabeth Piper nee Wilkinson

Thomas' daughter Mary Ann Collier (father Thomas Collier, Silk Weaver)
married 1842
William Roney

Thomas' son Thomas William Collier (father Thomas Collier, Silk Weaver) married 1848 Rachel Willett

There is the probability that Thomas is the brother of Charles Collier and Joseph Collier.

Progress 2012

A cousin of my wife Chis made contact. She gave us details of a branch of the family that was unknown to us and not included in Ted Collier's family tree:

Ted Collier's family tree

She told us that there were still descendants of Walter James Collier living in Enfield.

James Benjamin Collier

A descendant of James Benjamin Collier made contact. His family tree stretches back via Silk Weavers named Collier to the Huguenots in France in 17th Century.

What would be wonderful is if "our" Colliers, who were also silk weavers, link up, as family legend has suggested.

Butt and Ben Cottages, West Clandon

A resident of West Clandon sent pictutres of the Butt and Ben Cootages as they are today. She was able to identify which house:

- Martha Collier was sitting outside, and her grandson Len Collier was standing in front of, and
- Len, my wife Chris and our son Steve were standing outside

see previous photographs we have:

Vist to West Clandon

Progress 2013-16


Progress 2017

Abraham & Elizabeth Collier

In looking for other Abraham Colliers, I found a series of strange entries:

Fleet Prison

Abraham Collier
married 8.6.1750
Elizabeth Farmer

This was a clandestine marriage under the Rules of the Fleet, but was recorded in 2 church records:

St Botolph, Bishopsgate

Abraham Collier, Weaver of St Botolph, Bishopsgate
married 8.6.1750
Elizabeth Farmer

Unnamed "Spitlefields" Church

Abraham Collier Weaver of Spitlefields
married 8.6.1750 (against the date, the word "Gillotts" is written)
Elizabeth Farmer


Parents of James Collier

As shown in a Timeline, Abraham & Elizabeth could be the parents of Chris' ancestor James Collier:


Progress 2019

b>1939 Register - Our Parents & Grandparents

We started the year with another look at the 1939 Register of England & Wales.

1939 Register

Until then we had not looked up all of the entries for our parents and grandparents:

Our Parents & Grandparents in the 1939 Register

My grandparents were still living in the East End of London, i.e. before their houses were destroyed in the Blitz.

Joan Hughes - Stirling Girl

I was given the excellent book, A Spitfire Girl, as told by Mary Ellis to Melody Foreman.

Over the last few years Mary Ellis was famous as one of the few remaining wartime ferry pilots for the ATA, the Air Transport Auxiliary.

In the book, Mary Ellis refers to one of the first ATA girls Joan Hughes.

Collier/Hughes Family - Joan Hughes

One of Chris' father's cousins was Ted Collier who showed an interest in the history of another of the ferry pilots, Joan Hughes, who may be related.

I have extracted the references to Joan Hughes in Mary Ellis' book:

Joan Hughes - Stirling Girl

Progress 2020/1


Progress 2022

1921 Census

I decided after all to pay for a copy of the transcription of the entry for Chris' parents & grandparents:

Census Entries

from Find My Past, and added a comparison with the 1911 Census and 1939 Register:


Progress 2023

I was provided with a little more information on Dennis Collier, one of Chris' Cousins.

Progress 2024

Things we wish we knew

Colin Bower
12 October 2023

Links to:

Collier Family - Index

Silk Weavers named Collier - Index

Family History - Main Index

Made with CityDesk