The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

Brecht One-Name Study

Article published in Cockney Ancestor

In Autumn of 2007, I had a second article published in Cockney Ancestor, the Journal of the East of London Family History Society and I have updated this in the light of developments:

Christ Church, Spitalfields - Second Look
Heinrich a.k.a Henry Brecht, Colour Manufacturer 1812-1837

In my earlier article I wrote that my wife Chris’ maiden name is COLLIER and

My mother’s maiden name was BRECHT and she is descended from Heinrich Brecht who married Mary SOMES at St Mary’s Church, Islington on 14 July 1808 (per Pallot Index and London Metropolitan Archives). Brecht is a rare name in England and every piece of information is useful. From the same sources as above, I learnt that on 21 April 1837 Henry Frederick Ludewig Brecht ,Widower, married Harriet PIPER at St George in the East.

The other earliest pieces of information about the Brecht family that I traced were:

I have beavered away trying to build on this limited foundation and did find 2 more key pieces of information:

Over the years, I have found out more about Henry’s family but certain information has given me more questions than answers:

(Their sister also married as Elizabeth Piper Brecht)

It could simply be that Mary Somes died young and Henry Brecht and Harriet Piper had a number of children but they married only just before Henry died.

On 16 September 1838, Harriet (Piper) Brecht, Widow married Henry COLVIN at St George in the East and a search of the 1841 Census showed both 2 step sons and all 6 step daughters together at Bonner Street, Bethnal Green.

Subsequent Progress

Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

In January 2007, I visited the Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives at Bancroft Road near Stepney Green. I looked up some of the IGI entries mentioned above in the Parish Records and found additional information:

Christ Church, Spitalfields

Charlotte Brecht

When Maria Catharine Brecht was buried in 1814, her address was given as Fashion Street. I continued looking through the burials and found two more burials of children in Fashion Street; one for a child from a Collier Family and a further child for Henry and presumably Mary Brecht, that I did not know about. Charlotte Brecht died age 9 and was buried on 15 January 1819.

St Dunstan's, Stepney

Catherine and Christiana Brecht

The Parish Records of the adult christenings of Catherine and Christiana Brecht give their years of birth (1822 and 1835 respectively). They give the parents as Henry & Harriet Brecht and the occupation of Henry as Paper Hanger.

London Metropolitan Archives

In February 2007, I obtained one of the biggest finds to date. Heinrich (Henry) Brecht was associated with 3 churches:

Christ Church, Spitalfields
St Matthew's, Bethnal Green and
St George in the East, Stepney

It was in the Parish Records of Christ Church, Spitalfields that I found the burial of Henry Frederick Ludewig Brecht of St Matthew's, Bethnal Green on 3.6.1838 (Age 54)


After he married Mary Somes, Henry Brecht worked as a Colour Maker in Spitalfields near to Christ Church. Henry's wife Mary died and he married Harriet Piper shortly before he died. So far I have found that Henry had 2 sons (including George Frederick Brecht, my great grandfather)and 8 daughters but I have proved that Mary was definitely the mother of one daughter only, Maria, who was christened and buried at Christ Church.

Henry Brecht was another example of people involved in local industry who migrated from Spitalfields to Bethnal Green, where he lived around the corner from Charles Collier. I wonder if they knew each other!

I have consolidated my research into the Brecht name in a One-Name Study and fuller information is available in my web-site.

But none of this research has achieved the goal I have had for many years: to find out where and when Heinrich and Mary (Somes) Brecht were born and where and when they were buried. Not a lot to ask!

Colin Bower
Member 6437


Brecht One Name Study - Main Index

Made with CityDesk