The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

Bower Family


One of the first things that I found out from my parents was that they were Cockneys and lived in Limehouse, Stepney in the East End of London.

My parents married in 1936 and moved to Beckenham where my Mum remembered seeing, on the horizon, the fire that destroyed the Crystal Palace that year.

Disastrously, the family home in Dixon Street in Limehouse was destroyed in the Blitz and my Grandparents moved out of the area.

Football in the Family

My Dad Frederick Bower had 2 brothers Tom and Jack and all 3 were mad keen on football.

Tom became a first class referee and Jack was very tall and a good goalkeeper, who had a trial for West Ham, the local team.

Football in the Family

My Grandfather William Bower

Their father, William Bower, has proved to be something of a mystery. His father George Christopher Bower died in 1877 age 35 and reading between the lines William may have been a problem.

In 1878 (age 12), he joined the correction ship Exmouth, which was moored in the Thames. Following that he became a boy sailor before signing to join the Navy for 10 years in 1885 (when he was said to be 18) .

He told my Dad that his favourite ship was HMS Buzzard. He served on the Buzzard for just over 3 years and as shown in his Naval record he got into trouble from time to time:

Settling in back home, he married Charlotte Hayes in 1897 and was a wireman for the Post Office.

His birthday was 23 October but we have not established his year of birth or whether he was christened (unlikely). You wonder if there may have been a glitch on registering the birth.

The nearest we have got was when he gave his date of birth as 23.10.1867 to the Navy but in the Register of Enland & Wales in 1939 he gives the date as 23.10.1866.

He was christened lin 1879 (age 13).

The Bowers of Fulham

One of the biggest surprises was finding out that the Bowers lived in Fulham for some years before they moved to the East End of London.

William's great grandfather was Christopher Bower who ran the George in Walham Green/Fulham Broadway in 1851.

Before that Christopher (like his son Benjamin Bates Bower) was a tailor.

Christopher's brother Alfred was a baker in Parsons Green but left for the East End where he bacame a photographer.

Rowberry Mead

Christopher's parents William & Elizabeth ran the smallholding Rowberry Mead adjacent to the Thames and close to Craven Cottage where Fulham F.C. play.

They took over the smallholding from William's father George Bower.

The Bower Family leased Rowberry Mead for at least 79 years (1782-1861).


There was so much new information and opportunity that I mounted a Mini-Project to advance our knowledge of the family.

Introduction/Index to Mini-Project

I didn't find out a lot more about William Bower. I may have found his death in 1812but there was another big surprise in fniding that he married Elizabeth Gux in Dartford Kent in 1775.

Now we don't know where our roots are!

Things we wish we knew

We need to find out more about Christopher's grandfather George Bower who was in the Crabtree/Rowberry Mead area in 1750-1760 approx.

Did his son William die in Fulham in 1812 (unfortunately the Parish Records do not give his age).

There is now the possible link to Dartford in Kent but progress is limited because there are so many name variants to Gux.

Colin Bower
13 February 2024

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