The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

What's New?

Family History

1921 Census

I was hoping to access the 1921 Census this year but the contents will not be published until early 2022.

Sinking of SS Britannia 1941

Right at the tailend of 2020, I was contacted by 2 correspondents and the correspondence was completed in early 2021:

1. I was able to provide further information on a passenger, who sadly did not survive the sinking, to his nephew.

2. Incredibly some 80 years after the event, I was sent a copy of a magazine article, written by a survivor, Lt F.J. (Bill) Lansley (who appears to have been in the same lifeboat as Dad and signed Dad's Cabo de Hornos menu), by his son.

Account by Bill Lansley

Family History - The Big One!

The website came into its own in 2020 when the country was locked down due to the worldwide coronvirus pandemic,Covid-19.

Last year, I spent a lot of the time on the Sinking of SS Britannia 1941 project but towards the end of 2020, I picked up my Big One! Project again.

The first thing I did was to conduct a review:

Review January 2021

To Do List

The original aim was to take on two of the bigger studies, Collier and the Brecht One-Name Study, before undertaking Reports for the remaining Main Names:

Bower/Brecht (Main Names) plus:


Collier/Hunt(Main Names) plus:


Because of the years of inactivity on this project, it is probably best that I start back with some of the smaller names like Farrow and Marjoram.

Brecht One-Name Study

London Electoral Roll 1832-1965

I mounted a mini-project to summarise some of the entries in the London Electoral Rolls 1832-1965 held by the London Metropolian Archives.

These have been transcribed and digitised on Ancestry:

Brechts in the London Electoral Roll 1832-1965

London Metropolian Archives

I also found some information on Ancestry which I think is new to me:

Commercial/Business Directories

Robson London Directory 1820

Hy Brecht, Colour Manufacturer
12 Fashion Street, Spitalfields

Robson London Directory 1830

Hy Brecht, Colour Manf.
12 Fashion Street, Spitalfields

London Tax Records 1692-1932

1798 Christ Church

Bricht, Fashion Street Rent £20 Sums Assessed £2 3s 4d
- but See Note below

1812 Christ Church, Spitalfields

Bricht, Fashion Street Rent £20 Sums Assessed £2 3s 4d

This shows that Henry Brecht was in business in Fashion Street, Spitalfields from at least 1798-1830.

Certainly by 1833 he was operating from Bonner Street, Globe Fields/Bethnal Green (per bp of son Henry in Bethnal Green).


Heinrich/Henry Brecht was a colour maker in Fashion Street, Spitalfields and died in 1838 (age 54) making his birth 1783/4.

It appears that he was christened in Germany in 1784.

As mentioned above, when researching the Electoral Rolls in London 1832-1965, I found an entry under:

London Tax Records 1692-1932

Christ Church 1798

Bricht Fashion Street

This entry throws into doubt the previous entries and what they mean. A timeline illustartes this:

Heinrich/Henry Brecht

Christening 1784

Land Tax Records 1798 (age 14?)

Married 1808 (age 24)

Died 1838 (age 54)

The Land Tax Record date is not impossible but very unlikely.

Lucy Ann Cornwell/Cornwall & George Henry Brett/Brecht

An error of long-standing came to my attention.

From the outset, I was informed that Lucy Ann and George Henry had a son Charles Albert Cornwall born in a workhouse. In fact records show it was Albert Ernest Cornwall.

I have corrected the articles about this family.

Search for John Christopher Brecht & Susannah Pardom, Widow

I did another random search on Ancestry and found an intriguing marriage:

St John the Evangelist, Smith Square

Godfried Pardom (suggesting that he is German)
married 26.12.1777
Susannah Phillips

Pardom was a rare name in London and it had been transcribed incorrectly. Godfrey and Susannah lived amongst the German community including sugar bakers in Alie Street

Susannah was widowed and married John Christopher Brecht who appears to be Jurgen Christoph Brecht a sugar refiner in London in 1784 (and possibly the Uncle and Godfather of Heinrich/Henry Brecht.

Certificates Held

I provided a Names Index for the 60 odd certificates held:

Brecht Certificates Held

Find the Lady!
Sinking of SS Britannia

My Probus Club has come up with a monthly Newsletter during the lockdown.

I submitted summmaries for two of the main projects that I have undertaken:

Find the Lady! Summary

Sinking of SS Britannia. Summary

80 Years since the Sinking of the SS Britannia

This year is 80 years since the SS Britannia was sunk by a German surface raider on 25 March 1941.

Goan Journalist Melvyn Misquita marked the anniversary by publishing a poignant summary of what happened and the aftermath:

Summary of the attack & the aftermath

Family History

My Grandfather William Bower's Date of Birth

There has always been a bit of a mystery about my grandfather's date of birth for which I have never found the registration of his birth

Having another look, I found new pieces of information on Ancestry:

1. Entries in the books of the Training Ship "Exmouth"

Training Ship "Exmouth 1876-1918
Record Book

1. Bower Wm No 769

Age: 12

Date of Entry: 22.5.1878

Date of Discharge: 25.6.1878

Discharge: to Union (Mile End)

2. Bower, William No 957

Age 13

Date of Entry: 18.6.1879

Date of Discharge 13.5.1882

Union: Mile End

Discharge: Ship "Bell"

Comments include:

25.9.1881 Rated Gold Case Boy
15.10.1881 Rated Gun-room boy
28.1.1882 Rated Chief Lamptrimmer

3. William Bower

Age 15

Date of Entry: 21.2.1883

Date of Discharge: 1.3.1883

Union: Mile End

Discharge: Royal Navy
HMS Boscawen
Blue Jacket

(William's DOB given in his Royal Navy service record is 23.10.1867. He signed on in 1885 age 18 for 10 years)

2. A record of his christening when he was 13 (about the time he joined the Exmouth)

St Peter & St Paul, Grays, Thurrock

William Bower (Age13) born abt 1866 bp 9.8.1879
(Parents George & Martha Bower)

I was hoping that he was christened as an infant!

I have summarised the information I have on William Bower in date order:

Summary of Records Held

I have also listed the places where William Bower lived including entries in the Electoral Rolls:

Places where William Bower lived

Bower/Jones Family

I had previously found out that an ancestor in the Jones Family  was a lead miner in Swaledale.

I was lucky enough to find a map of Swaledale in a local charity shop. It shows places where the family lived, e.g. Reeth, Grinton and Marrick:

It reminded me to go back to the Family Trees submitted to Ancestry by other people.

Though there are some errors, I will put some of the information into an Appendix.

Census 1841

One of the benefits is that I found brothers John and Davuid Jones, Brokers living together in London. This was before John Jones married Elizabeth Counter later in 1841:

1841 Census

Wellington Place, Mile End Old Town, Stepney

John Jones (25) Broker (not born in Middlesx)
- he married Elizbeth Counter later in the year
David Jones (30) Brother Broker (not born in Middlesex)
Hannah Jones (30)David's Wife
Martha Jones (3)
David Jones (2)
Thomas Jones (9 months)

Bp of Martha Hannah Jones

At long last, I found the christening of Martha Hannah Jones but not the registration of her birth.

St Dunstans, Stepney

Martha Anne Jones (should be Martha Hannah) bp 21.7.1844
(Parents John Jones, Labourer of Mile End Old Town and Elizabeth)

John Jones' mother Martha (Spence) Jones and his sister Isabella were still living in Reeth in 1841:

1841 Census

Reeth, Grinton, Yorkshire

Martha Jones (age 70) born in County - Yes
Isabella Jones (age 25) ditto
Mary Jones (age 2 months) ditto

(Isabella, Charwoman (age 37) and Mary (age 7) were still living in Low Street, Reeth in 1851)

Colin Bower
25 June 2021

What was new in 2020?

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