Tuesday 15 July 2008

Charles Thomas Pyke - Request for info

We get many emails asking for help, I have been trying to find out the best way of posting them but the blog seems to be a good possibility.

This very interesting email was received a few weeks ago.

Good afternoon from Australia.
I don't know if this message is going to the right place, but at least
I can try to see if you can help provide some information on the above or pass it on to someone else in your Society who can help.

The scenario I have goes like this:

1. Charles Thomas Pyke was born on June 03, 1855 to Paul Oakley and Sarah Ann Pyke at Fullham, North End. Paul's occupation was Hairdresser, of Chelsea; later he is listed as Master Hairdresser and Perfumer to the Gentry. (Sounds sort of posh to me!)

2. Charles married Ellen Medhurst on July 28, 1874 at the Parish Church,Rainham. Charles gives his occupation as Hairdresser, so I am assuming that he was probably apprenticed to his father and then struck out on his own in Rainham.

3. The 1881 census gives their address as High Street, Rainham which address carries through to 1901. So they lived there for some 20 years.

4. Progressively through this time, Charles' occupation shifts from Hairdresser, to Master Hairdresser, to Druggist then Druggist and Medicines Vendor and finally to Tobacconist. I can see the logic in some of this as when I was small (many years ago) it was common for the local Hairdresser to be also a tobacconist and even to sell some simple "patent" medicines.

5. Would I be correct to guess that to be "promoted" to Master Hairdresser or to be a Druggist, Charles would have been a member of the appropriate Guild?

6. Given the long tenure at the address, and the range of business activities, my guess is that Charles would have been well known/important in the local business community on the High Street. Particularly so if he was indeed a Guild member and thus able to vote.

7. In the 1881 census Ellen is shown as "Druggist's wife" which I think indicates that she worked in the business with Charles.

8. I can only find one survivor child, Charles (I call him Charles Jr.) born September 09, 1890. Charles Jr. married Maud Dudding of "The Poplars", Bredhurst Lane, Rainham at the Parish Church, Rainham on September 06, 1919. Charles Jr. gave his address as "23 High Street", Rainham, so that probably pinpoints the family home. It would seem that Charles Jr. served in the army during WW1, as he is noted on the birth certificate of their first child (Charles Jasper, 1920) as being an Instructor with the East Kent Regiment; CJ was born at the local military hospital and Maud was living at "The Poplars", indicating that Charles Jr. was still on active military service. To date I have not been able to track his military record.

Subsequently Charles Jr. and Maud had three other children Lillian Ellen 1922, Edward John 1924 and Ethel Frances 1929. During this time frame the family moved to 2 Roberts Road, Rainham and then to 42 Magpie Hall Road, Chatham. Charles Jr. appears to have left the army somewhere around 1921 after which he lists his occupation as "Sawyer". Given the Chatham address, would he have been employed at the Naval dockyard?

9. I believe that Ellen died, age 75, in 1926 with the death being recorded in Milton. Charles Thomas died, age 78, in 1934 and this is recorded in Medway. Thus the family stayed in this part of Kent for their whole lives.

With this potted history to hand, are there any local records of the Rainham community that can tell me more about Charles Thomas and possibly his family? Any help provided would be greatly appreciated.

With sincere thanks for your help,
Bruce H Pyke

Update from Bruce Pyke:

Given the ages of the Charles Jnr. children, it is possible some of them may still be alive,given that I was born very shortly after Ethel Frances. Certainly their children should be around somewhere.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I am Robert who is the son of one of the people you are trying to trace. My mother is Lillian Ellen and she is still alive. What relation are you to Lillian?