(30 October 1828-30 January 1913)
Elizabeth and James Anderson
Lowestoft ca 1910
Named after his paternal grandfather, James (CR) initially was a bank clerk in his father’s bank, rising to be THE teller at the 105 Murraygate branch which, the Royal Bank of Scotland archivist tells me, is not as senior as cashier but more senior than clerk. James and Elizabeth Ann Downes (1837-1915)(CR) married in Durham in 1859. Elizabeth was a Yorkshire lass, the daughter of Christopher Downes, proprietor of a prosperous saddle maker business, and Charlotte Greensmith. There is a newspaper report of Christopher bringing a recalcitrant apprentice before a Magistrate for skiving off although, in the apprentice’s defence, it was associated with exuberant celebrations for the Queen’s birthday. Christopher also presided in the pulpit on the occasion of a Sunday school’s 13th anniversary. The York Herald said his “abilities are too well know to require any comment” so he clearly was a man of some substance.
In 1861, James and Elizabeth were living in Dundee’s Bank House, Murraygate, with their two young children. James was a bank teller but the following year he’d become a tea merchant. He was listed in the Dundee Courier as a contributor (2/6) to a fund to commission a statue “from the chisel of an eminent sculptor” of David Baxter who had given 30 acres to Dundee for a park. Tickets for the Dundee Temperance Society’s annual festival in 1866 could be had from the premises of James Anderson, tea merchant, Murraygate, amongst others. The ratable value of his address in Dundee Voter’s Roll (1865-66) was a hefty 47/- (his father, David, was levied 50/-). As today, tea was a very popular beverage in the UK in the C19th, and its merchants were on to a good thing if they could guarantee its quality.
By 1871, the family (now with five children) was living in Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire, England. According to the census, James was a manufacturer but of what I can't decipher. Nor can I decipher the name of his business in which he appears to have had at least two partners.
They were living in Lambeth, London in 1881 when James' occupation was again that of tea merchant. Of interest, Elizabeth’s occupation was “principal of school”, the only occasion she was anything other than “wife”. The census also lists boarders and teachers so it looks as though Duffield House, their address, was a school. Subsequent to 1881, the couple lived in Margate (Kent)
James and Elizabeth
Charlotte Elizabeth Vida Mary Blanche Evelyn Nora Constance Clare Gertrude Henry Robert William Ethel Maud
(1860-1933) (1861-1894) (1864-1948) (1866-1944) (1869-) (1873-1943) (1874-1949)
James and Elizabeth seem to represent the end of stability before the Great War brought the massive social upheaval that changed everybody’s sense of what was possible. As will be seen, their children's generation lived lives very different from those of their parents and from those of the earlier generations we have tried to reach back to. It is hard to imagine what James may have made of his family. Some of their lives must have brought a crease to his brow although the more brow crease-worthy generations were born after his death. It may be that daughter Nora waited until after James’ death to petition for divorce to save him embarrassment although her family seemed to be beyond being embarrassed. He may have been proud of the men who fought, and very bravely, during the world wars and supportive of the women who made their choices in ways not possible for the women of his generation.
I would like to have found something about the school Elizabeth presided over and in which her daughters taught, and will continue looking. A visitor to their house in the 1891 census was a French teacher so I'm presuming (i) that person was somebody who taught at the school, and (ii) therefore that the school was an educational facility rather than a finishing or other vocational school. In England about that time, changes to the legal framework that constrained women's potential and aspirations saw many from the middle class (who previously were unable to be publicly employed doing anything) pursue a career in education. The Anderson women may have been in the vanguard of women's emancipation (oh, I hope so), taking full advantage of what possibilities were on offer.
Charlotte Elizabeth Anderson/Downing
Vida Mary Anderson/McCall
Blanche Evelyn Anderson/Malcolm
Nora Constance Anderson/Beaumont-Thomas
Clare Gertrude Anderson
Henry Robert William Anderson
Ethel Maud Anderson
(1901), Barcombe, Sussex (after James’ retirement) and Lowestoft (Suffolk)(1911) when his occupation was recorded as ‘retired banker’. It may be he combined the tea and finance industries in his professional life. James died at the beginning of 1913 when his occupation in the probate records was ‘gentleman’. Probate of his effects (£2,391/13/6) went to Elizabeth who died two years later in Englefield, Surrey. Her effects were valued at £6,772/4/1, probate was to her son, Harry, and son-in-law, Richard Beaumont-Thomas, of whom there is much more later.