The Stuckey Family
Well known Canvey family
The Stuckey sisters were very well known around Canvey, with Olive first coming to Canvey in the 1920s the others following later. There are pictures of the family on Canvey dated from 1922 here.
Horace Stuckey, father of the Stuckey sisters, was born on the 9th April 1848 in Islington, Middlesex. The parents of Horace were Robert James Stuckey who was born in Shoreditch, Middlesex in 1801 and Hannah Amelia Bennewith born in 1808 South Weald, Essex, they married on the 23 December 1833 in Old Church, St Pancras, Middlesex. Horace had at least two brothers and three sisters. Myra Annie was born in 1835, Robert Bosworth b1838, Clara Christine b1840, Alfred b1842 and Suzette 1845 all born in London in the Islington area. Their father Robert James who died in 1878 only shows up in the one census in 1861 which makes it difficult to trace the family or get a better overall picture. Sometimes census records are unreadable or missing many in London were destroyed during the blitz. In the 1861 census Robert is stated under occupation to be ‘Great House Property Holder’. Unusually all his children were baptised at various dates but all during 1859 at Old Church, St Pancras with their ages ranging from 11 to 24. Why was this I wonder?
By the 1881 census Horace and two sisters, Clara and Suzette, both unmarried, are living at ‘Colbrook House’, Seven Sisters Road, Stoke Newington, Middlesex. When they moved there has not been discovered but Horace was living at 17 Euston Rd, London in the 1871 census and both Clara and Suzette along with their father Robert were nowhere to be seen in the 1871 census. Once again this could just mean the census is unavailable or unreadable. It is possible Robert and the daughters were already at ‘Colbrook House’ before Robert died in 1878. The only thing we can be certain of is the three were in residence at ‘Colbrook House’ in 1881 along with a visitor Mary A Cook and two servants, a cook domestic and a housemaid. Horace and his sisters were described under occupation as freeholders.
‘Colbrook House’ as can be seen from these pictures was very large. We have no details of the house itself but the grounds as can be seen in the plan to the right, had an 83 foot frontage onto Sevensisters Road and extended back 366 feet to Woodberry Grove. It boasted a two stall stable and coach house, a fernery, a forcing house, summer house, tennis lawn, kitchen garden and a front drive.
Horace married Ida Annie Richards (daughter of William Gerrard Richards and Elouise Greenshields) and the marriage was registered in the Dec qtr of 1882 in the district of Lambeth, Surrey. T about the same time his sister Clara married George Meyer and by the time the first of the Stuckey sisters was born in 1883 his sister Suzette had also married to William Horan. Horace’s three eldest daughters, Horatia Vera Elouise b 1883, Ida Eugeie b1885, and Archie Eileen b1886 were all born whilst the family were living at Colbrook House. The property was put up for auction on the 28th July 1885 with the family eventually moving to ‘Fontenoy’, Finchley Road, Hampstead. It is at Fontenoy that Horace and his family can be found in the 1891 census. Two of the next four children were born here, Myra Beatrice b1889, Ruby Cecile b1891, Olive Christine’s birth was record in 1894 in the Brentwood District and and Violet Beryl b1898 recorded in Hampstead .
‘Fontoney’ or 521 Finchley Road, Hampstead, we do not have any photos of this property. We do however have this book showing details of the house when it was put up for sale in 1909. It states ‘Standing well recessed from the road with Reception-rooms on the Entrance Floor and Eight Bed and Dressing Rooms, Boudoir and Billiard-room above. In the Rear is an excellent Garden with Full-sized Tennis Lawn and Rosery’ It goes on to describe the bedrooms, Library, Conservatory and Servants’ Offices.
Horace and family must have moved out by 1898, because the resident on a 21 year lease from June 1898 was M W Zambra, Esq. It is likely Horace was still the owner of the property at the time of the auction in 1909.
In the 1901 census Horace and his family are living at 120 Greencroft Gardens, Hampstead. In both the 1891 and 1901 census Horace’s occupation is listed as Living on own means. We also know from letters dated 1901 he owned property in Caledonion Road, Kings Cross. He had an estate office at no. 26 and the rest were shops let out to tenants. The rent for one of the shops which consisted of shop, back parlour and basement was 21 shillings per week.
It would appear from his property and status Horace was quite well off, possibly from the Upper Middle Class. According to a letter from the Carpenters’ Company dated 19 June 1922 he was a member of the Livery and they were asking him to make a donation to a fund to keep the Technical Schools at Gt Titchfield Street. Normally membership to the Livery is restricted to 150 members perhaps he was a member because of his status.
From other letters from his family sent to Horace at his address of 22 Endlesham Road, Balham during the period 1919-1922 he was a much loved man. His wife writes ‘My darling old man’ and signs off ‘from your loving old woman’. Ruby addresses him ‘My darling little Dad’. Horace died in 1923 and his death was recorded in the Wandsworth District.
But what about the Stuckey sisters?
$5The early years of the 20th century were changing times for women both during World War 1 and after. Families who relied on servants found many from the working classes found better prospects working on the buses or clerical work neither of which were available to women before the outbreak of WW1. The other dramatic effect on the young women at this time was the number of young men who were away at war and many who never returned home. The shortage of men meant that many of these women would never marry and raise a family. The 1921 census shows that for those aged between 25 and 29, there were 1,209 single women for every 1,000 men. This no doubt had some influence on the lives of the Stuckey Sisters with only one of the seven sisters marrying.
Horatia Vera Elouise Stuckey (known as Vera) 1883-1968 was Horace and Ida’s eldest daughter. During her working life she was a ‘Housekeeper’ at 15 Lion Gate Gardens in Richmond. But she was not happy and says ‘It is slavery here’ going on to list all the jobs she had to do in that one day. She then worked at Hollam Cottage, Bridgetown, Dulverton in Somerset, letters dated 1922 conveys she is now a ‘Governess’. She also mentions Olive’s Bungalow trying to get her father to visit Olive at the sea. She talks about her books ‘Scripture Studies’ trying to get people to read them. ‘People are foolish not to, they don’t know what they miss’ she says. In her later life she was a Private School Proprietor.
There are many other notes and letters to her sisters written much later when she lived at ‘Veronica, 12 Kittkatts Farm Road, Canvey. Most are not dated but one is dated 1962, so I would think they were mainly written in the last few years before her death in 1968. She mentions her nephew Bob Wilson many times. She was paranoid about being buried alive and asks her family to keep her body at home for at least a week to make sure she was dead. This along with instructions for her burial and distribution of her estate are written over and over again.
Ida Eugenie 1885-1970 the second daughter was a nurse. In a letter to her father dated 1920 when she was on a holiday in Cosham, Hampshire she mentions her little patients and returning to Town the next day as she had to be at the hospital by 1 pm. The hospital in question is likely to be The London Hospital in Whitchapel. Ida was in receipt of a Hospital Pension and she left a legacy to the London Hospital League of Nurses. She also left a legacy to her nephew Robert V Wilson. Ida was at the bedside of at least two of her sisters when they died Vera and her youngest sister Violet Beryl. Ida’s property 40 Mayland Avenue, Canvey was sold to a Mr Hutt.
Archie Eileen 1886-1975 There is very little in the letters about Archie. She did write to her father in 1919 when she had gone to stay with her aunt Clara (her father’s sister) at 29 Cavendish Road, Brondesbury when she was taken ill but very little else. When Archie died in 1975 she left her freehold property of 6 Rayment Avenue, Canvey to her friend Winnie Capser and her sister was left the rest of her estate including Dykelands, 16 Rayment Road where Olive lived until her death in 1991.
Myra Beatrice (known as Trixie)1889-?. Trixie worked in the Investment Registry before her marriage to Joseph V Wilson in 1919 and was the only one of the Stuckey sisters to marry. Joseph was in the Canadian Army and soon after the marriage he took Trixie back to Canada. One of the letters from Jo to Horace Stuckey, dated 26 October 1919 from on board RMS Corsican, describes their journey from Glasgow.
‘ what a hive of industry the river is, there are hundreds of ships in various stages of construction to be seen along the river bank, a very interesting sight indeed’
He goes on to describe the sights when they reached the ‘new land’.
‘I took Trixie on deck before breakfast in order that she might get the first glimpse of the new land, which in this case was Belle Isles on one hand and Newfoundland on the other’.
In a later letter Jo mentions that Trixie will be coming home for the ‘happy event’ and she can be found arriving in Liverpool again on the Corsican in July 1920. Their son Robert V Wilson was born in the Dec qtr 1920 in the Wandsworth District. It does not appear that Trixie returned to Canada, it is possible that Joseph moved here when he left the Army. He is not mentioned in any later letters. We do not know if she lived on Canvey at anytime but her son Robert did he was living at 21 Kitkatts Road in 1970 and had been on the Island for sometime according to Vera’s many notes.
Ruby Cecile 1891-1973. Ruby had a love of Animals from a young age. In 1916 she was offered a post as a Farm Student by Sir Walpole Grunwell at Perrysfield Farm, Oxted. She was later working at Gwern, Bwlchgwyn near Wrexham in North Wales. In her letter to her father she asks after the pigs, Patsy, Boosy, Ritchie, Bucklaw etc. This letter is undated but she asks after her Aunt Clare which would date it about 1919.
From an invoice to R G Stuckey of The Nutshell, Roserna Road we can say for sure that Ruby was resident in Canvey at least from 1930. She died in 1973 without leaving a will and it was vested to Archie to sort out her estate.
Olive Christine 1894-1991. Little has been discovered about Olive’s life before Canvey. She was baptised at Christ Church, Brondersley in 1899, Confirmed at St Mary’s Church in Balham in 1910 and took her first Communion on Christmas Day 1910 at St John the Divine, Balham.
Her sister Ruby in 1919 mentioned that Olive had a job but did not mention what the job was only that she was the only girl among many men. Vera’s letters mention Olive’s Bungalow in 1922. She paid to have a bungalow built at Weirium Avenue, Canvey in 1922. She lived at ‘Rowan’ Hawthorn Road, Canvey from at least 1943 until it was sold in 1961 when she moved to ‘Internos’ in Rayment Avenue. She was left the property Dykelands in 1976 after the death of her sister Archie and was still living there when she died in 1991.
Violet Beryl 1898-1941. I believe she might have been known as Beryl. Violet was living at Dykeland House, Rayment Road when she died in 1941. Little has been found out about her life before Canvey. She is buried in St Katherine’s Churchyard.
I have been fortunate enough to meet the descendants of Myra Stuckey. Very nice people and thrilled by all we had found out about the family. A few tears were shed over the letters such a pleasure to pass them back to the family.