The Early Wrights – Part 3

Edwin James (Feb 9, 1860 – Dec 24, 1921). Born in Wantz Road, Maldon, Essex. Granddaughter Dorothy Olive, remembers him saying he was born in Wants and had been living in Wants ever since.

In the 1891 Essex, census he is shown as a gasfitter, aged 30 who lived at 3 Albion Villas, Brewery Road, Southend on Sea, with his wife Emily, aged 30, Edwin J., his son age 10, born in London, Winifred E., his daughter, age 7, born in Southend, Isabel, his daughter, age 4, born in Southend, Grace, his daughter, age 1, born in Southend, Alice Wright, his sister, age 22 (acting as servant), born in Maldon, and Hannah Briton, a servant aged 15, born in Cold Norton.

Isabel and Grace died in infancy from diphtheria.

Richmond Avenue
Home of the Wrights from 1884 to 1964

Edwin married Emily Esther French who was born in Colchester, on June 15, 1880 in Brentford, Middlesex. He lived at Holly Lodge, Grove Road in Southend for a time and then moved to Richmond Avenue. His granddaughter Dorothy tells that he ran a bicycle shop at 1 Richmond Avenue, off the High Street, in Southend on Sea in the 1880s. He made & rented cycles and gave lessons. He gave lessons to a young girl, Mary Ann Burles, who fell in love with his son Edwin James Jr., and married him on February 20th, 1905 in Rochford, Essex.
Edwin Sr. opened a pram and pushchair hire service in 1884, supplying these items to the public as well. The cycle factory was on the opposite side of the road from the shop. The shop was still run by his grandson Herbert Henry Wright when it was demolished to make way for a ring road in the 1960s. The road was never built and a car park now stands on the site.

Henry Robert (June 12, 1862 – Dec 18, 1937). He married Ellen Morten at Colchester St Giles on October 9 1884. He is listed in the 1881 census as a bicycle maker in Maldon. Grandson Pearson reports that Henry & Ellen kept a tobacconist & newsagents business in Dover, and retired to Southwick, Sussex where he died.

Henry & Ellen had four children, George, Hayden, Kathleen, and Pearson Wright. George was a talented flautist, who lost his hearing and was severely shell-shocked in World War I. He never married and was a conservationist and nature lover. Hayden, a civil engineer married Maggie, and they had two sons, William and Bernard. William emigrated to Australia and went into radio & TV production, and Bernard became a Church of England vicar in Johannesburg, South Africa. Kathleen never married and was a teacher in Braintree, Essex.

Wright's SignPearson married a widow named Marion, and they eventually moved to Orchard Croft, Victoria Avenue, Shanklin. Pearson, Jr. was born February 13, 1926 and his brother Robert Henry in 1932. Marion died in 1938 and Pearson Sr. married again in about 1941 to Laura , a Canadian Methodist missionary/teacher returning to her Toronto home from 23 years on the China India border. The second marriage failed, although a daughter Annabelle was born when Laura was 47. Pearson senior died aged 92.

Henry Robert emigrated to Tasmania about 1948, married another emigrant and had two daughters. Pearson junior married Eileen King on 19 February 1945 and had two children Anthony John ( born 1945) and Marion (born 1947).

John George (Sept 14, 1863 – May 24, 1938). He seems to have been known as George, not John George. There was a George Wright who was a witness at Edwin James’s wedding. His birth record lists him as the son of James Wright and Susanna Wright, formerly Murrell (this must be an error).

John George married Julia Adelaide Raven in 1892 at Hampstead Registry Office and they had at least three children.
In 1901 they lived at 26 Burton Road, North Brixton – RG13/422/106/44 333
John G Wright Head aged 37 Company Secretary & Solicitor Clerk born Essex Maldon
Julia A Wright Wife aged 33 born Essex Purleigh
Stanley G Wright Son aged 8 born London Kilburn
Percy E Wright Son aged 6 born Essex Maldon
Jack A Wright Son aged 2 born Essex Leyton

John George was one of the executors of his brother Henry’s will.

We have the death certificate for John George Wright, solicitors clerk, who died 24May 1938 aged 74 from carcinoma of the colon. The death was registered by his son J. Wright who was present at the death at 21 Akerman Road, Brixton, SW9. There was a will which left effects to the value of £119- 8 shillings to his wife Julia Adelaide Wright.

Annie (March 9, 1865 – April 9, 1940). We know little about Annie. She lived at one time in Barking and gave elocution lessons. The following was learned in January 2003 from Keith Nisbet, a descendant of Annie’s sister Alice. Annie had two daughters, Isabel Mary and Irene. Annie was married twice, firstly to a Charles Nathaniel White with whom she had two daughters, and then to a chap named Joseph Downes.

In 1901 at 13 Heigham Road, East Ham RG13/1603/150page 3 Annie White, widow aged 33 living on own means, born in Maldon, Essex
Irene Florence White, daughter aged 9 born in Willesden, London
Isabel Mary White, daughter aged 6 born in Willesden, London

Annie’s daughter Isabel Mary “Belle” White (Sept 1,1894, – June 24, 1972) became Britain’s first Olympic diving medallist with the bronze medal in 1912, and was also Britain’s first European champion 15 years later at the first championships in 1927.

Between these successes she was 4th in 1920 and 6th in 1924 at the Olympic Games and she was to compete at a fourth Games in 1928. The first ASA championship for women’s diving was not held until 1924, but White won each year from then until 1929. She had, however won the Ladies Plain Diving Bath championship organised by the Amateur Diving Association (which became part of the ASA) nine times from their first championship in 1916.

She was an official and administrator for the rest of her life, and the Belle White Memorial Trophy is now presented each year to Britain’s most successful club in women’s competitions

Belle died of congestive cardiac failure and broncho-pneumonia in 1972 at 11 Rookfield Close, Muswell Hill. Taken from Guinness All-Time Greats of British & Irish Sport by Peter Matthews and Ian Buchanan.

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