I first became interested in my family history many years ago and have left off and returned several times over the years. I think my interest in history in general stems back to my history teacher at school. He managed to instill and interest in his subject which I’m afraid few other teachers managed!
Despite having four daughters and therefore no chance of my particular family name continuing I have kept on with my research, and now I’m pleased to say I have a grandson and a granddaughter who have both shown an interest.
My paternal great grandfather was George Archibald Thorpe. He was Lord Mayor of Hastings three times. He was born in 1825 at Battle where his father, George was a boot and shoe manufacturer. When I visited Battle a few years ago, the shop was still there albeit no longer run by a Thorpe. George had walked from his birthplace in Chiddingly to Battle to start his own business.
George Archibald came to live in Hastings in 1845 and opened a boot and shoe business at 21 & 22 George Street and he later opened branches at 28 &29 Robertson Street and 17 Grand Parade St Leonards. The Robertson Street shop became Thorpe and Hall in 1890 and then just Halls. In 1868 he was first elected to Hastings Council. Became a Tory councillor in 1868, then magistrate, mayor and alderman. He was a director of the Gas Company (and chairman), of the Queens Hotel, the Baths, of Hastings Pier and of East Sussex Building Society. His eldest son Francis Homan Thorpe was the Borough Accountant and his third son Arthur Davis Thorpe was Deputy Town Clerk and an active solicitor. His son, Arthur Davis Thorpe, was also Mayor of Hastings.
My paternal grandfather and son of George Archibald was partner (with his brother) in a company manufacturing horse drawn carriages. With the advent of the motor car, he decided it was a passing fad and decided to continue manufacturing the carriages!!
My paternal grandmother’s maiden name was Milton. I have traced her ancestry back and find she is descended from Christopher Milton, who was the brother of John Milton – the poet.
My youngest daughter’s partner and father of her two sons, is directly descended from Charles Darwin. Darwin was his great great great grandfather. Josiah Wedgwood was his 5th great grandfather. His (Josiah’s) daughter, grand daughter Emma married Charles Darwin.
The most important of my ancestors, however was William Thorpe 1747-1819 (George’s father and George Archibald’s grandfather}, who owned the Six Bells public house in Chiddingly, Sussex. An excellent pub with lovely beer and delicious food. (Oh, how proud I am of him!!!)
His daughter Jane married John Russell. Their granddaughter Elizabeth married George Bromley and the Russell and Bromley store was born.
As you can see, genealogy enables one can uncover many previously unknown ancestors. It is difficult to explain the thrill of finding such an individual or even to finally break down a “brick wall” and to tie together two such family members.
Links to famous people mentioned:
Russell & Bromley https://www.allinlondon.co.uk/images/venues/images_all/12480429.jpg
Josiah Wedgwood https://goo.gl/images/sJbH4M