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The author's oldest memory of the Spacey line was of his grandfather Sidney Herbert Spacey was born on 4th August 1892 to Julia and Amos Spacey.
Sidney's father Amos Daniel (bn around September 1861 in Leighton Buzzard) was a gardener. Tracing back to 1881 we find Amos at the age of 19, living in a small family unit with his parents Henry and Sarah at St Thomas' Street in a village called Heath and Reach in Bedfordshire, England. Similar to his son, Henry was an Agricultural Labourer. According to the 1881 census they shared the house with his sister, Phoebe Jane(bn 1858) and her husband, William Perry (bn 1858, they married in 1880), the owner of the house, and Phoebe's daughter Elizabeth Perry who by then was only 7 months old.
Recent contacts with other Spacey descendents and a member of the Bedfordshire Family History Society, provided a whole new range of information on the Spacey family which has enabled the story to be tracked back several more generations and forward to other living descendants. It would appear from the data that one contact is the author's 5th cousin.
From the 1861 census and data provided by Spacey descendants, the year before Amos was born we find the family living at Reeves cottage in Heath and Reach. The record shows an elder brother of Amos called Reuben John (bn1854 in Milton Bryant) together with their parents Henry and Sarah. Other records show other sisters Louisa Ann (bn 1851) and Sarah Ann (bn 1856). Their father Henry was born in 1822 in a nearby village called Milton Bryant and died in 1887 in Leighton Buzzard. His wife Sarah was born in 1826 in Livingstone Daryll, Buckingham. Henry's father was a Thomas Spacey born in 1799, the eldest member of a much larger family. His father, Henry senior (bn 1764) and wife Mary (nee Gurney bn 1769 to Jos Gurney and Eliz Hamilton) had 7 children. Catherine (bn 1790 and married to Richard Cook in 1818), the ancestors of my recent contact, Elizabeth (bn 1793), Mary (bn 1802), William who sadly died a few months after his birth in 1804, Jenny (bn 1806) and a second William (bn 1809) Henry senior died aged 88 in 1852. The line of Spacey's descended from this family unit is quite extensive and end with living relatives today.The origins of my Spacey line originate and grew up in and around the small Bedfordshire villages of Heat and Reach and Mitlon Bryant. They began to move out around Bedfordshire and down towards London, but finally they moved away to South Wales and even to the Derby area where other family lines have been traced.
Amos Daniel was to marry Julia Sarah Burr (bn 1869) on July 10th 1890 in Willington, Bedfordshire. Her background is unknown as yet. We do know that after Amos died Julia moved up to Old Warden, Bedfordshire and remarried a George Nottingham who lived and worked in the village. George's father was a shepherd, perhaps working on the nearby Abbey farm, run then by George Woodward. Could there be any relationship between this Woodward and the Woodwards of Combe seen in the Collier history? It was a sizeable estate of 252 Acres with 8 men and 4 boys working the land. There was a Lucy Nottingham living in and working as a servant, a name that was to figure later in the life of Gladys as she visited the farm.
When Sidney's father died and his mother, Julia remarried George, Sidney left home and moved down to London where he became a Grocer.
Sydney met Emily Maud Buckeridge and after marrying at Emmanuel church on the Harrow Road on 3 August 1913 they moved into their new home just one street away from her parents at 35 Hormead Road. The new house almost backs on to their parent's. Directly across the road runs the Paddington branch of the Grand Union canal. This would have been an actively used waterways for goods and people moving to and from London.
35 Hormead Road Emily Maud & Gladys
Other relatives of Emily, on the Buckeridge side lived near by along the Weston Road at Greystoke Park Terrace. Just a year later their daughter (my mother), Gladys was born on the 16th December 1914 in Paddington London and lived at 35 Hormead Road until she was a teenager. Their house looked out towards the canal and across the other side to a small park where Gladys may have played with her friends. She was baptised at a church in Selbourne just south west of London in March 1915. We have no knowledge of why the baptism took place so far from her home in West London but perhaps since it was war time she had moved to be with other family members.As World War 1 broke out Sydney was called up and served as a lance corporal in the artillery.
Gladys, an only child, had 3 uncles and an aunt who lived nearby and she would often visit them to play. Her Uncle William married Sarah and had two children Lillian and William. Uncle Albert married Daisy and had 3 children, twins Sonny and Roy and daughter Betty. The family were known still to be living around the Mill Hill area of London. 2 other uncles, Walter and an unknown child both died very young so Gladys would not have known them. Another Uncle Harry married Elsie Ellington and they moved out to Zoute in Belgium where Harry worked in the diamond trade. It is known that Elsie's brother was called Sir Ellington but little else is known of him. Gladys travelled to Belgium for several summer holidays, perhaps with her mother, and spent the time playing with her cousin Peter Buckeridge who had been born in Belgium. Finally there was Aunt Alice who married Herbert and moved to Shifnall in the Midlands. Later Gladys was to meet up with Alice's family when her parents too moved to the Midlands.
Gladys started School in London before moving to the Midlands.
As Gladys grew up she attended the local Josiah Mason orphanage school where she was a keen gymnast and dancer. Being small in stature she often found herself at the front of displays or on top of pyramids. School reports show her to be skilled in most things she learnt scoring high marks and receiving commendations from her class teachers.
Returning again to Emily Maud's family, we find that her husband Sydney served in the special constabulary during the war. After the war Sydney, became a manager of sales representatives for Callard & Bowser confectioners, was moved by his company to the Midlands. He travelled a lot on business and so was given a car. They bought a house at 370 Holly Lane in Erdington near Birmingham. In those days Erdington was a quiet rural village on the edge of the newly growing conurbation of Birmingham.
The grand parents on Gladys' fathers side, Julia and her new husband George ran or at least worked at Abbey farm in Old Warden, Bedfordshire, a place which Gladys was to visit regularly right through into her married life. Pictures show this tranquil country farm as remote from what must have been the hustle and bustle of city life in London, then Birmingham. Here we find photographic evidence of young Gladys playing with chickens and sitting on tree trunks in the fields. Letters still exist from an Aunty Lucy at Abbey farm, Old Warden and Cousin Ada from nearby 11 St John Road, Muggerhanger.
Gladys feeding chickens at Old Warden
A nearby family, the Shuttleworths were to achieve fame with aeroplanes and the establishment of the current Shuttleworth collection. Later when Gladys married Arthur they made close friends with the Shuttleworths.
It was to be the start of a new relationship with Dick Shuttleworth. He was a brave but somewhat reckless young man who like life in the fast lane. Dick was a keen racer driving Alfa Romeo cars at Donnington and other tracks. Dick and Arthur would drive up to Bedford in his car at high speed round the winding country lanes and stop off in the town for a drink. They would visit the nearby hangers at Cardington where the R101 airship was housed.
A brief stop one day at the village water pump found a startled Gladys as she saw frogs pouring out of the spout. Not an unusual event for the time of the year villagers told her.
Stories tell of the exploits of Dick Shuttleworth and Arthur in their dare devil enjoyment of life.After the war broke out, contact was lost so it was not until after the war that they learnt he had been killed in a flying accident in 1941. The memory of Dick lives on in the village with photos and momentoes around the walls of the Hare and Hounds public house but his name lives on however through the wonderful collection of planes and cars at the Shuttleworth Museum nearby. His name also appears together with just a few others on the base of a memorial cross in the centre of the village.
A research visit to Old Warden identified several farms including Park Farm, Manor Farm and Abbey Farm. The later was now owned by a lady who had no knowledge of the previous owners so the business must have been lost to the Woodward family.
Old Warden even at the start of the twenty first century has almost been left in the eighteenth century. Apart from the odd car passing down the High Street, the tiny thatched cottages and small community halls appear much as they would have been when Julia lived there. Land, buildings and farms around the village are dominated by two concerns. The Shuttleworth family own about half whilst Whitbread breweries own the other half. On the North side of the village just beyond the last cottage are the farms with Abbey farm named after a strange compact building, the Abbey. It now belongs to English National Heritage and is residential at a cost of around £500 per week for retreats.
At the side of the main road back towards Bedford lies a terrace of four cottages known as Tunnel Cottages. An unusual name until it was discovered that an old disused railway line runs into a half mile tunnel at the back of the cottages and reappears on the 4 other side of the road. The cottage end of the tunnel was used as a setting for the film "Those magnificent men in their flying machines" where a plane flies over the tunnel mouth just as the train is exiting.
Old photographs taken during visits of Gladys Spacey to her grandmother in the 1930s shows family members outside tunnel cottage.
Life at Tunnel Cottage
During the research visit the photograph was shown to the current resident, Mrs Jean Davies and she immediately recognised the building. The water butt by which they were standing is now resident at the bottom of the garden and the house has been extended over the spot where they were standing. Jean explained how during the Blitz of London she along with other East End children had been evacuated to Old Warden. She was billeted in the village and grew fond of the place. Later in 1954 she returned to Old Warden and bought tunnel cottage from a Mr Bryant who lived there and worked on nearby Manor farm. At that time the building, a two up two down property, had bare brick walls inside, no electricity and little in the way of home luxuries. They modernised and extended the house and as the family grew the daughter moved in next door. The father of the neighbours, Harry York, occupying the other two parts of the terrace had been born there probably back when the houses were built by the Whitbreads in 1873 as a farm tenant small holding. His daughter who had taken over the property after he died and recalls quite clearly the coupled who lived at the other end. She referred to them as George and Georgiana remembering the pleasant quiet couple who lived in their row of small houses.
Gladys, an orderly methodical worker, took up employment as a secretary working at several companies in and around Birmingham. References from employers such as H Gill Stampings Ltd in 1931 where she was Clerk and M André & CIE Ltd, confectioners where she was a short hand typist, all show her to be conscientious and willing. It was from there that she started work as a secretary at the newly established Percy Lanes in Tyburn Road.
Percy Lanes Factory, Erdington
Percy Lanes was founded by Captain Percy Lanes (1882~1953) as a company producing cold formed products of aluminium and brass. The company has since relocated to Tamworth. Gladys recounts working long hours preparing documents for Captain Lane. He is recorded as an immaculately dressed man of military precision but one who knew and cared for his staff.
It was at that time that she met her future husband Arthur Evans. The Percy Lanes factory was on the opposite side of the canal to the Dunlop tyre factory where Arthur Evans now worked. Arthur's family were keen dancers and loved the big band music but Arthur preferred to visit Gladys at her home. A keen motorist from his early days he much preferred driving around on motorcycles and then cars. Gladys' cousin Peter, another keen motorcyclist, would join them enjoying the peaceful happy times between the 2 world wars. Peter was living with his parents Elsie and Harry at 53 Fredrick Rd, Stetchford.
Arthur and Gladys
On 12 December 1935 they married at Pype Hayes Church and moved into a new home not far from her parents at number 6 Alman Road just off Holly Lane, Erdington. Ever practical the written evidence of letters from friends and relatives on their wedding day show very frugal celebrations in a nearby Paget Road school hall. The money was to be spent more wisely setting up their home. They were however treated to an evening out at the Birmingham Hippodrome where on the 16th December 1935 they went to see Roy Fox and his band.
Letters and presents arrived wishing the couple a happy marriage, including one from the staff and management of the Planet, or Percy Lanes where she still worked. Uncle William, Aunt Sarah and cousin Lilly wrote from 4 Norfolk Rd West London sending tea knives. Aunt Alice and Uncle Herbie living then at 22 Greystoke Park Terrace in Ealing chose to send money.
Aunt Lucy from Old Warden sent a postal order for 5 shillings and six pence. Cousin Ada from nearby Muggerhanger sent a gift in her letter. Interestingly she says "we". There is no information to date which identifies the link between Lucy or Ada with Gladys. They may have been related to Mr Nottingham. Ada comments in her letter that she has not been able to get to Old Warden, just down the road, since she has been home. Where had she been and was the weather in December so bad that they could not travel?
Soon new family members arrived as Anthony Roy was born in 1942. It was just before the outbreak of World War 2 and Arthur now was to leave Gladys to bring up her son Anthony supported by her mother Emily. Gladys used a bicycle to get about with Anthony perched in a seat at the rear. She recounts the story of the day she went to have all her teeth removed when she cycled to the dentist and perhaps suffering much pain rode home again, Anthony in tow. Anthony was later to attend Paget Road school.
Gladys' mother was very deaf in her old age and died on 29 March1953. Her husband Sydney, now retired eventually came to live with his daughter Gladys and her family in Streetly. He too passed away on 9th March 1967. It was his choice to be buried with his mother, Julia Nottingham at Sutton Coldfield cemetry. Julia had died in 1949 and Sydney was laid to rest in 1967 in the same grave identified as plot 2103 in section C. A visit was made to the plot in August 2000 and with the help of a groundsman the exact position was located. Several stones and remnants were seen of other graves but the exact spot where Sydney and Julia were buried was by then just grass. I stood on the spot for a while gazing down at the turf to remember them. It was sad to think that after long lives people are laid to rest and forgotten with nobody to come and visit them. Perhaps today there are very few who even remember them. I feel that by writing this history of the family including Julia, Sydney and all the other generations, I am helping their lives and memories to live on.
The SPACEY line with Buckeridge roots finally married into
the EVANS family and came to settle in the Midlands .
Since retiring the author of this site has moved to live in Derby where it is known that many of the Spacey line moved and still live.
By contacts made through this website the database of names continues to grow. My thanks to the many contributors.
A recent contact turned out to similarly share my 5x Great grandfather Henry Spacey (born 1764) who came from Milton Bryant in Bedfordshire. She provided me with other Spacey names linked through David (born 1867) who married Jane Gates. There were also some interesting facts about the younger brother of her grandmother Ruth (born 1892) called Frederick Geroge Spacey (born 1901) known as Great Uncle George. Then there was Aunty Vida from Merthyr Vale who married a Tom Evans, the Uncle of Timothy Evans (10 Rillington Place renown). Additionally she reported that Great Aunty Beat (Beatrice) became Mayoress of Guildford.
If anyone is interested to share or find out more about the Spacey line please contact either of us.