stevecann.co.uk

Welcome to my world...

In the beginning...

On this page I've assembled some photos of my ancestors on my mother's side - a sort of photo family tree. I've also added more information about my father & his family. 

 

 


 

The Coxes & the Bonemeyers...

This is the wedding day of my mother's maternal grandparents - my great-grandparents! Morton Rivett Cox (who was born in Brixham, Devon in 1869) married Edith Ethel Roberts (who was born in 1878) on September 20th 1899.

The marriage took place at 11am at West Ham Parish Church - Morton was aged 30, & Edith 21. They went on to have 3 children - Frank, Dudley & daugher Reva.

Morton's parents were William Hart Cox (born 1827) who was a Master Mariner, & Sarah Rivett (born 11th March 1827 in Spitalfields, East London). They were married at St George the Martyr Church, Southwark on 27th January 1852. My mum (Christine) adds:

"[Sarah's] father was a tea merchant. Her family had come from France in the 17th Century. They were Huguenots (French Protestants) who suffered persecution - 40,000 settled in Britain, many in Spitalfields, bringing their trade of weaving with them."

So there's my 'French Connection'...! Funnily enough, when actress Julia Sawhalia recently charted her mother's family tree on the TV show Who Do You Think You Are, she too found she was descended from Huguenots who had settled in Spitalfields. She also revealed that the term refugee was first coined at that time to describe the Huguenot settlers.

 

 

 

Below the couple are pictured 5 years' later on May 16th, 1904, in a formal photo taken by F.W. Clark Photographers of Romford Road, Forest Gate. They now had 2 children - Dudley (who had just turned 1 year's old) seated on his mother's lap, & Frank (who had just turned 3). Edith would have been 4 months' pregnant at this time with my Grandmother, Reva Cox, who was later born in the October.

 

 

 

Below here is a huge framed photo that has been in my family for years! This pictures the extended Cox family as they were in 1908. My mum has helpfully supplied the names of everyone pictured, which I've listed below. 

My maternal grandmother Reva is the 2nd child from the left (seated on the rug) - full name Reva Edith Cox - the 3rd & last of Morton & Edith's 3 children (a 4th child died sadly as a baby). Reva would have been 4 years' old at this time of this photo! Her parents are seated just behind her.

Back row: Cousin Willy; Uncle Charlie, Auntie Annie; ? Rivet; Aunt Hannah; Uncle Willy, Uncle Frank.

Middle row: Cousin Alice; Auntie Jenny; Edith Cox (my great-grandmother); Grandfather Cox; Grandmother Cox; Morton Rivett Cox (my great-grandfather); Auntie Jessie (with baby Terence).

Front row: Edgar; Reva; Frank & Dudley (Reva's brothers); Eileen; Norman; Cecil (seated on chair).

               

 

 

Christine: "My father, Henri Bonemeyer, was born on 3rd June 1884. The lady is his mother, Alberta Bonemeijer (or Bonemeyer) née Massman (French origin)."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                  

Christine: "[These] photographs are of my grandmother & grandfather on my father's side. My grandparents lived in the Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia, & my father was born there... on 3rd June 1884 & died 10th November 1943, aged 59. My father's father was Hubertus Jacobus Christianas Bonemeyer - he was a school teacher."

 

 

 

 

Here is Christine's father Henri aged about 7.

Christine: "The native lady was his nurse in the Dutch East Indies (Soerabaya). They [later] returned to Holland & lived in Nijmegen. His sister Bertha was born there in 1894. Other children died."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This card-mounted photo shows Christine's father in 1907, aged 23. There's certainly no mistaking the facial resemblance between my mother & her father, as this portrait clearly shows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

               

And here are Henri & Reva, around about the time they were married. The wedding took place on January 11th 1935 at Epsom Register Office (pictured below) - Henri was now aged 50, & Reva 30 (this was his second marriage, his first wife being Hendrika Hubertus). Following the wedding, Reva moved in to Henri's bungalow at 125 Chapel Way, Tattenham Corner, Epsom - leaving her family home in Wanstead Park. Their only child (my mother Christine) was to be born in March the following year. My mother also revealed that he had other daughters from his first marriage - though they presumably continued to live in Holland, & were never to meet their half-sister.

 

 

Christine: "Epsom Registry Office, where my parents were married in January 1935."

 


My dad...

 

This wonderful family photo is sadly the only one I have of my father (Clive Cann) during his childhood. He is pictured right, with his two brothers Cyril (always known as Wally) & younger brother Terence (known as Terry) on either side of their mother, Gertrude Maud (I always remember this photo being on display on the wall of my grandad's flat in Chiswick - Terry (who sadly passed away in 2014) kindly sent me this copy a few years back).

My father was born on 13th July 1932 at Chiswick & Ealing Maternity Hospital. The boys all lived with their parents Cyril & Gertie (whose maiden name was Cardew) at the family's butcher's shop at 103 Devonshire Road  (formerly Chiswick Field Road) - the business being passed down to my father's father Cann by his grandfather Wildren Cann. The boys would take turns on Saturdays helping their father out in the shop, & making deliveries to local houses by a bicycle with a huge basket attached to the front.

My father attended the Central Boys' School, Chiswick, & later the County School for Boys, also in Chiswick - where he was made Form Captain, & excelled at Maths. On leaving school he was conscripted to the RAF, & then on demob successfully studied to become a chartered accountant.

Clive's cousin Arthur James (son of Gertie's sister, Grace) adds some more to the story:

"There are cousins & cousins - my mother, Minnie Grace, was the favourite sister of Gertrude. They each had 9 siblings &, apart from a couple of subsequent deaths, they were the youngest by a long chalk. Gertie was not much more than a year older than Grace, & they were extremely close. Clive was 3 weeks older than me, but we were more or less brought up as twins, & we looked more or less alike too. Together one could easily tell which one was which, but separately it was a different matter. It was very useful for our mothers in that we could use the same season tickets, for example, without question. As an aside, my daughter Pauline worked for a time in the 80s in an old people's home in Chiswick - the old folks for whom she was caring all insisted on calling her Miss Cann, so much for the family likeness!

Let me explain that I will use our parents Christian names in preference to Mum, Aunt, Dad, Uncle, & so on.
Grace died of breast cancer in 1942 & for a long time, until my father, Arthur Edwin, remarried, I lived at 103 Devonshire Road - & it was easier for all concerned to call my Uncle Cyril 'Dad' rather than Uncle, & Gertie 'Mum' instead of Aunty.  
 
I went off to do my National Service in 1950 and then for a long time did not see Clive but still visited [his father] Cyril, who by this time was a widower - Gertie having died, also of breast cancer, in 1949. Then on demob from the forces we both entered the world of employment, me in commerce with Unilever, & Clive into accountancy."  
 
During (& before) my father's childhood, the Cann family also owned a farm - Chivery Farm -  near Wendover in Hertfordshire. I had a feeling my father was sent to live there during the war, & attended a junior school in nearby Chesham. This seems to be confirmed by Arthur:
 
"I remember Clive going down to Chivery for a time, but don't remember when or why. Thoughts that arise are it may have been due to the outbreak of hostilities in 1939, or perhaps the arrival of Terrence Anthony, Terry to us. The government of the day was very keen that all young children should be evacuated from London... I do remember that Clive caught scarlet fever down at the farm from drinking milk straight from the cows! By the way, Chivery is a town in the Chilterns & was home to Grandfather Cann & Aunty Trixy [Beatrice Cann], younger sister I think to Cyril & brothers Arthur, Frank, & Bill."  
 
 
 
 

As already mentioned, Clive was conscripted into the RAF to conduct his 2 years' National Service (which was mandatory for all males in the post-war years, up until about 1959 I think). He joined on October 17th 1951, becoming AC2 Cann 3134647 - & can be see in the above group standing at the front (6th from left).

 

 

Here's Clive again with the men from his squadron outside their hut! (He's 2nd left in the 2nd row). During his time, he was posted at RAF Creden Hill, Hereford; RAF Coltishill, near Norwich; RAF Hednesford, Staffs; RAF Padgate, near Warrington & RAF Acklington, near Morpeth. It's unclear at which of these bases the above photo was taken, unfortunately. He has, however, named all the 'chaps' on the back of the picture, as follows:

Top row: D.M. Hoare; Ted Campden; John Beavis; Terry Smith; M.C. Fadzean; M Reeve.

Middle: Mike Adams; Me(!); Mike French; Hugh Reynolds; Alf Burlinson; John Mair; Colin Valentine.

Front: Gordon Nicholls; Peter Starkey; Mike Hoare; Corporal Jackson; Doug Chamberlain; Collin Robertson; Roy Dye.

 

 

 

 

103 Devonshire Road, Chiswick, London.

This was the site of the family's butcher's shop (as mentioned earlier), & of course where my father & his 2 brothers grew up. This photo was taken in 2006 - you can just see an 11-year-old Sam standing by the wall!

My grandfather kept the shop going until 1978, when he was forced to close due to new (& more stringent) health regulations for such premises - & by this time he was way past retirement age in any case. It had remarkably remained virtually unchanged in the post-war years, & still had sawdust on the floor instead of tiling... it was like a real time-capsule! This was a traditional local butchers though - my grandad was on first-name terms with his many customers - in contrast to the comparitvely faceless supermarket chains where most people buy their meat products today. He had fond memories too of his childhood, & the shop where he spent nearly his entire life. This is the first image he conjured up when speaking to the Brentford & Chiswick Times on the eve of closure:

 

 

Cyril: "Picture dawn breaking on a silent back-street in Chiswick at the turn of the century. A dog is barking somewhere in the distance, & the feint bleats of sheep can be heard as they are shepherded from the market gardens in Dukes Meadows to WW Cann butchers in Chiswick Field Road (Devonshire Road). Behind the sheep is the butcher's young son Cyril who, in over-the-knee shorts & flat cap, apprehensively issues instructions to a collie dog, hoping for the safe delivery of his father's livestock..."

A new refrigerator & complete tiling of the floors & walls were just some of the improvements needed to stay open, & would have set Cyril back £5000/£6000 - a fair amount of money back in those days, & he saw that he had no real option but to close the shop, sell up & retire.

Cyril: "It came so suddenly - I can't get used to the situation. I don't know what to do, I've got now place to go. I've got to be fair [though] - I do not meet with the modern requirements... but I haven't poisoned anyone yet!"   

Up until this time, he had still been getting up at 4am twice a week to travel to Smithfield Market to buy in his meat supplies - & still made occasional home deliveries on the bicycle. The large slaughterhouse, which still stood at the rear of the shop (but he now used to store his van) hadn't been used however since the war. Every Sunday morning he would make his own sausages - a favourite with his loyal customers - using a special machine set up in the shop (see pic below & the other b+w pics/articles underneath, from the Brentford & Chiswick Times, & kindly provided to me courtesy of Hounslow & Chiswick Libraries). He eventually sold the shop (splitting the proceeds with his sister-in-law, with whom he still had joint ownership), & moved to a ground floor studio flat nearby, just off Chiswick High Road - before spending his final years in a nursing home in Kingston, until his death in 2001.

 

Here's the full article from the newspaper, complete with comments from customers:

The picture below (probably not for the squeamish!) shows just how the shop looked in its early days in the 1930s, in this photo from the Brentford & Chiswick Times 'Looking Back' feature from 1974. That's my grandad's father Wildren (who was born in Devon), standing in the doorway beside the carcasses hanging over a bed of straw, with a wicker gate & fence (just out of shot) protecting the goods from passers by. It's quite startling to think this would have been a perfectly normal sight in the 1930s!

All the animals walked to the shop, before being slaughtered - the sheep from the meadows near the Burlington Lane premises of Chiswick School, & the bullocks from Chivery Farm.

 

 

These 1970s pictures below show the shop looking exactly how I remember it from my childhood. I remember so well the large overhanging canopy along the shopfront displaying the name W W Cann & Sons, & the big window to display the wares. At this time, the other shop to the left (with the white painted frontage) was a bakery, & the shop to the right was a launderette, which you can just make out behind my grandad below as he proudly displays the shop's delivery bike. As you can see from my 2006 photo, the original shop has now been converted into office space.

 

 

Again, here's the full newspaper article:

 

   

 

 

 

8 Frederick's Place, Old Jewry, London.

This was where my father worked, right up until his death in 1973, as a chartered accountant for Mann, Judd & Co. He started here as an intern during his lengthy accountancy studies - & upon graduation continued to work & progress with the company. He must have worked here then for about 20 years.

The building is located off a side-road off 'Poultry' - very near the Bank of England, & a short walk from St Paul's. 'Bank' tube station is just across the way - so presumably this was where he would have caught the train to each day (in later years off course having set off on the main-line from Maidenhead to Paddington).

Funnily enough, I'd never seen this building until 2006 when I undertook another 'tragical history tour' with Sam! It was great to see where he'd worked all those years. It is now the HQ of British Linen Advisers Ltd - Mann Judd & Co having long been swallowed up within the Touche Ross organization. In a nice gesture, they continued to send my mother a Christmas hamper each year.

 

 

 

 

  

These 2 photos above show the interior of Frederick's Place as it is now, & were kindly sent to me in May 2007 by Rob Holman. He found my site whilst doing a Google-search on the building, where he works:

Rob: "I have worked within 7/8 Fred's for about 2 months on & off, & am
interested in the history of the building & the surroundings. 
It's very
quiet inside, yet everything is on the doorstep - pubs, restaurants, shops etc. I started off working on the 2nd floor, but due to company expansion, we
are now on the 1st... I hope they give you some idea of the opulence of the interior of the building."

Thanks very much for that, Rob - you are a star man!

 

 

 

 

 55 Gower Street, London.

The significant thing about this building is that it is the place where my father met my mother! He visited the offices in his capacity as a chartered accountant for Mann Judd & co... & the rest is history, as they say. I've gone into this story in more detail on the page:

http://www.stevecann.co.uk/mumsphotobiographypart1.htm

under 'Rutland Court Years'.

My mother worked here (from the late 50s to 1964) - the building being the offices of the National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs. It's directly opposite RADA, & a short walk from Goodge Street tube (just around the corner).

 

 

 

 

 

And here they are together! My mum's colleague at NFYFC, Jim Preece:

"We were a faily close-knit bunch of colleagues in those days & often, after office hours, would adjourn to a local coffee house for half an hour or so. We had a very likeable and friendly auditor visit us one year... his name was Clive Cann. The audit usually lasted a week, maybe two, I don't remember. Long enough to get to like and admire him.
Anyway, it became obvious that Christine 1 was smitten so, after a bit of discussion with Christine 2 (that's how we addressed them), I invited Clive to join us for coffee in the evenings... & things worked out very well."

And Christine 2 was Christine Gorman, who worked alongside my mother & Jim.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here's my father standing proudly outside my mum's flat at Rutland Court, West Acton, with his brand new car - a cream coloured Austin A40 (with a sky blue roof) registration 811 BJB. He bought it at the end of May 1962, 2 weeks after passing his driving test!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here are the happy couple on their wedding day - September 28th, 1963. They were married at Our Lady of Lourdes church, Acton, & a reception was held at the flat at Rutland Court, where this photo was taken. The happy couple then left for a honeymoon in Ilfracombe, Devon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here's my father pictured in 1967 with myself (in the pushchair) & Maurice. I have a feeling this photo was taken by my mum in Chiswick Park - just a short walk from the shop in Devonshire Road. For many years, my grandad also co-ran another butcher's shop (alongside his other business) adjacent to the park in Edensor Road.

It looks as though he's embraced fatherhood well! He used to refer to us back in those days as his 'little monsters'... I'm sure he didn't mean it really!! He was nearly always smartly attired like this with his collar, tie & sports jacket.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here's a photo taken the same year as above, showing myself, my dad & Maurice in the back garden at 9 Shirley Road - plus my dad's father, Cyril, who had paid us a visit during the summer. He was of course still working at the butcher's shop in Chiswick at this time. I don't have many photos of my dad & grandad together, so it's quite nice to have this one. My grandad never seemed to age - I can only ever really remember him looking exactly like he does in this photo!