Rose Higgs

ROSE HIGGS (later EVANS).   Rose was the youngest of a family of 7 as far as we know. She was born in WARDEN ROAD, KENTISH TOWN and later, just prior to her marriage, lived in CATHCART  STREET, KENTISH TOWN.  She married Frederick David William Thurley Evans who was some ten years older than her.  They went on to have 8 children and Rose seems to have spent her married life in ST LEONARD’S SQUARE, Kentish Town.

In later pictures Rose appears to have grown very stout (I guess 8 children will do that to you), but in earlier life she was known as ‘sparrow’.

The date of this picture isn’t known, but it is in a postcard form, similar to those taken around the time of the First World War so it’s likely it may have been taken to send to one of her sons who was serving in the Forces.  The three eldest boys all joined up during this War, and only two came home.



Fred Evans & daughter Nellie circa late 1920s

Only known picture of FREDERICK DAVID WILLIAM THURLEY EVANS.  The woman with him is his second daughter, Nellie.  Judging by her clothes this photo was taken in the twenties.  It may even be her wedding photo (date unknown) since they were not a family for taking pictures and this was probably a special occasion.

Frederick was born in London in 1863 in what was then Palace Street; its name was changed to St Silas Place in the 1930s.  His parents were DAVID EVANS and ELIZABETH THURLEY.  (The Thurleys were inn-keepers in ABINGTON PIGOTS in Cambridgeshire, with various branches of the family running the ‘local’ over the years, including Elizabeth’s father at one point.)  Fred had two sisters  – Louisa E and Lottie E – nothing known about them.

Frederick had a basic education, his parents paid a nominal sum each week (either sixpence or one shilling) for him to learn reading and writing at a church school in Kentish Town Road.  Name unknown but the building later became the cap factory for G A DUNN and Co.

Frederick was a bus driver and this is probably how he met his wife ROSE HIGGS, as her father was also a bus driver.  He and Rose married in St Barnabas Church in Kentish Town and spent most of their married life in ST LEONARD’S SQUARE, Kentish Town where they raised 8 children.

Frederick started out driving the horse-drawn buses in London (Denis donated a picture of him to the London Transport Museum some years ago).  When petrol-driven buses were introduced he left as he didn’t think he could learn to drive.  He took a job in a piano factory but used to come home with his back raw where he’d been heaving heavy planks of wood all day. Rose made him go back to the bus company where he learnt to drive and spent the rest of his working life on the buses.

His first petrol buses had an open cab with a leather (?) apron that went over the driver’s knees to keep him warm.  Denis remembered seeing his father come home in the winter with his moustache frozen solid and standing over the cooking range to de-frost it. The wealthier customers could be demanding – going up to the driver’s cab and telling him which house to stop at in the road as if it was a taxi! The drivers always complied because they were afraid they’d lose their job if the customer complained.

Frederick was a very quiet man.  His biggest passions were his chickens and his garden.  The chickens lived in a run at the bottom of the back garden in St Leonard’s Square which was white-washed every year; plus he kept a smaller wooden box with drop-curtain near the back door where sick or broody hens could be nursed (and heaven help anyone who made a noise near it, since Fred used to sit outside smoking and guarding the box).  Whenever Rose went up to the market, she was always told not to forget the bran for the chickens’ feed.  A cockerel was raised and killed for Christmas Dinner.

The garden was full of chrysanthemums and nasturtiums, the seeds of the latter collected carefully each year for re-sowing.

Fred died in 1938 after a short illness where he was nursed at home by Rose.

Denis Evans talking about his father keeping chickens in the 1920’s

Denis Evans aged 13



Denis, Dennis, David and Joan 6 April 1931

This is another picture of DENIS EVANS.  Slightly older than the previous picture; this one was taken on 6 April 1931, so we know Denis would have been just 13 at the time.   The other children in the picture are not brothers and sisters, they are the children of his brother HARRY EVANS.  From right to left DENNIS (aged about 6), DAVID (aged about 4) and baby JOAN.  The woman cut from the picture is almost certainly Harry’s mother-in-law, MRS WOOD, since he apparently didn’t get on with her.

The picture was probably taken in CANTERBURY where Harry had moved as young man.  He was the brother that DENIS was closest to, and Denis would be invited to visit and stay.  The journey was made by bus from London to Canterbury.  His strongest memory of those visits was sitting cross-legged on the bed, while HARRY taught him to tell the time using a big wall clock and moving the hands manually.

DENIS out-lived these nephews and niece.

Denis Evans circa 1926/8

Denis Evans circa 1926

This is DENIS EVANS, probably taken around 1928.  It is not possible to make out the cap badge but he went to RHYL STREET SCHOOL, KENTISH TOWN from age 5 to 11, and then on to HAVERSTOCK HILL SCHOOL.  He always claimed he should have gone to the grammar school in Haverstock Hill, but the eleven plus exam was changed the year he should have taken it (around the time of this photo), so he went to what was effectively the Secondary Modern instead.

DENIS was the youngest child of FREDERICK AND ROSE EVANS of ST LEONARD’S SQUARE, KENTISH TOWN.   Denis was very much the youngest, the next nearest child, his brother DAVID, being nearly eleven years older.  As a child, Denis shared a bedroom with David, and his main memory of that time was the way David would throw open the window every morning and do keep-fit exercises in front of the fresh air, freezing Denis in the process.

Denis Evans talking about Rhyl Street School: 


Florence and Mary Louise Griffin

Florence (Pat) & Mary Griffin circa 1927

FLORENCE and MARY LOUISE GRIFFIN.  Judging by their ages, it was probably taken around 1925/6.

Mary was born on Christmas Day at her maternal grandparents’ house in FORTESS GROVE, KENTISH TOWN.  Florence’s memory of the occasion was sitting with her cousins, eating quartered oranges from a large blue and white patterned plate, whilst her mother gave birth.  Florence was allowed to name the new baby; Mary was presumably given because of its association with Christmas in Florence’s mind.

John Griffin

john griffin0001Only known picture of JOHN GRIFFIN, (Lizzie Burkinshaw’s second husband), with their older daughter, FLORENCE GRIFFIN.   Judging by Florence’s age, the photo was probably taken around 1922.

We know hardly anything about John.  He was reputedly of Irish descent and was born around 1885/6.  Florence had only hazy memories of him.  The strongest one seems to have been playing outside and running to meet him on Friday nights (pay-day), when he used to bring home her mother’s favourite treat wrapped in newspaper – pigs trotters.

At that time the family were  living at 38 VORLEY ROAD, near the Archway in London.

John worked in the printing industry, he is variously described as a printer’s labourer and a compositor on different documents.   He died in Lambeth hospital and since this is just over the bridge from Fleet Street it seems probable he was taken ill at work.

Lizzie Burkinshaw circa 1915

Elizabeth Burkinshaw circa 1915Early photo of LIZZIE BURKINSHAW (at that time Lizzie CHIPPERFIELD).  There is a stamp on the back reading 1915, if this is true, then Lizzie would have been about 22 yrs old.  The picture was taken at FLORENCE STUDIOS, 103 HIGH STREET, CAMDEN TOWN in NW London.

The picture is a postcard so it’s possible it was taken to send to her husband who was serving in the Army.  The identity of the child is not known.  He/she could have been a nephew/niece of Lizzie’s, but it seems unlikely (there are only a couple who fit the time frame) and it’s strange that this is the only photo from that period that she kept.  Possible it’s a relative of her husband Sidney?

Sidney William Chipperfield


We think Sidney was born in Lowestoft, Suffolk around 1882/3.  His father had a butcher’s shop and Sidney seems to have been one of, at least, 6 children.  Sidney appears to have been a twin; the other ‘half’ being a sister, MABEL.  This would make sense as there seem to have been several multiple births in the family according to later censuses.

At some point part of the family must have moved to London.  When Sidney and Lizzie married in 1912 at Old St Pancras Church, Sidney’s brother BERTIE G CHIPPERFIELD was one of the witnesses (the other was THOMAS BURKINSHAW the bride’s father).

Sidney was described as a labourer on the marriage certificate.   They both gave their address as 9 LITTLE GREEN STREET which was actually the home of Lizzie’s family.

For a long time this was thought to be a wedding picture, but since Sidney’s in uniform it is more likely it was taken as a souvenir photo just after he enlisted. The stamp on the back shows it was taken at The Art Room, 271 KENTISH TOWN ROAD in North West London.   We don’t know when he joined up but it must have been very early during the First World War as he died on the 26th May 1915 whilst serving in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry.  He’s buried at First D.C.L.I. Cemetery, The Bluff, in Belgium.

As far as we know, they had no children, so this picture is all that’s left behind of him.Elizabeth Burkinshaw & Sidney Chipperfield circa 1915