Henry was born on 18th January 1854 in Chessington, Surrey, almost exactly 100 years before me !
On the 1861 census he is living with his parents and three older siblings at Chessington Court Farm. On the 1871 census he is still at the farm although he is now working as a clerk in a mercantile office.
At some point before 1881 Henry became the owner (or perhaps manager) of Sutton Whitmore Farm in Surrey (photo on the left from 1970) (now called Whitmore Farm, Church Road, Windlesham, Sutton Green, Woking, Surrey GU20 6BH) which is not far from Worplesden Golf Course where, in 1931, Alick Benson died on the links (read his story in Week 2). This farm is about 28 miles from Chessington, about half way to Hook, Surrey.
On the 1881 census, they are living at Sutton Whitmore Farm.
Florence Mary Bird – she was born in August 1880 and died four and a half months later of “Convulsions Sudden”. The Family have only recently found out about Florence's existence from the 1911 census which said the couple had two living and one dead child. It's sad that she may have been forgotten about had I not been looking at this branch of my tree and it makes you wonder how many other 'births and deaths' between censuses occur which are never recognised by the historian.
Percy Hyde Bird, my grandfather, was born in May 1883 (see Week 44). Henry is now described as a "corn merchant" living at 'Fairlight', Cadogan Road, Surbiton.
On the 1891 census, Louisa and Percy are living with her cousin, George Wareham. I have never been able to find Henry on this census.
Leslie Bird was born in September 1894, eleven years after Percy (see Week 38).
In 1911 they had moved to 54 Royal Parade, Eastbourne with two servants. This must have been a large house as there were 9 rooms.
In March 1926, Henry, now of 'Kenmore', 36 Upper Avenue, Eastbourne died aged 72 of “Cardiac Valvular Disease”. His death was reported by his son, "Major P.H.Bird". His Estate, according to his Will, was valued at £2,391 (£108,000 in today’s terms RPI). Basically, he left the house and contents to his wife, Louisa, to live in for the rest of her life, but then after her death, very strangely “to my son Leslie thus carrying out my promise of his 21st birthday.” Everything else is 50:50 between the two boys and both are Executors.
What was this promise all about ? A 21st birthday gift - fair enough, but then why didn’t Percy, the older son, get the equivalent value of half the property ? Had he already received another major gift during Henry’s lifetime or was there some other reason for his omission ?