Children of Walter and Alice Baggs

Walter William (Baggs) Pierson 01. (Walter) William Pierson, formerly Baggs (Will)

1879-10-30 b. 15 Lower Dover Street, Bevois Town, Southampton, Hampshire birth certificate
1881 of 15 Dover Street, St Mary Southampton, living with family and uncle TNA: RG 11/1205 f45 p26
1891 of HM Convict Prison, Gillingham, Kent, living with family RG 12/665 f121 p44
1901 student, no occupation, of The Training College [King Alfred's College], Winchester, Hampshire RG 13/1082 f100 p45; Ken Smallbone (2010) Baggs: The History of a Family. The Ancestors and Descendants of the Baggs Family of Hannington, Hampshire, England. Basingstoke: The Changing Seasons
  a bookish type, he eventually got to Goldsmiths' College The Memoirs of Sidney Beck
1911 cert. asst. teacher; County Council; boarder with Burdon family in 7 rooms at 3 Park Place, Wadebridge, Cornwall RG14PN13708 RG78PN809 RD293 SD4 ED12 SN193
1913-08-04 witnessed his brother John's wedding at Southfield, Wandsworth parish register
1914/1918 served in the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, attaining the rank of lance-corporal, regimental number 2451, 200679. Awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards; WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls; World War I pension ledgers and index cards; Smallbone (2010)

Sometime after the end of the 1914/18 war my Mother's eldest brother, my Uncle Will, came to live with us, in the middle room downstairs. He had been wounded (? in 5 places) while serving with Allenby's troops in Palestine and, much to his disappointment, he had been invalided home just before the entry into Jerusalem. I can remember a photograph of him my mother had for some time, dressed in khaki, with puttees around his legs. Very pale and serious. He had brought back with his souvenirs a small model, in ivory, of the Taj Mahal, which was of great interest to us all, we had never seen anything quite so beautiful. I do not remember what became of it. Nor do I remember how long he stayed. He later married a Scotswoman who made him change his name by deed poll from Baggs to Pierson as she refused to be called Mrs. Baggs. Uncle Will became headmaster of Launceston School, Cornwall, and was buried there. There were no children and his wife went back to Scotland, I think. I remember seeing her—probably at the wedding or soon after—but I think that was the only occasion. My mother gave me Uncle Will's bible when he died (1932)—she thought I took after him and she thought highly of Uncle Will.

What do you remember—if anything—about your Uncle William Walter Pierson?

Well, my earliest recollection of Uncle William was when he came to stay. My mother looked after him, after he'd been wounded, during the First World War. He had been with Allenby's army, in the attempt to reach Jerusalem; and my uncle was wounded—I think he got about five bullet wounds in his back—the figure five sticks in my mind, I think it was in his back. It may have been pieces of shrapnel, but he was certainly wounded; he never got to Jerusalem, much to his great dismay—he was looking forward to being able to get into Jerusalem, but I think somewhere outside Jerusalem, he was wounded, and invalided out of the army. I remember him around the house, looking very pale—I think he must have been fully discharged from hospital—and he was well on the road to recovery, but he was always looking very pale. He had the middle room on the ground floor, to himself, and I suppose we were all kept fairly quiet, so as not to disturb him too much. But he stayed with us until he was well enough to go, and establish himself in other quarters—he wasn't married at that time.

He was a schoolteacher—had been before the War, and went back to teaching. One of my recollections of him—that, in his travels in the Middle East, he had acquired an ivory model of the Taj Mahal, which he kept under a glass dome in his bedroom—he used to show it to us with great pride, and we had to be taking great care of it. I never knew what happened to it, but I suppose he took it with him when he moved out of the house. When he did marry, it was probably left with his wife.

He came to stay once or twice—at Christmas time—I seem to remember one Christmas, we had both my Uncle Will, and my Uncle John, and my grandfather Baggs, all staying at our house, over Christmas; I think it was only one occasion that happened. I think I may have met his wife, Mrs Pierson, either at the wedding, or just soon after the wedding, at our house; I never saw them again, after that. He was established at that time as headmaster of a school in Launceston, in Cornwall; and we never got down that way to see him. I think my cousin Norah, and her father Uncle John, must have called on him, at some time or other, while he was there, 'cause they could get around, they were more mobile.

Why did he change his name?

Well he changed his name because his wife refused to be called Mrs Baggs. She couldn't see herself being able to uphold her dignity against the other mothers of Launceston, if she was Mrs Baggs. So she insisted, she would only marry him if he would agree to change his name. I don't know why they took the name Pierson—whether it was her maiden name, or was a part of her family name. My mother didn't feel it was quite right, I remember, but they had to accept it. You can understand—can be embarrassing. She was much more of a dominating personality, he was very quiet and retiring, and refined. How much it was due to his war injuries, or not—but he was a very scholarly person.

My mother, some time, gave me his little notebook, sort of commonplace book, in which he wrote down various passages that he liked, from poetry or prose. My mother acquired this in his effects, and she passed it on to me. But I don't know where it's gone to now.

The Memoirs of Sidney Beck
1921 schoolmaster (elem.), employed by Cornwall Education Committee at Cl. School, Otterham, Boscastle, Cornwall; boarder with the family of William and Lilian Marshall in St Juliott, Boscastle; 8 rooms RG 15/10886 RD289-1 SD289-1 ED5 SN16
1921-06-20 had subscribed £1 to the Camborne, Redruth & District Unemployment Relief Fund Western Morning News
1922/1926 of Marshville, St Juliot, Cornwall electoral registers
  headmaster, Launceston County School, Cornwall information from Sidney Beck
1925-08-08 m. Elizabeth Wilson (cal 1886 – after 1931, d. of John and Margaret Wilson, of Buckhaven, Fife, Scotland), at Gowanlea, Church Street, Buckhaven, Fife; after banns, according to the forms of the United Free Church of Scotland marriage register, on Scotlands People; National Probate Calendar; 1891 Scotland census, Parish: Leith North; ED: 16; Page: 14; Line: 20; Roll: CSSCT1891_363


the new headmaster

Mr. Walter William Baggs, who has been Headmaster of Otterham Council School since 1920, has been appointed Headmaster of Launceston Council School, in succession to Mr. W. Atkins, who retires in May next. Mr. Baggs served his apprenticeship as a pupil teacher in the Prison Officers' Boys' School, Portland, Dorset, and, as showing the change which the years have brought in educational methods, it is of interest to note that at that time pupil teachers had charge of a class all day, and had to do their study in the evening. During the six years' apprenticeship the pupil teacher had to be at school at 7.15 every morning, and study under the supervision of the Headmaster. After two years at the Winchester Training College, Mr. Baggs became an assistant master in Gillingham, Kent, and in 1908 was appointed First Assistant at the Wadebridge Boys' School. In September, 1914, he joined the Territorials, and with the 1/4 D.C.L.I. set sail for India in October, 1914. Following the fortunes of the battalion, there was a stay in Aden of one year, and then service with the E.E. Force in Egypt and Palestine until April, 1918, when he was wounded. Leaving the Army in 1919, he went back to his old school at Wadebridge, and in 1920 was appointed to the Headship of Otterham County School.

Mr. Baggs, it may be added, takes a great interest in school gardening, and in this connection it is worthy of note that the Otterham School has taken the first prize for the whole district. He is a musician, has a facility for organised games, and in purely scholastic matters holds several first class certificates in various subjects.

inherited newspaper clipping, [?] Weekly News, March [no other dating information]

I WALTER WILLIAM BAGGS, of School House, Otterham, in the county of Cornwall, Schoolmaster, hereby give notice, that I have assumed and intend henceforth upon all occasions and at all times to sign and use and be called and known by the Christian names and surname of Walter William Pierson in substitution for my present Christian names and surname of Walter William Baggs, and that such intended change or assumption of name is formally declared and evidenced by a deed poll under my hand and seal dated the fifteenth day of May, one thousand nine hundred and twenty-six enrolled in the Central Office of the Supreme Court of Judicature. In testimony whereof I hereby sign and subscribe myself by such my intended future name.— Dated this fifteenth day of May, 1926.



The London Gazette, 1926-06-08
1926/1930 living with his wife at 59 Dunheved Road, Dunheved (otherwise Launceston), Cornwall electoral registers
1931-04-06 of 59 Dunheved-road, Launceston, Cornwall; d. Launceston Hospital National Probate Calendar; GRO index; information from Sidney Beck
1931-06-04 administration granted at London to widow Elizabeth Pierson; effects £965 2s. 5d. National Probate Calendar

Alice Margaret (Baggs) Petts 02. (Alice) Margaret Baggs (Maggie)

1881-03-31 b. 15 Lower Dover Street, Southampton, Hampshire birth certificate
1881-04-03 of 15 Lower Dover Street, as yet unnamed TNA: RG 11/1205 f45 p26
1891 of HM Convict Prison, Gillingham, Kent RG 12/665 f121 p44
1901 pupil teacher, living with her family at 2, H. Quarters, Portland Prison, Dorset RG 13/1997 f79 p48
  may have eventually gone to Goldsmiths' College The Memoirs of Sidney Beck
1911-04-02 school teacher, employed by Rochester Education Committee, living with her parents at 433 Canterbury Rd, Gillingham RG14PN3952 RG78PN150 RD47 SD2 ED23 SN25
1911-07-02, -09, -16 of St Mark's, Gillingham; banns published at St Alphege's, Canterbury, Kent, for her marriage with Arthur Petts, of St Alphege banns book
1911 Q3 m. Arthur Petts (1880–1949), at St Mark's, New Brompton, Kent information from Sidney Beck; GRO index; Marriage Locator; Ken Smallbone (2010) Baggs: The History of a Family. The Ancestors and Descendants of the Baggs Family of Hannington, Hampshire, England. Basingstoke: The Changing Seasons
1920/1921 living with her husband at 2 Beaconsfield Terrace, Hackington, Canterbury electoral registers
1921 home duties; living with her husband and father-in-law in 6 rooms at 2 Beaconsfield Terrace, St Stephens, Blean, Kent RG 15/04345 RD59 SD1 ED4 SN27
Children: Oliver Arthur (1921–1974), Clive William (1923–1996) information from Sidney Beck; GRO index
1939-09-29 unpaid domestic duties, living with her husband at 20 St Margaret's St, Canterbury 1939 England and Wales Register (RG 101)

. . . I did see quite a lot of Auntie Maggie, but—she was living—most of the time I remember—at Canterbury. Her husband, Uncle Arthur, was the manager of the Pickfords' office—removal agents and travel agents—in Canterbury. I can't remember seeing them, until I was about twelve, when I went to Canterbury to stay for a week, with Uncle Arthur and Aunt, and my two cousins; . . .

Aunt Maggie was rather like a slightly older edition of my mother, and very homely, very friendly. We fitted in very well with her, we got on very well. I think she can't have had a very happy married life with her husband, Arthur, who was a much more well-educated, well-read, person, quite a strong character—he was very quiet, and I think very shy, in many ways. I remember my mother saying that her sister Margaret had had a quite unusual courtship with Arthur, that he used to declaim poetry to her, all the while they were out walking. He had a great memory for poetry, and very fond of poetry. He didn't seem to take a great deal of interest in his children, Oliver and Clive, he left it all entirely to my Aunt Maggie. I think she found it a bit of a handful, having to manage them on her own, without any real assistance from Uncle Arthur, who was more interested in retiring to his room, and reading his books. He became very interested in Christian Science, and tried to convert her. He always took the Christian Science newspaper, and went to their meetings very regularly. But she was much more a traditional Methodist; but then she became very influenced by the Plymouth Brethren or the Seventh Day Adventist, or one of those evangelical bodies. I remember on one occasion she took me to one of their meetings, hoping to convert me, or to get me interested in it. I can't remember the biblical text, I know it may have been from the book of Daniel, but there's a section about the great statue with feet of clay, that occurs in the Bible, and the whole sermon on that occasion was about this statue and how all the predictions that were recorded in this passage were all coming true. They went through them one by one—and how they all foretold the last day of judgement was nigh, and they had to be prepared for it. I thought at the time, what a lot of bosh this all is, but, being with my aunt, I didn't want to upset her, and held my peace.

They moved, later, to live over the office itself, or the shopfront, in the centre of Canterbury, not far from the Cathedral—very strategically placed for custom.


Later they moved to Croydon.

[Arthur] couldn't adapt to the new surroundings, new people, he couldn't adapt to making a new contacts with theatre people in Croydon, he wanted to go back to Canterbury and resume his contacts there; and it unhinged him. It made it very difficult for my Aunt Margaret; and eventually he had to have electromagnetic therapy, electric shock treatment, to try and clear his mind from this obsession. But it didn't really have the effect hoped for on him, and he gradually got worse and died; I don't quite know the actual medical details, but—it was a rather sad ending to him.

The Memoirs of Sidney Beck
1949-03-18 husband of 5 Old Palace-road, Croydon, Surrey, at the date of his death National Probate Calendar
1951-03-27 of 20 Church Road, Croydon; wrote sympathy letter to Ruth and Sidney Beck, on the death of Ruth's father letter from Maggie Petts to Ruth & Sidney Beck, 1951-03-27, in my possession
1970-02-02 of Norbury Hall Hostel, Norbury, Croydon; d. Croydon RD information from Sidney Beck; letter from Ruth Beck, 1970-02-07; GRO index; Find a will gives date of death as 1970-02-03
1970-02-09 funeral at Canterbury letter from Ruth Beck, 1970-02-07
1970-11-23 administration Brighton; £950 Find a will

Ruth Elizabeth (Baggs) Beck 03. Ruth Elizabeth Baggs

Frank Henry John Baggs 04. (Frank Henry) John Baggs

1888-01-05 Princetown, Lydford, Tavistock, Devon birth certificate
1891 of HM Convict Prison, Gillingham, Kent; as John Henry TNA: RG 12/665 f121 p44
1901 [at] school, of 2 H. Quarters, Portland Prison, Dorset RG 13/1997 f79 p48
1904-02-07 of No 2 H Quarters, St Peter's, Portland, Dorset; bapt. there parish register
  went to Goldsmiths' College The Memoirs of Sidney Beck
1911 student (training college); boarder in 7 rooms at 59 Arbuthnot Rd, New Cross, London SE RG14PN2648 RG78PN90 RD28 SD3 ED7 SN55
1913-08-04 schoolteacher, of 13 Pulborough Rd; m. Grace Harriden (1883–1954, d. of George and Sarah Jane Harriden; father a carpenter), St Michael & All Angels, Southworth, Wandsworth, London; after banns parish register; information from Sidney Beck; GRO index; Ken Smallbone (2010) Baggs: The History of a Family. The Ancestors and Descendants of the Baggs Family of Hannington, Hampshire, England. Basingstoke: The Changing Seasons
Child: (Christine) Norah Harriden (1914–1991) information from Sidney Beck; GRO index
1914-07-19 L.C.C. teacher, of 3 Hambledon Road, Southfield, London parish register
1916/1919 2nd Corporal, R.E. LCC Record of War Service

Uncle John had been in the First World War. He certainly had been in training for active service, he might have been reservist, but I don't think he actually saw any actual service on the First World War; but certainly he was in the forces. Anyway he had learnt to ride a motor-cycle.

My mother was very fond of her brother, Uncle John. They were very much alike in build. Norah and I were supposed to look very much like him.

The Memoirs of Sidney Beck
  got a senior post at a London school, at Putney
1918/1919 living with his wife at 42 Wincanton Road, Putney, SW18 electoral registers
1921 schoolmaster, employed by the London County Council at the Riversdale LCC School, Wandsworth, London SW; living with his family in 5 rooms at 42 Wincanton Road, SW18, with his unmarried sister-in-law RG 15/2475 RG 26 SD9 ED24
1921/1923, 1925/1927, 1929/1933 living with his wife at 42 Wincanton Road, Southfield, SW18 electoral registers
1934 of 42 Wincanton road, Wandsworth, SW18 Post Office Directory; electoral register
1935/1939 living with his wife and daughter at 42 Wincanton Road, London SW 18 electoral registers
1936-06-05 of 42 Wincanton Road, Southfields, London SW 18; made his will, leaving everything to his wife; although she is named as executor at the head of the page, at probate the will was described as not having named an executor admon, will, and grant of probate
1939-09-29 not found in 1939 Register 1939 England and Wales Register (RG 101)

My Uncle John, of course, was living in London; and we didn't see a great deal of him, until I was ten to twelve, I suppose—I may have given the time in my notes, in my diary. I know he had a motorcycle and a sidecar combination, AJS. He came down to see us when we were living in Marlborough Road, Gillingham, with his goggles, and helmet, and warm clothing; and my Aunt Grace and my cousin Norah in the sidecar. I think that was the first occasion I met my cousin Norah. I remember she rang the bell or knocked on the door, and I went to the door and saw this young little girl there, very bright, chubby, round faced girl there, she says, "Hullo, I'm Norah," and I didn't know who Norah was. We weren't expecting them; they'd just come out for a day's run and thought they would call on us.

As a result of that visit, I got an invitation—I think it was pre-Matric year, at the grammar school, in the summer holidays. I went to stay with Uncle John and Aunt Grace, and Norah, in Wandsworth, near Putney—and I spent a week there, and got to know them very well. . . .

They had a pleasant house, in Wandsworth. . . .

The only other thing I remember, that was my first introduction to "high living"—with our first midday meal, they served fizzy lemonade, in a glass; we never had fizzy lemonade other than from a bottle when we were out, for treats out of doors, when we were on picnics, and so on, as a special treat; but to have lemonade as a regular drink at mealtimes was quite luxury living, as far as I was concerned!

And he taught in Wandsworth, did he?

He taught, yes, in Wandsworth, in that area, I can't remember the school—Southfield's, I seem to remember, rings a bell. His school was evacuated during the early days of the war, down to Broadstone. . . .They stayed at Broadstone the whole time, they never moved back to London after the war.

Even though the school presumably did come back to London?

I'm not certain whether the school stayed on there as a school for Broadstone; probably a lot of the children and many of the other teachers did move back to London, but I think many, like my uncle and aunt, found the place much more congenial to them than in London, and they were prepared to stay there permanently.

The Memoirs of Sidney Beck
1944-11-05 of School House, Broadstone, near Wimborne, Dorset, formerly of 42 Wincanton Road, Southfields, London SW 18; d. Poole RD GRO index; admon, will, and grant of probate
1944-11-08 bur. Broadstone parish register
1945-02-23 administration (with will) granted at Llandudno to Grace Baggs, widow; effects £1886 3s. 9d. gross, £1836 12s. 9d. net admon, will, and grant of probate


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