Bedford Mews and Southampton Riding School: a mid-nineteenth century equestrian enclave in Carlton Place Richard Preston
Bedford Mews and the Riding School lay almost next to each other on the north side of Carlton Place (figure 1). The buildings still exist, although neither fulfils its original function. Their story is interwoven with that of the family of Thomas Pratt. The narrative is taken up to 1870, by which time the connection with the Pratt family is over. Postscripts briefly carry the account into new proprietorships.
Figure 1. Bedford Mews and the Riding School. Source: The Post Office directory of the Borough of Southampton, 1853, unnumbered plate
Carlton Place was first developed in late 1825. The Hampshire Chronicle (21 November) records the building of eight detached, handsome residences, a preliminary to what, when finished, would be “by far the handsomest line of houses in Southampton”. Bedford Mews – essentially a set of stables grouped around an open yard – first appears in All Saints’ rate books in January 1832. An exact date of build is precluded by a gap in the preceding run of rate books. The first owner was John Shelley, variously described in pollbooks from 1818 onwards as a brickburner or brickmaker. His original landholding on the former Fitzhugh estate, as shown in the 1821 rate book, was a house, brickkiln and three and a half acres of undeveloped land. This was augmented between 1827 and 1830 by purchases of land in the area of Bedford Place at £3,300 per acre. The brickkiln was demolished in summer 1834.
The mews entered the highly competitive world of the livery stable. Here, horses were either fed and groomed at a fixed charge or were hired out, with or withoutcarriages. The scale for horses at Bedford Mews (September 1832) was 1 guinea for “the highest feeding” of 5 feeds a day, 18s.0d for 4 feeds and 16s.0d for the minimum 3 feeds a day. Lettings involved both post and saddle horses: respectively, horses kept for travellers and horses used for riding. An experienced groom acted as ostler. The stabling was promoted as “superior to any in the town, being more lofty and the stalls larger, with roomy boxes for tired horses, so essential after a hard day’s hunt”. This reflects its hinterland, centred on Carlton Crescent, Bellevue Place and the Polygon, a socially-exclusive area described by A G K Leonard in ‘Carlton Crescent: Southampton’s most spectacular Regency development’ (published in no.17 of this Journal). Many of the new terrace houses had no coach house. An auctioneer’s description of the mews survives from 1835: 20 roomy stalls, 5 loose boxes, with lofts over capable of containing 20 loads of hay, men’s rooms, large harness room, a range of capital lock-up coach houses, with large corn store over capable of holding 300 quarters of hay, and a spacious carriage yard, well supplied with water. The purity of the water, reached through a well 25 feet deep, was much praised by Shelley, a campaigner for clean drinking supplies. The frontage was 158 feet. An adjoining dwelling-house, occupied by Shelley, comprised an entrance hall, cheerful sitting room, 16-foot square kitchen, scullery, larder, cellar, 3 bed chambers and 2 servants’ rooms.
John Shelley continued as the active proprietor for nearly a decade. His signature is on a receipt, dated July 1839, for 7s.6d for the hire of a saddle to Thomas Leader Harman. It was clearly a volatile line of business. Payment for two successive rates, in July and October 1833, was voided. The stables and adjourning house were put up for auction in 1835, advertisements appearing in June and September. They were publicized as an excellent investment for a brewer, innkeeper, hotel keeper, baker, butcher, horse dealer as well as livery stable keeper. In the event the occupancy remained unchanged until William Richardson purchased the property in September 1839. The new owner was a corn and coal merchant, operating from Baltic Wharf with a counting house at 11 High Street. The stabling was described in 1843 as “of first-rate character, being fitted up with every attention to comfort and convenience, and furnished with every recent improvement in Stable Economy”. It was Richardson who built the Riding School – originally the Bedford Riding School – in 1847. He retired from business in March 1848, with the dissolution of his recent partnership with Harford and John Elton Lury (who continued to trade as corn and coal merchants until the 1880s as the Lury Brothers) and the sale of the leases of Bedford Mews and the Riding School to Thomas Pratt.
The entry of Thomas Pratt into our narrative transports us to the fox-hunting country of south central Hampshire. He was born at Hambledon in July 1797. Names of his forbears are implanted in the parish registers back to the seventeenth century. His father Joseph was for forty years stud-groom to Thomas Butler of Bury Hill, founder of the Hambledon Hunt in 1800. He later became a domestic coachman, but his connection with the hunt was sufficiently
alive in 1864 – his 91st year – for him to be remembered by ‘Aesop’ (William Nunez Heysham) in his Sporting reminiscences of Hampshire. His eldest son Thomas followed family tradition by becoming, c1813, a coachman in the employ of Aaron-Fernandez Nunez. A well-known figure in the hunting scene – as much for his corpulence as his riding skill – he was master of foxhounds at the Hambledon Hunt for five seasons between 1817 and 1821. The hunt kennels were moved to his residence at Belmont (Warnford Park), a 2,200-acre estate with an estimated annual value of £1,600. He was father-in-law to ‘Aesop’. Aaron-Fernandez and his wife Rachael were originally members of the Portuguese-Jewish community in Amsterdam. They came to England as emigrees during the Napoleonic Wars. The husband was said to have been present at the Brussels ball on the eve of the battle of Waterloo. Thomas’s first three children were born at Belmont: Thomas in March 1820, Henry Robert in August 1822 and George in February 1825. A fourth son, William, was born c1828 at Basing Park, whither the Nunez family had moved after vacating Belmont. A daughter, Emma, was born in December 1829 at Four Posts, just west of Southampton. Her parents had followed Rachael Nunez to Hill – where she leased Clifton Lodge at the bottom end of Hill Lane – following the death of her husband in May 1829. Emma was baptized in Millbrook church in February 1830, the vicar recording Thomas’s occupation as “coachman to Mrs Newnez”: a mis-spelling doubtless caused by her as yet unfamiliarity in the neighbourhood. In the same month and in the same church, Rachael’s daughter (also Emma) married Dr Andrew Crawford of Winchester, later to be manipulator of the Whig interest in that city. Thomas’s first wife Charlotte died whilst the family were still at Four Posts. She was buried in Millbrook churchyard on 4 January 1837. Mrs Nunez subsequently moved to the Polygon, taking an 8-bedroomed “genteel family house”. Here Thomas had responsibility for a detached 4-stalled stable and a double carriage house.
Thomas’s first involvement with the livery trade comes not with Bedford Mews but with the larger Grosvenor Mews, standing on land owned by William Oke at the bottom of Lower Bedford Place. Charles Barnes had been sole proprietor since 1836. He entered into partnership with Thomas Pratt to run the mews in 1840, whilst the latter was still in the employ of Mrs Nunez. It may have been this practical experience that prompted William Richardson to appoint Thomas superintendent of Bedford Mews on 16 October 1843, four months after the death of his former employer aged 72 years. The partnership with Barnes was dissolved by mutual consent in May 1844. In March 1848, as already seen, Thomas became sole proprietor of both Bedford Mews and the Riding School. His dalliance with the Hambledon Hunt will now have worked to his advantage, for the hunt attracted large support from the town. The Southampton solicitor John Sadleir Moody was honorary secretary between 1839 and 1843. It will make the subsequent story of the two Pratt-inspired establishments easier to comprehend if each is considered separately.
Figure 2. Outline of the anticipated Riding School on the 1:1056 Ordnance Survey plan of the Borough of Southampton surveyed in 1845-6, sheet 17
The Riding School was opened for school instruction on 16 August 1847. Its outline is anticipated in the 1:1056 Ordnance Survey plan of the Borough of Southampton surveyed in 1845-6, published nine months before the building was finished (figure 2). It was a leap of faith by its proprietor William Richardson. The cost was nearly £3,000. It was said that only the riding school in Bryanstone Place, in the heart of fashionable Marylebone, was its equal in size. Even that, according to the Hampshire Independent, was its inferior in beauty, in light and in ventilation. The dimensions are impressive: 122 feet long, 43 feet wide and 25 feet to the underside of the tie beams to the roof. As figure 3 shows, it was no utilitarian shell. It was one of the most successful commissions of the Southampton architect William Hinves. The open-grained timber roof was in the style of Westminster Hall. Semi-circular headed windows, high on the side walls, allowed in a flood of light. The window frames were of iron. A gallery gave spectators an unrestricted view of the riding hall, as well as showing off the roof
to full advantage. Gas lighting, through immense pendulous burners in frosted glass hanging low over the main arena, gave “a light equal to the most delightful sunshine” (Hampshire Independent) – essential in the winter evenings and a tribute to the recently-established Southampton Gas Company under its pioneering manager James Sharp. Adjoining the gallery were retiring and dressing rooms for ladies: acknowledgment of the influence of Queen Victoria in making the art of riding essential to fashionable life.
A Riding Master, Captain A F Bernatzkey, was brought in from the Brighton Riding School. Evocation of the Hungarian cavalry may have been spurious. He lived on the premises. The basic annual subscription was 15 guineas, advertised as at least 35% less than the rates of comparable metropolitan establishments.
Figure 3. Interior of the Riding School, 1847: engraving by Philip Brannon. Source: Portcities Southampton 2469
This allowed one hour’s riding per day, Sunday excepted. The timetable was rigorously segregated. Instruction was from noon to 2pm and 6pm to 7pm for ladies, and 8am to 9am, 10am to noon and 7pm to 8pm for gentlemen. Lessons “on the road”, each of two hours duration, could be booked in blocks of six for £2.12s.6d. A reduced subscription of 4 guineas per annum permitted gentlemen to ride their own horses in the school between 3pm and 5pm in winter and 4pm and 6pm in summer. Grooms were allowed to ride their master’s horses in the school before lessons began.
It was a chimera. The school lasted in its full pomp less than two years. The anticipated clientele failed to materialize. Any pretence of exclusivity ended when the building was fitted up as a circus in May 1849, to host a season of performances by Cooke’s Royal Equestrian Company and Circus Establishment – a pot-pourri of horses and clowns. The pit and gallery were remodelled, entrances improved and boxes provided for the gentry. Crowds flocked in, with hundreds turned away every day for lack of space. The Hampshire Advertiser, June 1849, was moved to lyricism: “Nothing else is talked about, and so of course people of all degrees flock to the scene day by day as a matter of course, ever gratified, never satisfied”. Thomas Pratt sold a good part of his stud of horses, many bought specifically for the riding school. The auction in December 1849 included “several first-rate hunters, well-known in four hunts; some first-rate lady’s horses; several excellent hacks, and a few handsome ponies, quiet to ride or drive”. The Riding Master – now prosaically described as “Mr Bernatzkey, alias
Captain Bernatzkey “ – was dismissed, creditors being warned not to pay any outstanding debts to him. A few weeks later he was seriously injured whilst breaking in a horse at Stoneham Park. December 1849 also saw the school itself put up for auction, for let or sale. It was advertised, doubtless on the back of the success of Cooke’s Circus, as a rare opportunity “to anyone seeking spacious premises for public meetings, amusements, etc”.
Notwithstanding these alarms, the status quo was largely maintained. Thomas Pratt continued as proprietor until 1853, when he relinquished – nominally at least – ownership to his third son George, still in his late twenties. George, now principal riding master, continued to give instruction in the school or on the road “for improvement in the art of riding or the healthful recreation of horse exercise”. Horses and colts were broken in for the road or field. It was however but a shadow of the optimism of five years earlier. The riding school had to fit in around a variety of activities, many of which required only a bland expanse of enclosed space. The Hants Yeomanry Cavalry drilled in the hall whenever bad weather drove them indoors. The first recorded drill was as early as December 1848. John Snook, builder of Carlton Place, remodelled the interior for the visit of Lawrence’s Royal Cremorne Circus in April 1854. A diorama of the war in the Baltic and Black Seas in October and November 1855 involved “a multitude of mechanical wonders in the movement of troops, firing of artillery, attacks of batteries, and evolutions of a fleet at sea”. A staple diet was the political meeting. A grand Conservative Banquet in May 1852, transferred from the Royal Victoria Rooms for want of space, crammed in over 1,000 supporters. A larger and even more disorderly assembly attended the Liberal riposte the following month. “They turned out Pratt’s horses to let in the asses”. An audience of between 1,500 and 2,000 – some said 4,000 – packed a public meeting in November 1856 to select a successor to the retiring borough Member Sir Alexander Cockburn. Facilities were primitive. The hustings consisted of three wagons placed end on and covered with wooden boards. The platform party perched precariously on the forms and chairs placed on top. The marginalization of the riding school had become so scandalous by June 1858 that George Pratt deserted his father to become landlord of the Crown Inn in Bishop’s Waltham. A large coaching and posting hostelry in Market Square, it is more famous as the quarters in 1805 of Admiral Villeneuve, taken prisoner after the battle of Trafalgar. He remained landlord until 1862 at least.
The end came in 1860 when Thomas Pratt, sole proprietor again, closed the school. It metamorphosed into the Carlton Assembly Rooms and Music Hall, later vulgarized as the Carlton Rooms. The conversion, extensive and with severe time restraints, was by Rolles Driver of St Mary’s saw and planing mills. The work was supervised by Alfred Hillier, joiner, of Havelock Cottages, Bellevue. The floor was covered with wooden boards. Seats – presumably moveable – were installed for 1,500 to 1,800 people. A fixed orchestra, to hold 200 performers, was created out of the former gallery. Refreshment rooms, conveniences, a balcony and, after April 1861, a billiard room completed the facilities. The hall was made fire-proof.
Means of evacuation in case of fire or panic were improved. The extensive redecoration was entrusted to Charles Anthony Vaughan, house painter and interior decorator of 30 Carlton Place. He drew out the ceilings “in panels of chaste colours” to harmonize with the roof beams and the projecting columns between the windows. The bare walls were transformed by a series of landscapes placed beneath the windows. Scenes included the Docks and River Itchen, Southampton Water (taken off Hythe), the town from Millbrook shore, Netley Abbey, Calshot Castle, the Needles, Carisbrooke Castle, the Thames above Richmond and below London Bridge, the Lake of Killarney, Lake Windermere and an assortment of views in Italy and Switzerland from Lake Maggiore to Genoa. The heads of the principal British musical and dramatic celebrities were painted in bas relief on the keystones of the windows. A biographical sketch of Vaughan is given in an appendix to this article.
The conversion owed much to a resurgence of interest in choral music stimulated, nationally, by the great music festivals at the Crystal Palace commemorating the death of George Frederick Handel and, locally, by the energy of Alexander Campbell Rowland. A biographical sketch of this virtuoso musician forms an appendix to this article. He galvanised the musical scene in Southampton after his arrival from London in 1854. Existing venues were unable to cope with the new demand. The Victoria Rooms in particular suffered from the stench and oppressive heat of overcharging gas chandeliers, routinely forcing audiences to flee before the end of the performance. A fetid atmosphere aggravated, according to the misogynistic Hampshire Advertiser, by “the too free use of vile modern perfumery”. The Southampton public was effectively denied those artistes of ability “who may constantly be seen and heard by the musical public of other towns without the tax of a trip to the metropolis”. A crisis came during the 1859/60 winter season of subscription concerts of the Southampton Sacred Harmonic Society, of which Rowland was conductor and manager. The first concert – a performance of Handel’s Messiah on 2 December 1859 in the Victoria Rooms – was dangerously oversubscribed. The society’s committee sounded out Thomas Pratt on the conversion of the Riding School into an alternative concert venue. The entrepreneurial owner agreed. The timetable before the second concert – a full version of Handel’s Israel in Egypt scheduled for 21 February 1860 – was so tight that the first rehearsal, to test the acoustics, was held in an as yet unfinished room. The true possibilities of the hall were showcased three days later in a charity concert in aid of the funds of the Royal South Hants Infirmary, dubbed by the Hampshire Independent “the greatest musical festival ever celebrated in the town”. Arrangements were by Alexander Rowland and Captain John Engledue, superintendent of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company’s fleet. Music was provided by the united bands of the Sacred Harmonic Society, the Southampton Volunteer Rifle Corps and the brass band of the Prussian frigate Arcona, then in dry dock following storm damage in the English Channel as she was en route from the Baltic to the Far East. Artistes were engaged from London. The chaos outside the hall, under siege from what W G Le Feuvre later characterized as one of the largest strings
of carriages ever assembled in Southampton, obliged the Town Council to take immediate steps to widen the entrance to Carlton Place. At less than 15 feet wide, it was too narrow to allow two carriages to pass each other.
Such momentum was impossible to maintain. The opening of the Hartley Hall, part of the Hartley Institution, in October 1862 provided a rival with which the still essentially naïve facilities of the Carlton Rooms could not compete. It was a sign of times to come when, during the annual soiree of the Southampton Athenaeum in 1861, the Mayor (Richard Coles) announced from the stage of the Carlton Rooms that the next soiree would be held in the Hartley Institute: in “a hall worthy of the town of which I am a native”. A complaint by Thomas Pratt in January 1863 to the Town Council that the Hartley Council had allowed its hall to be used for purposes not in accordance with the testator’s will failed in the face of vested interests. There were some signal successes, especially in the early years. Concerts in aid of victims of the Hartley Colliery disaster (February 1862) and in support of the Central Lancashire Relief Fund (January 1863) each attracted a capacity audience. More than 1,500 attended the Trinity Schools’ Concert of November 1865, prematurely hailed as the inauguration of an era of cheap popular concerts. Viscount Palmerston – then Prime Minister – gave the valedictory address, listened to by the Corporation in full regalia, in October 1861 to successful students in the Oxford University Middle-Class Examinations. Typically bravado readings and lectures were given the following year by the journalist George Augustus Sala and the Presbyterian preacher the Reverend Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Such cultural highlights however were lost in a sea of the more mundane. Election meetings and political rallies continued to be held. Nomination for the South Hampshire election in 1868 was adjourned from the Guildhall when the latter proved inadequate to accommodate the press of people. The congregation of Carlton Baptist Chapel worshipped in the hall between 1861 – its breakaway from the Portland Chapel – and the opening of its own chapel in 1865. The congregation of St Luke’s Church, Newtown was similarly received in August 1862 when the church was closed for the addition of a new aisle. The spring show of the Southampton Horticultural Society was held in the hall for six years. Even grander was the three-day annual extravaganza of the Hampshire Ornithological Society, transferred from the Victoria Rooms in 1865. By the end of the decade the show was attracting over a thousand exhibits from enthusiasts throughout the country. Cages of British and foreign song birds, poultry, pheasants and fancy rabbits filled the main hall. The orchestra at the upper end of the hall housed the pigeons. Well-ventilated, spacious and light, the Carlton Rooms were an ideal venue, although members it was said preferred their more intimate former home.
The demise of the Carlton Rooms was a slow-moving tragedy. They passed on the death of Thomas on 3 July 1864 to his widow. Management reverted to the two youngest sons George and William. The former purchased the rooms outright at auction in February 1867 for £1,500. It was an untimely investment. Amid doubts as to its future viability, the hall was entirely shut up between 21
May and 24 October 1867. Nemesis came in the form of the Southampton Volunteer Rifle Corps. To understand the connection, we need to retrace our steps to late 1859, with the creation of a national army reserve to confront the territorial ambitions of Napoleon III. The Riding School, then in its final embers, was rented from 29 November 1859 for the initial drill of the new recruits. “Night after night the riding school presents a most animated scene, and echoes with the commands of the drill masters, whose attention, patience, and performance in this arduous task is perfectly surprising” (Hampshire Independent, January 1860). Closure of the riding school the next month denied the corps – formally enrolled as the Second Hampshire Rifle Volunteers in March 1860 – a permanent drill hall. Several proposals for a new drill hall were advanced, including building on the summer drilling ground on West Marlands and conversion of the covered market under the Audit House. None was successful. The only solution, however unpalatable, was re-occupation of the former riding school, now the Carlton Assembly Rooms. By the mid 1860s, the building once again resounded to the sound of marching men, both for winter drill on Friday evenings and for summer drill whenever inclement weather drove them indoors.
This provisional solution became permanent when the hall was put up for auction, following a decree in Chancery, in June 1870. After “not a very spirited competition” (Southampton Times), the hall was purchased by Captain Abraham on behalf of the Rifle Volunteers for the knock-down price of £1,000: one third less than that paid by George Pratt three years earlier. A further £400 was spent on conversion. The main room became the drill hall. It was redecorated, although incongruously leaving Vaughan’s landscapes still visible. One of the ante-rooms was fitted up as the armoury. The corps first met for drill, in full uniform, shouldering the new Snider rifle and accompanied by the corps’ band, on 16 March 1871. The debt was gradually paid off by a series of amateur musical and theatrical performances.
The story of Bedford Mews mirrors that of the riding school. In our last encounter, we saw that Thomas Pratt had been forced to sell off part of its stud at auction in December 1849. The business, however, subsequently flourished. It covered most elements of the livery trade. Brougham and Clarence flys, phaetons, gigs and saddle horses were let. Hunters were hired by the week, month or season. As a licenced fly proprietor, Thomas hired out one-horsed covered carriages as cabs or hansoms. Corn, hay and straw was sold on the premises. Grosvenor Mews was added to the empire after the insolvency, and imprisonment for debt, of its long-term proprietor Charles Barnes in June 1854. Thomas now had a virtual monopoly of stable provision in north Southampton.
The livery stable empire could not long survive the death of its founder in July 1864. This revealed an unwholesome legacy of family relationships. Thomas’s first wife Charlotte, as we have seen, had died at Hill in December 1829, aged 42 years. She was the mother of his children. His second wife Anne became his heir, inheriting the triumvirate of Bedford Mews, Grosvenor Mews and the Carlton
Rooms. These, together with the flys and horses valued at £1,200, were let to her two youngest stepsons George and William. They carried on as joint managers – trading as Pratt, Brothers – until the partnership was dissolved in July 1865 amid an orgy of public recriminations that suggest a lifetime of simmering sibling rivalry. George took over sole management of Grosvenor Mews. William took over as sole manager of Bedford Mews, which he had effectually run during the protracted illness of his father. A battle of newspaper advertisements ensued, each claiming that the other was working in opposition to the interests of Thomas’s widow and their sister Emma. It was a tawdry exchange, presumably exposing only the tip of the family iceberg.
It all signified nothing. Within four years both brothers were bankrupt. George was the first to succumb, appearing before the London Court of Bankruptcy in September 1868. His discharge was granted in January 1869, but this could not prevent the sale of Grosvenor Mews in November to Richard Cottle Bishop, a grocer in Newtown. William appeared before the County Court in Southampton in November 1868, transferring in March 1869 to the London Court of Bankruptcy. He was described as “now out of business”, having sold Bedford Mews in April 1867 to John Parr, latterly of Anglesea Mews in Anglesea Place. The auction catalogue suggests a viable business: 25 excellent horses and ponies, 5 flys, hansom cabs, 2 Broughams, private omnibus, excellent break, three 3- and 4-wheel dog carts, nine 4-wheel pony carriages and phaetons, 30 sets of single and double harness, posting saddles and bridles, as well as miscellaneous effects. William had liabilities of nearly £860, occasioned by “pressure by creditors and want of capital”. £259.16s.3d was owed to unsecured creditors, the chief of whom were Charles Bailey, farmer of Fair Oak, and J H Lury, corn merchant of Above Bar. The secured creditors, owed £600, were the two surviving executors of his father’s estate.
Reference to Thomas’s will neatly brings us back to the sale of the Carlton Rooms. Under the terms of his will, his estate was administered by three executors: his widow (soon to die), younger brother Henry (a letter carrier in Streatham) and Henry Stanley Halliday (clerk to the family’s solicitor William H Newman). A lengthy legal dispute broke out between the surviving executors and the devisees (ie benefactors) of the will. Twice within a year, in May 1866 and February 1867, the Carlton Rooms were offered at auction: first by the devisees and secondly by the executors. It was at this latter auction that George gained full ownership. The catastrophic enforced sale of the property three years later, by order of a decree in Chancery consequent upon “Hunt and others [the beneficiaries] v Pratt and others [the executors]” was the final act in the fall of the house of Pratt.
Few business fortunes in mid-nineteenth century Southampton can have disappeared so catastrophically within so short a period. At its peak in 1864, it had gone by 1870. The heart of the empire was that block of prime property in the balliwick of Bedford Place first acquired by John Shelley in the 1820s.
Although far from contemporary, the 1:1250 Ordnance Survey of April 1948 gives a particularly clear representation of its extent (figure 4). Apart from the enlarged frontage of the Drill Hall and the absorption of small adjoining properties, the outline is largely unchanged since 1864. The western boundary is delineated by numbers 19 and 20 Upper Banister Street. Bedford Mews itself comprises coach houses for 10 full-sized carriages, loose boxes, a 12-stall stable with loft and man’s room over, saddle and harness room, front office and dwelling house. Adjoining, with its entrance on Upper Banister Street, was a blacksmith’s shop let to John D Barford, a veterinary surgeon latterly in partnership with W C Spooner. The main premises were in Spa Road. The Pensioners’ Arms, leased to Hine Brothers of the Windsor Brewery, occupied the corner plot between Upper Banister Street and Carlton Place. The eastern boundary was found by numbers 11 to 17 Southampton Street, a row of terrace houses flanked by the two side entrances to the Drill Hall. Outside this core area was a tenement in Winchester Street, a “snug little freehold cottage” in Highfield and, perhaps the largest investment of all, Grosvenor Mews. Thomas’s personal effects were assessed for probate at “under £3,000” – a not inconsiderable sum.
Figure 4. Carlton Place. Source: 1:1250 Ordnance Survey sheet 41/4112 NE, 
The influence of Thomas Pratt cannot be measured solely in terms of property and cash. He headed the diaspora of the Pratt family from central southern Hampshire. Four younger brothers, each born in Hambledon, survived childhood.
George (born March 1801) was a coachman all his adult life. At the time of the 1841 census he was coachman to Dowager Lady Lisle at Millbrook Lodge. By 1851 he is in Carlton Place, later moving to one of the family’s houses in Lower Southampton Street. William (born September 1803) was originally a coachman, recorded in the 1841 census at Bramdean. By the late 1840s/early 1850s he is in Carlton Place, becoming landlord of the Pensioners’ Arms (c1857 to October 1858) and then a lodging house keeper at 1 Carlton Terrace (Bramdean House, possibly recalling the residence of the family to whom he had been coachman). He died in March 1869. His will is witnessed by a mark. A son, a third-generation William, was a coachman at Upham at the time of his father’s death. Henry (born May 1807) alone had no physical connection with Southampton. He is shown, in censuses between 1841 and 1891, living in Streatham. Originally a letter carrier in the London district, he became clerk to Christ Church in Brixton Hill. As an executor of Thomas’s will, however, he was drawn into the Southampton maelstrom in the 1860s and appeared before the Court of Chancery. Charles (born June 1809) was in service, as a butler, at Hill in the 1840s: his marriage is recorded there in March 1846. Come the 1851 census he has moved to Ryde in the Isle of Wight as an innkeeper. In later directories he appears as a lodging house keeper, first in the Strand and later at Apley.
We have already met most of the next generation. Thomas Pratt had four sons. The eldest, Thomas fils, died before he could make an impact on our story. After a short illness he died in March 1844, aged 24 years, at the livery stables in Carlton Place. The second son, Henry Robert, is listed in Carlton Place in 1849 as a pastry cook. He attended Above Bar Independent Chapel. He later followed Uncle Charles to Ryde, appearing in the 1851 census as a confectioner at ‘The Larder’ in Pier Street. The two youngest sons, George and William, are already familiar to us. George was for most of his adult life a teacher of riding. After bankruptcy in 1868, he continued the only calling he knew: at the Dolphin Hotel Livery Stables in the High Street and, after 1873, as a riding master in Sussex Mews, Southsea. He died in March 1883 at Bath, still described as riding master. Whilst living in Carlton Place he was known for an unusual pet. He owned a peccary, a small, tailless South or Central American wild boar, that he allowed to roam the streets, allegedly setting up at every little dog it came across. William was in domestic service before he joined his father in the mews. The 1851 census shows him, aged 23 years, as footman to George Wheeler, retired stockbroker, and his young wife Julia at 2 Sussex Place. His own wife and child were lodging with brother George at Carlton Place. He became a member of Above Bar Chapel. Bankruptcy in 1868 was a crippling blow. Three years later, still unemployed and only 43 years of age, he is at 4 Amoy Street with his wife and seven children. He later joins the merchant navy as a ship’s steward, returning to Southampton to appear in the 1891 and 1901 censuses as a labourer in the shipyard. His eldest son, Nugent Oliver Pratt, reverted to type. By the 1880s he is a fly proprietor and landlord of Ye Olde Red Lion at 1 Bedford Place. It is comforting to end on a note of symmetry.
Postscript: Bedford Mews
The purchase of Bedford Mews in April 1867 by John Parr introduces a rival dynasty of livery stable proprietors. John Parr pere had started Carlton Mews on Winchester Street (aliter Salisbury Street) in 1843 – the same year that Thomas Pratt became superintendent of Bedford Mews. He was, again like Thomas, a coachman of thirty years experience. In partnership with his eldest son John, the business quickly expanded. The funeral stock of Curtis, coachbuilders of 52 Above Bar, was purchased in 1851, making Parr and Son one of the largest hearse and mourning coach proprietors in the town. Anglesea Mews was added to the portfolio in the mid 1850s, purchased from George Wootton. John Parr junior took over the reins in September 1859, following the death of his father. Bedford Mews was purchased eight years later, with Anglesea Mews offloaded to his brother-in-law John Sparks.
Bedford Mews passed in August 1874 to the newly-formed partnership of Frederick Charles Michels, a confectioner of Teddington, and his brother-in-law William Thomas Wallace, landlord of the Red Lion Inn in Dorking. Michels contributed capital of £1,600 compared to the £400 of Wallace. The partnership was dissolved within nine months on the bankruptcy of the senior partner, victim of “various speculative transactions on the Stock Exchange connected with the purchase of railway shares and stocks”. Wallace was nearly brought down with his partner, for the partnership agreement had taken no account of bankruptcy in the division of assets. A judgment in the Court of Appeal in January 1876 saved Wallace from the consequences of this legal oversight. He continued as the enterprising owner of the mews until July 1895.
The new tenant was Alfred Edward Hillary, then only 27 years of age. He was to unite Bedford and Grosvenor Mews once again under the same ownership. He left Carlton Place c1909 to take over the proprietorship of Shirley Mews at 14 Park Street. This was the end of the equestrian connections of Bedford Mews.
Postscript: the Drill Hall
An unbroken connection with the volunteer or territorial forces was maintained up to 1963. The building survived a serious roof fire in February 1872, a tribute to the fire-proofing work of the original architect. The hall was occupied by the Home Guard during World War II. Military occupation was broken between 1963 and 1979, when the property was conveyed to the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works and occupied by the Ordnance Survey. In 1979, it was transferred back to military authority, part of the Eastern Wessex Territorial, Auxiliary and Volunteer Reserve Association. It became the headquarters of the Southampton University Officers Training Corps on 2 December 1981. Thus was squared a circle that began in November 1902 when about twenty students of Hartley University College held weapons training in the drill hall after banding together to
form a Company of the 2nd Volunteer Battalion of The Hampshire Regiment. The hall is still used by Southampton University Officer Cadet Corps.
Appendix 1: Biographical sketch of Alexander Campbell Rowland (1826-96)
Alexander Campbell Rowland was born on New Year’s Day 1826 in Trinidad. His father, Alexander McDonald Rowland, was bandmaster of the 9th Regiment, then stationed in the Crown colony. He had served with the regiment throughout the Peninsular campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars. A fine clarinet player, he became a music teacher after military service. He is described as ‘Professor of Music’ on his son’s marriage certificate of May 1847. The family came to England in 1828, where a sister, Eleanor, was born in Bath in 1830. By the early 1830s they had moved to London.
Alexander was a musical prodigy. At the age of 5 he began to learn the violin under the eminent teacher John Loder of Bath. A year later he entered the orchestra of the Queen’s Theatre, London as a violinist and side-drum player. Aged 8 years he performed solo Mayseder’s violin concerto (op.40) at the Sadler’s Wells. Louis Spohr was so impressed by the musicality of the 11-year old side-drummer in the orchestra he conducted at the Norwich Festival in 1837 that he asked that Rowland be allowed to accompany him back to Germany to study the violin under his tutelage. Much to Rowland’s later regret, permission was refused. Within a few years Rowland had mastered 14 musical instruments including, in addition to the violin and side-drum, the piano, organ, cornet, trombone and cello (violoncello). He learnt scoring music from Herr John Koenig, bandmaster of the 2nd Life Guards. He found his signature instrument in 1846 when, taking the place of a bassist who had become faint with heat, he took up the 3-stringed English double bass. Under the tuition of Signor Casolani, he quickly became its master.
Rowland became a much sought after performer in the London orchestras of the time, notably those of the London Philharmonic Society, the Sacred Harmonic Society, Her Majesty’s Theatre (principal and solo double bass after 1850) and the Royal Italian Opera at Covent Garden. His truly formative influences, however, came as a leading member of Jullien’s band between 1842 and 1846, playing cornet, timpani and viola. The French exile Louis Jullien – to some a genius, to others a charlatan – staged the most inventive and popular concerts of the day, aimed at the one-shilling public. In addition to ‘the Mons’ (as Punch described Jullien), Rowland played under some of the most formidable conductors of the day – Julius Benedict, Michael Costa, William Sterndale Bennett and Michael William Balfe. He accompanied pianists of the calibre of Madame Arabella Goddard, Charles Halle and Clara Schumann. He knew both Felix Mendelssohn and Hector Berlioz. In 1852 he appeared by royal command before Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at Windsor Castle, playing solo double bass.
The constant pressure of rehearsal and performance took its toll on Rowland’s health, which was always delicate. The English double bass, much heavier than the increasingly popular German 4-stringed bass, was a particularly demanding instrument. Rowland was its champion throughout his life. In May 1854 Rowland left London to take up residence in Southampton, with its milder climate. He acquired the established musical practice of Philip Klitz, who had died 4 months earlier and whose son, George Klitz, was at 17 years old too young to inherit the business. He also followed Philip Klitz as music master at Southampton College and Boarding School. Rowland took a house at 4 Cranbury Place, close to the school which had recently relocated to Bellevue House. An advertisement in the local papers detailed the musical services he offered to his private pupils: lessons on the pianoforte, violin, violoncello, cornopean [cornet], concertina; singing and harmony (the former taught in the true Italian School); class singing on the Hullah System – a method of teaching devised by John Hullah and introduced into Southampton by Philip Klitz. Hundreds of pupils passed through his hands in a teaching career lasting over forty years. These included the offspring of such prominent local families as the Peglers, Sandells and Buchans. The 16-year old Marion Poole, daughter of the architect and surveyor Josiah George Poole, was indentured to him in April 1859 as an apprentice for five years. Rowland kept his qualifications current, becoming Fellow of the Royal Society of Music, Associate of the Royal College of Music (April 1886) and honorary Licentiate of the London College of Music (October 1889). He was the local representative of the London College of Music and of the College of Violinists.
Rowland transferred his experience of metropolitan choral and harmonic societies to his adopted town. He became (Hampshire Advertiser, 3 October 1863) “the greatest benefactor, in a musical sense, that Southampton has ever had.” He was appointed conductor (and later manager) of the Southampton Choral Harmonic Society in October 1856. This evolved, to reflect its widened remit, into the Southampton Sacred Harmonic Society in November 1859. He formed the Southampton Musical Society, with a 100- strong band and chorus, in November 1863 on his withdrawal from the Sacred Harmonic Society. He was one of those who founded the Southampton Philharmonic Society in
1874. Until its death in 1883, the society hosted some of the greatest oratorios heard south of London. A photograph of 1876 shows Rowland as conductor (see above). In 1881 he took on the conductorship of the St Mary Extra Choral Society, consisting of over 60 members. His final foundation was the Musical Union, of which he was conductor and director, in spring 1889 in order to give his private pupils an opportunity of public performance before a paying audience. Its last concert, in May 1894, marked Rowland’s retirement from public work.
An active musical impresario, Rowland organized concerts at all the major Southampton venues: Royal Victoria Rooms, Carlton Rooms, Polytechnic Institution, Hartley Hall, et al. It was through his intervention that Thomas Pratt converted his Riding School into the Carlton Assembly Rooms and Music Hall in February 1860. In the 1870s he held regular matinee musicales at his spacious residence Fitzroy House in Bellevue. These attracted fashionable audiences from within a radius of 50 miles. He continued to hold piano recitals when he moved to the smaller Trinidad House in Belle Vue Road. Through Rowland’s enterprise, Southampton audiences were for over 40 years exposed to the best of London talent – of the calibre of the tenor Sims Reeves – and the most promising local artistes. His own pupils were showcased, either as soloists or as members of his Glee and Musical classes, his 40-strong ladies’ choir (the wearing of gold and silver scarves distinguishing those who had passed the Royal College of Music examinations) and his own, largely female, orchestra. It was a financially risky world and may have contributed to his bankruptcy in December 1873. He was described as professor of music and musical instrument seller. Release came in December 1874 on payment of a dividend of 4s.2d in the pound.
The move to Southampton in 1854 did not sever Rowland’s connection with the wider orchestral world. For the next 12 years he was much in demand as, according to many critics, the most accomplished English double bass player of his era. In June 1862 he published an advertisement in the Southampton papers to deny the rumour that he was to leave the town for London permanently. He accompanied Jenny Lind at two of her London concerts in December 1855. He played principal double bass at the Birmingham Festival in 1858. Four years later he performed in London at the opening of both the International Exhibition and the Handel Festival. In April 1864 he was leader of the double basses at the Tercentenary Festival of Shakespeare’s birth at Stratford-on-Avon. Important in the continuing London connection was his friendship with William Sterndale Bennett, who had taken over the conductorship of the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1855. A prolonged search for a first double bass to the orchestra in a reorganization of 1861 was settled only when Rowland agreed to the position, travelling from Southampton for rehearsals and concerts. He continued until Bennett resigned the conductorship in 1866. The first piece in rehearsal by the Southampton Philharmonic Society after its formation in 1874, with Rowland as honorary conductor, was Bennett’s cantata ‘The May Queen’. A brief account of Bennett’s earlier connection with Southampton follows this note.
There were other elements to Rowland’s life. He was a composer and an author of teaching aids to students. The British Library catalogue lists 41 works under his name. To
these can be added many works which existed only in manuscript. The output was diverse: waltzes written for Jullien’s band in 1841, polkas, ballads, songs, barcarolles, overtures, an arrangement of the 70th Psalm for voices and orchestra, a fantasia on ‘Rule Britannia’ and an arrangement of the national anthem. Tutors were published for the double bass and singing. He took music classes at Southampton Girls’ College. He was organist and choir master at several Southampton churches, including St Luke’s Church, Newtown and St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. He was an officer in the First Hampshire Engineer Volunteers, gazetted Second Lieutenant in March 1867 and First Lieutenant in March 1871. He was honorary bandmaster, and wrote the march ‘Les Sapeurs’ in 1869. In politics Rowland was a Tory.
Alexander Rowland married Jemima Grimes, daughter of the builder George Grimes, on 21 May 1847 at Trinity Church, St Marylebone, situated very close to the Royal Academy of Music. An elder sister of the bride, Martha, was married to Joshua Nunn, who became Vice Consul General of the United States for Great Britain between 1863 and 1881. At the time of the 1851 census, the Nunns and Rowlands shared the same address: 5 Vernon Street in Finsbury. Alexander’s own sister, Eleanor, was likewise to make a mark in London society. A year after her brother’s marriage, Eleanor married Henry Isaacs, later Alderman, Sheriff (1886-7) and Lord Mayor of London (1889-90), and knighted (1887). Eleanor had a rich mezzo soprano voice and, under the stage name Miss Ellen Rowland, appeared at the Exeter Hall concerts in London. She frequently appeared with her brother at concerts in Southampton post 1854.
Alexander and Jemima Rowland had eight children: Alexander Campbell, born 1848. He was to become a concert performer (on the cello,
often performing duets with his father), piano tuner, music teacher, and organist and choirmaster at St Saviour’s Church, Bitterne and, after September 1876, of St James’s Church (Docks), Southampton. Emigrating to Natal, he became organist and choirmaster at St Saviour’s Cathedral in Pietermaritzburg and music instructor at Maritzburg College.
Jemima Elizabeth (‘Dottie’), born 1850. In similar vein, she became a pianist, concert performer and music teacher, taking over her father’s practice on his death. Her marriage to the banker William Henry Futcher in September 1873 at St Luke’s Church was witnessed by Benjamin Moran, Secretary of the American Legation in London and confidant of Joshua and Martha Nunn.
Alice Martha, born 1851, and Joshua, born 1853. Both died on 25 March 1856 in Southampton after short illnesses.
Frank, born 1855.
George Griffiths, born 1857. He was to join the Union Steamship Company after obtaining a certificate as second mate in August 1878.
Ellen (‘Nellie’), born 1858. By the time of her marriage in 1882 she had become the adopted daughter of Joshua Nunn.
Florence Nunn, born 1861. She followed her eldest sister as a concert performer (on the violin) and music teacher, continuing to practise after her father’s death. She married a master mariner, Arthur Warton, in May 1885. A daughter, Florence Ethel Warton, became known as an infant prodigy on the violin.
Alexander Rowland died on 20 July 1896, aged 70 years, at his residence, Campbell House in Wilton Avenue. His personal effects were assessed for probate at £236.9s.3d. He had gradually shed his public performances and class teaching until at the end he had only his private pupils. His music library was sold at auction in March 1894. A public testimonial of a purse of £46 was presented to him in September 1894. He told a journalist on the Magazine of Music, for an article published in August 1894: “I find that it is no longer possible for me to do the work of two men. During the greater part of my life I have laboured as few would care or would be able to do”. Death when it came was a happy release after a long and painful illness, aggravated by domestic troubles and family illnesses. He is buried in Southampton Cemetery. He was joined by his wife in August 1897.
The Southampton connections of William Sterndale Bennett
William Sterndale Bennett, composer, conductor, pianist and teacher, was an influential figure in the Victorian musical scene. His career can be followed online in the New Grove dictionary of music and musicians and the Oxford dictionary of national biography. The connection with Southampton is through Mary Anne Wood, who became his wife in April 1844 after a 3-year courtship.
Mary Wood was the only daughter of Commander James Wood, RN, and his wife Sarah. James was born in Southampton. At the time the relationship with William began, Mary’s father was in New Zealand. His early naval career had been aboard frigates. He was Master (navigating lieutenant) of HMS Granicus at the bombardment of Algiers in 1816, part of the war against Barbary pirates. He was later Master of HMS Undaunted. In the late 1830s he became Master of the store-ship and timber carrier HMS Buffalo, commissioned to procure spars and timber from New Zealand for the naval dockyards. Promoted Commander during the tour of duty, he saw his new charge wrecked in 1840 by severe gales whilst sheltering in Mercury Bay in the north island of New Zealand. Exonerated by a Court Martial after his return to England in March 1841, Wood was given command of the store-ship HMS Tortoise to complete the mission. A timber-cutting camp was established at Te Kero on the east coast of the Cormandel Peninsula on the north island. HMS Tortoise returned to Portsmouth in October 1843 with a cargo of kauri spars – contemporaries thought them the finest ever to have been seen in England – sufficient to fit out 10 or 12 sail of the line ships with masts. He retired from the Royal Navy in 1846. Whilst her husband was on foreign service, Sarah remained in Southampton as proprietor of a school, or seminary, for young ladies at Oriental House in Vincent’s Walk.
Mary was a talented pianist. She was a student at the Royal Academy of Music, her tutors including Lucy Anderson – pianist to Queen Victoria and piano tutor to the Queen and all her children – and the rising star William Sterndale Bennett. The courtship began in 1841, apparently at a subscription ball for Academy funds. Mary was 16 years old and William 25. By the end of the year William had obtained the consent of Mary’s mother to a correspondence. Absent for several months in Germany, studying under his patron Felix
Mendelssohn, William kept in touch with a barrage of love letters amounting, according to his biographer, to 56 quarto pages of minute handwriting. On his return in March 1842, Bennett divided his time between two residences: his lodgings with Mrs Johnson and family in Upper Charlotte Street, London and Vincent’s Walk in Southampton chez the Wood family. He aimed to visit Southampton once every month, remaining 2 or 3 days. He confided to Mendelssohn in a letter written from Southampton in October 1842: “I find it such a relief from the bustle of London to put myself in the railway carriage and walk on the Pier, not alone I assure you.” In August 1843 he wrote the overture ‘Marie du Bois’ in honour of “my dear Mary”. It lay in manuscript for 15 years until annexed to his pastoral cantata ‘The May Queen’, written for the Leeds Musical Festival in 1858. Mary began to learn German.
Marriage was out of the question until Mary’s father returned from New Zealand. On the return of HMS Tortoise to Portsmouth in October 1843, William hastened to meet his prospective father-in-law, climbing the side of the ship in his haste and being challenged by a sentry. He wrote to Mendelssohn: “It was rather a nervous appearance for me to make”, but it was an important step to marriage. A Christmas marriage was postponed owing to the uncertainties of William’s candidature for the professorship of music at Edinburgh University. The inability of the electors to make an appointment prompted William to put the brief respite in his concert and teaching schedules afforded by Easter to good effect. The two were married by licence on Easter Tuesday, 9 April 1844 at All Saints Church, the groom within a few days of his 28th birthday and the bride 19. The married couple spent their first year of marriage in Upper Charlotte Street. Eight weeks after the marriage Mary was seriously burned when her clothes caught fire. She never fully recovered her health. In March 1845 they furnished a house in Russell Place, with financial help from Mary’s parents. They lived here for 14 years.
The close connection with Southampton, however, was not broken. The Wood’s household provided a pied-a-terre in the town, first (between 1845 and 1847) at Hill House at the southern end of Hill Lane and subsequently at 13 Hanover Buildings. The 1851 census shows the two youngest Bennett children (James Robert, aged 3 years, and 2-year old Elizabeth) staying with their grandparents, together with their London nurse maid and Mary’s elder brother James Alexander John Wood. James fils was a banker’s clerk and Naval pensioner, having served with his father on HMS Buffalo. He died 2 years later aged 30 years. James Robert Bennett published a biography of his father in 1907, from which many of the above family details are taken. Letters to Leipzig written from Hanover Buildings by William in July and August 1853 are reproduced in the book. The local connection was lost after James Wood’s death in Albert Street, Regent’s Park, London, aged 74 years, on 10 April 1857. His daughter died on 17 October 1862, in her 38th year, a great invalid.
Appendix 2. Biographical sketch of Charles Anthony Vaughan (1831-1900)
Charles Anthony Vaughan was born on 19 January 1831 in Winchester. His father, Thomas Vaughan, was a coal merchant with premises at the Wharf. He took over the business in December 1819 on the death of his father, also Thomas. The marriage of Thomas fils to Anne Teresa Cove at St Thomas’s Church, Winchester on 21 May 1821 united two prominent Roman Catholic families in the city. Anne Teresa was the eldest daughter of John and Anna Cave. The first seven children were christened at St Peter’s Roman Catholic Chapel: Thomas Bernard (August 1822), Julia Gertrude (October 1824), Monica Maria (March 1827), Benedict John (December 1828), Charles Anthony (January 1831), Catherine Anastasia (November 1832) and Emily Blanche (May 1834). Purchase of the well-established coal merchant’s business built up by Andrew Jacob in October 1834, following the early death of the owner, brought the Vaughan family to Southampton. Although the Winchester business was retained, the family moved to 72 High Street where, in 1839, Thomas is described as a coal merchant and brewer. Four children were christened in St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church: Lewis Bede (December 1835), Mary Agnes (May 1838), Edward Gregory (March 1840) and Anne Teresa (August 1842). Eighteen months after the move, Thomas was elected a guardian of the poor for Holy Rood parish. In March 1842 he announced his candidature for the elective regardership of the New Forest, vacant on the death of Nathaniel Hinves.
The family moved to Carlton Place in 1842. Here a dramatic transformation in their affairs took place. Described as a brewer in the 1843 Southampton directory, Thomas has become by 1845 ‘professor of singing, pianoforte and organ tuner’. An advertisement in The Post-Office directory of the Borough of Southampton for that year announces his periodical attendance in all parts of the county, including the Isle of Wight. ‘Being honoured with the patronage of several of the most distinguished Families and first-rate professional Pianists of the day, (and with twenty-five years experience,) [he] confidently solicits the extension of favours.’ He continued to follow his new profession until his death, on 3 February 1855, at Carlton Place. The fact that probate – with effects of less than £20 – was not granted until 12 years after his death (19 February 1867) perhaps suggests that it was not a lucrative calling. Three of his daughters – Monica Maria, Julia Gertrude and Anne Teresa – became professional music teachers. His eldest son, (Thomas) Bernard, originally shared his father’s calling as a teacher, being a tutor of French and Latin. In the 1850s he left the world of pedagogy to become a shipping clerk with the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company.
The influences determining the career of Charles Anthony Vaughan came from the distaff side of the family. The Cave family were a pre-eminent force in the artistic life of eighteenth and early-nineteenth century Winchester as architectural craftsmen, internal decorators and painters. Their story is told by Barbara Carpenter Turner in the Proceedings of Hampshire Field Club, vol 22, pt 1, 1961, pp 30-4. Charles followed Cave family tradition by becoming a painter, heraldic craftsman and decorative artist, covering (to quote an 1862 advertisement) ‘every description of house, ship, and yacht painting, decorating, plumbing, glazing, paperhanging etc.’ Head of the Winchester clan was William Cave senior (1737-1813). He was a freeman, bailiff and, from 1810, an alderman of the city. Three of his sons followed the calling: William junior (1760-1816), James (c1772-1834) and John (1773-1840). Each of the three brothers became a freemen of Winchester, William being elected mayor in 1813: a rare honour for a Roman Catholic in the days before Catholic emancipation. William pere et fils had a monopoly of painting work in Winchester College, continued by their successors until 1824. The iconic mural, the Trusty Servant, was painted by the father in 1809. A list of their other work (either singly or in partnership) includes: internal decoration of St Peter’s Chapel (opened 1792 and one of the earliest examples of the Gothic revival in ecclesiastical architecture) and the parish church of St Swithun upon Kingsgate; repainting the tomb of William of Wykeham in the Cathedral (1796); decoration of Winchester Theatre in Jewry Street (opened 1785) and painting the scenery for a new theatre in Gosport (1797); redecoration of the Round Table in the Great Hall (1789); and restoration of the High Cross and the Westgate for Winchester Corporation. Two oval wall paintings for their house in the High Street still survive. James Cave is better known for his architectural drawings, especially those reproduced in John Milner’s History of Winchester, first published in 1798 (volume 1) and 1801 (volume 2). He was an occasional exhibitor at the Royal Academy between 1801 and 1817. Little is recorded of the work of the youngest brother John, apart from the fact that he was a house painter living, from 1811, at 18 Southgate Street. His influence is probably more felt in Southampton. A son, Thomas Cave (born in Winchester c1801), appears in Southampton in the 1830s and early 1840s as a house painter, plumber and glazier of 69 High Street – three doors away from the Vaughan residence. He later became a prosperous lead, oil and colour merchant of 33 French Street. The subject of this sketch, Charles Vaughan, was John Cave’s grandson.
The decorative work of Charles Vaughan, especially his wall paintings, is an echo of his Winchester forbears. The landscapes on the walls of the Carlton Rooms in 1860 are referred to in the parent article above. It is not clear whether these were painted directly on to the plaster or were painted in his studio and later affixed to the walls. Commissions in a similar vein followed. He provided wall paintings for the Christmas festivities in 1862 at Southampton Poorhouse. Mottoes such as ‘If poor, yet happy – to be so kings oft sigh’ were designed to offer spiritual comfort. The redecoration of St Lawrence’s Church in September 1870 was from his designs and under his superintendence. In January 1873 he painted the scenery for the amateur dramaticals laid on by the shipbuilder Charles Arthur Day at his residence, Terrace House, in the Polygon. He decorated the proscenium of the Royal York Music Hall in 1874 as part of improvements to the auditorium and stage. A major commission was the decoration of the Victoria Skating Rink for Jonas Nichols in February 1876. The covered roller skating rink was coloured in blue, mauve and chocolate. Paintings representing Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter adorned the walls. Opposite the entrance was a sketch taken from Punch depicting ‘Old Father Christmas’ being led out in October by a couple of young ladies to skate on the asphalt: a reminder that the Victoria rink was the largest covered area of asphalted flooring of any building in the country. Much of the decoration of St Edmund’s Roman Catholic Church, opened in the Avenue in 1889, was by Vaughan. This included representations of ‘the Stations of the Cross’ on the walls. He designed the altar for the church (as also for the temporary iron mission church built on the same site five years earlier). Outside the town,
he was responsible for redecoration of the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of Mercy and St Joseph in Lymington High Street.
Charles Vaughan was an active member of St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Bugle Street. Its priest-in-charge, Father Robert Mount, had officiated at his marriage in 1863 at St George’s Cathedral, Southwark. He made a gift of a new altar to St Joseph’s Church in December 1884. He was a member of the church choir for fifty years and was a regular contributor to the annual fund-raising concerts in aid of St Joseph’s School in St Michael’s Square. In these he was joined by two other members of his musical family: his eldest brother Bernard and youngest sister Anne Teresa (or Annette as she appeared in the programmes). The musical partnership with his brother extended to more secular territory. At an amateur entertainment at the Carlton Rooms during Christmas 1861, in front of an audience of 1,000, Charles and Bernard sang to universal applause the duet ‘The sailor sighs’. They also formed one half of the ‘Christy Minstrels’. In his younger days, Charles had performed at concerts of the West Quay Amateur Regatta Club, of which he was a member. A heavyweight rower, he held the club championship in the late 1850s/early 1860s. He also appeared in amateur dramaticals.
Charles Vaughan died on 21 February 1900, aged 69 years, at his house, 45 London Road. He had moved here from Carlton House in Carlton Place in the early 1870s, when it was part of Waterloo Place. He was buried in Southampton Cemetery after a funeral service in St Edmund’s Church. He lies in the same grave as his wife, Marion, who had died on 6 August 1895, aged 48 years. His effects were assessed at probate at £441. His business was continued as Vaughan & Co, builders and decorators of London Road, until the First World War.