Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Hilda Bowes : An unexpected surprise

I must have dreamt that I wrote up and published this blog post because I certainly planned it awhile back, but it doesn't appear to be here. A chance search on ebay, in December last year, led me to a quaint Edwardian picture postcard which had been written to my cousin four times removed, Hilda Bowes. It was from a person by the name of Fred and it was stamped 13 August 1912.

The postcard was addressed to:
Miss H Bowes
Broad Street
Bungay Suffolk

I knew that my three times great-grand uncle, George Bowes, lived in Broad Street so I put in a bid for the postcard. When I won it, I never expected it would lead to a second surprise.

Broad Street, Bungay c. 1923

Hilda Matilda Bowes was born in 1892 in Bungay. She was the daughter of George Bowes and his second wife, Mary Ann Margaret (nee Whurr). Mary Ann was the daughter of John Whurr and Eliza, nee Phillips. The Whurr family lived in Broad Street, Bungay all their lives, and when Mary Ann married widowed George Bowes in 1891, she continued to live in the same street. The census returns show that before she married George, who was a baker by trade, she was a Dressmaker. Mary Ann's life would have taken quite a different direction from dressmaking with her mother to baking with her husband. When she married George Bowes she was 40 years old.

When George Bowes died in March 1911, Hilda ran the family baker business in Broad Street with her mother. However, in 1920, Hilda married Allen Green. Allen was the son of Henry Green and Kate, nee Burgess. The Green family lived in Wingfield Street, Bungay. Allen was a printer compositor by trade, possibly at Clay & Sons Ltd of Bungay. The 1925 Kelly's Directory shows Hilda's mother, Mary Ann, was still trading as a baker at 48 Broad Street.

It is not yet known if Hilda and Allen ever had any children. What is known is that Allen died only a few months after Hilda, in 1972. When Mary Ann died in April 1941, she left a sum of money to her only daughter Hilda in a will.

Recently I went to the Ancestry website to search for information regarding Hilda Bowes's ancestry, and to my surprise I found a photograph of her. I was so excited to finally see what she looked like. I was also quite surprised to find that she bore a striking resemblance to my great-grandmother Eva Waters, nee Bowes and Eva's sister Winnie Bowes. Eva and Winnie were Hilda's first cousins, once removed. Judge for yourselves. Personally, I think it's the nose. And the curve of the lips...and the eyes.

Hilda Bowes (1892-1972)

Eva Bowes (1887-1966)

Winnie Bowes (1892-1948)

For more information about my Bowes ancestry, see here
A blog post about Fred Bowes (brother of Eva and Winnie) here
Photograph of Hilda Bowes: courtesy of Robert Alexander (Wangford, England). There is also a photograph of her husband Allen Green on the site also belonging to Robert Alexander
Photograph of Eva and Winnie Bowes: My personal photo collection


  1. Valerie Wakefield23 July 2014 at 16:49

    I knew a Brian Bowes Middlesborough he played piano I have a tape. He would have been born 1920's

    1. Hi Valerie, thanks for your comment. My Bowes ancestry were mainly from Norfolk. Fascinating that you have a recording though, to keep for posterity x

  2. Replies
    1. I know, right? Right place at the right time, Jill. Bonus was the seller put an image of the back of the postcard up as well as the front image. Otherwise I would never have known it was addressed to one of my ancestors. x