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William Baugh Atcherley belonged to a family which was all too familiar with the Grim Reaper. Before he was two years old both of his older siblings, Mary and John, had died (both at the age of 4). His younger brother Thomas, less than a month old, was buried just two days after William’s second birthday. Thomas’s twin brother Edward Baugh Atcherley followed a little over two weeks later. Sister Elizabeth Atcherley fared better, reaching the age of 25 before she died, unmarried, in 1871, while siblings Mary Ann, Jemima and Richard all survived into adulthood and raised children of their own. However William’s youngest sibling, Robert Pembrey Atcherley, died within weeks of his birth in December 1852. Within a year the mother of all these children, Eliza (Baugh) Atcherley, also passed away, aged 40, on 2 October 1853.
William’s story is told in William Baugh Atcherley and his Saturday half-holidays – Part 1 and Part 2. In brief, he took up employment in the drapery trade, working as a linen draper’s assistant at Ashton under Lyne in Lancashire before moving to London where he was employed by Marshall and Snelgrove’s flagship store in Marylebone. This firm took the step of closing early on Saturdays (providing its employees with what was known as a Saturday half-holiday), and arranging leisure activities for its workers to take part on their afternoon off.
William married Eliza Winter in London on 6 November 1880. William and Eliza had two children, Constance Eliza Atcherley and Lewis William Richard Winter Atcherley, before Eliza passed away in 1884 (for a photo of the gravestone see London MIs). William then died, from TB, in 1887.
With William’s death his two children, aged 5 and 3, were orphans. Constance and Lewis were taken in by their maternal aunts, Emma, Louisa and Anne Maria Winter, and the 1891 census shows the children living with their aunts, and grandfather Frederick Winter (by then aged 83) at the Winter family home in Bentinck Street, Marylebone. The photo here (right) shows Emma Winter.
William Baugh Atcherley probably knew that TB would rob him of the chance to see his children grow up and deny them the opportunity to know their father. Perhaps that thought was in his mind when, at some point during the four years that he and Eliza were together in the early 1880s, he had a photographic portrait of himself and Eliza taken at the studio of G R Lavis in Eastbourne, Sussex. The back of the photograph bears the simple but poignant inscription, shown below: “For Lewis William Richard Winter Atcherley”.
The images above, from photographs held by Sir Harold Atcherley, appear by kind permission of Martin Atcherley.