William Baugh Atcherley and his Saturday half-holidays – Part 2

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Quote That, therefore, was convincing proof of the propriety of the Saturday half-holiday. But then the next and most important question came to be, when they had got their leisure what would they do with it? […] Volunteering was no doubt excellent to those who liked it; so were athletic sports, where circumstances admitted of them; and so were clubs, music, quiet readings, social meetings, and so forth. They all tended to good; but they must never forget that of their leisure, as well as their labour hours, they must give an account […] Unquote — Morning Advertiser, 1 December 1866.

The above quote is a continuation of the one at the head of the first part of this story. The words were those of the Chairman of the “annual celebration of the early closing movement” held on 30 November 1866. He was addressing one of the objections raised against this movement, for it appears that some feared shop workers with time on their hands would either waste it or misuse it. The proponents of the early closing movement, and of the Saturday half-holidays from which William Baugh Atcherley [] benefited, had therefore to show that the leisure hours they sought would bring opportunities for worthwhile and beneficial pursuits.

As we have seen, forward-thinking employers like the company which employed William Atcherley, Marshall and Snelgrove, not only adopted the practice of granting their workers Saturday half-holidays, they also took the lead in arranging activities – such as an ‘annual entertainment’ – to fill the free time thus created. Another activity which the company encouraged its staff to take part in was ‘volunteering’. Marshall and Snelgrove developed a close association with the West Middlesex Rifle Volunteer Corps, and scores of the firm’s employees joined the ranks of the Volunteers, forming H Company (of which Mr Marshall was Captain). The firm also donated prizes for the Volunteers’ shooting competitions.

Marshall and Snelgrove'sMarshall and Snelgrove’s

I have found no evidence to suggest that William Atcherley joined the Rifle Volunteers while working for Marshall and Snelgrove. However when it comes to the Saturday afternoon sporting activities organised by the company, the opposite is true. Indeed, the earliest reference to William in connection with the firm that I know of, is a news report dating from 1869 entitled West End Cricket Club Sports:

Quote Saturday, Oct. 2—A worse day for athletic sports could hardly have been chosen, but still about 1,000 spectators put in an appearance at the New Eton and Middlesex Cricket Ground to witness the first annual meeting of this club, which is composed of the employés of Messrs Marshall and Snelgrove, of Oxford-street. Thanks to the able management of the executive everything passed off satisfactorily. The course, which was on turf, and exactly 440 yards in circumference, was (although the rain had rendered it somewhat slippery) in very fair going order. Unquote

At the end the first part of this story, I said that “William overcame a number of hurdles”. This was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact that there were six flights of hurdles in the 200 yards race in which William was a competitor. First to finish was C Brawn, who “had it all his own way, and won by 10 yards.” In second place was F W Beet. “W. B. Atcherley” was one of 9 others who took part. The day’s programme also featured a 400 yards race over 12 flights of hurdles, 100, 200 and 300 yards races, a mile race, a mile walking race, a 200 yards three-legged race, a sack race, the high jump (standing), the long jump (standing), throwing the cricket ball, putting the weight, quoiting, and wrestling.

I am not aware of any other athletic meetings in which William competed, although he was one of 27 committee members who helped to organise Marshall and Snelgrove’s Athletic Sports of 1870. There were other sporting events at which this company fielded teams however, and William was sometimes a part of the team, or to be more accurate, crew. When I mentioned, at the close of part one of this story, that William “often witnessed his colleagues rowing”, the meaning of that phrase depends upon the final word being pronounced to rhyme with crowing, not vowing. Moving swiftly on, here are the opening words of a report from the Oxford Journal of 8 August 1874, in which we find Marshall and Snelgrove employees benefitting not from a Saturday half-holiday, but a full day off work – a Bank Holiday Monday:


This annual aquatic gathering took place on Monday last, one of the Bank Holidays, and, as the weather was very fine, the attendance of spectators was very large, especially on the Berkshire side of the river. The Committee had this year come to the very wise conclusion not to extend the Regatta to more than one day, and by this means they were enabled to provide one full day’s capital enjoyment. This arrangement, we cannot help thinking, more especially as the third Bank Holiday of the year has now become a fixed institution among all classes of society, is one decidedly for the best, and Monday’s Regatta was an instance that such was the fact.

The two crews who made it to the final of this regatta’s Open Challenge Cup for Four-oars were local boys Henley, and Magpies, comprising of F Bowness, W Bailey, C Whitfield and J H Hardy, with W B Atcherley as cox. Sadly, the result was a “runaway match on the part of the Henley crew, who won as they liked by a couple of hundred yards, the Magpies never having a ghost of a chance.”

Four years later, William experienced a much closer contest when coxing another crew. I will let Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Chronicle, of 27 Jul 1878, begin the story:


This club, which has not been heard of for some time, and whose members are employés of the well-known firm of Marshall and Snellgrove, rowed an eight-oared race from boats off the London Boathouse at Putney to Hammersmith Bridge, on Saturday afternoon, and there was a large and select attendance on board the Wedding Ring, which had been chartered to accompany.

River Thames, from Hammersmith to PutneyThree crews took up oars for this tussle on the Thames. Starting at Surrey Station was Mr Baker’s crew. At Centre Station was Mr Bowman’s crew, while at Middlesex station was “Mr Atcherley’s crew—Way, Wood, Palmer, Marshall, Robertson, Royce, Gough, Gilshanen (Stroke), Atcherley (cox)”. Back to Bell’s Life in London:

Quote Mr J. H. Hardy officiated as starter, but, owing to the great difficulty in putting the boats in a position for the start, and then the breaking of the No. 2 oar in Mr Atcherley’s boat, great delay occurred. At last they went away of their own accord, and Mr Bowman and Mr Atcherley’s crews immediately began to leave Mr Baker’s boat in the rear. At that Point Mr Bowman was very nearly a length in front of second crew, but after this the latter gained on them considerably, and a close race ensued to the Soap Works, where Mr Bowman began to draw away again, and eventually won by barely a length. Unquote

So close, and yet so far! This tightly-fought match, you will have noticed, took place on a Saturday afternoon. No doubt William had spent many other Saturday half-holidays beforehand, in training with his crew. It seems most likely that he did so again the following year, because he was cox once more in the Magpie Rowing Club’s annual eight-oared club race of 1879. There were only two crews this time, and the winners “had an easy victory by several lengths.” Once again, William witnessed another crew finishing first.

1880 brought a big change to the life of William Baugh Atcherley: on 6 November that year, he married Eliza Maria Winter [] at the church of St Thomas in Portman Square. Eliza, aged 32, was of 2 Bentinck Street in Marylebone, which was a five minute walk away from the store of Marshall and Snelgrove. Born on 5 February 1848 in St Martin in the Fields, Eliza was a daughter of Frederick Winter, a German-born tailor, and Johanna, née Weber. Frederick Winter may have made garments for, or bought materials from, Messrs Marshall and Snelgrove – did Eliza and William meet because of this business connection?

William was certainly still working for the company at the time of his marriage, and living under his employer’s roof: he was described in the marriage register of St Thomas as a commercial salesman of 15 Vere Street. Did that remain the case after his wedding though? I very much doubt that William, once married, would have been allowed to continue residing on the premises of Marshall and Snelgrove. Whether he remained an employee of the firm, and if so for how long, is open to question. By April 1881, when the census was taken, William and Eliza’s home was 12 Ravenstone Road, in Hornsey. William’s occupation was given as “Shopman (Drapers)” and the couple were employing a domestic servant.

The Atcherleys were still at Ravenstone Road at the beginning of 1883, when their first child, Constance Eliza Atcherley [] (who was born on 3 November 1882), was baptised. Hornsey was about seven miles from the store with which William had been associated for over a decade, but he could have commuted there and back by train. The Atcherleys travelled back to St Thomas in Portman Square, where they had wed, for their daughter’s baptism, and the entry for Constance in the baptism register showed that William was a draper. But was he working as such for Marshall and Snelgrove, for an employer in Hornsey, or in his own right?

If William Atcherley’s connection with Marshall and Snelgrove had not already been severed by 1883, it certainly was by the middle of 1884. On 26 June that year, William and Eliza’s second child, Lewis William Richard Winter Atcherley [], was born at Boscombe in Hampshire. This happy event was followed, four months later, by the tragic loss of Eliza on 19 October, at the age of 36. Eliza had contracted typhoid (a disease caused by the Salmonella typhi bacteria) and died when the bacteria spread to her lungs causing double pneumonia. She passed away at the family’s home, The Filberts, in Boscombe, and was buried four days later, on 23 October 1884, with her mother at Brompton Cemetery in Middlesex (see London MIs for a photo of the Winter family gravestone).

William Baugh Atcherley was present at the death of his wife, and was the informant when her death was registered. His gave his occupation as a commercial traveller. When he appeared in the 1885 Kelly’s Directory covering Hampshire, he was included in the commercial listings for Boscombe, as follows: “Atcherley William Baugh, furnished apartments, Filberts, Christchurch road”. It appears that he remained at that address for a while, and then moved to Pine View in Bournemouth. This change of residence may have been associated with a change of occupation, as William resumed his career as a draper. Sadly his time at Pine View, and in his new job, was short.

Atcherley, William Baugh and Eliza (Winter) The clock had been ticking for William since about 1880, the year of his marriage to Eliza, when he contracted tuberculosis. Knowing that his end was near, he prepared his will and made arrangements for the care of his two young children. He died, aged 45, at Pine View on 28 November 1887, the cause of his death being recorded as Phthisis Pulmonalis, 7 Years.

The will of William Baugh Atcherley was proved in London by his sisters-in-law Emma and Louisa Winter. He left a personal estate valued at £ £757 5s. He also left a precious gift for his son Lewis (and probably a duplicate for Constance): a photograph of himself and Eliza in happier times, taken during a visit the couple had made to Eastbourne in Sussex. William’s life as a draper, as a husband and father, and as a Saturday afternoon actor, hurdler and cox, was over – but his image would live on.

Picture credits. Marshall and Snelgrove’s: Adapted from an image taken from the Internet Archive’s Flickr Photostream (original from Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History), page 11), no known copyright restrictions. River Thames from Hammersmith to Putney: Adapted from an image taken from the British Library Flickr photostream (original from page 18 of Environs of London. Western Division, published 1842), no known copyright restrictions. Eliza and William Baugh Atcherley: Adapted from a scan of a photo held by Sir Harold Atcherley, kindly provided for use on this website by Martin Atcherley; for a larger version see William Baugh Atcherley and Eliza (Winter).


[1] Morning Advertiser, 1 Dec 1866, page 6. Copy viewed at Findmypast.
[2] Marylebone Mercury, 29 Sep 1860, page 3. “The Volunteer Movement. West Middlesex Rifles.—Upwards of sixty new members from the firm of Marshall and Snelgrove, of Oxford-street, attended their first drill”. Copy viewed at Findmypast.
[3] Volunteer Service Gazette, 22 Dec 1860, page 2. “West Middlesex. […] On Wednesday evening in last week the members of the H Company (Messrs Marshall and Snelgrove’s) appeared for the first time in full uniform“. Copy viewed at Findmypast.
[4] Marylebone Mercury, 15 Dec 1866, page 4. “Presentation of Prizes to the West Middlesex Rifle Volunteers. […] Prizes presented to H. Company by Captain Marshall, value £35. The Company was divided into 3 squads, shooting on separate days […]A Prize of £10, given by Messrs. Marshall and Snelgrove, competed for by Officers, Serjeants, and Corporals. Captain Dear. A Prize of £10, given by Messrs. Marshall and Snelgrove, competed for by Privates, ranges, &c.”. Copy viewed at Findmypast.
[5] Bell’s Life In London And Sporting Chronicle, 6 Oct 1869, page 4. West End Cricket Club Sports. Copy viewed at Findmypast (search for Atcherlev).
[6] Marylebone Mercury, 1 Oct 1870, page 4. Marshall and Snelgrove’s Athletic Sports. Copy viewed at Findmypast.
[7] Oxford Journal, 8 Aug 1874, page 5. Oxford City Royal Regatta. Copy viewed at Findmypast.
[8] Bell’s Life In London And Sporting Chronicle, 27 Jul 1878, page 9. Magpie Rowing Club. Copy viewed at Newspaper Archive.
[9] Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper, 27 July 1879, page 1. Yesterday’s Rowing. Copy viewed at Findmypast (search for Snelgrove).
[10] Marriage of William Baugh Atcherley and Eliza Maria Winter registered at Marylebone, December quarter 1880; volume 1a, page 1123. Indexed at FamilySearch – England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005.
[11] St Thomas, Portman Square, Middlesex, marriage register covering 1880, entry for William Baugh Atcherley and Eliza Maria Winter. Copy viewed at Ancestry – London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921.
[12] St Martin in the Fields, Westminster, baptism register covering 1848, entry dated 27 Feb 1848 for Eliza Maria Winter. Copy viewed at Ancestry – London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906. Indexed at FamilySearch, Batch C00145-3, Film 561147, 561148, 561149.
[13] 1881 census of England and Wales. Piece 1374, folio 18, page 30.
[14] Birth of Constance Eliza Atcherley registered at Edmonton, December quarter 1882; volume 3a, page 241.
[15] St Thomas, Portman Square, Middlesex, baptism register covering 1883, entry for Constance Eliza Atcherley. Copy viewed at Ancestry – London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906.
[16] Birth of Lewis William R W Atchesley [= Atcherley] registered at Christchurch, September quarter 1884; volume 2b, page 648.
[17] Death of Eliza Maria Atcherley registered at Christchurch, December quarter 1884; volume 2b, page 401; age given as 36. Information contained in death register entry provided by Martin Atcherley.
[18] Brompton Cemetery, Middlesex, burial register covering 1884, entry for Eliza Atcherley (grave reference Y/68/39.3). Burial Register summary and interment details viewed at Deceased Online.
[19] Kelly’s Directory covering Hampshire, 1885, page 625.
[20] Death of William Baugh Atcherley registered at Christchurch, December quarter 1887; volume 2b, page 415; age given as 45. Information contained in death register entry provided by Martin Atcherley.
[21] National Probate Calendar (1888) shows: William Baugh Atcherley. Formerly of the Filberts, Christchurch Road, Boscombe, Hampshire , late of Pine View, Bournemouth, Hampshire. Died 28 November 1887 at Pine View. Will proved by Emma Winter and Louisa Winter of 2 Bentinck Street, Cavendish Square, Middlesex, Spinsters. Personal Estate £757 5s. Copy viewed at Ancestry.
[22] Atcherley.org.uk: Pictures: William Baugh Atcherley and Eliza (Winter).