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Researched by Kay Collins, 2012
The Claridge Family

George Clements Clarridge was baptised at Yelden on the 4th November 1802, son of Mr William and Margaret. On November 25th 1823 he married Elizabeth Gross, and their son William was born on 30th September 1824, and baptised at St Mary's Church on 23rd May 1825. No burial for Elizabeth has been found, but George married Susanna Young, daughter of William and Elizabeth, born 1805, at St Mary’s Church, Rushden in 1831.

George and Susanna had six children, John, George, Margaret, Jeremiah, Ebenezer and Eunice. Susanna died in 1850.

William Claridge, George's eldest son, married Mercy Darnell in 1950, and they had three sons, John, William and Charles. He started his own wholesale business in about 1860 trading as William Claridge, and by 1881 he was employing 200 Men, 40 Boys, 45 Women, 30 Girls - 315 workers. The house was then called "Rushden Villa", but later was called "Brookfield." When William died in 1891, his sons John and Charles were already in full charge of the business. On 12th September 1900, Charles married Effie, daughter of George H Skinner, butcher.

Ebenezer Claridge was born in 1842, and married Mary, daughter of Joseph and Rebecca Clarke, on the 17th May 1864 at St Mary’s Church. They had a son Oliver in 1868 and daughter Emily in 1870, a son George H in 1874, and son Charles R in 1876, and triplets in 1878 (but they all died). By this time Ebenezer was established as a shoe manufacturer, and in 1881 was employing 15 men, 4 boys, 20 girls. His widowed father George was living with the family at Fern Cottage, next to Lion Terrace in High Street, and still working as a shoe finisher.
Oliver and George joined their father in the business, and Charles became a solicitor. The family moved to North Villa, and soon they moved again to Hayway* in the 1890s, and the same year plans were passed to build a fine new factory in Rectory Road. Ebenezer was also building houses in Harborough Road, and Spencer Road. [*this house was eventually the Memorial Hospital]

Ebenezer Claridge Oliver Claridge
Ebenezer Claridge
Oliver Claridge in 1905

Ebenezer Claridge
Ebenezer & Mary Claridge in the garden of
their home in Hayway

Oliver Claridge married Norah, daughter of Charles Parker, a shoemaker at Higham Ferrers in June 1903. They moved back to North Street to ‘Westward Ho’, and their daughter Audrey Milicent was born in 1910. Audrey was educated at St Andrews School in Bedford, and one her diaries includes this list of her Christmas Presents in 1926, and ‘things to get at half-term’.

inside the diary

Things to get at half term

Bath Salts



Ask about Blazer

Cream for hands


Frame for Ben’s Photo

Torch and Battery

Razor Blade

Health Salts


Jumper, Suit, Coat


£1, Hockey Stick, Tie & Hankey

Aunt Kitty


Aunt Nan


Aunt Maud

Bracelet & Pencil

Aunt K.

Note Paper (A)

Aunt Effie

Note Case

Aunt Betsy




Mrs Cave

Lacquer Bowl


Thimble Case etc.


Shoe polisher




Crystalised Fruit

The little diary kept by Audrey Milicent Claridge in 1926 when she was at school at St Andrews, Bedford, and the pages on which she recorded her Christmas presents and things she needed to get at half-term.
presents 1926

Audrey had a camera and put the photos into a small album and captioned them too.

These are the first few :

Birthday cake - first picture taken!
Birthday cake - first picture taken!
Mother and Father
Mother and Father
Vera, Miss Rands, Joan Claridge, Father, Mother

Vera, Miss Rands, Joan Claridge, Father, Mother – taken at Lilford

Dick Woodcock, Aunt Beaty

Dick Woodcock, Aunt Beaty

Believed to be Audrey M Claridge
Believed to be Audrey M Claridge c1939 taken by
W Lacey

Audrey Claridge married Robert C Samet just before WWII, in the Spring of 1939. Together they founded the De Parys Hotel at Bedford. His family were also hotelliers at Hotel Alexandra, Brighton.

Letter head showing the directors as B B Samet & R Samet c1947

George Herbert Claridge continued the family business after his parents' deaths in 1910 and 1925. He lived alone in the family home in Hayway after his brothers and sister had all married. He remained there, with just the house staff until 1948. The house was sold to the town to become the Memorial Hospital, when he moved into a smaller house, in Portland Road, Rushden, where he remained until his death at the age of eighty years in 1953.
A small archive of diaries and household accounts of Audrey Claridge is deposited
at Northamptonshire Record Office NRO Ref: 2012/115
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