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Charles Henry Pickering

Jonathan Pickering, son of William, a farm labourer, and Ann (nee Lawrance), was born at Swineshead 27th March 1859. They had married in 1843.

possibly Alfred Ekins and Charlotte

Jonathan and Charlotte Pickering taken by Sam Powell

Jonathan married Charlotte Fensom in 1877. They had five children, Annie, Florence, John, George Allen and Charles Henry, and the family had moved to Shelton in 1901. Later Jonathan and Charlotte were living at 30 Spencer Road, Rushden.

Charles Henry Pickering was born at Swineshead in 1882. He was boarding in Rushden in 1901, and married Catherine Ekins, of Yelden, daughter of Joseph and Emma, in 1907.

Catherine (known as Kitty) was also living in Rushden in 1901, at 39 Church Street, where she was servant to John Woodward, a plumber.

Their marriage at Yelden Church was witnessed by his brother George Allen Pickering, and her sister Miriam Ekins.

Marriage certificate

Their son Cyril Charles was born 31st July 1907. They lived at 23 Spencer Road.

possibly Alfred Ekins and Charlotte

Charles at 23 Spencer Road
When the Royal Variety Theatre opened in 1911, Charles and Catherine started to take in boarders who were appearing at the Theatre. Catherine asked them to write a note in a little book, and most obliged, and many wrote "... have been very comfortable with Mrs Pickering, only too pleased to recommend & return."

In some other small note books Catherine had written lots of recipes for cakes, biscuits, puddings, chutney, jam, marmalade, as well as some stews, and bread. So we can be sure that she was feeding her visitors to a high standard.

When war was declared in 1914 Charles enlisted and attested on 10.12.15 to the Army Reserve as 206726 Beds & Herts Regt. He was posted 8.12.16.

Catherine continued to take in visitors and was running the house alone whilst Charles was serving in India. (He had sent home several postcards to show Kitty the places he was visiting, whilst stationed in Delhi.) No further visitor books have been found, so perhaps that was the only one. Charles was listed as an absent voter "206726 Pte., 1st Bedfords" in 1919, and was discharged from the Army on 12 January 1920.

Charles & Catherine
Charles & Catherine

Charles, Cyril, ?, & Catherine
Charles, Cyril, ?, & Catherine by Edgar Linnett

A 1930 invoice
Charles' parents lived at 30 Spencer Road, and his mother died there in 1922 and his father in 1930. This funeral was conducted by Fred Bayes, who also lived in Spencer Road at no.15.

They are buried in Rushden Cemetery Grave C303:
In ever loving memory of Charlotte beloved wife of Jonathan PICKERING who died Nov 6th 1922 aged 66 years. Peace perfect peace.
Also of Jonathan beloved husband of Charlotte PICKERING who died Novr 18th 1930 aged 72 years.

This property was later the home of Catherine's brother Charles Ekins. When he made his will in 1952, his will directed that Catherine should be given the chance to buy the house for the sum of £350 within three months. The residue of his estate was to be shared between all his surviving brothers and sisters equally. But if Catherine should predecease him, then her share was to go to her grandson, Anthony Charles Pickering. Charles died in 1959 aged 71.

Electricity was installed in 1931
In September 1931 electricity was installed, when the Rushden & District Electric Supply Co wired the house with 7 lights, one with 2-way switch in the hall, a plug point, and running the service cables and fixing the meter, for the sum of £9.5s.0d.

A second invoice was raised for a Premier Iron, a light shade, and a Holophane light fitting with gallery, for the sum of £1.2s.0d.


Certificate from Queen Elizabeth
When war was declared in 1939, their son Cyril Charles enlisted in December 1943, and he was living at 11 Gordon-Terrace, Higham Road. He was an AC2 with the RAF, and had also been working at John White's. He was discharged in December 1945 "on ceasing to fulfill RAF Physical Requirements, although fit for employment in civil life."

Charles and Catherine also took in some evacuees during the war, and were sent this certificate some years later by Queen Elizabeth.

When they made their wills in 1952 Catherine's brother, Charles Ekins, also made his will. At that time Cyril Pickering "of the Vine Inn, Irthlingborough" was appointed as his executor. All wished to be cremated.

Hoobs and Randall invoice letter letter
Hobbs & Randall invoice for decorating in 1951
Letter from John White in 1955
& Catherine's acknowledgement

katherine c1950s Mrs Katherine Pickering
Mrs Catherine Pickering

Charles died on 22nd September 1955, aged 73, and was cremated at Kettering on the 26th. The funeral was undertaken by Fred Bayes.

In October 1955 Catherine received a letter from John White expressing his sympathy at the death of employee, Charles Henry Pickering for "many years active and loyal service rendered to the company." On behalf of the directors he enclosed a small sum, and she wrote to thank them.

Catherine sold the house in Spencer Road in 1978 and moved to a care home. Her list of bequests of items was written as a letter to her son: to her sister Mirrie her "sewing machine, wristlet watch and bracelet, also the little mangle if Alice does not want it as it reallly belongs to her" and her linen to be divided between Alice and Mirrie." The rest of her household things were for him to dispose of them "the best way you can. Anything Tony thinks they might want, let him have it." The letter also tells him where her bank books are kept and the house deeds. "I wish for no flowers only from my dear son Cyril & Alice, Tony, Barbara & Duncan."

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