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Kate and Bert's wedding group
Kate and Bert's wedding group

Catherine Alice Collins

Catherine Alice Collins was my Nan. My mother’s mother.

Kate was born on 20th September 1902 in Southampton, Hampshire, England, and her parents were Edward Nash Collins and Alice Florence Collins nee Furzey.

Alice was Edward’s second wife, the first was Jemima Joanna Brookman. Jemima was born in 1858 in Southampton, Hampshire, her father, John, was 51, and her mother, Rose, was 44. She married Edward Nash Collins on 27th July 1884 in Southampton. She died on 1st October 1894 at the young age of 36. They had four children during their marriage. Elizabeth Emma Rose Collins was born in 1885, Beatrice Janet Collins was born in 1887, Laura Jessie Leah Collins was born in 1888, and Ellen Maud Collins was born in 1892. They were aged 9, 7, 6, and 2 respectively, when their mother died in 1894.

Edward was only 37 when Jemima died. Within a year, he had married Alice. According to their Marriage Certificate Edward Nash Collins (38, Widower) - Alice Florence Furzey (21, Spinster) on 3rd June 1895 in the Parish Church of St Mary, Southampton, both of 73 Grove St, Southampton. Fathers, Thomas Collins, Labourer and Charles Henry Furzey, Marinier. In the presence of James Collins and Kate Turpin. Alice was 17 years his younger.

According to the 1891 Census the Collins's family were living at 6 Threefields Lane, Southampton. Just to add to the confusion the ecclesiastical parish and municipal ward  was St James but the civil parish was St Mary. Rose, 6, Beatrice, 4 and Jessie, 2, constituted the children living at home. Their fourth child, Maud, was born later, in 1892.

A widow called Ann Brookman, aged 78 also lived at 6 Threefields Lane, together with some of her family. Ann was Jemima's mother. Ann whose maiden name was Rose Ann Campbell, was born in 1814. She married John James Brookman on 7th January 1833 in Southampton, Hampshire. They had 11 children in 26 years. She died on 13th March 1894 in Southampton, Hampshire, having lived a long life of 80 years. About six months before her daughter, Jemima.

By the 1901 Census everything had changed. Edward's wife was now Alice, aged 27, and they lived at 13 Chapel Street, St Mary, Southampton. Beatrice, 14 and Maud, 9, whose mother Jemima had died in 1894, were living with their father and stepmother, Alice. In addition there were Edward and Alice's daughters Elsie, 5 and Lettie, 3, Kate's elder sisters. Another resident was Edward Furzey, 20, stated as nephew. Edward was no longer a cabinet maker as recorded in the 1891 Census and was now a house painter and decorator.

Edward’s mother was Elizabeth Peninah Hills Nash and her father was Edward Nash. I have a DNA connection with Edward Nash but there is some confusion with the paperwork surrounding people with the same name.

Further reading; An article about Edward Nash late 1700 to early 1800. This is not a story about a single person but about many people called Edward Nash.

Birth Certificate Catherine Alice Collins 20 Sep 1902

Catherine Alice Collins was born on 20th September 1902

Catherine Alice Collins was born on 20th September 1902 and the birth was registered on the 1st November 1902 in the District of Southampton.

Kate was the youngest of the three sisters born to Alice and Edward. Elsie Marion Collins, born on 21st October 1895, was the eldest. Letitia Annie Collins, born on 11th October 1897, was in the middle. Kate's arrival brought the total number of daughters of Edward Nash Collins to seven, with the eldest only 17.

Kate was brought up in 89 Grove Street, St Mary’s, Southampton. She was recorded as being 8 years old in the 1911 Census. Her father Edward is stated as being a House Carpenter. All three daughters of Alice, including Kate are still living with their parents at that time, together with Jessie, an older daughter from Edward's previous marriage.

Grove Street is still there but the whole area has been redeveloped. Follow the link to see an 1870 map of the area. A map of the area around Grove Street and the Chapel Road Level crossing. If I have remembered the reminisces correctly, 89 Grove Street backed on to the busy railway line which led to the Southampton Terminus Station and the Docks.

From the 1846 map the London and South Western Railway (known up to June 1839 as the London and Southampton Railway) had increased the number of lines at the Level crossing from two to three on the 1870 map. It has a signal box and is the beginning of the throat approaching the Terminus Station. Trains used to pass here going to the Ocean Terminal, at a later time, and thence onto a trans-Atlantic Liner to the USA.
I have even travelled from there on the Orient Express, sadly after the Ocean Terminal was closed in 1980, and subsequently demolished and replaced with a more modern, less impressive, shed.

On 09 October 1916 Bertram Harry Stephen Pomeroy, who was born on 4 July 1902, and lived at 141 Radcliffe Road, Northam, Southampton, Hampshire, started work at the age of 14, at London South Western Railway at a wage of 7/- per week (£0.35) as a Parcels Van Lad.
He was recommended into the job by Mr Bell, Parcels Clerk at Southampton. Presumably this was at Southampton Terminus Station as apposed to the then smaller Southampton West Station, which is now the main station, renamed to Southampton Central. Was it this proximity which led to Bert and Kate meeting?

He was promoted to Parcels Porter with a wage of 12/- per week (£0.60) on 17 March 1919. He was still only 16 years old. He was too young to have served in the Great War, and the railways may have been a protected occupation.

An extract from Network Rail

In 1914, the country had 23,000 miles of rail track and 4,000 stations, according to industry body Rail Delivery Group. Passenger numbers had reached more than 1.5 million.
The railway had become one of Britain’s biggest employers with more than 700,000 workers. Of these, more than 100,000 enlisted when war broke out, leading to a substantial skills shortage at home when the railway was under great pressure than to deliver forces and supplies to the front line.
By the end of the war, 20,000 railway staff had tragically lost their lives.

The first deployments
Britain declared war on 4 August 1914 and by the end of the month, the railway had transported almost 120,000 servicemen to Southampton, where they would board boats to France.
The first train carrying members of the original expeditionary force left Waterloo station on the morning of Sunday 10 August, arriving into Southampton station at 8.15am.
Over the next three weeks, a train full of troops would reach the docks every 12 minutes, 14-hours a day.

All travelling past Kate’s family’s backyard

Bert was promoted to Motor Parcels Vanman with a wage of 59/6 per week (£2.975) on 15 February 1923. Just a short time before his wedding.

Bert and Kate WeddingKate and Bert married on 21 May 1923

Kate and Bert married on 21 May 1923 in the presence of: Edward N Collins, Alfred D Pomeroy, Neville Lovett, and L A Collins, at St Marys Parish Church, Southampton, just a stones through away from Kate’s home.

In the Kate and Bert's wedding group photo at the top of the page, Bert's parents are on the left hand side of the photo, Dan Pomeroy and his wife Mary Ann Pomeroy nee Bignell. Similarily on the right hand side of the photo are Kate's parents, Edward Nash Collins and Alice Florence Collins nee Furzey.

Mary Ann Bignell was born on 6 January 1871 in Bishops Sutton, Hampshire, her father, Stephen, was 29, and her mother, Elizabeth, was 28. She married Dan Pomeroy in July 1891 in Southampton, Hampshire. They had 13 children in 27 years. She died on 24 January 1941 in Southampton, Hampshire, at the age of 70.

Dan Pomeroy was born on 8 April 1870 in Farnham, Surrey, his father, Daniel, was 39 and his mother, Edith, was 32. He died on 25 January 1939 in Southampton, Hampshire, at the age of 68. Not really sure about his birth being in Farnham, Surrey, as although the paperwork leads us there, from a proximity perspective, that does not work well. His family roots were in and around Broadwindsor in Dorset, and latterly in Farnham, Blandford Forum, Dorset. Farnham Dorset and Farnham Hampshire are about 67miles apart. That is a 22hour walk. About 2 to 3 days. Hope the research will shed more light on his in the fullness of time.

Kate had Rheumatic fever and was very poorly at some stage. I am not sure, but I think it was as an adult, possibly after she and Bert married. She moved home and was looked after by relatives.

About 1935 Kate and Bert lived in 77 Radcliffe Road, Northam, Southampton, and by 1938 had moved to Oakley Road, Freemantle, Southampton, away from the town centre and docks.

Kate in studio photo

That was short lived though, as by the time of the 1939 Register, on 29 September 1939, they had moved back close to Southampton Terminus Station and Grove Street. They were living at 5 Western Terrace. Western Terrace was off Chapel Road, opposite to Grove Street, approx. parallel to the railway and Nelson St. The houses were probably railway cottages. The Chapel Road railway gates were at the start of Western Terrace. Bert is recorded as being a Motor Driver, possibly for the railway diving the three-wheel mechanical horse, a predecessor to an articulated lorry, as he was known to have done that about that time. Living with them were Bessie and Laura Tyler. Bessie had the same birthday as Kate, 20 September, but 1918 not 1902. Bessie was a shop assistant and Laura a hide cutting machinist.

The mass evacuation of children and other vulnerable people took place in early September 1939, before National Registration on 29 September that year, according to the National Archives. Kate and Bert had two children at the outbreak of war. Peggy Alice Mary, my Mum, born on Kate’s birthday, and Edward (Ted) Bertram Dan Pomeroy, Peggy’s younger brother. They were both evacuated to Bournemouth, to a large house with servants and big garden, but relocated as Ted became ill. The 1939 register has them both living at 1248 Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, with Mr Albert W Boyle and Mrs Dorothy V Boyle and their son, also at school, Francis W Boyle. This as I understand it is the relocated address. This explains why Kate and Bert’s children are not with them in their 1939 Register Record, at 5 Western Terrace.

One of Kate’s half-sisters was Laura Jessie Leah Collins. She was born in October 1888 in Southampton, Hampshire, her father, Edward, was 31, and her mother, Jemima, was 30. She married William Thomas Tyler in March 1918 in her hometown of Southampton. They had three children during their marriage. Her husband William died in 1924 and she died in June 1936 in Southampton, Hampshire, at the young age of 47. The three children were Bessie Frances Tyler, born on 20 September 1918, Joan Augusta Tyler, born on 7 July 1920, and Laura Florence Tyler, born on 18 July 1923 They were aged 17, 15, and 12 respectively when their mother died. Kate and Bert took them all in as their own following the death of Laura Jessie Leah. My understanding is that they were never formally adopted, just family looks after family. Apparently, Joan worked in the BAT tobacco factory near Millbrook, near Regents Park Road in 1938, not far from Oakley Road, Freemantle, Southampton. However, Joan is not with them in the 1939 register, just a year later. She is recorded as being in 24 College Street, working as a slide cutting machinist, living with the Prondley family. Less than half a mile away from Western Terrace. Joan might have been a bit rebellious and had moved out by 19 years of age.

Interestingly, there is another Pomeroy family at number 9 Western Terrace.

I am getting ahead of myself, before the war, and after Kate and Bert's wedding, the next wedding was Auntie Let and Uncle Percy's wedding. Wedding group photo probably taken at Bridge Studio 6 Bridge Road, Woolston, Southampton. Letitia Annie Collins marriage was in the 3rd quarter of 1925, but I have yet to find the exact date.

Auntie Let and Uncle Percy's wedding


The first inset of Auntie Let and Uncle Percy's wedding photo picks out the bride, Letitia, bridesmaid Elsie and Alice, her Mum. (L-R). Auntie Let and Uncle Percys wedding Letitia Elsie AliceThe Bride, Letitia, bridesmaid Elsie and Alice, her Mum.


Sitting in the foreground is Joan Augusta Tyler, aged about 5.

Let and Percy's daughter, Jean A Ricketts, born on 12 December 1928, three years after this photo, was to later marry the little boy to the right of Joan Augusta Tyler in the main picture. He was Walter James Jerram, just turned 4 years of age. Walter James Jerram was born on 6 June 1921 in South Stoneham, Hampshire, to Annie May Ricketts and Walter E Jerram. The groom, Percy Ricketts was the brother of Annie May Ricketts, Walter's mum, who is also in the main photo of Let and Percy's wedding, holding a baby in her arms. That baby is Walter's younger brother, Ronald. Ronald was only born in January of that year.

The second inset is of Kate, with her Mum and Dad, Edward Nash Collins and Alice Florence Furzey, at her sister's wedding.

Auntie Let and Uncle Percys wedding Kate and her M DKate, with her Mum and Dad, Edward Nash Collins and Alice Florence Furzey, at her sister's wedding.

Kate, the youngest of the three sisters, married first, in 1923, aged 20. The middle sister, Letitia, married next, in 1925, at the age of 28, and Elsie, was oft the bridesmaid but never the bride. Elsie died a spinster and never had children.

However, the three sisters remained close throughout their lives.



Letitia Annie Collins






Post card reverse from Lettia to Elsie 















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