RICHARD POLDING - my great grandfather was born ? where ?
I did not know, and surprisingly nor did any of his grandchildren.
Relatives were questioned, the family photographs in the care of
my aunt were an added teasure trove, which I was - all too
briefly - allowed to see, some with unknown faces whom nobody
could put a name to and which added to the absorbing mystery
of the past lives of these people - my family. The big black
family bible was produced, complete with its page of listed births,
marriage and deaths, and this gave me the dates of the events
in the lives of the family of Richard senior, their names and dates
at last proving or disproving the fascinating chat between my
aunts that I had witnessed as they sorted out, not without the
odd heated argument, as to which cousin married whom and
which child belonged to which family. I needed a birth certificate
for Richard.

My search of official records started with travelling to the G.R.O
which was then housed at Somerset House, a fascinating building
with its winding narrow stone steps reminiscent of those castle
ruins we all visit from time to time. Balconies encircled the whole
on different levels and from which you could look down, or up on
to other floors - just inviting you to explore them all. The
balconies were lined with sloping desks which faced into the
atrium and had an edge to stop the enormous registers from
slipping off and crushing your feet. Behind you while you
feverishly searched for this or that name were hundreds more
just waiting to be lifted and staggered with to your place on the
slope. That was if it was still awaiting you - to turn and find
'your' place taken was devasting equally as much to muscle and
the need to find what you knew must just be there if you could
only just have 'one more minute, hour or day.' All too soon
though this beautiful building was dispensed with and we left
behind the beautiful carved wood and medieval atmosphere for
the sterile plastic hall that was St.Catherines House - and now, of
course, the G.R.O has moved premises yet again. And with no
birth certificate having revealed itself at either building, the
search intensified.

My twice weekly visits had me writing down the details of every
Polding in the register books from 1837 up to the latest available
year. Moving on from there to listing all the Polding Wills and
Admons and then on for a short while to gaze at faint census
records which were on fiche in a gloomy basement at the then
premises of the Public Record Office. Officialdom took place here
as a special request form for a ticket had to be signed by
someone of official stature - for which I turned to our family
doctor. This was a place I did not like and soon resorted to a
researcher for these records, but the census did not prove helpful
for the years it was available. And so, it was from all my listed
Poldings that I was led into a family tree of the Polding family of
Lancashire, purely on the basis of there not seeming to be
another group with the name anywhere in all of the U.K. I
therefore deduced Lancashire and to be more specific, Liverpool,
just had to be the roots of the family.

So, what did I know about Richard -

His life ended in the scullery of Ivy Cottage at the age of 75
years on the 29th February in the leap year of 1916. He was
found by his 14 year old grand-daughter Dorothy, and from her I
realised that she had been very fond of her grandad and they
had had an affectionate relationship. Richard had had, as his
son was to in later years, a part of his leg amputated, in his case
following a kick from a cow, and this wound had also turned
gangrenous. However, he did not die from this and had finally
succumbed to a bronchial and dropsy condition of two years
standing. From this I had his approximate year of birth - 1839.

Richard had worked for the Thornycrofts boat building company
which had ground leading down to the side of the river Thames.
This company was to bring the most momentous industrial
achievement to happen at Chiswick, it being that of the naval
architect John Isaac Thornycroft. In 1864 his father Thomas
Thornycroft, the sculptor and amateur engineer, had first been
admitted to a site south of the churchyard and they built up a
formidable company before eventually leaving the site for more
space at Southampton. I do not know when or what Richard
was employed to do when he worked for them, but the company
grazed their own small herd of cows there beside the river and
when the opportunity arose Richard bought up the herd for his
own. So began Swan Farm Dairy in 1870 - the year my
grandfather was born.

I had his original marriage certificate (albeit inherited by me with
tea stains spreading across it) which states he married Caroline
Shelton in March 1862 at St. Peters Church in Hammersmith, the
witnesses names were not helpful and they have indeed proved
not to be of relatives. Richard is described as a labourer and his
Father is given as Joseph Polding and that he was dead.
I also knew that Richard and Caroline had had eight children -

WILLIAM HENRY.....born 1864 Chiswick - married / family
JOSEPH....................born 1865 Chiswick - married / family
CAROLINE...............born 1867 Chiswick - unmarried
GEORGE ALBERT.....born 1868 Chiswick - married / family
RICHARD ERNEST...born 1870 Chiswick - click for his page
HENRY.....................born 1872 Chiswick - unmarried
EMILY ANN..............born 1873 Chiswick - married / family
ELIZABETH..............born 1876 Chiswick - married / family

Richards birth or baptism entry was essential if I was to go back
any further, the census was not of any help as to where he was
born as my search was in the pioneering days of genealogy, very
few indexes had been produced so an address was very
necessary in the case of greater London. I did have the
addresses from which Richard and Caroline married and I
checked these out in the 1861 census but it showed that those
abodes were empty on census night. No clue as to where he was
born and there was no Richard Polding in the G.R.O. registers for
the years 1838-40. Checking the addresses of West Place and
Ivy Cottage in the 1871 census proved difficult as one not found
in the returns and the address of Ivy Cottage proved, not as yet,
to be their home.

I proceeded to gather everything I could about the Lancashire
Poldings, dozens of Wills and birth, marriage and death
certificates and I built up a very satisfactory family tree - one to
be proud of in fact as I found that the family was related to the
first archbishop of Australia - John Bede Polding. I found another
Polding searcher and we shared all we found but although I found
a Joseph Polding who could be mine - there was no proof and a
big doubt in my mind - where was Richard ? I abandoned my
project temporarily and moved on to other more productive
names until my enthusiasm wound down and I made room for
other things in my life for the next few years.

1981 arrived and with it the 1881 census which was opened for
public perusal, plus in my absence from the search, more interest
was being shown generally and the odd index was being built up
by enterprising genealogists - for a fee. But more importantly I
was now able to find my family and all listed very nicely - a
complete family - and there was Richard, at last - born Hounslow.
Wonderful - I had found him and could move on - I thought. The
search for his baptism started, as afterall he is still not in the
general registrations - but nor was there, I was to discover, a
baptism in any Hounslow church or surounding parish for a
Richard Polding

So, there was nothing for it I would have to give time and
money to blanket searches for all the possible variations
of the name and numerous they turn out to be when you
put your mind to all possible spellings and mis-heard
words. I slowly worked through my list methodically and
following a very long search I eventually found him -
baptised in Houslow where he had said in the census, was
the place of his birth. And his name ? Richard Pulling, the
son of Joseph Pulling, horse keeper, and Harriet Lipscomb.
An attempt to find a birth certificate entry under the
Pulling name, or any other I could think of, proved fruitless
again. I decided to accept the baptism was as near official
as I was going to get and move on.

A new search was now needed - the marriage of Joseph
Pulling or Polding to Harriet Lipscombe, had they lived in
Hounslow, had they married in Hounslow, had Richard's
siblings also been baptised at St.Pauls, had they
themselves been born in Hounslow ? had they all walked
the High street of Hounslow and seen it as we see it
pictured below, as it was in 1870.

This is the last Will and Testament of me Richard Polding of 13
Ivy Cottages, Acton Lane Chiswick in the county of Middlesex ~
I hereby revoke all Wills made by me at any time heretofore. I
appoint my wife Caroline Polding of 13 Ivy Cottages aforesaid to
be my Executrix and I direct that all my debts and Funeral
expenses shall be paid as soon as conveniently may be after my
decease ~
I give and bequeath unto my said wife Caroline Polding ~
everything whatsoever and whensoever of which I am
possessed or to which I shall become entitled for her absolute
use and benefit ~ And in the event of my said wife Caroline
Polding pre-deceasing me I appoint my youngest son Henry
Polding to be my Executor and I give and bequeath unto the
aforesaid Henry Polding the Dairy business carried on by me at
13 Ivy Cottages aforesaid and at Swan Yard, Acton Lane,
Middlesex with the Cows all the appurtenances belonging to the
said Business together with all the Debts due to the said Business
and all the other assets of the Business whatsoever including the
Goodwill ~ And I give and bequeath to my eldest daughter
Caroline Polding all my house-hold furniture and effects ~
whatsoever and whensoever for her absolute use and benefit ~
And I give and bequeath the residue of my estate unto my said
daughter Caroline Polding

Dated this 20th day of February one thousand nine hundred

Signed by the said Testator Richard Polding in the presence of us
present at the same time who at his request and in the presence
of each other have subscribed our names as witnesses

Harriet Sophia Hill
Caroline Hill
Both residing at 13 Hurst Road, Eastbourne.

This is the last Will and Testament of me Richard Polding of 13
Acton Lane Chiswick in the county of Middlesex made this
twenty fifth day of September in the year of our Lord One
thousand nine hundred and fifteen ~
I hereby revoke all Wills made by me at any time heretofore I
appoint my daughter Caroline Polding to be my executrix and
direct that all my debts and funeral expenses shall be paid as
soon as conveniently may be after my decease ~
I give and bequeath unto my daughter Caroline Polding and
my son Richard E. Polding my business as dairyman with all
trade appliances and moneys due and everything appertaining
to same out of which my son Richard E. Polding shall allow my
daughter Caroline Polding one pound (sterling) per week ~
Should my son Richard E. Polding fail to pay the amount
mentioned two consecutive weeks my daughter Carline
Polding shall have the sole right of selling the said business
and estate and my son Richard E. Polding shall cease to
benefit under this my will ~ Should my son Richard E. Polding
die first the whole of my business and estate shall revert to
my said daughter Caroline Polding and should my daughter
Caroline Polding die then the whole of my business and estate
shall revert to my son Richard E. Polding ~ (it being my wish
she should make a will to this effect) And furthermore should
they agree to sell the business stock appliances &c they that is
my son Richard E. Polding and my daughter Caroline Polding
shall halve the proceeds share and share alike - Richard

Signed by the said testator in the presence of us present at
the same time who at his request in his presence and in the
presence of each other have subscribed our names as
witnesses ~

Henry Eydmann - 2 Holly Road Chiswick
Frank Edward Richardson - 298 High Road Chiswick

Affidavit of due execution filed
On the 26th April 1916
Probate of this will was granted to Caroline Polding sole

CAROLINE POLDING was extremely deaf which led to
impatience on the part of some of her family, being the
somewhat down-trodden spinster sister living at home.
Given all the dreary left over tasks that no one else wanted
to take on along with her self-employment of laundress to
the local community.

She was also a meticulous needlewoman making many of
the families clothes and made a typically victorian
christening gown for the Polding babies. Photographs, if any
were taken, have not survived but the gown has and my
four grandchildren can be seen wearing that gown made at
least 100 years ago.

married May 1901 Christ Church, Turnham Green.
Ernest was an Italian retauranteur with his own
business at one time. They went to live in Italy for
a while before returning to live in Victoria, London.

Their children were -

Richard Ernest Angelo MARONI - 1902-1923
Josephine Emily Pauline MARONI - 1903-1994
Elena Lillian Caroline MARONI - born 1916

Emily died, so it was said in the family. from kidney
failure but having acquired the death certificate I
find that she died of Arthrodisis of the hip and
hypostatic pneumonia in 1926. Her daughter
Josephine took over the care of her young sister,
Elena, who was only 11 years at that time.

Elena married Harold Bisson and they emigrated to
Canada in 1951 - Josephine later sailed out to join
them in their new life and remained unmarried.

married 1902 at Christ Church, Turnham Green

They had three sons

WALTER HENRY HARD........born 1904
ROLAND VICTOR HARD.......born 1908

Elizabeth became pregnant again 7 years later
and the story handed down was that she had
attempted in desperation to abort the
pregnancy and inadvertently died at Ivy
Cottage as a result. Her death certificate
however tells a different story - this was found
with some difficulty due to being indexed under
the name Heard. It tells us that she died of
heart failure after the delivery of a still-born
daughter in the eighth month of pregnancy and
this did not happen at Ivy Cottage.

All their sons married and had families.

My Search Begins
Swan Farm milking sheds and cows grazing at Back Common, Chiswick -
the pictures come from a small advertising brochure for the Dairy
St.Paul's Parish Church, Hounslow, Middlesex
The carnation seems to
show that this photograph
was taken at a wedding and
presumerably at the
marriage of one of his
children between
1888 and 1902.
HENRY POLDING was found in the back garden
of Ivy Cottage by his 10 year old niece Dorothy
when she returned from school one afternoon.
Attempts to commit suicide previously had been
foiled by his sister in law Alice, this time
however she was not able to avert disaster and
he cut his throat with a razor. He had money
problems and was unable to solve them. He
was a keen cricketer and played with the
Turnham Green Cricket Club as did his brothers,
and there was a massive turn-out for his
funeral. Henry was also the secretary of the
Club, perhaps not the best of positions for
someone who gambled and discrepancies were
later discovered in the Xmas club money.

Richard having lost his wife Caroline in 1900
and his son Henry in 1914, and having been
assisted in running the business by his son
Richard junr. since 1907, he made another Will
in recognition of these events as follows:-
This Will made sure that his daughter Caroline would be
provided for under most possible eventualities ~ however,
Caroline was to die in 1932 in Ivy Cottage from breast
cancer with her sister in law Alice nursing her until the end.
The Christening Gown
This page last modified on Friday, September 12, 2008