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 Polding

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