Sunday, 6 May 2012

Percy Ivall (1877-1945), newsagent and racing man

Percy Ivall was a grandson of David Ivall (1795-1850, the successful coachmaker) who was the younger brother of Thomas Ivall (1781-1835), my great great great grandfather.

Percy was born on 4 December 1876 at Thames St, Kingston on Thames, the youngest of nine children of which 5 survived into adulthood. His father was James Ivall (1832-1896), his mother was Sarah Ivall nee Benn (1839-1904).

The 1881 census shows James (a coachmaker’s clerk aged 47) and Sarah (40) living at Thames St, Hampton, Middlesex with their children William (12), Edith (11), Henry (7) and Percy (4). Also listed at the address was Martha Sparks (49), who was James’s elder sister and a widow (her husband died in 1880).

In 1891 Percy, aged 14, was living at the King and Queen pub at 1 London Rd, Wendover. He was an assistant to his brother William (22), a publican and coal merchant. Percy’s father James became a tobacconist and newsagent at 172 Falcon Rd, Battersea sometime between 1891 and his death in 1896.

On 12 August 1898 Percy married Alice Schmeiden at Christ Church, Battersea Park Road. Both were aged 21. Percy’s address is given as 172 Falcon Rd and his occupation as newsagent - it seems that he worked at his family’s shop. Alice’s father was Anton Schmeiden (deceased) a cab proprietor. One of the witnesses was Sarah Ivall, Percy’s mother. Christ Church is near the northern end of Falcon Rd. It was built in 1849 but destroyed by bombs in 1944. A modern church is now on the site.

Percy and Alice had 7 children namely Edith (1899-1974), Alice Isabel (1900-86), Percy James (1903-81), Florence (1904-04), May (1905-80), Albert Robert (1906-90) and Doris Grace Rose (1912-90). Parish records show that his address on 20 Aug 1899, when his eldest child Edith was baptised, was 3 Beauchamp Road, Battersea. This address is close to Falcon Rd.

The 1901 census shows Percy Ivall, aged 24, a racing man, living at 3 Beauchamp Rd, Battersea with his wife Alice (24), daughters Edie (1) and Alice (9 weeks), widowed mother-in-law Charlotte Schmieden (64) and two boarders. “Racing man” means someone who works in the horseracing industry. Percy may have worked for his elder brother  James Ivall, who was a bookmaker and racehorse owner.

Percy’s address when Percy James was baptised in 1903 and Florence in 1904 was 37 Aliwal Rd, which is also near Falcon Rd. His occupation was clerk. When May was baptised in 1905, he was a newsagent living at 172 Falcon Rd.

The tobacconist and newsagent shop at 172 Falcon Road, Battersea is listed in London Directories in the name of James Ivall in 1896 and 98 and in the name of his widow Sarah Ivall in 1901-03. Sarah died in 1904. From 1905 to 1925 the shop is listed under Percy’s name. In 1926 it is in his wife Alice’s name and in 1927 the proprietor is Henry Thomas Ivall – an elder brother of Percy. The shop no longer exists and properties in Falcon Road have been renumbered. However, the 1901 census shows number 172 to be nine doors away from the Falcon public house, which still stands on the corner of Falcon Road and St John’s Hill. The shop was close to Clapham Junction Station.

London telephone directories show Percy Ivall living at 126 Trinity Road, Upper Tooting 1910-27 and Lawn London Rd, Cheam 1928-30. Relatively few people in 1910 could afford to have a telephone, showing that Percy was comfortably off. Alice was listed at 126 Trinity Road in the Court section of London Post Office directory from 1910 to 1915, an indication that she had some social status.

The 1911 census shows Percy (aged 34, a clerk in the horse racing industry), his wife Alice (34) and children Edith (12), Alice (11), Percy James (8), May (6) and Albert Robert (5) at 126 Trinity Rd, Upper Tooting. Also listed at the address were Alice’s widowed mother Charlotte Schmieden (74), Lizzie Warren (45, a visitor) a cook (27) and a servant (17). The census return says that the house had 8 rooms, also that Percy and Alice had 6 children, 5 of which were alive in 1911.


126 Trinity Road (in 2014)

The Manchester Courier printed this item in 1913
“Mr Percy Ivall, the owner of New York, authorises us to state that he is prepared to match New York against Light Charge for £1,000 a side, at the same weights and on the same course (Brighton). If procurable, W. Huxley is to ride New York, and those associated with Light Charge can put up whom they like.”

Percy was one of the executors of the estate of his elder borther James Ivall, after he died in 1922. Percy is described as a commission agent (ie bookmaker) in the probate records. Only on-course betting was allowed at this time - bookmaking shops were not legal. Perhaps Percy accepted bets unofficially at his shop ? The Daily Mirror of 23 March 1923 shows that Percy was the owner of My Rath, a horse that ran in the 1923 Grand National. The race was watched by King George V, the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) and Prince George (later George VI). Only 7 of 28 starters completed the course and the race was won by Sergeant Murphy. My Rath (starting price 66 to 1) did not finish.

In 1922, Percy’s daughter Alice Isabel married David Dick, a well-known jockey. Their eldest son, David Victor Dick, also became a jockey and won the Grand National in 1956.
From Yorkshire Post 28 April 1922

Percy's  granddaughter Carol has sent me the following. “My grandfather had cancer. When he went into hospital for surgery he said that if he survived they would have another child… my mother (Doris Grace Rose Ivall, who was born in 1912). I don’t remember my maternal grandfather; he died when I was very young. My grandmother was very small. I don’t think she was even 5 foot. She was an alcoholic and used to hide her booze in perfume bottles or anywhere else she could think of. Her children would tip out all her stash when they found them. There is a story that she was so angry with one son that she chased him around the pool table with a carving knife. In spite of her drinking she lived into her 80s.”

Percy’s brother James operated a Wholesale Nurseryman business at The Nurseries, Wickham Rd, Shirley, Croydon. After James died in 1922 the business, now named Ivall Brothers, was run by Percy and his brother William. An announcement appeared in the London Gazette of 1 July 1927 saying that the partnership between Percy and William was dissolved by mutual consent. William continued the business.
Percy and Alice Ivall c 1931

I have a section of the life story written by Percy’s youngest child Doris in which she says that in 1930 Percy and Alice had a large car, employed a cook and there was a tennis court in the garden of their house (in Cheam). Later that year they moved to a small flat. Doris describes her father as “a kind and gentle soul”.

The 1939 national register shows Percy and Alice Ivall living at 852 London Road, Thornton Heath, Croydon with their daughter Edith. The occupation for all three of them is given as "wool shop keeper."

Percy died in 1945 aged 68 in Thornton Heath, Surrey. His will made on 24th May 1911 says only “I give and bequeath unto my dear wife Alice Ivall all monies and properties I possess at my death” and appoints Alice as the executor. The probate record reads
“Percy Ivall of 852 London Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey died 7 Oct 1945. Probate to Alice Ivall, widow, estate £324.” (£324 in 1945 was equivalent to about £38,000 now).


Alice died in 1962 aged 84.

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