Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Katherine Dora Collins nee Ivall (1877-1963)

Katherine Dora Ivall was a grand-daughter of Robert Thomas Ivall (1812-65), who was a brother of my ancestor David Ivall (1816-67). Her first name was registered at birth (and baptism) as Katherine, although it is spelt variously as Katharine, Catherine and Catharine in other records made during her life. She was known as Dora.

Katherine was born on September 28th 1877 in Chalvey (a village which is now a district of Slough), the sixth of fifteen children (ten boys and five girls) born to Thomas Ivall (1837 - 1908) and his wife Lucy Ivall nee Hobden (1845 - 1929). Thomas was a baker and ran the Chalvey village bakery. In 1881 the family consisted of Thomas (aged 44, a master baker), Lucy (34), Walter (12), Annie Lucy (7), Harry Alfred (5), Catherine Dora (3), Percy Bertram (1), Reginald Ivall (2 months) and Eliza Hobden (27, Lucy’s sister, a nurse). Their address was Jordan Place Bakers Shop, Chalvey, Buckinghamshire.

In 1891 Thomas Ivall (aged 53, a baker), Lucy (43), Walter (22, an assistant schoolmaster), Annie (17), Harry (15, a baker), Catherine (13), Percy (11), Reginald (10), Charles (8), Margaret (8), Gilbert (6), Jane (4) and Philip (0.75) were living at 6 Jordan Place, Church Street, Chalvey.

Katherine Dora Ivall, date unknown

By 1901, Thomas, aged 63, a retired baker, was living at 39 The Crescent, Chalvey, Slough with his wife Lucy (52) and their children (Katherine) Dora (23, a milliner), Charles (18, a baker), Margaret (18), Gilbert (15), Jane (14), David (10) and Gerald (8). The house is still there. The 1911 census shows Katherine living as a boarder at 94 Tottenham Court Road, London. She was aged 32 and a milliner.

Katherine married Edwin Alexander Collins on August 2nd 1913 in Chalvey Parish Church. He was aged 32, a joiner, she was aged 35. Edwin came from an old Chalvey family, his father was Robert Gibson Collins, also a joiner. Edwin had been apprenticed to the building trade and quickly became a skilled craftsman.

Soon after their marriage, Edwin and Katherine moved into Tavistock Villa, Ledgers Road, Slough. As far as I know, they had no children. Edwin served in the Army and then the Air Force during World War One. In about 1925, Edwin decided to set up his own business and received many good contracts. By 1936 he employed 20 men on average.

The following item appeared in the Slough, Eton and Windsor Observer dated April 24th 1936.

Local Builder’s Tragic Death

Mr E A Collins

Found “Gassed” in Car – Inquest

Deep regret is felt at the death of a well-known Slough master builder and contractor, Mr Edwin Alexander Collins, who was found dead from gas poisoning in his 16 hp Austin saloon motor car on Greenham Common, near Newbury, on Friday evening. He resided at Tavistock Villa, Ledgers Road and was 55 years of age. A piece of rubber hose was fixed from the exhaust pipe through the floor boards of the car, and a pair of overalls had been wound round the two pipes to give a gas-tight joint.

The item went on to quote Katherine at the inquest saying that Greenham Common had been a favourite spot where they had gone for picnics. Her husband had been recently “worried and depressed. I have seen him holding his head. He loved his business and took a pride in it.” There was no suicide note. The coroner concluded that Edwin had committed suicide whilst of unsound mind by inhaling carbon monoxide gas from the exhaust of his car.

The article said that Edwin was “universally liked for his cheery disposition and his kind heartedness. He enjoyed the esteem of all his acquaintances, not only as a conscientious tradesman but as a very good friend.”

Edwin’s funeral was held at St Mary’s Church, Slough and he was interred in the churchyard with his father and mother.

Edwin’s wife and family had no doubts that his suicide was entirely due to financial difficulties, resulting from a number of clients not paying their bills. Within a month or two after his death most had paid the money they owed to his widow and she was able to clear any debts of her husband. Probate on his estate (£880) was granted to Katherine.

In the 1939 register, Katherine is shown as living at 4 Hogarth Gardens, Heston, Hounslow with Elizabeth M Loyd, a 78 year old of independent means. Katherine's occupation is described as "domestic duties paid". 

Katherine later lived with her unmarried sisters Margaret Olive Ivall (1883-1976) and Jane Evelyn Ivall (1886-1971, known as Aunt Gin or Ginny) at 2 Hillside, Ledgers Road, Slough, a house that was owned by Margaret.

Katherine died on 14th August 1963 aged 85 in Slough. The probate index gives her address as 2 Hillside, Ledgers Road, Slough. Probate on her estate (£469) was issued in 1965 to her sister, Margaret Olive Ivall, a spinster.

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