Polly Shellaker


The Final Chapter

1901 – CENSUS
On the Census of this year, taken on 31st March, Polly, Frank and their five children are recorded living at 174, Holdenhurst Road in Bournmouth. Franks’ occupation is recorded as being a ‘Sausage Agent’.

1901 Francis Cable Census - Bournmouth

1901 Census – Polly & Frank Brown with family in Bournemouth

Road /Street Name Relationship Marriage Status Age Occupation Employer/Worker Working at Home? Where Born
172 Holdenhurst Rd Francis J. Brown Head Married 40 Sausage Agent  Own A/C London, Camberwell
174 Holdenhurst Rd Mary J. Brown Wife Married 36 Leicester, Tugby
May Brown Daughter 7 Lincoln, Grantham
John Richard Son 6 Lincoln, Grantham
Elizabeth Daughter 5 Lincoln, Grantham
Edith Daughter 2 Hants, Bournmouth
Daisy Daughter 1 Hants, Bournmouth

Francis, Joseph, the 6th child was born in Bournemouth Mar 1902.  The boy was to be known as ‘Joe’.

1911 – CENSUS
On the Census of this year, taken on 2nd April, Polly, Frank and their family are recorded living at 174, Holdenhurst Road in Bournemouth.

1911 Francis Cable Census - Bournmouth

1911 Census – Polly & Frank Brown with family in Bournemouth

Name & Surname Relationship Age Marriage Status Occupation Employer/Worker Working at Home? Where Born
Francis J. Brown Head 50 Married Photographer Own A/C At home London, Camberwell
Mary J. Brown Wife 46 Married Leicester, Tugby
John Richard Son 16 Single Electrician (Apprentice) Worker Lincoln, Grantham
Elizabeth Daughter 15 Single Assisting in the business Worker At home Lincoln, Grantham
Edith Daughter 13 School Hants, Bournmouth
Daisy Daughter 11 School Hants, Bournmouth
Francis Joseph Son 9 School Hants, Bournmouth

One absentee from the family is their oldest daughter May who is 17 years old at this time and was staying with her Grandmother, Mary Shellaker, at Billesdon Lodge Farm. Frank’s occupation is now recorded as a ‘Photographer’ and is being assisted in the business by his fifteen year old daughter Elizabeth (Bertha).

A few years after this Census the family move from Bournemouth to Surbiton, a suburb  of south-west London within the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. The source of this information is Bertha’s National Registration Card which records her address as being 1 St Leonards Road, Surbiton but I believe the location of the photograph below is their home in Bournemouth.

From this point onwards I do not have a great amount of information on Polly’s life and immediate family. However I would be very happy to add to this narrative of Polly’s life with additional information and relevant photographs, from those who are the direct descendants of Polly and Frank, which would further enhance her story on this website.

But I would ask that any information sent is written in the same ‘narrative format’ as the existing content rather than just a set of dates. That then gives me a simple ‘Cut and Paste’ task on my part. However I have included below the information I currently have on Polly’s children and grandchildren.


Polly, Frank and the ChildrenMay, the firstborn child of Polly & Frank, gave birth to an illegitimate son born on 10th October 1912 when she was 19 years old. The boy, who was named SIDNEY, was conceived around February of that year when May was 18 years old. The name of the father of May’s child remains unknown to this day although it is thought he may have been conceived during the time May was staying with her widowed grandmother at Billesdon Lodge Farm. On the 1911 Census, taken in the April of the year prior to Sidney’s birth, May, aged 17 years is recorded as a ‘Help’ in the Billesdon Lodge Farm.

Due to his illegitimacy Sidney was brought up by Polly and Frank under the surname ‘Brown’. At this time Polly was 48 years old and there was only a ten year age gap between Polly’s youngest child, Joe and young Sidney.

Towards the end of 1927, between October and December, May married ALBERT BEAL in Kingston. At the time of this marriage Albert, who was born in either 1908-1909, was only around 18 or 19 years old.

May was 34 years of age on her wedding day, approximately 16 years older than her husband. This marriage produced one child, a daughter named BERYL who was born around 1930.

May died in 1965 at the age of about 72 years old.

Frank Brown, Car & son DickPolly & Frank’s second child, was also born in Grantham, Lincolnshire.

He was named John Richard but was known thereafter as ‘DICK’.

In the picture on the right Dick can be seen with his father Frank Brown in the family car. Frank was very proud of owning a car which he parked outside his home to ensure the neighbours could easily see it.

I do not know the make or model of this car but research shows the ‘EL’ part of the registration plates of car is the registration district of Bournemouth.

On the 28th April 1919 at the age of 24 years Dick married LILY STRATFORD in Faversham, in the County of Kent with whom he had four children – all daughters; RENE born in 1924, JOAN born two years later in 1926, MARJORIE who arrived in 1930 and finally BARBARA born in 1934.

In 1968 Dick married for a second twice at the approximate age of 74 years when he wed ELLA WOOD at the Gospel Mission in Faversham.

I assume his first wife, Lily Stratford, had either died or the couple had divorced.

I do not know the date or year of Dick’s death.


30036-Lizzie-aged18Elizabeth was the last of Polly & Frank’s six children to be born in Grantham, Lincolnshire and like her older brother she was not known by her birth name of Elizabeth but was known as BERTHA. On 28th Septemeber 1922 Bertha married ARTHUR EULICK JOYCE at the Norbiton Registry Office. (Norbition is a suburb of Kingston upon Thames, in south west London). At the time of her marriage Bertha was 26 years old.

Her husband Arthur Joyce was seventeen years her senior, having been born on 21st April 1879 in Golden Cross Barton (sorry I do not know where this place is located). Bertha’s marriage to Arthur produce three children; ARTHUR WILFRED born 24th Nov 1922 who was known as ‘WILFY’,a daughter MARY ELLEN, born 11th July 1928 in Hampton Wick (another suburb of Kingston upon Thames). Mary Ellen was known as ‘BETTY’ and another son, FRANCIS GORDON, born 7th Aug 1932 he was known as ‘FRANKIE’.

‘Wilfy’ told of a story that when he was a young boy, that he together with some of his male cousins, crossed the River Thames in a rubber tyre. When Polly found out she gave him a good telling off for doing something so dangerous – Grandfather Frank, on the other hand, reportedly gave him a penny!

In 1941 at the aged of 61 year Bertha’s husband Arthur died on 4th March leaving Bertha alone with three children, the youngest of whom was ten years old. Ten years after the death of her husband, Bertha married for a second time on 2nd July 1951. She was 55 years old.

Her second husband was CHARLES WALTER BATTAMS, who at the time of this marriage was around 62 years old, however Charles only lived for a further two and half years before he died on later 26th Jan 1954 at the aged of 64 in Lewisham, a borough in the south east of London. Bertha was now a widow for the second time in her life, a status she kept for the remaining 43 years of her life until she died on 15th April 1997 having achieved the remarkable age of 101.


Edith was the first of Polly & Frank’s children to be born after the family had moved from Grantham to Bournemouth, Edith was known within the family as ‘EDIE’. Edie is pictured in the photograph below – she is in the sidecar. Her sister Bertha in on the motorbike.

Bertha & EdieAt the beginning of 1919 Edie married a Canadian solider, JAMES CLARENCE SPEIRS in the London borough of Kingston. Edie was 20 years old when she married. Her husband James, who was born in the city of Erin, approximately 80 miles northwest of Toronto in Ontario, Canada, was 24 years old.

Edie and James had three children together; DOROTHY, who was known as ‘DOT’ born in February 1920 a year after her parents’ marriage, a second daughter was born in the second half of 1932, twelve years after the birth of their first child, she was named JUNE.

The couple also had a son named BOB but the date and year of his birth is unknown but he is likely to be the middle child.

However in 1934 Edie’s husband James died in London at the approximate age of 38 years leaving Edie a widow with three young children between the ages of 2 and 14 years.

In the first quarter of 1938 Edie married her second husband at the age of 39 years in Edmonton, Canada. On this occasion her husband was STANLEY P DANIEL who was 25 years old. Edith and Stanley had one son together named IAN DANIEL. I do not know the date and year of his birth.

Edie died in 1987, we think on the 26th October in Chesham, Buckinghamshire. She was 89 years old when she died. Her widower Stanley lived for a further 15 years until he died in 2003 at the approximate 90 or 91 years of age.

The fifth child of Polly & Frank was named Daisy and she was born in Bournemouth on 30th Aug 1899. On 16th August 1919 Daisy married JAMES EDWARD JASPER, known as ‘JIM’. A group photograph from the wedding is below.

After their marriage Daisy & Jim lived at 13, Avondale Square, Old Kent Road, Camberwell, very close to where Daisy’s father was born and grew-up (when he was known as Frank Cable).

Daisys Wedding to Jim Jasper 1919

The wedding of Polly & Frank’s daughter Daisy to Jim Jasper – 16th August 1919

Daisy-Wedding-ID-21. Not known
2. Jim Speirs (Edie’s Husband
3. POLLY   (Mother of the Bride)
4. FRANK  (Father of the Bride)
5. Not known
7. Jim Jasper
8. Not known
9. Not known
10. Not known
11. Not known
12. Not known
13. Not known
14. Arthur Joyce (Bertha’s Husband)

15. Unknown
16. EDIE
17. MAY (Matron of Honour)
19. Unknown
20. Unknown                                     21. Sidney (May’s Son)

During this time they lived in the Old Kent Road area Daisy gave birth to two sons; JAMES DOUGLAS born on the 8th May 1920 and – CYRIL CHARLES born on 16th Oct 1923. Daisy said when her own mother Polly, first saw Daisy’s second son Cyril, she shook her head and said “you’ll never raise him!” Baby Cyril only weighed around 7lb, which was possibly considered a small baby for those days. As Polly saw a great number of deaths in her childhood her comment very likely reflected the high number of babies and young children she saw her own mother lose. After living in Camberwell for nine years the family moved to Lewisham in 1931. Jim & Daisy’s son James, Polly’s grandson, died on the 12th Sept 1944 at the age of 24 years while a Prisoner of War in Japan. Daisy’s husband Jim Jasper died fourteen years later on 24th November 1958 in Lewisham.

On the 15th June 1963, Daisy re-married at the age of 63 years old. Her husband was ERNEST WILLIAM WESTERN. They remained married until his death in January 1989.

Daisy died herself died two years later on 7th January 1991 at the age of 91 years in Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, Welwyn Garden City. Her normal residence at the time of her death was the Hillview Residential Home in Ware, Hertfordshire.

Joseph BrownThe youngest child of Polly and Frank was born in Bournemouth in March 1902 and although he was registered with the names Francis Joseph he was known as JOE.

‘Joe’ is pictured on the right.

In 1925 Joe married MARGARET CORNELIA SEARLE in Croydon, London. Both the bride and groom were around 23 years old.

Joe and Margaret had one child born in 1928 she was named MARGARET ELAINE but was known as “PEGGY”. However this marriage ended in divorce.

Joe married for a second time on 1951 when he married ROSE DOROTHY PARKIN in Middlesex. At the time of this marriage Joe was around 49 years old, Rose was around 31 years old. Joe and Rose had twin girls, named JUNE and PAT , born in June 1954.

Joe died on 7th January 1991 aged 88 years.


There was a rumour within Polly’s family that Frank’s first wife would not agree to a divorce as she was a Catholic,  for whom divorce was forbidden. It is apparent, from their ‘second‘ marriage in 1934, Frank desired to ‘make an honest woman of Polly’ as soon as he could but needed to wait until after Catherine’s death which eventually occurred in 1933. Although the length of time Poly & Frank had to wait before they could get legally married suggests Catherine did not comply with any request from Frank for a divorce, there is no evidence to suggest Catherine was a Catholic, indeed, neither of the two churches in which she married was a Catholic place of worship.

Frank Cable Old ageI never knew Frank Brown, he died a few years before I was born but I have spoken to those who knew him and all caution to take his various stories ‘with a large pinch of salt’. Evidence clearly denotes he was deceptive and a liar. But despite his duplicitous behaviour, which I’m sure was greatly influenced by his upbringing, there is overwhelming consensuses on his total devotion to Polly.

They were together as man and wife for around 60 years, albeit only 17 years of which was legal!

Frank died in December 1953 at the age of 93 years.

One of Polly’s granddaughters, Mary Ellen, who I knew as ‘Cousin Betty’, told me the story of his death when I met her in 1988…….apparently he was suffering from constipation and someone was sent out for a ‘medicine‘ known as ‘Black Jack’ which was reportedly ‘like dynamite’. The next morning he got out of bed and dropped dead. The family thought the ‘Black Jack was the cause of his death, it was said ….“It was the Black Jack, it played on his heart”. NB – Black Jack is apparently ‘a mixture that a chemist can make up for you but is say it’s only those old style chemists’.

Reportedly “No women attended his funeral. Polly did not go crematorium, she was herself too frail”. The family were obviously upset at Frank’s death, his daughter Daisy reportedly screamed out after his death, ‘Bring him back, Bring him back’ 

A few years ago, in one of my many conversations with Olive Swift, the daughter of one of Polly’s sisters Nellie, Olive smiled when she spoke of Frank and commented “he was a rogue no doubt…. but a loveable rogue.”
At a point after Frank’s death, Polly who was 89 years old at that time, went to live with her daughter May. It may not have been immediately after Frank’s death but reportedly she was there in March and April of 1954. Polly died on the 8th of July 1854. I do not know where she died or the cause of death. Neither do I know where she is buried.

Polly Shellaker

Polly Brown (née Shellaker)

Born: Tugby, Leicestershire August 1864 – Died: July 1954 (Location unknown)