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[19] Louisa Rosina Price (1868-1937)

William Samuel Price II was lecturing at University College during 1867 and during that period he had a sexual liaison with Louisa Harris, which resulted in a pregnancy.  No information has been found about Louisa, whether she was a friend of the Price family, or a contact at the College or elsewhere.  Her daughter was born in the Pentonville area of central London on 26th March 1868 and William registered the birth and acknowledged paternity. He gave the child the name Louisa Rosina Price and stated that the mother was ‘Louisa Price formerly Harris’ so giving the baby an air of legitimacy.   It is only conjecture as to whether the mother or daughter had much information on the father’s family, but he may have paid for his daughter’s education. The house where she was born, 6 Rodney Street, was a boarding house. (In 1871 it was owned by the Williams family and had 7 boarders at the census that year.)  Louisa Price, aged 13, is recorded on the 1881 census as attending a school at 75-77 Maida Vale, Paddington, London.

 

She herself had an illegitimate son, born on 5th May 1890 at 40 John Street, Marylebone.  As in her own case, she went to some lengths to make him seem legitimate by falsifying his Birth Certificate details.  She gave his father’s name as Henry George Ketley, a butler, and referred to herself as Louisa Rosina Ketley formerly Locke.  This latter name would indicate that she had some information on the Price family, where ‘Locke’ was being used as a Christian name.  The boy was given the same name as his supposed father.

 

The baptism of Louisa Rosina Price’s son took place at St Mary’s Church, Bryanston Square, Marylebone on 13th July 1890.   The details recorded there are inconsistent with those given on his Birth Certificate in number of ways.  His name here is given as Henry Oscar Ketley, son of Henry Oscar and Louisa Ketley.  His father is said to be a footman and the child’s date of birth is recorded as 18th April 1890.  The family is said to reside at 30 Newnham Street, which is now Brendon Street.  (There is no sign of any of the family here at the 1891 census 9 months later.) Although all later records for Henry Oscar give a date of birth of 5th May, it is possible that Rosina Louisa was late in registering the birth and to avoid any financial penalty moved the date to within the required period; but when it came to the baptism she gave the correct date.

[Thomas Locke, Henry Oscar Locke's grandson, had a DNA test in 2010 which showed he was related to randomly selected people with the surname 'Ketley' who had taken part in a study at Leicester University.  It would appear therefore that Louisa Rosina was giving a correct surname in 1890.]
 

                                                   

The Ketley Connection

The father of Louisa Rosina Price’s child was Henry De Baughn Ketley and Louise was probably unaware of his middle name.  By the time of the 1891 census, after his illegitimate son was born, he had moved to Worcestershire and was a footman.  He was born in Langford Budville, Somerset on 28th July 1866, the son of David Ketley, a butler, and Elizabeth Sarah nee De Baughn. Henry was an errand boy in Newark at the 1881 census and his family were also there in 1871.  (David Ketley was also know as William Ketley and both names appear on his Death Certificate in 1907 - he died on 5th November in Paddington, London.)  

Henry Ketley eventually married Grace Sophia Clark in Wandsworth, London in 1899 and moved to Brighton, Sussex, where he became a Beer House Keeper, according to the 1901 census.  The couple had two children, but one had died by the date of the 1911 census.   Henry died in Wandsworth in 1921 and Grace died in Paddington in 1938.   

The Ketley family roots were in Essex, where Joseph and Sarah Ketley had a number of children in Earls Colne in the 1760s.  A son, John Ketley married Mary Brown in 1792 and they had a son Charles in 1797.  Charles married Sarah Clark in 1827 and they had 10 children (1829-1846) including the David mentioned above in 1837.  David’s brother, George Ketley, also became a butler and was at one time in the service of Viscount Falmouth.

Neither Louisa Rosina nor her son can be located in the 1891 census, under any of their possible names, but they can be found in the 1901 census.  She was by then using the surname “Locke” and was stated to be single, aged 32, and working as a cook in the household of Martha Ryerdach at ‘The Grange’, Eton Avenue, Hampstead.   Her son, who was known throughout his life as “George” had been placed in a Home for Little Boys at Horton Kirby in North Kent.  The entry book for the Home confirms that he was illegitimate and states that his mother could not earn a living and take care of him.  The Register entry states that his mother was a Cook Housekeeper at 1 Little Chapel Street, earning £40 per year.  In the section asking for information about the child he is described by his mother as “Good, strong-willed, but easily managed by kindness. Because I have to earn the money I can’t train him myself, and find it difficult to place him.  Perhaps a little spoilt having been with no other children.  Otherwise its only to have a good Christian Home care.” At the 1901 census he, or the Home staff, gave his name as “Henry Oscar Locke”, which he used for the rest of his life, although the entry book gave his name as 'George Locke'.  

 

For some reason Louisa Rosina Locke's financial circumstances changed in 1902 and she retrieved her son from the Home on 31st December 1902.  (Her elder half-brother, James Cattrall Price died earlier that year; perhaps he knew of her circumstances and made some financial settlement on her?)

 

In the 1911 census, Louisa Rosina Locke and her son ‘George’ Locke lived at 17 Osnaburgh  Street, Regents Park, London.  She was recorded as, a widow (false), aged 41 (false), a Boarding House Keeper, born in Bexleyheath, Kent (false).   Her son is entered as 'George Locke', single, aged 20, born in Paddington, London.  This is all correct apart from the confusing change of Christian name again.  He was a Publisher's Clerk.

 
 
 
 Henry Oscar Locke, son of Louisa Rosina Price, and Lucy Locke nee James - 1944 Label attached to Lt Henry Oscar Locke when sent home from France, 1916,  suffering from shell shock
 

Henry Oscar Locke joined the Army on 7th June 1915, enlisting as a private in the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps and was commissioned into the Royal Irish Fusiliers as a 2nd Lieutenant on 7th October 1915. He married Lucy James on 28th May 1915, in Lambeth and left for the front in France the very next day.  He took part in the Battle of the Somme, which started on 1 July 1916, his Battalion being part of the Ulster Division attack on the Schwaben Redoubt near Thiepval.  He was invalided out of France later that year, suffering from shell shock.

 

Henry Oscar Locke briefly attended Jesus College, Oxford University, but did not obtain a degree.  His only son was born on 23rd April 1919 and named John St George James Locke.  Although born on St George’s Day, the name may also hark back to his late cousin Robert St John Locke Price.

 

Meanwhile, Louisa Rosina Locke was running boarding houses in Hampstead and belatedly married Ezekiel Chesham, a 65-year-old widower who was a Post Office mechanic, on 15th November 1917.  She correctly gave her father’s name as “William Samuel Price (deceased), a Teacher of Languages”, although she reduced her age by 3 years and called herself a widow.  Ezekiel died on 9th September 1923 and Louisa Rosina Chesham died on 18th January 1937.

 

The Chesham Family

 
Ezekiel Chesham was the son of Samuel and Mary Ann Chesham of Clavering in Essex, who had four other sons – Giles, Noah, Lazarus and Eli.   Ezekiel married Amelia Searle in 1872 and they had four children – Ernest (ca 1874), Minnie (1879-1882), Daisy Amelia (b. 1884) and Archibald Frank (1896-1917).  The latter died in France on 1 April 1917 – he was unmarried.  Amelia Chesham died in early 1915.  Ezekiel Chesham and two of his sons, Ernest and Archibald worked in various roles for the Post Office. Louisa Rosina Locke’s daughter-in-law, Lucy, worked for the Post Office as a Clerk and Telephonist. It is possible that Lucy introduced Ezekiel to Louisa after the death of his wife. Henry Oscar Locke’s surviving step-brother, Ernest and step-sister, Daisy, both married but neither had any children.

 

Henry Oscar Locke applied for his Great War medals on 4th September 1921, when living at 12 St Margaret’s Road, Oxford.  He was issued with a Service Medal and a Victory medal.

 

He was an ARP warden during World War II and gave his occupation as house agent at the time of his son’s wedding in 1944. After the War he joined the Civil Service as a clerical assistant in the National Debt Office. He died on 4 February 1965 at the South Western Hospital, Stockwell. Lucy Locke died aged 91 on 24 Dec. 1971 at the same hospital. (On her death certificate she is said to be the widow of “George” Locke, the name he was known by all his life). The couple had spent their final years in almshouses at 8 Gresham House, Ferndale Road, Lambeth. These properties are part of a housing complex including the more numerous City of London Freemen’s Houses. An application was made to The Mercers’ Company in 1952 to live in these properties. At the time they lived at Gothic Cottage, Waldron Road, Harrow, he gave his occupation as “civil servant” and the couple had a joint annual income of £465.4.0. Permission was granted, at a later date, because Henry Oscar Locke said he was a relative of a member of the Company. According to the minutes of the Joint Grand Gresham Committee of 5 December 1958 he was elected from a list of seven candidates applying for a vacancy at the almshouses following the death of the occupant of No. 8.  No further details of the relative are recorded and he has not been traced.

 

The Descendants of  Louisa Locke nee Price

 
Henry Oscar and Lucy Locke’s only son, John St George James Locke (always known as 'Jim'), served in the R.A.F. in World War II as an aircraft fitter, enlisting on 13th February 1940.   He was sent to South Africa in May 1941 and then Sierra Leone in 1943.  He rose to the rank of Sergeant before being discharged as medically unfit for further service in December 1944.   During his period of service he had been hospitalised three times, for a nervous condition.  His main role in the R.A.F. was in servicing Sunderland Flying Boats, but he also qualified to maintain the Anson and Oxford aircraft.

 

He married Elsie Lilian Marlow on 25th June 1944 in Willesden, Middlesex.   The marriage did not survive the War and Elsie left him when she found she was pregnant in late 1944. His son, Thomas Locke, was born in May 1945.

 

Jim appears to have had affection for his first cousin, Gladys Maud Hall, and set up home with her as his common law wife in Birmingham, working by 1955 as a sales representative for an aircraft company. On 10 September 1955 he was found in an exhaust-fume filled car, parked on a cart track at Stonnall, Staffordshire. The Coroner's Inquest was told that the previous day Jim had learned of the loss of a sale and a verdict of suicide was recorded. 

 

Gladys Maud ‘Locke’ died in 1961, her Death Certificate describing her as the widow of John St George James Locke, although he and Elsie had never divorced.  Elsie re-married in 1960, to William Thomas Greene (who had changed his name by deed poll to 'Locke-Greene' ) and she died in 1993.

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