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COLLETT – Photographic record of a 20th-century Wickhamford family


In the post First World War period, four members of the same Collett family moved to Wickhamford from Wordsley, Kingswinford, Staffordshire, and three of them married in Wickhamford.  Whilst there had been Colletts living in Badsey and Wickhamford since the 18th century, these Colletts do not appear to be related in anyway.  The four Colletts were:

  • Fanny Mabel Mary Collett (1883-1955)
  • Frederick John Richard Collett (1885-1969)
  • Katie Gwendoline Collett (1887-1977)
  • Tom Herbert Collett (1893-1975)

John Collett
John Collett, the patriarch of the family.

They were the four children of John Collett (1856-1931) whose wife, Fanny Mary (née Holmes) had died aged 33 following the birth of her fourth child.  At the census of 1901, the family lived at 1 New Street, Wordsley, and John was a school master.  All four children were living with him.  His eldest, known as Mabel or Mab, was recorded as his housekeeper and aged 17. Frederick (16), was a matchmaker’s apprentice and the youngest two, Katie (13) and Tom (8), were scholars.  

Photographs (supplied by descendants, Elizabeth Trenchard, Tina Kelly and Kerry Jonas) of the four children of John and Fanny Collett, with some information about their lives and their own children are shown below.

Fanny Mabel Mary Collett (1883-1955)

Mab CollettFanny Mabel Mary Collett (known as Mab) was living in Wickhamford by the time of the 1921 census; her brother, Tom, was in the same house and her sister, Gwen, was visiting.  Mab was living at what is now 93 Pitchers Hill and was recorded as a Secondary School teacher at Prince Henry’s Grammar School.  She married Alfred Lambourne King at Wickhamford on 9th December 1922, when her father was recorded in the Register as a retired schoolmaster.  Alfred died soon afterwards, in August 1924.  They lived in a wooden bungalow at the site of the present-day 6 Pitchers Hill, Wickhamford.  This was destroyed in a fire in March 1928.  

Frederick John Richard Collett (1885-1969)

Frederick John Richard Collett was living in Wickhamford by 1923 when his elder son started at Badsey Council School.  The address was given as 7 Pitchers Hill (present-day No 85).  Frederick had married Constance Huggett in 1915 in West Ham, London.  They had two sons, John Frederick Collett (born on 2nd August 1917) and Peter Harry Stanley (born on 2nd August 1921), both born in West Ham.  They were still living in West Ham at the time of the 1921 census.  

Frederick & Constance
Frederick & Constance.
Frederick Collett
Frederick with pet dogs.
Constance (courtesy Kerry Jonas).

In Worcestershire, Frederick taught woodwork at Avoncroft College, Offenham.  His younger brother, Tom Herbert, also became a woodwork teacher there.  But the brothers were also market gardeners.  When the Wickhamford Estate was put up for auction in September 1930, all of the tenants of houses and land were listed in the catalogue.  ‘F.J.R. Collett’ was still a tenant at 85 Pitchers Hill and was market gardening, with his brother, ‘T.H. Collett’, on a seven-acre piece of land known as ‘Hither Coombe Way’.  

Some time in the 1930s, Frederick and family moved away and by 1939 the family was recorded as living at Brierley Hill, with only John Frederick living at home with his parents. Peter Collett was living in Peterborough and a student at that time; he later became a teacher. In WW2, John Collett served as a Private in the Durham Light Infantry and died in Italy on 15 December 1944; he was buried in Forli War Cemetery.   John sent a Christmas card to family friends from Italy in 1944, but he had been killed by the time this arrived in Wickhamford.

Peter & John Collett
Peter & John Collett.
John Collett
John Frederick Collett (courtesy Kerry Jonas).
Christmas card
Christmas card sent by John Collett.

Katie Gwendoline Collett (1887-1977)

Gwen CollettKatie Gwendoline Collett (known as Gwen) was visiting her sister, Mab, in Wickhamford at the time of the 1921 census.  Gwen married market gardener François Paul Peelman at Wickhamford on 24th May 1923.  Both lived in Wickhamford, but he later worked in Badsey.  He was a Belgian national and had been brought to England as a wounded soldier.  They had two daughters, Catharine and Rosemary, in 1923 and 1925. He later became a naturalised British citizen and changed his name to Francis Paul Pellman. The couple were living in Binton, Alcester, Warwickshire at the time of the 1939 Register.  She was employed at All Saints School, Emscott, Warwick.

Tom Herbert Collett (1893-1975)

Tom Herbert Collett
Tom Herbert Collett (Bert) during the First World War.

Tom Herbert Collett (known as Bert) was living in Wickhamford by the time of the 1921 census; his sister, Mab, was in the same house as was his sister, Gwen, who was visiting.  Bert was living at what is now 93 Pitchers Hill and was recorded as a Fruit Grower.  On 26th April 1925 at Wickhamford, Bert married Priscilla Marjorie Pethard; he was described as a market gardener.  He gardened on a seven-acre piece of land known as ‘Hither Coombe Way’ with his brother, Frederick.

Bert and Priscilla had two children, Anthony John (born 1926) and Pamela Ann (born 1929).   They lived in one of the recently built Council Cottages on Pitchers Hill, which is now no. 37.   Bert Collett was a woodwork teacher at Avoncroft College, Offenham, between the wars.  Bert, who had served with the Royal Field Artillery in the First World War, served in the Home Guard in World War 2.  He was later employed as a woodwork teacher at Blackminster School, South Littleton, until he retired.

Avoncroft College
Bert Collett teaching woodwork at Avoncroft College (courtesy of Elizabeth Trenchard).
Tom Herbert Collett Home Guard
Bert Collett (left) on a break during Home Guard training exercises (courtesy of Elizabeth Trenchard).

The Daniels Family

The four Collett siblings who moved to Wickhamford in the early 1920s, also had another relative who moved to the village.  This was their aunt, Mary Elizabeth Holmes (their mother’s younger sister), who was married to George Harry Daniels (1861-1952).  He worked in Wolverhampton and played the organ at the Royal Orphanage Chapel there.  On retirement, they moved to Wickhamford in the 1920s and George played the organ in Badsey church.  George’s youngest sister, Gertrude Alice Daniels, was buried at Wickhamford in March 1929, aged 55.  Her home address was given as Wolverhampton, but possibly, if she was ill, she may have spent her last days with family, hence being buried at Wickhamford.

Frederick & Constance Collett with Daniels family
George Daniels (right) with Frederick & Constance Collett.
George Daniels
George Harry Daniels enjoying his pipe.
George & Mary Daniels
George & Mary Daniels with sister-in-law, Daisy Holmes, visiting from South Africa with her husband, Alfred Herbert, c1936.

Old VicarageGeorge and Mary Daniels lived in Old Vicarage, Manor Road, Wickhamford, around 1930 and the painting below was done by W. L. Guest around that time.  By the time of the 1939 Register, they were living in Haslemere, Surrey, but he was recorded as having worked for Wolverhampton Council as an Assistant Overseer.

Tom Locke, Tina Kelly and Valerie Harman, October 2022