Turnham Family

Above the Turnham family homes in Steeple Morden: No 11 Cheyney Street, Homedale and No 31 Cheyney Street (semi-detached on left)

Setting the Scene

James Thomas Turnham joined the Metropolitan Police on 10 July 1905 and served as a Constable for twenty-five years. When he retired on 13 July 1930, he was with the Thames Division and receiving 3 shillings (15p) a week extra pay, as a qualified motor boat driver. His total pay was £5.48 a week and pension £2.96 a week.

James, the son of James (a publican) and Elizabeth Turnham, was born on 22 April 1884 at St George in the East, a poor parish in the Wapping-Stepney area of east London. He married Alice Maud Markwell at St Augustine, Fulham, London on 29 October 1905 and they had two children. Florence Elizabeth born 2 February 1907 at Fulham and James Edward born 30 March 1910 at Thornton Heath, Surrey.

At the time of the 1911 Census the family were living at 60 Bollo Lane, Acton Green, Chiswick and by 1919 were at 23 Mawson Lane, Chiswick, where they lived until 1931 and early that year Alice died aged 49. James remarried the following year in Chiswick to Violet Austin and they lived at 11 Pinkham Mansions, Magnolia Road, Chiswick. At time of marriage James was 48 years and Violet age 30.

Florence and James

In early 1931 daughter Florence would have had her 24th birthday and son James his 21st birthday. It appears that on the death of their mother or perhaps the remarriage of their father, they set-up home together at 20 Ernest Gardens, Chiswick and they were still there in 1939, with Florence giving her occupation as shorthand typist and James as chauffer. Neither of them married and they remained at 20 Ernest Gardens. James died in 1961 and Florence was still living there in 1963, but has not been found thereafter.

Move to Cambridgeshire

Meanwhile, James senior and his second wife Violet had a son Thomas George born 6 August 1934 in Chiswick, although he was not baptised until 25 November 1955 at Steeple Morden. In 1936 James and Violet moved from Chiswick to Orwell, although what brought them to Cambridgeshire is not known. On 10 February 1936 at the Melbourn Police Court the licence of the Fox and Hounds PH was temporarily transferred from Sarah Jennings to James Thomas Turnham and the following month at the same Court on 9 March the licence was fully transferred to James.  The Fox and Hounds was on Cambridge Road through New Wimpole, on the Orwell side.

Running a pub, with a toddler, may not to have suited them, as at the Arrington Police Court on 22 May 1939 the justices transferred the licence of the Fox and Hounds from James to Frank Baulk and James and Violet moved to Homedale, Cheyney Street, Steeple Morden, where they lived until 1955.

Eight new houses were built by the South Cambridgeshire District Council, eastwards from Homedale on Cheyney Street and James and Violet with Thomas moved and became the first occupants in 1955 of what was known then as 4 Cheyney Street (actually number 4 of the Council Houses, rather than the street), which property is today 31 Cheyney Street.

Steeple Morden Beginning of the End

James died 27 April 1956 and was buried at Steeple Morden on 1 May age 72. He had made a will 24 February 1954 leaving his estate to Violet, who was appointed Executor along with son Thomas. Probate was granted 7 June 1956 and the estate was valued at £148 2s 0d. In the Grant of Probate Thomas was described as an embroidery technician. Violet survived five more years, dying in 1961 and was buried at Steeple Morden 5 August age 59.

Thomas (known as Tom) remained living in the family home and married June Brenda Izzard in 1962 in the Hitchin district and she moved into the Cheyney Street house. June had been born 9 June 1933 at Market Harborough to Frederick C M and Ida M Izzard nee Cooke. She had sisters Elizabeth Anne born 1943 and Marylyn born 1946 and a brother Trevor John born 1945, all born at Hitchin. Elizabeth married Frederick H Ziemer in 1965 and Marylyn married Kenneth A Carter in 1966, both at Hitchin. No record of Trevor marrying has been found.

Thomas and June left Steeple Morden in 1966. Where they moved to, has not been identified, although in October 1999 they bought 67 High Street, Baldock; a dwelling built in 1908. Thomas died 31 Dec 2019 and June died 29 September 2020. Her brother Trevor was Executor for both of them and copies of their probates are below.

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Last Updated on May 29, 2022