Frederick Douglas and Clara Maria Clarke - my great grandparents



Frederick Douglas

Frederick Douglas was born on 26th September 1850, and baptised on the 23rd October 1850 in St John’s Egham. He was son of James Douglas, a watch and clock maker of Egham (born Chertsey) and Martha Ann née Boyce see here for more.

By at least 1870 he was working with his uncle Albert Douglas in the bakery at Middle Hill Egham, see here. Albert married Sarah Pierce Boyce, daughter of the previous owner of the business, George Boyce. By the 1881 Census, Frederick is described as a Baker and tobacconist in Egham High Street. At the birth of his first son Frederick in November, he is described as just a tobacconist.  This seems to relate to this picture of a shop, which was at the other end of the High Street. It seems the first two children at least are born there and he was described  as baker and tobacconist. The move to 77 High Street Egham was presumably about 1882-1885, where the shop was solely a baker's.

Frederick married Clara Maria Clarke, who also had a watchmaker as a father, on 29th March 1881 in St Mary's, Lambeth.

Clara Maria Clarke was born in January quarter 1858, in Oundle, Northamptonshire and baptised on 20th June 1858. She was daughter of Staffurth Clarke and Sophia Wyman. Staffurth had a watchmaker’s business in the Market Place in Oundle, though was born in Warboys, in Huntingdonshire.

Frederick continued with his baker’s, until his relatively early death on 15th October 1901. Clara then took over with the help of her children, Frederick had returned from Oundle when his father was too ill to run the baker's.

It cannot have been easy and furthermore, her sister Mary Jane Clarke committed suicide, hanging herself from an apple tree in the garden.

Clara died on the 9th April 1933 at Egham.

Their children were as follows: -

Frederick Douglas was born on the 2nd November 1881. My grandfather, he married Ada Pullen on 6th Mar 1913 at St Michael's Cricklewood. Frederick died on 27th September 1953 in Egham. They had 5 children see details of the family here.

Albert Douglas was born on the 31st December 1882. He was christened on the 12th March 1898 at St Peter's Oundle, Northants. After the return of Frederick from Oundle, he attended Oundle School, staying with his mother's family, the Clarkes. He then attended Cambridge University, studying Chemistry and Physics. He worked as a pharmaceutical chemist in South Africa and Rhodesia, originally departing in 1908, then becoming a district commissioner, returning home almost every year for a visit. He married Margaret Flora Naish, an English girl that he married in Cape Town.on 23rd December 1914. They had a daughter Lorna, born in Livingstone, Northern Rhodesia. She was said to be particularly beautiful. Albert died in Fish Hoek in South Africa in 1961. Albert and Margaret divorced according to some family sources. His last recorded visit to England  was in 1955.  Lorna married John Maltas, and lived in Rhodesia and later in South Australia, until her death in 2002.

George Percy Douglas, known as Percy, was born on the 6th September 1885 and a twin to Charles. He worked in the bakery all his life, he never married, and was left the bakery with Ethel, when their mother Clara died. Percy died on 8th April 1971, tragically of falling into the fire after a stroke. I have recently heard that Percy was in the cavalry in WW1, though this has not been verified.

Charles James Douglas, known as Charlie, was a twin with Percy, also born on the 6th September 1885. He joined the Oundle watchmaker’s business run by Louisa Agnes Clarke, his aunt, and George Wyman Clarke, his uncle. He served in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps in World War 1. He married Mabel May Sabin in September quarter 1922 in Oundle. They never had any children. Charlie died on the 31st March 1964 in Peterborough District Hospital.  See here.

Mabel Louise Douglas was born on the 24th Sept 1888, and worked in the shop by 1911, and married Sidney Gordon Smith, an architect, on 29th August 1918 in Egham. They lived in Hythe in Kent. Mabel died on 27th November 1985 in Dover district. They had one son, Cyril Douglas Smith.

Ethel Gertrude Douglas was born on the 26th August 1893, and also worked in the shop in 1911, and never married. She corresponded with the explorer Aubrey Howard Ninnis, and both families expected that they might marry. However he married someone else and went to live in New Zealand. He took part in more than one expedition with Shackleton. Ethel was left the shop with Percy on her mother’s death. I recall Ethel as a small lady walking a very large dog in Egham. Ethel died on 9th March 1973.

Reginald John Sholto Douglas was on the 7th April 1898. He was known as John when young, and later as Jack. He served in the Royal Army Service Corps in Basra in the First World War, being injured, but having no lasting problem. He married twice, first to Hilda E Smith in September quarter 1923 in Bicester district, who died in March quarter 1951 in Fulham district, and secondly to Vera Paxton in July quarter 1952 in Kensington district. He was an accountant. He died on 14th December 1975 in Shepway district in Kent. Vera died in February 1999 in Ashford with Shepway district.

Christmas day

At a guess from l to r

Frederick, Albert, ?, Reginald, Ethel, Clara,?, Charlie (or Percy), Mabel, Percy (or Charlie)

Charlie and his wife Mabel


Gordon and Mabel Smith

Ethel Douglas

Jack (Reginald John) and Vera


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