Our feature on Eastman’s butcher shop in Downing Street and Giles & Co, the “Bacon Kings”, gave contributor Pat Seale a meaty subject to research.

Pat has dug out some information which reveals people moved around quite a lot in the course of pursuing their business careers – and has also turned up a (perhaps a coincidental) link between Farnham and Tunbridge Wells: 

HH Chapman, butcher, Eastmans Ltd, 21 Downing Street, Farnham – although listed as Herbert Hubert Chapman in the 1911 census, his name appears to have been Herbert Ernest Chapman.

He was born in February 1889 in Tunbridge Wells, and his father died in December 1889. Herbert’s mother Ellen was left with six children, plus one on the way. During the next ten years we can only guess that Herbert was apprenticed to a butcher and, once qualified, was free to move on. It begs the question, why Farnham?

Tunbridge Wells has cropped up before, when researching Lintern and Peters’ China and Glass Store at 14 The Borough. William Lintern left Tunbridge Wells for Farnham at about the same time.

So, in 1911, at the age of 22, Herbert was manager of Eastman’s shop in Downing Street, but not living there. He was boarding with widow Agnes Stewart elsewhere in Farnham, and the shop was unoccupied on census night.

Eastman’s butcher’s shop once stood at 21 Downing Street, Farnham
Eastman’s butcher’s shop once stood at 21 Downing Street, Farnham (Herald Archive)

In the next ten years he married Constance Lowe in 1912, son Herbert Douglas was born in 1913, and Herbert served with the RAF in the war.

By 1921 the family had moved to Colchester. Herbert was still a butcher, working for a Hugh Wright. This time Herbert was living over the shop and it was Hugh who lived elsewhere. 

There’s a big jump to 1939 and Herbert, 50, was still a butcher in Chelmsford, living with Constance. Douglas appears to have joined the Essex Constabulary and was living in Police HQ in Chelmsford.

Herbert and Constance, in their retirement years, lived in Eastbourne. Herbert died in 1974 and Constance died in 1978.

As for 21 Downing Street, in 1921 George William Hopkins was there with his family. He was a hairdresser. It was unoccupied again in 1939.

Giles & Co, The Bacon Kings, 32 Downing Street –

Edward Giles (1866-1930) came from Isleworth originally, son of paper-hanger Henry James Giles, and, like Herbert Chapman, Edward was orphaned the year he was born. His widowed mother, Sarah, had moved back to her native Hertfordshire by 1871 with Edward and his two sisters. Sarah was still in Hertfordshire in 1881, but no sign of Edward.

Edward married in Croydon in 1890, was a grocer’s manager in Clerkenwell in 1891, was in Sussex when son Cecil was born in 1896 and had come to Farnham by 1899 when son Basil was born.

In 1891 the family was living at Firgrove Hill and Edward was a grocer’s manager. By 1901 they had moved to Shortheath, which was where they stayed, so no living over the shop. The shop at 32 Downing Street was unoccupied, according to the census returns.

The 1921 census records that Edward had not only the Downing Street shop, but also branches at Guildford and Godalming. Son Cecil was also assisting in the business.

Looking for employees for the Farnham shop, we find Walter Buckingham, Lottie Ford, Edwin Goodridge and Percival Harrington, all described as grocer’s assistants working for Giles & Co, living at various addresses in Farnham.

Edward died in 1930, and by 1939 Cecil had moved away to manage the George Hotel in Hinckley, Leicestershire. Basil was still living in Shortheath with his own family, and in 1939 he was a motor engineer and garage proprietor. Perhaps he supplied the delivery vehicle?