Harry Oakley Christy and Louisa (Patey) Christy
Harry Oakley Christy was the son of John Hart Christy and Annie Oakley, born at High Street Post Office, Ashwell (Parade House) on 15 March 1877, he also died at Parade House on 29 April 1924 and is buried in Ashwell Cemetery.
In the 1901 Census Harry is listed as living and working as a draper’s assistant in Streatham High Road, probably gaining drapery experience before moving back to Christys (Ashwell Stores) in 1909.
Volunteer Army Cyclist
It would appear that Harry was a Volunteer Army Cyclist, probably around 1900 (ie at the time of the Boer War). Volunteer cyclists were recruited into Army service in the 1880s, in a communications support role, and were later formally incorporated into the Territorial Force (created 1908) – during the 1914-18 War these then became the various Cyclist Battalions.
During this period it is likely that Harry met his wife-to-be, Louisa Patey who in the 1901 Census is listed as cook/domestic to a barrister at 50 Billinghurst Street, Hanover Square, London.
Louisa was born in 1879 at the small fishing village of Hallsands, Devon. Louisa’s father was a fisherman. Hallsands has a very interesting and tragic history it sat on rock on the edge of the sea and in 1896 the Board of Trade gave a licence permitting dredging and carrying away of sand, gravel, shingle and other material from the bed of the sea at Start Bay and opposite Hallsands and Beesands, this material was to be used in the development of Keyham’s dockyard at Devonport.
In 1901 the sea-walls at the southern end of the village were undermined. After severe storms over a period of 17+ years the village gradually disappeared into the sea and this is probably why Louisa travelled to London to work in service. The history of Hallsands can be found on the internet.
It would appear that in July 1901 Louisa became an assistant nurse with the Metropolitan Asylums Board (hospitals for the poor). Louisa was aged 22 and served at four different hospitals including a hospital ship and the Darenth Asylum School resigning in September 1908
They married at St James Clerkenwell, London on 15 March 1909 and moved to Ashwell where Harry lived until his death in 1924.
On their marriage certificate Louisa’s address is 5 Gt Percy Street, London and Harry’s is Ashwell
Running the shop in Ashwell
After Harry’s death in 1924, his wife Louisa took over the running of the shop making it a Limited company in 1933.
In the early 1940’s the shop and Parade House were leased by Louisa to Mr F Bowes of Kingsbury, London NW9, then to Anna (English) Day and Kit (English) Rooke.
In 1951 the shop and Parade House were leased to Mr S G Sackett. On Louisa’s death, in 1957, her son John (Jack) Christy became the landlord finally selling the shop and Parade House to Mr Sackett in 1958 thus ending over 130 years of Christy ownership.