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16th November 1985
Geoffrey DAVEY & Vanessa Wedding
Chris WANSEY took the service at St Paul's Cathedral Crypt

1985 Olive WANSEY Photo

Spring 1976
Marriage Rosemary BRAMHALL daughter of Godfrey & Lily BRAMHALL to David KNIGHTS

From the left: Joan FORD nee BRAMHALL, John FORD, Peter DAVEY, Geoffrey DAVEY, Nicholas DAVEY, Bunty (Joyce DAVEY nee BRAMHALL, Bob ELLIS (best man), Angelo MEMOLA with hands on his son's shoulders Paul MEMOLA, Jack SPEECHLEY, Dorothy Victoria SPEECHLEY nee CARRINGTON (sister of Frides mother), Janet MEMOLA (sister to Dave KNIGHTS), Timothy John SPEECHLEY (son of Dorothy & Jack), Dave KNIGHTS, Edmond Prosper BRAMHALL (son of David & Jane), David John BRAMHALL (brother of bride), Rosemary Jeanne KNIGHTS nee BRAMHALL (bride), Jane BRAMHALL nee CLINKARD, Edith Lilian BRAMHALL nee CARRINGTON, Godfrey BRAMHALL with an arm round Susan KNIGHTS (David KNIGHTS' daughter from first marriage), Sarah Christine BRAMHALL nee SHILLITO, Olive WANSEY with hand on Kate NORGETT, Lizzie NORGETT held by Margaret NORGETT nee WANSEY, Chris WANSEY, Michael NORGETT, Richard BRAMHALL.

1976 Margaret NORGETT nee WANSEY Print

Peter DAVEY holding their travelling family cat 'Noddy', Michael NORGETT, Geoffrey DAVEY, Olive & Chris WANSEY, Bunty DAVEY nee BRAMHALL at Roydon.
"Noddy watching swallows"
1966 Margaret NORGETT nee WANSEY Prints

01_The_BRAMHALL_Family_Tree.pdf - Hand drawn family tree by Godfrey BRAMHALL.

02_The_BRAMHALL_Family_Introduction.pdf - Original family history written and mechanically typed by Godfrey BRAMHALL.


My parents were William Bramhall and Henrietta Day Pigott. Shortly before her death in 1971 my mother gave us an old chocolate box containing some old photographs, newspaper cuttings, a number of “In Memorandum'' cards and a simple family tree going beck to her great-grandparents Hugh Pigott and Miriam Buxton. A faded sepia photograph of their tombstone in Faringdon Cemetery revealed that Hugh had been born in Faringdon in 1797 and Miriam at Appleton in Suffolk three years earlier. Thus it was that our interest in family history was goaded into life and a clear indication given as to the area in which our Pigott enquiries had to begin.

But what about my father's family? I knew that my paternal grand-parents had married in Sweden while serving there as “officers” of the Salvation Army, and my father and his three sisters had all been born there. I had also heard that my grandfather, George Henry, had been ''kicked out'' by his father because of his determination to join the Salvation Army, and that great-grandfather John Henry had been a native of Sheffield but had ended his days in Stoke-on-Trent.

We had no supporting documents at all but we did not worry unduly as we were confident that my father and his youngest sister would prove a mine of information. Mother's box of odds and ends included a large photograph of John Henry and his family. This we showed to father. He had no hesitation in identifying his grandfather and went on –
''. . . that's grandma Ellen - can't recall her maiden name - and that's aunt Alice who marries Luke Sant. That's uncle Arthur - can't remember much about him. Ah! that's uncle Sidney who lost the sight of one eye. I always liked him best - he was such a gentle man. I remember we stayed with our grandparents at their shop in Stoke after we came home to England - about 1905.
We must have been an awful trial to them - we could hardly speak a word of English then!”

That was about the sum total of information we obtained. We were amused but unconcerned when father hinted ominously that be were ''certain to find a skeleton in the cupboard” but a trifle apprehensive at his repeated assertion that there had been a change of name somewhere along the line.
But no amount of probing - then or later - produced any further details apart from the fact that his mother's maiden name had been Eliza Ann Washburn.
But before describing our enquiries into the affairs of more remote generations it may be sensible to give an account of my father's life.

Three Trees, Felix Drive, West Clandon,Surrey, home to Hetty BRAMHALL, seen here with her daughter Olive.

1959 Margaret NORGETT nee WANSEY 620 Negative

Christmas at Godfrey and Lilly BRAMHALL's house

Standing top left, David ? / Bunty DAVEY nee BRAMHALL / Grandpa William BRAMHALL / Seated at back with specs, Godfrey BRAMHALL / Seated back right Peter DAVEY.

From left seated middle row Lily BRAMHALL / In front of her wearing a black top Joan FORD nee BRAMHALL holding her son Martin FORD / Next to Joan wearing a white top is Rosemary Jean BRAMHALL and in front of her Nicholas DAVEY.

Seated in front of Godfrey in the middle on the right wearing a dog collar is Chris WANSEY in front of him is Olive WANSEY and front right of her is 'sulky' Margaret.

In front of Peter DAVEY on the right is Geoffrey DAVEY and on the far middle right is Grandma Henrietta BRAMHALL nee PIGOTT

1964   Olive WANSEY Photo

Geoffrey DAVEY playing the piano at Woodford Rectory

1956   Olive WANSEY nee BRAMHALL Print

Richard and Rosemary BRAMHALL in Woodford Rectory garden.

1956   Margaret NORGETT nee WANSEY 620 Negative

Geoffrey DAVEY

1956   Olive WANSEY nee BRAMHALL Print

Joan FORD nee BRAMHALL with Geoffrey DAVEY son of Peter & Bunty DAVEY nee BRAMHALL

1956   Olive WANSEY nee BRAMHALL Print

1956 June
Olive WANSEY nee BRAMHALL with Geoffrey DAVEY at his baptism.
Lilley Cottage garden

1956   Olive WANSEY Photo

1956 June
Olive WANSEY nee BRAMHALL with Geoffrey DAVEY at his baptism.
Lilley Cottage garden

1956   Olive WANSEY Photo

John FORD & Joan BRAMHALL Wedding at County Hall, Cambridge.

1954   Olive WANSEY Photo

July 1951
Bunty BRAMHALL & Peter DAVEY Wedding
St Marys Church, Woodford
Joan BRAMHALL / Margaret WANSEY (Centre) / Anne DAVEY, Peter DAVEY's sister.

1951     Olive WANSEY Photo

Bunty BRAMHALL & Peter DAVEY Wedding
St Marys Church, Woodford

1951   Olive WANSEY Photo

Circa 1950
Joyce Megan (Bunty) BRAMHALL

1950   Olive WANSEY Photo

David John & Richard BRAMHALL - Godfrey & Lily BRAMHALL's sons with Margaret WANSEY.
At grandma Henrietta BRAMHALL's (nee PIGOTT) house.

1948 Olive WANSEY Photos

30th Sep 1941
Studio photo of Olive Washburn BRAMHALL
Olive was 20 years old on the 17th July 1941
30 SEP 1941 stamped on the back
Margaret says the white collars detached from the blouse and would be washed every night.

1937       Olive WANSEY Photo

Godfrey BRAMHALL & Lily CARRINGTON Wedding
St Peter & St Paul, Chingford

1941   Olive WANSEY Photo

Godfrey BRAMHALL & Lily CARRINGTON Wedding
St Peter & St Paul, Chingford

From left: Lily's mother Mrs CARRINGTON / Godfrey BRAMHALL / Lily / Lily's father Mr CARRINGTON / Hatty Day BRAMHALL nee PIGOTT

1941   Olive WANSEY Photo

Circa 1941

1941   Olive WANSEY Photo

1941 Summer
Taken in the garden at Roslyn Gardens
Joan and Olive BRAMHALL and two little girls.

1941   Olive WANSEY Photo

1941 Summer
Taken in the garden at Roslyn Gardens

1941   Olive WANSEY Photo

1941 Summer
"Just before I was married Summer 1941"

1941   Olive WANSEY Photo

"Photo taken for Comptometer? magazine 18 yrs"

1938   Olive WANSEY Photo

1937 Summer
"Olive at Lynmouth aged 16""

1937   Olive WANSEY Photo

1937 April
Godfrey & Olive BRAMHALL
At Barbrook,
"Olive and three other guests at Aunty Emma's? house in Devon"
"Sulking sister and long suffering brother"

1937       Olive WANSEY Photo

1932 April
Olive Washbourne BRAMHALL
In our Bruce? Castle Garden No 17

1932   Olive WANSEY Photo

Joan BRAMHALL conducting in the Garden at 71, Greenleaf Rd., London, E 17

1930   Olive WANSEY Photo

The BRAMHALL Family in their Austin 7
William, Henrietta Day holding Joyce aged 1 year, in the back Godfrey, Olive and Joan.

1928   Olive WANSEY Photo

Bunty, Olive, Godfrey & Joan BRAMHALL

1923   Olive WANSEY Photo

Olive BRAMHALL with her father William and grandfather George Henry

1923   Olive WANSEY Photo

1923 16th July
Two year old birthday

1923   Olive WANSEY Photo

Circa 1923
Presuming Olive BRAMHALL to be 2 years old.
Olive & Godfrey BRAMHALL

1923   Olive WANSEY Photo

Olive BRAMHALL aged 1 yr and Godfrey aged 4 1/2 yrs old.

1922   Olive WANSEY Photo
1921 Birth in the Sub-district of Walthamstow in the County of Essex
No. 478
When and where, Seventeenth July 1921, 71 Greenleaf Road
Olive Washburn : Girl
Name of father, William Washburn BRAMHALL
Name of mother, Henrietta Day BRAMHALL formerly PIGOTT
Occupation of father, Librarian
Description of informant, William BRAMHALL, father, 71, Greenleaf Road, Walthamstow.
When registered, Eighth August 1921
WE HOBBS, Registrar.
A Needlework Box was presented to Mrs W BRAMHALL nee Miss Henrietta D. PIGOTT from ICILMA Company.
'Presented to Miss Henrietta D. PIGOTT | Mrs W BRAMHALL | By ICILMA Company Limited | In sincere appreciation of | her loyal and devoted services to the company | for a period of over eight years | August 4th 1917."


1917 William BRAMHALL
1917 Henrietta Day 'Hatty' PIGOTT

Godfrey BRAMHALL writes:
On leaving school he contemplated a career in librarianship and worked at the Walthamstow Library until, on May 20th 1915, he enlisted in the Third East Anglian Field Ambulance of the Royal Army Medical Corps.
From November 1915 to May 1916 he served in Egypt.
He then returned to England for training as an officer and on 22nd November 1916 he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. (The Battalion is recognised in Manchester Cathedral)

In March 1917 my parents married. Almost immediately afterwards father went to France. He was mentioned in dispatches during the third battle of Ypres but on 20th July 1917 he was wounded in action and invalided home. He was demobilized at Purfleet in May 1919.

1917   1917   Godfrey BRAMHALL Photo's
1917 Marriage solemnized at The Register Office, in the District of West Ham in the Counties of Essex, East Ham C.B. & West Ham C.B
No 71
Thirteenth March 1917

William BRAMHALL : 20 yrs : Bachelor
Occupation, 2nd Lieutenant, 4th Battalion Manchester Regiment ?
Residence at time of Marriage, 45, Howard Road, Walthamstow
Father's Name, George Henry BRAMHALL.
Profession of Father, Salvation Army Officer.

Henrietta Day PIGOTT : 24 yrs : Spinster
Residence at time of Marriage, 71 Greenleaf Road, Walthamstow.
Father's Name, John PIGOTT.
Profession of Father, Salvation Army Officer.

Married in the Register Office, by Certificate before me, A SAYER? Registrar, Alfred HALL Superintendent Registrar.
This Marriage was solemnized between us, William BRAMHALL, Henrietta Day PIGOTT in the Presence of us, John PIGOTT, George BRAMHALL..

Henrietta Day 'Hatty' PIGOTT & William BRAMHALL before they married
Taken the day before William sailed to Egypt in the Great War.
1915   Godfrey BRAMHALL Photo

04_William_BRAMHALL_1896-1981.pdf - Original family history written and mechanically typed by Godfrey BRAMHALL.

William BRAMHALL 1896 – 1981

All four of my grandparents were officers of the Salvation Army in its early pioneering days. After various wanderings which will be described more fully later they had settled in Walthamstow and had become members or the Salvation Army's ''Corps'' in High Street. Thus it was that my parents met.

My mother, Henrietta Day Pigott, was born at 4, Verulam Avenue, Walthamstow in 1892 and my father at Oskarshamn in Sweden in 1896. William’s education must have been a very sketchy affair since the family was constantly moving from one Scandinavian town to another before returning to England in 1906.
He and his sisters then had to adapt to a different style of schooling conducted in a language over which they had - by all accounts an indifferent control.

My father attended the William Morris School in Gainsford Road, Walthamstow but as far as I can gather demonstrated no great academic ability. But he had considerable sporting ability and was a natural ball-player - which I saw demonstrated in cricket, hockey and tennis.

On leaving school he contemplated a career in librarianship and worked at the Walthamstow Library until, on May 20th 1915, he enlisted in the Third East Anglian Field Ambulance of the Royal Army Medical Corps.
From November 1915 to May 1916 he served in Egypt.
He then returned to England for training as an officer and on 22nd November 1916 he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment.

In March 1917 my parents married. Almost immediately afterwards father went to France. He was mentioned in dispatches during the third battle of Ypres but on 20th July 1917 he was wounded in action and invalided home. He was demobilized at Purfleet in May 1919.

Like countless other men father had difficulty in settling down to civilian life. He embarked on a course at the School of Librarianship presumably with some form of government resettlement grant. On the strength of this my parents moved to a rented house in Howard Road Walthamstow. But this did not last long. Father could not settle to academic work and abandoned the course. Having no income my parents were forced to give up the house in Howard Road and to move to 71, Greenleaf Road, Walthamstow, E17 where mother's parents lived.
Mother's elder brother John William was instrumental in getting father a job as a teacher at the Woodford House Preparatory School at Birchington in Kent.

For reasons which I have never been able to divine I went there as a boarder - although under the are of five - my teacher being the headmaster daughter - Elsie Erlbach. Father's indifferent education hardly suited him [Page 2] for the life of a schoolmaster and it is surprising that he stayed there for three years.

Returning to Walthamstow father embarked on a course salesmanship. In so doing he found a career well suited to his talents and tackled it with enthusiasm. With his undoubted charm and good looks, his fluent tongue and meticulously tidy appearance he was well equipped for this kind of work.

He became a highly successful representative of the Dusmo Company of Edmonton - his task being to secure contracts from education authorities in all parts of the United Kingdom for the supply of cleaning materials to schools. As a result of his efforts the Dusmo Company flourished and the family's financial worries disappeared.

At the end of the Second World War father left the Dusmo Company. For a considerable time father had been responsible for all the company's work in the educational field and had reason to believe that he could expect further promotion. But he was disappointed.

He joined the Farinol Company of Manchester - one of Dusmo's competitors - but realising that the new flooring materials being introduced would lead to a decline in the demand for Farinol's products he began to look around for a different job.
As a result of talks with a Mr. Winter of Spinney Chemicals he was placed charge of a small firm manufacturing art materials for school use in competition with such ''giants'' as Reeves, Winsor and Newton and Rowneys.

A formidable prospect but the challenge appealed to him while the contacts he had made in the educational world while working for Dusmo proved invaluable. But Spinney Chemicals ran into financial difficulties and were taken over by Hamburgers - a large firm which had supplied Spinneys with most of their raw materials. Hamburgers decided to manufacture artists materials themselves and with this in mind they set up a subsidiary company called Margros.

Father was appointed manager of this company and did remarkably well. But Margros was based at Send near Wooking in Surrey and it quickly became apparent that father could not effectively run the business from Roslyn Gardens, Gidea Park. Thus it was that they moved to “Three Trees”, West Clandon near Cuildford. This proved to be mother's last home.

Father continued his work with Margros until he retired.
His ability as a salesman and his standing among his business associates was demonstrated when, as a result a meeting of representatives of the many firms exhibiting at the N.U.T. Conference at Aberystwyth in 1933, he and others were instrumental in foundering the Educational Exhibitors' Association. Father served this organisation as Treasurer, Honorary [Page 3] Exhibition Organizer and Chairman until his final retirement in 1973. He was something of an expert in this aspect of commercial life and was closely involved with the administration of educational exhibitions all over Great Britain and even as far afield as Australia and Reykjavik in Iceland.
His interest in the Association he had helped to found continued right up to the end – in fact the present secretary of the British Educational Equipment Association (as the E.E.A. is now called) told me that father was in telephone conversation with him from his hospital bed in Exeter only a fortnight before his death in October 1981.

William and Henrietta’s children
We were all born at the home which we shared with our maternal grandparents in Greenleaf Road, Walthamstow:
Godfrey Hugh William in 1917
Olive Washburn in 1921
Douglas John in 1924
Joan Henrietta in 1925
Joyce Megan in 1927
Douglas John was a beautiful baby who died of bronchial pneumonia at the age of eighteen months. This sad episode I remember well – no doubt because of the bitter grief my mother felt at what she believed was a totally avoidable tragedy.

Needless to say much could be written about our childhood at Greenleaf Road – of my fondness for the grandparents whose home we shared,

  • Of helping my grandfather to bath when extreme weakness made it impossible for him to manage on his own, and of the consequent increase in my pocket money – and all done with no loss of dignity on his part or, as I can recall, any embarrassment on mine.
  • Of summer holidays at Westcliff, Swanage or Great Sampford which our parents contrived in an era when the “Salary plus Commission” of even a gifted salesman was modest in the extreme and holidays with pay were virtually non-existant.
  • Of the keen anticipation with which we awaited father’s return from his business trips to all parts of the United Kingdom when there would be occasional mementos or stories of places he had visited – although it must be admitted that the anticipation was all too often preferable to the event.

Reference has already been made to the easing of financial worries which attended father’s undoubted proficiency as a salesman. This led to the removal from Walthamstow and the purchase of a newly built house in Roslyn Gardens, Gidea Park, Romford in 1938. By the end of the Second World War both Olive and I were married and settled in our respective homes.
Bunty and Joan married in the years that followed and it was in 1957 that our parents moved to West Clandon in Surrey to be closer to father’s place of business.

[Page 4]
The new house in Felix Drive was detached and pleasant enough and had a very large garden which, due to mother's untiring efforts, always looked a picture.

But father's work for Margros and the E.E.A. involved much traveling and so mother found herself constantly alone in a detached house in a quiet cul-de-sac off the main street of a well-heeled commuter village.
Superficially all very pleasant - but far too lonely.

Mother died of cancer in hospital at Caterham in 1971 and her ashes were interred in the churchyard at Roydon Essex where her son-in-law was the parish priest. Very soon afterwards father married a widow - Mrs. Georgina Hamell.

For many years father had wanted to move to South Devon and had been looking for a suitable property in the Exmouth area. After several near-misses he eventually bought a house in Dagmar Road, Exmouth - an immaculate property ideally suited both in size and location to his needs.

He moved into his new home August 1981 but, sad to say, he was denied the time to enjoy it for his health, which had been so good, was deteriorating rapidly. After two short months he died in hospital at Exeter following an unsuccessful operation for cancer in October 1981.


Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, St.Catherlne's House
Mr G. Groves of the Educational Exhibitors’ Association
Ministry of Defense Archives.

Photo taken in Denmark Circa 1903
Ellen, William, Katherine, Eva.
1903   Godfrey BRAMHALL Photo

With their children
George Henry, Alice, John Arthur and Sydney Gardener

1885   Godfrey BRAMHALL Photo

06_George_H_BRAMHALL_Eliza_A_WASHBURN.pdf - Original family history written and mechanically typed by Godfrey BRAMHALL.

George Henry BRAMHALL (1866-1947) and his wife Eliza Ann WASHBURN (1866-1928)

My paternal grandfather, the eldest child of John Henry BRAMHALL and his wife Ellen MARSDEN, born at 40, Fawcett Street, North Sheffield in 1866.

At that time John Henry was a saw-maker but by 1879 he had moved to Hull and had become an “insurance manager.” The family later moved to Stoke-on-Trent where John Henry continued his insurance work but also kept a toy shop.

George Henry’s obituary states that brought up in “the established church” but his youngest daughter Ellen felt sure that they were all Methodists. However, her claim that, as a boy, her father “used to sing in the church choir'' suggests Anglicanism rather than Methodism.

I know nothing concerning my grandfather's early life or education but everything I have discovered about him indicates that he had considerable ability with figures and considerable skill in music both as an instrumentalist and as a composer. There can be no doubt that he had inherited these gifts from his father who, as we have seen, abandoned the steel trade for an occupation requiring some facility with figures and had learnt the by no means easy technique of transferring musical ideas to paper. I would like to now how and where he had acquired this knowledge.
Late in life he composed much choral music for Salvation Army choirs (nine items being published) in addition to training and conducting an Army choir in Stoke-on-Treat. Although his compositions cannot be described as great music they are, nevertheless, competently done and well suited for their evangelical purpose.

But although father and son shared mathematical and musical interests they did not see eye-to-eye on religious matters. George Henry's teenage involvement with the Salvation Army met with parental displeasure. In the end his declared intention of “enlisting full-time'' so enraged his father that George was obliged to leave home. In fairness it must be recorded that years later they were reconciled and John Henry himself joined the ranks as a humble ''Private”.

George Henry found employment in Wolverhampton and it was from there he was sent to the Officers’ Training Centre at Clapton, East London, in 1887.
At that time aspiring officers seldom received more than four months training before starting their evangelical work in a hostile world. In the light of what I had learnt about the mobility of officers - especially at the beginning: of their careers - I was surprised to find no mention of any early appointments until the Gazette section of the [Page 2] “War Cry” recorded the following on September 28th 1889 – at the very least eighteen months after the completion of his training:
''Lieutenant Bramhall of the Training Garrison Headquarters to be Scribe with the title of Captain.”

Two inferences can be drawn from this: first, that after completing his meagre preparation he had been retained on the staff of the Training Garrison and second, that his undoubted facility with figures and accountancy had already been spotted.

Family tradition and my grandparents’ obituaries agreed that they had both spent eventful years in three Scandinavian countries but precise details were scanty and sometimes contradictory. Fortunately research in the Army's archives in London, Helsinki, Stockholm and Copenhagen has produced a wealth of material, which has enabled me to reconstruct their careers in more detail than I had ever thought possible.

At this point it seems necessary, for the better understanding of my grandparents story, to say something of the origins of the Salvation Army both here and in Finland.
It is a matter of history that the evangelical innovations of the Methodist preacher, William Booth, sprang from the total failure of both established and non-conformist churches to make contact with the vast numbers of folk who had, for various reasons, rejected any kind of organized religion. Booth's references to ''darkest England'' encapsulates his conviction that Britain was a missionary area just as much as ''darkest Africa”.

But William Booth was not alone in realising the need for an unconventional approach to the problems of poverty, deprivation and amorality.
In Finland a similar, free-church, evangelical movement had sprung to life - the initiative having been taken by a group of very privileged and wealthy people led by Constantin Boije, Hedwig von Haartman, Louise af Forselles and Countess Karin Ouchtomsky.

Boije came from a very influential family. While studying at the Military Academy in St. Petersburg he experienced a religious conversion, which caused him to abandon his studies and resign his commission.
By virtue of his aristocratic birth he had, since 1883, been a member of the hereditary upper house of the Finnish parliament and had successfully introduced a bill legalising meetings held by religious bodies other than the State Church.

During visits to Sweden and Switzerland Boije and his friends become familiar with the work of the Salvation Army and realized that, by comparison, their own efforts were woefully inadequate.
They asked William Booth to absorb their organization into the Salvation Army and by April 1889 three of them – Boije, Haartman, and Forselles had come to London to be instructed in the Army’s evangelical techniques. Haartman and Forselles [Page 3] went to the women's Training Centre at Norwood (at that time under the direction of William Booths’ daughter Lucy) while Constantin Boije went to Clapton.
It seems certain that grandfather's Scandinavian travels must have been the direct result of Boije’s stay at Clapton. Knowing that he would soon be returning to Finland Boije was, no doubt, on the lookout for the assistance of somebody who might combine several gifts with would be useful in evangelical work.
Grandfather must have filled the bill very adequately. The records of his transfer to Finland come from four, slightly conflicting sources:

  1. ''November 8th 1889 is considered the birthday of the Salvation Army in Finland. On that day three officers who had returned from England, together with an Englishman, conducted the first meetings on Finnish soil. (Elin Olsoni - a Finnish officer)
  2. "When work had been in progress for about a week a necessary and welcome reinforcement arrived from England in the person of Captain Bramhall who skilfully played several instruments. He was to be responsible for book-keeping at Headquarters as well as helping with other work.....''
    (Extract from one of a series of articles in the Finnish “War Cry” 1939)
  3. ''Captain (later Lt. Colonel) George Bramhall arrived from England soon after the opening to help the little group of officers with music and book-keeping."
    (“History of the Salvation Army” Vol. 4 page 48 by Archibald Wiggins.)
  4. ''Captain George Bramhall arrived on the scene two weeks after the inaugural meetings.''
    (Jaakko Hinkka of Finnish archives)

By a majority of three to one we must, therefore, accept that George Henry arrived after the ''first shots had been fired” but this does not shake my conviction that grandfather’s ''posting'' had been arranged before Boije left London. The notion that an appeal for help could have been made and that, in response to it, grandfather could have travelled to Finland all in the space of two weeks does not seem feasible. If Grandfather was not present at the inaugural meetings on November 8th then the ''reinforcement'' was, surely, already on the way.

Constantin Boije’s daughter Helmy recalled:
Naturally he (George Henry) had to learn the language (Swedish) first. We children became good friends with Captain Bramhall at once. When we discovered that he reminded us of our uncle Adolf we started to call him ''Little Ado” and he always remained our favourite. Since he had to learn Swedish and father was anxious that we should learn English ''Little Ado” used to place a large number of objects on the dining-room table, place himself solemnly at the head of the table with us children around him and the lesson would begin. ''Little Ado” picked up an ink-stand - we repeated [Page 4] the word after him and then said it in Swedish for him. That's how our language classes went on. Sometimes we had to learn an English chorus and when the lesson was over we had a ''hallehujah'' march around the table. ''Little Ado'' went first with his cornet and we followed after in our little bonnets and waving our red, Army handkerchiefs while we all sang at the tops of our voices.''
(Finnish “War Cry” of July 28th 1939)

This delightful account of a parlour pastime combining the elements of “Kim's Game'' with ''look and say'' reading techniques must surely conceal the strenuous but more private efforts which Grandfather must have been making to learn Swedish - the official language of Finland. But if his tuition had been confined to childish - though helpful - games he could never have acquired the vocabulary required in double-entry bookkeeping (a proceedure not confined to the manipulation of figures) let alone the idiomatic skill to deal with such abstractions as “sin”, ''repentance'' and ''salvation''. In the matter of learning a foreign language there is nothing so stimulating as being ''thrown in at the deep end'' but I am tempted to think that grandfather's first lessons in Swedish were not those so amusingly described by Helmy Boije.

If I am right in thinking that grandfather's appointment to Finland had been requested and approved during Constantin Boije’s stay London it is distinctly possible that the Swedish lessons started there and then.

By March 1890 another three ''overseas'' officers had arrived in Helsinki - Eleanor Kelly and Eliza Ann Washburn both from England and Erik Leidzen from Sweden. The two women had been working in Sweden since 1886 and would, therefore have already possessed a good command the language.

Within two years grandfather had married Eliza Washburn and Erik Leidzen had married Eleanor Kelly. All four remained firm friends for the rest of their lives. When Erik Leidzen died very suddenly, and at a relatively early age, my grandparents cared for his three children Karen, Erik junior and Maggie.

Eliza Ann Washburn
She was the sixth child of Joseph Washburn and his wife Ann Keeling and was born in 1866 at Trouse Lane, Wednesbury, Staffordshire. Joseph was a general labourer from Wilmcote in Warwickshire. The Keelings were all potters from Longton.
Although Elise's home was in Wednesbury she joined the Salvation Army in 1884 from Northwich in Cheshire which prompts the question “What was she doing there?'' After the customary brief period of training she served at Northwich, Walton-on-the-Naze and North Walsham as Lieutenant to Captain [Page 5] Eleanor Kelly who had joined the Army in 1883 from Watford.

In August 1886 these two young women were sent to Sweden. The Stockholm archives record that in the following two years they served in Linkoping, Kristian-stad, Koping, Karlstad and Sala. By August 1888 they had parted company and Eliza, singlehanded, had started the Army's work in Karlshamn before moving on to Norrkoping. This breathless itinerary fills me with admiration for the stamina and zeal demonstrated by these young women.
By February 1890 Eliza had joined forces with Eleanor Kelly once again.
In a letter to ''The War Cry'' Miss Kelly reported that Eliza was with her at Kristinehamn and “was resting'' there - which presumably meant that she was enjoying a brief holiday or a period of recuperation.
In that same month they were both sent to Helsinki where, as we have noted, they both met their future husbands. However, for the sake of objectivity, it must be recorded that the official reason for their journey across the Baltic Sea was to assist Hedwig von Haartman who had just been put in charge of the Army's work and had been taken ill.

But their stay in Finland was brief and by August 1890 Eliza had resumed her ''whistle-stop tour” of Sweden with appointments at Nybro (March 1891), Vimmerby (July 1891), Nas (December 1891) and Kristinehamn (a return visit).

During this period Eliza, together with some of her colleagues, fell foul of the civil authorities in the district of Kalmer in south-west Sweden and spent some time in prison for conducting meetings contrary to local bye-laws. The Swedish archives say that an those early, intolerant years about a third of the officers suffered imprisonment - the most frequent offence being that of holding meetings after eight o'clock in the evening! According to family tradition grandmother spent the time making match-boxes. Official sources record that she and her friends emerged from their brief ordeal ''hale and hearty and in hallelujah mood!”

Opposition to the Army in Finland
Anyone who reads the story of the Army's early days will know that their work met with verbal and often physical opposition. In Scandinavia it was no different but whereas in many countries the trouble often started with the “mindless aggro” of hooligans in Finland opposition appears to have been fomented by the establishment. As early as December 1889 no less a person than Bishop G. Johansson had produced - with precipitate haste - a book of one hundred and sixty-two pages attacking the Salvation Army. He asserted that-
''Once having established itself in Finland the Salvation Army would try to push into Russia and would assuredly cause mis-understanding…. and disturb the religious harmony between those two countries.''
[Page 6] He went on to demand that the Finnish authorities should act and the journal of the Finnish Free Churches, “Evangelick-Kristendom” quickly echoed his sentiments. It seems that the Bishop had some temporary success for when the Army leaders applied for legal recognition as a non-conformist organisation they were refused - thus putting their activities outside the law.

With a century of hindsight it mildly amusing think that such sinister motives should have been attributed to the Army's missionary work but perhaps the privileged and aristocratic backgrounds of the founder-officers led the Bishop to suspect that evangelism was being used as a cover for political activity. It also seems possible that, as the spokesman of the established church, Bishop Johansson was still resentful of Constantin Boije’s parliamentary success in winning a degree of toleration for the non-conformists and viewed Boije’s still more radical activities with a jaundiced eye!

George Henry Bramhall’s Itinerary
Although grandfather’s work in Finland must be seen against this back-ground of opposition he did not, as far as I know, suffer any great personal hardship - as did many Finnish officers.

This is a summary of the record of his movements as supplied by the Helsinki archives:-
November 1889 George arrived in Helsingfors (Helsinki)
March 1890 George travelled to Porvo (Borga) with Hedwig von Haartman to initiate the work there.
March 1890 Arrival cf Eleanor Kelly, Eliza Washburn and Erik Leidzen from Sweden.
March 1890 The Helsinki Archives report the welcome given to the above and mentions that Kelly and Washburn played and sang at this welcome-meeting.
June 1890 A band of seven players was formed of which George and Erik were members.
Nov and Dec 1890 George was in charge of the Helsinki mission.
Christmas 1890 George visited Pori.
February 1891 George transferred to Sweden.

On arrival in Sweden grandfather was employed at the Swedish Headquarters in Stockholm before embarking on a long period of purely evangelical work, which must have proved the most exacting and strenuous he had encountered so far.

February 1891 At Stockholm H.Q.
December 1891 At Anal
August 1892 At Skara. Here he and Eliza Washburn were married. Ceremony recorded by British Consul in Gothenburg.
[Page 7]
December 1892 At Smedje-backen
May 1893 At Falun. Daughter Eva born here May 2nd 1893
January 1894 At Sodertalje
August 1894 Hudiksvall
Daughter Katherine born at Falun November 15th 1894
January 1895 Vasteras
July 1895 Oskarshamn. My father, William born here May 12th 1896.
July 1896 Luleo.
May 1897 Sodertalje. Daughter Ellen born here September 23rd 1897.

Letters written by grandfather and preserved in Stockholm show that from 1897 until the family went back to Denmark in April 1899 he was working, once again at the Headquarters in Stockholm.

My Aunt Ellen told me that her parent’s marriage did not take place without a certain amount of difficulty.
It was - and still is - the custom in the Salvation Army for officers to apply to their superiors for permission to marry - since they are all initially regarded as being ''married'' to the “war against the devil and his works.''
George’s application was, at first, refused on account of Eliza's indifferent health.

With a touch theatrical bravado George declared that “if he couldn't marry Eliza within the Army, then would marry her outside it!” The Army relented but only after a year had passed in which Eliza received a special course of treatment suggested by a kindly Swedish doctor who, out of admiration for the Army's work, refused all payment.
In the light of the official record of Elisa's movements between her return from Finland in the summer of 1890 and her marriage in 1892 it is difficult to see how any protracted medical treatment could have been fitted in. Nevertheless, the wedding did take place and the punishing schedule continued.

“My mother” said Ellen, always had to fight against a weak body but she had a wonderfully strong spirit.”
But nine changes of home and four children in five years must have taxed Eliza’s admirably ''strong spirit” to the very limit. The fact that both Eva and Katherine were born in Falun leads me to suspect that perhaps Eliza was forced to ''stay put” for a short time while George continued his work alone.

For some reason which neither my father nor his younger sister could explain the births of the four children were not registered with any of the British consuls in Sweden. It was not until 1942 that George Henry was persuaded that this omission was going to cause difficulties.
He did his best to rectify this irregularity by making a statutory declaration before a solicitor so that each of his children should have an acceptable document concerned their birth and parentage.
The Copenhagen records show that “Ensign and Mrs. George Henry Bramhall [Page 8] were transferred to Denmark from Sweden on April 18th 1899.

Of grandfather's seven years in Denmark the first five were spent working the Finance Department in Copenhagen. For the last two years he was the Divisional Officer for the district of Funen. This second appointment, together with the Swedish itinerary, provides a sharp reminder that, whatever their specialist interests may have been, all officers were expected to take their full share in the fundamental task of evangelism

Clearly the family enjoyed a more settled existence in Denmark with only one intermediate move in seven years before they returned to England. My father and his sister differed as to the date of their return home. A search in the London records failed to produce this important date but, ironically, a letter to Copenhagen produced this quite specific reply:-

“Your grandfather left Denmark for England in July 1906, taking up an appointment as Divisional Secretary in Cambridge on July 26th 1906.

While their parents were establishing some sort of a home for them at Milton Road, Cambridge, the four children went to stay with their grandparents in Stoke-on-Trent. Both my father and his sister insisted that this was a very difficult time for all concerned as none of the children could speak a word of English. This seems like an exaggeration for it is difficult to believe that English parents would not have spoken their mother tongue in the home - whatever the linguistic necessities of their evangelical work, and especially as they knew they would all return to England. Nevertheless it is certain that they had all acquired some command of Swedish or Danish, which was never totally forgotten. One of my early memories is of the aunts singing Scandinavian carols at family parties and, judging by the reactions, sometimes being extremely rude to one another in a foreign tongue!

In view of George Henry's musical ability it is not surprising to learn that he was active in musical activities in all three Scandinavian countries. Wherever he went he seems to have organised and played in instrumental ensembles and found time to give his four children a modest musical education.

My father was a very good trombonist and his three sisters could all read vocal music and play the guitar competently. I recall that Aunt Eva was much amused to find how the wheel of musical fashion had turned full circle and that, in her retirement, she had to re-string her neglected guitar and teach the eager youngsters of the Romford Salvation Army Youth Club how to strum the simple tonic, dominant and sub-dominant harmonies that were “de rigour”- in the fifties and sixties.
George Henry did not stay long in Cambridge By 1908 it was clear that he had been allowed to follow his bent in accountancy matters and was employed at the Army's London headquarters. Consequently the family moved to 23, Hatherley Road, Walthamstow in order to be within commuting distance of [Page 9] Victoria Street.

By 1917 grandfather had risen to the rank of Major and had been appointed an Auditor - a responsible role in the course of which he travelled all over the world.

It was not possible for Eliza Ann to accompany him and she was forced to lead a somewhat lonely life in the various London homes she occupied with her daughters Eva, Katherine and Ellen until her death at Leytonstone in 1928.

George Henry retired in 1932 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and spent the rest of his days at 60, Parkside Avenue, Romford. He died in 1947.

George and Eliza’s children

  1. Eva became a Salvation Army Officer and spent most of her life on the staff of the Salvation Army Assurance Company. She died at Romford in 1969.
  2. Katherine was an invalid all her life and was, sadly, never able to earn her own living. She died at Romford in 1965.
  3. My father, William, married Henrietta Day Pigott in 1917. He ended a successful business career as managing director of the Margros Company of Woking - a firm which manufactured artists’ materials. He was also a founder-member of the Educational Exhibitors Association. He died in Exeter in 1981.
  4. Ellen married Alex Deans - son of Colonel Deans of the Salvation Army. Alex died in 1961. Ellen now lives with her daughter's family in Felixstow.

Grandfather's homes after his return from Denmark

1906-1908 Milton House, Milton Road, Cambridge.
1908-1911 23, Hatherley Road, Walthamstow.
1911-1922 45, Howard Road, Walthamstow.
1922-1925 15, Belgrave Road, Leyton.
1925-1929 63, Poppleton Road, Leytonstone.
1929-1947 60, Parkside Avenue, Romford.


Parish Registers of Longton, Wednesbury, Staffs.
Census Returns for Sheffield, Hull and Wednesbury - 1871 and 1881 Consular Marriage Records.
Salvation Army archives, London, Helsinki, Stockholm and Copenhagen.
The British “War Cry”
The Finnish “War Cry”

1866 Birth in the Sub-district of Wednesbury in the County of Stafford.
No. 272
When and where, Twenty Second October 1866, Trouse Lane
Eliza Ann : Girl
Name of father, Joseph WASHBURN.
Name of mother, Ann WASHBURN formerly KEELING
Occupation of father, Labourer.
Description of informant, X The Mark of Ann WASHBURN, Mother, Trouse Lane, Wednesbury.
When registered, Seventeenth, November 1866
Thomas PARKER?, Registrar.

10_John_BRAMHALL_Catherine_GRAHAM.pdf - Original family history written and mechanically typed by Godfrey BRAMHALL.

John Gardiner BRAMHALL (1816-1878) And Catherine Bishop GRAHAM (1821-1851)

John Henry’s birth certificate reveals that he had been born in Sheffield in 1843. His father’s name was given as John Bramhall "a razorsmith'' and his mother’s as ''Catherine Bishop Graham”. Only a very little searching was needed to find that the marriage took place in November 1841 at Sheffield Parish Church – now the Cathedral.
The full details were as follows:-
Groom: John Brammall - aged 24 - razorsmith of Sambourne Square
Father’s name - John Brammall - a cutler.
Bride: Catherine Bishop Graham - aged 20 - of Arundel Lane
Father’s name - Richard Graham - a scissorsmith.

It seemed that further progress must be straightforward but snags began to appear. The census return for 1851 showed that both John and Catherine were natives of Sheffield. His age was said to be thirty-four so we had to look for the birth of a John Brammall in Sheffield in 1816.
This entailed a visit to Sheffield Cathedral to examine the parochial registers which - at that time - had not been indexed and contained details of more than two thousand baptisms every year.

We listed all the possible baptisms for a year or two either side of 1816 and, in addition, searched through other parochial registers now kept in the Cathedral archives. On examining our findings we ccncluded that the most likely entry was as follows:
July 5th 1816 John Gardiner Brammall son of Mary Brammall - a spinster.''

The second name - ''Gardiner'' - immediately reminded us of father’s favourite uncle Sydney whose full name we had discovered to be Sydney Gardner. But if Mary’s illigitimate son was my great-great-grandfather why had he not used his second name at the time of his marriage or when registering the birth of his eldest son - John Henry? Had we perhaps wandered on to the wrong trail?

But subsequent searching proved that we had not been mistaken. In 1851 John’s wife Catherine died in Manchester leaving him with three young sons to care for. In 1853 John married his second wife - Sarah Bayman and in the register signed himself as John Gardener. In 1874 his youngest son Edwin Gardener was born and the father's name was recorded as John Gardener.
In 1874 his youngest son Edwin Gardener was born and the father’s name was recorded as John Gardener.
The matter was put beyond all doubt open the old man died in 1878 for not only was his name given as John Gardener but his age - sixty-two - led unmistakably back to the baptismal record of 1816 - '':John Gardiner, son of Mary Brammall, spinster.''

[Page 2]
Of John Gardener’s life we can give only the most sketchy outline.
As his first marriage certificate gave his address as Sambourne Square we hoped that the 1841 Census for Sheffield might produce more evidence concerning his mother or perhaps a sibling or two. But we were disappointed. We found him living in Sambourne Square but he was named only as a lodger in the home of Joseph Thornhill and his wife Ann.

John and Catherine made their first home in a turning off Furnival Street in a very depressed slum area of Sheffield - now totally demolished - and it was there that John Henry, my great-grandfather, and his brother Ernest were born.
By 1848 the family had moved to 19, Dearden Street, Manchester where George was born and where Catherine died in 1851 of remittant fever and meningitis. At that time John was working as a “calico web maker.”

Two years later John married again. His second wife - Sarah Bayman - had come originally from Ramsbury in Wiltshire. Apart from the fact that John had, on this occasion, used his second baptismal name his marriage certificate contains other points of interest. When he married for the first time he said that his father was “John Brammall, a cutler” but this time he changed it to ''Gardener Brammall, a silversmith.” Is it possible that one or other of these conflicting statements contains just a grain of truth?

On the same occasion he claimed that he was thirty years old - a statement that was palpably incorrect but probably stemmed from the male vanity of a widower of thirty-five who was marrying a ''dolly-bird'' sixteen years his junior! But who was he hoping to deceive - and for how long?

But the same marriage certificate contains another puzzle. It is noteworthy that in the nineteenth century witnesses of marriages were very frequently unrelated to either bride or groom. In this instance they were Thomas Bayman'' - obviously one of the bride’s family and ''Jane Gardener'' who, a year or two later, married yet another member of the Bayman family. Thus the name ''Gardener'' appears three times in this same marriage record –
· In the bridegroom’s name.
· In the name of the bridegroom’s - (alleged) father
· As one of the witnesses.

This puzzling circumstance has provided much food for thought but no definite conclusions can be drawn. The question remains - just who was John Gardener’s natural father and just why did he leave Sheffield and move to Manchester? Was it just economics or was there another factor?
In family history research the natural progression is from a birth to [Page 3] the marriage which, in the ordinary course of events, should have preceded it but in the case of John Gardener’s birth there was no marriage to look for. In choosing her son’s baptismal names Mary may have been hinting at the identity of her partner in indiscretion - but there is no proof. We had no choice but to concentrate on the forlorn hope of pinpointing the birth and parentage of Mary herself.

We quickly found that in Sheffield alone a great many Mary Brammalls had been born who would have been capable of producing a son out of wedlock by l816.
But our Mary could have been born anywhere.
Indeed the details on John Gardener’s second marriage certificate had planted in our minds the thought that his mother could have been a Manchester girl who had been packed off to a friend or relative in Sheffield to hide her shame.

Unless any further information comes to light we must, regretfully, draw a line under this search with the reflection that father’s gloomy hints concerning the ''skeleton in the cupboard” and the “change of name'' were rooted in fact!

Concerning the slender story of John Gardener all that needs to be added is that he was later employed in Manchester as a maker of doctor-blades (devices for removing surplus ink and lint from calico-printing cylinders) and that by 1856 he had returned to Sheffield where the rest of his children were born.
He resumed his work in the cutlery trade as a sawmaker and lived at Creswick Street, Nether Hallam and later at 30,Verdon Street, Brightside were he died in 1878.

General Register, St Catherine’s House
Parochial Registers, Sheffield Cathedral
Parochial Registers, Manchester Cathedral
Census Returns for 1841 to 1871

13_John_H_BRAMHALL_Ellen_MARSDEN.pdf - Original family history written and mechanically typed by Godfrey BRAMHALL.

John Henry BRAMHALL (1843-1910) and Ellen MARSDEN (1844-1919)

The initial problem was to establish the name of George Henry’s mother.
Father was sure that her first name was ''Ellen'' while his sister insisted that her surname was “Ramsden”.

As everything seemed to indicate that George Henry had been born in Sheffield it seemed sensible to concentrate on the General Register for that city.
We immediately found that the name “Bramhall' with several variations was - and still is - pretty common in northern counties and particularly so in Sheffield.
But it did not take long to establish that John Henry's wife was Ellen Marsden – a perfect anagram of the name (Ramsden) suggested by my aunt!
They had been married at Christ Church, Pitsmoor in North Sheffield and had made their home at 40, Fawcett Street where their first three children were born - George Henry in 1866, Alice in 1872 and John Arthur in 1875.

Like his father John Henry was initially a sawmaker but later decided on a change of scenery and occupation. By 1879 he had moved to Hull where his third son was born. On Sydney Gardener’s birth certificate John is described as an “insurance company superintendant.”

The family later moved to Stoke-on-Trent and kept a shop at 85, Birks Street but the precise nature of its trade is not known.

We have already drawn attention to George Henry’s twin interests of accountancy and music - talents which he had clearly inherited from his father.

John Henry’s abandonment of manual work in the steel trade for the world of insurance gives clear evidence of his facility with figures and clerical work.
We have also noted his modest ability as a composer and choirtrainer.
As such achievements are not plucked out of thin air but are the results of long familiarity with written music and shared musical activities it would be very interesting to know more about the background to his life than can possibly be gleaned from the lifeless statistics contained in census returns and other official records.
The only clue is that contained in his son’s obituary which states that John Henry had been ''. . .a member of the established church . . .” – which could be taken to suggest that he had been a member of his parish church choir and had learnt a lot from the experience.
John Henry died in June 1910.

General Register, St. Catherine’s House.
Census Returns, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881 for Manchester, Sheffield and Hull.
“The War Cry”