Life story retold by Kim Reynolds
James Herman was born c.1832, it is not clear where – sometimes he says London, others ‘Not Known’. In 1881 he gives Ashampstead, Berkshire as his place of birth.
He married Lucy Watt’s sister Sarah in 1854. Lucy worked as housemaid in the service of Angela Burdett-Coutts, at Holly Lodge, Highgate for forty years. James and Sarah had at least four daughters, Elizabeth, Sarah, Ellen and Kate, and a son, William.
James Herman was a carpenter. In 1861, the family was living in Orchard Street, St Giles, Reading. In 1870 he appears to have been living at 2 Ashmore Cottages, Letcombe Street (where his mother-in-law died). In 1881, they were at 25 Crown Street (Coffee House), when he is described as Carpenter and Joiner. In 1891, they were at the same address, and he was still a carpenter. His wife, Sarah, is described as a Coffee House Keeper in both 1881 and 1891. In 1897, he was executor of Lucy Watts’s will, and is himself described as a Coffee House Keeper. In 1901, still at 25 Crown Street with his unmarried daughter Sarah, he is described as a Model and Patternmaker.
He died at this address on 16 Jan 1906, leaving £2809 14s (Reading Standard, 20 Jan 1906).
His son William James Watts Herman (1863-1953) was born in Reading, on 15 May 1863. Pupil Teacher in 1881, living with parents. He married Ellen Elizabeth Murton (b. 1864/65, Reading) in Reading in 1889. In 1891 living at School House, Ewelme, Oxon, where he was Elementary Schoolmaster; his wife Ellen was the elementary schoolmistress. They were still there in 1901, with their son Howard William Murton Herman (1895-1970), and Ellen’s mother, Elizabeth Merton, and by themselves there in 1911 (Howard was at Lord William’s Grammar School in Thame at the time of the census). Ellen died in the Acland Home, Oxford on 31 October 1913 (Reading Observer, 8 Nov 1913), and seems to have been buried in Caversham Cemetery. In 1939, he was retired and living at 37 Balmore Drive, Caversham, with his second wife Alice Sophia Harner (b. 21 Dec 1887, in 1939 a retired schoolmistress, whom he married in 1919; she died in the Battle Hospital, 4 Nov 1978. Reading Evening Post, 7 Nov 1978), and his sister Sarah.
He died 25 October 1953; address then still 37 Balmore Drive, Caversham. Effects £5047 1s 6d. He is not buried in the family grave.
- England and Wales Censuses, 1841-1911
- 1939 England and Wales Register
- Birth, Marriage and Death Civil Registration Indexes
- Baptism, Marriage and Burial Records
- Newspapers: Reading Mercury, Meat Trades’ Journal and Cattle Salesman’s Gazetteer, Reading Observer, Reading Standard, Reading Evening Post, Westminster Gazette, Pall Mall Gazette
Buried in Section 49, Row A, Number 9