The story of the Lowe family who came from Yorkshire and through their descendants eventually ended up in Wrexham.
William Lowe was born in Sheffield about 1820 and in 1840 he married Mary Piercy at St Oswalds Church in Chester where he was working as a smith and moulder. He states that his father was George Lowe, an engraver. Mary was about the same age and had been born in Chester; she says her father was William Piercy, a brewer. They had two daughters born in Chester before moving to Liverpool where their son George was born in 1847.
The family were living in Toxteth Park where William was working as a whitesmith. He changed his trade and became a telegraph engineer. The family moved around the country probably due to William`s occupation and in 1861 they were in West Ham, Essex where William was a telegraph engineer and George was working in a telegraph shop at the age of 13.
The telegraph system only began in the late 1830`s in Britain, and quite soon a network was built by the railway companies. This was extended to public use and businesses, so father and son were in the forefront of the new technology.
George Lowe moved to Manchester where he got married on Christmas Day 1868. His bride Eliza Thomas was born in Brymbo about 1844; she was the daughter of Charles Thomas and Catherine. She was probably in service as her sister Leah was in Manchester a few years earlier.
The couple married at Christ Church, in the parish of Bradford and Beswick, Manchester. The Church has long gone but was close to the Etihad Football Stadium. At the time they were both living in Ashton New Road, Beswick, Manchester. In May 1870 their son Charles Henry Lowe was baptised at the same church, George was working as a telegraph linesman in 1871 but sometime in the next 7 years he died.
Eliza Lowe returned to her home town of Wrexham and in 1878 remarried to Peter Ashton who was a plumber and glazier living in Chester Street, Wrexham. Peter had been born in Chester, but by the age of 10 he was in Wrexham where his father Enoch was a coach painter.
Peter had lost his 34 year old wife Elizabeth earlier that year and he was left with four children. The marriage took place at Christ Church, Chester and the couple returned to Wrexham where Charles Henry was brought up with his step father and his children.
Most children had a basic education and very few schools were free. In 1880 it was decided that Peter was able to pay for some of his children’s education, but it seems that he was unable to do so and Charles Henry was absent for much of the time in 1881.
21st February 1880 Wrexham Advertiser.
MEETING OF THE SCHOOL BOARD Mr Lindop, attendance officer, presented the following report. The list of cases that you will be called upon to deal with to-day consists chiefly of children who have been discharged from the Free Schools in the sifting process that the school registers have been put through to enable the managers to ascertain as far as possible whose parents could afford to pay for the education of their children and whose parents could not. About fifty have been thus discharged, a number of whom I am happy to say have already found their way to other schools. Peter Ashton, plumber, Templars Avenue, Elizabeth, eight last April, Charles Lowe (step-child), gone to school.
20th August 1881
Peter Ashton, Beast-market; Charles Lowe, made 13 attendances out of a possible 35.
The family lived in Chester Street until Peter died in April 1884 aged only 42 .
8 April 1884 Wrexham Advertiser.
DEATH OF AN OLD FIREMAN.—We have this week to record the death of Mr Peter Ashton, a member of the old Provincial Fire Brigade for nearly twenty years, who died at his residence in Chester-street, on Wednesday morning, in the 42nd year of his age. The funeral will take place to-morrow (Saturday) afternoon, and will be officially attended by the members of the Fire Brigade.
Sadly Eliza died the following year early in January 1885 at Cutlers Court, Charles Street, she was only 39. The Ashton children were separated, two of Peters sons took up lodgings in Derby Road.
Another lodged in Mount Street. The only daughter married at the age of 19 to a local man with the name of Theopholus Salisbury.
On 23 September 1890 Eliza`s only son Charles Henry Lowe married Mary Jane Davies at St Giles, Mary Jane was the daughter of Thomas Davies and Harriet Harrison. Charles Henry was working as a cab driver and they both were living in 1 Lambpit Street.
In November Charles Henry fell foul of the bye laws. A couple of reports were published in the Wrexham Advertiser
ALLEGED OFFENCES BY A CAB DRIVER. The Town Clerk read a letter from Mr Higgins, stating that on October 22nd a cab driver, named Charles H. Lowe placed his cab on the cab stand in High-street when it already contained the full number of cabs, and left it there unattended. He (Mr Higgins) found on the driver’s return that he had no badge on, that there was no list of fares in the cab, and that there was no name of the owner on the cab. The Town Clerk said that all the acts enumerated by Mr Higgins were offences against the bye-laws, and on the motion of the Mayor, seconded by Ald. B Jones, it was decided to take proceedings against the driver of the cab and the owner (Mr Joseph Griffiths.)
Charles Lowe, a driver, employed by Frederick Thomas Griffiths, cab proprietor, was summoned by Inspector Hampshire for abusing a horse.—The Inspector also summoned Mr Griffiths for causing the animal to be worked.—The complainant said on Monday he saw Lowe driving a brown mare, which was “attached to four-wheeled cab. It was so lame that he stopped it and found it was suffering from an incurable and painful disease in the feet. He ordered it home, and when he saw the owner, they took the animal to Mr Roberts, veterinary surgeon, who advised Griffiths to part with it. Witness said the mare in question suffered from mange. Griffiths had been so unfortunate that some time ago he bought a horse with the mange, and it had communicated it to all the stable.—After hearing Sergt. Beresford. Griffiths was fined 5, and costs, together with the costs in Lowe’s case, or 17s 6d in all.
The couple had three children, Florence May born October 1891, Violet Louisa born August 1893 and John Albert in September 1895.
They had moved in with the Davies family in Lambpit Street where Harriet was a greengrocer.
By 1900 Charles Henry had left his family. This is known as there is an article in the Wrexham Advertiser where Mary Jane is described as a married woman who was left with 3 children. A Louisa Jones who was a relative had been assaulted by Kate Dunn in the vegetable market and a fight broke out between them. Mary Jane`s involvement was that she was “shouting and collecting a crowd “she was fined £1. It seems that Kate was trying to get Louisa out of the market where she had been for 20 years and had already caused her to lose her shop in the town.
Kate was a regular in the petty sessions around that time so was obviously a known trouble maker.
Mary Jane and her children stayed with her parents in the Beast Market where her mother Harriet was running a greengrocers shop . Thomas died in 1904 and by 1911 Mary Jane and the granddaughters were assisting in the business while John Albert was an errand boy for a chemist. Harriet died in 1913. The family greengrocers business carried on by the daughters for many more years in the vegetable market.
The Lowe family had moved to Templar’s Row and lived there for many years, it was a road at the back of St George`s Crescent. In 1939 when the registers were taken just at the start of WW1 Mary Jane Lowe was still there, but now she was blind, she had her granddaughter Florence Weaver living with her..
In the register there were many people living in caravans on St George`s Crescent, with some fairground people sited in the grounds of the Tiger Inn. The fair had a long tradition with Wrexham and had been held on the Beast Market for much of the 19th century. It had been full of animal trainers, boxing booths, sharp shooters, fortune tellers, musicians and many more types of entertainment. The census over the years has many of the “fairground” people staying in caravans and lodging houses in the town.
VIOLET LOUISA 1893 -1953
Violet Louisa married Richard Weaver a railway porter in 1911.The couple lived on Market Street and eventually had had six children of which two died very young. A son Harold died in 1917 just one year old, Richard died aged 33 at the Infirmary in March 1923 and sadly their youngest child Lily died just a short time later in May, she was only 7 months old.
In 1927 Violet Louisa married again to Edward William Matthias and went on to have another three children. In 1939 they were living on St David’s Crescent. She died in November 1953.
FLORENCE MAY LOWE 1891 – 1940
In the summer of 1914 Florence May married James William Cole who was from Yorkshire. They went on to have three daughters. James at first a cycle repairer but later started a motor car business and eventually became a scrap metal merchant, his yard was on the corner of the Beast Market and Market Street. Jimmy as he was better known was the proud owner of a Silver Ghost. Florence carried on with the family occupation and was a greengrocer.
In 1939 Florence and James were at Templars Row, St George`s Crescent, she is still a greengrocer and James is a scrap merchant, his yard was on the corner of Market Street and the Beastmarket.
Florence died the following year in August 1940. During the war Jimmy was an ARP with his brother in law Abbie. James William Cole died in 1959 aged 69.
JOHN ALBERT LOWE 1895 – 1976
John Albert Lowe was known as Albert, and in later years as Abbie. When he was thirteen he was an errand boy for a chemist.
John Albert Lowe served in the Royal Flying Corps from March 1917. His service number was 67790. When he joined his next of kin was named as his mother Mary Jane Lowe of Templar`s Lane. He was an aircraftman rank Private 2.
On 13 April 1912 King George V signed a royal warrant establishing the Royal Flying Corps.
The Flying Corps’ initial allowed strength was 133 officers, and by the end of that year it had 12 manned balloons and 36 aeroplanes. In 1918, when the RAF was formed, the RFC rank of air mechanic second class was replaced by two aircraftman ranks, aircraftman second class (AC2) and aircraftman first class (AC1). The two ranks eventually became just aircraftman.
From his Pension Records John Albert was noted as being in a balloon party belonging to the Kite Balloon section. The balloon party had a very strenuous role, it was their job it was to haul the balloon down and secure it etc. He was then in the RAF as a labourer in salvage unit until he was discharged early 1919 due to an injury. By then he was a Private 2nd Class Driver
In early 1931 Abbie married Sophia Williams in Chester and the couple had a daughter Mary Sophia born 1932. Family information states that Sophia was from a fairground family who visited Wrexham regularly. The annual fair was held at the Beast Market and the Lowe siblings would have grown used to all the excitement of it for all of their lives.
It seems Sophia couldn`t settle in Wrexham and moved away. Abbie took over a shop in Charles Street at number 23. It was an Aladdin’s cave selling all sorts of items. Bread, sweets, pop, fruit, vegetables and even a “fag and a match” if you needed one when money was tight. Youngsters who had been to the swimming baths on Tuttle Street or the Saturday cinema often called in afterwards on their way home. Charles Street was full of little shops each selling their own type of goods.
Supermarkets brought the end to all these little communities but Abbie stayed in his little shop until his death on 1st September 1976.
He was buried in Wrexham Ruabon Road Cemetery (Old Lawn 00626) where the rest of his family are also buried.
The row of 4 little shops with gable windows have been classed as an “ A Grade II Listed Building” by CADW in 1994. In recent years 23 became Flower Power.
Some of the other shops from the past were Samuel Rogers, Famous Army Stores, Kerrisons the gun shop, Wilmer and Clark, Fletchers the cobblers, Singer sewing machines, Stants and Hampsons bakeries and confectioners, , Albert Humphrey`s grocery store, Turners animal feed and many more. The first Chinese Restaurant in Wrexham was the Golden Kitchen in Charles Street. Two pubs, the Blossoms and the Elephant and Castle which is the only one still standing.
THE LOWE SIBLINGS
FLORENCE MAY 1891 – 1940
VIOLET LOUISA 1893 -1953
JOHN ALBERT 1895 – 1976
Researched by Annette Edwards. November 2021.
Many thanks to Max D RIP for help with Military Records. Abbie`s` niece Mary Watson , and Cari Pugh for other information.