Members of the Halliday family in Ewell and Epsom


Portrait of a Girl, adorned with cowslips, bluebells and a daisy
"Portrait of a Girl, adorned with cowslips, bluebells and a daisy"
Oil on Canvas by Michael Frederick Halliday
Image Source http://www.wikigallery.org

The Hallidays to be considered in this piece were descended from Dr Matthew Halliday (1732 -1809) of Lochbroom, Dumfriesshire . Born on 12 April 1732, he went to Russia around 1756 to practise as a doctor, although it is not clear how he had become qualified. On 18 December 1758, Halliday married Anna Regina Kellerman (b. 1737) in St Petersburg and she bore numerous children from 1759 to 1781. He became physician to Empress Catherine the Great and by 1768 was in charge of the St Petersburg inoculation hospital. A notice in St Petersburg News during 1791 offered treatment by him of smallpox patients free of charge. In 1798 he was dispensing Jenner's cowpox vaccine. His death occurred at St. Petersburg, Russia, 24 February 1809. Mrs Anna Regina Halliday, widow aged 79, died at Clifton in England on 5 May 1812.

Two of Matthew's sons were (A)Thomas Halliday, born 29 May 1761, & (B) Michael, the third, in December 1765, each at St Petersburg. Michael's godfather had been Count Semen Vorontsov, Russian Ambassador in England, 1785 -1806. Both Thomas and Michael came to have local connections.

(A) Thomas Halliday (1761 - 1840) of Ewell

Thomas had been in the Russia trade but became an insurance broker and underwriter at Lloyds. He gave evidence to the House of Commons Select committee on Marine Insurances during 1810 mentioning that in the previous 7 years he had handled £4,980,000 of business as a broker but suffered losses of only £799.

He had married Maria Margaretta Morrice on 6 March 1806 at St Marylebone Church. They had seven children, their eldest son, Sir Frederick James Halliday, KCB (1806-1901) became the first Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal (1854-59). Born 25 December 1806, Ewell, Surrey died 22 October 1901 South Kensington and buried Brompton Cemetery, London. He married Eliza Macgregor in 1834 and had six children, she died in 1886.

Their second son Thomas Andrew Halliday (born 23 February 1808, probably at Ewell, christened St Mary's Marylebone, 31 March1808 - 1838) Lieutenant of the 45th Regiment Bengal Native Infantry died while serving with the force of Shah Shooja, Ool Moolk. Grave at Ludhiana - "Sacred to the memory of Thomas Andrew Halliday, Lieut of the 45th Regt. Bengal N.I. who while serving with the force of Shah Shooja, Ool Moolk, died at this place on the 30th October 1838, aged 30 years. This monument is erected by his brother."

Ewell Parish Registers contain further baptisms of children brought by Thomas Halliday, gentleman or merchant, and his wife Maria Margaret (sic) - Harriet Elizabeth, 18 October 1815, Emma, 22 June 1817, John Augustus, the first, 17 September 1820, but he died aged only two months and was buried at St Mary's on 1 October 1820, & Anna Maria Mary, 17 April 1825.

John Gustavus Halliday (1822 - 1917), the third surviving son, had also been christened at Ewell on 7 July 1822.

The family home in Ewell has not been positively identified but there are indications it could have been Dorset House.

Thomas Halliday, senior, died 29 May 1840 in Nantes, France.

The biographies of two of Thomas's sons mentioned above who became Army Generals are as follows: -
Sir Frederick James Halliday (1806 - 1901)
"I.C.S.: born Dec. 26, 1806 [at Ewell, christened 16 March 1807 at St Mary's, Marylebone Road]: son of Thomas Halliday of Ewell: educated at St. Paul's school, Rugby, and Haileybury: went out to Bengal in June, 1825: was Secretary to the Sadr Board of Revenue in 1836:Secretary to the Government of Bengal, 1838: Officiating Secretary to the Government of India in 1842: Secretary to the Home Department of the Government of India, 1849. While on furlough, in 1852-3, he was on 16 occasions examined before the Committees of the Lords and Commons on Indian subjects in connexion with the renewal of the E.I. Company's Charter: Member of the Governor-General's Supreme Council, Dec. 1853, to April, 1854 : the first Lieutenant- Governor of Bengal, from May 1, 1854, to May 1, 1859. His term of office as Lieutenant-Governor was eventful: the Sonthal insurrection required the movement of troops and strong measures for its suppression: the Indian mutiny did not eventually assume such proportions in Lower Bengal as in Upper India, but the earliest indications appeared at Barrackpur and Berhampur: outbursts occurred in other parts of the Lower Provinces, and, during the whole two years, Halliday's vigilance and administrative capacity were severely tried and never failed. He was held in high estimation by Lord Dalhousie, and had great influence with Lord Canning, who said of him, after the mutiny, that for many months he had been the 'right hand of the Government.' Halliday recorded a Minute on The Mutinies as they affected the Lower Provinces under the Government of Bengal. He had also to deal with the new conditions attending the creation of Bengal into a separate Lieutenant-Governorship, and arising from the great Education despatch of 1854 from England, important Rent and Revenue legislation, and the introduction of Railways. He received the thanks of Parliament for his mutiny services: was made K.C.B. in 1860: and was Member of the Council of India from 1868 to 1886: he died Oct. 22, 1901. Of lofty stature and splendid physique, Halliday appeared to be the embodiment of great power, an impression which was strengthened by whatever he said, or wrote."


Dictionary of Indian Biography by C E Buckland, 1906
As noted earlier, Halliday had served under Charles John ('Clemency') Canning (1812-1862), 1st Earl, Governor General of India from 1856. Charlotte, nee Stuart, Lady Canning had arrived with him in India, on her husband's appointment, as a flourishing, healthy woman. In Calcutta, she described her situation as being 'isolated to a degree I could never have imagined'. She kept a journal and wrote frequently to Queen Victoria, at one point describing 'strange and terrible outbreaks' of violence which were the start of the Indian Mutiny. The Countess began to look emaciated in 1861 before she died of malaria in her husband's arms and was buried in Barrackpore, West Bengal.
In Memories of Rugby and India, Sir Alexander J Arbuthnot remarked: - "Many years afterwards I read with much surprise a letter from Lady Canning to her mother, published in 'Two Noble Lives', in which she spoke in a somewhat contemptuous manner of Sir Frederick Halliday and his wife as 'mere Indians.' I believe such a description of them to have been extremely unfair, as Sir Frederick was thoroughly cosmopolitan in his views and opinions. In my judgement it is a pity to publish such superficial remarks, as,on better acquaintance with her new surroundings, Lady Canning's opinions probably underwent considerable modification."
Sir Frederick James Halliday lies buried in Brompton Cemetery - www.findagrave.com

General John Gustavus Halliday (1822 - 1917)
Born 9 May 1822 and baptised at Ewell 7 July 1822.
Image in old age at http://gospelhall.org/history/brethren-biographies/biography--93--general-halliday.html
"[Transferred 6 January 1883 to] Unemployed supernumerary list; b. 1822; 3rd s. of Thomas Halliday of Ewell, Surrey; educ: Switzerland; joined the Indian Army, in Madras, 1838; appointed to the Mysore Commission under Sir Mark Cubbon K.C.B. & served many years in Mysore; Vice-President, Victoria Institute. Address: 5, Church Terrace, Blackheath, S.E."

Indian Biographical Dictionary, 1915.
"John Gustavus had entered the military service of the Hon. East India Company as a cadet, and joined the 12th Madras Native Infantry at the age of sixteen. He served in various stations in the Madras Presidency until he was appointed to the Mysore Commission for the civil administration of Mysore. He was married in 1845 [at Tottenham] to his cousin, Miss Lucy Cotton, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Cotton, of Petrograd... [Promoted to rank of Captain 22 September 1845] On becoming Lieut.-Colonel [Brevet 25 September 1863] he reverted to military duty, commanding his old regiment in various stations in India and Burma, until he was promoted to Regimental Colonel in 1876, when he took up his residence in England, and lived for more than thirty years in Lee. [Maj. Gen. 18 July 1879 & Lieut. Gen 1 April 1882] He was promoted to the rank of full General in 1888 [On Unemployed Supernumerary List 1 December], and was the Senior General of the Indian Army. He was an accomplished linguist, having a thorough knowledge of French, German, and Hindustani; was well acquainted with Hebrew and Greek in Bible study, and possessed an extensive knowledge of various subjects connected with science, art, and literature, and was also gifted in water colour drawing."

Supplemented quotations from Gospel Hall dot org website
He died 4th February, 1917, at his residence, Church Terrace, Lee, Kent.

(B) Captain Michael Halliday, RN (1765 - 1829) of Epsom

"This officer was born in Dec. 1765, at St. Petersburg; where his father, a native of Dumfriesshire, N. B., practised as a Physician, and an inoculator of the small pox, after the introduction of that system into the Russian empire, by Baron Dimsdale. He entered the British naval service in Feb.

1782, as a Midshipman, on board the Africa of 64 guns; which ship formed part of the fleet under Sir Edward Hughes, in his last battle with M. de Suffrein, June 20, 1783; on which occasion Mr. Halliday received a slight wound in the arm. The total loss sustained by the Africa, was 5 killed and 25 wounded.

Mr. Halliday, after serving for a short time in a merchant vessel, completed his time as a Midshipman in the Crown 64, Fairy sloop of war, and Sprightly cutter. He then accepted a Lieutenancy on board the Twelve Apostles, a Russian first rate, and served under several Admirals ; one of whom, Povalishin, was killed in a general battle with the Swedes . At the commencement of the war between England and the French republic, he embarked as a Master's mate in the Nymphe frigate, commanded by the present Viscount Exmouth; his promotion to the rank of Lieutenant in the British navy took place about Oct. 1793.

Mr. Halliday was first Lieutenant of the Inspector sloop of war, during the West India campaign in 1794 ; and subsequently served in the Stag frigate, St. George, a second rate, and Phoebe of 44 guns, the latter commanded by Captain (now Sir Robert) Barlow, whom he gallantly seconded in the action with la Nereide, a French frigate, which surrendered after a running fight of some duration, and close action of forty-five minutes.

In July 1798, Lieutenant Halliday was made a Commander, and appointed to the Woolwich 44, armed en flute. On the 29th June in the following year, he obtained post rank in the Leander, a 50-gun ship, which had been re-captured from the French at Corfu, and restored to England by the Russians. During the greater part of the late war, Captain Halliday commanded the Sea Fencibles at Penzance."


Royal Naval Biographies by John Marshall, 1824
Captain Halliday also commanded HMS Hereux, 16 gun brig formerly the French Navy's Lynx during 1810.

On 23 November 1815, Thomas Cartwright Slack had died in a house fire leaving a widow and six children. Because his will had been lost in the blaze, the valuable estate became the subject of proceedings in the Prerogative Court, Slack and Others, by their Guardian, v Slack, brought by the relict, Mrs Jane Hester Slack. George Slack, in his Personal Memoirs of a Canadian Missionary wrote of his mother: -
"She was a woman of remarkable decision of character, prudence, sagacity, and a most affectionate and indulgent mother to her children. But finding after some years of widowhood the care and responsibility of bringing up a family of boys, too great for her unaided powers, and desiring to give them the advantage of a male guardian and counsellor, and being herself still young, she was induced to accept an offer of marriage from Capt. Michael Halliday of the Royal Navy. Captain Halliday was the son of Dr. William Halliday, physician to the Emperor of Russia, where his family were born. He himself during the short peace with France served in the Russian navy, in common with Sir Sydney Smith, and other British officers, as well as obtained a fair share of distinction in the service of his own country, being nearly at the head of the post captain's list at the time of his marriage with my mother. He died in 1829, leaving issue two children, a son Michael Frederick, who holds a situation in the Parliament Office of the House of Lords, and is still unmarried; and a daughter, Jane Meliora, married to John Halliday, Esq., an East India merchant residing in the neighbourhood of London. She has at present five children."
The marriage of Jane Hester Slack to Michael Halliday took place at Sevenoaks, Kent, 28 February 1821. Baptisms of the children from this union are found registered at St Martin's, Epsom - Michael Frederick (b. 18 April 1822) on 18 May 1822 & Jane Meliora (b. 15 June 1824), 24 July 1824

George Slack's memoirs also record that his mother had lived at Woodcote Place in Epsom. Research into the property once bearing the name but now known as Westgate House on Chalk Lane indicates that was not the place. Rather it seems to have been an estate called The Poplars on the 1867 OS Map which Sale Particulars from 1889 describe as "The very attractive freehold residential property known as 'Woodcote Place' now 'Woodcote Hall' - at the junction of South Street and Woodcote Road".

Michael Halliday died at Epsom in 1829, aged 63, described as Senior Captain Royal Navy. The death of Jane Hester Halliday, at Dean's Place, South Lambeth, 7 September 1843, was registered at Lambeth 9/1843.

Jane Meliora and Michael Frederick Halliday
Jane Halliday, then of Farnham Royal, Bucks, married John Halliday of Akyab, Burma. Her brother Michael Frederick Halliday, pre-Raphaelite painter who shared a studio with Holman Hunt, is the subject of an Oxford DNB article accessible through the Surrey Libraries website. Both John and Michael Frederick Halliday died in 1869. Mrs Halliday lived at Teddington, Middx., Chadton, near Radlett, Herts., and, from 1865, at Belmont Park, Lee. Her death, aged 89, appears to have been registered at Lewisham 9/1913.

On 21 May 1855, Ford Madox Brown wrote in his Diary: -
"In the evening the meeting [to discuss the possibility of an exhibition independent of the Royal Academy]. Halliday a sinecurist and gent; swell and hunchback* and artist combined; known chiefly as a friend of Millais and Hunt. Not at all bashful."
William Holman Hunt's memoirs, Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, 1914, contain a number of references to Michael Halliday: -
"I had met my friend Mike Halliday at Pera coming back from the Crimea, and we travelled together to Paris... I had been away over two years... It was now the beginning of February 1856. Halliday and I took a house together in Pimlico, in which we each found a studio, and arranged another in an upper room for Martineau, who from diffidence, had not got on well with his work without an adviser. Halliday, who had been originally nothing but an earnest amateur, had been taken in hand by Millais, and under his guidance the picture 'Measuring for the Wedding Ring' had been finished at Winchelsea... Mike Halliday, returning from Scotland, reported that Millais on occasions had openly remarked to Ruskin upon his want of display of interest in the occupations and entertainments of Mrs. Ruskin. Remonstrances grew into complaint, and gradually the guest found himself championing the lady against her legal lord and master. It was in the mood thus engendered that Millais had parted with the pair in December 1853...To console Gambart for his disappointment at the unpopularity of my picture, I introduced him to Halliday and his picture of 'Measuring for the Wedding Ring', which he at once purchased. It was destined to achieve a great popularity; indeed, an English engraving and a German piracy gave it a transient European reputation."
The Blind Basket Maker with his First Child
"The Blind Basket Maker with his First Child" oil on Canvas.
By Michael Frederick Halliday
Image Source http://www.wikigallery.org

Artful Protection against Midges
Punch, or the London Charivari, 12 November 1853, page 198, contained
an illustration from a wood engraving by John Leech derived from Millais'
sketch 'Artful Protection against Midges - A Valuable Hint to Sketchers from Nature'.
The kilted figure on the left is reported to have been Millais' pupil and friend,
the artist Michael Halliday, in adopted native attire.

Brian Bouchard - © December 2011



* "In the history of Messrs. Briggs [John Leech] and Tom Noddy [Michael Halliday] these gentlemen present themselves in positions of laughable difficulty. Laugh at them we certainly do, but we never despise them; for do they not show the good qualities of courage and fortitude? Tom Noddy is thrown from his horse; nothing daunted,he instantly remounts. He drops his whip; he recovers it:is thrown again,and this time his horse gallops off; but though the little hunter pursues as fast as his little legs can go, the horse has the best of it and escapes. An ordinary being would despair and bemoan his loss; not so Tom Noddy, who gives up the pursuit for a time, and being no doubt a little tired,lights a cigar as he sits upon a stile. When refreshed by tobacco and repose he resumes his horse-chase, and ultimately succeeds in finding the animal in the possession of a rustic, who had amused himself by nearly galloping him to death. Tom Noddy is a delightful little creature; his numerous escapades are plentiful in 'Pictures of Life and Character', and will be for all time a hearty, healthy pleasure to all who study them.
Tom Noddy, in Punch - Click image to enlarge
Tom Noddy, in Punch - Click image to enlarge

Many attempts were made to betray Leech into personality. Subjects were suggested, and offers were made to him, by persons who had real or imaginary grievances,to place well-known public characters in positions ridiculous or contemptible. Those attempts would not have been made if the proposers had known Leech; such suggestions were always rejected,and sometimes in terms very unpleasant to their proposers. I was not aware that Tom Noddy had a prototype until I was informed by my old friend, Mr Holman Hunt,in a paper of Leech reminiscences, originally intended for this memoir, that Mike Halliday, a man I knew well forty years ago,was the original Tom Noddy. Halliday's figure was intended for an ordinary-sized man,but when Nature had produced his head and shoulders she seemed to have changed her intention, and the rest of his figure was that of a diminutive form, a full foot shorter altogether than an ordinary middle-sized man. When I first became acquainted with Halliday he was a clerk in the House of Lords. 'He then', says Holman Hunt, 'took to poetry, to love that never found its earthly close, and to our art for he found time for all. So well did he succeed in picture-making that he once completed an oil-painting of two lovers sitting under a ruined abbey window,habited in contemporary costume,the gentleman intent on taking the size of the lady's marriage-finger'.
Tom Noddy, in Punch - Click image to enlarge
Tom Noddy, in Punch - Click image to enlarge

I remember this picture being exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1856; I thought highly of it,and looked, but in vain, for a repetition of a success so complete as to cause the purchase of the picture by a well-known dealer, who had an engraving made from it, the print meeting with extensive popularity. Halliday's face was a very plain one, but totally unlike that of Tom Noddy: his hair was pale yellow, 'a vapoury moustache joining a soft beard, long but sparse whiskers'; he was slightly lame, and altogether an elf-like quaintness in his appearance made him quite a remarkable little figure.
Tom Noddy, in Punch - Click image to enlarge
Tom Noddy, in Punch - Click image to enlarge

'Leech', says Mr. Hunt, 'became intimate with him, and so under many names and ingenious disguises did Leech's public make his acquaintance-Tom Noddy, and a variety of names he figured under. Leech told of an expedition which formed a small party with Halliday one evening in the country, where there was to be a meet with the hounds next morning. As they dined and chatted,the attractions became greater every minute to the cavalier instincts of Halliday's youth. Leech and the others had horses coming, and on inquiry it was found that it would be possible for Mike to find a mount at hand,and so it was pointed out that he could sleep there and have a good day on the morrow. 'No',said Halliday, 'I must find a train from town in time to be at the cover'. 'Why, in the name of mystery, why go to town?' said they all. But all was useless the little man would go,and would come back by a train starting very early from town;and so,to the bewilderment of all, he did. The next morning the friends went to see the train come in. As it stopped,down jumped the little Nimrod, decked out in carefully preserved pink, well-stained cords, with top-boots, and falling over the rim a tassel of ribbons in emulation of Sixteen-stringed Jack, as dandy hunting-men had dressed twenty years before. He was capped with hunting-helmet, and he carried a magnificent riding-whip in hand. Seeing him thus walking and skipping with that outward turn of the feet, which is denominated in horsey parlance 'dishing',Leech said that with all the desire in the world to treat the matter with supreme seriousness, as Halliday did, it was almost impossible for him to curb his provoked risibility.

Leech, in speaking of Halliday at a party, of which Holman Hunt made one, said:- 'Mike is a mine of resource to me. Whenever I am in difficulties I can remember something of him that it is possible to turn into a 'subject';and,he added earnestly, 'I do hope he never recognises the resemblance, for I often put some point to prevent recognition.

The surprise at this innocence made the whole table burst into laughter, but in undeceiving Leech we were able to assure him that Halliday was by no means pained by the darts which had struck him; that he wore them proudly as decorations, and so disarmed the ill-nature that might be disposed to take advantage of the chance. He often achieved this by drawing the attention of his visitors to the last addition to his gallery of Punch portraits,exhibited on the walls of his studio.

It must have been from some peculiarity of dress or manner, to which Halliday's attention was called by 'a candid friend',that he discovered that, in drawing Tom Noddy, Leech 'had him in his eye'; for, as I said before, his face was as unlike that of Tom Noddy as Leech's own face was unlike the round, good-humoured physiognomy of Mr. Briggs,..."

John Leech, his life and work, Vol. 2, by William Powell Firth RA, 1891


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