THE LEVICKS

Victorian Studio Photos
Victorian Studio Photos


The Levicks first surfaced in Epsom in the 1851 census as residents of Clay Hill House and, I understand, this was a temporary abode until Hookfield had been completely rebuilt, which happened in 1858. They had been in Australia before that, in connection with Mr Levick's business as a colonial merchant.

The business started out as Joseph Levick & Son, which manufactured knives of all descriptions, magnets and pocket combs and it was a 'general dealer in all items of Sheffield manufacture for exportation'. This Joseph expired in Sheffield, aged 86, on 9 November 1840. His son, Joseph Junior, had been born in about 1787 and was the '& Son' of the firm. Junior retired from the English end of the business quite early on and eventually moved to the Isle of Wight, but he died at the Epsom house of his son, James, on 29 January 1855; there were other children, but we shall stick with James, who was born in Sheffield in 1815; he married Averilda Newbold (born 1818, daughter of Robert and Ann Newbold of Coventry) on 29 April 1839. Coventry is something of a red herring, since the Newbolds had originally been Yorkshire folk who were involved in the manufacture of cutting tools. The Rodgers family of Sheffield was also very relevant to the cutlery plot and the forename Averilda came from the Rodgers clan. There is a fascinating history of the Rodgers/Newbold business on the website of Egginton Group, the eventual successors to the brands.

James Levick, photographed in Constantinople 1868
James Levick, photographed in Constantinople 1868
Image courtesy of Diana and Bernie Crumpler © 2019

Mrs Averilda Levick
Mrs Averilda Levick
Image courtesy of Diana and Bernie Crumpler © 2019

James and Averilda started their family in Sheffield, continued in Sydney, Australia and then in Epsom, so here is the offspring list.

NameBornMarriedDied
Ann Helen23.9.1842 Sheffield1864 - Charles Hermann Goschen (died 1915)28.11.1926 Chelsea
Herbert7.6.1844 Eccleshall Bierlow1873 - Edith Frances Gerard (died 1895)25.5.1883 Hunter's Hill. Sydney
Emmeline4.1.1846 Sydney1866 - Henry Willis Jnr (died 1926)20.9.1921 Epsom
Frederick5.6.1847 SydneyAnna Maria Jennings (died 1894)6.8.1902 Johannesburg
Percy James21.6.1850 Epsom1875 - Helen Mary Hamilton (died 1941)7.8.1910 Killara, Sydney
Florence22.11.1851 Epsom1875 - William Owen (later Sir William - died 1912)27.8.1876 Hunter's Hill
Frank12.10.1853 Epsom1877 - Mary Longfield Laycock (died 1926)16.11.1889 Balaclava, Melbourne
Sydney Bernard4.7.1858 Epsom1887 - Lucy Margaret Blaxland (died 1941) 1.10.1928 Sydney

I shall continue with the children later on.

The Levick Businesses

There were Levick businesses in Sheffield, London, South Africa and Australia. The Cape Town operation can be tied to James's father, Joseph, since the South African Commercial Advertiser of 14 April 1855 carried the following notice.
DIED on the 29th January last at Epsom, at the Residence of his son, James LEVICK Esq, after a short but severe illness, Joseph LEVICK Sen Esq, aged 68 years, long a resident in Cape Town; deeply and sincerely regretted by his numerous Relatives and Friends. Cape Town, 13th April 1855.
In the 1820s the Cape Town operation was called Joseph Levick & Co, located at 25 Burg Street, and they sold just about anything you could want - cutlery, dinnerware, cookware, tools etc etc. James seems to have been in South Africa at some time during his boyhood. One interesting point is that he dived straight into the business side of things rather than serving a long apprenticeship in learning how to make the products, so he was hands-on with logistics and sales from the start.

There were quite a few Levick businesses involving various members of the family and other partners. James had extensive interests in Sydney, but things started to go awry in the 1860s. By 1865 he was fairly prominent in London and became a magistrate for the City of Westminster; he was also a Governor of the Credit Foncier and Mobilier of England. Nobody is sure how James lost much of his fortune but Credit Foncier was liquidated in 1866, following a swindle by one of the partners, and the company was re-formed as a new entity. (There is an interesting account of the original firm's business dealings, especially in connection with the Millwall Docks, at British History Online.)

What happened next

Averilda died from a stroke at Hookfield on 9 August 1867, aged 48; she was buried at Norwood. James left Epsom and moved to Hill House, Streatham Common, which was an equally impressive abode. Then, on 23 April 1870 at St Mary's, Wimbledon, he married Mrs Elizabeth Mary Burrup (née Tudway), widow of the Reverend Henry de Wint Burrup. Elizabeth had been destined for a very different way of life. Almost immediately after the wedding in 1861 Henry set off for Africa, the destination being a mission station in Magomero, Nyasaland (now Malawi). The conditions were very challenging for English migrants, malaria and other hazards being rife, and Henry died of fever early in 1862. Curiously, all of this had an indirect connection with Epsom, since the Livingstones, David and Mary, were involved with this mission project and Mrs Mary Livingstone, plus children, had been in Epsom earlier on (see The Cedars). In fact, Mrs Livingstone lasted barely longer than Henry Burrup, dying of malaria in April 1862.

So, Elizabeth returned to England after this awful misadventure and in due course married James Levick, whereupon they emigrated to Australia, residing at Hunter's Hill, Sydney. There were further Levick children and I will tell you more about Elizabeth and her offspring at the end of this tale. James died of a heart embolism and gangrene of the foot on 12 November 1883 and was buried at St Anne's, Ryde (a suburb of Sydney).

Ann Helen Levick

Ann was one of the two children who did not emigrate. She married merchant Charles Hermann Goschen at St Giles, Ashtead on 3 February 1864. Charles was born in Eltham, Kent in 1839, the son of William Henry (originally Wilhelm Heinrich) Goschen, who was from Germany but became a naturalised British subject. William founded the merchant banking firm of Frühling & Goschen, of Leipzig and London, in 1815 (his eldest son, George, became the 1st Viscount Goschen, having been Chancellor of the Exchequer and First Lord of the Admiralty). The Goschens were seriously successful in business, with wide international interests. Charles was a partner in the firm and became a Director of the Bank of England, leaving about £400,000 (roughly £28 million in current money) when he died in 1915; Ann died in 1926. The children were Florence Madeline (1869-1957, unmarried), Catherine (1870-75), Mabel (1871-1963, married solicitor John Gerard Cobb), Sybil (c.1877 - 1933, married John Reginald Head), Charles Henry (1879 - 1939, married Amy Beatrice Gull) and Kenneth (1882 -1939, married Violet Micklem).

Herbert Levick

Herbert Levick, photographed c.1862/3.
Herbert Levick, photographed c.1862/3.
Photograph by Cuthbert John Hopkins, courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

In 1860 James Levick's partner in the Sydney operation died and Herbert went out to Australia with his father to wind up the partnership and re-establish the business. Herbert was running the operation in Melbourne but he left for home in late 1861 and was probably in England until 1864, when he returned to Melbourne: this part of the business ceased to trade soon afterwards and Herbert then moved to Sydney to manage part of the operation there.

Herbert was consumptive and there is speculation that he might have wanted to move to the Fijian Islands for health reasons, but, whatever the reason, he did just that, establishing a store at Lomaloma on the island of Vanua Balavu and a plantation on the fairly nearby (as the seabird flies) island of Cicia.

Herbert married Edith Frances Gerard at Hunter's Hill on 17 January 1874 and they returned to Lomaloma, where three children were born. By 1880 he was unwell, so sold the store and the family moved back to Sydney, where a fourth child arrived (she unfortunately died of diphtheria in 1884). Herbert died of pulmonary consumption on 25 May 1883. Edith eventually contracted cancer of the uterus and expired in 1895. The surviving children were Rosalie Averilda Gerard (1875-1957, married Alfred George Taylor Arguimbeau), Elmore Gerard (1877-1960, married Kathleen Nannie Underwood) and Norbury Newbold Gerard (1881-1957, married Edith Chippingdale). Elmore managed tea plantations in India, as did Norbury, and served in the British Forces during World War 1.

Emmeline Levick

Emmeline married Henry Willis Junior of Horton Lodge and stayed in Epsom: you can meet her in our article on the Willis Family.

Frederick Levick

Frederick Levick.
Frederick Levick.
Photograph by Cuthbert John Hopkins, courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

Frederick was, if you like, the odd one out of the boys, in that he didn't go to Australia. He was educated at Eton from 1861 to 1864 and in about 1870 he emigrated to South Africa. Our sources think that he was in ironmongery for one of the Levick businesses, but that it ceased to exist and he then became an accountant. He had married Anna Maria Jennings at Port Elizabeth in 1872 and they moved to Johannesburg in 1893. Anna Maria has been described as 'sickly' and it is presumed that she was consumptive: she died in 1894, leaving seven children. For a time the eldest daughter, Florrie, looked after the younger ones, but when she married and moved away Frederick struggled to cope, both practically and financially. It is clear from a letter that he wrote to Florrie after making his will that he loved his children dearly and regretted having virtually nothing to leave them. He died on 6 August 1902 of a brain fever and, after his debts were paid, his estate amounted to just £118.

Percy James Levick

Percy James and Frank Levick.
Percy James and Frank Levick.
Photograph by Cuthbert John Hopkins, courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

We are not completely sure which of the dapper young gents in the photo is Percy, but we are confident that they are Percy and Frank. Percy married Helen Mary Hamilton, a Glaswegian, in 1875 and they went out to Sydney, where Percy became a mercantile broker. The couple had just one child, Margaret Gwendoline, born in 1877 at Hunter's Hill (Margaret married Eustace Octavius Herbert Doney and died in 1948). Percy died of heart failure on 7 August 1910, but Helen survived until 1941.

Florence Levick

Florence Levick, photographed in Constantinople 1868
Florence Levick, photographed in Constantinople 1868
Image courtesy of Diana and Bernie Crumpler © 2019

Florence married barrister William Owen, who was born in County Wexford on 4 November 1834. The wedding took place at Hunter's Hill on 3 July 1875. William was a widower, whose first wife had been Elizabeth Charlotte Carey, by whom he had two sons. Elizabeth and her elder son were lost in the wreck of the SS London, which occurred in the Bay of Biscay on 11 January 1866. The younger son, Langer, was not on board and survived to become a knighted judge like his father. Details of William and Langer Meade Owen can be found in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

The bench of the New South Wales Supreme Court
The bench of the New South Wales Supreme Court, pictured in 1908,
the year of Sir William Owen's retirement: he is third from left.
Image © State of New South Wales (Department of Justice) and licensed under this Creative Commons Licence

Sadly, Florence died just over a year after her marriage, aged only 24.

Frank Levick

As I said earlier, we are not sure which is which of the two lads in the photo, but we do have a second pose of them.

Percy James and Frank Levick.
Percy James and Frank Levick.
Photograph by Cuthbert John Hopkins, courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

We also have a photo which is believed to show Frank, taken on the 1868 Constantinople trip, plus another image cropped from it.

Group photo, Constantinople 1868.
Group photo, Constantinople 1868.
James Levick is just left of centre on the front row and
the young man on the floor is probably Frank.
Image courtesy of Diana and Bernie Crumpler © 2019

Cropped section of the Constantinople group photo
Cropped section of the Constantinople group photo, showing James and (hopefully) Frank Levick
Image courtesy of Diana and Bernie Crumpler © 2019

Frank was an insurance agent/broker in Sydney; he married Mary Longfield Laycock in 1877 but there were no children. He died in Balaclava, a suburb of Melbourne, on 16 November 1889, aged only 36. Mary survived until 1926.

Sydney Bernard Levick

Sydney was prominent in Australian athletics and participated in local politics. In 1887 he married Lucy Margaret Blaxland, who was from a family of pioneers, originally English, who went out to Australia in the early days of its development and there is a good account of this in the Australian Dictionary of Biography. It seems that there were at least three children, who were Bernard Blaxland (1889-1967), Violet Blaxland (1891-1975, then Mrs Chapman) and Claude Blaxland (1896-1953). Claude became an ear, nose and throat specialist in Harley Street and died in England.

Sydney died on 1 October 1928 and Lucy in 1941.

Mrs Elizabeth Mary Levick

Contrary to what you might expect, Elizabeth upped sticks in Australia and returned to her roots in England, bringing her three surviving children (two had died in infancy) with her: these were Lionel Tudway (1872), Guy Hamilton Tudway (1876) and Evelyn Mary (1878). Lionel became a schoolmaster in North East England and died on board a steamship headed for Melbourne on 29 December 1911; his wife, Constance, had predeceased him in 1910. Evelyn Mary married the Reverend John Henry Collin Morson: her death was registered at Preston, Lancashire in the first quarter of 1923. As for Guy, he married Florence Blanche Raper and, at some point after his mother's death, he went back to Australia, where he farmed; he died on 1 August 1965 in Victoria, Australia.

Mrs Elizabeth Mary Levick died in Cheltenham on 23 February 1907.

With thanks to Diana and Bernie Crumpler for supplying most of the material in this article and to Terry Friday for permission to use material from his various and extensive Epsom Common articles.

Linda Jackson 2019