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HistoricaLeigh|:1066 and all that...
What do you know about Hastings? We all know there was a battle in 1066 of course, but Hastings has some interesting similarities with Leigh. It is of course a fishing port, it has a St Clement’s Church, it was involved in the defence of England against the Spanish Armada and has smugglers and famous writers (Robert Tressel – The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists).
F T Cotgrove, was a Hairdresser and Perfumer of 3 Trinity Street, Hastings. Frederick Thomas Cotgrove was the son of William (Judgement) Cotgrove born in 1857 in Leigh. William, his father, was a well known figure in Leigh and commemorated, for tragic reasons.
In 1874 William and his eldest son were drowned opposite North Woolwich in the bawley, Requittal within sight of 12 other smacks. All were sailing home from market. The fishermen tried to recover the bodies, boat and the cash from sale of fish.
On 22 January 1875 the body of William Cotgrove from the smack Requital was recovered from the Thames at North Woolwich. A second body also found.
Later that year St Clement’s saw the installation of glass window by Mayor of London on the north side of Church in memory of William Cotgrove junior who died with his father. So at the age of 17 Frederick lost his father and older brother to the Thames – perhaps that is why instead of entering the fishing trade, like so many Cotgroves before and after him, he chose a different career and became a hairdresser and perfumer.
Fred seems to have been a bit of a wanderer, he may have been under butler to the Baroness Huntingtower at 29 Chesham Place, London in 1881.
He married in 1885 in Southwark to Emily Parsons and had two children. By 1891 they were in Hastings. Now here’s another coincidence, Emily was born in Leigh in Surrey. Perhaps that was the attraction. So it seems by 1890 Frederick had settled in Hastings.
Fred made and repaired all kinds of ornamental hair as a speciality. A billhead in my possession is made out to a Miss M Coleman for adding grey hair to new frame – I would have thought most people wanted grey hair taken away but Miss Coleman paid 12 shillings and sixpence ( 62 ½ pence ) for the privilege – that will hardly get you a squirt of shampoo nowadays.
This article is by Carole Mulroney of Leigh Lives - www.leighlives.co.uk
To read all of Carole's previous article of the History of our little town, click here