t_w_boneThomas William Bone was born in Warwick on the 15th November 1850 and lived with his parents Thomas William Bromidge and Maria Bone and an elder brother Albert Robert, born in 1849, at 124 Parkes Street, Saltisford Warwick.

Early Life

His father had also been born in Saltisford Warwick in 1828 and was living in Saltisford when he married Maria Moore in 1848 at Brook Street Chapel, Warwick. Maria’s parents, Thomas’s grandparents, were Robert and Mary Moore who lived at 45 West Street Warwick. Thomas had an Auntie Ann and an Uncle John on his mother’s side that also lived in Warwick. Before his father had married Maria Moore he had worked as a clerk in a Railway office but after their marriage went to work with Maria’s father Robert, who was a Coal Dealer in Warwick.

When Thomas and his brother were born in 1849 and 1850 a cholera epidemic was sweeping Warwick Leamington and Coventry with very many lives being lost. Luckily Thomas and his brother Albert were not affected by the epidemic. Although the worst of the cholera cases had been reported around 1849 in 1850 the conditions around Warwick were still devastating. Nuisance Officers had been appointed and they made rounds in the town looking for people who had the disease to remove them from their homes before they spread the disease further. Although no cholera cases were found in the Leamington area by 1850 many cases of “diarrhoea” were still being reported. Many cholera cases had been classed as diarrhoea to save the reputation of Leamington by having to report that “there was cholera in the town”. Not much was done to improve the living conditions of the poor until 1852 when a Local Board of Health was established.

In 1852 his parents gave birth to a daughter Louise Ann who sadly died in 1853. It may have been as a result of the poor conditions around at this time. In 1854 another sister was born, named Annie Maria. Two years after this, when Thomas was about 6 yrs of age his parents moved the family, himself and his brother and sister, to Coventry. From the time that he was born his father had been working in Warwick as a Coal Dealer with his grandfather Robert Moore. The family moved to Coventry now because his father had taken a job in Railway Ticket Collection. His father was now working for the Railway again, having worked for them as a clerk before he married Maria. Now in Coventry working for the Railway they lived at Railway Cottages, Warwick Road. Coventry. Thomas and his brother both attended school in Coventry and whilst living there another brother and sister were born named John Henry, born in 1856 and Emily, born in 1858.

Move to Leamington

When Thomas was about 15 yrs old the family moved to Leamington. The family moved to Leamington because in 1865 his father had taken on the position of Relieving Officer for the Warwick Union.

Their life changed due to his father’s occupation of Relieving Officer, now becoming one of advantage. The position his father held was considered “A Person of Note and Social Standing” and he was classed as a “Gentleman” of the Town. His father’s position since 1865 would have given the family a good living standard. However, due to his father’s occupation Thomas would also have seen and understood the living conditions of the poor of the Town and seen the misery and hardship that the people suffered. He would have been involved in the life his father led of visiting the poor and sick, and seen the people who came to the house to see his father in his role of Relieving Officer. His father’s duty as a Relieving Officer was to visit the poor and help by assessing the living conditions in which they lived. He assessed them in order to help with relieving their conditions and he dealt with the local Medical Officer and the Workhouse. He helped out the paupers and poor unable to work. His father travelled all over his district and worked under the Leamington District of the Warwick Union and was a member of the “Guardians of Leamington” who were the people implementing the Poor Law in Leamington. This Law was bought in to improve the living conditions of the poor. His “District” covered a large area including Leamington Priors and many of the surrounding villages where he travelled by horse or horse drawn carriage or trap to visit those in need of help.

Another sister Ada Hannah was born in 1866 in Edmoncote, (a part of Leamington now Emscote,) then from here they moved on to live in Plymouth Place.

Working Life

When Thomas was of an age to leave school and learn a trade he went to train as a Decorative Artist under Artist Tony Dury of Warwick. Tony Dury was a renowned French artist who had been painter to the Late Louie Philippe of France. He had also been Decorator to the Royal Pavilion at Brighton; the celebrated ceiling of St Mary’s Church, Moorefield’s, London; and several Churches, Public Buildings and Theatres in both England and France.

In 1870 when Thomas was 19 his parents had another baby, born around Aug 1870, who they named Arthur Samuel.

Under Artist Tony Dury, Thomas learnt his trade and then travelled to London and the Provinces to gain experience. In 1871 aged 21 he was living as a border in the house of Mr and Mrs Flint and family at 13 Windsor Street, Brighton. Here he was working as a Decorative Artist

During this time his parents moved from Plymouth Place and were, in March 1871, living at 7 Wise Street. Baby brother Arthur Samuel was now seven months old.

In the 1871 Census his parents Thomas and Maria lived at 7 Wise Street, Leamington Priors with their eldest daughter Annie Maria aged 17, who was working as a Tobacconists shopmonger, son John Henry aged 15, who was a painter’s apprentice and later became a Master Plumber, and their three younger children Emily, Ada and baby Arthur Samuel. During 1871-2 they moved to 14 Wise Street and from then on remained at this address. No 14 Wise Street was a Relief Pay Station and the house went with his father’s job of Relieving Officer for the Leamington District of the Warwick Union

In 1872 Thomas’s elder brother Albert Robert, who was a General Factor /Tobacconist, married Clara Stevenson in Dudley. They made their home at 1 Birmingham Road, Oldbury, where Thomas’s first niece Annie Clara was born in 1873.

Also in 1873 another sister, Edith Clara, his parent’s last child, was born. Thomas now had eight living brothers and sisters. Two years later during 1875 his sister Annie Maria married Samuel Holloway. Samuel was born in Oldbury but they married in Reading. Berkshire and lived at Park Road, Abingdon St Helen. Samuel was an Ironmonger. It is possible that Annie Maria had worked with her brother Albert in his tobacconists shop and met Samuel in Oldbury. In later years they moved back to Leamington Priors with their children Annie Emily and Alfred. Holloway

art_deco_gildersWhen Thomas returned from his travels he went to live at his parent’s home at 14 Wise Street Leamington and from there stared a business with his younger brother John Henry. John Henry, now aged 21, had trained as a painter and plumber. The business they started together was Master House Decorators, doing Painting and Decorating, gilding and restoring oil paintings.

They advertised in the local newspapers and Theatre programmes and advertised as TW & JH BONE


e_a_boneThomas then met Elizabeth Ann Westbury. Elizabeth Ann Westbury was born at Town Green, Rothley Leicestershire in 1848/9. Her parents were James and Ann Westbury. In 1851 aged 2 she had 4 sisters, Emma aged 8, Sophia aged 6, Sarah aged 4, and a baby sister Caroline born in 1851.Her father was an agricultural labourer in Rothley, a village near Barrow in Soar outside of Leicester.

As Elizabeth’s father was a farm worker she would have spent her early years living in the village. The family would have lived a village life that was either very poor or one surviving well on fresh grown products from the farm, depending on their circumstances. By the time she reached 13 she had been sent off as a servant, as were many young girls of her age. This was to help supplement the family income.

shop_advertElizabeth at the age of 22 in 1871 was a servant to Mr Charles Pratt aged 46 living at 10 London Road, Leicester. He owned a shop and was a Dealer in fine Art and a Picture Dealer. She was employed by Mr Charles Pratt and so moved with him when he moved to Leamington and opened a shop at 5 Spencer Street Leamington Priors. The shop sold Old china, glass and earthenware and Charles remained a Picture Dealer. During the years 1875 and 1876 they were living at 5 Spencer Street above the shop and then during 1877-1878 they were living at No 9 Spencer Street, running an Antique shop. Thomas, being a picture restorer would have come in contact with Charles Pratt and Elizabeth through his work. Thomas and his brother John Henry had moved their business and were now living at 68 Clarendon Street

Elizabeth was living at 9 Spencer Street, working for Charles Pratt when she married Thomas William Bone on 13th February 1879 in the Parish Church. The service was conducted by the Rev. JW Leigh.

After their marriage Thomas moved into 9 Spencer Street. Thomas continued running his business with John Henry while Elizabeth continued to help run the Antique shop. Later they took over the business from Charles Pratt, who may have died around 1880. In 1881, in the census, Thomas and Elizabeth were both living at 9 Spencer Street and were both Dealers in Fine Art. The shop was called The Old Curiosity Shop.

Prior to 1880 his father Thomas W B Bone had also taken on, along with his other duties, the position of Vaccination Officer and was also a School Attendance Officer to schools in his district. Since 1877 he had became a Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages and in 1874 became Treasurer of Spencer Street Church. Thomas’s father was very involved with the Spencer Street church, which had strong links with Brook Street Chapel in Warwick where they were married. and remained so for 16 years up until his death. He was very well known in Leamington both by the rich and poor.

Thomas and Elizabeth become well known both as shopkeepers and through Thomas’s Decorators business, and he as son of the Relieving Officer. They advertised their businesses in all the local papers and Theatre programmes and regularly attended the Theatre and social events in Leamington.

Leamington in the late 1800’s was still a fashionable town to live in. The well-to-do upper classes of the town lived in their fashionable houses situated in the towns many fine terraces, squares and crescents. Their lives were comfortable and leisurely as, with a cheap and plentiful supply of Domestic Servants, they could spend much of their time shopping in the smart Parade, strolling through the Jephson and Pump Room Gardens, and socializing while partaking of coffee, tea and even the Spa water at the popular Pump Room. Leamington Spa continued to be a successful inland resort for summer visitors, these staying at large hotels such as the Regent, Clarendon, Manor House and Crown; they also added their numbers to the well-dressed throng whose main aim was to enjoy the delightful amenities of the Spa and surrounding district. Life in the early 1900’s for the working classes however was not so easy. Labouring for long hours and poor pay, they had little time or money for leisure and entertainment and their standard of living was indeed low. Their homes were in crowded back-to-back houses in poorer areas and streets – many-of these being immediately behind the splendid terraces of the town centre. Conditions for the ordinary folk were not good, yet, by being in high-density housing areas, they were a closely-knit and happy people. The lively community spirit in adversity and in good times has now been lost for ever as the old, poor streets have been demolished and the people moved away to new estates on the outskirts of the town. Social life was indeed simple but enjoyed to the full in a strong bond of togetherness. Thomas’s father in his job as a Relieving Officer visited and looked after the poorer people of the town and as such Thomas would have known the conditions in which they were living and would have been involved through his father’s work. In his own work, however, as a Master House Decorator and Oil Painting restorer he worked for the richer section of the town and would visit the homes of the wealthy.


In 1882 Elizabeth Ann gave birth to their first son William Charles. In 1887 they had a daughter Mabel Elizabeth. By 1891, so that Elizabeth could continue running the Antique shop, they had living with them a servant, named Edith M Windsor who was aged 16. She was born in Long Itchington in 1875 (registered in Southam district). Her full name was Etheline Edith M Windsor. She married Mark Wing in March 1892, in Southam, (registered in Rugby district which Southam came under). Thomas and Elizabeth did not have anymore children after Mabel.

Their children may have attended Spencer Street Sunday School, at the Spencer Street Congregational Church, where their grandfather was treasurer. There had once been a school in the basement of the Church where the pupils had there lessons amongst the tombs. Later on a new schoolroom was built onto the back of the church but the school later moved, however the Sunday school continued there. Thomas, Elizabeth and their family would attend church with his parents Thomas and Maria. Also their servant Edith would have attended as it was a condition of employment for servants to attend church on a Sunday.

Growth of Leamington

Spencer Street Congregational Church was opened on 21 July 1836. Spencer Street was then just a rough, unmetalled track and Leamington Priors had been just a small village. The sleepy village of about 1800 consisted of a Manor House, three farms, approximately fifty labourer’s cottages, a small church with it’s Vicarage, a tiny Post Office, two Inns; the Dog and the Bowling Green, a water mill, a smithy and wheel-wright’s shop, a Parish Poor House, a market, a set of stocks, a duck pond and last but not least a humble spring of mineral water on waste ground near the church.

The population grew over the following years as more mineral water, saline springs were discovered and people started visiting the town to take the waters. Landowners, like Mr Wise, started building Bath houses, hotels and Lodging houses to cater for their stay. Leamington became a fashionable town to visit for your health and to take the waters.. Spencer Street grew with the building of properties between the New Congregational church and the Old Parish Church at the other end of the Street by the original Spring. The population grew as wealthy people moved into the town to take up residence. As The Old Town on the south of the river Leam expanded the New Town developed with the building of a bridge and the Parade. New Villas, crescents and squares were built to accommodate these affluent residents.

In 1865 when Thomas moved to Leamington with his family from Coventry the population was 17,000. By the time he died the population had reached around 30,000.

Thomas and Elizabeth in Spencer Street lived in the Old Town and Spencer Street now offered many shops and trades, with both a lodging house and a hotel between the Congregational Church and the Old Parish Church.

Father’s Death

On 23rd November 1890 Thomas’s father died at 14 Wise Street after an operation. He had worked as a Relieving Officer and Registrar right up to his death. His funereal was held at Spencer Street Church at 2.30 on Thursday 27th November and he was buried at The New Leamington Cemetary, in Brunswick Street. After his father’s death his mother Maria moved from 14 Wise Street to South View, 27 Clarendon Avenue with her unmarried children, Emily, Ada, Arthur and Edith. This was because they had to move out of 14 Wise Street because a new Relieving officer had been appointed to take over TWB Bone’s District, and the house being a Sub Pay Station for the Warwick Union came with the job of Relieving Officer. Maria was classed as “a person of own means” which meant that she had enough money to live on. They had a servant Daisy Sewell aged 17 living in (born 1884) and son Arthur was working as a grocers assistant. At the age of 17, in June 1899, Thomas’s son, William Charles left Leamington to become an apprentice ironmonger to George Evans of Oswestry. Thomas signed a debenture for a period of three years at a cost of £25 for Williams’s apprenticeship.

Death of Elizabeth

In 1901, while son William was in Oswestry, Thomas’s wife Elizabeth died on 6th March. Elizabeth as an Antique dealer would regularly visit auctions to purchase furniture and items for the shop. One day while at an auction a wardrobe fell on her. This resulted in her death. She spent three months in a coma before passing away with Thomas her husband by her side She died at 9 Spencer Street and was buried on the 11th March at Leamington cemetery in Brunswick Street. She was buried in a grave next to her father-in-law Thomas William Bromidge Bone. A year later, on 14th February 1902, Thomas’s mother Maria died and was buried in the grave with his father. His sisters Emily and Ada had both married after his father’s death leaving only the youngest sister Edith still unmarried living with his mother. His elder brother Albert Robert was living in West Bromwich with his wife Clara. His sister Annie Maria Holloway was married with children and was now living in Leamington where her husband ran an Ironmongers shop in Warwick Street. Sister Emily had married John Tilley, a furniture dealer in 1893, and was living at 68 Clarendon Street with her brother Arthur Samuel, running a Furniture Business and Ada Hannah had married John Gowling in 1895. His brother John Henry was now living at 101-103 Warwick Street .John Henry had married Ada Jane Pavier in 1885 and still worked with Thomas in their Decorators business. Most of his family lived locally to Thomas who was now a widower. His mother left a will leaving assets in a trust for the benefit of her children. Unmarried daughter Edith was to have her house in Clarendon Avenue. Widower Thomas and daughter Mabel aged 14, remained at 9 Spencer Street Mabel learnt to become a silversmith and looked after the shop with her father; Thomas also had his Decorators business to continue running. Living with them was a servant Jane Heath, aged 22, (born in 1879).

William’s Married Life

w_c_boneIn 1906 son William Charles, who was now working in Coventry for Ironmongers Mathew Huxley and Watson, married Lily Maria Shipp. He was living at 44 Croft Street when he married on 10th March 1906 at Wesleyan Chapel, Coventry. Lily Shipp was from Northampton and her father, deceased, had been an Upholsterer and Furniture Dealer. In 1906 Thomas’s first grandchild Edith was born and then in 1907 a second granddaughter Violet.

Thomas’s third granddaughter, Eileen Elizabeth, was born on 17th March 1911.

Remarriage of Thomas

In 1912, aged 62, Thomas remarried. He married Louisa Annie Wallace, aged 51 born in Sunderland in 1861, in Spencer Street Church. Louisa was living in Willes Terrace Leamington and so moved into 9 Spencer Street on their marriage. In 1914 war broke out and his son William Charles joined the Army medical corps and went off to war.

female_bone_familyThe war lasted four years, until 1918. Before and after the war William and Lily with their girls were regular visitors to 9 Spencer Street to see their grandfather.

In 1918 after Williams return from the war William and Lily had their last child Maureen (Peggy) and continued to visit Thomas and Louisa Annie and Mabel. Thomas later became ill and spent a lot of time in bed. His grandchildren would visit and all sit on his bed. Lily used to dress them all in white with ribbons in their hair and Thomas used to call them his little angels.

Death of Thomas Bone

On 7th April Thomas passed away at 9 Spencer Street.

He was buried on the 11th April at Leamington Cemetary, Brunswick Street in grave No. 95 with “his beloved wife Elizabeth Ann” his first wife. This grave was next to his parents Thomas W B and Maria’s grave.


mabel_boneIn his will he left his house. business and other assets, a third share, for as long as she lived, to his widow Louisa Annie, and a third share each to son William Charles and daughter Mabel Elizabeth.. It stated that they should continue running the businesses between them and a quarterly income be drawn out for the benefit of each, On the death of his wife Louisa Annie the properties and shares were to pass to his children William Charles and Mabel Elizabeth in equal shares. At the time of his death his widow Louisa with his daughter Mabel aged 33 were living at 9 Spencer Street and son William aged 39 was living at 24 Gulson Road, Coventry.

Mabel continued to run the Antique shop after Thomas’s death. A year later on 20th April 1922, Mabel married a Dr Bridge, who was a Leamington Doctor. He was a DPH Medical Officer for the Leamington District Union. He lived at (Merrick Lodge), 53 Avenue Road Leamington, a large house near Victoria Park. Mabel still continued to run the shop. On the 9th May 1924 sadly Mabel and her baby died in childbirth leaving her husband devastated and childless. Dr.John Frederick Bridge died himself a few years later on 17th May 1929 from peritonitis. This side of the family line ended here.

Brother William was devastated by the loss of his sister and it took him a long time to get over it. After the death of Mabel, Thomas’s Widow Louisa Annie moved from Spencer Street to live in a hospital in Northampton. She moved into a private room as a wealthy patient. She now had an income from Thomas’s properties and businesses. She used to sit up in bed with all her jewellery on and tried to chat-up all the doctors. She was regularly visited by William and Lily with their children. She died in the hospital, St Andrews Hospital, Northampton on 18th August 1936, aged 75

From 1924, after the death of Mabel Elizabeth, 9 Spencer Street was leased out to WH Shakespeare; also an Antique Dealer and the property provided an income for William and Louisa Annie.

Upon Louisa’s death the assets from Thomas William Bone’s will passed to his remaining son William Charles Bone. The estate contained his Antique Shop at 9 Spencer Street, which remained Leased to WH Shakespeare.

William only benefited from the rent of the properties during his lifetime as he still owned them upon his death in 1964. After his death the property and assets were put into trust for the benefit of his four daughters. 9 Spencer Street continued to be rented out and changed hands from WH Shakespeare to later becoming Wilkinson’s Flower Shop. In 1975 when Wilkinsons lease ran out the Trust sold 9 Spencer Street to Mr Mereno and it became a Spanish Restaurant. No. 9 Spencer Street then passed out of the ownership of the Bone family after approx 100 years of ownership.

No. 9 Spencer St was later sold by Mr Mereno and in 1986 was joined together with No. 7 and became part of Piccalino’s Italian Family run Restaurant.

The Moving Pictures Arrive. Life in Leamington, 1900

From 1900 onwards exciting and reasonably priced forms of entertainment appeared in the town. Leamington had its share of pioneer moving picture houses. Public film shows, before the days of Talkies, were first given in makeshift halls at the Blue Cafe (Parthenon) and at the ex-theatre in Clemens Street but risk of fire very soon caused their closure. The first proper picture house was the Colannade Theatre, Victoria Colannade, previously, the Victoria Pavilion. Early sound films such as Sonny Boy, Hells’ Angels captivated large audiences in the early 1920’s. In about 1920 saw the erection of the purpose-built Bedford Street Picture House, later renamed Scala and nicknamed the Bijou or the Fleapit. The Scala advertised itself as the home of “Talking, Singing and Dancing Pictures”. Soon it became obvious that moving pictures had come to stay and around 1926 the Bath Cinema, later Clifton, opened in Spencer Street.