BLOW, Bernards Heath, St Albans, circa 1900
St Saviour's Church, Bernards Heath, was built on land which had been part of my great grandfather, Jacob Reynolds's, farm - and he was much involved as churchwarden and with bricks from his brickworks being used in its construction. For several years I have been trying to get a copy of The Story of the Church and Parish of St Saviour. St Albans and recently a copy was put up for sale on ebay. The seller (Barbara Winterhodges) included in the description:
There is a presentation inscription to Bertha Evelyn Blow (Mrs W. Vigor). Bertha was one of the daughters of James Blow who built a pair of houses in Walton Street and when he and the family resided there, a gate from the bottom of the garden led into the Churchyard. I have lost track of the descendants of the two sons of James Blow who emigrated to Canada - if by any remote chance they should see this I, being a granddaughter of James, would be very happy to hear from them.
I purchased the copy and the inscription reads
BERTHA EVELYN BLOW
In thankful remembrance of many happy years work with her family in this Church and Parish
"UNTO THY NAME O LORD BE THE PRAISE"
In addition the book records that in 1907 James Blow was a church warden of St Saviour's Church, along with my great grandfather, Jacob Reynolds. It is clear that the two families must have known each other so I decided to look further.
James Blow is listed in the 1901 census as living in Walton Street, St Albans
|James Blow||Head||48||Painter (House)||Employer||St Albans|
|Eliza Blow||Wife||49||St Albans|
|Henry J Blow||Son||21||Painter (House)||Worker||St Albans|
|Frederick C Blow||Son||19||Stained Glass Artificer||Worker||St Albans|
|Sidney A Blow||Son||16||Apprentice (Plumber)||Worker||St Albans|
|Maud F Blow||Daughter||12||St Albans|
|Bertha E Blow||Daughter||9||St Albans|
Earlier censuses show that in 1861 he was living with his parents, James and Catherine Blow, in Latimore Road, St Albans, and by 1871 they had moved to New London Road. in 1881 he was a grocer in Portland Street, with his wife Emma and children Ellen (4, later Nellie), Lolly (3, later Lottie) and James (1, later Henry J). In 1891 the family was in the comparatively newly built 18 Upper Culver Road and his occupation was given as a straw hat blocker (employer).
The following entries were found in Kelly's directories:
Barbara has now added the following
I think our two past families could well have been friends - both were so involved in the Church. James and family lived in one of the two houses he built in Walton Street; there was a large brick shed at the bottom of the garden and somewhere there is a snap of me as a baby in a chair-type swing which was hung in the doorway of the shed. I was told there was a gate into the churchyard from the garden - it must have been somewhere behind the War Memorial area and my mother used to tell of the way the parishioners raised money to build the Church by the 'buy a brick' method. I don't think James was involved in the building although he may well have been employed on the work - he was one of the men employed in the building of the Museum in Hatfield Road; fell of the roof and woke up in St. Albans Hospital in a very sad state.
James actually had four sons but one died young - Harry remained in England, married and lived in Castle Road St.Albans; died some years ago, as has both his son and daughter. One of the sons settled in Toronto and the other in Vancouver but I cannot remember which went where - one of my cousins, son of the Vancouver Blow, came to England with the Canadian Air Force - married a girl from York and settled over in Canada; we kept in touch but he deceased some years ago and his wife moved and I lost track - they had about four children if I remember rightly.
Nick Goodman (noriffraff @t hotmail.co.uk) of Frogmore, Devon, writes: My wife's grandfather was Harry Blow who lived in Castle Road, St Albans. He had a daughter Phyllis and a son Eric Harry who served in the Royal Navy in WW2 and married Gertrude Gibson. Their only daughter Jean was born in 1952. The family lived at various addresses in St Albans and Eric worked for almost all his life at the Campfield Press as a printer. We have old wedding photographs of the Blow family taken in 1911 in St Saviours Church yard and a family bible with many dates of family births in the 19th century..
If you can add to the information given above tell me.