Arthur Furniss

Arthur Herbert Furniss

02.01.1870 Arthur Herbert, son of Benjamin George and Georgina Furniss, tailor, was baptised at All Saints, West Haddon

1871 census. West Haddon, South side.

George Furniss                 30                   tailor             born Towcester

Georgiana Furniss            28                    wife              born Irthlingborough

Alfred P Furniss                5                       son              born West Haddon

Arthur H Furniss         1                       son               born West Haddon

Alfred, the firstborn, died young, so Arthur grew up as the eldest son.

1881 census, West Haddon

George Furniss                 40           tailor, master                      born, Towcester

Georgiana Furniss            38           wife                                      born, Irthlingborough

Arthur H Furniss         11           scholar                                 born, West Haddon

Charles Furniss                  9                    “                                                        “

Charlotte Furniss              8                     “                                                        “

Frederick B                         6                     “                                                        “

Francis O                              4                    “                                                       “

Alfred P                                 1                                                                              “

By 1881 Arthur was the eldest of a growing family, including another Alfred. It was not unusual at this time to recycle the name of a dead child for a younger sibling.

1891 census South Camp, Aldershot

Arthur H Furniss               24                           soldier ASC

1901 census

No entry for Arthur H Furniss, he was serving in South Africa.

18.08.1903 Arthur Herbert Furniss, 33, of 25, Combrook Rd, Manchester, tailor, married Lizzie Louisa Dennett, 27, of the Crown Inn, West Haddon at All Saints, West Haddon.

1911 census Shorncliffe Camp, Cheriton, Kent

Lizzie Louisa Furniss        34           married 7 years, 3 children born, 3 living,  born London

Dora Eileen                         6             born, Manchester

Ivy Kathleen                       4              born,Lichfield

Robert Charles                  2               born, Shorncliffe

Two more daughters, Hilda and Irene, were born in 1914 and 1918.

Arthur joined the army at Aldershot in 1890, just before his 21st birthday. His personal details survive, as part of his service record: he was 5’ 4.5” tall, weighing 128lb, chest measurement 33” with a maximum expansion of 35”. His complexion was fair, eyes grey, hair dark brown. He had a scar on the right side of his forehead.

He worked as a driver in the Army Service Corps, serving in South Africa from 1900-1902. In 1905 he transferred to the North Staffs Regiment as an acting Sergeant, later a full Sergeant. During the Troubles in 1912 he served in Ireland, being shot at, on one occasion, by a Republican through the window of his quarters (the bullet missed him and embedded itself in the fire surround.) During that tour of duty he was photographed out riding with a colleague in the Gap of Dunloe (Arthur on the left.)

After returning from South Africa, Arthur married Lizzie Louisa and their first child, Dora, was born in Hulme, Manchester, where Arthur was completing his training as a Master Tailor. They brought their firstborn home to West Haddon for a family christening on 29.12.1904. But by the time of daughter Ivy’s arrival the following year, the family were settled at Little Hay near Lichfield, where they remained, between postings, until Arthur’s death in 1920.

During the First World War Arthur was invalided home from the Dardanelles in 1915 and it appears from an article in the Northampton Mercury that he spent at least some of his recovery time at his family home in West Haddon. By this time his father had died and his brother Fred was continuing the family tailor’s business at the top of West End.

He was discharged from the army in 1919, having served for over 28 years. A grandson (son of daughter Ivy) remembers that he had planned to open a tailor’s shop in Folkestone after leaving the army. Perhaps he had made business contacts in the town whilst stationed at Shorncliff Camp in Kent, just before the war. But his health was poor and he died in Birmingham General Hospital after a little over a year back in civilian life. He was buried in the churchyard at West Haddon on 23rd November 1920, at the age of 50 and on 1st March 1956 Lizzie Louisa was buried with him when she died  at the age of 79.


(above)   The Furniss shop on the corner of West End and Station Road after Fred took over the business in 1898 on his father’s death.
(above)   Arthur and Lizzie with their firstborn, Dora [?]
(above)   Riding in the Gap of Dunloe, Arthur on the left.
(above)   Arthur and his family a year before his death. Dora is not shown here, but she had not died young. She grew up to become a registered nurse, marrying in 1931 and dying in1957.

Wendy Raybould
January 2017