My Great Uncle Arthur Simpson was a real character and an unusual man in many ways; a carpenter, a soldier, part owner of a Pirate Bus Company (Peraeque Transport based at Stockwell in South London), allegedly a smuggler and lastly a part owner and Company Director of the Central Garage in Hastings.
Arthur was born at Mile End (East End of London) in 1880, the second son of George and Emma Susannah Simpson (nee Waters) and died in Hastings in 1962. However, between 1930 and 1960 Arthur lived on a houseboat (called ‘Black Ruhtra’ – Arthur backwards!) on the River Thames opposite Flower Pot Green at Sunbury (see photo).
One of his sisters lived in the East End of London and so in 1939 (at the outbreak of the Second World War) he evacuated her and her family to Sunbury. These were my grandparents, Florence (Arthur’s sister) & Axel Henriksson and their four daughters, Dorie, Renie, Hilda (my mum) & Anne.
The Henrikssons stayed with Mrs Landridge (school teacher at Nursery Road School) at Weir View for six months. This house is now demolished but was opposite St Mary’s Church and next to Wilson’s Boatyard. Afterwards they lived in a three storey building called Blakesley Lodge in Thames Street.
Then they moved to The Retreat, 15 Nursery Road before eventually settling at Rooksmead Villa, 3 Rooksmead Road (now demolished). Axel had a shed at the bottom of the garden, where he used to work with timber sent down to him by Butterfields, his employers.
It is quite understandable that my family moved in 1939 from the East End of London to Sunbury but the mystery is why was Arthur Simpson living in Sunbury? I am also interested to discover any details about his boat. Do you know anything about it?
You can contact Brenda via Sunbury Matters: firstname.lastname@example.org