V1.4 – Anthony John, Sarah Alice, and Mary Bowden

Owners of Todmorden Album Vol. 5 or of many older Almanacks will possibly recognise the name of Bowden. Two generations of Bowden had shops on Water Street and Burnley Road advertising their decorating business, and Anthony John is one of the “sons” in Bowden and Sons.

The baptism record for Anthony John Bowden from 3rd March 1867 names his parents as Anthony and Hannah. Their residence is “Strand” and Anthony Sr. is a painter. The Bowdens had two other sons, Robert and Samuel, who also joined in the family business.

On 7th December 1892 Anthony John Bowden married Sarah Alice Lingard at Christ Church. Anthony lived at Water Street and his occupation was given as painter. The 1905 electoral roll for Lancashire, Middleton Parliamentary Division shows Anthony John at 73 Burnley Road, and a business directory of the same year shows him as a painter and decorator of 71 Burnley Road. His advertisements show the range of decorating options on hand; not just home decorating, but art supplies and venetian blinds too.

Anthony John and his two brothers were the third generation of Bowdens to work in the painting and decorating field, and Anthony John received a very high honour indeed in 1909 via winning the contract to redecorate the Town Hall. On the 1911 census and thereafter the family reside at 52 Burnley Road – 71 Burnley Road remained the business premises.

Mary Bowden, a talented singer with the ladies choir at Christ Church, never married; she lived with her mother after her father had died and her other siblings had moved out, and worked as a milliner and dressmaker (all three Bowden girls did). Sometimes though we all have to change things up a little, and Mary and her older sister Alice certainly did that after their mother died. From dressmakers to publicans. In 1911 Mary is living in Oswestry with her servant, Ada Graham, both aged 46 and both born in Todmorden, and Mary’s occupation is “beerseller”. Mary was the licensee for the Mechanic’s Arms, and Alice lived not far away and was the licensee for the Eagles Hotel. Alice had gotten married in 1908 to Sam Greenwood, a former engine driver who also changed careers and entered the publican trade after his marriage to Alice, who was already the licensee for the Hotel before they tied the knot. His career change came about probably because he was unlucky enough to be the engine driver who ran over John William Halstead, Clara Law’s almost-certainly-murderer. For more information about this technically still unsolved crime check out the History Out Loud two-part podcast on Clara’s death. Their youngest sister Grace (who was one of Clara’s coworkers at the Co-operative Building – talk about coincidences!) had married into the Ratcliff family, themselves Todmorden publicans, so it really was the case that all the Bowden women took it upon themselves to change their lives around in mid-life.

“The Bowden sisters” courtesy of Linda Wilkinson – date, location, and names/positions unknown

Ultimately Mary never married, and died a spinster with a decent amount of money to her estate.

Alice is buried at V11.7 with Sam’s first wife.

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  1. Pingback:V11.7 – Haidee Maria and Alice Greenwood, and Sarah Waterworth – F.O.C.C.T.

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