The Club


Part 1 – Its beginning

By Pat Manning

The foundation stone for the new Public Hall opposite St George’s church, Beckenham was laid by Sir Chas Mills MP on 13 October 1883 concealing in a small hollow (according to Borrowman page 73) a current set of the coins of the realm and a copy of The Times for that date. Meanwhile, a small group of upper middle class gentlemen was planning and plotting for a quiet place away from the influence of their womenfolk.

Architect George Vigers provided the plans for the builders Messrs Brown of Camberwell and in March 1884 the Public Hall was ready. A notice was posted at the back of the hall inviting the gentlemen of Beckenham to become the founder members of The Club where they would have billiards, smoking and reading rooms.

Twenty nine gentlemen had voted in a provisional committee comprised of ten members.

The would-be President was Frederick Prat ALLISTON from The Ferns at 28 Copers Cope Rd. He and his first wife, Elizabeth Loader, according to the census returns were born in Margate but they married at St Pancras on 18 May 1854. Their daughter Florence was born in 1856 and her brothers Paul and Clement were born Wanstead in 1861 and 1864. By 1871, Frederick was widowed and living in Edmonton but shortly to marry his first wife’s sister, Mary Loader, with whom he had three more sons, Claud, Oscar and Norman born Kensington in 1873, 1876 and 1877. Moving from Kensington to Beckenham in the early 1880s, Ralph and Geoffrey were born in Beckenham in 1883 and 1885 .The census records tell us that Frederick was an Inspector and Wholesaler of cotton goods. Florence died aged 30 in Eastbourne in 1886 when Frederick had been the Club President for two years. He became the Club President again in 1897 and died in office after 14 years in the Spring of 1912 but exciting events were coming his way.

In 1896 Beckenham was in the news when Frederick Alliston proposed that the Union flag should be flown at all Elementary Schools on special occasions and this became the rule throughout the country. This was reported by Robert Borrowman of page 85 of his book Beckenham Past and Present. The Beckenham directories record that Frederick was one of nine members of the school board and by 1899 he was Sheriff of the City of London and later granted a knighthood by King Edward VII. The Club President was Sir Frederick Prat Alliston still from 28 Copers Cope Rd but the house was now Kamesburgh instead of The Ferns. This is a town on the Scottish Isle of Bute and a 42 roomed house in the Kamesburg Gardens, Melbourne, Australia but I suppose either could have suggested the name to the Allistons.

At least two of his sons assisted him in his business; Claud was an agent in cotton goods and Oscar went to France to learn the techniques of dyeing cotton where he met his future wife Marie Berthe Weiss whom he married in 1902. They had two sons, Lawrence and Rex.

Paul’s son, Cyril George Prat, also lived in Copers Cope Rd at Thornecroft, number 52.

The treasurer in 1884 was Robert Bertie LEMON from Moat Lodge of The Avenue and the Hon Secretary was George SCHOFIELD, son of Thomas Schofield merchant of Kinlock, Foxgrove Rd.

The other members were Arthur Henry BAKER from Elderslie in Wickham Rd (now South Eden Park Rd), William M BULLIVANT, a wire rope manufacturer from Willestrow in Rectory Rd and Ambrose P CARR from Boyston House at 4, The Avenue. In 1902, his daughter Ethel Carr was the Ladies Hon Secretary of the Beckenham Baths Swimming Club.

Charles V Hollibone, stockbroker, also lived in Rectory Rd at Deepthorne, number 17. Alfred P INGLIS, bank clerk was living with his family in Binfield, 16 Hayne Rd, W B Pattison was at Graylings, Cedars Rd and later at 6 The Avenue, Chas R Pilcher, insurance secretary lived at Colebrook, The Avenue and G T Rait from Milton in Hayne Rd was also the Hon Sec of the Beckenham Lodge of Freemasons 2047 who met in the Public Hall too.

The Cator Lodge of Freemasons 2266 met in the Public Hall together with the Beckenham Orchestral Society and the Amateur Dramatic Club but The Club occupied an extensive suite of rooms at the back of the hall, including a fine billiard room with two full-sized tables by Thurston & Co, reading smoking and card rooms.

In 1898, there were 150 members, non-political, including the principal men of the district.

8 thoughts on “The Club

  1. Regarding the Smith’s restaurant at 357 Strand: In the 1861 census the head of the household was John Smith, shell-fishmonger. John was the son of Richard Smith and Elizabeth Alliston. Elizabeth was the daughter of Charles Alliston born in 1752 and his wife Ann.

  2. Frederick Prat Alliston is my 1st cousin 4 x removed. I was thrilled to bits to not only find I have such a distinguished ancestor but also to find this web page which is of considerable help in growing my family tree.
    How I am related to FPA: Elizabeth Alliston born in 1793 was the daughter of Charles Alliston born in 1752 and died in 1837. Elizabeth became my 3rd great grandmother when she married Richard Smith in 1822.
    Elizabeth’s brother Charles born in 1782 was the father of FPA.

  3. The following is taken from the family genealogy in the folder ‘Alliston research’ on the Allistons web site I started.


    Sir Frederick Pratt Alliston died yesterday at his residence “Kamenburgh,” Beckenham, after an illness which had lasted over a year. Sir Frederick was born in the Isle of Thanet nearly 90 years ago, and moved early in life to Jersey, where he was educated. In 1848 he came to London, and nine years later began business on his own account in the cotton dress trade in Friday Street. There he laid the foundation of the present firm of Alliston and Co (Limited), of which two of his sons are now active partners. Sir Frederick Alliston’s connexion with the Corporation of London began in 1878, when he entered the Court of Common Council as a representative of Bread Street Ward. Among the many positions held by him as a Common Councillor were the Chairmanship of the former Grand Markets Committee and the Deputy Governorship of the Irish Society. In 1898 he was elected as one of the Sheriffs for the City, and in 1905 he succeeded the late Sir William Lawrence as Alderman of Bread Street Ward. Sir Frederick was the first Chairman of the Central Unemployed Body for London. For several years he was one of the representatives of the City on the London County Council, his retirement from that body some five years ago marking his first break in public life. Deafness developed to such an extent that in 1908, almost on the eve of his succession in the ordinary course of things to the office of Lord Mayor, he resigned his Aldermanry. In recognition of his services and self-sacrifice he was presented with a portrait of himself, which is now in the permanent exhibition at the Guildhall, and about the same time the King honoured him with a knighthood.

    Sir Frederick Prat Alliston

    Press Cuttings

    1. 11th March 1890 The City Press – Cape Town
    Letter to the Editor. FPA is in Cape Town on his second trip around the world

    2. No date – Textile Trade Review
    Description of Alliston & Co, founded in the 1850s.

    3. 27th June 1892 The Daily graphic
    Description of a Corporation Outing for Common Councillors and their guests. FPA in attendance.

    4. October 1891 The Beckenham Journal
    Installation of FPA as the Worshipful Master of Beckenham Lodge (no 2047)

    5. 15th December 1894 Drapers Record
    Article about FPA – Started in business in Friday St. in 1848. Founded Alliston & Co in 1857 as an agent for French print manufacturers in Mulhouse.

    6. 22nd June 1895 Beckenham Journal
    Claud Alliston wins gold medal in golf tournament at Beckenham Golf Club.

    7. 11th October 1895 Daily Telegraph
    FPA unanimously chosen to be Alderman at Cordwainers Hall, the public building of Bread St Ward.

    8. 12th October 1895 Local Government Journal
    Report of the election of FPA as Alderman. High praise “no man is a greater master of choice phrasing, clear enunciation of beautifully turned sentences and that winning style which charms an audience” etc.

    9. 12th October 1895 The Citizen
    Report of the election of FPA as Alderman. He was on the Bridge House Estates Committee at the time of the erection of Tower Bridge. A native of Thanet, educated in Jersey, where he learnt fluent french. Moved to London in 1848 and worked for Dolfuss Mieg & Co, 54 Friday St. In 1877 he erected a block of model workman’s dwellings to house 100 families on the site of some cottages in Shoreditch, which had been the property of his grandfather.

    10. 19th March 1898 Beckenham Journal
    FPA to become Sheriff due to the illness of Alderman Vaughan Morgan. FPA did not stand as a Councillor of Copers Cope Ward as he had in the past.

    11. 26th February 1898 Daily Telegraph
    Shrievalty Honours shared between FPA and Major Probyn LCC.

    12. Jan 1899 The Gentleman
    Mansion House Fancy Dress Ball – mention of Master Cyril and Miss Freda Alliston. Handwritten note in margin “my father and aunt”.

    13. Apr 1898 The Citizen
    Meeting of the parish of St Margaret Moses. FPA is a Churchwarden and Committee Member.

    14. 2nd July 1898 Drapers Record
    Congratulations for becoming a Sheriff of the City of London + article. Member of the Markets Committee and the Bridge House Committee. In 1888, went to Australia, USA & Canada. In 1890, did the same trip but including South Africa, Tasmania, New Zealand & South America. Reference to the model dwellings in ‘Hoxton’ ?

    15. 16th July 1898 Tit Bits
    A letter to the editor signed ‘Topsy Turvy’ with a hand written ‘NA’ underneath (probably Norman Alliston). A novel way to take a holiday at home.

    16. 16th July 1898 The Beckenham Journal
    Description of an outing of the Brethren of the Beckenham Lodge. Bro. Paul Alliston P.M. should have been presented with a Masonic Jewel.

    17. September 1896 The Bromley Record
    A portrait of FPA was hung in the Bromley Record Portrait Gallery. FPA’s parents were London business people who had moved to Margate upon retirement. When he was 8 the family moved to Jersey where he received his modest but practical education. The Master of his school was a Mr Handcock (sic) who had been a non-commissioned officer in the army and a member of the Weslyan body. At the age of fifteen he was placed in a Manchester House in Friday St. Cheapside. He commenced operations on his own account in 1858 as Alliston & Co. There follows an account of his public life which is reproduced elsewhere.

    18. Un-named untitled article ‘Sir Frederick Prat Alliston Honoured’, Presentation of his Portrait. The Lord Mayor of London presents FPA with a portrait in oils at the Mansion House. A description of the proceedings.

    19. 15th March 1899 The City Press
    The Bible Society’s Birthday
    Alderman Alliston tells the story of the first 6d he earned from a crusty old uncle for learning the 12th chapter of Isiah.

    20. 18th March 1899 London Porters Association
    Report of a speech in which FPA suggests the change of name to the London general Packers and Porters Benevolent Institution.

    21. 4th March 1899 Beckenham Journal
    Alderman and Mrs Alliston were present at the first Drawing Room of the season, which had been postponed due to the death of Prince Albert. The Queen was represented by Prince Christion.

    22. 23rd October 1899 Untitled
    Paul Alliston is proposed to be a member of the Common Council, Bread St. ward.

    23. 28th October 1899 Drapers Record
    Paul Alliston is proposed to be a member of the Common Council, Bread St. ward.

    24. 28th October 1899
    Comment on the above.

    25. 4th November 1899
    Comment on the above. Paul Alliston described as a veritable chip off the old block.

    26. 9th November 1899 Daily Mirror
    Birthday Honours List
    New Knight – FPA

    27. 9th November 1899 Daily Graphic
    Birthday Honours List
    New Knight – FPA

    28. 23rd October 1909 The Citizen
    FPA attends the Mansion House to be presented with a portrait in oils donated by the inhabitants of Bread St. Ward, members of the Common Council and the London County Council. Presented by the Lord Mayor, Sir George Wyall Truscott bart.

    29. 18th May 1912 Untitled
    A tribute to FPA on his death. Pays tribute to his life devoted to public service over a period of 30 years. Interment at Margate on Monday (he died on a Thursday)

    30. No date Untitled
    Picture of the Chairman and Directors of Alliston & Co. Short cv of FPA. Paul Alliston is now the representative of Bread St Ward, elected in 1899, a Liveryman of the company of Loriners and Masons, a Deputy Lieutenant of the City of London and a Freemason. Claud Alliston is a Liveryman of tbn.

    31. 25th February 1899 Untitled
    FPA addresses the Commercial Travellers Benevolent Institution on behalf of the City of London.

    32. 11th March 1899 The Citizen
    Article extolling the ‘most beautiful dresses seen’ in the Drawing Rooms worn by the Lady Mayoress, Mrs Alliston and Mrs Probyn.

    33. No date Daily Telegraph
    The Queen’s Levee
    The following presentations were made to the Duke of York:
    Alliston, 2nd Lt Claud – Hon Artillery Company
    Alliston, Paul – Deputy Lieutenant City of london
    Alliston, Mr Alderman – Sheriff

    From Photocopies of cuttings supplied by Norman Peachell
    S.J.Osborne November 1999

    Lived in St Pancras at time of Marriage to FPA.
    IGI has a christening 28.2.1830 at St John Thanet – I could not find the record in fiches 964 &965 which cover this period – try again.

    James H. Carthew / Saint ? (possibly an uncle)
    Jane Loader
    Thos. Alliston

    Notes for MARY LOADER:
    This marriage was made legal by Act of Parliament 1907 (Alliston Family Register)
    Left the following in her husband’s will:
    Small oil painting by C.Haigh-Wood.
    Silver plaque given by the Corporation of the City of London on his retirement.
    An annuity of £700 per annum.

    Further research:
    Various Mary Loaders in the GRO Birth Index
    1844 Mar, Jun, Sep Wimborne
    1845 Mar Thame, Sep Birmingham, Dec Romsey
    1846 Mar x4, Dec Mary Ann London
    1847 None
    1848 Sep Mary Anne Westminster I447, plus Mary Anne Holborn II 131
    1849 Greenwich
    1850 Sep ” Marys 1 at Maidstone V351, plus Dec 3 Marys
    1841 Jun Mary Anne Brentford

    Marriage Notes for FREDERICK ALLISTON and MARY LOADER:
    George E. Benbow
    Florence Alliston
    Jane Loader

    i. FLORENCE5 ALLISTON55, b. 05 May 1855, Islington55; d. 30 April 188655.

    Not married in 1881 census.
    Not mentioned in her father’s will.
    Query date of death.

    ii. KATE ALLISTON55, b. 07 June 185755; d. 29 June 1858, Islington55.
    iii. CHARLES ALLISTON55,56, b. 28 March 185957; d. 26 October 186357.

    Died in Wanstead of Scarlet Fever aged 4 years. Father Frederick Prat Alliston described as a ‘warehouseman’. Informant was Jane Lowe, present at death.

    7. iv. PAUL ALLISTON, b. 03 March 1861, Wanstead, Essex; d. 26 August 1924.
    8. v. CLEMENT ALLISTON, b. 20 October 1863, Wanstead, Essex; d. 01 May 1932.

    9. vi. CLAUD5 ALLISTON, b. 06 June 1872, Kensington; d. 01 January 1942.
    10. vii. OSCAR FREDERICK ALLISTON, b. 26 June 1875, Kensington; d. August 1945.
    viii. NORMAN ALLISTON57, b. 04 April 1877, Kensington58,59; d. 13 October 193759.

    Notes for NORMAN ALLISTON:
    Entered his father’s business on leaving school. Started at the bottom, licking stamps and writing up ledgers. At an early age, travelled to the Continent and became fluent in French and German.

    Remained a bachelor, living with his parents at 45 Regents Park Road. Wrote a book about mathematics and another obscure book on the theory of Chinese puzzles. He belonged to some scientific societies and twice a year visited friends on the Continent. (John Alliston, Tasmania)
    Left the following in his father’s will:
    A proportion of his father’s presentation plate.

    ix. RALPH ALLISTON59, b. 20 August 1882, Beckenham60,61; d. 21 April 189862,63.
    11. x. GEOFFERY ALLISTON, b. 29 January 1885, Beckenham.

    Generation No. 4

    6. FRED5 ALLISTON (THOMAS4, CHARLES3, CHARLES2 ALLISTONE, OLD1) was born 04 July 1871 in Dalston, Middx.64,65, and died 1953. He married HARRIETT MARY ANNE CRABB66 04 August 1910 in St Mary’s Church, Ilford, Essex67. She was born 02 February 1876 in Stratford, Essex68, and died 1938.

    Notes for FRED ALLISTON:
    Born at 45 Richmond Road, Dalston, Hackney Middx.
    Lived at 15 Felbrigge Rd, Seven Kings and described as a ‘Manager’ at time of marriage to Harriett. (MC FA HMC). This was the address of Daisy & Sid Roper (Doris Hicks).

    Fred and Hetty both worked for W.Hill & Sons, Bakers before Gows.

    Was the owner of Gow’s Restaurant, 357 The Strand, London. Sidney was born there. Some time before 1936, the restaurant moved to St Martins Lane, next door but one to the Coliseum Theatre. Gow’s was formerly known as Smith’s, Smith may have been a cousin of Fred & Sidney. Fred’s brother Sidney started Gows which was subsequently taken over by Fred. Gows first appears in London P.O. Directory in 1908, no mention of Smiths at earlier dates.

    This was a well known restaurant with theatregoers and actors, it is mentioned in the memoirs of Sir John Gielgud. The original facade remains although the rest of the building has been completely renovated.

    It was known as an English Restaurant serving roasts, grills and fish dishes. Just inside the door was an oyster bar where clients could eat shellfish before seating in the main restaurant. No french was allowed on the menu except for 3 sole dishes – Colbert, Meuniere and Normandy. Saddle of mutton was not served by agreement with Simpsons in the Strand, who in return did not serve steaks.

    The kitchen was on the third floor served by a ‘dumb waiter’ All preparation was done by hand and all cooking done by solid fuel which had to be carried up three floors.

    There was a cellar where beer was stored in barrels. Rats were numerous and could be seen licking beer from their tails which they had dipped into the barrels. The rats became quite drunk and were easy prey for the small terrier who acted as ratter.

    Source – Sidney Alliston and Norman Osborne.

    Born at Alpha Cottage, Buxton Road, Stratford, Essex.
    Known as Hetty and lived at 7 Milverton Gardens, Seven Kings at time of marriage. (MC FA & HMC)

    Marriage Notes for FRED ALLISTON and HARRIETT CRABB:
    Noah Farmer Crabb

    Children of FRED ALLISTON and HARRIETT CRABB are:
    12. i. SIDNEY BENGOUGH6 ALLISTON, b. 11 May 1911, 357 The Strand, London.
    13. ii. BETTY MARY ALLISTON, b. 05 February 1913; d. 21 May 1998, Writtle, Chelmsford.
    14. iii. JEAN MARY ALLISTON, b. 14 July 1919, 36 Seagry Road, Wanstead, E11; d. 18 January 1957, North Kent Hospital, Gravesend, Kent.

    7. PAUL5 ALLISTON (FREDERICK PRAT4, CHARLES3, CHARLES2 ALLISTONE, OLD1)69 was born 03 March 1861 in Wanstead, Essex70,71, and died 26 August 192471. He married AUGUSTA SOPHIA RAGGETT72 10 November 1885 in Kensington Church73. She was born 186174, and died 28 February 190875.

    Notes for PAUL ALLISTON:
    Described as ‘Cotton Warehouseman’ in 1891 (BC CGA) Still working for Alliston & Co in 1905 (City of London Directory 1905)
    Lived at 52 Copers Cope Road, Beckenham, Kent in 1912 (DC FPA)
    Left the following in his father’s will:
    Chain of office of Sheriff of London
    Oil painting of his father as Sheriff.

    Known as Ada.

    Children of PAUL ALLISTON and AUGUSTA RAGGETT are:
    15. i. SYLVIA MARY6 ALLISTON, d. 18 January 1959.
    16. ii. WINIFRED FLORENCE ALLISTON, b. 26 June 1889; d. 02 January.
    17. iii. CYRIL GEORGE PRAT ALLISTON, b. 01 November 1891; d. 21 July 1973.

    8. CLEMENT5 ALLISTON (FREDERICK PRAT4, CHARLES3, CHARLES2 ALLISTONE, OLD1)76 was born 20 October 1863 in Wanstead, Essex77,78, and died 01 May 193278. He married ISOBEL KATE FARMER78 21 August 1888 in St Pauls Beckenham78.

    Worked for his father in Alliston & Co in 1900 – 05 (probably longer, more research) (City of London Directory 1905)
    Left the following in his father’s will:
    Presentation plate from The Irish Society.

    i. MILDRED6 ALLISTON79, m. LESLIE ASTE79; d. 196579.

    9. CLAUD5 ALLISTON (FREDERICK PRAT4, CHARLES3, CHARLES2 ALLISTONE, OLD1)80,81 was born 06 June 1872 in Kensington82,83, and died 01 January 194284. He married EVELYN WALSH84 24 January 190285, daughter of UNKNOWN WALSH. She died 198285.

    Notes for CLAUD ALLISTON:
    Entered his father’s business on leaving school. Started at the bottom, licking stamps and writing up ledgers. At an early age, travelled to the Continent and became fluent in French and German.
    As a young man, joined the Honourable Artillery Company and in 1914 was commissioned as a Captain in the Middlesex Regiment. Fought the Senussi in Libya and the Germans at Ypres and the Somme. Was wounded and shell shocked, so that his health never recovered.
    From 1916 to 1935 he lived with his family at 45 Regents Park Road, near the North Gate of London Zoo. In 1935, his poor health led to the family moving to the isle of Wight to a house on Totland Bay. He died in 1942. (John Alliston, Tasmania)

    Was Agent for Alliston & Co, English & Foreign Warehousemen in 1905
    (City of London Directory 1905)
    Left the following in his father’s will:
    A proportion of his father’s presentation plate.

    Notes for EVELYN WALSH:
    Known as Eva. Had 3 brothers and 2 sisters.
    From 1916 to 1935 lived at 45 Regents Park Road. A tall victorian structure where the servants lived in the basement and a bull-nosed Morris was kept in the Mews behind the house, looked after by a coachman who had a poor opinion of motor cars.

    During WW1, joined the Queen Mary’s Womans Army Corp, discovered a considerable talent for administration. After the war, had a part-time career as a Borough Councillor for the London County Council and was an exponent of women’s rights.

    Moved to the Isle of Wight in 1935 where her husband Claud died. After his death, she sold the house at Totland Bay and moved back to London where she carried out valiant war work amongst the bombed out East Enders. (John Alliston, Tasmania)

    Children of CLAUD ALLISTON and EVELYN WALSH are:
    18. i. KENNETH6 ALLISTON, b. 18 March 1903.
    ii. PHILIP ALLISTON85, b. 14 February 190685; d. 17 March 190685.
    iii. RUTH MARY ALLISTON85,86, b. 13 January 190787; m. KEITH LESLIE87.

    The cleverest of the 4 children, injured her hip as a schoolgirl which left her with a limp. Took a degree in Arts & Economics and got a job with Berenson, the Art Critic who lived in Florence. Returned to England in 1935 and got a job with the Director of the Government’s Experimental Fruit Farm in Kent. Married on of her brother Patrick’s Yeomanry friends but had no children.

    19. iv. JOHN ALLISTON, b. 26 March 1910.
    20. v. PATRICK ALLISTON, b. 26 January 1910, Sydenham, Kent; d. 1982.

  4. Pat,
    Thought you might be interested to know that we have the following 4 brass plaques on the south aisle wall here at St Paul’s Church, Beckenham:

    In Memoriam
    The dearly loved son of
    Frederick PRAT and Mary ALLISTON
    Interred at Eastbourne Easter 1898
    Thine For Ever

    In Memoriam
    The dearly loved daughter of
    Frederick PRAT and Elizabeth ALLISTON
    Interred at Eastbourne Easter 1886
    To die is gain

    Thou O God hast granted
    me life and favour and thy
    visitation hath preserved
    my spirit Job X 12
    Christmas 1900

    To the dear memory of
    The loving and cherished wife of
    who entered into rest 26th February 1908
    Her children rise up and call her blessed:
    her husband also and he praiseth her.

    P ALLISTON was People’s warden 1902-1907.

  5. Frederick Prat Alliston is my paternal great grandfather, my grandfather was Oscar and my father was Reginald (known as Rex). I never met or knew any of my father’s on the English side and would love to have any information about them if anyone has any.

  6. Hi Pat, I am Dianne’s daughter which makes Frederick my 3 x great grandfather. I don’t have any information re The Club, and am hoping you would perhaps have more up your sleeve? Or can you direct me to a site with information? I alerted mum to this website when I was googling Frederick one day last year & neither of us knew about The Club.
    Many thanks,

  7. Frederick Prat Alliston is my paternal great great grandfather.
    Dianne Alliston Lewis

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s