Jenkins-Of-Ewelme Web Site

E H Jenkins Memo

The following text was "deciphered" from a note written by E. H. Jenkins (my Uncle Peter), to my elder sister Barbara. She kindly copied it to other members of the family. Margaret and I spent quite some time transcribing it into something a little easier for us (and you) to read. However, there are a few (possibly important) words or phrases that have so far foxed us.  Any ideas will be considered for future inclusion.

Dear Barbara

You were saying that you knew nothing of your ancestry, and can hardly  have retained all that was told you as a child; so I am setting it out for you.  There isn't much of it as I know nothing at all of your mother's side, and can go back only as far as your father's paternal  grandfather and maternal great grandfather.

 The latter was James Winspeare McCarty (now known to be John ... tut tut Uncle!), conductor, organist etc., of Cork and Dublin and to judge from the good education he gave his seven or so children, fairly well to do.  His second daughter, Mary Winspeare McCarty, was our grandmother.  She came to London to train as a professional pianist under Sir Wm.Sterndale Bennett (q.v.)., met and married another Irish expatriate named Chas Foley, and they had a daughter, Lizzie Topham Foli (Foley) born in Chelsea.  August 6th 1867, whom you knew as "Nanna".   All she knew of her father was that he was some sort of commercial clerk who died when she was two - so we know nothing of his family connections.  She (Nanna) married Ernest Albert Jenkins, son of Wm.Chas.Jenkins, master grocer, and his wife, nee Clara Stephenson, at St Pauls, Camden Sq. on August 3rd 1896.  I was born a year later (Aug.11th 1897), and your father on Sept 23rd 1902.   That is the bare bones of it.  Some details follow.

If my father's father had any relations he had quite lost touch with them   He was born and apprenticed in the city of London and had his own prosperous grocer's business.  I remember him well; portly, mutton-chop side-whiskers, frock-coat, topper and Malacca stick with hard handle.  I do not remember his wife, who died in 1899 and whom my mother described as a thoroughly good woman, but I do remember the Jenkins family home in Caxxxxx? - plushy, lace-curtained, solid-furnitured, typical respectable bourgeois set-up.  My father had two brothers and a sister, and when the mother died, the sister, Sybil, kept house for his father and unmarried brother, Harold Arthur, (see my & your father's Christian names), my father and his elder brother, William, being then married.  William, who was married without issue, was all because my grandfather misconducted himself with the maid servant, & Harold  & Sybil came to live in rooms in our house - Where Harold died of consumption at Xmas 1904.  Sybil then left us to earn her own living as a butcher's bookkeeper, but visited us frequently till suddenly the visits stopped.  I was told that she had taken deep, but entirely imaginary, offence at something my father had said, but she never came to see us again, though my mother went to see her fairly frequently & when she was taken ill, &, after a spell in hospital, went to be with friends near Colchester, sent her small presents of money.  She died about 1954, unmarried.  So, you see, you have no Jenkins "connections" beyond me and my descendants.  (I should add that grandfather Wm. Chas. Jenkins, fell on evil days.   For a fire destroyed his business, which he had been to mean to insure.  My father helped him a bit, but he died about 1908)

  That same mean-ness had led him to take my father away from school (apparently a quite good private school) rather young and got him a job as, what was really not much more than, the office-boy at a solicitors.  Where my father went from there, & how he obtained his commercial experience & knowledge, I cannot say; but while still in his twenties he became accountant to the firm of Oetzmann furniture stores in the Hampstead Road and the commercial rivals of Maple's 100 yards away in their present site.  Oetzmann was a big concern but looking & catering for a less wealthy clientele than Maples: a family concern when my father joined it, it was his business to turn it into a public company.  He did & was made the company secretary when he married , or soon afterwards.  As such, he got the Private Act of  Parliament passed which widened the Hampstead Road (see inscription on the presentation watch that I inherited).

 Now as to my mother up to marriage.  As I have written, her father died leaving a widow & a baby girl, & the widow had to support herself and the child (my mother) by professional music - for which purpose she changed the spelling of the name to Foli - for in those days in Victorian England only ?foreigness xxxxx?  thought she any musical good.  She was a gentle, tiny, well-educated little lady, quite unfitted to fight a successful battle in the ?correctively? world of music & xxxxx?   Mother lived on the edge of real poverty till my mother became qualified as an elementary school teacher.  She then increasingly maintained her mother, (who had got what engagement she could & what pupils she could) till, by this time my mother married.  Her ageing mother could no longer support herself beyond keeping herself in clothes, so she had to live with my parents for that reason my mother kept on teaching - for Nanna was a proud old thing and wouldn't have it said that her husband had to maintain his mother-in-law.  So the old lady always lived with us, till she died, senile, in about 1924.  (She had been born about 1857).  By the time the old lady died Nanna was getting near pensionable age, my father's affairs were beginning to look precarious, and so she kept on teaching until at his death, in 1927, she retired in pension.

  Now on to our family life, and my and Arthur's father.  His post as Company Secretary to Oetzmann's was responsible but ill-paid and in 1913 he obtained an appointment as accountant to the publishing firm of George Newnes, then a huge magazine and paper-back publishing concern.  We had always been able to have a servant-maid and sound food, and now , with Nanna still working we became really prosperous.  The maid was reinforced by a daily charwoman and luxuries appeared on the table , & so forth.  But in late 1916  or early 1917 my father had a row with the Secretary of the Newnes Coy, and resigned .  He soon picked up a big appointment  "statistician" to Rolls Royce.  The snag was that it meant his going to Derby.  Nanna stayed in London.  She could not move her invalid mother, Arthur would have had to change schools, she herself to cease teaching and she, (rightly as it proved), distrusted the permanency of the R-R billet.  So with two home to keep up (father lived at the best hotel in Derby) the big billet was not profitable.  Called "statistician", his business was to settle the R-R huge xxxx? claim on the fxxt?- complicated costings and negotiations.  He made a fine success of it &, I think, expected R-R to keep him fully employed for good.  But, as he had done his job for which he had been engaged the coy. naturally did not want to keep a highly paid executive doing nothing, & terminated his post with a golden handshake.  He returned to London and became managing director of a radio publishers .  He knew the publishing, but not the science side and fell out with his young Chairman (I think father had got a bit big for his boots after his R-R appointment) and retiring, lived on his golden handshake for the rest of his life; it had nearly all gone when he died of a coronary in Sept  1927.  It was fortunate that Nanna had kept on her teaching (she retired on pension in 1928) and of course I was earning, and Arthur, who had been enjoying himself and failing maths at the L.S.E.  When father ceased working, left the L.S.E. and used the Spanish he had leaned there to get a billet on at an abroad paper (S.American Journal), from which he moved on to the City-xxx?-editor job on the Morning Post.  It was not his fault entirely that he did poorly at the LS.E. our father had entered him for a new degree course (B.Com) for which his sketchy education he had received during the war at Haberdashers had not fitted him at all.  I know, for I had to coach him through Matric when he was eighteen!  This is not to malign Haberdashers, or my dear brother.  The spirit of 'Habs' was good, and Arthur was rightly loyal to it & its Old Boys.  But, it paid only poor salaries (theirs was then no Burnham Scales) and during the 1914-18 war, good quality teachers were at a premium, because of the call up.  The languages were well taught, but other things weren't, & this B.Com degree depended a lot on really Advanced Maths, for which your father was not at all grounded, & I could be no help.  He did the languages (Fr & Spanish) & Economics alright, and had he been entered for a B.Sc(Ecn), would have graduated well enough.  It did not matter in the long run, for he was a fine city journalist.

There remain only the family's Irish connections.  They were widely scattered, and while I knew many of them who were my mother's age, I am now out of touch with their descendants.  However, James [John!] Winspeare McCarty had 5 or 6 children besides my grandmother.  They all got professional qualifications, doctors, teachers, an artist and musicians.  Most married and three had descendants, who themselves, have had descendants, and I don't know the names of the married females of your generation.  The eldest McCarty daughter married a Parson named Whitcliffe and their son (a nice old bachelor) became a Surgeon-rear-Admiral    Her other son farmed near Cork and had children; her daughter, Amy married an O'Sullovan and had a son Richard, who if still alive, is retired from a Senior billet with Air Lingus and his descendants another, last heard of as an old lady in Canada, is a McCormick, & had a married daughter.  Another McCarty was an engineer; he must be dead now, but had grandchildren.  A female married a bagman named Hatfield [see Craig and Hatfield memos] and had three sons. Finally the youngest of the children, James McCarty, who was a confirmed junior Science Master & Lab technician at St. Paul's, & retired in 1914, had a worthy  son, James, who himself had a son, Wm McCarty (I think) who lives somewhere within this country xxxx?    My mother's youngest cousin Eileen McCarty [see Birch memo] may still be alive, aged, nearly 90, but the last I heard of her was 3 years ago, she said she was going into a home.  And this is the lot!!!

Post Script
It has been most gratifying to find that this rather technical exercise of publishing a readable version of my uncle's scribbled notes, has been posted within various 'search engines' and presented to others searching for a name. Isn't technology wonderful? Of course, I myself and my close family know who my uncle was, but it strikes me that although family researchers are interested in the potted history he wrote, they have little idea about him.

As a brief description, he was a history graduate of Queen's College Oxford (his son Meric went to Brasenose), and became headmaster of Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School for Boys at Barnet. As a youngster, I was rather afraid of him, being the archetypal example of an 'old school' headmaster, whom I imagined meted out 'six of the best' to pupils on a daily basis! As the elder brother of my father, there was no doubt that the 'Jenkins-of-Barnet' were regarded as a benchmark of respectability. I remember occasional  Sunday afternoons where Uncle would accompany my father/mother/sister on the piano singing a popular Gilbert and Sullivan song or some such. Hopefully the current 'Jenkins-of-Harpenden', and of course, the 'Jenkins-of-Ewelme' can continue this impression!!

Uncle Peter published two books of note, one of which will convey some idea of the man himself and the other an academic work on navel history. The first is titled 'An Elizabethan Headmaster 1930 - 1961', published in 1972 as ISBN 0 9502025 0 9. The second is 'A History of the French Navy', published in 1973 as ISBN 0 356 04196 4. 


Here is an email received on 28/08/12 from a welcome visitor to this page. Follow the link for a very interesting browse.

I was absolutely fascinated by the information on your website about my old headmaster, EHJ. I manage a website for old (mostly very old) boys of QE Barnet and it contains quite a lot of anecdotes about him from our various points of view as schoolboys under your uncle's regime but his background has remained a mystery - until now!


The site is at


The section on 'former staff' shows links to the various threads in which EHJ is mentioned and also to a couple of photos. As you might expect from former schoolboys of a strict school in the 1940s,'50s & '60s, many of the comments and anecdotes are not very complimentary, although age is beginning to soften memories a little. I am minded to link to your site from mine because I know that just about all of our many contributors would be amazed and delighted by the material concerning EHJ on your site. You might even consider starting a new discussion thread on our site or replying within existing threads.


Best wishes


Vic Coughtrey

(at QE 1954-59)



Apparently, this is the only photo of E H Jenkins from the above site. Perhaps we can play 'swapsies'?.Permission was granted to reproduce it here with acknowledgement to Sandy Forrest.