Saturday, February 6, 2010

Thomas DAWES "The Builder"

There used to be a large windmill at the top of Belton Road. It was owned by the Cutress family and was used to mill flour for their bakery which is now Forfars Bakers. Click here for more information on the Cutress family.

Thomas DAWES (1840-1925) purchased the windmill, tore it down and recycled the bricks and other materials to build terrace homes on Belton Road. The top of Belton Road is shown at right and the windmill was situated in the vacant spot st the top of the street. Thomas didn't start out as a carpenter or builder.

In the 1861 census, at age 21, he is shown as living with his mother (Ann LANGRIDGE) and step-father (James GALLOP) in Brighton and working as a wheelwright. Hi father (Thomas "The Bricklayer") had died in 1851, at age 42, when my great-grandfather was only eleven. He later remarked to his grandson, Reg Barnes, that he put on his fathers boots and walked from Uckfield to Brighton to find work. I don't know when he did this because his mother didn't re-marry until 1856.

By 1871, they are living at 9 Old Shoreham Road. Thomas is now married to Sarah Ann BOXALL (1841-1890) and is recorded as a house painter. Sons Walter and Ernest born in 1864 and 1866 had been added to the family.

In 1881, they are living at 9 Old Shoreham Road he is still a house painter. Children Bertha - b. 1871, , Alice - b. 1872, Minnie - b. 1874, Ada - b. 1876 and Tom - b. 1880 (my grandfather) had been added to the family. Walter is listed as a house painters apprentice and Ernest is listed as a carpenters apprentice so they must have been helping to build the family business.

In 1891, they have moved to 54 Springfield Road and Thomas is still listed as a house painter. His wife Sarah had died in 1890 and one more child, Albert Henry - b. 1882 has been added to the family. Walter and Ernest are no longer living at home and are found elsewhere in the census. Walter married Lucy Ann Gaston in 1887 and Ernest married Mary Jane Wright in 1890.

The 1901 census now records Thomas as a builder and still living at 54 Springfield Road. he has re-married to Sarah ROUST (1851-1928) and has added the final child to the family, Thomas George - b. 1895. Alice, Ada and Albert Henry from his first marriage are still living at home.

By 1911, which is the last census available, Thomas is recorded as a builder and house decorator. Still at 54 Springfield Road he has his second wife Sarah, son Thomas George and brother-in-law George Roust living with him.

The 1905 Kelly's Directory of Sussex lists Thomas Dawes as a Builder located at 54 Springfield Road. The directory can be found at

In 1925, Thomas dies at age 84 and he leaves the family business and the premises at 54 Springfield Road to his oldest son Walter. The Brighton and Hove Herald of Saturday January 17, 1925 printed this funeral notice.
A large number of relatives and friends attended St. Augustine's Church, Standore Avenue, on Wednesday, to pay their last tribute to the memory of Mr. Thomas Dawes, who passed away last week at 54 Springfield Road, at the age of eighty-four.
Mr. Dawes was a well known and highly respected builder in the Preston Park district. Until quite recently he retained an active interest in the business which he founded nearly fifty years ago, and which is now being carried on by his son, Mr. Walter Dawes.
The funeral service took place on what would have been Mr. Dawes' eighty-fifth birthday had he lived. The Vicar (the Rev. J.E. Page, M.A.) officiated, and impressive music was played by the organist, Dr. Alfred Abdey, F.R.C.O.
Among those present in the church were several members of the Brunswick Lodge of Manchester Unity of Oddfellows, of which Mr. Dawes was a member for sixty-five years.
The mourners were the widow, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Dawes, Mr. T.G. Dawes A.R.C.O., Mr. E. Dawes, Miss Gladys Dawes, Mr. and Mrs. A.H. Dawes, Mr. and Mrs. W. Barnes, Miss Moon, Mr. G. Roust, Mr. C. Tampkin, Mr. T. Gardner (representing Mr. and Mrs. T. Dawes and family, of Montreal, Canada), Mr. W.T. Dawes, Mr. A.E. Saunders, and Mr. G.S. Godfree.
There were many floral tributes, including those sent by the following:
The Widow and family; Charlie and family; Mr. and Mrs. James Horton-Stephens; Mr. G.S. Godfree; Tom, Carrie and the Children in Canada; Miss Howell; Ellen and Nellie (Eastbourne); Mr. and Mrs. Hall; Mr. and Mrs. Phillimore (Worthing); the Employees; and the Officers and Members of the Loyal Brunswick Lodge, I.O.O.F., Brighton District, Manchester Unity.

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