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© 2017-19 Tavistock Heritage Trust. Registered Charity 1173744

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  • Tavistock Heritage Trust

A Shopping Bag of Memories

Updated: Jan 19, 2019

By Alex Mettler


In the Tavistock Times Gazette of 30 November 2017, an article appeared requesting information regarding names and photographs which came to light in a ’shopping bag’ full of old photographs, given to the Warkworth and District Museum of Auckland, New Zealand; the material was given to the museum by the town’s local hospice shop which could throw no further light on the collection. Included in the collection is a photograph (taken by S W Wadge, photographers, of Tavistock) of a young lady, thought to be a Miss Ivy Beale of Pentavy, Tavistock, together with an American newspaper cutting giving details of a visit by Miss Beale and her mother who were visiting a Dr and Mrs Charles R Vickery in Denver. Also in the ’shopping bag’ was a photograph of a wedding group outside of a house assumed likely to be in Tavistock. The Warkworth Museum were interested in trying to establish why such a bundle had turned up in New Zealand, and more specifically, in Warkworth. It was felt that some clues could be obtained from the photograph of Miss Ivy and the wedding picture which is clearly taken outside of Rydal Mount, Tavistock, and, as I live some 4 doors away from Rydal Mount, and Pentavy is just around the corner, I was intrigued and took up correspondence with an Alan Britton of the Warkworth Museum in trying to unravel what this was all about.


Further research has shown that Charles Vickery (1871-1936), a physician, was the son of John Vickery (1825-1904) of Broadwoodwidger who emigrated to the USA in 1845. Miss Ivy Rattenbury Beale (1893-1965) was the daughter of John Vickery Beale (1868-1892), of Broadwoodwidger, who moved to farm at Chaddlehanger nr Tavistock from 1892 before moving into Tavistock in 1917 with his family. Ivy married Henry Cecil Hudson (1891-1975) a native of Saddleworth, Yorks, in 1931; Henry was a bank manager and the Hudsons lived their later years in Tavistock.


Other family names appearing in the inevitable Minestrone soup of names associated with these principle families are Baker (who owned Rydal Mount from 1900 to 1954), Helson, Rattenbury, Gerry, Rouncevill, Northey, and Nankivell and there is a very strong connection to the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Tavistock. However, currently the most intriguing puzzle is to try and find why the Rydal Mount wedding photograph appears in the ’shopping bag’ and what and how any of this has connections with New Zealand. The wedding is most likely to have been during WW1 days and the groom has been established as being a member of the Middlesex Regt working as an observer with the Royal Flying Corps.

Any information regarding this puzzle will be gratefully received. Together we can crack this - yes we can!


Alex Mettler


This article first appeared in The Devon Family Historian no 165 of February 2018. The author would be grateful for any information about the Beales, especially the date of the photograph, the occasion and the names of persons showing off their finery. Please contact Alex Mettler on alexmet@macace.net or tel 01822 614773.