Author Topic: Morris & Cowley / The Vesta Brothers / Frank & Harry Birkenhead  (Read 808 times)

Offline ATGoldsmith

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Morris & Cowley / The Vesta Brothers / Frank & Harry Birkenhead
« on: Sunday 19 November 17 19:32 GMT (UK) »
Hello all!

I wasn't sure where to put this because it relates more to the people's profession rather than their location.  I'm looking for some more information about the actors/artistes who where first called 'The  Vesta Brothers' and later changed their name to 'Morris & Cowley' - probably naming themselves after the brand of car.

Their real names were Frank Birkenhead (1898-1985) [a.k.a. Frank Cowley] and George Harold "Harry" Birkenhead (1895-1972) [a.k.a. Harry Morris].

I have found them on the 1901 census and on passenger lists travelling to and from Australia once, courtesy of Fullers Theatre Agent, London with their wives, Doris Ruth Watson (1901-1969) and Edith Mary Watson (1899-1970), who were sisters.  I also know that Frank & Doris had a child that travelled to Australia with them called Peggy.  There is only one possible birth in England & Wales that I can find for Peggy in 1921, which doesn't match the passenger list very well.  Also, on the return journey, she is listed as the same age as when she went over, one-and-a-half years before!  So Peggy is a mystery.

I also have Frank's military record, some photos of the brothers in constume from the internet, and a picture of Frank's memorial in Twickenham cemetery.

What I can't find is a record of the brothers and their mother on the 1911 census.  I know that their father and sister are living with their aunt, but the other three aren't with them.  Also, the brothers had two more siblings:  Bertie (b. 1892), who is listed on the 1901 census;  and Stanley who died young in 1893.  But I can't find Bertie's birth record or anything else about him.  I am also interested in what exactly the brothers went to Australia to do, and if there are any records of them down under - especially if it gives clues as to Peggy's whereabouts!

Thanks!

Andrew :)
British student studying in Poland who loves travelling!

Asbury, Berwick, Birkenhead, Boswell, Campbell, Catlin, C(h)rimes, Clarke, Coles, Crawford, Crowfoot, Denton, Downie, Durrant, Dutton, Eaton, Fairbrother, Goldsmith, Gower, Hawkes, Hepburn, Hulatt, Humstone, Ivory, Kent, Lynn, Lyon, Mahon, Mander, McCann, McGowan, McGregor, McKean, McLeod, McMahon, Meechan, Moses, Nelson, Pelling, Pemberton, Pickstone, Sconce, Stokes, Summerfield, Swannell, Terry, Thorowgood, Tierney, Varney, Webdale.

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Offline CaroleW

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Re: Morris & Cowley / The Vesta Brothers / Frank & Harry Birkenhead
« Reply #1 on: Sunday 19 November 17 20:18 GMT (UK) »
You haven't given any info as to where all the persons mentioned were born.  Frank & George were b Walsall  mmn Smith.  You haven't given any parents names or birthplaces etc for tracing purposes but I am assuming they are the George Birkenhead and Frances Edith Smith who married Sept qtr 1892 Northwich?

Quote
Also, the brothers had two more siblings:  Bertie (b. 1892), who is listed on the 1901 census;

Where was Bertie born?  I can't see a 1901 entry for him EDIT - indexed as Birtie b Davenham

Stanley was born & died in Northwich Cheshire - age 0

Another birth of the same name in Northwich 1907

Quote
What I can't find is a record of the brothers and their mother on the 1911 census

1911 lookups are not allowed http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php/topic,355486.0.html
Census Information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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Offline CaroleW

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Re: Morris & Cowley / The Vesta Brothers / Frank & Harry Birkenhead
« Reply #2 on: Sunday 19 November 17 21:00 GMT (UK) »
As George & Frances only married Sept qtr 1892 and Stanley was born March qtr 1893 (or possibly very late 1892)  Bertie must have been born before the marriage. George was single living with his father in 1891 so I think it's possible Bertie is the illegitimate son of Frances Smith

Frances died Lichfield 1945 aged 75
Census Information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline CaroleW

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Re: Morris & Cowley / The Vesta Brothers / Frank & Harry Birkenhead
« Reply #3 on: Sunday 19 November 17 21:26 GMT (UK) »
Quote
I also know that Frank & Doris had a child that travelled to Australia with them called Peggy.  There is only one possible birth in England & Wales that I can find for Peggy in 1921, which doesn't match the passenger list very well.  Also, on the return journey, she is listed as the same age as when she went over, one-and-a-half years before!  So Peggy is a mystery.

It would help if you said what age she was on both entries and what date the journey was made - this saves readers having to look everything up to get the information

Outward journey 1925 - Peggy aged 2 Return journey 1926 - Peggy aged 2

Could it be that children 2 or under travelled free??


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Offline ATGoldsmith

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Re: Morris & Cowley / The Vesta Brothers / Frank & Harry Birkenhead
« Reply #4 on: Sunday 19 November 17 21:30 GMT (UK) »
Thanks CaroleW and apologies for the lack of details.

Just to clarify:
Father:  George Birkenhead (1860-1931), born Davenham, died Birmingham
Mother:  Frances Edith Smith (b. c. 1873), born Liverpool
Brother:  Bertie Birkenhead (b. c. 1892), born Davenham
Brother:  Stanley Birkenhead (1893-1893), born/died Northwich
Harry Morris,  born Darlaston, died Camberwell
Frank Cowley, born Darlaston, died Hounslow
Sister:  Doris Florence Birkenhead (1910-1983), born Chorlton, died Bournemouth - married Thomas Henry Charles Pratley (1907-1997)

I agree that Bertie was probably born out of wedlock.

Sorry for my ignorance over the 1911 rules.

In this case I would mostly be interested in any knowledge regarding their actual work and/or their life in Australia - though I guess this is probably the wrong board.

Andrew


British student studying in Poland who loves travelling!

Asbury, Berwick, Birkenhead, Boswell, Campbell, Catlin, C(h)rimes, Clarke, Coles, Crawford, Crowfoot, Denton, Downie, Durrant, Dutton, Eaton, Fairbrother, Goldsmith, Gower, Hawkes, Hepburn, Hulatt, Humstone, Ivory, Kent, Lynn, Lyon, Mahon, Mander, McCann, McGowan, McGregor, McKean, McLeod, McMahon, Meechan, Moses, Nelson, Pelling, Pemberton, Pickstone, Sconce, Stokes, Summerfield, Swannell, Terry, Thorowgood, Tierney, Varney, Webdale.

Offline ATGoldsmith

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Re: Morris & Cowley / The Vesta Brothers / Frank & Harry Birkenhead
« Reply #5 on: Sunday 19 November 17 21:35 GMT (UK) »
Frances died Lichfield 1945 aged 75

I'm not 100% sure about this death.  There are no connections for the family in Lichfield and the age doesn't totally match.  I have checked to see if this death record connects to someone else, but no luck thus far.

British student studying in Poland who loves travelling!

Asbury, Berwick, Birkenhead, Boswell, Campbell, Catlin, C(h)rimes, Clarke, Coles, Crawford, Crowfoot, Denton, Downie, Durrant, Dutton, Eaton, Fairbrother, Goldsmith, Gower, Hawkes, Hepburn, Hulatt, Humstone, Ivory, Kent, Lynn, Lyon, Mahon, Mander, McCann, McGowan, McGregor, McKean, McLeod, McMahon, Meechan, Moses, Nelson, Pelling, Pemberton, Pickstone, Sconce, Stokes, Summerfield, Swannell, Terry, Thorowgood, Tierney, Varney, Webdale.

Offline CaroleW

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Re: Morris & Cowley / The Vesta Brothers / Frank & Harry Birkenhead
« Reply #6 on: Sunday 19 November 17 21:43 GMT (UK) »
Lichfield is in Staffordshire which is where the family seem to have spent some time and is only approx 12miles from Birmingham.  She was born 1870 so I can't understand why you say the age doesn't match - 1945 - 1870 = 75

Births September qtr 1870 
Frances Edith Smith    West Derby    8b   546
Census Information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline ATGoldsmith

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Re: Morris & Cowley / The Vesta Brothers / Frank & Harry Birkenhead
« Reply #7 on: Sunday 19 November 17 22:23 GMT (UK) »
She was born 1870 so I can't understand why you say the age doesn't match - 1945 - 1870 = 75

Births September qtr 1870 
Frances Edith Smith    West Derby    8b   546

I guess the location isn't too far off, sure.  But this isn't the right birth entry for Frances.  I know her mother's maiden name was Hughes and a search of the GRO index shows this entry with the mother's maiden name Moore.

Her parents, George and Frances Elizabeth, were married in Q2 1871 in Liverpool and the three censuses I have for Frances Edith give a birth date of circa 1873-1874, so three-to-four years out.

SORRY - completely barking up the wrong tree here

Frances Smith was actually the daughter of Joseph Smith and Frances H Woodhall
British student studying in Poland who loves travelling!

Asbury, Berwick, Birkenhead, Boswell, Campbell, Catlin, C(h)rimes, Clarke, Coles, Crawford, Crowfoot, Denton, Downie, Durrant, Dutton, Eaton, Fairbrother, Goldsmith, Gower, Hawkes, Hepburn, Hulatt, Humstone, Ivory, Kent, Lynn, Lyon, Mahon, Mander, McCann, McGowan, McGregor, McKean, McLeod, McMahon, Meechan, Moses, Nelson, Pelling, Pemberton, Pickstone, Sconce, Stokes, Summerfield, Swannell, Terry, Thorowgood, Tierney, Varney, Webdale.

Offline ATGoldsmith

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Re: Morris & Cowley / The Vesta Brothers / Frank & Harry Birkenhead
« Reply #8 on: Sunday 19 November 17 22:25 GMT (UK) »
Okay - I managed to find the birth entry for Frances.  It turns out she was registered Frances Elizabeth Smith in Q2 1874 in West Derby and Toxteth Park district.
British student studying in Poland who loves travelling!

Asbury, Berwick, Birkenhead, Boswell, Campbell, Catlin, C(h)rimes, Clarke, Coles, Crawford, Crowfoot, Denton, Downie, Durrant, Dutton, Eaton, Fairbrother, Goldsmith, Gower, Hawkes, Hepburn, Hulatt, Humstone, Ivory, Kent, Lynn, Lyon, Mahon, Mander, McCann, McGowan, McGregor, McKean, McLeod, McMahon, Meechan, Moses, Nelson, Pelling, Pemberton, Pickstone, Sconce, Stokes, Summerfield, Swannell, Terry, Thorowgood, Tierney, Varney, Webdale.