Jarvis & Son – Monumental Masons
by Linda Ayres
Samuel Wainright Jarvis was born on 1st February 1828 at Bushmead, Bedfordshire. His christening took place on 5th October 1828 at St. Cuthbert’s Church, Bedford. He was the only son of Thomas Jarvis and his first wife Ann. Thomas Jarvis was the founder of the Phoenix Brewery in Midland Road, Bedford, which was subsequently taken over by Charles Wells in 1917.
Samuel trained as a Stone Mason after leaving school and in 1848 he set up his Monumental Mason firm in Hassett Street, Bedford. He married Ann Tilcock on the 13th May 1849, and they moved to Albert Street, Bedford. They had one child, George Thomas Jarvis, born on the 15th May 1854. In 1869 Thomas moved the firm to larger premises at 117 Midland Road, Bedford. By 1881, he was employing 13 men and three boys.
Sadly, Ann died on 16th March 1886 aged 59 years. A few months later on 31st July 1886, Samuel married his second wife Lavinia Rhoda Murray. In August 1910, Samuel died aged 82 at his home at 34 Alexander Road, Bedford. His funeral service at Mill Street Baptist Church preceded his burial at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. He was buried with his first wife Ann.
George Thomas Jarvis was educated at the Bedford Modern School. When he was about 20 years old, he went to America, where he studied the trade of stonemasonry for about a year. On his return, he became a partner in his father’s business and worked his own gravel pit at Kempston. They also worked pits at Oakley Folley, Biddenham, Bromham (Lower Park Farm), King Street, Kempston and the stone quarry at Dungee, Harrold.
In October 1878, George married Julia Webb, of Thaxted, Essex. After their marriage, they lived in Western Street, Bedford. There were no children and Julia died aged 64 years on 4th August 1913. She was buried in the family grave with Samuel and Ann. George married his second wife Martha E. Moore in February 1921, at St. Mary’s Church, Morpeth in Northumberland.
George was a life Deacon and also Trustee and Treasurer of the Mill Street Baptist Church. He took no part in the public life of the town. His only interest was the study of old Bedford. He was well versed in local antiquarian lore and anything relating to the history of the town or its people.
George died aged 74 years on 6th June aged 1932. He was buried in the family grave with his parents and his first wife, Julia. Lavinia Rhoda Jarvis died aged 82 years on 12th December 1922 and was also buried in the family grave.
After George died, the firm continued to trade under different management for many years but by 1965 had finally closed down.
Grave Ref: C2.159
Photography Linda S. Ayres
General Records Office
Bedfordshire Times and Independent Friday 26th August 1910.
Bedfordshire Times and Independent Friday 10th June 1932.
Kelly’s Directory 1961 and 196
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