The Tacchi Family

The Tacchi Family

During the Napoleonic Wars (1801 -1815) the Italian Republic, whose president was Napoleon Bonaparte, imposed conscription on all single men from the age of 18 to 30 years to fight in Napoleon Bonaparte’s La Grande Armée. The enforced conscription caused many of the men to flee before they arrived at their depots. As a punishment the authorities sent their parents and their close relatives to prison until the deserters returned to their depots. When captured, the deserters paid a fine of 1500 Lira.

On the 17th March 1805 the Italian Republic became the Kingdom of Italy. Napoleon Bonaparte was declared King of Italy and crowned himself using the Iron Crown of Lombardy.

During this time, a number of Italian men left their homes in Lombardy and came to England for a better life and to escape conscription. Most of those men were skilled gilders, wood carvers, picture frame makers, instrument makers and were especially known for making barometers. Many of these Italians settled in Holborn, London and made ‘banjo’ barometers. This area of London soon became known as “Little Italy”.

Antonio Tacchi was born in 1784 at Bellagio on Lake Como, Lombardy in northern Italy. He was probably one of the many Italians who migrated to England in the early 1800s. Antonio settled in Bedford and set up his business as a carver, gilder, and barometer maker. He was the first person with the surname Tacchi to live in Bedford and soon after he arrived in England, he changed his Christian name to Anthony.

On the 24th April 1811 Anthony married Ann Butcher by licence at the Church of St, John the Baptist in Eversholt, Bedfordshire. At the time of their marriage Anthony lived in St. Paul’s parish, Bedford. Ann was born in 1790 at Eversholt, and was the youngest of the seven children of John Butcher and Elizabeth (née Hawkins).

The Dictionary of British and Irish Furniture Makers, records that from 1830 to 1839 Anthony was a carver, gilder, and paperhanger trading in the High Street, Bedford and in 1839 he was trading in St. John’s. On the 26th October 1835 Anthony leased two messuages (two houses with outbuildings and adjacent land) at St. Johns Street, Bedford. The lease was for 40 years. Anthony also carried out work in buildings around the town. In 1853 he did repair work for the sum of eight shillings and six pence at the Bedford Asylum in Ampthill Road.

Today barometers made by Anthony Tacchi occasionally come up for auction. A mid-19th century mahogany barometer made by Anthony Tacchi reached £395.00 in 2022.

Anthony Tacchi meets Garibaldi
Garibaldi was considered to be one of the greatest masters of guerrilla warfare during the 19th century. In 1859 Garibaldi, together with his five thousand strong volunteer army, freed Lombardy from the Austrians. The following year he helped unify various states of the Italian peninsula under one monarchy.

On the 15th April 1864 General Giuseppe Garibaldi visited the Britannia Works at Bedford to inspect the process of ploughing by steam. During his visit he planted a Wellingtonia gigantea tree on the lawn outside the works. Anthony was among the many people there that day to be introduced to Garibaldi and it probably came as a surprise to Garibaldi to meet one of his fellow countrymen.

The Funerals of Anthony and Ann
Ann died on the 1st January 1868 aged 77 years at 32 St. John’s Street, Bedford. Her burial took place at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Grave Ref. F3 209. Two months later Anthony died aged 83 years on 8th March 1868. His burial took place in the grave next to Ann. Grave Ref. F3 203

Ann and Anthony had five daughters and seven sons. Sarah (1812-1835), Joseph (1815-1872), Elizabeth (1816-1895), Ann (1818-1907), George (1820-1890), John (1821-1882), Mary (1823-1900), Anthony (1825-1913), Thomas (1827-1885), Eleanor (1829-1897), Peter (1832-1900) and Richard (1836-1910).

There is a family tree at the end of the article.

Sarah, the eldest daughter and first child of Anthony and Ann, was born in 1812 at Bedford. Sarah died aged 23 years in 1835 at Bedford.

Joseph, the eldest son and the second child of Anthony and Ann was born in 1815 at Bedford. On leaving school Joseph became a house painter. On the 10th July 1836 Joseph married Elizabeth Aychurch Osborn at St. Sepulchre, Newgate, London. Elizabeth was born on the 16th December 1811 at Diddington, Huntingdonshire, and was one of the four children of Mary and Martin Rawling Osborn. Her father owned farmland at Hemingford Grey, Huntingdonshire. After their marriage Joseph and Elizabeth moved to Chandos Street, Bedford. They subsequently moved to 53 Wellington Street, Bedford.

Joseph died on the 4th January 1872 at the house of his brother John, at 11 Wellington Street. His burial took place at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Grave Ref. E11 26. Elizabeth died on the 14th November 1899 at 41 Dame Alice Street, Bedford, aged 87 years. Elizabeth’s burial took place in the grave next to that of Joseph. Grave Ref. E11 56.

The Children of Joseph and Elizabeth
Joseph and Elizabeth had ten children, five daughters and five sons. Sarah (1836-1916), Elizabeth (1838- 1925), Joseph Jnr (1839-1890), Ann (1840-1848), George (1842-1918), John (1845 -1932), Anthony (1847-1915), Thomas (1849-1920), Mary (1851-1896) and Ellen (1853-1855).

Ann and Ellen Tacchi
Ann and Ellen sadly died in childhood. Ann died aged 8 years old. Her burial took place on the 2nd October 1848 in St. Peter’s Churchyard. Ellen died on the 2nd June 1855, aged 2 years and 2 months. Ellen’s burial, on the 5th June 1855, was the first to take place at Foster Hill Road Cemetery Grave Ref. E11. 36

Sarah Tacchi
Sarah, the eldest daughter and first child of Joseph and Elizabeth was born in 1836 at Bedford. Sarah and her sisters Elizabeth and Ann, were Christened on the 6th December 1840 at St. Peter’s Church, Bedford. In 1860 Sarah married William Whiting at Axbridge, Somerset. William was born in 1841 at Lympsham, Somerset, and was one of the eight children of John and Elizabeth Whiting.

William was a coal miner and in 1871 Sarah and William were living at Mountain Ash, Glamorganshire, Wales. Two years later Sarah and William were living at Bagillt, Flintshire, Wales. The 1881 census records William and Sarah living at 5 Elm Street, Prescot, Lancashire. At that time they had four children: Arthur aged 10 years, Alice and Mary aged 8 years and William aged 3 years. The 1891 census records William and Sarah living at Hall Lane, Huyton and Roby, Lancashire. By then William had given up working in the coal mines and was a self-employed shoemaker. Sarah died in 1916 at 7 Victoria Place, Prescott, Liverpool. There is no death record of William.

Elizabeth Tacchi
Elizabeth, the second eldest daughter and the second child of Joseph and Elizabeth was born in 1838 at Bedford.

On the 2nd July 1863 Elizabeth was one of the ten poor women of Bedford to draw her £20.00 marriage portion from the Bedford Charity.

Bedford Charity Marriage Portions
Sir William Harpur, founder of the Harpur Trust Charity, Bedford, owned thirteen acres of land in the parish of St. Andrew, Holborn, London. Every year, out of the rents and profits of the estates, the Bedford Charity received the sum of £800.00 for the marriage portions.

Marriage portions were drawn in lots of ten, four times a year. To qualify for marriage portions all candidates had to be of good character. Their ages were from 16 years and under the age of fifty years. Their fathers must have lived in the town of Bedford for ten years. Their future husbands must not be vagrants and be of good character. Candidates would not receive their £20.00 if they did not marry within two months of drawing the marriage portion.

Elizabeth received her marriage portion on the day she married Josiah Howe on the 6th July 1863 at Biggleswade.

Josiah was born in 1833 at Blunham, Bedfordshire, and was one of the five children of Elizabeth and Joseph Howe. Josiah was a boot maker by trade. The 1911 census records Josiah and Elizabeth living at Church Street, Gamlingay, Bedfordshire. Josiah died in 1913 and Elizabeth died in 1925. Their burials took place in Gamlingay Cemetery.

Elizabeth and Josiah had three children: Anthony (1865-1944), who was a bricklayer by trade. Ill health forced him to retire. He died at his home at Church Street, Gamlingay. His burial took place in Gamlingay Cemetery; Harry (1867-1939), who ran his own hairdressing business at Gamlingay. He died at his home in Church Street, Gamlingay. His burial took place at Gamlingay Cemetery; and Frederick Reuben who was born in 1883. He served with the Royal Engineers 106th Field Coy, service number 166362. He died during the Third Battle of Ypres, in Flanders, also known as the Battle of Passchendaele, on the 4th October 1917. He is commemorated at Arras Memorial, Bay 1

Joseph Tacchi Jnr
Joseph Jnr, the eldest son and third child of Joseph and Elizabeth, was born in 1839 at Bedford. At the age of 13 years, he began his apprenticeship with George Small who owned a plumbing firm. George Small lived at 6 St. Peters Green, Bedford. Joseph was one of the fifteen men employed by George Small. After Joseph had completed his seven years apprentice, he continued to work for George Small.

George Small died on the 30th November 1878 aged 62 years. His burial took place in the grave with his wife Jane at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Grave Ref. E3. 138

In 1865 Joseph Jnr. started up his own firm as a plumber, glazier, and painter, at 2 Wellington Street, Bedford. On the 14th May 1866 Joseph married Ruth Lett at the Wesleyan Chapel, Bedford. Ruth received her £20.00 marriage portion from the Bedford Charity. Before her marriage Ruth worked as a bonnet maker.

Ruth was one of the nine children of Ann and John Lett. In 1851 the family lived in Harpur Street where John Lett ran a grocery business. The family subsequently moved to 9 St. John’s Street, where John ran a beer house as well as his greengrocery business. The family later moved to the Garibaldi Arms, 36 Mill Street, Bedford. The Garibaldi Arms was on the corner of Mill Street and Gadsby Street, which closed in May 1898. Ann and John Lett died at the Garibaldi Arms. Ann died in 1868 aged 57 years. Her burial took place at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Grave Ref. C7 163. John died aged 66 years on the 17th October 1870. His burial took place beside Ann. Grave Ref. C7 173. After Ann and John died, their son, George became the licensee of the Garibaldi Arms.

In 1870 Joseph became the licensee of the Anchor Inn at 2 Dame Alice Street. At the same time, he continued to run his plumbing business. He appeared in court for selling beer after 11pm on the 30th May 1872. Joseph stated that it was his wife’s birthday and he was entertaining a few friends. The court found him guilty and fined him 10 shilling with 7 shillings cost. In 1872 Joseph took charge of the St. Peter’s fire engine room.

Joseph died aged 52 years on the 15th April 1890 at Dame Alice Street, Bedford. His burial took place at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Grave Ref. F2 19. After Joseph died Ruth took over as the licensee of the Anchor Inn.

On the 7th October 1891 Ruth married her second husband Edward Underwood at St. Paul’s Church, Bedford. At the time of their marriage Ruth lived at 6 Dame Alice Street. Edward was in partnership with his uncle, John Alexander Banks. The firm was known as Underwood and Banks, who were clothiers, tailors, and general outfitters, 41 High Street, Bedford. Edward ran the firm when his uncle died in 1885. Before his marriage, Edward lived above the shop. After their marriage they moved to 40 St. Leonards Avenue, Bedford.

Edward had been unwell for three years before he died at the age of 54 years on the 30th November 1910. His burial took place close to other members of his family at Pavenham Churchyard. Ruth died aged 77 years on the 5th April 1919 at 21 Pembroke Street, Bedford. Her burial took place at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Grave Ref. D5 214

Joseph Tacchi the son of Joseph and Ruth
Joseph, the only child of Joseph and Ruth, was born in 1867 at Bedford. On leaving school he became a house painter. On the 10th May 1887 Joseph joined the Coldstream Guards, in London. After serving seven years, he left the Guards.

In 1895 Joseph married Fanny Sharp Stokes at Holborn, London. Fanny was born in 1867 at Bedford and was one of the four children of Sarah Stokes, a washerwoman. Fanny had lived with her family at 20 Gravel Lane, Bedford, before she moved into lodgings at 3 River Street, Bedford. Her occupation was as a laundress. After their marriage Joseph and Fanny moved into 4 James Street, Bedford.

Joseph was employed with the Electric Lighting Company. On the 15th May 1896 Joseph and his foreman, Charles English, and Albert Edward Christmas, a labourer, went to St. Mary’s substation to inspect the terminals in the transformer. Charles took the switches out and he then held up all the cables away from the box, and told Joseph and Albert to lift the box. When they lifted the cables up about eight inches from the box, Joseph and Albert got an electric shock from one of the wires and they both fell to the ground. A few minutes later Joseph came to and managed to climb the ladder and get out of the sub-station. Unfortunately, Albert died at the scene.

Albert was born in 1877 at Bedford. His Christening took place at St Paul’s Church, Bedford, on the 10th August 1879. He was the son of Eliza Christmas of Tower Court, Bedford. At the time of his death Albert lived in Bower Street, Bedford. Albert’s funeral took place on the 19th May 1896 at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Grave Ref. G5.73

Dr. Prior the Borough Coroner held the inquest at the Corn Exchange. In his summing up he said that it was clear the cause of the accident was a flaw in the cable and the accident might have been avoided if India rubber mats and gloves were supplied.

After the accident Joseph returned to his previous job as a house painter. The accident had a long term effect on Joseph’s mental health. On the 17th May 1912 Joseph had not worked for a couple of weeks, and seemed troubled, but not too ill to call the doctor. His wife had gone out and when she returned home, she discovered that he had tragically taken his own life. Three days later the inquest jury returned a verdict that there was not sufficient evidence to say what state of mind Joseph was in.

Joseph’s burial took place on the 21st May 1912 at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Grave Ref. H5 231. Fanny died aged 68 years in 1935 at 1 Short Street, Bedford. Her burial took place in the grave next to Joseph, Grave Ref. H5 222

Joseph Tacchi the son of Joseph and Fanny
Joseph was born on the 14th July 1896 at Bedford. On leaving school Joseph worked as a commercial clerk. On the 29th December 1920 Joseph married Rose Annie Bliss at All Saints Church, Bedford. Rose was one of the five children of Frances and Richard Bliss of 15 Honey Hill Road, Bedford. At the time of her marriage Rose was a children’s nurse.
After their marriage they moved in with Rose’s parents at Honey Hill Road. In 1924 their only child, Joseph R. Tacchi was born.

Rose died aged 38 years. Her burial took place on the 5th August 1931 at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Grave Ref. Q 517.

Joseph subsequently moved to Luton. In 1934 he married his second wife, Gertrude Richards. Joseph died in Luton in 1960.

George Tacchi
George, the second eldest son and fifth child of Joseph and Elizabeth, was born in 1842 at Bedford. George was apprenticed to his uncle George who was a carver and gilder. He lived with his uncle George at 18 Goswell Street, Glasshouse Liberty, London. Glasshouse Liberty, which is a part of the parish of St. Botolph, Aldgate, situated in Goswell Street; named after an ancient glasshouse.

In 1865 George married Martha Jane Dixon. Martha was born in 1836 in Yorkshire and was the daughter of Sarah and Samuel Dixon who was a printer compositor by trade. Before her marriage Martha worked as a milliner. She lived with her family at Frederick Street, St. Pancras, Marylebone, London.

In 1870 George and Martha’s only child, George Henry Tacchi was born in London. The 1881 census records Martha living at Rutland Street, Hanover Square, London, with her son George. At the same time George Snr. was staying at Stanfield’s Temperance Hotel at York Street, Langfield, Yorkshire. Sadly, George Jnr. died in 1884 aged 13 years. The 1891 census records Martha as a live-in general servant at Lambeth Walk Surrey. George and Martha were not living together as the census records him visiting Martha.

Martha died 1900 aged 64 years in London. The 1901 census records George as a pauper inmate in the Chelsea Workhouse, London. It appears that George had given up his occupation as a gilder and carver and became a house painter. George died aged 76 years in 1918 at Chelsea, London. His burial took place on the 2nd April 1918 at Brookwood Cemetery, Brookwood, Surrey.

John Tacchi
John, the third eldest son and sixth child of Joseph and Elizabeth was born in 1845 at Bedford. At the age of 14 years, he had drawn his apprentice fees from the Bedford Charity, and served his 7 years apprenticeship as a tinsmith.

Apprentice Fees
Apprentice Fees were drawn in lots twice yearly for fifteen boys and five girls. The Bedford Charity apprenticed poor children and paid the sum of £10.00 apprentice fee for each girl. The girls served a five year apprenticeship, and to qualify their ages must be from twelve to fifteen years. The boys apprentice fee was £15.00 and they served a seven year apprenticeship. To qualify they must be thirteen to fifteen years old.

To be eligible for the apprentice fees the children’s fathers had to have lived in Bedford for ten years. The Bedford Charity paid half the fee when the children had begun their apprenticeship and paid the second half when they had served their term. The trustees required a certificate from the masters and the mistresses of the apprentices regarding their behaviour.

In 1867 John joined the army, and signed on for ten years. He served with the 13th Regiment of foot. John served a few more years with the army than he had originally signed on for. The 1881 census records that John was a private, and stationed with his regiment at Devenport Stoke Damerel, Devon. He subsequently moved with his regiment to Taunton.

In 1887 John married Maria Fudge. Maria was born in 1869 in Somerset, and was the daughter of Henry Jaques Fudge and Judith née Power. After their marriage they lived in married quarters at the barracks. In 1887 John was promoted to corporal, and two years later he was made sergeant. By 1891 John had left the army and he and Maria moved to Pig Market Lane, Taunton. Maria and John had eight children, sadly, two children died in infancy. Maria worked as a collar maker and John was a hotel porter. The family subsequently moved to Victoria Place, Taunton, Somerset.

Maria died in 1913 aged 43 years. John died aged 87 in 1932 at 43 Upper High Street, Taunton. John’s funeral with full military honours took place at St Mary’s Cemetery, Taunton. John was the last surviving member of the old 13th Regiment of foot (afterwards the Somerset Light Infantry) and veteran of the Zulu War and Burmah and Afghan campaigns.

The coffin, covered with the Union Jack, was drawn on a gun carriage to St. Mary’s Cemetery by soldiers from the Somerset Light Infantry, and six sergeants acted as pallbearers. Buglers sounded the “Last Post” and “Reveille” at the graveside.

Anthony Tacchi
Anthony, the fourth eldest son and seventh child of Joseph and Elizabeth was born in 1847 at Bedford. Anthony had drawn his apprentice fee from the Bedford Charity. At the end of his seven year apprenticeship, he became a house painter and glazier.

On the 25th December 1870 Anthony married Rebecca Thompson at the Registry Office in St. Peter’s Bedford. Rebecca was born in 1847 at Marston, Bedfordshire, and was the daughter of Mary and James Thompson. At the time of her marriage Rebecca lived at Foster Street, Bedford. After their marriage they lived at 19 Cemetery Road, Bedford.

The 1881 census records Anthony living at 7 Peel Street, Bedford. He is a self-employed plumber and glazier, and has one apprentice working for him. In 1909 Anthony painted and regilded the large iron gates to Bedford Park for the sum of £16.10 shillings. Anthony subsequently purchased a double fronted house with a large two storey workshop at 51 Tavistock Street, Bedford. He also owned a house at 59 Tavistock Street, which he rented out. The house comprised of 2 sitting rooms, 3 bedrooms and kitchen.

Anthony died aged 66 on the 27th January 1915. His burial took place at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Grave Ref. B4 110.

Both his houses in Tavistock Street sold at auction on the 18th June 1915 at the Swan Hotel, Bedford. Rebecca moved to 53 Dame Alice Street, where she died aged 81 years in February 1926. Her burial took place in the grave with Anthony. They had no children.

Thomas Tacchi
Thomas, the fifth eldest son and eighth child of Joseph and Elizabeth was born in 1849 at Bedford. Thomas went to the Commercial School. (In 1873 the school became known as the Bedford Modern School).Thomas left school at the age of 15 years and drew his apprentice fee from the Bedford Charity. He served his seven year apprenticeship as an engine fitter. The 1871 census records that Thomas is living at Osborne Street, Colchester, Essex.

In 1874 Thomas married Caroline Elizabeth Wright at Colchester. Caroline was born in Colchester in 1852 and was one of the four children of Mary Ann and James Wright who was a sailor. Caroline lived with her family at Hythe Street, St. Leonards, Colchester. Thomas and Caroline subsequently moved to 22 Muswell Road, Bedford. The 1911 census records them living at 27 Manor Road, Luton. Caroline and Thomas had nine children. Caroline and Thomas died at Luton. Thomas died in 1920 aged 71 years, and Caroline died in 1941 aged 89 years.

Mary Tacchi
Mary, the fourth eldest daughter and ninth child of Joseph and Elizabeth was born in 1851 at Bedford. Mary was employed as a mantle maker. She made mantles from cotton and soaked them in nitrates and fitted them to gas lamps. In 1881 Mary married Frederick James Brittain. Frederick was born in 1855 at Kempston, Bedfordshire, and was the eldest of the three children of Mary and James Brittain. Mary was a dressmaker and James was a wood cutter.

Frederick was employed as a striker at the iron works. His job involved drawing out angle iron from the furnace when ready for forging. The 1891 census records Ann and Frederick living at 18 Regent Street, Kimberworth, Rotherham, Yorkshire. Rotherham was an industrial part of Yorkshire and known for its iron works.

On the 7th February 1896 Mary died aged 46 years at Lambeth, London. One of Mary’s relatives escorted her coffin from London to her brother Anthony’s house at 51 Tavistock Street. Her burial took place at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Grave Ref. E11.27. Mary and Frederick had no children.

After Mary died Frederick lived at Fitzalan Street, Lambeth London. He gave up his job as a striker and became a carpenter and joiner. In 1903 Frederick married Jane Fox. Frederick died aged 58 years in 1913 in Lambeth, London.

Elizabeth, the second daughter and third child of Anthony and Ann was born in 1816 at Bedford. Elizabeth married Horace Terry on 14th April 1846 at St John’s Church, Bedford. Horace was the son of William Terry a gardener. Horace was an ale and porter merchant.

After their marriage Elizabeth and Horace moved to London. They had three daughters; Mary was born in 1849, Annie born in 1855, and Hannah born in 1859. In 1876 Horace died at Wandsworth. The 1881 census records that Elizabeth was employed as a housekeeper living at Wandsworth London, with her unmarried daughter, Annie who was a school governess.

Elizabeth’s daughter, Mary married William Silsby in 1878 at St. George Hanover Square, London. William (1850-1893) was born in Stotfold, Bedfordshire. The 1891 census records that Mary and William are boarding house keepers, and they have five children. Also living with them are Elizabeth, and her other two daughters, Annie and Hannah. Elizabeth died in 1895 at Islington. London.

Ann, the third eldest daughter and the fourth child of Anthony and Ann was born in 1818 at Bedford. Ann moved to Italy, where she married Guiseppe Tacchi on the 1st September 1867. Giuseppe was the son of Francesco and Antonia Maria Tacchi. Giuseppe and his father were government officials. After their marriage Ann and Guiseppe lived in Bellagio, Como, Italy. The census for Como records Ann as ‘benestante’ in English means wealthy. Ann died on the 5th March 1907 at Como, Lombardy, Italy.

George, the second eldest son and the fifth child of Anthony and Ann was born in 1820 at Bedford. In 1842 George married Susannah Morgan at Clerkenwell, London. Susannah was born in 1819 at Clay Hyson, Devon. The 1851 census records that George is working as a carver, gilder and a journeyman. He was living at 8 Manchester Street, St. Pancras, Marylebone, London.

George and Susannah had two children. George Jnr. was born in 1844, and was apprenticed to his father as a carver and gilder. Their daughter Emma was born in 1846. George and his family subsequently moved to 18 Goswell Street, The Liberty of Glasshouse Yard, London. In the course of his business George made picture frames. He also gilded the Lord Mayor’s coach and the Royal Barge.

On the 11th November 1870 Susannah died aged 51 years at 18 Goswell Street, London. Her funeral took place a few days later on the 19th November at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Inscribed on her memorial are the words,” Susan, wife of George Tacchi of London”. It appears she was known to her family as Susan and not Susannah. Grave Ref. F3 215.

In 1874 George married his second wife Ellen Death. Ellen was born on the 18th December 1841 at Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, and was one of the seven children of Oliver Death and Sarah née Champness. Oliver owned his own drapery business.

In 1852 Ellen and her family moved to London. Oliver died three years later. The 1861 census records Ellen living with her mother who was the licensee of the Prince of Wales Public House at 16 Frederick Place, Hampstead Road, St. Pancras, London. By 1871 Ellen’s brother, Frederick, had taken over the licence of the Prince of Wales.

George made picture frames for the artist, James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Whistler owed George  £41 8 shillings and 4 pence for frames he had made, and Whistler had no means of paying the debt. (£42.00 in 1879 is worth approximately £5,550 in 2022). Whistler had been declared bankrupt in 1879 following a libel case against John Ruskin. Although Whistler had won the case he was only awarded damages of one farthing and had to pay his own costs.

The 1881 census records George and Ellen living at 18 Goswell Road, Glasshouse Yard, London, with their two sons, Percy George who was born in 1875, and Clifford John who was born in 1881. George is a self-employed carver and gilder, employing two men. They also employed a domestic servant.

In 1890 George died aged 70 years in London. By 1901 Ellen and her son, Clifford were living at 78 Mortimer Road, Hackney. Four years later Ellen was living in one room at 10 Midway Park, Islington, London. In 1904 Ellen married Arthur Richard Abbott at Islington, London. Ellen died in 1906 aged 66 years, in Islington.

Clifford John Tacchi – Son of George and Ellen
Clifford was born in 1880 at London. On the 13th February 1912 he married Mabel Grace Taylor at Stratford, London. At the time of his marriage Clifford lived at New Wanstead, London. Mabel was born in 1885 at Dartmouth, Devon, and was the third daughter of Albert Taylor who lived in Portsmouth. Before her marriage Mabel was employed as a sick nurse at the home of Godfrey John Meynell, at 76 Redcliffe Gardens, Kensington, London.

Four days after their marriage Mabel and Clifford sailed on the Ship Hitachi Maru to Hong Kong. The passenger list states Clifford’s occupation as a merchant. Clifford was employed by the Public Works Department in Hong Kong. His annual salary was £200.00. After the Second World War Clifford travelled to Australia five times. His last visit to Australia was in 1954.

On the 22nd October 1956 Clifford died aged 76 at 154A Kenton Road, Harrow, Middlesex. Mabel died on the 3rd January 1957 aged 72 years at 83 Milton Road, Portsmouth.

George Clifford Tacchi – son of Clifford and Mabel
George was born in 1913 in Hong Kong. His Christening took place on the 12th August 1913 at St. John’s Cathedral, Old Hong Kong. In 1932 George was a student at Emmanuel College in the University of Cambridge. He studied English and Medieval Languages. In 1935 he gained his Bachelor of Arts degree. On the 11th August 1936 George sailed from England to Singapore on the Ship Ranpura.

By 1941 George was serving as a lieutenant with the Federated Malay States Volunteer Force 1st Perak Battalion when the Japanese invaded Malaysia. In 1942 George was taken prisoner by the Japanese when they invaded Singapore. George died on the 16th June 1943 whilst working on the Burma Railway. His first burial took place at Kannyu No 1 Cemetery Grave 32, near Hellfire Pass. In 1946 George was one of the many prisoners of war who were exhumed and reburied at Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. The words inscribed on his memorial: “Requiescat in Pace” (May he Rest in Peace) Section 8. L. 2. His wife, Helen Teresa Tacchi who lived in Singapore survived him.

Percy George Tacchi – Son of George and Ellen
Percy, the eldest son of George and Ellen was born on the 12th June 1875 at St. Botolph’s Aldersgate, London. On leaving school Percy trained as an engineer. He subsequently moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, and formed a partnership with Mr. Wright making bicycles. On the 23rd June 1897 Percy married Rebecca Kathleen Mercer at Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Rebecca was born in London on the 8th June 1875. On the 24th January 1899 their daughter, Ellen Kathleen was born in Johannesburg. Ellen’s Christening took place on the 24th February 1899 at St. Mary the Lees, Jeppestown, Johannesburg. Soon after Ellen was born Percy and Rebecca returned to England, and lived at 29 Nemoure Road, Acton, London. While living in Acton they had three children. Percy George Jnr. (1904-2001), Mercia Olga Eunice (1910-1984), Maurice Phoebus (1913-1992)

In their later years Percy and Rebecca moved to Somerset and lived with their daughter, Ellen at North Curry, Taunton, Somerset. Percy died in 1970 and Rebecca died in 1975.

The Children of Percy and Rebecca Tacchi
Ellen Kathleen Tacchi
Ellen was the eldest child of Percy and Rebecca Tacchi. In 1929 Ellen ran her own dance school, ‘Tacchomo School of Dance’ at 174a Hammersmith Road, Hammersmith, London. She taught ballroom, ballet, and musical comedy. In 1931 Ellen moved to Souldern Road, Brook Green, Hammersmith, London, and opened her theatrical business, under the name of Tacchomo Productions. She appeared in several films, including Men Are Not Gods in 1936 alongside Rex Harrison and Noel Coward. Ellen and Noel Coward were uncredited. In December 1936 Ellen married Flight- Lieutenant Walter Stagg at Kensington London. Walter said that he fell in love with Ellen at first sight.

In 1939 Ellen opened the Tacchomo International Summer School at Curry, Somerset. The school opened for one month from the 7th August to 7th September. Ellen and Walter’s marriage ended in divorce. In 1945 Ellen married her second husband, Richard Rodham Morris (1903-1988). Richard was an auctioneer and surveyor. He was born in North Curry, Somerset, and was the son of Alice and Richard Spearing Morris. After her marriage Ellen became known as Kathleen Tacchi Morris.

Kathleen was the founder of Women for World Disarmament, and was a campaigner for peace. During WW2 Kathleen opened her home to 30 children of different nationalities whose parents could not bring them up. In July 1962 Kathleen attended the Moscow Peace Conference where she had taken a message from the Taunton Group of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. She hoped the message will go some way towards finding a solution to the arms race. The message said, “We believe that food for the whole world is more important than arms production. People in Asia are starving – Russia spends millions on arms. People in the Americas are starving – the United States spends millions on arms. Even in Europe, people are starving – our own country spends millions on arms.

Kathleen died in 1993 at North Curry, Somerset. In 1999 the Tacchi Morris trust donated £1 million together with a £2.1 million grant from National Lottery Funds to build the Tacchi Morris Arts Centre at Monkton Heathfield, Taunton, Somerset.

Maurice Phoebus Tacchi
Maurice, the youngest son of Percy and Rebecca was born on the 16th October 1913 at Acton, London. He started sailing at the age of 16 years. In the mid-1950s he sailed 27,000 miles in his yacht the Cabiri to the Caribbean, Canada, Panama, the Galapagos, Norway, Sweden, France, Spain, and Ireland. In 1954 he was chief engineer of the 52 ton American motor yacht, the Glenmoor, owned by Colonel Thompson, a Louisville, Kentucky whiskey distillery magnate. For many years he delivered sailing vessels from England to the Mediterranean and France. Maurice died in 1992 at Chichester, Sussex.

John, the third son and sixth eldest child of Anthony and Ann was born in 1821 at Bedford. The 1841 census records John is a house painter and is living in the High Street, Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire. John subsequently went to live with his older brother, George at 8 Manchester Street, St. Pancras, London. On the 22nd March 1852 John married Ann Parry at the Church of St. Andrew Holborn, London. Ann was born in Wiltshire in 1825. They had one son, John  who was born on the 6th September 1852 at St. Pancras.

John sailed from England on the ship Vriendschap. He arrived at Port Phillip, Victoria, Australia on the 1st May 1854. Ann and John Jnr. joined John later when he had found a home for them. The family settled in Bendigo, Victoria, which became known as the gold rush boom town.

Soon after John arrived, he formed a partnership with Morris Collmann and his brother. They had been in Bendigo since 1853. Like so many others they made for the goldfields. Morris, his brother and John pegged out their claim in the California Gully, and named it Collmann and Tacchi Gold Mining Company. The Collmann brothers and John held a third share each. For six years the results from their mine were only moderate. Morris bought his brother’s shares and his brother returned to his home in Prussia. Morris then had two thirds of the shares. They eventually struck good gold, and Collmann and Tacchi’s Mining Company became one of the best-known on the field.

Morris Collman was trustee of the first Trades and Labour Council and was believed to be the first in the world to grant his mine workers an eight hour day, paid holidays, and two weeks holiday a year.

John Tacchi, his wife and son, left Australia in May 1864 on the ship True Brighton, and sailed to England. John’s partner, Morris left Australia on the 16th May 1867 and travelled to Germany where he married. He settled in Berlin. He speculated a great deal, mainly in grain and he lost the fortune he had accumulated. He returned to Bendigo hoping to recoup his fortune but all his attempts failed.

Morris died aged 73 at Bendigo, Victoria on the 19th May 1902. His funeral took place at White Hills Cemetery. On arrival at the cemetery the Rabbi read the burial service in Hebrew. His coffin was plain wood with no nails, metal, or any decoration, which is always a feature of Jewish funerals. The custom, which has prevailed for centuries, is in accordance with the Biblical teaching that death reduces all to one level.

The Inscription on his memorial stone reads: “Morris Collman born at Mackel, Posen, Prussia in the year 1829, died at Bendigo 19th May 1902, aged 73 years. This memorial was erected by the citizens of Bendigo, in grateful remembrance in his many public acts of goodness and charity and especially because he was the first to establish the eight hours system in the mines of Victoria”.

John, Ann and John Jnr. returned to Bedford and lived at 11 Wellington Street. John invested the money he earned from the gold mine into property. In 1868 John acquired Cook’s Villa also known as Yew Tree House, as it had a large yew tree in the front of it. He purchased the house for the sum of £1,660. The house and grounds adjoined the London and County Bank, at 81 High Street, Bedford. John had the house pulled down and the ground cleared, and had shops built on the site. John instructed the architect and auctioneer, John Usher to sell at auction all the materials from the house.

The house belonged to Miss Elizabeth Langley who died aged 86 on the 27th December 1867. Her burial took place on the 2nd January 1868 at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Grave Ref. B7 37.

In 1875 John acquired land in Ampthill Road, Bedford, where he had his house built. He employed Mr. Henry Young the architect and surveyor to design the house. The builder was Laurence Moore of Harper Place, Bedford.

The 1881 census records John living with his wife Ann and his unmarried sister Eleanor, living at 40 Ampthill Road, Bedford. John died aged 60 years on the 14th January 1882. His burial took place at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Grave Ref. F3 221.

On the 17th September 1891 Ann married her second husband, James Carruthers at the Wesleyan Chapel, Bedford. James was a retired Superintendent of the Bedfordshire Police, Sharnbrook Division. The marriage was short lived as James died on the 22nd January 1892. His burial took place in Sharnbrook Churchyard. Ann died at 40 Ampthill Road Bedford. Her burial took place at Foster Hill Road Cemetery on the 8th October 1900. Grave Ref. F4 227

John Tacchi Jnr. – the son of John and Ann
John spent much of his early childhood in Australia. After he arrived home from Australia, he went to the Bedford Modern School. On leaving school he began his training in agriculture. He lived at the home of John Maydon who farmed 175 acres at Moggerhanger, Bedfordshire. John Maydon employed 7 men and 2 boys. When John Maydon retired John continued his training with Thomas Robinson at Park Farm Westoning, Bedfordshire. Thomas farmed 500 acres and employed 14 men and 7 boys. John subsequently became bailiff for William Platt, at Manor Farm, Beckerings Park, Ridgmont, Bedfordshire. John took over the tenancy when William retired.

On the 25th November 1879 John married Emma Fanny Tansley at St. Peter’s Church, Bedford. Emma was born in Bedford in 1858 and was one of the eleven children of Charles Tansley and Elizabeth née Negus. Charles was a Master butcher. The family moved several times and lived above the butcher shop. The first butcher shop was at 2 Offa Street, Bedford, and then in 1869 they moved into 95 High Street, and lastly to 111 High Street. (111 High Street is now Barclays Bank). Charles and Elizabeth Tansley lived out the rest of their lives at Alexandra Road, Bedford. Charles died on the 24th March 1899 and Elizabeth died on the 9th January 1900. Their burials took place at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Grave Ref. E2 177.

The 1891 census records Emma and John living at Manor Farm, Cobblers Lane Ridgmont, with their five children: Edith 10, John  9, Marjorie  7, Charles and Mabel  5.

John had been unwell for some time and on medical advice he took a trip to Italy and  appeared to be on the road to recovery. However, on the 3rd August 1900 while walking in one of his fields he collapsed under an oak tree. Thomas Pearse, a shepherd, found him and carried John back to the farmhouse where he died despite all efforts to revive him. The cause of death was heart failure. John’s burial took place at All Saints Churchyard Ridgmont.

After John died Emma and the children moved to Bedford. The 1911 census records Emma living at 68 Ampthill Road, with her daughter Edith aged 30 years, and a live-in servant.
Emma Tacchi died aged 86 years at 22B De Parys Avenue. Her burial took place on the 26th September 1944 at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Grave Ref. I 206.

The children of John and Emma
Edith Mary Tacchi
Edith Mary Tacchi the eldest daughter of John and Emma died aged 98 years on the 4th December 1978 Dial House, Park Avenue, Bedford. The burial of her cremated remains took place in the Garden of Remembrance at Foster Hill Road Cemetery.

John Tacchi
John was eldest son of John and Emma. He was a builder by trade and subsequently ran his own building and decorating firm. In 1909 John married May Emma Stevens at St. Albans, Hertfordshire. After their marriage they lived at 9 Upper Dagnall Street St, Albans. In 1932 John became a member of the City Council. He was elected Mayor of St. Albans in 1941 and 1942. On the 17th November 1942 John died aged 60 years, while he was in office.

Charles Tacchi
On leaving the Bedford Modern School Charles went into farming. In 1908 he married Charlotte Walker. Charlotte was one of the seven children of Martha and George Walker. Her father farmed Grange Farm, Brook End, Keysoe, Beds. Charles and Charlotte had three children: Marjory who was born in 1913, Geoffrey born 1915, and Brian born 1921. Charles was tenant farmer at Snelson Farm Harrold Road, Lavendon, Olney, Buckinghamshire. On the 1st March 1933 Charles died in tragic circumstances when his coat became caught up in moving machinery in a barn at his farm. His burial took place at St. Peter’s Church Cemetery, Harrold, Bedfordshire. His wife and three children survived him.

Mary, the fourth daughter and the seventh child of Anthony and Ann Tacchi was born in 1823 at Bedford. On the 21st July 1850 Mary married Edward Tyler at St. Martins in the Fields, London. Edward was born in 1794 at Hartlebury, Worcestershire. After their marriage Mary and Edward lived at 20 Cockspur Street, St. Martin in the Fields. London. Edward’s occupation was as a porter in charge of a house. By 1861 Mary and Edward had moved to Bryanston Street, Middlesex. Edward was working as a lodging housekeeper. Mary and Edward had two children. Susan was born in 1852 and Edward Jnr. was born in 1860.

Edward died in 1863 in London. In 1864 Mary married her second husband John Henry William Mansfield at St. Pancras, London. John was born in 1832 in London. His occupation was as a lodging house keeper. John died in 1875 in London. Mary died aged 77 years in 1900 at Marylebone, London.

Anthony Jnr., the fourth son and the eighth child of Anthony and Ann was born in 1825 in Bedford. Anthony Jnr. drew his apprentice fee. He served only three and a half years of his apprenticeship to John Gudgeon, tailor of Biggleswade.

Anthony moved to Essex and became a teacher. On the 13th June 1853 Anthony married Agnes Manning Gregory at St. John’s Church, Moulsham, Essex. At the time of their marriage Anthony and Agnes were school teachers at the Chelmsford Union. Agnes was born in 1830 at Middlesex. After their marriage they lived at West Farleigh, Kent. In 1855 their son, Anthony was born. They subsequently moved to Ketton, Rutland, where their son William was born in 1856. Sadly, William died on the 26th May 1858. In 1859 their son, George was born. By 1864 they had moved to Suffolk where their son, William was born in 1864 and their daughter Kate in 1866.

In 1874 Anthony and Agnes opened their own boys’ and girls’ boarding school, (Old Grammar School), at Seckford Street, Woodbridge, Suffolk. That same year Agnes died aged 44 years at Woodbridge, Suffolk. The following year Anthony married his second wife, Ann Pepper who was a widow. Ann died in 1884 aged 72 at Woodbridge, Suffolk. In 1887 Anthony married his third wife, Frances Southgate at Woodbridge, Suffolk. They subsequently moved to 10 Seckford Almshouses Seckford Street, Woodbridge. Anthony died in 1913 aged 87 at Woodbridge.

Anthony Tacchi the son of Anthony and Agnes
At the age of 12 years Anthony went to Seckford Grammar School. In 1874 he then went on to study at the University of London. In 1876 Anthony went as a missionary to Madagascar, but due to unfair treatment he resigned from the missionary. Anthony was fluent in the Madagascan language, and became a secretary and interpreter to the Madagascan Ambassadors. He went with the Madagascan Ambassadors to Europe. When they arrived in Paris the French Government refused to allow Anthony to stay with the Ambassadors. The reason given why was because that a French newspaper had reported that Anthony was a  British Government spy.

Anthony was also the editor and owner of the Madagascar Times. He translated the paper in three languages. He was the only person working there who could speak English and French he had to write and correct the entire Malagasy edition unaided. Anthony died in 1908 aged 53 years in Madagascar.

Thomas, the fifth son and the ninth child of Anthony and Ann was born in 1827. In 1840 Thomas drew his apprentice fee and served his apprenticeship as a painter, plumber and glazier. By 1861 Thomas was living in lodgings at Girtford Village, Sandy. The 1871 census records Thomas lodging at The Swan, North Road Sandy. Thomas never married. He died in 1885 aged 59 years at Biggleswade.

Eleanor Tacchi
Eleanor, the youngest daughter and the tenth child of Anthony and Ann was born in 1829 at Bedford. At the age of 14 years Eleanor drew her apprentice fee from the Bedford Charity. She served her five years apprenticeship to a dressmaker. At the age of 21 years Eleanor was employed as an assistant dressmaker. She lived at London Road, Luton, the home of her employer Elizabeth Wingrave who was a milliner and dressmaker. Eleanor subsequently ran her own dressmaking and millinery business at Upper Wellington Street, Luton. In 1856 Eleanor gave up her business and moved to 30 St. John’s Street, Bedford. Her parents lived next door at number 32. Eleanor carried on her work as a dressmaker.

Eleanor died in Gloucester. Her remains were conveyed to Bedford, where she was buried on the 1st September 1897 at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Grave Ref. F3 216.

Peter, the eleventh child and the sixth son of Ann and Anthony was born in 1832 at Bedford. At the age of 13 years, he drew his apprentice fees, and moved to 8 Goswell Street, London. He became an apprentice to the head of the house, Samuel Jennings, a gilder and picture frame maker.

Living at the same address was Mary Ann Nightingale who was a servant. On the 26th October 1851 Peter and Mary Ann were married at St Luke’s, London. Mary Ann was born in 1832 at Bethnal Green, London. The 1861 census records that Peter and Mary were living at Whiskin Street, London. Peter is a carver and gilder. Peter and Mary went on to have eight children, two of their children died in infancy. The 1891 census records Peter and Mary and two of their children living at 20 Easton Street, Holborn, London. Their daughter Emily aged 20 years was employed as a book gilder, and their son Alfred aged 17 years was a printer.

Peter died in Holborn in 1900 aged 68 years. After Peter died Mary Ann moved to Affleck Street. She became a monthly nurse. She looked after mothers and their babies during the postnatal period. After she retired, she lived with her son, Alfred and his wife Sarah and their two sons, Alfred and Albert. Mary Ann died at West Ham, in 1918 aged 87 years.

Richard, the twelfth child and the seventh son of Ann and Anthony was born on the 31st January 1836 at Bedford. At the age of 13 years, he drew his apprentice fees, and served his seven years apprentice as a carver and gilder.

In 1867 Richard married Mary Ann Sutton at Islington, London. Mary was born in 1833 at Derbyshire. In 1892 they lived at 25 Rodney Street, Finsbury, London. By 1894 they had moved to 14 Rodney Street. The 1901 census records Richard and Mary Ann living at 135 Kilburn Park Road, Paddington, London. Richard died in 1910 at Willesden, London. Mary Ann died in 1919 at West Ham, London.

William Hale White – Novelist
William Hale White was born in Bedford on the 22nd December 1831.  He was an English novelist who wrote under the pseudonym Mark Rutherford. In 1890 he published his fictitious novel ‘Miriam’s Schooling’, which was set in ‘Cowfold’,  William Hale White’s birth town of Bedford. William Hale White’s acquaintance with the Tacchi family inspired him to write ‘Miriam’s Schooling’.

William Hale White’s father, William White was a printer and bookseller at 5 High Street Bedford, he later became the doorkeeper for the House of Commons.

‘Miriam’s Schooling’ by Mark Rutherford is available at Bedford Central Library. His other works set in Cowfold, include The Revolution in Tanners Lane (1887) Catherine Furze (1893) and Clara Hopgood (1896).


Researcher Linda S Ayres





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