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Tom, born 1871, was the son of John Stephen “Jack” Chandler, born in Bisley in 1837, and Mary Ann Surfleet. He was the grandson of John Chandler (see The John Chandler Family), born 1784 in Minchinhampton.footnote 1Tom learned the printing trade at Alford and had a small print shop and treadle printing press at the Northamptonshire County Mental Hospital at Berry Wood in the parish of Duston, where he worked. He was also trained as a male nurse at Berry Wood. The inmates of Berry Wood were put to work if they were fit and well. Male nurses were recruited with a trade which they used while supervising inmates. In addition to the print shop, there were farm animals and mixed agriculture.

Tom enjoyed playing cricket and soccer and was known as “Ally Sloper” after a popular cartoon character of the day.

Tom Chandler

Tom married blacksmith’s daughter Julia Ann Barham, who was the cook at Berry Wood, at Upton, Northamptonshire, on 24 April 1901.

They lived at 81 Colwyn Road, Upton, close to farm fields and water meadows and a water mill, where Tom and Julia would walk on summer Sunday evenings. They had two sons and four daughters.

During the 1914-18 War, Tom was a sergeant in the Red Cross. He had an office in the local military hospital, and it was his responsibility to book each soldier in and out and notify the next-of-kin of those who died.

In 1948 the British Government stopped the use of mental patients for work as it was viewed as exploitation and in many cases certainly was. Hospitals were instructed to obtain supplies and services from local merchants, and the farm and trade facilities at Berry Wood fell into disuse.

Julia was diabetic and, when she was in danger of losing an infected foot to gangrene, she went to live with her daughter Kathleen Rook in Combe Martin, North Devon. She died there on 26 October 1943 and is buried in the churchyard of the parish church, St Peter ad Vincula.

After Julia’s death, Tom lived with his daughter Marie Hurry and her husband Bill in Arundel, Sussex. He died suddenly in Marie and Bill’s house one morning in August 1953 and is buried in the cemetery at the bottom of Torton Hill, Arundel.

Tom Chandler’s Children, c 1914

Back row, from left:
Alan, Marie

Middle row: Eve

Front row, from left: Nora, Kathleen

Eric was born three years later.

The children of Tom and Julia Chandler were:

  • Julia Marie Claribel born in 1902 in Duston, Northamptonshire. When she was born, Tom was sent to register his daughter’s birth as Marie Claribel Chandler, but at the last minute at the Register Office he added the first name Julia, much to his wife’s subsequent disapproval. Marie trained as a teacher. Her brother Alan played rugby for Northamptonshire. Their mother invited the whole rugby team for tea one afternoon. One of Alan’s team-mates, Bill Hurry, told Marie how much he admired the red and white striped rugby socks she had knitted for her brother, and she obligingly knitted a pair for Bill. The way to this rugby man’s heart was through his feet, because when Bill went to Kenya as a weights and measures inspector in 1928, Marie followed him by ship and they married in Mombasa Cathedral the day the ship docked. They lived in Nairobi, where sons Steven William and David John were born, returning to England in 1936 to live first in Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire, then Arundel and East Lavant in Sussex, Corscombe in Dorset, and finally in Nottingham. Their elder son married a Nottingham girl, while David married a Belfast girl and became an obstetrician and gynaecologist in Huntington, West Virginia.
  • Tom Alan born in 1904 in Duston, Northamptonshire. Alan met Ziporah Ena Elizabeth Elkington at the tennis club, where they became doubles partners. They went out together for about two years, but Ena did not visit the Chandler home until the day Alan took her there with an engagement ring on her finger, causing quite a stir! They married on 1 February 1936 in Northampton and lived in Aldridge, Staffordshire, for a while before moving back to Northampton, where the family lived at 47 Kingsthorpe Grove. Alan and Ena had three daughters, Jennifer Ann born 1939, Mary Elizabeth born 1941 and Judith Eileen born 1945. Judith married and had three children in three different counties – Leicestershire, Suffolk and Norfolk.
  • Olive Kathleen born in 1906 in Upton, Northamptonshire. Kathleen won a baby competition at the age of two and had her photograph taken as a prize. Kath (known as O.K.) trained as a nurse and held a number of positions nursing private mental patients. In 1941 she was holidaying in Combe Martin, Devon, with her employers when she met Frank Rook, a local market gardener who grew strawberries. Frank, a widower, invited her for strawberries and Devonshire cream, and they were married six weeks later! O.K. lived until 1 January 1980, almost 74 years old, but Frank lived to the age of 95, which says something for Devonshire cream and strawberries. Both of them are buried in the churchyard of St Peter ad Vincula with Kathleen’s mother, Julia Ann (Barham) Chandler. Their only child Fenella, born in Ilfracombe, Devon in 1945, maintained the family tradition of mobility by marrying Robert Warren Smith on 22 October 1966 and within three months emigrating with him to Stouffville, near Toronto in the Province of Ontario, Canada. It is to Fenella that we are indebted for much of this family story.
  • Phyllis Nora born in 1909 in Upton, Northamptonshire. When she left school, Nora was sent to live with Auntie Mab and Uncle Fred Chandler in Beverley, Yorkshire, to work in Mabel Chandler’s dress shop. However she did not stay long, because, as we have already learned, Mabel was a very domineering character and Nora did not get on with her. She enrolled as a student nurse at Warneford Hospital in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, in 1926, giving her age as 18 when she was actually only 17. She qualified in midwifery at Dudley Road Hospital, Birmingham. Nora married Sidney Scott, known as Scottie, in Upton, Northampton, and they had three children in Worcestershire and Warwickshire: Valerie Gillian born 1938 who became vice-principal of a school, Eric Colin in 1942 who became a psychiatrist and Penelope Rosalind in 1945 who became a silversmith. The three children accompanied Nora and Scottie when they emigrated to Australia in 1951, where they settled in Melbourne in the state of Victoria. Of course, two of the children migrated to the state of Western Australia and settled in Perth.
  • Evelyn Barham born in 1911 in Upton, Northamptonshire. In 1928 Eve met Grace Davies, who was to become a life-long friend. In 1935 Eve married Grace’s brother, Max Howard Davies. They had one child, a daughter born in Wales in 1940 named Maxine Mary. After eight years of marriage, Howard was killed in action with the Royal Air Force on 31 August 1943. After his tragic death, Eve and Maxine emigrated to Australia in 1948. Her sister Nora and her family joined them in 1951. They all lived in Melbourne, where Eve and Nora ran a home-made cake shop in Bayswater. Eve became matron of Fintona Girls School for sixteen years. She was cremated and her ashes were scattered in the Australian bush that she loved. Predictably, two of Maxine’s three children were born in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and one of them died in Chandigarh, India, at the age of 22.
  • Eric Stephen born 1916 in Upton, Northamptonshire. Eric served in the Royal Tank Corps during World War II and took part in the Battle of El Alamein in North Africa. For his services, he was awarded the M.B.E. (member of the Order of the British Empire). Eric married Doris and they had a son named Andrew.

Four Chandler Sisters
Eve, Nora, Kathleen “O.K.” and Marie, in approximately 1926

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1 The information on this page is condensed from “The Chandler Family Story,” written by Fenella Rook Smith. This book was based on Fenella’s own research combined with information contributed by Chandler family members. Wherever possible, the genealogical facts have been validated against the records of the Chandler One-Name Study by its conductor, Dick Chandler.