The Pedders of Preston
Over the course of two hundred years the Pedder family rose to prominence in the town, founding its first bank and entering the ranks of the gentry. The main branch of the family faced ruin when the bank collapsed in 1861, but fortunes were salvaged and the family entered the 20th century with their privileges intact.
The Pedders of Preston
Arthur Edward Pedder was born in 1841 when his parents, the Preston banker Edward Pedder, then aged 30, and his wife Amelia, were living at Clifton Hall with their three children and seven servants. 1 The family moved shortly afterwards to Ashton Park, following the death of Edward’s father, James Pedder.
Arthur followed his older brother Richard to Eton. The school list for 1859 supplies the following information:
Arthur’s career at Eton included not only the winning of School Fives noted above, but election to the Eton Society, more commonly known as Pop, in 1859. The composition of the society of that year is shown below:
The prestige attached to that election and the glittering future it heralded is captured in the Wikipedia entry for the society:
‘Pop: officially known as ‘Eton Society’, a society comprising the most popular, well-regarded confident and able senior boys. It is a driving ambition of many capable Eton schoolboys to be elected to Pop, and many high-performers who are refused entry to this society consider their careers at Eton a failure. Boris Johnson was a member of Pop, whilst David Cameron … failed to be elected … Pop is the oldest self-electing society at Eton. … Members of Pop wear white and black houndstooth-checked trousers, a starched stick-up collar and white bow-tie, and are entitled to wear flamboyant waistcoats, often of their own design. Historically, only members of Pop were entitled to furl their umbrellas or sit on the wall on the Long Walk, in front of the main building. Notable ex-members of Pop include Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (unlike his younger brother Prince Harry, who failed to be elected).’ 2
Whatever hopes Arthur had for the future collapsed along with the collapse of the family bank, Pedder & Co. known as Preston Old Bank, in 1861, following the death of his father (A tale of two Pedders). The family had to liquidate all their assets, including Ashton Park and its contents, to pay their creditors.
The impact on Arthur is captured in some notes that his daughter-in-law, Lettice Pedder, provided for F. S. Moxon who wrote a short pamphlet on the history of the bank. The notes did not make their way into Moxon’s publication. Writing in 1952, Mrs Pedder supplied the following information, ‘as told to me by his son Guy, my husband’:
At Eton reputed to be one of richest boys in Pop etc. When he left went on ‘Grand Tour’ and was in India? when news of the Bank came to him. Hurried home to find himself penniless with mother and two sisters to support. He became a clerk in a bank. When Eton boys and masters heard of his ill luck, they sent round the hats, boys giving him an income for next 5-6 years and master[s?] bought him a small house in Highgate!! He tried unavailingly to repay both in later years, but met the reply that all had dispersed and no one would accept a penny!! (How wonderful!) 3
Guy Pedder blamed their relative Richard Newsham for not coming to the rescue when the bank collapsed, as Mrs Pedder recalled, ‘Guy always said that the Bank could have been saved if Newsham had stood by, he was rich and could have done so, but wouldn’t!’ 4
With the sale of Ashton Park, Arthur moved in with his sister Catherine and her husband William Fielden, at No. 7 Albert Terrace, Layton, 5 before moving to London to take up his new post as bank clerk. In 1871 Arthur was living with his mother and his sisters Amelia and Lucy, and one servant at 10 Marlborough Road, Marylebone. He is listed as a bank official and their servant as a ‘page’. Presumably, the family had moved there from the ‘small house in Highgate’ paid for by the Eton masters. 6 In 1881 Arthur was living with two of his sisters and a kitchen maid at 58 Bedford Gardens, Kensington. Arthur’s profession is given as bank cashier. 7
Arthur, now 42, married Eliza, the daughter of the Rev Griffith Boynton of Barnston Rectory, in 1883. 8 He must have prospered, for in 1890 he bought Brandiston Hall in Norfolk, where by 1901 he was living in retirement with Eliza, two daughters, and their son Guy, Lettice Pedder’s future husband. The family employed a governess, a housekeeper, a cook, parlour maid and schoolroom maid. It is possible that John Cossey, living next door with his wife, and described as ‘groom and gardener (domestic)’ was also in the family’s employ. 9 He was also a member of the Junior Carlton, as the entry below in one of the county family manuals at this time reveals. It is unclear how he financed this lifestyle. I have not discovered any funds apart from his salary from the bank, from which he was shortly to retire.
Arthur let the hall some time after 1905 and sold it in around 1910. 10 In 1911 the family were living in London at 25 Westbourne Square, Paddington, with four of their children and three servants. Arthur, now aged 69, was described as living on private means. 11
Arthur Pedder died 5 February 1916 at his home in Paddington, leaving an estate of £2602 to his widow.
1 ‘HO107/496/2 f.20’, n.d., https://www.ancestry.co.uk/imageviewer/collections/8978/images/LANHO107_496_497-0031?pId=4646800.
2 ‘Eton College’, in Wikipedia, 26 July 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Eton_College&oldid=1100540586.
3 ‘Correspondence between Mr Moxon and Various Members of the Pedder Family’ (20th cent), DDX 842/3/4, Lancashire Archives, https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/50726e4e-c65c-4e15-9821-4786c9c9e7f9.
4 ‘Correspondence between Mr Moxon and Various Members of the Pedder Family’.
5 ‘RG9/3148 f.29’, n.d., https://www.ancestry.co.uk/imageviewer/collections/8767/images/LANRG9_3146_3149-0470?pId=9701709.
8 ‘Ancestry.Co.Uk – England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915: 1883 Q2’, n.d., https://www.ancestry.co.uk/imageviewer/collections/8913/images/ONS_M18834AZ-0442?treeid=&personid=&hintid=&queryId=cebd11d0654344c2041e10ea49f36a4a&usePUB=true&_phsrc=tvg63&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true&pId=22241089; ‘Ancestry.Co.Uk – England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915: 1883 Q2’, n.d., https://www.ancestry.co.uk/imageviewer/collections/8913/images/ONS_M18834AZ-0280?treeid=&personid=&hintid=&queryId=bc258b48cbdaa4afa69be7a0c4b3181f&usePUB=true&_phsrc=tvg62&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true&pId=3186154.
9 ‘RG13/1832 f.34’, n.d., https://www.ancestry.co.uk/imageviewer/collections/7814/images/NFKRG13_1830_1832-0544?pId=10448528.
10 Nick Kingsley, ‘Landed Families of Britain and Ireland: (244) Atthill of Brandiston Hall’, Landed Families of Britain and Ireland (blog), 19 December 2016, https://landedfamilies.blogspot.com/2016/12/244-atthill-of-brandiston-hall.html.
11 ‘Paddington Central E.E. 18. RG14/59 No. 137’, n.d., https://www.ancestry.co.uk/imageviewer/collections/2352/images/rg14_00059_0789_03?pId=814176.