The WW2 bombing of 55-57 Huntingdon Street, by a descendant of the casualties

I came across your website about Thornhill Square and saw a little mention about the Huntingdon Street bombs in 1940. My great great grandmother, great grand aunt & either my great great or great great great great grandfather (we're still working on that part of the family tree) as well as various other members of my family/family friends also died. I'm working on the whole list – but I have heard stories of the bombing from my granddad who heard them from my great grandmother. I can definitely say one of the houses was 55 Huntingdon Street and that my great great Grandmother Annie Hislop did survive only to die later that day (the story goes that the ambulance people nearly dropped her and she died of shock – not too sure if that's true but that's how the family story goes). And unfortunately for my Hislop family members – they had been moved from Lyon Street (in the only house left standing!) to Huntingdon Street – persuaded by my great grand Aunt Emily McEllhatton (nee Hislop)! The family left stayed in Islington (and merged with the Busbys on the marriage of my great grandmother) and the Barnsbury area in general until fairly recently. I could probably ask a bit more about the Huntingdon street bomb when I next see my granddad and uncle (who has the death certificates of some of those who perished).

I know residents of 55 & 56 were on the Islington Civilian Roll of Honour, and I think someone in 57 was on the list too but I don't remember seeing it when I was searching it. And I know for definite that 7 members of the Graham family, Nellie and Frank Howell, Annie M R Davies plus my great great grandparents Annie & Cornelius Hislop & great grandaunts Violet Hislop & Emily McEllhatton were the members of 55 who didn't survive – so if anyone recognises the story or names – they can check the commonwealth war graves commission. I don't mind if you put these up now, I have the general gist of the story and if I get anything extra from my grandfather or uncle when I go down to see them tomorrow, I will most definitely email you back with any extra details!

Lisa Connell.

George Sydney Smith Williams, who was a builder of Thornhill Square, by his great great granddaughter

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Hello. I am so excited, having just today found your web site. I am the great great granddaughter of Mr George Sydney Smith Williams (GSSW), who built parts of the square and dozens of other streets, and his wife Mary nee Fallover. Please can I see the document in which you found him?

Sadly, Mary died in 1850 aged just 30. GSSW subsequently ‘married’ Mary’s sister Catherine. (See the Deceased Wife’s Sisters’ Act.)

GSSW moved to live in the square after building parts. Most of his second set of children were born there. He later retired to Hove with his second wife Catherine and his younger daughter Frances. There they brought up their grandson/my grandfather Henry, whose mother Annie had died when Henry was aged just one. At the age of nine, Henry boarded at ‘first’ school in Hove with Winston Churchill. Henry’s first wife was distantly related to Churchill, so I think that they must have met at Churchill’s family home or some such. So you can see that GSSW was a very successful Victorian businessman: his children and grandchildren continued to prosper. Sadly, my father, who, like Henry, attended public school and Oxford, turned against all that! While I was still a toddler, he threw away everything that the family had worked for over several hundred years!

I have further information on my family that you might like to know re the building company. For now: number 32 was the company headquarters and my family’s home also. My great great grandfather built it as it is so that his clients and employees could turn right into the office (now 32a) and the family could turn left into their home (32). The clients’ servants, horses and carriages could use the mews behind (now off Matilda Street).

I have sent one letter to 32 and 32a Thornhill Square, asking for further information on the house. I hope they pass it to each other and respond to me. Please will you also?

I am not clear from where the information about GSSW reached you. Do you have some documents that I could see please?