Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that I really enjoy taking a small piece of historical evidence and turning it into a story about someone’s life. Well I’ve been at it again. I had ten minutes to kill in Knighton churchyard and spent it taking photographs of the gravestones of former Clarendon Park residents. The one that most took my fancy was that of Frederick Thomas Goodger, who “passed peacefully away” on 18th September 1908 aged 57. Alongside is Frederick’s wife Agnes Mary Goodger, who outlived him by 24 years and died aged 82, still living at their former address of 33 West Avenue.
How did I know that the Goodgers were Clarendon Park residents? It doesn’t say so on their grave stone, but some time ago I made a database of all the Clarendon Park residents who were buried at St Mary Magdalene, Knighton before 1952 (there’s around 850 of them), which comes in handy sometimes.
Frederick was born in Leicester in 1851, the son of a painter. He married Agnes Mary Price on 10th September 1872 at St Mary de Castro. Within a short time (from at least 1876) he had set himself up in business, as a butcher at 52 Shenton Street. He took a loan of £100 from Sir Thomas White’s charity- which is still helping people start up in business in Leicester - in 1879, gaving him the capital to expand and improve his business, and take on new and better premises at Clarendon Park. In 1891 he occupied 35 West Avenuen with wife, children and an apprentice. By 1901 he also occupied 33 West Avenue, which was just as his adult daughters were working as milliners and dressmakers at home and no one likes their frock and hat to smell of raw meat.
After Frederick’s death, you might have expected Agnes his wife to live on the small amount left to her (£816) and her daughters’ assistance, but no – she gamely carried on the business with herself in the title role, so if you look at the trades directories of the 1910s you will find her under Butchers. Misses Beatrice and Mabel never married (they were already old-ish for marriage by the time of the War) and they continued making dresses and millinery, probably scratching out a fairly basic but respectable existence and still occupying 33 and 35 West Avenue. By the time Agnes died, there was nothing significant money-wise left to leave behind.
That’s another old shop I walk past most days, and I’m glad I decided to follow up the story behind Frederick and Agnes’s gravestone. Regards, Elizabeth.