A. H. Hawke Helston
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A Brief Biography of Alfred Herbert Hawke (1881-1958)

7th Feb 1881 - Born at 11 Richmond Terrace, Lower Easton Bristol, the son of Richard and Eliza Hawke. Eliza's maiden name was Burn. His father was, when the birth was registered, a cabinet maker. The family may have originally come from Linkinhorne, Cornwall.

11th Feb 1904 - A report in the West Briton reports the formation, recently of an Amateur Dramatic Society, in Helston with Mr.A.H.Hawke and Will Edwards as Joint Hon Secretaries. He played a part in a production called Temporary Insanity in Feb1904. In a production staged on 5th May 1904, in which two one act dramas were performed, A Rough Diamond and The Artist's Wife, it was reported that in the interval Mr Hawke of Bristol, recited a very amusing story.

7th Aug 1905 - The Noisel was wrecked on Prah sands, and Hawke produced a postcard of the wreck. Its likely he was working as a photographer the previous year, if not before.

27th Jun 1906 - Given his driving license for a motor car. His address then being The Studio, Helston.

27th March 1907 - He was married at St.Michael's Church, Helston, to Miss Clara White the daughter of Mrs. White of Meneage Street.

4th April 1907 - Extract from Royal Cornwall Gazette:-

The Wedding between Mr A.H.Hawke photographer and Miss Clara White, daughter of Mrs White of Meneage St took place on Thursday morning at St.Michael's Church. The bride was given away by her uncle, Mr W.Tripp. Mr F.Bennetts acted as Best Man. Miss Ethel Edwards was the Bridesmaid.
(A few days later Mr Hawke was best man at Mr F. Bennetts wedding, and they both celebrated their golden weddings, recorded in the West Briton for 4th April 1957, complete with photograph of both couples).
I think there is some doubt as to the day of Hawke's marriage. In the report of their golden wedding it stated it was on 27th March 1907 they were married. This was a Wednesday, and two days before Good Friday. I would think that is probably correct.

26th Feb 1911 - Their daughter Dorothy was baptised.

4th Jan 1915 - Cornwall Motor Vehicle Registration records show him as the owner of AF 1459, a Morgan 3 wheeler runabout. His address is shown as 43 Meneage Street. (He could well have owned earlier cars, which did not have a Cornish registration number, this is first car with such a number owned by him).

25th Jul 1915 - Their sons Edward Reginald and Gerald Francis baptised.

20th Jul 1916 - He made his annual renewal of his driving licence. This was not renewed the following year, by which time he was in the Royal Flying Corps. (The date of his conscription is yet to be found).

28th Jan 1920 - Mr A.H.Hawke of 5 Meneage Street, took out a driving licence. This was the first occasion since the war for him, and it was renewed the following year.

11th Dec 1924 - The first official meeting of the Helston Old Cornwall Society after its formation, took place at Mr Hawke's Studio. A note in the April 1925 OCS Magazine records:-

The Helston OCS is indebted to Mr A.H.Hawke, not only for granting it free use of the studio for its meetings, but also for the work, in company with the Secretary he is doing to arouse interest in local history and antiquities through the medium of lantern lectures given in neighbouring towns and villages.

Mr Hawke continued in business at 5 Meneage Street until he sold to Osbourne Studios of Falmouth. The exact date has yet to be found, but it was probably late 1951. Mr Hawke continued to live above the shop, where he died on May 11th 1958.
He was quoted in his obituary as being an old member of Helston Chamber of Commerce, and also, it was said he took much interest in the Borough Museum. He left a wife and two sons.

15th May 1958 - West Briton reported:-
The death at his home, 5 Meneage St Helston on Sunday of Mr Alfred Herbert Hawke has removed one of the town's oldest business men. A native of Bristol, Mr Hawke settled in Helston when a young man and for more than half a century he was in business in Meneage St as a photographer.
In his younger days he did much to secure national publicity for the Furry Dance by having photographs of dancers and scenes in the town on May 8th published in London and other up country newspapers. He retired from business about 5 years ago and for some time had been failing in health.
A keen antiquarian, Mr Hawke was one of the early members of the Helston Old Cornwall Society and he also took much interest in the Borough Museum, to which he made valued gifts of photographs of personalities and happenings of other days. An old member of Helston and District Chamber of Commerce, Mr Hawke was also in his earlier life associated with the Bowling Club. For some years he was a member of the choir of the then Church St, United Methodist Church. In March of last year Mr & Mrs Hawke celebrated their golden wedding.
In addition to his widow he is survived by his two sons, Messrs Gerald Hawke of Wembley and Mr Hector Hawke of Helston.
During the first world war Mr Hawke served in the Royal Flying Corps and the coffin was covered with the Union Jack at the funeral on Tuesday. The service was conducted at All Saints Church by the Vicar of Helston, Rev A.B.Moon.

Amongst the mourners were:-

  • Messrs G & E Hawke (also representing the widow),
  • Mrs H Hawke, daughter in law,
  • David Hawke grandson,
  • Mr & Mrs J.H.Lander Camborne
  • Mr R.H.Peters,
  • Nephew and Niece.
  • Messrs F.L.Osbourne
  • A.G.Southeard of Messrs Osbourne's Studios, Falmouth and Helston,
  • Mr R.J.Goodhead who represented Mr W.H.Wearne,
  • and representatives from the British Legion.
It appears that the move from 43 to 5 Meneage Street took place after his return from war service.

Data sources acknowledged:-

  • Mr D. Hawke
  • C.Berry via Alan Curtis in May 1995. Original sheet carries the date 13th Oct 1990.
  • Article by Roger Lacy in PPM April 1991.
  • Own researches.