Irene Kate Chaplin

Irene Kate Chaplin

b: 1 MAR 1873
d: 22 JUN 1962
1881 Census:

RG11/2420 Axbridge, Banwell Folio 97 Page 4

Lunn Villa, Walliscote Road, Weston Super Mare, Somerset

Emma Perry Head Widow 47 From House Property Born Somerset, Locking
Maud Perry Daughter Unm 19 Teacher Born Somerset, Weston Super Mare
Lucy Perry Daughter Unm 16 Scholar Born Somerset, Weston Super Mare
?? Perry Daughter 15 Scholar Born Somerset, Weston Super Mare
Frederick Perry Son 10 Scholar Born Somerset, Weston Super Mare
Irene Chaplin Boarder 8 Scholar Born Somerset, Weston Super Mare

1891 Census:

29 Palace Gardens Terrace:

Holroyd Chaplin Head Mar [50] Solicitor Born Warwickshire, Edgbaston
Euphemia I Chaplin Wife Mar 44 Born Sussex, Brighton
Allan N Chaplin Son S 19 Articled clerk to solicitor Born London, Paddington
Irene K Chaplin Dau S 18 Scholar do
Phyllis Chaplin Dau 11 do Born London, Kensington
Theodoric Chaplin Son 10 do do
Daphne Chaplin Dau 6 do Born Broadstairs, Kent
Catarina Gogalean Servant S 25 Housemaid Born Wurtenburg, Germany
Flora(?) Humby(?) Servant S 21 Cook Born Wiltshire, Salisbury Held her family together like her mother and Skinner grandmother before her.

Died aged 89, cause unknown. From autobiographical notes by Edward Holroyd Pearce (Lord Pearce) 1989:

"My mother was well fitted in spirit for such an adventure [running a preparatory school, Merton Court at Sidcup], but not in body. She to leave Holloway College owing to trouble with her eyes, and during the rest of her life she collected a number of physical troubles. She surmounted these by a magnificent vitality and indomitable will power. She had an arrogant belief that she was superior to diseases and that she was bound to win in the end. And ultimately she became as careful and skilful in frustrating her various weaknesses as any veteran driver in the Old Crocks race to Brighton. But in the early days of Merton Court she had not yet learned her lesson and she was often ailing. I was a strain on her physical resources since I was a very large baby....... As a child I remember my mother as very gay and vital but often tired and unable to go for walks."

"One holiday she went up to stay as usual with my grandparents. She lay a lot in a dark room and there was a great deal of whispering. I remember my Aunt whispering to my father and then seeing him in tears - a thing I never saw before or since. I had the feeling that I ought to be able to help, but I could not. Finally my Aunt told me that my mother would have to have an operation to her ear. My mother made light of it. But (as I afterwards found) she had little hope of survival. So in order to leave us in good shape she made an inclusive bargain with the surgeon and the nursing home that my sister and I should at the same time have our tonsils and adenoids removed, a project on which she had long set her heart. In that way, she felt, she would at least leave healthy orphans.

The surgeon, Hett, was one of the most eminent of his day and he was the personal friend of my uncle. He had little hope of success. It was the first mastoid operation of that size that had then been performed, and he chiselled away for two hours. It was a remarkable operation and saved my mother's life. He wrote a paper about it in the medical papers - a fact which always gave her great gratification in later years. But it, would never wholly heal and she had to have it dressed and tended at intervals for the whole of her life.

It was a constant irritation and pride to her that, when she was away from London or afler Hett retired, other surgeons could never at first understand the intricate geography of what remauled of her ear's internal mechanism. I was with her at Manchester ten years later when the leading surgeon in that city after looking at her ear which was giving trouble told her that she had only three weeks to live and that no further operation on her ear could save her. Dismayed, but unbelieving, she fled to London and to Hett who dressed her ear and set it right again. But it was all done at the cost of terrible agony to her. For months the daily dressings under which she sometimes fainted from pain were a nightmare. I still remember vividly the dreadful sense of illness and pain that oppressed us all.

She was quite unfit to lead the life as chatelaine of Merton Court School and she had to live many months in lodgings in the fresh bracing air of Brighton where there was a good ear surgeon and where we sometimes went to visit her. An attractive but dishonest cook took charge of the domestic affairs at the school. Her cooking was excellent but the tradesmen's accounts went up to an alarming extent. She spoiled us delightfully. At that time I had a passion for vinegar and also lemons in which she indulged me immoderately; as I gave constant worry through my thinness, she knew that my addiction ought to be discouraged. Gradually my mother's health improved and in a year or two she was back at her post. Her hair had gone grey and the lines of her face had strengthened, but she was better in health
than my sister and I had ever known her. It was a wonderful day when she came back to live with us."

"In my last year or two at Oxford [1922 or 1923] my parents had moved from their dull little house overlooking the Brighton College cricket field to a handsome Regency house in Lewes Crescent where the Eastern arm of it sweeps down to the front. Then, as now, the larger house was no more expensive to buy, and the transaction hardly cost them anything in money. My mother liked an attractive house with large rooms. She was prepared to pay for it by the extra stress and strain of running it with only a daily help and organised family labour.

In the sunshine regency houses on the front at Brighton have a deep-eyed beauty and a perfection of mass and line that no other town can surpass. From noon until the sun sank to rest over Shoreham harbour, it shone on the balcony and through the long French windows. The basement was large and dry, but we made no use of it, apart from one small nook that I turned into a den for myself. In the upper storeys the back rooms looked over the downs. When gales blew from the south west, the top of the house swayed under the impact of the storm and lashing rain welled up underneath the French windows or even between the putty and the bending glass panes. And the sight of the storm-whipped waves roaring on to the beach or spouting against the groynes was titanic.

When we moved to Lewes Crescent my mother really began to come into her own. Overwork in the War and recurrent trouble with her ear had for years acted as a constant and effective brake on her natural vivid activity. In the first year or two at Brighton she had been getting much stronger. She always had been a character with my grandmother' s unusual vigour and grip, combined with a sweeter gentler and more unselfish outlook, but physical limitations had contrived to suppress her. Now she began to bubble up in fine style and became the life and soul of the household. She always had an intense interest in human beings. If she employed a charwoman for one day she would be sure to know her problems, to be intensely sympathetic to them, to be offering suggestions for solving them and to be craving to make some active contribution to their solution. She was constantly trying to get her family to embroil themselves in these activities. Her quick impetuous first thoughts bubbled out spontaneously and were not always well considered. But her second thoughts were generally very wise and she had an extraordinarily shrewd and balanced outlook on most things."

"In 1926 my parents moved to Cromwell Place in South Kensington and I no longer had to go to Brighton to see them nor spend holidays there. When my parents came to London, Erica and I were always able to spend the whole week-end together. For some months we used to look over huge houses in Kensington and South Kensington. We had a theory that by dividing them into flats we could not only live rent free but also make enough over each year to enable us to live on until my earnings increased............. We should have taken the plunge, with what good or ill success we shall never know, had not my mother been stricken with illness. She detached the retina of one eye, with a serious threat to the other. Her eyes had always been troublesome since her early years and her sight in her undamaged eye had been bad. The occulist was very pessimistic. She lay motionless on her back in a dark room for about three months. However she made a marvellous recovery and regained her sight to a large degree, although she always had to take great care of her eyes. Fom then on it seemed to us that it would not be fair to ask her to bear the risk of our proposed venture in the changed circumstances. So we abandoned it. We said no more to her since she would probably have insisted on our going on with it, both for our sakes and in order to show that she was undefeated."

Alan Ray-Jones remembered:

The Drawing Room on the first floor of the house in Cromwell Place, with its three large windows with shutters, where childrens' parties were held when we came up from Cornwall at Christmas time (the top floor was let). Dan (Irene Kate) objected to my running round the table in the Dining Room - it made her dizzy. My mother said that Dardan went to put out fire bombs on the roof of the Natural History Museum - he didn't have to, but she thought he enjoyed it (Dan couldn't stand this, it was a factor in their decision to leave London for Tunbridge Wells).

Vale Lodge in Tunbridge Wells was a beautiful large house behind the station, now pulled down and replaced by a block of flats. It had a splendid magnolia tree and a large garden overlooked by a continuous wisteria-covered loggia along the front of the house. Inside, a staircase well which went right up to the top floor, with a circular staircase and a mahogany handrail. Dardan's study, where he taught me latin and more importantly did his numismatics work, was on the first floor. Dan gave him rice pudding every day until one day he cried out dramatically "Oh God, not rice pudding again". He never swore, so this caused great consternation, and the rice pudding didn't appear again. In wartime biscuits were an unobtainable luxury, but there was a biscuit factory in Tunbridge Wells and I was sometimes sent to queue outside it early in the morning to get some reject biscuits.

Then there was the brief period when I went up to London like any city gent on the 7.00 train from Tunbridge Wells to 'work' as an apprentice to Kenneth Cross, the architect, in his office at the corner of Maddox Street and Bond Street. I felt very grand doing that. I had lunch at the Joe Lyons which was across the road in Bond Street at that time.

Then I went up to London from Middlemead in Little Baddow for a bit and went to Chelmsford station on my brand new BSA 250cc motorbike, until I got rather uncomfortable digs in Rochester Road in Kentish Town. Only for a short while, because my grandparents moved from Tunbridge Wells to Hampstead and I was able to live with them again, on the top floor of South Villa in the Vale of Health. It wasn't a beautiful house like Vale Lodge, but it was in the middle of the Vale of Health on Hampstead Heath, and a nicer spot you couldn't find in London. My grandparents must have had to get rid of a lot of furniture for the rooms were a lot smaller, but they still had the ormolu clock and the lovely extendable polished mahogany table. The kitchen was rather dark, reached down a flight of steps, and was badly in need of modernisation. Since I was a student of architecture I took on the job of modernising it, and perhaps they were short of money by then, because a d-i-y concrete floor was part of the job, which I did with my fellow student Tony Osborne. We hadn't told the ready mixed concrete lorry people that we would have to barrow the concrete along a path and down a flight of steps, and by the time we finished the concrete was setting, we were worn out and the lorry driver was in despair!

My room was on the top landing and there was a trap door through which I could get out on to the valley gutter between two pitched roofs: not very comfortable but completely private, great for sunbathing. I was attached to a girl called Deirdre at that time and we spent a lot of time in my room, greatly worrying my grandmother and my mother, who were sure no good would come of it. Fortunately, Deirdre vanished of her own accord and I fell in love with Elizabeth, who wouldn't come to my room alone until we were married. In between these two I had a brief affair with Rosemary Davies, my grandmother's first floor tenant, who was very nice and pleasant but - in the end - didn't light my fire.

Phil says:

I was horsewhipped by Dan and Dardan, over a chair - a tiny chair. Dan said it was my chair, a visitor sat in it and I 'complained'. So I was horsewhipped. In those days, people expected you to be polite and do what you were told. We were in Tunbridge Wells at the time, c.1941. On the whole I liked living there - I was given charge of all the brassware and had to answer the door. The house was big, and beautiful, and the garden nice too. I was sent to buy Romary's broken biscuits and Dardan gave me latin and greek lessons - latin mainly. We had real candles on the Christmas Tree. I also remember, a few years later, at Yardley Court, the headmaster had a rack of canes outside his study!

END Irene Kate Chaplin arrived at Royal Holloway in October 1892. Her previous education was at Trelovir(?) House School , Queen’s College Harley St and Oxford Junior School. Irene studied for the Oxford preliminary exams in Modern Languages. However, she did not complete her studies presumably because she was absent during the lent and michaelmas terms of 1893 and the lent term of 1894. Irene left Royal Holloway in December 1894. [Letter from Irene Kate Chaplin to her mother, Euphemia Isabella Chaplin (‘Dear’). She and Nugent were staying with Edith and Audrey, yet wrote a letter to Unky who was probably Edith’s husband Ayrton Chaplin. No date or address but it could have been written by a 10 year old, so 1882 or 3. At that time Nugent was staying in the care of Ayrton and Edith - first at Uckfield Grammar School and then, when Ayrton retired from his headship there, at Nailsworth in Gloucestershire.]

Dear Mumy,

I am very glad you have got a black cat. I hope she is nice. Nugent and I have changed rooms and I like my new room much better because it has got the cooking stove in it, so that sometimes I have a fire to go to bed by. The holidays begin on Thursday the 13th, in two weeks and three days. I wrote a nice letter to Unky, but the roses came on Saturday and I did not know it till Monday but today are growing very well, one of them is pale yellow. I have got four rose trees. We have been having very wet weather. Aunt Edith thinks it is not worth while to repair my dress because it fits so badly. Audrey is filling up her diary. The other day I wrote my diary in German. Goodbye with love from Irene.

35 Alexander Strasse, Stuttgart, Tuesday 11 June

Dear Irene,

I will try and write a few lines to you. I have not much time as we have so many people to see. I was going to write yesterday, but I had no time. We arrived here on Thursday evening, and as you know, started on Tuesday morning. We had a dreadful passage. Mamma and I were miserably sea sick; Papa remained on deck all the time. We meant to, but couldn't. At Brussels we spend the first night, the second at (?), on the Rhine, as Papa could not travel by night. It was not so hot as we feared, and that was a good thing, but the latter part of the journey was very warm.

It is hot in Stuttgart, Papa does not think that he can stay long, then of course we would go too. I have not learnt my alphabet yet. Yesterday we, that is a lot of my cousins and I, went to an orchard, and for the first time I saw cherries taken off the tree. We enjoyed ourselves very much. Just now one of our aunts has come and I shall have to stop.

I have just come in from the garden, where I have been drawing flowers. This evening we are going to some friends, so I don't know when I shall send off this letter. We have such pleasant rooms here, cool, when all the others are hot.

Morning before breakfast, 12 June Tuesday. I must be quick and finish my letter, as they must be sent off by an early mail. Perhaps we are going to leave Stuttgart soon (that is, I don't think I will, but Papa and Mamma) as it is so warm. I have now used the drawing book from (?). It is very good paper and I am going to use the colours also. What are you painting at present? I would like to learn to paint flowers and I meant to do so as much as I can by myself, but I like drawing figures much better. We have breakfast very late, as Papa can't get up early. After that we go out, either for a walk, to see some friends, or into the lovely garden behind the house, there are such shady trees there, so that it is almost always cool.

I cannot finish as my alphabet is not clear, would you mind, perhaps to send me another please because in mine: "I" and "O" are the same, so ar "J." and "P". I will ask Maria to give this to you when she sees you. I cannot write more as I have so much to do.

With the best love I remain your affectionate friend

Amelie Bauerle.

Dear Irene, June 13th Wednesday. I will just add another half sheet to this short letter. It is growing intolerably hot here. Today I went the swimming bath with my cousins, if I go often I hope to learn to swim a little, but I would take no lessons. We have to go by train. We have such a lot of friends and relations to see here, that I quite forget whom I have seen, every day somebody else.
June 14th. Happily it has rained tonight and that will decrease the heat. It is still raining. Where will you go for the summer holidays? I suppose our family will go to Bexhill. I have got to do gymnastics with the doctors, with whom we live, many girls do, they have 12 boarders, I am to begin this evening. We meant to go to the bath again this afternoon, but it is raining continually, which is a good thing, as it has not rained here for a long time and the vines want rain badly.
June 15th. I really must post my letters today, they have been lying about three or four days. We have just come up from the gymnastics which we have in the morning, midday, and afternoon. Please excuse my short letters, but I have not much time. Please write to me soon. I remain your affectionate friend, Amelie Bauerle.

[From Irene Kate Pearce, my grandmother, when starting Merton Court School. The name she wrote to is indecipherable but was probably her mother tho’ it doesn’t look like ‘Mamma’ or ‘Dear’. The writing looks like that of an old person, but she had trouble with her eyes. Her grandmother (on her mother’s side) was living at Bideford, looked after by daughter Caroline (Aunt Carrie). ‘Brother’ must be Nugent Chaplin and Phil was her sister Phyllis Chaplin. Edie must have been Aunt Edith, Ayrton’s wife. The school started in December 1900 and her grandmother died at Bideford on 12 January 1901, so the letter must have been written between those dates, the christening presumably being my mother Effie’s, since Edward wasn’t born until February 9, 1901.]

Darling (?),

Thanks for card -- so looking forward to seeing you. I wish you could find us a girl at Bideford or somewhere, there seems a great deal to do when one has to do it all. Ernest is of course very helpful. We cannot afford local help, 10/6 per week for a girl who goes at 4 p.m. We only have six boys so are living on our capital, if only we could get one or two boarders to tide us over these troublous times.

Brother came down yesterday. I suppose Phil will come on Monday like you said. The christening had better be on 21st as Mr Haines is godfather and might come then also. Edie is coming and could manage 21st better, so if the same to you also by then we might have a servant.

Love to Granny and Aunt Carrie and Daph.

Baby Effie is flourishing,
Your loving child.

People here think we shall get on in time, the question is whether we can make the money last till we do get on, if not E. must find some other appointment -- he would not borrow. With economy we can last out a year.
  • 1 MAR 1873 - Birth - ; Westbourne Park Villas, Paddington, London, England
  • 22 JUN 1962 - Death - ; Hampstead, London, England
  • FROM JAN 1901 TO JAN 1919 - Residence - ; Merton Court Preparatory School, Sidcup, Kent
  • FROM 1919 TO 1926 - Residence - ; Brighton, Sussex
  • FROM 1926 TO 1941 - Residence - ; South Kensington, London
  • FROM 1941 TO 1948 - Residence - ; Tunbridge Wells, Kent
  • FROM 1948 TO 1951 - Residence - ; Hampstead, London
  • 5 FEB 1940 - Fact -
  • FROM 1881 TO 1892 - Education - Trelovir(?) House School , Queen’s College Harley St and Oxford Junior School
  • FROM OCT 1892 TO DEC 1894 - Education - Royal Holloway College ; London
  • BEF 1900 - Occupation - JWEP was Housemaster ; London
  • Religion - Anglican
  • FROM JAN 1901 TO JAN 1919 - Residence - ; Merton Court Preparatory School, Sidcup, Kent
  • FROM 1919 TO 1926 - Residence - ; Brighton, Sussex
  • FROM 1926 TO 1941 - Residence - ; South Kensington, London
  • FROM 1941 TO 1948 - Residence - ; Tunbridge Wells, Kent
  • FROM 1948 TO 1951 - Residence - ; Hampstead, London
John Clarke Chaplin
25 AUG 1806 - 2 JUN 1856
Holroyd Chaplin
17 MAR 1840 - 23 DEC 1917
Matilda Adriana Ayrton
1 JUN 1813 - 26 JAN 1899
Irene Kate Chaplin
1 MAR 1873 - 22 JUN 1962
Allan Maclean Skinner , Q.C.
14 JUL 1809 - 23 MAY 1885
Euphemia Isabella Skinner
7 JUN 1847 - 10 SEP 1939
Caroline Emily Harding
22 OCT 1812 - 12 JAN 1901
Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) Holroyd Chaplin
Birth17 MAR 1840Edgbaston, Warwickshire, England (1881 Census) on St Patrick's Day
Death23 DEC 1917 72 Edith Road, West Kensington, Middlesex
Marriage16 AUG 1870to Euphemia Isabella Skinner at Bickington or Newton Abbott? in South Devon, see Matilda Adriana Chaplin's diary for Tuesday 16 August 1870.
FatherJohn Clarke Chaplin
MotherMatilda Adriana Ayrton
PARENT (F) Euphemia Isabella Skinner
Birth7 JUN 1847Brighton, Sussex, England (1881 Census)
Death10 SEP 1939 Sunnyside, Ralph's Ride, Bracknell, Berkshire
Marriage16 AUG 1870to Holroyd Chaplin at Bickington or Newton Abbott? in South Devon, see Matilda Adriana Chaplin's diary for Tuesday 16 August 1870.
FatherAllan Maclean Skinner , Q.C.
MotherCaroline Emily Harding
FIrene Kate Chaplin
Birth1 MAR 1873Westbourne Park Villas, Paddington, London, England
Death22 JUN 1962Hampstead, London, England
Marriage16 APR 1898to John William Ernest Pearce at St. Annes? (corner of Church St & Kensington High St.)
MAllan Nugent Chaplin
Birth8 JUN 1871London, Middlesex, England (1881 Census)
Marriage27 NOV 1897to Mildred Hall
FMatilda Effie Chaplin
Birth20 JUN 1874Kensington, London (probably)
Death20 DEC 1874Kensington, London (probably)
FPhyllis Chaplin
Birth7 JUN 1879Kensington, London (1881 Census)
Death27 JUL 1924
Marriage24 JUN 1901to Philip Herbert Cowell
MTheodoric Chaplin
Birth14 FEB 1881Kensington, London (1881 Census)
Death29 OCT 1906Kingston near Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, by falling off a cliff.
FDaphne Grace Chaplin
Birth6 SEP 1884Broadstairs, Kent
Death16 FEB 1964
Marriageto Daphne Grace Chaplin
Marriage13 APR 1916to Cecil Arbuthnot Gould at St Barnabas Church, Kensington, London - witnesses E I Chaplin and Holroyd Chaplin - to get marriage certificate see ind
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
PARENT (M) John William Ernest Pearce
Birth4 APR 1864Wellington Place, Bristol, Gloucestershire, England
Death25 JAN 1951 South Villa, Vale of Health, Hampstead, London, England
Marriage16 APR 1898to Irene Kate Chaplin at St. Annes? (corner of Church St & Kensington High St.)
FatherHenry Edward Pearce
MotherHarriet Georgina (Hattie) Hurst
PARENT (F) Irene Kate Chaplin
Birth1 MAR 1873Westbourne Park Villas, Paddington, London, England
Death22 JUN 1962 Hampstead, London, England
Marriage16 APR 1898to John William Ernest Pearce at St. Annes? (corner of Church St & Kensington High St.)
FatherHolroyd Chaplin
MotherEuphemia Isabella Skinner
MEdward Holroyd Pearce , Lord
Birth9 FEB 1901Merton Court, Sidcup, Kent
Death27 NOV 1990Crowborough, Sussex, England
Marriage9 APR 1927to Erica Priestman at Dallinghoo, Suffolk
FPhyllis Margaret Pearce
Birth8 FEB 1910Sidcup, Kent
Death6 JUN 1973
Marriage1939to Edward Douglas Eade at North London
MJohn Allan Chaplin Pearce
Birth21 OCT 1912Sidcup, Kent
Death15 SEP 2006Italy
Marriage18 NOV 1948to Raffaella Elisabetta Maria (Lella) Baione at Florence, Italy?
FHelen Nugent Pearce
Birth22 NOV 1917Merton Court Preparatory School, Sidcup, Kent (probably)
Death6 APR 1920Brighton (probably)
FEffie Irene Pearce
Birth18 AUG 1899Yarth House, 93 Fitzjohns Avenue, London NW3, England
Death26 JAN 1996Royal London Hospital Whitechapel (Tower Hamlets), London, England
Marriage12 FEB 1926to Raymond Ray-Jones at "In Brighton, quietly, Raymond Ray-Jones RE, ARCA to Effie Irene Pearce, eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs J.W.E Pearce of 2
[S12758] Ann Gregory (Mendell)'s copy of 'A short account of the Families of Chaplin and Skinner........' with annotations by Ayrton Chaplin & others
[S16298] Calendar of wills 1858-1943
[S22470] Edward Holroyd Pearce's unpublished autobiography
[S37941] Royal Holloway, University of London
Descendancy Chart
Irene Kate Chaplin b: 1 MAR 1873 d: 22 JUN 1962
John William Ernest Pearce b: 4 APR 1864 d: 25 JAN 1951
Edward Holroyd Pearce , Lord b: 9 FEB 1901 d: 27 NOV 1990
Erica Priestman b: 1906 d: DEC 1985
Richard Bruce Holroyd Pearce b: 12 MAY 1930 d: 1987
James Edward Holroyd Pearce b: 18 MAR 1934 d: 11 JUN 1985
Phyllis Margaret Pearce b: 8 FEB 1910 d: 6 JUN 1973
Edward Douglas Eade b: 7 FEB 1911 d: 24 DEC 1984
John Allan Chaplin Pearce b: 21 OCT 1912 d: 15 SEP 2006
Helen Nugent Pearce b: 22 NOV 1917 d: 6 APR 1920
Effie Irene Pearce b: 18 AUG 1899 d: 26 JAN 1996
Raymond Ray-Jones b: 31 AUG 1886 d: 26 FEB 1942
Holroyd Anthony Ray-Jones b: 7 JUN 1941 d: 13 MAR 1972