John William DICKESON (1818–1903)
His second wife Mrs Harriett Mary DICKESON, née Slade (1842/3–1892)
Their daughter Miss Lily DICKESON (1872–1897)
St Michael section: Row 5a, Grave C50½

Dickeson family




aged 49










John William Dickeson was born in Oxford in 1818 and baptised at St Michael’s Church on 22 October. He was the eldest son of William Dean Dickeson and Hannah Hunt, who were married at St Michael’s Church on 31 December 1817.

Dickeson's coffee house

John had five younger siblings, all baptised at St Michael’s Church: William Dean Dickeson (1820), Mary Dean Dickeson (1822), Joseph Dickeson (1824), Henry Richard Dickeson (1826), and George Frederick Dickeson (1827).

John’s father and his grandfather before him kept the Turl Coffee House (right, now the Turl Street Kitchen), which was at Exeter Hall, 16 Turl Street, on the corner of Turl Street and Ship Street.

His father was described as a waggoner or carrier at the time of John’s birth, but by 1824 had taken over the Turl Coffee House from his own father.

John’s mother died at the age of 31 in 1828 and was buried in St Michael’s churchyard on 29 October, and his father, who was latterly also a wine merchant, died the following year at the age of 36 and was buried with his wife on 16 June 1829. William’s sister Mary Dean Dickeson died aged 6 years 7 months just after her parents and was buried with them on 23 June. John William Dickeson was thus left an orphan with four younger brothers at the age of eleven, and appears to have been sent to London, probably to be brought up by relatives.

John returned to Oxford when he came of age, and on 26 October 1839, when he was still only 21, he inserted the following advertisement in Jackson’s Oxford Journal:

Dickeson’s Hotel & Coffee House,

RESPECTFULLY informs the Members of the University, the Nobility and Gentry of the vicinity, and the Public generally, he has entered upon the above well-known premises, where for many years the Business was carried on by his grandfather and father, and latterly by Mr. Cox; and having been brought up in London to the profession of a Cook and Confectioner, he trusts will materially assist him in conducting the Business, which he intends doing for the benefit of himself and younger brothers.

Those Gentlemen who honour him with their patronage may rely on having sedulous attention paid to their general wishes and comfort, with the most reasonable charges, relying on a limited credit.

The Nobility and Gentry of the neighbourhood, and Gentlemen visiting Oxford, will find this house, from its situation, both quiet and convenient, with good bed rooms, &c.

On 23 November 1839 he inserted a similar advertisement concerning Dickeson’s Hotel & Coffee House, Wine and Spirit Vaults, and this time gave the address as Ship Street.

At the time of the 1841 census John William Dickeson (22) and his brother William Dean Dickeson were described as running this wine merchant’s business in Turl Street, and were looking after their younger brother Joseph with the aid of four servants.

On 2 January 1845 at St Mary Magdalen Church, Oxford, John William Dickeson married his first wife Louisa Maria Betteris, and they had the following children:

  • Louisa Maria Dickeson (born in Oxford in 1845/6 and baptised at St Michael's Church on 1846)
  • John William Dickeson junior (born in Oxford in 1847 and baptised at St Michael's Church on 14 July)
  • Frederick Dickeson (born in Oxford in 1848/9 and baptised at St Michael's Church on 17 February)
  • Charlotte Hannah Dickeson (born in Oxford in 1851 and baptised at St Michael's Church on 2 May)
  • Alfred Thomas Dickeson (born in Oxford in 1853 and baptised at St Michael’s Church on 25 March).

On 29 December 1847 the partnership between John and his brother William Dean Dickeson (described as “Coffee Housekeepers, Wine and Spirit Merchants, and Brewers”) was dissolved, and henceforth John alone carried on the business of running the Turl Coffee House in Oxford. (His brother William moved to London and ran Dickeson’s Exeter Hall Hotel and Tavern at 375 The Strand: he was described as a hotel keeper of St Martin-in-the-Fields when he married Emily Faichen at St Michael’s Church on 23 November 1852.)

At the time of the 1851 census John William Dickeson (32) was running the coffee house and hotel at Turl Street, where he lived with his wife Louisa (32) and their children Louisa (5), John (3), Frederick (2), and Charlotte (two months). Three visitors were staying at the hotel, and they employed a pot boy and three house servants.

On 23 April 1853 Dickeson advertised in Jackson’s Oxford Journal that he now had omnibuses running to and from every train at the Great Western Station to his hotel in Turl Street.

Betteris billiards

Dickeson’s father-in-law Thomas Betteris kept billiard rooms behind 45 Broad Street in St Mary Magdalen parish (demolished to make way for the New Bodleian Library), and his rooms appear by name in The Adventures of Mr Verdant Green, published in 1853, with an illustration (right).

Betteris died near the beginning of 1858, and Dickeson took over his father-in-law’s billiard rooms, which he ran for over thirty years. Initially he lived over the premises at 45 Broad Street, and the 1861 census shows him and his first wife Louisa, both aged 42, living there with their children Louisa (15), John (13), Frederick (12), Charlotte (10), and Alfred (8), plus two servants.

On 20 October 1861 John William Dickeson’s first wife Louisa Maria Dickeson died at the age of 43, just three years after her father, and she was buried in St Mary Magdalen churchyard on 24 October. The following death notice appeared in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 26 October: “Oct. 20, in Broad-street, after a long and painful illness, Louisa Maria, the beloved wife of Mr. J. W. Dickeson, aged 43 years.” Her effects came to nearly £300.

In the first quarter of 1868 at St George's, Hanover Square, John William Dickeson married his second wife Harriet Mary Slade. She was born in London in 1842/3, and was about 25 years his junior. They had the following children:

  • Mary Letitia (or Letitia Mary) Slade, later Dickeson (born in Ash, Surrey in 1865, three years before her parents were married, and baptised at St Peter’s Church, Ash, Surrey on 26 March)
  • Harriet Mary Slade, later Dickeson (born in Ash, Surrey on 16 October 1867, the year before her parents were married)
  • Edgar William Dickeson (born in Ash, Surrey in 1868 and baptised at St Michael the Archangel, Aldershot on 30 August)
  • Mary May Dickeson (born at 45 Broad Street, Oxford on 23 August 1870 and baptised at St Peter-in-the-East Church on 13 November)
  • Lily Dickeson (born at 45 Broad Street, Oxford in 1872 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 16 September)
  • Kate Emily Dickeson, also known as Kathleen (born at 27 Wellington Square, Oxford in 1874 and baptised as Kate Emily at St Mary Magdalen Church on 24 August)
  • Herbert Joseph Dickeson (born at 27 Wellington Square, Oxford in 1877 and baptised at St Giles’s Church on 5 July)
  • Arthur Walter Dickeson (born at 27 Wellington Square, Oxford near the beginning of 1879 and baptised at St Giles’s Church on 30 January).

At the time of the 1871 census Dickeson (52) was still a billiard table proprietor, living at 45 Broad Street with his second wife Harriet (27) and their children Harriet (4), Edgar (2), and Mary May (seven months), plus two servants. Harriet now had the surname Dickeson and it was possible to give the impression that she had been born after the wedding; but poor Letitia Mary Slade (6) still had her mother’s surname and was boarding discreetly at the Middle Class School in Marston Street, east Oxford. His children from his first marriage had all left home: Louisa (25) was a governess in Suffolk; Frederick (24) was a watch maker & jewellery jobber lodging in Bolton; John junior (23) was a billiard proprietor lodging at 38 Holywell Street; Charlotte (20) was boarding at 39 St Peter’s Square, Hammersmith and described as a scholar; and Alfred (17) was a jeweller’s apprentice, living at 34 Windsor Road, Islington with his uncle William Dean Dickeson, who was now a bottled beer merchant. Meanwhile Henry and Helen Maffey, who were relations of the Dickesons, were living at Exeter Hall: Henry was a college servant.

By 1874 Dickeson was running a lodging house at 27 Wellington Square, but at the baptism of his daughter Kate in August that year he was still described as a billiard table proprietor.

He can be see at this house at the time of the 1881 census with his second wife Harriet and all eight of their children: Letitia Mary Slade Dickeson (16), who now had her father’s name; and Harriet (14), Edgar (12), Mary (10), Lily (8), Kate (6), Herbert (3), and Arthur (2) who were all still at school. They had two servants (a housemaid and a nurse) and three lodgers.

In 1891 John William Dickeson (72) was running a lodging house at 17 Ship Street with his wife Harriet (48) and one servant. Three of their children were still at home: Mary May (20), who was a bookkeeper, and Kate Emily (15) and Herbert Joseph (13), who were at school. Letitia (26), who was a head teacher) was living in a boarding house at 12 York Street, Marylebone with her sister Harriet (24), who was a church worker, and her brother Arthur (11).

By 1892 Dickeson was running a lodging house at Exeter Hall, 16 Turl Street, where he had run his coffee house and hotel when younger.

The second Mrs Dickinson, despite being so much younger than her husband, died eleven years before he did:

† Mrs Harriet Mary Dickeson, née Slade died at 16 Turl Street at the age of 49 in June 1892 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 25 June (burial recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church).

Their daughter Lily Dickeson, who was a Member of the Royal British Nursing Association (MRBNA), died at the Radcliffe Infirmary (where she was probably a nurse) in 1897:

† Lily Dickeson died at the Radcliffe Infirmary at the age of 24 on 18 April 1897 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 21 April (burial recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church).

In 1901 John Dickeson was still keeping a lodging house at 16 Turl Street at the age of 82, helped by his unmarried daughter Mary May (30) and a housemaid and a houseboy. His niece Nellie Maria Faichen Dickeson (daughter of his brother William Dean Dickeson) was married from this house on 20 September 1902.

In 1903 John Dickeson’s home was still at 16 Turl Street, but he died at the Warneford Asylum in Headington:

† John William Dickeson died at the Warneford Asylum at the age of 85 on 17 December 1903 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 21 April (burial recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church).

His effects came to £1,685.

Surviving children from John William Dickeson's first marriage to Louisa Maria Betteris
  • Louisa Maria Dickeson (born 1845/6) was a governess to the family of a farmer in Stansfield, Suffolk in 1871, and to the children of William Allchin at 47 Broad Street in 1881. In 1891 she was still working as a governess but living with her uncle Henry Maffey (80) and his wife Helen at 8 Blue Boar Street. In 1901 when she was 55 she had no occupation and was still living in that house with her widowed aunt Mrs Helen Maffey (85). Oxford. In 1911 she was a retired governess of 65, keeping house for her brother Frederick (63) at that same address.
  • John William Dickeson junior (born 1847/8) was a billiard-table proprietor by 1871, and his premises were behind 44 & 45 Holywell Street (now part of Hertford College). He was lodging at 38 Holywell Street in 1871. On 9 January 1877 at Holy Trinity Church, St Ebbe's he married Helen Sarah Smith (27) of Blackfriars road, the daughter of the painter John Smith; but within a few months she was dead. In 1881 he was a widower of 33, still lodging at 38 Holywell Street. At the time of the 1891 census he was an insurance agent, living in Bristol with a woman called Elizabeth, who was recorded as his wife, and their son, John William Dickeson III (4). He married Eliza Ann Strickland in Bristol very soon after this census. He was still an insurance agent in 1901: aged 53 he was now living in Yardley, Worcestershire with his wife Eliza and his children John (14), Eveline (9), Florence (7), Lilly (4), and Violet (2). John William Dickeson junior died in Solihull at the age of 59 in 1847.
  • Frederick Dickeson (born 1848/9) became a watchmaker & jeweller at 8 Turl Street. In the third quarter of 1876 he married Susannah Eliza Abbott in Wolverhampton, and their twin children Frederick and Florence Alice were born in Oxford and baptised at All Saints’ Church on 10 October 1880. The family of four can be seen at 8 Turl Street in the 1881 census, with two watchmakers’ apprentices and a servant. He is hard to find in the 1891 and 1901 census. In 1911 he was described as married but appears to have separated from his wife, as his sister Louisa was keeping house for him at 8 Blue Boar Street, where he also carried on his trade. He recorded that one of the twins was now dead. Frederick died at 8 Blue Boar Street on 2 April 1915, and his effects came to £815.

Surviving children from John William Dickeson's second marriage to Harriet Mary Slade
  • Letitia Mary Slade-Dickeson(born 1865) was a headteacher boarding in Marylebone in 1891. She never married. She died at 29 Victoria Road, Berkhampstead on 21 April 1928, and her effects came to £800 17s. 6d. Probate was granted to her sister (Mary) May Dickeson.
  • Harriet Mary Slade-Dickeson(born 1867) was still a church worker at the age of 33 in 1901, paying a visit to a friend in Stebbing, Essex. In 1911 she was a church embroideress, living at 21 Worcester Place, Oxford with her niece Audrey Baker (10). She never married, and in 1939 had the same occupation and was living at 33 Marlborough Road, Oxford with a retired schoolmistress. She died in Oxford in 1942.
  • Edgar William Dickeson (born 1868) was a bootmaker of Ss Philip & James parish when he married Bessie Hebe Pearce at All Saints’ Church, Oxford on 11 January 1891. Their son Edgar Godfrey Dickeson was baptised at St Michael’s Church on 17 September 1891. In 1900 he took out the first lease on 34 Chalfont Road, and he can be seen there in the 1901 census, described as a master bootmaker and living with his wife Bessie and his children Edgar (9), Dorothy (8), and Muriel (7), plus one servant. Edgar William Dickeson’s home was at 18 Broad Street when he died at the Radcliffe Infirmary at the age of 45 on 26 July 1908: his funeral was held at St Michael’s Church on 28 July, and he is likely to be buried in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery. His effects came to £373 1s.2d. In 1911 Bessie was living in St Albans with her married sister and her two sons William John Pearce (11) and Hughie (8).
  • Mary May Dickeson (born 1870), latterly known as May, was keeping house at 16 Turl Street for her father in 1901. She never married, and in 1939 was running a boarding house at 31 Park Town. She died in Oxford at the age of 75 in 1945.
  • Kate Emily Dickeson (born 1874) married Frank Baker at Islington in London in 1897, and they had three children: Denis Francis Baker (1895–1955), Audrey May Baker (b.1900) and Maurice Geoffrey Baker (1908–1986). At the time of the 1901 census they were running a small university lodging house at 49 St John Street, Oxford; and in 1911 they were running a lodging house at No. 52 in the same street. In October 1912 they left England and settled in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and in 1927 they were looking after Kate's brother Herbert's two boys, Jack and Kenneth. In a 1935 Vancouver voter’s list, Kathleen is listed as a ‘married woman’ and her husband as an engineer. Kathleen died in Vancouver at the age of 65 in 1939.
  • Herbert Joseph Dickeson (born 1877) was working as a professional actor by 1897. He later also became a theatre manager, and in 1912 he was listed as the presenter of a play in Bradford called The Queen's Couriers. In 1914 at the age of 37 he joined the army and served as a Private in the London Scottish regiment. In 1919 at Marylebone he married Beatrice May Bowles and they had three children: Herbert John Raymond Dickeson (known as Jack) (1920–1953), Kenneth Gordon Dickeson (1922–2014) and Joanne Dickeson (1924–1953). In 1922 he participated as an actor/comedian in the ‘First all British Wireless Exhibition’ in London. In June 1927 Herbert kidnapped his two boys, Jack and Kenneth and travelled to Vancouver BC, Canada, where they were looked after by his sister Kathleen Baker. In October 1927 his wife Beatrice started proceedings to divorce her husband, and the decree was made absolute on 8 May 1928. Their sons both returned to England in the late 1930s, but Kenneth went back to Canada again after WW2. Herbert Joseph Dickeson died in Vancouver at the age of 55 on 14 May 1932.
  • Arthur Walter Dickeson (born 1879) was an AB seaman aged 23 in 1901, on the “Galloper”, which was in port in London on census night. By 1908 he had emigrated to Australia, and was living at Box Hill, Kooyong, Victoria, when on 25 February that year he married Annie Florence Bedggood. He fought in the First World War. He died at Cant, Victoria at the age of 74 in 1955.



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