Harry George Walter DRINKWATER (1844–1895)
His wife Mrs Rose DRINKWATER, née Carr (1854–1926)
Their daughter Grace DRINKWATER (1879–1960)
Their son George Carr DRINKWATER (1880–1941)
St Michael section: Row 15, Grave C45

Harry Drinkwater



BORN SEP. 30TH 1854


DIED MAY 12TH 1941


Harry George Walter Drinkwater (usually known in his professional capacity as an architect as H. G. W. Drinkwater) was born in Warwick on 17 March 1844 and baptised at St Mary's Church there on 2 June. He was the son of George Drinkwater, a coachman who later became a publican, and his wife Eliza Sanderson. For more details about his family, including his siblings, see the separate grave in St Sepulchre's Cemetery where his father, mother, and one of his sisters are buried.

In 1851 young Harry (7) was still with his parents in Warwick, where his father was still working as a coachman.

Drinkwater bottle

By the time of the 1861 census Harry's parents were running the George Inn or Hotel at 33 Cornmarket. This stood on the corner of George Street (and was later replaced by the current bank building). The flagon on the right bears the name of Harry's father and the hotel.

From 1860 to 1865 Harry was a pupil of the architect William C. C. Bramwell in Oxford, and in 1861 when he was aged 17 he was described as an assistant clerk to an architect and still living with his parents at the inn.

Harry then became an assistant to the architect George Edmund Street and won the Royal Academy Travelling Prize.

At the time of the 1871 census, when he was 27, he was lodging at 25 Abbey Place, Marylebone, but soon afterwards came back to Oxford, where he started up an independent practice as an architect. In 1876 he designed the vicarage attached to St Frideswide's Church.

In 1878, just before his marriage, he was living in Ss Philip & James’s parish (probably at 1 Farndon Road). Around that time he must have been starting on his designs for Morrell’s Lion Brewery.

Rose Carr was born in Marylebone on 30 September 1854, the youngest daughter of Charles Carr (born in Paddington in 1809/10) and his wife Rachel (born in Marylebone in 1812/13). At the time of the 1861 census her father was a tailor employing 17 men and two boys, and he and his wife were living at 46 Edgware Road with their children Matilda (24), Alfred (21), William (19), Frank (17), Clara (16), and Rose herself (6). In 1871 their address was given as 108 Edgeware Road, and Rose (17) was still living at home with her parents and two of her siblings, Emily (23) and George (21). At the time of her marriage, Rose was living at 70 Hamilton Terrace, Marylebone.

On 11 July 1878 at St Mark's Church, Hamilton Terrace, London, Harry George Walter Drinkwater (34) married
Rose Carr
 (23), and an announcement was placed in Jackson’s Oxford Journal. They had the following children:

  • Grace Drinkwater (born at 1 Farndon Road on 28 April 1879 and baptised at Ss Philip & James’s Church on 22 May; birth announced in Jackson’s Oxford Journal)
  • George Carr Drinkwater (born at 1 Farndon Road on 10 July 1880 and baptised at Ss Philip & James’s Church on 26 September)
  • Ruth Cecilia Drinkwater (born at 1 Farndon Road on 14 February 1883 and baptised at Ss Philip & James’s Church on 8 April).

In 1879 Drinkwater designed Ss Philip & James’s Boys’ School in Leckford Road (built by William Brucker, who is also buried in this cemetery). The report in Jackson’s Oxford Journal for 11 October 1879 read:

A new boys’ school has been built in Leckford-road for the district of St. Philip and St. James by Mr. Brucker, from designs prepared by Mr. Drinkwater. It is 36 feet by 20 feet, and there are also a class-room 18 feet by 15 feet, lavatories, &c. It is constructed of red brick, and the roof is covered with Broseley tiles.

Also in that year he designed 50 & 51 Marston Street.

At the time of the 1881 census Drinkwater (37) was living at 1 Farndon Road with his wife Rose (26) and their first two children Grace (1) and George (eight months). They employed a nurse and a domestic servant. In October that year he was appointed Junior Deacon of the Alfred Lodge of Freemasons.

In about 1883 Drinkwater designed St Margaret’s Church (shown below), on the corner of Kingston Road and St Margaret's Road.

St Margaret's Church

Harry Drinkwater’s brother Albert was involved with Oxford’s theatre, and Harry himself acted in many performances in the 1870s and 1880s.. In 1885 he bought shares in the Oxford Theatre Company Ltd and designed the theatre’s new building, which opened in 1886. (It was demolished and replaced by the present theatre in 1933.) He also acted as Company Secretary of the theatre.

Also in 1885 Drinkwater designed Ss Philip & James’s vicarage at 68 Woodstock Road (now part of St Antony’s College).

On 16 November 1886 Drinkwater was appointed a Companion in the Oxon Provincial Grand Chapter of Freemasons, where the Oxford architect E. G. Bruton was already a member.

In 1888 Drinkwater was appointed the Vicar’s Warden at Ss Philip & James’s Church, and in that year he designed the new transepts of St Frideswide’s Church and an extension to the City Brewery (Hall's) in Pembroke Street to act as a storehouse (now part of the Museum of Modern Art). His office was now at 2 St Michael's Chambers.

In 1890 he designed Nos. 59–61 Cornmarket Street for the Metropolitan & Birmingham Bank, and Ss Philip & James Parish Institute in Polstead Road.

By the time of the 1891 census, Harry’s widowed mother Eliza Drinkwater (78) had come to live with them at 1 Farndon Road, and they employed a governess, cook, and housemaid. Grace (11) and George (10) were at home, but their third child Ruth (8) was paying a visit to her uncle Samuel Bird, a wine merchant in Marylebone, and his wife Emily.

On 5 April 1893 Drinkwater was appointed a feoffee of St Giles's Church. His office was now in Ship Street.

On 10 May 1894 he was appointed on to the Council of the Oxford Church Elementary Schools Association. He was also Vice-Chairman of the City Branch of the English Church Union.

In the early 1890s Harry Drinkwater designed:

  • W. F. Lucas’s clothing factory at 59 George Street
  • The Cape of Good Hope pub at the Plain
  • Restoration of Eynsham Church
  • Reredos at Spelsbury Church
  • The New Lodge at the University Parks (on the eastern side of the South Parks Road gate)
  • The new Anchor pub in Polstead Road
  • Alterations to houses in Longwall Street
  • The first stage of Elliston & Cavell (later Debenham's): the right-hand side (9, 10, 11, & 12 Magdalen Street next to Friar's Entry) and also the turret on the corner and the building stretching down George Street which were not yet part of the shop
  • The Grapes in George Street.

Harry Drinkwater died in 1895 at the peak of his career. He was still living at 1 Farndon Road, but was paying a visit to Wokingham at the time of his death:

† Harry George Walter Drinkwater died at Wokingham, Berkshire at the age of 51 on 13 October 1895 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 16 October (burial recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church).

The plot where he was buried had presumably been reserved by his parents, who lived in St Michael’s parish. His effects came to £3,755 1s. 4d. His obituary appeared in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 19 October 1895:


The subject of this notice, Mr. Harry G. W. Drinkwater, architect, of 1, Farndon-road, died on Sunday morning last at Wokingham, where he had gone for a short time, hoping that the change would improve his health, which for some time past had occasioned his friends great anxiety. He was the son of the late Mr. George Drinkwater, of this city, and was born about 1843, and was articled to Mr. Street, the well-known architect, and distinguished himself by winning the travelling prize of the Royal Society of Architects. Many buildings in Oxford and the neighbourhood were designed by the deceased, including St. Margaret’s Church, the New Theatre, the Birmingham Bank in Corn Market-street [Nos. 59–61], Messrs. Lucas’s factory in George-street, and Messrs Elliston and Cavell’s business premises in Magdalen-street [later Debenham's]. During the illness of Mr Bruton the diocesan work was entrusted to Mr Drinkwater. He was one of the founders with Councillor T. Lucas of the New Theatre, of which company he was secretary. The deceased belonged to the Alfred Lodge (340) of Freemasons, of which he was an active member: he was W.M. in 1885, P.G.S.W. 1885, P.Z. Royal Arch Chapter, W.M. Royal Mark Master Masons, and P.C. Knight’s Templar. He was churchwarden of Ss. Philip and James’, and held other offices of an honorary nature. He married Miss Carr, of London, and the widow, one son, and two daughters survive him.

The funeral took place on Wednesday last, at St. Sepulchre’s Cemetery, Walton-street. The coffin was borne from the deceased’s residence to SS Philip and James’ Church for the Communion Service at nine o’clock, and the interment was at twelve, the chief mourners being the widow and family, a large number of the Masonic body, and the directors of the Theatre Company, and the employés at the Theatre also attended to pay a last mark of respect. The officiating clergy were the Revs. E. C. Dermer and F. J. Brown, and the grave was a newly-constructed one near the chapel. A large number of wreaths and other floral tributes were sent by the following:— Mrs. Drinkwater and family; Miss Drinkwater; Mr. A. E. Drinkwater and family; Rev. George Champion and Mrs. T. Champion; Mr. and Mrs Bird; Mrs. Hallett and Mrs. Catliff; Mr. and Mrs. Wells; Mrs. Annie Carr; Mr. and Mrs. Timpson; Miss M. Chiveriel; the “Brethren” of the Alfred Lodge; the “Brethren” of the Bertie Lodge; the teachers and children of SS. Philip & James’ School; the manager and clerks of the Lion Brewery; Mr. Lucas, the employés of the New Theatre; the Rev. and Mrs. Robert Hartley, St. Paul’s Rectory, Wokingham; Mr. Clowes, Mr. Hutchinson, and Mr Buzand [Bayzand?]; Dr. and Mrs. Edward Rice; Mr. and Mrs. R. Sydenham Rowell; Mr. and Mrs. James Mallam; Mr. and Mrs. James Wicks; Mrs. Jorden and Miss Hunt; Mr. Walter Sotham; Mr. and Mrs Robert Sotham; Mrs. Pinfold and Miss Lee; Mr. Llewellin; Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Hurst; Dr. and Mrs. Whitmarsh; Miss Swann; Mrs. G. J. Digues La Touche; Mrs. Collcutt; Nurse Penson; Mrs Handy. Messrs Elliston and Cavell carried out the arrangements of the funeral.

Mrs. Drinkwater and Family desire to express their sincere gratitude for kindness and sympathy received during their bereavement.

At the time of the 1901 census his widow Rose Drinkwater appears to have been paying a visit to the widow Clare Catliff at Sutton, Surrey. Her daughter Grace (21) was described as the head of the household at 1 Farndon Road, Oxford, and she spent census night there with her sister Ruth (18), her second cousin Florence M. Wells, and two servants.

By 1909 Rose and her children had moved to 6 Welbourne Terrace Road, Paddington, and her elder daughter was married from that address:

  • On 14 September 1909 at St Mary Magdalene's Church, Paddington, Ruth Cecilia Drinkwater married the brewer Reginald Michael Roberts.

At the time of the 1911 census Rose (56) was living at 6 Welbourne Terrace Road, Paddington with her elder daughter Grace (31), her son George (30), who was described as an architect, painter, and journalist, and two servants.

Rose outlived her husband Harry Drinkwater by over thirty years, and from 1921 lived upstairs at 67 St Giles’s Street (where the upstairs accommodation was later numbered 67A). She remained there until her death there in 1926:

† Mrs Rose Drinkwater née Carr died at 67A St Giles’s Street at the age of 71 on 13 April 1926 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 15 April (burial recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church).

Her effects came to £3,334 4s. 6d.

George Carr Drinkwater (1880–1941), son of Harry & Rose Drinkwater

George, who had been educated at the Dragon School in Oxford and then at Rugby from 1894, went up to Wadham College, Oxford in 1897. In 1900 he served as a trooper in the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars in the Boer War and then returned to Wadham. He rowed in the 1902 and 1903 Boat Race (both won by Cambridge).

He became an architect and portrait painter, and was also the rowing correspondent for the Daily Telegraph from 1906.

Carmen Hill

In the second quarter of 1914 in the Kensington district, George Carr Drinkwater married the singer Carmen Hill (born in Aberdeen on 5 May 1883), and they lived at 8 Warwick Avenue, London,

Almost immediately George volunteered for the First World War, commencing service in the Royal Field Artillery on 7 August 1914 as a Lieutenant and then a temporary Captain, serving in France 1915–1916, Egypt 1916–1917, Palestine 1917–1918, and then Egypt again as a Brigade Major in 1918–19. He was awarded the Military Cross on 26 March 1918 and was twice mentioned in Dispatches.

After the First World War he and Carmen had one son:

  • John Graham Drinkwater
    (born in the Paddington district on 25 November 1921)

In 1932 when her husband was in the USA training a British boat crew that was competing in the Olympic Games, Carmen took their ten-year-old son on holiday to Munich, and they were in a tourist motor bus that crashed down a fifty-feet embankment between Ettal and Obersu: Carmen suffered a fractured skull.


Right: Portrait of Carmen Hill by Ernest Walter Histed
in the National Portrait Gallery

In 1939 his book The Boat Race was published by Blackie & Son Limited. Later that year after the outbreak of the Second World War the 1939 Register shows him described as an architect by profession (and in the Postings column on the right as a retired Captain in the Royal Field Artillery) living at 6 Radnor Place, Hyde Park with another architect, Basil K. Jackson, plus two servants. He was doing government work at that address when on 11 May 1941 he was injured at home as a result of enemy action (CWGC), and he died in hospital the next day:

† George Carr Drinkwater died at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington at the age of 60 on 12 May 1941 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 15 May (burial recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church).

His effects came to £1,572 7s. 10d. His obituary in The Times on 15 May 1941 read:


Mr George Carr Drinkwater, R.B.A., who has lost his life through enemy action at the age of 60, was an architect and artist by profession, but was better known as a rowing coach and a writer on rowing.

The son of H. G. W. Drinkwater and a cousin of the late John Drinkwater, he was educated at Rugby and Wadham College, Oxford, and rowed in the Oxford crews of 1902 and 1903. He served as a trooper in South Africa in 1900, and in the last War rose to the rank of Brigadier-Major, R.A., winning the M.C. and being twice mentioned in dispatches. For nearly 35 years he had been the rowing correspondent of the Daily Telegraph, and he was the author of several books on the history of the University boat race. As an architect, he was responsible for new buildings and alterations both at Oxford an Cambridge. He married Carmen Hill, the singer, and there was one son of the marriage.

His widow Carmen Hill (or Drinkwater) died at 86 Green Croft Gardens, Hampstead, London at the age of 68 on 5 February 1952.

Grace Drinkwater (1879–1960): elder daughter of Harry & Rose Drinkwater

Grace Drinkwater never married, and continued to live upstairs at 67 St Giles’s Street from 1927 to 1940. She was living at 17 Plantation Road at the time of her death in 1960. It seems likely that at this late date it may only have been her ashes that were scattered on the grave:

† Miss Grace Drinkwater died at 17 Plantation Road, Oxford at the age of 80 on 22 March 1960 (relevant St Michael burial register not transcribed).

Her effects came to £1,798 8s. 1d.

Ruth Cecilia Drinkwater, Mrs Roberts (1883–1953): younger daughter of Harry & Rose Drinkwater

Ruth Cecilia Drinkwater, Mrs Roberts (born 1883) was living in 1911 at the Old Manor, Ivinghoe with her husband Reginald Michael Roberts (29), who was a brewer born in Ivinghoe, and their only son Richard Anthony Mann Roberts (four months), plus two servants. Her husband served in the First World War and rose to be a Captain in the Royal Army Service Corps. She died at the Old Manor House on 28 October 1953. Her effects came to £1,103 9s. 4d., and probate was granted to her husband, now a company director.



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