George HAWKINS (1844–1908)
His wife Mrs Emily HAWKINS, née Dunn (1840–1895)
Their daughter Mabel HAWKINS (1873/4–1887)
St Giles (Ss Philip & James/St Margaret) section: Row 52, Grave 43½/44½

George Hawkins and family


In Loving Memory of

DIED AUGUST 13, 1895


DIED MARCH 22, 1908,

DIED MARCH 12, 1887,


For more on George Hawkins, including a photograph, see Simon Eliot, History of Oxford University Press, Vol. II: 1780 to 1896 (OUP, 2013), pp. 213–14

George Hawkins was born in Hertingfordbury, Hertfordshire in 1844. At the time of the 1851 census he was a 7-year-old schoolboy living in Hertingfordbury with his parents James and Mary Hawkins, his older brother Thomas and his grandmother Sarah Hawkins. His father and his brother Thomas (18) were journeyman millers.

By 1861 his father was dead and George (18) was an apprentice compositor to Stephen Austin and was living at Port Vale, Hertford, with his mother Mary, who was a proprietor of houses and had four boarders.

Emily Dunn was born in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire in 1840 (reg. second quarter). She was with her parents Robert and Elizabeth Dunn in Bishops Stortford at the time of the 1841 census, but by 1851 they had moved to Hertford, where her father was Superintendant of Police. Emily (11) was at school and living with her parents and her siblings Robert (29), who was late a soldier; Elizabeth (21); Thomas (16), who was a groom; Edward (9); and Sarah (6).

In 1866 (reg. third quarter) in Hertford, George Hawkins married Emily Dunn, and they had the following children:

  • Emily Mary Hawkins (born at Bengeo, Hertford in 1869/70 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church there on 20 February 1870)
  • Evan Robert Hawkins (born at Bengeo, Hertford in 1872 and baptised there on 21 April)
  • Mabel Hawkins (born at 5 Wytham Terrace, Oxford in 1873/4 and baptised at Ss. Philip & James’s Church on 15 January 1874); died 1887, see below
  • George Hawkins junior (born at 41 Kingston Road, Oxford in 1876/7) and baptised at Ss Philip & James’s Church on 1 February 1877)

George & Emily Hawkins evidently began their married life at Bengeo in Hertford, and at the time of the 1871 census George (27) was living there with his wife Emily (31) and their first child Emily Mary (1) and working as a printer/compositor.

Near the end of 1872 he came to Oxford with his family to work as a compositor at the Clarendon Press. Their address in 1874 was given as 5 Wytham Terrace: this is probably the same house that by 1876 had been numbered as 41 Kingston Road, and was then in the parish of Ss Philip & James’s Church.

From 1876 to 1896 George Hawkins was Father of the Chapel at the Clarendon Press, and in 1880 was elected Chairman of the Oxford Co-operative Society.

At the time of the 1881 census George Hawkins (37) was living at 41 Kingston Road with his wife Emily (41) and their four children, who were all at school.

In 1885 George Hawkins was appointed Chairman of the London Branch of the Co-operative Wholesale Society. He was also a Justice of the Peace by the 1880s.

By 1887 their address was given as 53 Kingston Road. Their daughter Mabel died in 1887 at the age of 13 according to the parish registers (she was probably nearly 14, the age recorded on the gravestone):

† Mabel Hawkins died at 53 Kingston Road at the age of 13/14 on 12 March 1887 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 16 March (burial recorded in the parish registers of both St Giles’s and Ss Philip & James’s Church).

In 1889 George Hawkins stood as a Liberal for the North Ward of the council: he lost, but in 1890 F. M. Butterfield, one of the representatives of the West Ward, retired in his favour, and Hawkins held the seat until 1893, when he resigned in consequence of the multiplicity of his public engagements.

At the time of the 1891 census George Hawkins (47) was still a compositor and now living at 53 Kingston Road with his wife Emily (47) and their two sons: Evan Robert (19) was a printer’s apprentice, and George (14) was still at school. Their surviving daughter Emily (21) was lodging in Bristol, where she was an assistant schoolmistress.

On 25 October 1892 the Prime Minister William Gladstone paid a visit to Oxford University Press during his three-day visit to Oxford, and Jackson’s Oxford Journal that week reported:

… Mr Gladstone manifested especial interest … in the Oriental and classical composing rooms, where he was introduced to the “father of the chapel,” Mr. George Hawkins, who gave the distinguished visitor a cordial welcome on behalf of the employés, and said they claimed to have a special interest in Mr. Gladstone from a literary point of view, seeing that they had printed many of his books at the Press, and were hoping to print many more.

Clarendon Press Institute

The Clarendon Press Institute (above) was opened by the Bishop of Oxford on 16 September 1893, and the report in Jackson’s Oxford Journal a week later included a speech made by George Hawkins, which began:

Councillor HAWKINS said when he came to Oxford 21 years ago the University Press was not what it is to-day. He might say that his knowledge of the inner life of the University had been made up almost mainly by reading “The Adventures of Mr. Verdant Green.” (Laughter.) When he came he was told that there were some Delegates somewhere, but he only had a dim perception of who the Delegates were. In fact, he had a sort of suspicion that they were something of the mythical order, because he heard they were up in a tower somewhere. In those days they did not see much of the Delegates, but since then good fortune had led to [him] coming into closer quarters with a good many of them.

On 23 December 1893 it was reported in Jackson’s Oxford Journal that George Hawkins chaired the debating class at the Clarendon Press Institute with the subject “Will machinery take the place of hand composition?”

In 1894 Hawkins decided to stand again for the North Ward on the city council, and was defeated.

His son Evan was married from 53 Kingston Road in 1894:

  • On 16 October 1894 at Ss Philip & James’s Church, Evan Robert Hawkins (22), who was now a compositor like his father, married Beatrice Alice Poulter (24), a gardener’s daughter of 71A Cranham Street;

His wife died later that year:

† Mrs Emily Hawkins née Dunn died at 53 Kingston Road at the age of 55 on 13 August 1895 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 16 August (burial recorded in the parish registers of both St Giles’s and Ss Philip & James’s Church).

Their daughter Emily was married in 1896:

  • On 4 April 1896 at Ss Philip & James’s Church, Emily Mary Hawkins (26) married Thomas James Griffiths (25), a compositor of 118 Kingston Road.

Later that year Kingston Road was taken into the new parish of St Margaret.

At the time of the 1901 census George Hawkins, a widower of 57 who now described himself as a Director of the Co-operative Wholesale Society, was living at a different address in Kingston Road, No. 79, with his son George junior (24). His niece Mrs Elizabeth Sophia Wright, a widow of 57, was his housekeeper, and her daughter Lizzie (14), who was at school, also lived with them.

His son George was married in 1907:

  • On 9 September 1907 at Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire, George Hawkins junior (30), a schoolmaster, married Ada Hawkins (19), a schoolmistress: they were both then living at Upper Heyford.

George Hawkins senior died in 1908:

† George Hawkins senior died at 79 Kingston Road at the age of 64 on 22 March 1908. The first part of his funeral service took place in St Margaret’s Church, and he was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 25 March (burial recorded in the parish register of St Giles’s Church, and probably also in that of St Margaret’s Church, whose registers have not been transcribed).

His effects came to £350 14s. 8d., and his executors were his niece Mrs Wright and the compositor Edward King.

The following long obituary and details of the funeral appeared in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 28 March 1908, p. 5:


We have, with much regret, to record the death of Mr. George Hawkins, J.P., which took place at his residence, 79, Kingston-road, on Sunday. Up to two and a half years ago, he was in vigorous health, but he was then stricken with paralysis, from which he never fully recovered. Recently, he suffered from dropsy, and he was confined to his bed for three weeks previous to his death.

The deceased was 64 years of age, having been born in 1844. His trade was that of a compositor; he served his apprenticeship at the celebrated Oriental printing-office of Stephen Austin, at Hertford; in 1872 he migrated to Oxford and entered into the employ of the Clarendon Press, where he was engaged for twenty-five years. As “father of the chapel” twenty years he was popular with both compositors and employers. Throughout a very active life he closely identified himself with both the Co-operative and Trade Union movements. He was at one time president of the Oxford Typographical Association, and has held a similar office in the Oxford Trades Council. He was mainly instrumental in founding the latter body. In 1873 he became a member of the Oxford Co-operative Society, and in 1880 was elected chairman, a position which he held until his compulsory retirement in October, 1905. In 1893 he delivered the inaugural address at the Co-operative Congress at Bristol, and for several years held the distinction of being chairman of the London branch of the Co-operative Wholesale Society.

Mr Hawkins took also a keen interest in politics, and in 1890 was returned to the Oxford City Council in the Liberal interest for the West Ward. In 1893 he did not present himself for re-election, but in 1894 he stood for the North Ward and was defeated. In 1893, under Mr Gladstone’s administration, Mr. Hawkins was one of the first to receive recognition in the movement for securing representative working men on the Bench of Magistrates, and after being placed on the Commission of the Peace for the City, he attended the sittings of the Court regularly until his health failed. Although a Liberal in politics, Mr. Hawkins was a staunch Churchman, and in September, 1898, he read a paper at the Church Congress, Bradford, on a working man’s views of the religious and moral connection existing in trade, which called forth favourable comments from many of the daily papers. For many years he was sidesman of SS. Philip and James’ church, and held office till the daughter parish of St. Margaret was formed, and he was also a foundation manager of SS. Philip and James’ school.


Took place on Wednesday at St. Sepulchre’s Cemetery, the first portion of the service being held in St. Margaret’s Church. The coffin, covered with wreaths and other floral tributes, was conveyed from the church to the cemetery on a bier. Eighteen carriages followed, and preceding the corpse were a number of mourners representative chiefly of the Co-operative movement. These were joined at the cemetery gates by others, so that quite a considerable number were at the graveside to pay their respects to the deceased man’s memory. The mourners were.— Mr. G. Hawkins (son), Mrs. Griffiths (daughter), Mrs. Wright (niece), Mr. Griffiths (son-in-law), Mr. F. Hawkins (nephew), Directors of the Co-operative Wholesale Society, Mr. Deans, Mr. Elsay, Mr. Fairclough, Mr. Johns, Mr. Landar, Mr. Mort, Mr. Pingstone, Mr. Shillito, Mr. Shotton, Mr. Threadgill, Mr. Wilkins, Mr. Youngs, Mr. Goodey, Heads of Departments of Co-operative Wholesale Society, r. Cock, Mr. Openshaw, Mr. Waddington, Mr. Bottomley, Mr. Stafford, Mr. Price, Mr. Burgess, Mr. Justham, Mr. Baker, Mr. Warren, Mr. May, Mr. Macintosh, Mr. Sheppard.

The services in the church and at the graveside were conducted by the Vicar of St. Margaret’s (Rev. E. W. Pullen) and the Rev. F. James. At the conclusion of the latter ceremony Mr. Goodey, chairman of the London branch of the C.W.S., said they had come that day to mourn the loss of Mr. George Hawkins as a Co-operator. With the rest of his colleagues he played an important part in the movement. He believed in the movement as something which would be for the benefit of the people; the people’s charter, convened by the people for the people. He was elected to the C.W.S. Board of Directors in 1883, and he was stricken down in 905, having served the C.W.S. for over 20 years. No man worked more than he, and no one rejoiced more than he at the progress of Co-operation. To him it was duty first, and pleasure afterwards. He was chairman of the London branch for many years. He was a practical worker, and his interest in the co-operative movement remained until his last days.

The coffin was of polished elm, with oak mouldings and brass furniture. The breast-plate bore the inscription:—

Died March 22nd, 1908,
Aged 64 years.

There was a large number of floral tributes from various mourners, including the following:— Wreath, “In loving memory, from George and Ada”; wreath, “In loving remembrance of dear dad, from Tom and Jude”; harp, “In ever loving memory of dear uncle, from Liz and ‘Kiddie’”; cross, “With kind and loving thoughts of dear grampy, from Harold and Ron; wreath, “With deepest sympathy, from Harry and Hannah (Watford)”; wreath, “With deepest sympathy and in affectionate remembrance, from Mrs. T. Griffiths and family, 118, Kingston-road”; wreath, “With kindly remembrances, from Mr. and Mrs. A. Griffiths, Fair Lea, Beechcroft-road”; wreath, “With loving sympathy, from Glad and Harry”; wreath, “With deepest sympathy, from Mr. and Mrs. T. Ramsay and family”; wreath, “With deepest sympathy, from Mr. and Mrs. C. Payne”; anchor, “With deepest sympathy for a few friends with whom he was associated at Hertford, H. W. Akers, J. W. Embury, W. Farrow, H. P. Frimbley, R. Gass, E. Griffith, T. Ramsey, H. P. Starr and W. Starr”; wreath, “A tribute of deep affection, from the Committee of the Co-operative Wholesale Society, Limited”; wreath, “In loving memory of a dear old friend, from George Hines”; wreath, “With deepest sympathy, from the employés of the Co-operative Wholesale Society, Guildhall-road, Northampton”; spray, “In token of respect, from E.L.M. and I.L.D”; wreath, “With deepest sympathy, from Mr. and Mrs. French and family; wreath, “With deepest sympathy, from the Council and Members of the Clarendon Press Institute”; harp, “With deepest sympathy, from the employés of the Oxford Co-operative Society”; anchor, “From Managers of Co-operative Societies in various parts of the South, who admire the good work he did for the movement, and honoured him for his personal good qualities”; wreath, “As a token of sympathy and respect from the employés of the Co-operative Wholesale Society, Bristol Department”; cross, “From the staff of the Co-operative Wholesale Society, London, a tribute of regard to their old friend and chief”; wreath, “In remembrance, from the Clarendon Press Chapel”; wreath, “With deepest sympathy, from old friends and colleagues of the Southern Sectional Board of the Co-operative Union”; wreath, “With deepest sympathy, from Committee and Managers of the Co-operative Society, Banbury.

The funeral arrangements were carried out by Messrs. S. W. French and Son, 144, Kingston-road.


At a meeting of the Oxford Trades Council, held on Wednesday evening, the following resolution was passed: The organised trade unionists of Oxford, as represented by their council, desire to place on record their sincere regret at the decease of Mr. George Hawkins, J.P., who was one of the organisers and its first president. He always firmly advocated the advancement of the worker. He was respected and esteemed by us as a leader in whom we had every confidence. We feel by his death Oxford Trade Unionism has lost a genuine friend and adviser, who was at all times an advocate of justice and acted up to the motto, “Do unto others as you would be done by.”

Children of George and Emily Hawkins
  • Emily Mary Hawkins, Mrs Griffiths (born 1869/70) was living at 30 Southmoor Road, Oxford in 1901 with her husband Thomas Griffiths (30), who was a printer compositor at Oxford University Press, and their sons Harold (4) and Ronald (1). They were still there in 1911, with another son, Philip (3). Harold (14) was a probationer apprentice printing machine at the Press. Emily Mary Griffiths died in Oxford in 1947.
  • Evan Robert Hawkins (born 1872) was working as a printer compositor and living at 49 Leckford Road in 1901 with his wife Beatrice (32), who was a dressmaker, and their son Evan (5). He died the following year in Wellington, Shropshire at the age of 30. His widow Beatrice was living at 2 Great Clarendon Street in 1911 with their son Evan junior, who was an apprentice compositor at the Press.
  • George Hawkins junior (born 1876/7) was a Head Teacher in 1911 and living at the School House in Upper Heyford with his wife Ada and their daughter Mabel (1), plus a 14-year-old servant girl. He was last seen alive at Upper Heyford on 24 April 1925, and was found drowned two weeks later on 6 May. His effects came to £148 10s., and his executor was his widow Ada.



Please email
if you would like to add information

These biographies would not have been possible without the outstanding transcription services
provided by the Oxfordshire Family History Society

© Friends of St Sepulchre’s Cemetery 2012–2017