William LUCY (1837–1873)
Mrs Alice LUCY, née Jennings (1841–1937)
Their three infant children George Reginald LUCY (1863–1864),
Alice Maud M. LUCY (1866/7–1870), and Thomas Arnold LUCY (1870–1871)
St Paul section: Row 6, Grave A13 (St Paul ref. K6)

William Lucy


[DIED JUNE 18TH 1864]

[DIED JULY 25TH] 1870

[DIED JUNE ... 1871]






This is the grave of William Lucy of the Eagle Ironworks. Unfortunately the name of William Lucy himself is completely worn away, but three details which are still quite visible prove that this is the Lucy family grave: the name of his son GEORGE REGINALD in a curve at the top, followed by someone who died in 1870 (who must be his daughter Alice); and the date of birth and death at the bottom of the headstone, which are still quite legible, match exactly those of his wife Alice Lucy

William Lucy

William Lucy (right) was born at 24 Villiers Street, The Strand on 30 October 1837. He was the son of William Castle Lucy, a fishmonger of St John’s, Westminster and Susannah (or Susan) Browne: for more about his father, see his separate grave.

When William was only four years old, on 26 March 1842, his mother Susannah Lucy died at 24 Villiers Street of consumption of the lung.

At the time of the 1851 census William’s father William Castle Lucy, a widower of 43 and described as a fishmonger, was living on his own in London (at 38 Holywell Street, Westminster, with a different family living in another part of the house). William Lucy himself (13) was at boarding school in Islington.

On 27 February 1853 at St Michael’s Church in Oxford, William Lucy’s father William Castle Lucy (45) married his second wife, Mrs Catherine Martha Lillingston, née Jennings (37), who had been running her first husband’s cordwainer business at 40 Cornmarket, living over the shop and employing 18 men and 12 boys.

Lucy's Ironworks

It was probably after his second marriage in 1853 that William Castle Lucy settled in Oxford, bringing 15-year-old William with him. William junior was already working at the Eagle Ironworks in Jericho at the age of 17 at the turn of 1854/5, when his name appears receipting a bill (recorded by P. W. S. Andrews & Elizabeth Brunner in The Eagle Ironworks Oxford (Mills & Boon, 1965).

William Lucy’s father William Castle Lucy died at 3 Park Place, Oxford at the age of 54 on 14 March 1861. Park Place was at the south end of the Banbury Road, running north from opposite St Giles's Church (map). His effects came to under £4,000, and his widow Catherine was his executor: in his probate records he was described as being of both 3 Park Place and his wife’s shop at 40 Cornmarket Street . He left the interest on £3000 3% bank annuities to his son William Lucy for life, then to William’s wife Alice for life, and then the capital equally amongst their children.

At the time of the 1861 census William Lucy (23), described as an iron founder, was living at 3 Park Place in Oxford with his stepmother Mrs Catherine Martha Lucy (47), who was described as a master cordwainer. Also living with her were her son by her first marriage William Lillingston (25), who was a cordwainer, and her niece Catherine C. Jennings (21).

Alice Jennings was born in Blackfriars, London on 1 February 1841 and baptised at Christ Church, Southwark on her second birthday. She the daughter of the sanitary engineer Josiah George Jennings and his wife Mary Ann Gill, who were married at St Katherine Creechurch, London on 27 August 1836. Alice’s father, known as George Jennings, was probably the brother of William’s stepmother, whose maiden name was Jennings: . At the time of the 1841 census baby Alice Jennings was living with her parents and older sisters Mary (4) and Catherine (2) at Great Charlotte Street, Southwark. Alice’s mother died later that year at the age of 31. In 1849 her father married again: his second wife was Sophia Budd, and they were to have another eleven children. At the time of the 1861 census Alice Jennings (20) was living in Clapham with her father, her stepmother, and five of her step-siblings. The family now employed three servants.

On 5 March 1863 at Clapham, William Lucy married Alice Jennings, with the marriage announced in Jackson's Oxford Journal on 14 March. William’s deceased father and Alice’s father George Jennings were both described in the register as gentlemen, and the witnesses were William Lucy’s stepbrother William Lillingston and Alice’s sister Catherine Emily Jennings.

William and Alice Lucy moved into a large house next to the Eagle Ironworks. The house (later pulled down for the building of offices for the works) overlooked St Sepulchre’s Cemetery, and Alice had forebodings about it, which proved justified. They had six children:

  • George Reginald Lucy (born at Walton Road in 1864 and baptised at St Giles’s Church on 5 June);
    died aged two months on 18 June 1864
  • William Theodore Lucy (born at Walton Road on 25 May 1865 and baptised at St Peter-le-Bailey Church on 2 July)
  • Alice Maud Mary Lucy (born in St Paul's parish, probably at Walton Road, in 1866/7 and baptised at St Peter-le-Bailey Church on 3 Marsh); died aged three years and seven months on 25 July 1870
  • Catherine Susanna Lucy (born at Walton Road on 24 January 1869, with birth announcement in Jackson’s Oxford Journal, and baptised at St Giles’s Church on 24 February)
  • Thomas Arnold Lucy (born at the Eagle Iron Foundry on 15 May 1870, with announcement in Jackson’s Oxford Journal, and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 28 July); died 29 June 1871 at Walton Manor aged thirteen months
  • Edith Elizabeth Lucy (born at Woodstock Road in 1871/2 and baptised at St Giles’s Church on 14 March 1872).

Their first son George was baptised at St Giles’s Church at the same time as Walter Percy Lillingston, the son of William Lucy’s stepbrother William, who lived with his wife Augusta in Norham Manor. George Lucy only lived for two months:

† George Reginald Lucy died at the Eagle Foundry at the age of two months on 18 June 1864 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 23 June (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).

George’s death was announced in Jackson’s Oxford Journal.

Immediately prior to 1864 the Eagle Ironworks were owned by Grafton & Company, but in that year William Lucy went into partnership with Charles Grafton junior, who was based in Birmingham, and the business changed its name to Grafton & Lucy. The advertisement below was published in Jackson's Oxford Journal of 9 July 1864:

Grafton & Lucy advertisement

In 1866 William Lucy, described as an iron founder, took out the first lease on Thornleigh, 107 Woodstock Road, but the family appear not to have settled there immediately, and in 1871 they appear to have lived in both their old and their new house. .

Also in 1866 William's widowed stepmother Mrs Catherine Lucy took out the least on 109 Woodstock Road next door, but she does not appear to have lived there at all, as she was described as still living at 3 Park Place when on 16 April 1868 in London she married Henry Boswell of Cornmarket Street.

On 16 July 1870 Jackson's Oxford Journal reported on Lucy & Co's stall at the Royal Agricultural Society meeting in Oxford:

Stand 98.—Messrs. Lucy and Col, Oxford.—Ornamental iron work for the garden is the chief adornment of this somewhat extensive stall, not fewer than 40 several entries figuring in the catalogue; but there is also a number of dog grates shown, specially adapted for burning wood; and ornamental gutters, panels for tomb railings; and a general assortment of ironmongery complete a list, which vies with many in extent.

William Lucy’s third child Alice died in 1870 (again with her death announced in Jackson’s Oxford Journal):

† Alice Maud Mary Lucy died at the Eagle Foundry at the age of 3 years 7 months on 26 July 1870 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 28 July (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).

At the time of the 1871 census William Lucy (33) and his wife Alice (30) were living in their new house in the Woodstock Road with William Theodore (5), Catherine (2), and Thomas (nine months), plus a cook and a nurse.

Their fifth child Thomas died in 1871 (again with a death announcement in Jackson’s Oxford Journal):

† Thomas Arnold Lucy died at Walton Manor at the age of thirteen months on 29 June 1871 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 1 July (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).

On 14 October 1871 Jackson's Oxford Journal reported that the iron work on the Laboratory for the Professor of Experimental Philosophy at the University museum had been executed by Messrs. W. Lucy & Co.

William Lucy himself died of tuberculosis in 1873:

† William Lucy died at Thornleigh, 107 Woodstock Road at the age of 35 on 2 February 1873 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 8 February (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).

His death announcement in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 8 February 1873 read: “Feb. 2, at his residence, Thornleigh, Mr. William Lucy, aged 35. His end was peace.” His effects came to under £4,000.

James Kelley of Chester bought the Eagle Ironworks shortly after William Lucy’s death, but they retained the name of Lucy’s. The old foundry in Oxford closed in 2005 and the factory buildings were demolished in 2007, but the firm still thrives as Lucy’s Electric and Lucy Properties, whose central offices are in Walton Well Road.

William Lucy’s stepmother, latterly Mrs Catherine Martha Boswell, died in 1888 and her third husband Henry Boswell died at the Warneford Asylum in Headington on 4 February 1897.

At the time of the 1881 census William’s widow Mrs Alice Lucy, née Jennings and their daughters Catherine (12) and Edith (9) were staying with Alice’s sister Miss Catherine Jennings (41) who ran a fancy repository and lived at 8 The Crescent, Putney.

Lucy pillar in MOMA

In 1881 William & Alice’s son William Theodore Lucy (15) was boarding at Cranleigh School in Surrey. In 1882 he undertook a four-year pupillage at the Eagle Ironworks, followed by several months at the Pottery Works of his grandfather George Jennings at Parkstone, Dorset. Then in November 1886 he went to the Locomotive Works of the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway as a pupil of William Stroudley: he spent 2½ years in the shops and then a year in the drawing office, doing a considerable amount of experimental work and also having charge at different times of the principal running sheds on the line. He was described as a relieving locomotive foreman when in October 1890 at the age of 25 he applied to become an Associate Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, with the purpose of following locomotive engineering abroad: he was elected on 3 February 1891, and also became a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers that year. In March 1912 when he applied to become a Full Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers he was serving as Superintendent of the Transandine Railway, which ran 248km from Mendoza in Argentina across the Andes mountain range via the Uspallata Pass to Sants Rosa de Los Andes in Chile; he was elected a full member on 2 April 1912.

Right: One of the iron pillars inscribed “LUCY & CO OXFORD” in the café of
the Museum of Modern Art in Pembroke Street. This building was originally
Hall’s Brewery storehouse, designed in 1888 by Harry Drinkwater

Jackson's Oxford Journal reported on 23 October 1889 that Lucy & Co were creating the iron shelter that still exists at the main entrance of the Randolph Hotel in Beaumont Street.

Messrs Lucy and Co., of the Eagle Ironworks, Oxford, have in hand a further improvement at the Randolph Hotel, consisting of a light iron shelter with a glazed room, which is to be carried across the pavement from the main entrance for the protection of visitors alighting from carriages. This is being prepared from the designs of Mr Moore, and, besides being a very useful adjunct, promises to be an ornamental one too.

Below is the canopy photographed in 2023. The words LUCY & CO OXFORD are on the base of the two lamps that support the canopy at the kerb.

Canopy at the Randolph made by Lucy's

At the time of the 1891 census, Alice was back at 107 Woodstock Road with her daughter Catherine and one servant. Edith (19) was staying with her aunt Miss Catherine Emily Jennings at Poole. The diaries of Catherine Susanna Lucy from 1884 to 1894 are available at the Oxford History Centre (P451).

In the 1890s Lucy & Co. cast lampposts in Oxford for the Electric Lighting Co.

William & Alice Lucy’s two daughters were married in the mid-1890s, when both were still living with their mother at 107 Woodstock Road:

  • On 2 October 1894 at Ss Philip & James's Church, Oxford, Catherine Susanna Lucy
    married Albert Frederick Pollard, then an editor who lived at Guildford Place, London;
  • On 29 June 1895 at Ss Philip & James's Church, Oxford, Edith Elizabeth Lucy
    married Abel Hendy Jones Greenidge, Fellow of Hertford College

In 1895 Lucy's made the railings (below) for the underground men's toilets in St Giles'.

Toilet railingsAbove: the railings around the underground toilets in St Giles', made by Lucy's in 1895

In 1901 Alice Lucy was alone at home in Oxford with two servants. Her daughter Mrs Catherine Pollard was living at 85 Erpington Road, Putney with her husband Albert, who was described as the assistant editor of a dictionary, and their daughter Margaret (5). Her other daughter Mrs Edith Greenidge was paying the Pollards a visit with her son John Theodore Waterman Greenidge (1): her husband died in 1906, and she died the following year.

At the time of the 1911 census Alice Lucy was looking after her two orphaned grandsons John Waterman Greenidge (11) and Terence Greenidge (9) at 107 Woodstock Road, with the help of three servants.

Mrs Lucy outlived her husband by 64 years and was buried with him and their three infant children:

† Mrs Alice Lucy née Jennings died at Thornleigh, 107 Woodstock Road on 28 July 1937 at the age of 96 or 97 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 31 July (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).

Her effects came to £12,928 5s. 5d., and probate was granted to her son William Theodore Lucy, now a retired civil engineer.

Children of William and Alice Lucy

Lucy pillar

  • William Theodore Lucy (born 1865), William Lucy's only surviving son, married Eva Maud Clute in York, Ontario on 21 July 1914: he was described as being recently of Los Andes in Chile. William (49) and Eva (38) sailed back to London from Montreal on 24 October 1914, giving his mother’s Oxford address. In 1926 he was living on Hayling Island in Hampshire, and in 1939 he was described as a retired civil engineer and was living with his wife Eva at Abbott’s Court, Reigate, Surrey. He was living at the Moana Nursing Home in Brighton Road, Redhill, Surrey when he died at St John's Hospital, Battersea at the age of 93 on 16 November 1958. He was the only one of the six children of William Lucy to survive their mother. He and his wife do not appear to have had any children.
  • Catherine Susanna Lucy, Mrs Pollard (born 1869), William Lucy's elder daughter, was living at 7 St Mary’s Grove, Barnes Common, London in 1911 with her husband Albert Frederick Pollard, now a Professor of English History at the University of London, and their children Margaret Lucy Pollard (15) and Henry Graham Pollard (8), plus a cook and a housemaid. Catherine was living at Brierfield, Milford-on-Sea, Hampshire when she died at the Cottage Hospital, Lymington, Hampshire at the age of 65 on 2 June 1934, three years before her mother: obituary: Her effects came to £6,883 16s. 3d. Her husband died in 1948.
    (Catherine's daughter Margaret Lucy Pollard married Harold Edgeworth Butler in 1917 and their son was the psephologist Sir David Butler)
  • Edith Elizabeth Lucy, Mrs Greenidge (born 1871/2) continued to live at 4 Blackhall Road after the death of her husband Abel Greenidge on 11 March 1906 (buried at Holywell Cemetery), but died at her mother’s house at 107 Woodstock Road the age of 35 on 9 July 1907, allegedly of a broken heart.

Right: Ornate cast-iron electrical distribution pillar built by W. Lucy & Co. at the Eagle Ironworks and installed in Linton Road, Oxford in 1926 (now on their premises in Walton Well Road)

Below: Ledger stone added to the grave by the Lucy firm in May 2015

Lucy ledger



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