The Harvey Family: Andover Shopkeepers


Andover is the northern part of the county of Hampshire in southern England, north of  Southampton and about sixty-five miles southwest of London. For more than 140 years the Harvey family owned shops in the High Street of Andover.

The history of the Harvey family at Andover only goes back to the arrival of William Kernott Harvey, probably around 1840.  Before he moved to Andover, the family had lived for many generations in or near the town of Brading on the Isle of Wight. The Isle of Wight is located along the southern coast of England near Southampton.

Several generations of William's Harvey ancestors were farmers at Adgestone Farm, just outside Brading.  We know that William Kernott Harvey was baptized at Brading on February 19, 1821 and was the son of William and Frances Harvey.  Undoubtedly the child received his middle name to honor the family of his father's grandmother, as there were no male Kernotts to carry on the family name.  That name continued to be passed down as a middle name through several generations of his descendants.

The identity of William Kernott Harvey's father William has not yet been proven.  There were two different William Harveys in this family.  They were first cousins, both being grandsons of George Harvey and Mary Kernott who married at Brading in 1739 and lived at Adgestone Farm.  Whether we descend from George and Mary's son John (b. 1740) or their son William (b. 1750) is yet to be determined.  Both sons remained at Adgestone Farm.  George Harvey was the earliest family member associated with Adgestone Farm.  His parents, John Harvey and Mary Rogers, lived at Arreton and Newchurch.  George was baptized at Newchurch in 1704.

Little is known about William Kernott Harvey's early years.  The baptismal records at Brading show only one sibling, John Sandys Harvey, christened on March 31, 1828.  He died about six months later.  Whether there were others whose names do not appear in the baptismal records is unknown.

Presumably young William grew up on the farm helping with such tasks as taking care of the animals and planting and harvesting crops.  One fact which we do know about his early life is that in 1837, when he was only sixteen years old, he joined the ranks of the temperance movement.  He remained a warm advocate of temperance, a member of local temperance societies, and a total abstainer from the consumption of alcohol for the rest of his life.  

It is likely that by this time William had already decided to leave the family farm and was working as an apprentice to learn the tailoring trrade.  Boys often began their apprenticeship by the mid teens or earlier.  Where William spent his apprenticeship is not known, but it would not be too surprising if it was in Brading or somewhere nearby.  A few years later, when he reached the status of journeyman tailor, he joined the staff of a tailor shop in Andover.  The 1841 census of Andover shows him at the age of 20 living in the High Street of Andover renting rooms in a building with several other unrelated young people, including two apprentice tailors age 14 and 15.  There is no indication of the master tailor for whom they worked, but two households from them in the census record is the family of tailor John Tarrant.  No other tailors lived in that part of the High Street so it is very possible that William and the apprentices worked in his shop.  Like most apprentices and journeymen, William's goal was to establish his own tailoring shop. At some point during the 1840s, William opened a shop at 78 High Street and moved into the living quarters upstairs over the shop.  It is possible that he took over the High Street tailoring shop of his mentor because the 1851 census shows John Tarrant as having a shop in London Street.

78 High Street, Andover
The Harvey shop in 1982

Around 1845, William began following a vegetarian diet.  This was before the establishment of the first nation-wide organization promoting a vegetarian diet, the Vegetarian Society, which was founded in 1847.  He continued as a vegetarian for the rest of his life, a choice followed by many of his descendants.

In 1847, William married Jane Elizabeth Dale, daughter of Charles and Sarah Dale of Andover.  Charles was an auctioneer who lived and worked in the High Street, not far from the Harvey tailor shop.  Jane was born in Andover on November 23, 1829.  The Dale family belonged to the East Street Independent Chapel in Andover, one of several small parishes of dissenters or nonconformists (as those who did not belong to the Church of England were known.)  

The Harveys had a daughter named Jane Elizabeth (after her mother) in 1848 and a daughter named Mary Hannah Frances (known as Polly) in 1853.  Their mother Jane died in that year, probably in childbirth with Polly or soon thereafter.  On April 5, 1855, William Kernott Harvey returned to his hometown of Brading to marry Mary Toms Warder, daughter of Brading shoemaker William Warder and his wife Mary Toms.  Mary had been born on November 26, 1824, at Brading.  All of the Warders belonged to the Bible Christian church, an offshoot of the Methodist movement. Probably William knew Mary and her family when he was growing up in Brading.  One of Mary's younger brothers became a tailor, so perhaps he and William had even served as apprentices together.

After the wedding, William resumed his work in the shop while Mary took care of the growing family.  Besides the daughters by his first marriage, Mary gave birth to two sons -- William Warder Harvey in 1861 (named after his grandfather) and Frederick Robert Harvey in 1865 (possibly his second name came from his uncle Robert Warder, the name Robert goes back several generations in that family).

In addition to his tailoring business, William conducted a side business related to his temperance activities.  An 1878 directory lists him as both a tailor and and agent for the Alliance and Temperance Insurance Companies.  He was also very active in fighting against the requirements of the Vaccination Act to vaccinate his children against various diseases, with frequent notices in the newspapers about fines assessed against him.  This was consistent with his focus on exercise, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding health risks such as tobacco and alcohol - he also would not introduce foreign matter into the bodies of his children.

As the two Harvey sons grew up, undoubtedly they helped their father in the tailor shop.  Young William showed a talent for music, however, and began moving toward a career as an organist, so Frederick was apprenticed to his father and destined to take over the family business.  In the 1881 census of Andover, Frederick was age 16 and his occupation is listed as tailor, although it soon became evident that his interests lay elsewhere.

By this time Frederick had joined his parents in actively supporting the temperance and vegetarian movements.  On June 29, 1881, he delivered a paper on "Incontrovertible Facts in Relation to Diet, Or, How Hard Work Can Be Best Accomplished" before the Safeguard of Andover Lodge of the International Order of Good Templars. In this address, he described himself as age 17, a lifelong vegetarian, a total abstainer from alcohol, and a non-smoker.  He stated that he had written the paper in response to a Lodge member who had asserted that it was impossible to do hard work without the consumption of animal fiber.  In responding, Frederick cited the writings of  authors such as Percy Shelley, William Wordsworth, and Walter Scott.  He also gave his own testimony, reporting that he was in such good shape that he could easily walk 20-40 miles.  He cited the time in 1879 when he had walked all the way from Andover to Southampton without rest and a more recent hike with his father (over age 60) and brother to Salisbury and back.

Frederick acquired his own hand printing press.  His first attempt at printing, without any previous training at all, was to reproduce his Good Templars paper advocating a vegetarian diet (a copy survives in the British Library).  In spite of his inexperience in this field, the pamphlet features an advertisement for "Frederick R. Harvey, printer and bookbinder."  Soon he was producing a vegetarian newspaper every quarter.  In October 1881, he opened the Food Reform Depot and Scotch Oatmeal Stores at number 7 London Street.  According to an advertisement, this store "Keeps a supply of articles which gives greater variety, healthfulness and cheapness to our food."

Mary Warder Harvey, like her husband and children, was active in the temperance movement.  A record has survived showing that she wrote a paper on "Worldly Amusements" that her son Frederick read on July 5, 1883 to the Safeguard Lodge of Good Templars.  Frederick also printed copies of this talk and distributed them for a penny each.

Later in 1883, Frederick was advertising the food specialties of his health food shop as including Lisbon and Denis Muscat grapes, Bussorah dates, Lisbon tomatoes, French pears, Swedish cranberries, Rangoon rice, jams and marmalades, etc.  A few months later, Frederick reported on his efforts at convincing his temperance colleagues to convert to a vegetarian diet:  "We bring forward a paper on Vegetarianism every quarter in our I.O.G.T. Lodge, and, although we may not quite convert them, I think less flesh is consumed amongst our temperance friends than used to be.  I am confident that in a few years there will be a great change in the dietetic habits of the people, and I shall more than ever hope and work for that glorious and peaceful time when there will be no more bloodshed.  I cannot understand how it is that more temperance people do not take this matter up, when it has been proved so great an aid to the spread of total abstinence.

William Kernott Harvey died on July 3, 1884, at the age of 63, and was buried in the cemetery beside St. Mary's church. In addition to his business and home, he left a personal estate of 542. He had continued his activities on behalf of the temperance and vegetarian movements throughout his life and helped organize various meetings and societies in Andover.  An obituary for him in the magazine Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger reported that "He laboured long and earnestly for many good works."  His wife Mary helped in many of these endeavors.  She had made the pledge to become a teetotaler at age 14 (in 1838) and had been active in the Andover Good Templar Lodge from its start in 1872.  Mary outlived her husband by many years.  She eventually went to live with her son William's family in Beccles, Suffolk, which is where she died on March 3, 1908, leaving effects valued at 6,769 0s. 9d.

Frederick was only 19 when his father died and quickly decided not to continue the tailoring business.  He moved his food store from London Street to 78 High Street and appears in later city directories and census records under such occupations as fruiterer, printer/stationer, or confectioner.  His half-sister Polly and her husband William Walter Northeast took over the space on London Street for their bakery/confectionary business.

Frederick married Sarah A. Gregory of Goodworth Clatford on October 21, 1885, at the Congregational Church in Andover.  Sarah was also a vegetarian and total abstainer.  Besides Frederick and Sarah, other residents of 78 High Street at the time of the 1891 census were their son Frederick William Kernott Harvey (age 4), the widowed Mary Warder Harvey (age 66), and a fifteen-year old servant named Lizzie Laurence.

Frederick was a lifelong teetotaler, vegetarian, and nonsmoker, and a leader of the anti-vaccinationists.  Frederick and Sarah were avid bicyclists from early in their marriage as a way to get exercise and fresh air and they founded an organization known as the Blue Cross Bicycle brigade.  Among his many temperance activities, Frederick was Honorary Secretary of the Andover and District Band of Hope and Union.  Sarah was Superintendent of the Victoria Jubilee Lodge of Juvenile Good Templars and a member of the Hampshire District Lodge of the Order.

Over the years, Frederick's business interests increased in scope.  Besides the printing shop, he opened a bicycle shop, a branch post office, a general store, a cafe, etc.    He served as a sub-postmaster for a quarter of a century.  Eventually the family took over the three shops adjacent to number 78 on the same side of the High Street (numbers 74, 76, and 80) and two shops across the street (numbers 85 and 87).

Frederick and Sarah's family lost two children in early childhood, but five survived to adulthood -- four sons and a daughter.  The oldest son, Frederick William Kernott Harvey (known to family and friends as "Kernie"), grew up around the shops and spent his entire career there.  When he married and started a family, they moved into the living quarters over 85 High Street, across the street from his parents.

Most of the other Harvey children were involved in the family businesses at some point in their lives.  For instance, Ronald ran the Acre Gardens where flowers, vegetables, and fruit were grown for the shops.  When Frederick decided to expand into the wholesale trade, Victor took on the job of driving a van around the countryside, supplying shops in various villages around Andover with newspapers, candy, and cigarettes.  In later years, even some of Frederick and Sarah's grandchildren worked in the family business.

Frederick Robert Harvey and his son Victor
Frederick Robert Harvey and his son Victor

Sarah died on December 30, 1943, but Frederick remained an active businessman until he retired in 1950, at the age of 84.  He lived another two years, dying on December 12, 1952.  At the time of his death, the fixtures from the tailoring trade remained in the back of the shop at 78 High Street as a link to its past.

After Frederick's death, the family gradually closed many of the shops.  The shop at 78 was run as a newsagent/confectionery shop by his son Ronald's family until the 1990s when it was finally sold out of family hands after over 150 years of ownership.


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