As well as the branch of the Holliday family recorded on the 'Hollidays – Direct Line' page - which details our direct ancestors - there is another branch that commenced with James (born 1818) and his wife Eve.

As shown on the Holliday Family Tree, James was the younger brother of our direct ancestor, William Francis - and his family consisted of course, of the uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, and cousins, of our antecedents. The Holliday family as a whole was close, and it is worth also recording this branch in order to gain an overall picture of the family.

James Holliday is born to William and Esther Holliday in the City of London in 1818, and after completing a lengthy apprenticeship, becomes a Journeyman Cooper. He lives at the family home at 6, Fann Street, Aldersgate - an area famous for its Breweries and Cooperages*. It is very possibly through his work, that he meets the Compton family. Adam Compton is a Cooper - as are his three sons, James, Mark, and William. They live at 36, Queen Street, Lambeth, with the mother of the family, Sarah, and - more importantly - the boy's sister, Eve. James meets Eve, and on August the 16th, 1852, the couple leave their respective homes to marry at St. Botolphs Church, Aldersgate, close to James' home. Eve's brother, James Compton, signs the register.

*(Note. The area around Aldersgate had a number of breweries. Some are long forgotten, such as Golden Lane Brewery and City of London Brewery, and others - such as Whitbread - are still well known today. They required the much-in-demand skills of 'tight' Coopers, who could produce casks able to withstand pressure - not only from the outside, through rolling across cobbled streets or up gangplanks on to ships, but also from within, due to the high pressure generated by secondary fermentation of the contents.

On the 29th of December, 1940, the entire area around the breweries and the former Holliday home in Fann Street, was destroyed in a massive air-raid. A few buildings which survived have recently been incorporated into the Brewery Conservation Area.)

Part of the Conservation Area

James and Eve set up home at 69, Vauxhall Walk, Lambeth. Here are born their 5 sons: James Joseph (1854), William (1856), George Mark (1857), Alfred (1858), and Arthur (1862).

By 1871 the family had moved along the road to number 101, (where, seven years later, our direct ancestor from the other branch of the family, Lydia, will be born). Two of James' sons - James Joseph, and William (nicknamed Skipper) - have followed in the footsteps of their father and their uncles in becoming Coopers, and it is worth looking at their craft to learn more about the family's way of life.

Before the advent of metal and cardboard containers, virtually all commercial goods were transported in wooden casks. Everything, from wine to gunpowder, from clothes to books, was transported around the globe in this manner, and all these containers were manufactured by Coopers.

The art of the Cooper was an almost absurdly complex one. It generally required a six or seven-year apprenticeship, and took considerable strength, intelligence, and dexterity. Well-seasoned oak staves were shaped by hand, and bent by heat, into a two dimensioned curve, and then bound by iron hoops to form a watertight container. All of this was done without measurement - only the skill and experienced eye of the Cooper ensuring that the staves fitted snugly together when assembled.


A large array of tools was used in the construction of casks - some of them being shaves and dividers...











...and hollowing knives, drills, drillbits, and dowelling stocks.











At the end of their apprenticeship, Coopers could be admitted to The Worshipful Company of Coopers, one of the great craft Guilds, which received its Royal Charter in 1501 - and which still exists, as a charitable foundation, to this day. The purpose of the Guild was to maintain extremely high professional standards, and was instrumental in ensuring a good standard of pay and conditions for their members. As a result, a skilled cooper could make a comfortable living.

Our family are doing just that, when sadness comes upon them in the Summer of 1871, with the death of Eve. By 1881, James has also died, and his sons James Joseph and William (Skipper), have gone to live with our direct ancestors, William and Kezia, at the Oval. Their brother Arthur has moved in with a fellow Cooper and his family, in Islington.

The following year, James Joseph marries, and moves with his wife Emma into a house in Meadow Road, just around the corner from the Oval. The youngest brother Arthur also marries, and in 1891 is living in Edmonton with his wife Elisabeth. 


William Holliday (Uncle Skipper) - a gentle man, and a great favourite with all the family.
















Skipper never married, and lived with his cousin William and his family at the Oval until William had to give up the house some time after the death of his wife Kezia, and had moved into Residential care.

By this time Skipper has been living with the family for around four decades and is known to all the children - and their children - as Uncle Skipper. He was much loved by all the family, and is still spoken of with affection today. After leaving the Holliday home at the Oval, he lives for a while around the corner in Fentiman Road, before eventually retiring to live out his days in the seaside town of Boscombe, on the South Coast.