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Hiatt Cowles Baker


Hiatt Cowles Baker. Born 30th June 1863 Bristol. Died 19th September 1934 in Almondsbury near Bristol. He joined Clifton in 1883 and was captain from 1886-1889


Career Record: P1, W0, D1, L0, Tries 0, Cons 0, Pen 0, DropG 0

8th Jan 1887 v Wales (Stradley Park, Llanelli) Draw 0-0




His father was a rags to riches story. William Mills Baker, born in Bridgwater abt 1831. In the 1840s the brothers William Mills Baker and Thomas Baker came to Bristol to seek their fortune. Their father, Thomas Baker jun., was a farmer from near Bridgwater who had been forced into bankruptcy. They joined the firm of Culverwell Son & Co. who were wholesale and retail drapers operating from premises in Wine Street and Bridge Street. The 1851 census labels him as a servant, working as a Linen Drapers Assistant and living at 5 Castle Street within the precincts of Bristol Castle, with 17 other people. By 1860 the two brothers had become partners and, a few years later, the name changed to Ramsdale, Baker & Baker.

Above Castle Street circa 1920s 5 Castle Street on the left.

His parents married in 1856 in Newent, Gloucestershire, south of Dymock.

His mother Hannah was the eldest daughter of John Hiatt and Myrtila Hiatt of Mirables Farm, Dymock. John Hiatt farmed 137 acres and had 3 laborers working for him. Hannah was born in Dymock abt 1833. Dymock became famous just before the Great War when the poets Robert Frost, Rupert Brook and Edward Thomas lived there.

In 1858 William Mills Baker moved to 4 Cotham Place, Redland, Bristol. They are listed in the 1861 census, 2 years before the birth of Hiatt. They were

Name Relation Age Occupation Where born
William M. Baker Head 30 Linen Draper Bridgwater, Somerset
Hannah Baker Wife 28 Dymock, Glos
Edith J. Baker Dau 3 Dymock, Glos.
Florence M. Baker Dau 2 Bristol
Elizabeth J. Baker Sister 26 Draper's Assistant Bridgwater, Somerset
Jane Sanders Nurse 48 Nurse Baunton, Somerset
Jane M. Owen Nurse 21 Tailoress Bristol
Ellen H. Williams Serv 17 Domestic Servant Bampton, Devon
Caroline Pritchard Serv 18 Domestic Servant Kenyworth, Glos.

Above left: 4 Cotham Place, Redland, Bristol. At the top of Hampton Road. Above right: a map of 4 Cotham Place (1901) shown pink.

In 1863 they moved the short distance to Tenby House, 1 Victoria Road, Cotham and left in 1865

Above left: Tenby House, 1 Victoria Road, Cotham. Above right: map (1901) of Victoria Road with Tenby House shaded pink. Also living at Tenby House in 1863 was Henry Newton. Victoria Road is now known as Victoria Walk. It lies between Cotham Brow and Freemantle Square. As the majority of people were born at home in those days it likely that Hiatt Baker was born at Tenby House.

In 1864 the two brothers paid off the remaining debt of their father.

They moved to Woodland House in 1866 where they stayed till 1870.

awaiting photo

Above Woodland House, Rockleaze.

They moved to Moorlands in 1871

In 1871 census the Baker family were living at Moorlands House, Stoke Bishop, Bristol. They were

Name Relation Age Occupation Where born
William M. Baker Head 40 Manchester Warehouseman & Draper Bridgwater, Somerset
Hannah Baker Wife 38 Dymock, Glos.
Florence M. Baker Dau 12 Scholar Westbury-on-Trym, Glos.
Hiatt Cowles Baker Son 7 Scholar Bristol
Maurice M. Baker Son 4 Scholar Stoke Bishop
Gertrude M. Baker Dau 1 Stoke Bishop
Elizabeth A. Sprange Governess 30 Governess London
Ann Prewett Serv 33 Needlewoman, Domestic Servant Henbury, Glos.
Harriett M. Caper Serv 29 Nurse, Domestic Servant Bitton, Glos
Matilda Butcher Serv 31 Cook, Domestic Servant North Bradley, Wiltshire
Louise Wilson Serv 29 Housemaid, Domestic Servant Road, Somerset
Mary W. Hiatt Niece 7 Scholar Bisbary, Herefordshire

William Baker is listed as a Manchester Warehouseman which is another term for Cotton warehouseman - Manchester being the centre of the cotton industry at the time, cotton cloth was called "Manchester" cloth

awaiting photo

Above Moorlands House, Stoke Bishop, Bristol.

In 1872 Baker, Baker & Co. Warehousemen and Drapers were based at Wine Street, Maryport Street and the Cheese Market.

Hiatt Cowles Baker attended Rugby School but never played for the school XV.

During the 1881 Census the Baker family were still at Moorlands House, Stoke Bishop, Bristol. They were

Name Relation Age Occupation Where born
William M. Baker Head 50 Manchester Warehouseman & Draper Bridgwater, Somerset
Hannah Baker Wife 48 Dymock, Glos.
Edith M. Baker Dau 23 Dymock, Glos.
Florence M. Baker Dau 23 Scholar Westbury-on-Trym, Glos.
Hiatt Cowles Baker Son 17 Scholar Bristol
Gertrude M. Baker Dau 11 Stoke Bishop, Glos.
Lionel G. Baker Son 6 months Stoke Bishop, Glos.
Emma J. Stigman Serv 38 Nurse Plymouth, Devon
Sarah J. Kinland Serv 39 Parlourmaid Handley, Wilts
Annie Masters Serv 27 Housemaid Bristol
Mary Holder Serv 34 Cook Howlpen, Glos.

Above left Hiatt Cowles Baker from the 1884 1st Clifton XV photo and right from the 1888 Clifton 1st XV photo. He is wearing his England cap gained in 1887 and was Clifton and Gloucestershire Captain.

Above left: The Holmes, Stoke Bishop, Bristol. The house is surrounded by gardens containing the "Domesday Oak" which may be a thousand years old, and may (or may not) have sheltered Charles 11 on his way from Worcester to Leigh Woods. A considerable part of the Estate was bought by William Edward George, and it was he who built the Holmes in 1879. George and his executors leased the house to various people until 1921. The first of these was T.G. Matthews; the second, from 1884, was W. Mills Baker, a prominent Bristolian and a director of Baker, Baker & Co. Ltd. He lived here till 1892, and it was during this period that his son Hiatt C. Baker, later to become Pro-Chancellor of Bristol University and, more recently, to have a Hall named after him, was capped for England at rugby. So it was through the Baker family that the Holmes link with the University was first established. W. Mills Baker had been one of the earliest supporters of the University when it was first proposed. Another link between the house and the University was provided by its second tenant, Alfred Capper Pass, in whose memory the Alfred Capper Pass Chair of Chemistry was endowed. After he left the Holmes, the tenancy moved once again to the Baker family - this time to Herbert Middleton Baker, nephew of William Mills Baker and cousin of Hiatt Cowles Baker. He lived with his family in the house until his death in 1943, when it was acquired by the University, and enlarged, adding the East and West wings. Above right: Map (1912) showing The Holmes in pink.

In 1883 William Mills Baker and Thomas Baker were in control of the drapery business. Hiatt Cowles Baker, eldest son of William Mills Baker, and Herbert Middleton Baker, eldest son of Thomas Baker, had now joined the partnership. In March 1884 the name of the firm was changed to Baker & Baker Co.

Above heading on a 1936 invoice.

On the 27th November 1886 Hiatt Baker captained a Bristol side against Cotham and Neighbouring Clubs. The match was played on The Downs and was won by Bristol by 4 Goals to 1. Charles Strachan, Clifton's first captain (still aged only 32), also played for Bristol. On the same day the Clifton 1st XV, seriously depleted played Cheltenham College. The sides were

Bristol: H.Baker (Captain) (Clifton), C.Strachan (Clifton), H.Ashmead, A.E.Ashmead, H.W.Husbands, F.N.Tribe, A.N.Tribe, E.N.Tribe, E.F.Bartlett, C.P.Fry, W.S.Whitty, E.G.Hall, G.S.Birtall, G.H.Wetherman, A.Winterbottom.
Cotham: G.H.Salter (Captain), W.Gane, J.E.Byrt, W.F.Denning, T.Cox, Fisher, Chard, Ware, Shew, Vincent, Eaves, Newth, Cornall, Fenner, Long, Warren

Also in the Bristol side were Frank Newton Tribe (aged 30), Alfred Newton Tribe (aged 24) and Ernest Newton Tribe (aged 23). They were the 3 brothers of Wilberforce Newton Tribe who played for Clifton from 1877.

Hiatt Cowles Baker's one England appearance was played in appalling conditions. It was a bitterly cold afternoon during which snow and hail added to the difficulties of play. A severe frost had rendered the main Stradley Park unplayable, and eventually the match was staged on the adjoining cricket ground, where 8,000 spectators huddled together around the makeshift touchlines. The ground was too hard for any heroics particularly for a forward. Rowland Hill of the RFU refereed as the Scottish official became snow-bound on route to Llanelli. The England side on this day featured 8 new caps.

Other members of the Baker family had gone to South Africa to set up a wholesale and retail drapery business and maintained close relations with the Bristol firm, but they ceased trading in 1890 when they lost £70,000 (a vast sum in those days) in gold share speculation.

His father, William Mills Baker, died in 1890, aged 59. His funeral took place on the 11th July 1890 at St. Mary Magdelene, Stoke Bishop

Above details of the funeral of William Mills Baker from the Bristol Mercury on the 12th July 1890.

During the 1891 census the Bakers were living at The Holmes in Stoke Bishop, Bristol. They were

Name Relation Age Occupation Where born
Hannah Baker Head 58 Living on her own means Dymock, Glos.
Edith M. Baker Dau 33 Living on her own means Dymock, Glos.
Florence M. Baker Dau 32 Living on her own means Westbury-on-Trym, Glos.
Hiatt Cowles Baker Son 27 Warehouseman Westbury-on-Trym, Glos.
Maurice M. Baker Son 24 Under Graduate Stoke Bishop
Gertrude M. Baker Dau 21 Living on her own means Stoke Bishop, Glos.
Lionel G. Baker Son 10 Scholar Stoke Bishop, Glos.
Alice M. Ritson Visitor 29 Teacher School Bridgwater, Somerset
Sarah Fowler Servant 26 Housemaid Charfield, Glos.
Mary Thomas Servant 39 Cook Tongwynlais, Glamorgan
Emma J. Higham Servant 45 Nurse Plymouth, Devon
Mary A. Child Servant 30 Parlourmaid Felton, Somerset
Kate S. Parry Servant 19 Kitchen maid Cloliford, Glos.

In 1891 Hiatt Baker bought Oaklands in Upper Almondsbury. He would bicycle to Patchway Station to catch the train to Bristol to work Monday to Saturday.

In June 1895 Hiatt Baker married Abigail Dorothea Way. Born June 1875 in Henbury, Gloucestershire. During the 1891 census the Way family lived at The Vicarage, Henbury. They were

Name Relation Age Occupation Where born
Rev. John Hugh Way Head 56 Vicar of Henbury Henbury, Glos.
Caroline Way Wife 53 Wimpole St., London
Abigail Dorothea Way Dau 16 Scholar Henbury, Glos.
Emmeline A. Cave Cousin 27 Living on own means Torquay, Devon
Miriam James Servant 32 Cook Dom Rackenford, Devon
Louisa Ford Servant 24 Parlour Maid Bath, Somerset
Kate Phillips Servant 25 Lady's Maid Wimbourne, Somerset
Annie Brannin Servant 22 House Maid Cheltenham, Glos.
Emily Louis Servant 18 Under House Maid Frenchay, Glos.
Emily L. Williams Servant 16 Kitchen Maid Almondsbury, Glos

Above Henbury Vicarage with Hazel Brook in the fairground where the Way family lived. In 1928 the house was sold and a smaller vicarage was built in Station Road. The old house is still called the Old Vicarage.

Abigail's family had lived at The Vicarage since 1830 when her grandfather became vicar until 1860. Then her father was vicar from 1860-1906. Abigail also had 3 brothers, Henry Edward Hugh Way, Philip Greville H. Way and Rev. Charles Parry Way. Charles was the last Vicar of Henbury to live in the Vicarage. He was vicar from 1906-1928. Her mother was Caroline Parry from London.

Above left Henbury Church (c1955). Above right inside of Henbury church

In the 1901 census Hiatt Cowles Baker was living at Oaklands House, Upper Almondsbury with his wife Abigail. They were

Name Relation Age Occupation Where born
Hiatt Cowles Baker Head 37 Manchester Warehouseman Bristol, Glos.
Abigail Dorothea Baker Wife 24 Henbury, Glos.
Marjorie Abigail Baker Dau 4 Almondsbury, Glos.
John Lionel Baker Son 1 Almondsbury, Glos.
Kate Willis Serv 39 Cook Domestic Gloucester
Etta Sherbourne Serv 29 Nurse Domestic Luckington, Wilts
Minnie Sherbourne Serv 19 Nurse Domestic Luckington, Wilts
Francis Lane Serv 28 Parlourmaid Domestic Knowle, Devon
Florence Hall Serv 25 Housemaid Domestic Bristol
Ada Davies Serv 20 Housemaid Domestic Bristol
Anne Burford Serv 16 Kitchenmaid Domestic Henbury, Glos.

In the 1901 census Hiat's sister Edith M. Baker had moved to 8 Vyvyan Terrace, Clifton.

Above 8 Vyvyan Terrace, Clifton

An unknown ceremony with Maurice Mills Baker on the left and Hiatt Cowles Baker on the right. circa 1900.

Above Hiatt Cowles Baker (seated extreme left) part of The Committee of 1906 that was formed to gain a charter for the University of Bristol.

In 1911 the Baker's had been married for 15 years and had 4 children, 1 who had died. They were living at Oaklands House, Upper Almondsbury.

Name Relation Marital Status Age Occupation Where born
Hiatt Cowles Baker Head Married 47 Merchant Manchester Warehouseman Bristol, Glos.
Abigail Baker Wife Married 36   Henbury, Glos.
William Michael Baker Son Single 3 Almondsbury, Glos
Emma Mary Hill Visitor Single 45 France, British Subject
Gertrude Simmonds Servant Single 30 Bristol, Glos.
Selina Cicely Budget Way Visitor Single 31 Private Means Pontifract, Yorks
John Egerton Ruck Visitor Married 37 Captain H.M.Army Cheam, Surrey
Eliza Caird Servant Single 52 Lady's Maid Domestic Arbroath, Forfarshire
Kate Willis Servant Widow 48 Cook Domestic Gloucester, Glos.
Minnie Horler Servant Single 31 Parlour Maid Domestic Bristol, Glos.
Annie Richardson Servant Single 37 House Maid Domestic St. Aevens, Mon.
Gladys Everett Servant Single 21 Lady's Maid Domestic Hopton, Suffolf
Mabel Cailby Servant Single 16 House Maid Domestic Bath, Somerset
Dorothy Butler Servant Single 18 House Maid Domestic Clifton, Bristol
Caroline Britton Servant Single 18 Maid Domestic unknown

Selina Way was the daughter of Lt.Col. Edward Way who was a cousin of Baronet John Smith/Smyth of Ashton Court.

Hiatt Cowles Baker and his wife Abigail, standing in the middle, at her parents Golden Wedding Anniversary in 1911.

On 28th July 1916 a daughter Anne Dorothea Hiatt Baker was born. She went to Claremont, a Christian Science school. She went to finishing school at Poggio Gherardo in Florence.

His son John Lionel Baker was killed in a flying accident in August 1917 while still at the school. His father had a stone memorial placed alongside the Thames at Eton. Both sides above. Images courtesy of Dai Bevan. The inscription reads

This bathing place of Athens was presented to Eton College by Hiatt C. Baker in memory of his son John Lionel Baker, a brilliant swimmer who spent here many of the happiest hours of his boyhood. He was killed in a flying accident in August 1917 while still a member of the school.

and on the reverse

Fifth Form Nants in First Hundred and Upper and Middle Divisions may bathe in Athens. No Bathing at Athens on Sundays after 8.30 a.m. At Athens, boys who are undressed must either get at once into the water or get behine screens when boats containing ladies come in sight. Boys when bathing are not allowed to land on Winsor bank or to swim out to launchesand barges or to hang onto, or interfere with, boats of any kind. Any boy breaking this rule will be severely punished.

From School Rules of the River 1921

His son Lionel John Baker, born June 1900. According to The England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations),1861-1941 he was killed on 17th September 1917 in Lincoln.

In 1922 the firm of Baker & Baker became a limited company, the directors being Hiatt Baker (Chairman), Herbert Baker, Harry Linsay and Robert Grover.

Robert Grover died in 1928. He lived at Uplands, St. John's Road, Clifton, Bristol.

Hiatt Cowles Baker worked as Managing Director of his family clothing an drapery business. Pro-chancellor of Bristol University from 1929 to 1934, he was also a founding member of the University Council in 1909 and remained a member until 1934. He received an honorary LLD degree from the University in 1931. His former house, The Holmes, has marvelous gardens which he created and now forms part of the University. Hiatt Baker Hall of Residence, opened in 1965, was named after him.

Above letter from Lord Bledisloe to ex Clifton captain and England International Hiatt Cowles Bakers wife. Thank you to Penny Hiatt, a distant relative of Hiatt Cowles Baker, now living in Australia, for the above.

It reads

Government House


New Zealand

27 Feb 1931

Dear Miss Hiatt

I have been greatly troubled about the fate of my friend Hiatt Baker's son Michael. Your letter - addressed to my brother - .....? in ....? with the results of our own investigation make it clear beyond doubt I'm afraid that he perished in the .......? of the Masonic Hotel at Napier. It will be a bad blow for Hiatt and his family. You all have my sincere sympathy and that of my wife.

Yours Sincerely


P.S i enclose a snap shot photo which I myself took of the Masonic Hotel on the Sunday following the disaster. B

This relates to the death of Hiatt Bakers son Michael who went missing in the 1931 Napier earthquake in New Zealand on Feb 3rd. His body was never found. 256 people died in the disaster. The earthquake, which measured 7.8 on the Richter Scale, was felt in most of New Zealand, apart from the Auckland peninsula, and Otago. It was the worst natural disaster recorded in New Zealand. Just over 3 years later Hiatt himself died.

Above The Right Honourable Sir Charles Bathurst, GCMG KBE PC, Lord Bledisloe. He was Governor-General of New Zealand from 1930-35. He became Pro-Chancellor of Bristol University in 1934 the year of Hiatt Bakers death. Hiatt Baker had also been Pro-Chancellor of Bristol University from 1929-34. In 1931 Lord Bledisloe donated the Bledisloe Cup for an annual New Zealand/Australia rugby match which is still played today as part of the Tri-Nations tournament. Lord Bledisloe died in 1958. The Bledisloe seat is Lydney Park, Gloucestershire, from which the territorial designation of the peerage was taken.

Above Bledisloe Cup

Above left the Masonic Hotel, Napier after the Earthquake. Above right an aerial photograph of Napier showing the almost total destruction resulting from the earthquake.

After his sons death Hiatt established a perpetual scholarship at Bristol University open to post-graduate students from New Zealand.

Above Hiatt Baker just before he died.

Hiatt Cowles Baker died on 19th September 1934 at his home in Almondsbury. His obituary appeared in The Times on 22nd September 1934 and said

BAKER.- on Sept. 19, 1934, in his sleep, at Oaklands, Almondsbury, HIATT COWLES BAKER. Interred privately Sept. 21, Memorial Service, Monday, Sept. 24 3pm., at Almondsbury Church.

He was cremated at Arnos Vale Cemetery on 21st September 1934. A memorial service was held on 24th September 1934 simultaneously at Bristol Cathedral and Almondsbury Church.

Above left the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Lower Almondsbury. Above right the Baker grave's at St.Mary the Virgin, Lower Almonsbury. Left Hiatt Cowles Baker, right his 4 month old son Harold Owen Baker, 8th August 1905 - 15th December 1905. The Bakers donated a brass chandelier which is now hanging in the church chancel in memory of Harold Owen Baker in 1905.

Above the head of Hiatt Cowles Baker's grave.

Above Oaklands House, Upper Almonsbury, Hiatt Bakers home. It is now a private elderly day centre. Next to the grounds is the home of North Bristol Rugby Club whose ground is called Oaklands. The grounds are now bounded, and I suspect split up, by the M5 just south of the interchange with the M4.

After Hiatt Bakers death he was replaced as a director of Baker & Baker by two other members of the Baker family, Douglas and Ainslie Baker.

On August 22nd 1934 Hiatt's sister, Florence Marion Mills-Baker died. She left in her Will £25,569 net. Part of which was a £1,500 "William Mills Baker" Scholarship at Bristol University.

No sooner had the Bakers old house, The Holmes, been acquired by Bristol University in 1943 when it was taken over by the US Army. In 1944, General Omar N. Bradley of the U.S. 12th Army Group came into residence, accompanied by his staff officers and aides. It was here that he planned the D-Day assault on the Normandy beaches. Photographs of the six senior officers who lived here, plus a signed statement by General Eisenhower, hang in the hall.

Above Wine Street 1936. Baker, Baker & Co. Ltd premises on the left. ChristChurch is in the background.

The premises of Baker & Baker traded well until the outbreak of war when the Wine Street and Bridge Street premises were destroyed following the blitz on 24th November 1940.

Above Firemen in what remains of Wine Street after the attack on 24th November 1940.

The blitz on Sunday 24th November 1940 at 6.22pm was the city's 338th alert of the war. Filton had been raided before but no one expected the commercial heart of the city to be hit and the Germans changed tactics when hitting cities. A fleet of 134 bombers followed the pattern that had happened to London before. Flares were dropped on the target, then showers of incendiary bombs followed by high explosive bombs. Not in one short assault but each aircraft came singly and at intervals of two or three minutes for hour after hour in what must have seemed an endless column of aircraft. The bombers crews were briefed to focus their attention on the harbour and industrial plant on both sides of the City Docks. The raid lasted four hours.

In 1941 his daughter, Anne Dorethea Hiatt Baker, married Professor Tom Hewer. They went on to have 2 daughters and 2 sons. Tom Hewer was Professor of Pathology at Bristol University.

To get the firm back on its feet after the blitz, the wholesale business continued from 1-8 Charlotte Street (off Park Street), a house owned by the firm which, before the war, were used as accommodation by female staff. William Fripp was Chairman until he died in 1950 when Douglas Baker became chairman (he had been on active service). A site was found for new premises and on 12th July 1957 the foundation stone was laid by Abigail Dorothea Baker, Hiatt's widow at 40 St. Thomas Street. An official ceremony was held with a celebration lunch at the Royal Hotel, College Green. The four-storey building opened for business on 1st January 1959. The houses at Charlotte Street returned to their original use (but converted to 30 private flats).

In 1963 Baker, Baker & Co. Ltd was sold to the Bell Nicholson & Lunt Group and in 1966 this group was taken over by Courtaulds (during both of these changes the trading name of Baker, Baker was still used). As a result of Courtaulds' policy of closing many of its wholesale outlets there was a management buyout on 1st April 1982, when the company was called Baker, Baker & Co. Ltd (chairman John Baker). Because of increasing costs at the St. Thomas Street premises, in September 1982 the company moved to premises at Unit 7, St. Vincents Trading Estate on Feeder Road - the staff of 80 completing the move themselves. Towards the end of 1990 the company moved to smaller premises in Feeder Road but they eventually went into receivership and closed in February 1991.

Above Hiatt Baker Hall of Residence, opened in 1965. Designed by Sir Percy Thomas & Son.

In 1977 Hiatt Bakers daughter Anne Dorethea received an OBE and was awarded an honorary MA by Bristol University in 1980.

The retail side of the business after the blitz continued in premises next to the Lord Mayor's Chapel on College Green. The sign above the door was 'Baker, Baker & Co. Ltd. from Wine Street', the Wine Street at the end was dropped in 1960 as it was felt outdated. When Courtaulds took over the business in 1966 the shop's trading name became McIlroys (this was the name of all Courtaulds shops).

Anne Dorethea's husband Professor Tom Hewer was born on 12th April 1912 and died on 15th March 1994. He was the eldest son of a Bristol corn merchant, William Frederick Hewer, and his wife Kathleen (née Standerwick). He was educated at Bristol Grammar School. In 1966 he became pro-vice chancellor of the University of Bristol and the following year was elected president of the Bristol Medico-Chirurgical Society. He retired in 1968. The Hewer's lived at Vine House in Henbury.

Hiatt's daughter Anne Hewer died on 2nd August 1997.