Kelly’s Directory of 1937 shows Harry Partridge as a poultry farmer at the ‘Firs’ in Great Ellingham. The Firs is a property to the southern end of Long Street which was also known as Fir Cottage.
Harry Partridge was one of seven poultry dealers or poultry farmers in the village at that time.
Great Ellingham Born
Born in Great Ellingham on 21st January, 1903, Harry’s parents, Alfred and Eliza Partridge, lived not far from the Baptist Chapel in Long Street. It was, of course, the Edwardian Era with Queen Victoria’s death just two years earlier.
Undated postcard showing groups of children in Long Street.
I wonder whether any of the Partridge children in this postcard?
The 1911 census captures 7 year old Harry with his parents and five siblings in Long Street. The Partridge children attended the Board Schools in Hingham Road which were opened in 1896.
Ten years later, the 1921 census finds the Partridge family living at Mill Cottage, Great Ellingham.
59 year old Alfred Partridge is with his 50 year old wife Eliza and four of their seven (of eight) surviving children.
Bodney born Alfred Partridge is working in Little Ellingham for farmer, Mr Beaty. Sons, 21 year old Stephen and 18 year old Harry, are also working as agricultural labourers for Mr Beaty.
15 year old Willie Partridge is working for bricklayer, Mr Barnard of Attleborough and youngest son, 13 year old Benjamin, is attending school full time.
The family have a visitor – 49 year old Eleanor Whitbread. I believe this is Eliza Partridge’s sister.
Little Ellingham Parish Church. Photograph taken May 2020
Harry Partridge married Grace (Gracie) Ellen Taylor on the 1st March, 1931 in Little Ellingham. Following the marriage, the couple probably made their home in Great Ellingham.
The birth of their first child, Iris, was registered in the Wayland District later that year. A second daughter, Eileen was born in June 1932.
Sadly, the couple buried 1 year old Iris in the churchyard at Great Ellingham on the 1st September, 1932.
However, no doubt there was much joy in the Partridge household when their son Malcom was born in July 1933.
Although I do not know exactly when Harry and Grace Partridge moved into Fir Cottage, I think it is more than likely that all the children were born there.
Extract from O.S. Map c.1945. Courtesy Ray & Maureen Beales
The 1939 Register captures Harry and Grace with the children living in Long Street. I am confident that they are at Fir Cottage (the Firs) – indicated by the green arrow on the above map.
At this time, the property was owned by Sydney Claxton, who had inherited the property in 1931.
The Great Ellingham Invasion Committee Records of 1942, lists Harry and Grace Partridge in Long Street. Harry is a member of the Home Guard and Grace is assigned general utility duties.
Poaching Offence – Charles Partridge of the Firs
It also appears that at least at the beginning of 1942, Harry’s brother Charles and his wife Kate also lived at the Firs.
The Diss Express of 13 February 1942 reported on the case of William Partridge of Low Street, Great Ellingham and his brother Charles Partridge of The Firs, Great Ellingham.
The brothers were charged with being in possession of a gun, two pheasants and three partridges. They were searched by the police under the Poaching Prevention Act.
They were also charged with pursuing game without a certificate at Kilverstone on the 14th January.
The circumstances were presented to the court.
Police Constable Stretton said that he had heard a shot and saw a car being driven slowly by William Partridge. His brother Charles was also in the car. The constable stopped the car and found a .410 gun together with five empty cartridge cases. Behind the back seat were two cock pheasants and three partridges – which were all still warm.
When the constable asked the brothers for an explanation, William had nothing to say. However, Charles is reported to have said “I was not in it”. Apparently neither of them had a game certificate.
William appeared in court and said that he had shot the game on his brother’s land. Charles did not attend court.
Nevertheless, the brothers were found guilty, and each fined a total of £2 10s (two pounds ten shillings).
The Partridge Family leave Fir Cottage
Sydney Claxton sold the property in July 1946. I believe Harry, Grace and the two surviving children moved out before the sale.
The new owners, Bertie Southgate and his sister Florence, moved into the property.
Deaths of Harry and Grace
For a while, Harry and Grace lived at Town Green Farm where Harry was employed.
The death of Grace E Partridge was registered in the Wayland District between January and March 1961. Harry died the following year and was buried in the churchyard at Great Ellingham on the 13th December, 1962.
Descendants of Harry and Grace still live in the village today.
Private Collection of Deeds – Many thanks to Pat Price
GRO Index. https://www.gro.gov.uk/ Also available via FreeBMD website. https://www.freebmd.org.uk/
Great Ellingham Parish Registers. Norfolk Record Office PD 609. Also available at www.familysearch.org
1911 census RG14/11473/94
1921 census RG15. Great Ellingham. Sch 79. Viewed via www.findmypast.co.uk
Little Ellingham Parish Registers. Norfolk Record Office PD 568. Transcription viewed at www.ancestry.co.uk
1939 Register England & Wales. The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: Rg 101/6590h Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2018.
1942 Great Ellingham Invasion Committee Record. Sue Fay
Diss Express 13 February 1942. Viewed via www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk