Thursday 13 July 2017

Out Of His Tree : Police, Painters and Protestants

There are two cousins who, in their own way, helped to establish more acceptance of gay men in the UK. They are both called Paddick.

The first, Hugh Paddick (1915-2000), was a comedy actor and starred in a BBC radio comedy series in the 1960s called “Round the Horne”. His most memorable character was Julian of Julian and Sandy, an overtly camp couple. In 2015 I gave a brief look at how this character helped, however unconsciously, to establish some form of acceptance of gay men in society.

The second, Brian Paddick (b.1958), was one of the first openly gay police officers in the UK and rose to become the highest ranking out gay police officer with the rank of Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. On his retirement he entered politics and was appointed a Life Peer in 2013, taking the title Baron Paddick. For the uncertain among you, a Life Peer is appointed by the political parties to represent them in the House of Lords. The title is not hereditary and dies with the owner. “Lord” is the general title for all ranks of the peerage (except Duke), the lowest rank being Baron.

This is how the two men are related. Technically they are second cousins once removed.
I’m going to concentrate on the ancestry of Lord Paddick to tie in with my “Law and Citizenship : Police and Law Enforcement” series. His ancestry shows the influence of the Essex countryside, the aristocratic homes of Victorian London, and the persecution of French Protestants.

It’ll be most appropriate to begin with Lord Paddick’s grandfather, his most obvious influence.

Police Constable Peter Perkin (1880-1940) joined the Metropolitan Police in 1901. He served for 26 years before resigning in 1927. During that time he met and married his wife Eleanor and had several children, one of whom was Evelyn, Lord Paddick’s mother. Peter Perkin died before Lord Paddick was born, but no doubt stories about his grandfather’s career as a policeman is probably what inspired Brian to enter the Metropolitan Police force himself.

But Peter Perkin was not a London boy born and bred. He was a country boy. He was born in the village of Great Bardfield in Essex some 51 miles north-east of London. The Perkin family had lived there for several generations and were closely linked to the land. Peter’s father was a hurdle-maker, someone who made fence panels and windbreaks from willow and wattle. Peter’s grandfather was a sheep-dresser, someone who killed and prepared sheep for sale in a butcher’s shop (there’s butchering of a different animal later).

Lord Paddick’s male-line ancestry had lived in London for a little longer than the Perkins. The Paddicks originate in rural Hertfordshire. Lord Paddick’s branch of the family, starting with his great-grandfather James Joseph (see family tree above), moved to London in the early 1870s. James used his experiences working on the land with horses (as a boy he helped to deliver milk around the villages by horse and cart) by becoming a groom and coachman to the wealthy families of London. I haven’t discovered the names of any of his employers, but I found that in 1881 he and his family were living at 14 Marylebone Mews which backs directly onto the home of Maj. Herbert Gye and his wife the Hon. Adelaide Gye (great-great-niece of Lord Nelson). Was James Joseph Paddick their coachman?

Lord Paddick’s grandfather Horace, one of the 11 children of James Joseph, married Ethel Guerrier in 1915. Without trying to denigrate Lord Paddick’s other ancestors his Guerrier family line is a bit more interesting.

Guerrier is a French name. The Guerriers were one of the many Huguenot families, French Protestants, who were persecuted in France and who fled to other countries from the 1680s. The earliest member of the family I have uncovered in London is one Mathieu Guerrier in 1697. How he is related to Lord Paddick’s ancestor Edward Guerrier is not known. Edward is recorded in the archives of the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers, a London guild, as a fan painter (a stainer was an artist who stained cloth for decorative coloured wall hangings). The Huguenots were renowned as the premier fan painters in Europe. The influx of these skilled artists into London led to the formation of the Worshipful Company of Fan-Makers in 1709. However, In 1733 Edward enrolled his son George Guerrier (1718-1753) as an apprentice to a member of the Painter-Stainers guild. By then there were thousands of cheap printed fans being imported from Asia and the market was flooded. Fans became cheaper and fan painters like Edward Guerrier found their work in less demand. Perhaps this is why he enrolled his son with the Painter-Stainers guild and not the Fan-makers.

George’s son William Guerrier (1747-1821) was also a member of the Painter-Stainers guild. But then something happened. Two of his sons joined the same guild in the 1790s, thereby joining their father as Freeman of the City of London. However, neither of these sons were painters. They were butchers!

What seems to have happened is that William Guerrier, a skilled painter and stainer, had fallen on hard times and by the 1770s was working as a porter in the London docks. I’ve tried to discover if this was a different man, but the evidence suggests not.

The Guerrier family fortunes declined, but not for long. They became a dynasty of successful cattle-dealers and butchers until well into the 20th century. Lord Paddick’s branch of the family descend from a younger son of one of these successful butchers who went into labouring work (for a brewer in Bethnal Green, so it probably wasn’t all that bad!).

Let’s end on one final surprising link to law and order in Lord Paddick’s ancestry. Through his grandfather PC Peter Perkin Lord Paddick’s family line can be traced back in the census to Robert Perkin (1793-1875), a farm labourer who was born in Thaxted, Essex. I’ve not found any proof of the Perkin family ancestry before that but various family websites online give unverified information which says that Robert’s grandmother was called Elizabeth Turpin. Does that surname sound familiar? It should, because according to those online sites she was the daughter of the infamous highwayman Dick Turpin. It’s a claim that needs further research (by others, not me), but on the whole I am highly sceptical of the link.

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