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John Trewin Westaway
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Westaway & Westaway Stores, London
The shop in Great Russell Street, Knightsbridge, London

It was in the mid 1990's when I discovered the ancestry of Westaway & Westaway the famous store in London. Kathryn Westaway was in my class at Highweek Primary School and one of our history projects was to find out about our family history by questioning older relatives. Great excitement, Kathryn came back into school clutching a piece of paper written by her grandfather, Raymond Westaway, and this is what it said.

Great Grandfather lived in Feniton, he was the head gardener at Feniton Court and was buried in Feniton Parish Church. He had a son, Frederick Ernest Charles Westaway, he had three sons, Christopher, Frederick and Raymond. Christopher started a business opposite the British Museum in London called Westaway and Westaway. They sold Tartans and knitwear. Christopher and Frederick both married but had no children. Raymond married Joyce Godfrey, they had four children, Michael, Jennifer, Simon and Joanna. Michael had two children, Alexander & Elizabeth. Jennifer had two boys, Jason & Ben and Simon one daughter Kathryn (you), Joanna a daughter Amy. Miss Welton (ex. Music Teacher) has the family bible, she lives at Starcross.

So at last we knew it was Kathryn's great grandfather who had founded Westaway & Westaway.

Great Grandfather was John Madge Westaway who was born in Chudleigh in 1848, son of Thomas Westaway & Elizabeth Madge..

Feniton Court

John moved to Feniton and married Mary Louise Taylor in 1876. He was a gardener for the Feniton Court Estate. Here all their children were born and baptised.

  • Alice Lilian Westaway born 1879
  • John James Westaway born 1878
  • Thomas George Westaway born 1880
  • Ethel Mary Westaway born 1882
  • Frederick Charles Westaway born 1884
  • Elizabeth Gertrude Westaway born 1886
  • Herbert William Westaway born 1890
  • Henry Mark Westaway born 1892

However by 1901 the family had moved to Teignmouth and Mary Louise had started the family retail business as she was a shopkeeper in her own right. Mary died in 1924 and John Madge died in 1931 and was then living at "Sunnycroft", Coombe Road, Teignmouth, Devon. Admin was granted to his son, Thomas George Westaway, of 14, Higher Brook Street, Teignmouth, a general shopkeeper and his estate was worth £205. 12s 7d. Thomas George seems to have taken over the shop in Teignmouth and died in 1953 and was then living at Ardree, Coombe Vale, Teignmouth. Admin with will was granted to his widow, Emily and his estate was worth £1,392. 8s.2d. He had no children and left his wife's niece Mabel Ena Searle and wife's nephews Francis Edwin Passmore and Joseph Passmore all of his estate, if his wife should predecease him.

Sometime in the early 1900's Frederick Charles & Henry Mark moved to London. Frederick Charles married Louisa Bromby in 1906 in Lambeth and their three children, Frederick Charles, born 1906, John Christopher, born 1913 and Raymond Mark, born 1920, were all born there. Henry Mark married Dorothy Narina Elliot in 1918 in St George Hanover Square but they had no chldren. When the business was established is not known but it seems from Henry Mark's will that he was a major share holder and that John Christopher was the entrepreneur behind the business.

Henry was a Textile Merchant and died in 1968 and was then living at 4, Henty Avenue, Dawlish, Devon. His estate was worth £67,907.00 and he mentions that he is a partner of the firm Westaway & Westaway carrying on a business as textile merchants and that he has a five fifteenths share in the partnership assets. He leaves 1/5 to his wife and the other 4/5th to his nephew, John Christopher Westaway. He also had shares (5 tenths) in the firm of Leach Brothers who were retail textile merchants anf left these to his wife and John Christopher. In his will he mentions his nephews Fred Westaway & Ray Westaway and Miss Dorothy Weldon, his great neohews and niece, Michael Westaway, Jenifer Westaway and Simon Westaway (Kathryn's father). Also to each of the managers of Leach Brothers at Epsom and Waltham Cross, he left £200 and to numerous named employees of Westaway & Westaway he left legacies.

Henry's brother, Frederick Charles died on the 5th March, 1965 and was then living at 16, Virginia Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey. His admon was granted to his son John Christopher and was valued at £429. John Christopher died in 1979 and his estate was worth £306,945.00 He was then living at 65, Great Russell Street, Holborn and was a textile merchant, (Westaway & Westaway) He appointed his wife, Annie Louise as sole executrix of his will and gave all of his estate to his wife, but in the event of her not surviving him, he appointed his brothers Frederick Ernest Charles Westaway and Raymond Mark Westaway as execturors, and the estate was then to be divided between the two of them. John Christopher's wife died in 1983 and was then living at 16, Virginia Road, Thornton Heath, her estate was worth £508,145.00. As they had no children we don't know what happened to the shares in Westaway & Westaway.

However Shirley Westaway e-mailed the firm in 2003 and this was the reply she received:-

Westaway & Westaway 9/ 2003

Dear Shirley

Re Mrs Westaway, very sad to say she passed away last August at the age of 90. She was the last Westaway connection with the firm, and we don't have much more history. They lived in a place called Brixham, but I'm not sure from where the two Westaways, Henry and his nephew Chris, were born. I know Chris lived in Thornton Heath (nr Croydon) and was married with no children. He passed away in 1979.  I will ask my father when he returns from holiday, he knew both Westaways since the 50's and may have more info. If he does I will pass it on.

In the meantime kind regards,

Graham Homewood.

Julie Westaway, Kathryn's mum had said that Frederick Charles's widow was the one with the money and that she was holding all the family to ransom if they didn't visit her, so it would seem this is the Mrs Westaway quoted above and her will might make interesting reading. However certainly the family can feel very proud of their achievements and their textile business is still going strong worldwide.

Full Tree can be viewed here


My thanks to Kathryn, Julie & Simon who are such lovely people.

Sheila Yeo July 2006

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  © 2003-6 Sheila Yeo | For more information on the Westaway family and the research contained in this site email sheila@yeosociety.com or call me on +44 (0)1626 360978