John Kennings Thurlow


John’s paternal grandfather was John Youngman Thurlow, son of John Thurlow, farmer, and Esther. According to the records of the monthly meeting of the Tottenham Quakers, he was born in Coopers Sale, Theydon Garnon, Epping on 19 December 1821. His wife, Maria, was born about 1814 in Whitchurch, Buckinghamshire. In 1851 they lived in Cheshunt and John was a draper and grocer. In 1861 they lived at High St, Brentwood, and John was described as a draper (linen and woollen). Living with the family was a niece, Selina Kennings, 21, a draper’s assistant. In 1871 the family lived at 2 Westbury Place, Brentwood and another niece, Clara Kennings, 16, lived with them. They appear to have had only one son, Robert Youngman Thurlow.

The maternal grandparents were George and Sarah Kennings. George was born about 1815 and Sarah about 1817. George was a saddler. In 1861 they lived in Horn St, Winslow, Buckinghamshire with their 9 children, of whom Clara, 5, was the fifth.


Robert Youngman Thurlow was born about 1850 in Buckhurst Hill, Essex. In 1861, aged 11, he was a draper’s assistant, living with his parents. By 1871, still with his parents, he was a letterpress printer. By 1881 Robert was married to Clara Kennings and they lived at 7 St Kilda Villas, Queen’s Rd, Chigwell. Robert was now a master printer. They had 2 children, Celia Annie, 2, and Gertrude, 9 months. They also had a servant. In 1891 they lived at Holly Croft, Queen’s Rd, Buckhurst Hill and they now had a third child, John Kennings Thurlow, 7, and 2 servants. Robert was recorded as living on his own income. In 1901 the family lived at Sutherland House, Palmerston Rd, Buckhurst Hill. Robert was a retired printer, aged 51, Celia was a civil service clerk and there were 2 more children, Muriel and Geoffrey Robert Youngman Thurlow.

Geoffrey became a second lieutenant in the Sherwood Foresters and died on 23 April 1917, aged 22.

Robert died in 1914.

John and Constance

John Kennings Thurlow was born on 13 February 1884 in Buckhurst Hill. He attended Chigwell School.

Constance Grace Hunter was born in 1885 in Limehouse, London. She was the daughter of Charles David Hunter, a draper in 1891 and a constructional engineer by 1911, and his wife, Effie. Constance was the second of 5 children, one of whom had died by 1911. Her brother, Ronald, became a medical student.

John and Constance married on 26 March 1910 at the Wesleyan Chapel, Buckhurst Hill, in a double ceremony at which Constance’s sister, Kathleen married Harold Stanley Taylor.

In 1911, John and Constance were boarding at 13 Springdale Avenue, Huddersfield, and he was described as a chemical manufacturer’s worker. In 1915 he was a chemical manufacturer’s salesman.

We know that at one time he worked for Brunner Mond & Co Ltd, a chemical firm with several factories in Cheshire, including one at Winnington, where John worked. The Winnington factory made TNT in 1917 and on one occasion suffered a major explosion.

(The company was founded in 1873, became part of ICI in 1926, was again independent from 1991 until 2006, when it became part of Tata.)

John attested on 23 November 1915, service number 357924. His address at the time was given as 35 Danesmoor Rd, Withington. Interestingly, written across the top of the form is “fit for home service only”. He was part of the Army Reserve from that date until he was mobilised on 3 May 1916. He served with the 10th Battalion, the King’s Liverpool Regiment. He remained in Britain until 20 August 1916, after which he served in France until 19 June 1917. He was wounded on 11 June 1917 and returned home on 20 June 1917. On the day that he was wounded he applied for an officer cadet unit. He received a commission on 27 November 1917 and died on 24 April 1918. His address was given as Russell Lodge, Buckhurst Hill, the address of Constance’s parents. A later address for Constance was 110 Cromwell Rd, South Kensington. She died in 1943. We have found no record of any children. John left £3060 4s 1d.

In addition to being remembered in Christ Church, John is commemorated on the Winnington War Memorial and the Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France, Panel 27 to 30.

We have found no direct connection to Christ Church except a newspaper article stating that he “formerly lived in Withington” and the address given at attestation. We surmise that he moved around during his years with Brunner Mond and lived locally for a time between censuses.