James Reaks

Union House, Lower Street

Occupation: Schoolmaster

James Reaks, brother of Thomas and Henry Tritton Reaks, was also a schoolmaster. His school was also on  Lower Street and named Union House. I believe that this later became known as Clarendon House which later still became the Rectory for St. Andrew’s. Sadly the building is no more but it once stood on the site of what is now Union Road Car Park.

Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser – Saturday 18 July 1835

Not much more is known about James we don’t even know if his Union House school was for boys or girls. We know more about his wife Sarah Dixon Belsey who he married in 1822 in Canterbury. Her sister, Mary, later married his brother Thomas Reaks. We also know that following James’ death, in May 1833 she continued to run the school. An advertisement in 1835 tells us that Union House was, at that time, an ‘Establishment for Young Ladies’.

As a matter of interest in 1833, there is a Mrs and Miss Reaks advertising their school for ‘Young Gentlemen’ in Dover. It is surely too much of a coincidence for them not to be related to the Deal Reaks Schoolmasters?

In 1836 Sarah remarries to a Joseph Jackson. The Jacksons may well have been family friends as in 1841 James Edward Reaks, the son of Thomas Reaks, was living with Joseph Jackson’s brother in London.
Sadly and perhaps while on a visiting her sister Sarah, in 1842, died at Alfred House.

Sources and further reading:
With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)