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Henry Gandar Frost

18  Tavistock Terrace,  Islington, Middlesex
178 High Street, Watford, Hertfordshire
24 Water Street, Deal
187 Lower Street, Deal
54 High Street, Deal
Westward Ho, Blenheim Road, Deal
15 Cliff Town Road, Southend on Sea, Essex
27 The Avenue, Gravesend, Kent,
18 Pelham Road, Gravesend

Occupation: Ironmonger

54 High Street from Deal & Walmer Illustrated

Henry Gandar Frost, whose Ironmongers once occupied 187 Lower Street, was born a Muggleton. 

Yes, a Muggleton. His father,  Isaac Frost, was part of a small non proselytising Protestant sect that was founded in London in the mid seventeenth century. It was named after Lodowicke Muggleton, a London tailor, who believed in the scriptural understanding of the universe and that God appeared directly on Earth as Jesus Christ and that God takes no notice of everyday events on Earth and he would not intervene until it is meant to bring the world to an end. They avoided all forms of preaching and worship and only met for discussion and socialising.

Globe – Monday 13 July 1846

During the nineteenth they became increasingly vocal and even published several books. This activity apparently arose from brothers Joseph and Isaac Frost, who had made their fortune as Brass Founders in Derby and following their move to London proceeded to spend vast sums on publicising their sect. Isaac’s book,  Two Systems of Astronomy, was published in 1846. A  large number of books were published but, apparently, very few were actually sold.

After moving to London Isaac married Sarah Vincent in Clerkenwell in 1818. At that time all marriages, except for Quakers and Jews, had to take place in a Church of England to be legal. So Isaac & Sarah married in St. Mary’s Church, Islington in 1818. At least nine children followed, sadly Sarah died in March 1845. 

Morning Advertiser – Thursday 13 March 1845

A few months later in October 1845 Isaac married Mary Ann Liddle, who was thirty years younger than himself. 

Henry Gandar Frost, was the youngest of their children, born in Islington in 1855,  three years later, Isaac died leaving Mary Ann to bring up their children alone but, with the financial help of £14,000 which today is worth approximately £83,000. 

At the National Archives we found a document relating to Isaac’s will that tells us how he intended his children to be cared for after his death. First though it directs his trustees to extend £10 to each of his twelve children, “…for mourning…”

To his five youngest children, George Isaac aged ten, Jesse aged seven, Arthur James aged four, Percy Alfred aged three and Henry Gandar who was only one, he left an annuity first to the youngest, of £10 until they reached the age of eight years. These five, after turning eight would then, until they attained the age of twenty-one years, receive an annuity of £25 each after which the annuity would cease. Presumably he expected his sons to be earning a good living and providing for themselves by then as he also directs the Trustees of his will to apprentice his sons.  The premium for this was to be paid from his estate. However, during their apprenticeship the £25 annuity would be reduced to £10. 

With no real healthcare or welfare estate to call on in those days, Isaac made provisions for his son’s bed, board and care to be paid for should they become ill, during their apprenticeship.

Sadly following Isacc’s death Mary Ann was also to lose her son’s Jesse in 1859 aged 9 years, then George Isaac aged 20 in 1866, her step daughter Louisa in 1869 and then another son, Arthur James aged 19 in 1871. All died in the family home of 18 Tavistock Terrace, Upper Holloway. Without purchasing their death certificates we won’t know the actual cause or causes of their deaths but there were reports of Cholera outbreaks in the Islington Gazette throughout this period so that is one likely cause.

We know that in around 1871 Henry Gandar was apprenticed to Ironmonger William Tressland in Watford and Percy Alfred to ironmonger, Alfred Simmons, in Eastbourne, Sussex. If it was cholera, or any other epidemic, then they at least avoided the contagion. 

Percy Alfred Frost

Deal, Walmer & Sandwich Mercury – Saturday 15 September 1877

Percy Alfred married Amelia Elizabeth Erridge in St. George’s Church Deal on October 24 1877. Quite when and where they met is not clear but her father, James John Erridge, was a Pilot so it is possible that Percy had met James in Eastbourne and they became friends. Another scenario being that Percy had visited Deal after seeing, or hearing, that John Christian’s Ironmongers, at 187 Lower Street, was up for sale and the couple somehow met then.

However they met it was to Deal that Percy, his mother and brother moved to and where Percy and Henry went into business as ‘Frost Brothers’ purchasing the Ironmongery business from the estate of John Christian who had died in April 1877

This ironmongery business was founded on Beach Street in 1792 by Thomas Shipdem and according to the  newspapers in 1877 it was reputed to have been the oldest business still in operation, at that time, in the town. John Christian inherited the business from his father, Benjamin Fisher Christian in 1857, transferring to Lower Street in 1866. Interestingly, Benjamin Fisher Christian, according to the Dover Chronicle, was the last man in the town to wear powdered hair! 

Dover Chronicle – Saturday 17 November 1877

The purchase of the Ironmongery business was finalised in November 1877 and it was here that Percy and Amelia set up home and had their two children, Minnie Louise, born in 1878 and Percy Henry in 1880.

9 Jun 1885 London Gazette

Percy and Henry were to remain in business together until January 1885 when the partnership was formally dissolved. Percy had by then already moved to London where he was a Warehouseman and later an Off Licence Dealer. They remained in Wandsworth until their deaths, Amelia in 1924 and Percy in 1926. 

Henry Gandar Frost and Mary Louise Darracott 

In June 1885 Henry married Mary Louise Darracott in Braunton, Devon. Mary was the eldest of the eight children of Robert G, a tailor, and Martha  Darracott. William, one of the brothers, had set up business with William Henry Atkinson at 6 High Street Deal in about 1880. It seems logical then that Mary visited her brother and then met Henry. 


Deal, Walmer & Sandwich Mercury – Saturday 11 April 1885

After their marriage they moved into the newly vacated, and by then known as, 187 High Street. It was from here that Henry was to build up and run one Deals most successful businesses of the time. He eventually was to become a contractor for the Admiralty and the Borough. The Deal & Walmer Illustrated, printed towards the end of the 1890s, listed Henry’s many lines of business.

Deal & Walmer Illustrated

 It was at the High Street premises that Henry and Mary’s two daughters were born. Ethel Winifred was born in 1886 and Madeline Bertha in 1890. Interestingly both were not baptised as babies, as was usually the case, but on May 1 1903 in St. George’s Church where the register states “alt. form in Riper Years “ as both were of’Riper‘ years at baptism  

 Why it was decided that the girls should be baptised into the Church of England at that time is not known. There are no baptism records for Henry, who at the time of his birth was a Muggleton, or for Mary who was a Congregationalist.  

Henry’s Premises

Deal 1871

In 1880 Henry and Percy leased a warehouse in Coach House Lane in which the forge was also situated. This is where the large bellows on display in Deal Museum comes from.  Later in 1889 Henry also leased another property, 5 Custom House Lane as a store. 

Deal Museum DMO – 2198


In 1894 Henry took on an apprentice, sixteen year old Edward William Smith. We found his apprenticeship indenture in Deal Museum Archives, this states that the term of apprenticeship was for four years during which time Henry “…was to cause to the best of his ability teach and instruct Edward to become a working Ironmonger” and to be paid a weekly wage of two shillings for the first year rising to eight shillings in the fourth year. Edward finished his apprenticeship in 1898 and at the bottom of Edwards copy of the the indenture Henry writes, what we would call a reference, expressing his satisfaction. 

Deal Museum Archives TR/5/10

Edward was not Henry’s first apprentice, indeed he probably had several over the years. The only other one we know of for certain was named James William Birch. James lived with his Uncle and Aunt at The Lodge, Walmer Castle. In July 1893 James had returned home from work, at around six in the evening, and decided to go for a swim. When he had not returned by ten o’clock his Uncle began to worry and went down to the beach to find him, where passers by told him some clothes had been found which he later identified as his nephews. Sadly a few days later James’ body was washed up on the shore. At the inquest it was said that James had only just begun to learn to swim so had probably got out of his depth. A verdict of “Accidental death by drowning” was given.

Invoices & Advertising

Deal Museum Archives TR/8/5 .1

Deal, Walmer & Sandwich Mercury – Saturday 28 August 1897

Although Henry had been running the ironmongery business since 1885 on his own he was still using the invoices printed when he was still in partnership with his brother. This one, for 2 shillings and sixpence, was  paid by a Mr Hinds, for fixing a water tap, though we don’t know who Mr. Hinds was.

The invoice also gives us  as to the other services provided by first the Frost brothers, then by Henry himself. Including the hiring of baths! 

Foot Warmer

Newspaper adverts for 1892 show he was advertising Cycles, by which time High Street had been renumbered and number 187 became number 54. We also know that in this year Henry submitted a quote to Eastry Union Workhouse to provide twelve foot warmers. Presumably these were made of metal and, like those made of stoneware, they were filled with hot water rather like today’s hot water bottles. 

 Then in 1899 Henry was advertising guns and ammunition for the sporting season and in 1908 fishing tackle.

Deal, Walmer & Sandwich Mercury – Saturday 28 November 1908

A Second Shop

Henry expanded his business in 1890, taking on a second shop at 45 The Strand, Walmer. Here he advertised not only for plumbing and ironmongery work but also painting and paper hanging. According to Deal & Walmer Illustrated Henry had a private telephone line between his two shops. As telephone fitting was one of his lines of business I think we can safely assume that it was either he, or more likely one of his employees, that fitted the the telephones. 

By 1900 he had bought a family home on Blenheim Road which he named Westward Ho. On 28 May 1900, Henry took a photograph of the Solar Eclipse; this photograph is now held at the National Archives, Kew.

When the 1911 census was taken Henry, and his family, may have been on holiday in Southend-on-Sea, a popular seaside resort of the time. Then in 1912 we found his daughter, Ethel, marrying Arthur G Westren in Gravesend. We know that by 1914 Thomas Lionel Tapper was trading from both Henry’s business premises in Deal and Walmer but quite when Henry moved to Gravesend is not known. He does seem though to have been trading as an Ironmonger in Gravesend by around 1913. 

It appears that the premises in Deal and Walmer may have remained in the Frost family until around 1960 as it was then that the executors to Madeleine Bertha Frost, Henry’s youngest daughter, sold the store at 5 Custom House Lane to Deal Corporation.

Deal, Walmer & Sandwich Mercury – Saturday 11 April 1885

When a person is of an age and can answer the questions put by the priest or officiating minister themselves then they are deemed to be of “Riper Years”
Name Born Baptised Married Died Buried
Henry Gandar Frost 1855
Mary Louisa Darracott
June 4 1885
St. Brannock’s Church
DevonBorn 1857 Braunton, Devon
Died 1929 Gravesend, Kent
February 2 1924
18 Pelham Road, Gravesend
6 Feb 1924

The Children of Henry Gandar Frost and Mary Louisa Darracott

Name Born Baptised Married Died Buried
Ethel Winifred March 9 1886 May 1 1903
St. George’s Church
Arthur Gilbert Westen
August 12 1912
St.James’s Church Gravesend
1981 Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Madeleine Bertha April 12 1890 May 1 1903
St. George’s Church
March 6 1957

Enton Cottage, Stood Meopham, Surrey


Year Address Name Relationship Occupation
1861 18  Tavistock Terrace,  Islington, MIddlesex Mary Ann Frost Head
Elizabeth Daughter
Louisa Daughter
George Isaac Son
Arthur James Son Scholar
Percy Alfred Son Scholar
Henry Gandar Son Scholar


Year Address Name Relationship Occupation
1871 178 High Street, Watford, Hertfordshire William Tressland Head Ironmonger
Eliza Wife
Ann Eliza Daughter
William Thomas
Henry Gandar Frost Apprentice Ironmonger
Jane Payne Servant General Servant


Year Address Name Relationship Occupation
1881 24 Water Street, Deal Mary Louisa Frost Head Annuiant
Henru Gandar Son Ironmonger
Elizabeth Brooks Servant General Servant


Year Address Name Relationship Occupation
1891 187 High Street Henry Gandar Frost Head Ironmonger
Mary Louisa Wife
Ethel W Daughter
Madeleine B Daughter
Susanna Finn Servant General
Annie Finn Nurse Nurse


Year Address Name Relationship Occupation
1901 Missing for Deal


Year Address Name Relationship Occupation
1911 15 Cliff Town Road, Southend on Sea, Prittlewell, Essex Henry Gandar Frost Head Ironmonger and Engineer
Mary Louisa Wife
Ethel W Daughter
Medeleune B Daughter


Year Address Name Relationship Occupation
1921 27 the Avenue, Gravesend, Kent, England Henry Gandar Frost Head Ironmonger & Employer
Mary Louisa Wife
Madelaine B Daughter
Sources and further reading:
Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved.
With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive (
The National Archives
Deal & Walmer Illustrated
Deal Museum-