A dynasty of Upholders, Furniture
Makers, House Brokers & Undertakers.


This “history” of the Wilkinson family covers several generations of Wilkinsons living in London and running the family business from the mid eighteenth to the late nineteenth century. Brief mention is also included of some of the family living in the latter half of the nineteenth century who are the direct ancestors of the authors.


Joshua Wilkinson was born in 1725 and is thought to have been the son of Joseph Wilkinson, a clothier of Leeds, Yorkshire. Joshua is believed to have had at least two brothers, William and Joseph. Joshua’s wife was Sarah Brind, daughter of John Brind, a Loriner and Founder. Joshua and Sarah were married at St Leonard’s, Shoreditch on July 20th 1755. The baptismal records of their children are in the records of the same church. Their first child, John Wilkinson, was born in May 1756 and died in January of the following year. They subsequently had two daughters, Sarah (1758) and Elizabeth (1761) and three sons, Joshua junior born 1759, William born 1763 and John Henry born 1770. There were three other children who probably all died in childhood, including Thomas (b 1767; d 1769) and twins Mary and Martha (b 1764). The family lived in Moorfields throughout this time and their address is recorded as being “Broker Row” in the baptismal records for William and for Thomas and John Henry.

Joshua became a Freeman of the City of London, by virtue of admission to the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, by “Redemption” (nomination & payment), in 1756. He became a Liveryman of the Com­pany in 1763. In general, membership of the livery com­panies “con­ferr­ed social prestige, some business advantages, a share in deciding the political actions of the City of London and, in cases of distress and hardship, provided char­i­table assistance”. Joshua was neither a goldsmith nor a banker, so the busi­ness advantage in his case may simply have been that as a house broker he needed to be a ‘Freeman’ (automatically granted to members of a liv­ery company) in order to own pro­perty in the City of London. There were several Brinds, presumably relatives of his wife, in the Goldsmiths Company and this may well have given him the necessary contacts to gain nomination for his admission. On the record of his admission there was a notation, in the margin, that he was “Son of Joseph, late of Leeds, Yorkshire, Clothier”.

By 1766 Joshua Wilkinson is known to have been in business in Moorfields as an upholder, cabinet-maker and house broker. In the 18 century, Upholders upheld or undertook to furnish peoples’ houses, and were typically dealers, manufacturers, upholsterers and repairers of furniture, and were also often brokers and auctioneers. Great names in l8 century furniture such as Chippendale, Vile, Ince and Mayhew, were proud to call themselves upholders first and cabinet-makers second. Some of the larger upholders employed several hundred workers and were stockists of furniture, mirrors, fabrics, marble, wall-paper etc. and waited on clients, prepared designs and undertook the making, upholstering and installation of furniture, draperies and blinds, and hanging of wall-paper. Upholders were pre-eminent in the furniture industry throughout the 18 and the first quarter of the 19 century, and the Worshipful Company of Upholders was the pre-eminent guild or company regulating the industry. However, some furniture makers belonged to other companies.

We know from apprenticeship records that Joshua’s busi­ness was in Moorfields from at least 1766 to 1784, in which year his youngest son, John Henry, bound himself to his father, “Citizen and Goldsmith of London to learn his art of a Housebroker.” Joshua made his fortune as a house broker and through the prosperous furniture business, which he ran with his eldest son Joshua Jnr and his younger brother Joseph, from at least 1778 – the company being registered as “Wilkinson and Sons”. In that year he is recorded as taking out a licence to employ twenty non-freemen for three months at his upholders shop at 24 Exchange Alley. He did the same again in 1780 (having been forced by a fire to move to Cheapside). Stock and utensils at the Exchange Alley shop were valued at £300 out of a total insurance value of £1,500. Busi­ness must have thrived at the Cheapside shop because the insurance value of their stock and utensils there had increased within two years to £1,400 (out of a total cover of £2,100). From their Cheapside premises Wilkinson and Sons advertised themselves as a ‘Cabinet, Upholstery, Carpet and Looking Glass Warehouse’, and indicated that their stock included ‘down, goose and other feather beds; Turkey, Brussels, Wilton, Kidderminster and Scotch carpets; library, writing, ladies’ dressing, Pembroke card, and tea tables; cabriole, japanned and Windsor chairs etc.’ By the number of men employed it is evident that there was a fairly extensive manufacturing side to their business.

During the 18th century, furniture making was a res­pectable occupation whose main centre in London was in the neighbour­hood of St Paul’s. At the beginning of the century there existed specialist cabinet-making shops, specialist gilders or upholst­erers and so forth. From around 1740 all these various crafts were amalgamated and the general furniture shop or ware­house came into existence. The owner-managers of such shops, however, such as the Wilkinsons, were still called “upholders.”

The Wilkinsons made a great deal of money from their furn­iture business and also from dealing in and renting out pro­perties all over Lond­on. Upholder also meant undertaker and that too was part of their business. Their wealth had put them into the top reaches of the “comfortable middling classes” already by the end of the 18th century. And in the first half of the 19th century they were recog­nised as one of the main London furniture dealers. They ran their business as a family company, fath­ers, brothers and sons in partnership with each other and this tradition continued into the late nineteenth century.

After his retirement in about 1784, Joshua moved at first to Bush Hill in Middlesex and then came back closer to London to live on Highgate Hill, overlooking the City. The pew book of the old Highgate Chapel shows that he and his wife began to attend church there regularly from 1789 onwards. He died the following year on Dec­ember 23. The death was recorded not only in the Gentle­man’s Magazine and the Euro­pean Mag­azine and London Review but also in The Times which indi­cates that he was a person of some standing. The notice simply read: “Mr Joshua Wilkin­son of High­gate hill, up­hold­er and cabinet mak­er, Moor­fields.”

In his Will, which runs to fourteen pages, Joshua left his second daughter Eliza­beth Cowdall (1761- ) two of the proper­ties plus an an­nuity of £50. (Elizabeth’s husband, Joseph Cowdall, was a hosier at Mumford Court Milk Street, Cheapside). Relations were obvious­ly strained with his eldest daughter Sarah (1758- ), or at least with her hus­band, Thomas Pearson, upholsterer, who owed Joshua mon­ey. For this reason he added a Codicil to the will reducing her settle­ment from £50 to £25 just before he died. To his three sons, Joshua Jnr (1759-1806 ), William (1763-1833), and John Henry (1770- ), he left £1000 each plus various of his many “lease­hold messuages or tenements and appurtenances.” He entrusted £1000 to his brother William and his nephew Thomas Wilkin­son, both of whom were up­holders. The money was to be invested in the family upholders business in order to provide for his daughters’ and wife’s annuities. He also settled small sums on his grandsons (Joshua Jnr’s two sons), Will­iam James and Joshua Rich­ard and his sister-in-law, Mary and his nephews, Thomas and William. To his wife Sarah he left all his other properties, his household goods, his linen, pictures, and plate, his horses, cows and carriages, plus a lump sum of £500 and an annuity of £500 payable in quarterly instalments until her death and thereafter to revert to the other legatees.

Sarah died in Stoke Newington in 1793. Her death was noticed in the Gentleman’s Magazine. She was buried next to her husband Joshua in the family vault at old High­gate Chapel. The memorial tablet stood before the Commu­nion Table until 1833, in which year the chapel was pulled down to build the new High­gate School chap­el. The family vault continued in use up to 1838.

In her Will she specified that her sons William and John Henry be appointed the undertakers at her funeral. The Will also contains detailed instructions for the disposal of large quantities of silver utensils including “three Mahogany knife Cases with Crests” left to John Henry. One wonders whether the ‘Crest’ mentioned was the same as that which has come down through several branches of the family over the subsequent generations, with a fox’s head carrying a goose wing in its mouth and the motto “Praesto et Persto” (“I stand in front and I stand fast”).


William Wilkinson, the second son of Joshua Sr. was born in Broker’s Row, London on May 20th 1763. It is probable that in the 1780s he worked as a cabinet-maker with his father in the premises at 7 Broker’s Row. In 1791 he mar­ried eighteen-year-old Jane Ayscough (1773-1838) at the old city church of St Giles, Cripplegate (today it is in the grounds of the Barb­ican). Jane was almost ten years younger than William. They had twelve children: Mary 1794, William Ayscough 1796, Jane Ayscough 1798, Charles 1800, Sarah 1803, Josiah 1804, Jane 1806, Thomas 1809, Alfred 1810, Francis and Hannah (twins) 1812, and Peter Richard 1814. Up until 1807 the family address was shown (on their baptismal records) as Broker’s Row, Moorfields, after which the address was 14 Ludgate Hill. This may have meant that William and Jane Wilkinson and their family resided at the same address as the business, perhaps an apartment over the premises below.

Jane’s younger sister, Elizabeth Ayscough, is also an ancestor of several Wilkinsons. She married Robert Meacock at St Giles, Cripplegate on June 26 1793 and two of her daughters, Eliza and Emma, married Wilkinson cousins – William Ayscough Wilkinson and Josiah (both sons of William and Jane).

Jane’s and Elizabeth’s father, William Ayscough (born circa 1745), was an undertaker whose business was at 1 Fore St, Cripplegate. The Ayscough business was established in 1741, probably by his grandfather (also William Ayscough) and went down through successive generations of the family, including Jane & Elizabeth’s youngest brother, Thomas Ayscough. The Ayscoughs were members / freemen of the Carpenters Company, of which Thomas became Master in 1842.

William himself joined the Goldsmiths’ in 1784 and the Up­holders’ in 1809. In 1790 he set up in partnership with his cousin, Thomas Wilkinson at the Wheatsheaf and at the Sun & Plough (9 and 10 Brokers Row). They advertised as “Cabinet and Plate Glass Manu­facturers, Appraisers, Auctioneers & Undertakers; General Deal­ers in all kinds of House­hold Furni­ture.” His younger brother John-Henry was also involved in a similar business, being registered as a director of a “Wholesale Upholsterer” business at 25 Budge Row in 1794.

William and Thomas were in business together as estate agents, furniture dealers and undertakers at Brokers Row from 1790 to 1807. They special­ised in patent fur­niture, especially extend­ing tables, using for example the “lazy tongs” principle. In 1807, the last year of their partner­ship, they claimed that their Dining Table occupied when closed a “space considerable smaller than is necessary for the standing of any other Dining Table now in use.” They also claimed that their Patent Card Table “is equally remarkable for its orna­­mental effect, and for the singularity of the principles on which it is made.” In 1808, the partnership ended: William set up at 14 Lud­gate Hill and Thomas continued at No. 10 Broker’s Row. Thomas then renamed his business Thomas Wilkinson & Co., and continued at Broker’s Row, eventually occupying numbers 7 to 10. By the early l820s, Thomas had also established an address at 1 Finsbury Square, continuing in business until 1828.

The reason for this change was that William was able to take over the famous and long-established Ludgate Hill busi­ness of Quentin Kay who had died in 1807. No. 14 Ludgate Hill was the main Wilkinson shop until 1855 when the busi­ness was transferred to Bond Street. The building at Ludgate Hill was a large shop-house and from its commencement William’s business there was of substantial size, the insurance coverage in March 1808 being 2000 pounds. William clearly saw the commercial advantage of promoting patent furniture at his new address, and in 1812 advertised patent bedsteads ‘which for their utter utility, firmness and simplicity, surpass everything of the kind ever presented to the public: they effectually exclude vermin and may be fixed and unfixed in five minutes.’ William had several such beds in his showroom, together with ‘portable mahogany chairs, japanned chairs and portable dining tables and every other article made solid and warranted for any climate’.

Wilkinsons was a large and well-established family business. In­deed, to illustrate the usage of the word “up­holder” in the sense of “upholsterer”, the Oxford English Dict­ionary quotes The Annual Regist­er (Chronicle) of 1812: “Messrs Wilkinsons, up­holders, on Lud­­gate-hill, having of late been frequently robb­ed of feath­ers...” The reference is to Joshua’s son William Wilkin­son who from 1808 was in business on his own account at 14 Lud­gate Hill. The thief, accor­d­­ing to the contem­porary newspaper, was one of the porters, who having been caught, instead of leading his captors to the receivers as had been agreed, threw the feathers into the Thames and jumped off Blackfriars Bridge and was never seen again.

In 1812 a fire in the shop­house destroyed part of the Upholders’ Company valuables which the Wilk­insons had been storing. In 1824 there was another fire on the premises, but the business was not seriously affected.

In the early to mid 1820s William brought his two Sons William Ayscough Wilkinson and Charles Wilkinson into the business, which then changed its name from “William Wilkinson, cabinet-maker and upholder”, to “William Wilkinson & Sons”. In November 1824 there was another fire at the premises, thought possibly in the part used for manufacturing, although it appeared that the business was soon back on its feet in the same premises.

From the early beginnings in Ludgate Hill in 1808, William adopted a policy of stamping his products, and a wide range of furniture in the Regency style, with the impressed stamp Wilkinson Ludgate Hill, often followed by a number, although initially he used the stamp Wilkinson Late Kaye 14 Ludgate Hill London. Items so stamped include sofa tables, breakfast tables, extending dining tables, sets of tables, bookcases, cabinets, chiffoniers, chests of drawers, dining chairs, sideboards, and music and reading stands. Some patent extending dining tables bear a rectangular brass plate die-stamped with the Royal coat of arms and the words Patent/Wilkinson/14 Ludgate Hill.

William was well known as a versatile designer and craftsman, who worked in a variety of styles producing furniture in the Egyptian, Rococo and Grecian manner. In 1826 the firm signed the prefatory recommendation to P. and M. A. Nicholson’s Practical Cabinet Maker. He also received important commissions including one in 1829 by the architect John Rennie to make a table for the Earl of Lonsdale at Lowther Castle (which is still there). By the end of his career he had developed a flourishing business, his work was prolific, and he was respected among his peers.

Sometime after 1814 William Wilkinson acquired a house in Highbury Grove, Islington. He was thought to have been living there in 1833, when on May 29 at the age of seventy, he passed away. Jane died five years later in Stoke Newington in 1738, at the age of sixty-five. Following their father’s death in 1833 William and Charles changed the name of the business to W. & C. Wilkinson.

Like his father, William made a great deal of money as a real estate broker. In his 14-page Will, he stipulated that he be buri­ed in “a plain and correct manner in the family vault at Highgate Chapel.” He left £600 to Jane and £3,000 to each of his 8 children on their attaining the age of twenty-two years. He


bequeathed to his eldest son, William Ayscough, the diamond ring and silver cruet and stand which had belonged to his late father, Joshua. To his daughter Sarah, he bequeath­ed his father’s silver coffee pot. He left his children his various shares (in the Atlas Insurance Company and in the West Middlesex Water Works), but above all he bequeathed them his many pro­perties mainly scattered all over London, but also in King­ston, Maidstone and Brighton. His brother-in-laws, Thomas Ays­cough and Robert Meacock (of Can­on­bury Square, Isling­ton), and a business associate, William Good­man, were his executors. Jane Wilkinson died in 1838 and was buried in the family vault at Highgate Chapel.


William Ayscough Wilkinson was the eldest son of William and Jane Wilkinson. He was born in Hackney and, like so many of the Wilkinsons, he was christened at St Leo­nard’s, Shoreditch. One of his younger brothers, Josiah Wilkinson (1804-89), a sol­icitor, married his first cousin Eliza Mea­cock in 1826. Four years later, William Ayscough married her sister, Emma Meacock (1812-1886 ) who was therefore not only his sister-in-law but also his first cousin. She was 18 years old at the time and 16 years younger than he was. Emma and Eliza’a mother, Elizabeth, was a younger sister of William Ayscough and Josiah’s mother, Jane Ayscough. Elizabeth had married Robert Meacock in the same church in which Jane had married William senior – St Giles, Cripplegate, in June 1793. He was an ironmonger with a business at 3, Redcross-str., Barbican. Later he had a business in Oxford Street. Emma and William Ayscough had 12 children of whom 11 reached adult life. The phenomenon of Wilkinsons marrying siblings recurred in the next gen­erat­ion when William’s son George Ayscough and his nephew Josiah married two sisters (Charlotte Elizabeth Bingley and Florence Bingley). This resulted in some unusual relationships. George Ayscough and Josiah had fathers who were brothers and mothers who were sisters. Thus they were double first cousins. As their mothers were themselves first cousins to their fathers they were also second cousins to one another! The children of George Ayscough and Josiah had even more complex inter-relationships. They were second cousins (doubly) and third cousins! They were also first cousins through their mothers, who were sisters. Fortunately there was no further intermarriage between the later generations, who (according to family legend) were deliberately kept apart during their childhood and adolescent years!

William Ayscough Wilkinson became a freeman of the Up­hold­­ers’ in 1822 (in the same year as his brother Charles, 1800-71). In 1829, William was advertising an upholders business at 17 Cliff­ords Inn.



On the death of his father in 1833, he and Charles took over the Ludgate Hill business. In 1833-34 they made furniture to the designs of Philip Hardwick for the Court Room, Dining Room and Drawing Room of the new Goldsmiths’ Hall. The total bill came to £8,471.14s. 7d. Most of the furniture is still in place including the enormous collapsible, banjo-shaped banqueting table (to seat 40) for which Hardwicke specified: “top of best Spanish Mahogany... on firmly fraimed telescopic frames of wainscot with Mahogany frieze supported by Standards of Spanish Mahogany on large and superior Castors.” The price of this table was £322. They made a smaller one for the Court Room. The dining table is still in use for special occasions.

William and Charles Wilkinson’s invoice to the Goldsmiths’ Company has survived. The billhead reads: “Cabinet & Plate Glass Manufactory, Bo.s of Will.m & Charl.s Wilkinson, Up­holders & Interior Decorators, Apprais­ing & House Agency, 14 Ludgate Hill.” The “motto” on the “coat of arms” at the top left hand side of the bill reads, “Funerals Performed.”

According to one authority (Litch­field, 1894), Wilkinsons was one of the best known London furniture companies of the first half of the century. A later more critical authority (Collard, 1985) states that “the Wilkinsons were not one of the very top firms making the most fashionable furniture, but had a good solid reputation.” Their furniture can still be found in the sale rooms today.

When he died at the early age of 57, William Ayscough Wilk­in­son was living in Paradise House, Para­dise Row, Stoke New­ington. The cause of death was entered as “Inflam­mation of the left Lung; a. d. Pleura 4 weeks; Empy­ema 3 weeks; Hydro­thorax of right side; Dropsy of Pericar­dium.” In his Will he stip­ulated that his fun­eral “be conducted without ostentation or show and in as pious a manner as consistent with decency - no feathers, vel­vets or any such non­sense - the whole of the expense not to ex­ceed £50 at most.” This comment suggests that the practice of placing a “lid of feathers” (for example black ostrich plumes and velvet) on the coffin which had been common in the 18th century was no longer followed in the mid 19th century, even by an under­taker.

William left everything to his wife Emma: his free­hold, copy­hold and leasehold estates at Lud­gate Hill, Cheap­side and Gro­s­­venor Street (and all the moneys arising from the up­holstery business at Ludgate Hill, which he had in­herit­ed from his father, as well as the wines and liquors in the cellars there), and also his shares in railways.

Shortly after the death of her husband, Emma appears to have sold off her share of the core Wilkinson businesses at Ludgate Hill to her brother-in-law, Charles Wilkinson, who carried on the family tradition in a new establishment at 8 Bond Street and 22 Grosvenor Mews (the factory was at Little Charles St, Munster Square).


Charles Wilkinson, the second son of William and Jane Wilkinson was born on February 9 1800 at 9 Broker Row, Moorfields.

On February 9 1822 Charles married Henrietta Cowland at St. Mary’s, Islington. Henrietta was born about 1802 in Clerkenwell and was therefore twenty at the time of the marriage. They had eight children: Charles 1824, William Ayscough 1825, Jane 1827, Frederick 1828, Augustus 1830, Joseph 1832, Emily 1834, and Henrietta. They were all born at 14 Ludgate Hill, and it can therefore be presumed that certainly until the mid 1 830s the family had its residence at the same place as its business.

After the death of his brother William, the widow sold her share of the furniture business to Charles who then became sole owner of the firm. Shortly after this Charles opened premises at 8 Bond Street, however it is not known whether he continued in the City. His son Frederick joined him in the business and was active in the firm for the rest of his life. Sometime after the mid 1830s Charles purchased his residence Sandfield, Nevill Park, Speldhurst, where he lived until his death from Bright’s (kidney) Disease on May 21 1871.

Charles was a gentleman of considerable means having expanded his business to include property. At the time of his death he owned properties in Cherry, Whitney, Coventry, Leadenhall, Elbon, Eawirk, and King Edward’s Streets; the Haymarket; The Strand; King’s Road, Chelsea; Clapham Park Road and Mile End New Town. Upon his death, these properties, together with other investments and a considerable amount of cash, was divided between his wife Henrietta and the various children.


Frederick Wilkinson, the third son of Charles and Henrietta, was born at 14 Ludgate Hill on October 20 1828. He became a valuer and upholsterer and joined his father Charles in the family business.

On February 22 1853 Frederick Wilkinson married Harriet Ann Townend in Clapham.

They had thirteen children: Annie 1854, Emily 1855, Charles 1856, Helen 1858, Margaret 1860, Frederick 1861, Minnie 1863, William 1864, Herbert 1866, Edith 1867, Alfred 1870, Louisa 1871, and Richard Henry 1874.

For the first few years of their marriage the couple lived at 8 Old Bond Street, where their first three children were born and where the main family business moved in the mid 1850s after his father had purchased William Ayscough’s share from his widow. In 1857/8 the family then moved to New Park Road, Clapham, where they lived for about the next four years and their next two children were born. By 1861 they had moved to Llynthill Lodge, Tulse Hill, where they stayed until the late 1860s and where their next five children were born. Frederick then purchased the large family home, Clevelands in Barnes, where their last three children were born and where they were to live for the remainder of their married life.

It is known that in 1871, after his father’s death, the business employed thirty workers. Frederick may not have possessed the same talents as his father and grandfather, as very little of him professionally is known after this date. He is not recorded in directories of fine furniture manufacturers of the period. This may in part have been due to declining health, as on March 26 1877, at his home, Clevelands, he too died of kidney disease, just six years after his father before him. His wife, Harriett, and the unmarried children later moved to Sandfield, Putney Heath Lane, Wandsworth. This of course was also the name of the house in Speldhurst/Tunbridge Wells where Charles Wilkinson had lived up until his death in 1871.

In 1909 the Old Bond Street building was demolished, and the company, re-named Hindley and Wilkinson, relocated to 70/71 Welbeck Street. It is not known whether Frederick’s son Charles remained with the business, bringing in Hindley as a partner, or whether it was sold to Hindley who maintained the Wilkinson name for continuity. In any event, the business was eventually absorbed by Marshall & Snellgrove in about 1918. The Wilkinson firm founded by Joshua Wilkinson passed through the hands of four Wilkinson generations over a period of one hundred and fifty years.

This brought the family business to an end!


The other sons of William and Jane Wilkinson, who survived into adult life, were:

Josiah Wilkinson, was born November 19th 1804 in Moorfields and became a solicitor. In 1826 he married his first cousin, twenty-one year-old Eliza Meacock. They had five sons, three of whom became solicitors and one an artist. One of his sons, Josiah (also a solicitor) married Florence Emma Bingley, the sister of Charlotte Elizabeth Bingley who married George Ayscough Wilkinson. This son (Josiah) is credited with preparing the family tree in 1879, which covered four generations of Wilkinsons starting with his grandfather, William Wilkinson. Josiah senior died in 1889, aged 85 and Josiah junior died in 1923 at the age of 77.

Alfred Wilkinson was born December 29 1810 in Ludgate Hill, went to Mill Hill school and from there was the first Wilkinson to go Cambridge. He was at Jesus College, and was 34th (lowest) Wrangler (first class honours graduate in mathematics tripos) in 1833. Upon graduating Alfred became a parish priest. He first became a curate in Teddington, and later, in the 1860s, was appointed to a position in Kingsdon, Somerset. In 1837 he married twenty-one year-old Caroline Arabella Blunt. They had ten children. He died in 1868.

Peter Richard Wilkinson, was born on May 1814 in Ludgate Hill. He moved to Brighton where he became an Auctioneer and Estate Agent. He married Elizabeth Hodgkinson and had ten children.

Sons of William Ayscough and Emma, who survived to adult life:


George Ayscough Wilkinson 1837-1906


 George Ayscough Wilkinson was William Ayscough Wilkinson and Emma’s 5th child and eldest son. His father had died when he was a teenager and his mother had sold her interest in the furniture business to his uncle. Therefore, unlike his father, grandfather and great grandfather, he did not join the Up­holders’ Company. Instead he pursued another of the Wilkinsons’ traditional business activities, being an auc­tion­eer and sur­veyor (what we would today call an estate agent). His offices were variously at 7 Poultry Lane, at 37 Buckl­erbury EC, and at 4a Frederick’s Place, Old Jewery. He was in partnership with his sons. The firm undertook a number of important property auct­ions in the City of London, the catalogues of which are preserved in the Guildhall Library. The firm survived until 1934 when it passed into the hands of Daniel Watney & Sons. In 1945 it became Daniel Watney, Eilcart, Inman and Nunn, Architects and Surveyors. It finally went out of business in 1980.


In 1862 George Ayscough married Charlotte Elizabeth Bingl­ey (1841-) of Knab Cottages, Ecclesall near Sheffield, York­shire. She was the daughter of a Sheffield solicitor, Charles William Bingley. They had 8 children of whom 6 survived. Their home was at Monkenholt, Hadley Green Road, High Barnet. The house is still there. Next door is Living­stone Cottage, which was the residence in 1857-8, of Dr. David Livingstone, who wrote “Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa” there.

George Ayscough Wilkinson died in 1906 at the age of 59 of influenza follow­ed by pneumonia. He left no will. Some of his monogrammed silver tableware (D. & J. Welby, 1894) has sur­vived.


Arthur Wilkinson 1839 – 1872

Arthur Wilkinson died aged 33. He was unmarried and, in 1871, was living at home with the family. Nothing else is known about him.

Herbert Wilkinson 1847 – 1914

Herbert Wilkinson is listed in the 1891 census as a manufacturer and in the 1901 census as an auctioneer’s clerk. He married Mary Rose Gliddon, but it is not known whether they had any children (there were none listed in the 1891 or 1901 census). In 1891 they were living in St Marylebone in London; In 1901 in North Sheen.


Harry Collard Wilkinson 1851 – 1891


Harry Collard Wilkinson was the youngest son and the last of 12 children of William Ayscough Wilkinson and Emma. He was born at the family home at Stoke Newington and, after his father’s premature death, was educated at Clifton College (soon after its foundation) and later at Tonbridge School, before entering Lichfield Theological College and joining the Anglican Church as a minister. He considered joining a monastic mission in southern Africa, but decided against and returned to England and a Curateship in Torquay, where he met his future wife Elizabeth Ellen Douglas (1864-1937), the daughter of James Douglas and his wife Emily Ann (nee Harris). James Douglas was the first tobacconist in Torquay. They were married in 1884 and subsequently moved to Cheshire, where Harry was chaplain to the Conwall-Legh family at High Legh, near Knutsford. They had three sons before Harry Collard died of appendicitis in October 1891, just two weeks short of his fortieth birthday.


Notes on the authors:

This document was compiled by James Wilkinson from data provided by David Allison, Endymion Wilkinson and Michael Wilkinson.

The early Wilkinson data was researched extensively by Michael Wilkinson and David Allison, with additional data provided by Endymion Wilkinson. Michael Wilkinson provided information about the Brind family connection and also found records of marriage, baptisms and deaths from St Leonard’s, Shoreditch. He has also gathered data about the Ayscough family over several generations.

Two documents formed the main basis for this history – “History of the Wilkinsons” (David Allison, 2004) and “My Wilkinsons” (Endymion Wilkinson, 2004).

David Forbes Allison (b 1943) is the son of Marion Forbes Wilkinson (b 1913). His maternal grandfather was Richard Henry Wilkinson (1874 – 1941), who was a son of Frederick Wilkinson (1828 – 1877), and grandson of Charles Wilkinson, of the furniture making dynasty. He is a retired company director, living in Toronto.

Dr Endymion Porter Wilkinson (b 1941) is descended from William Ayscough Wilkinson (elder brother of the above mentioned Charles Wilkinson., He is a great grandson of George Ayscough Wilkinson and is a fourth cousin to David Allison and to John Michael Wilkinson. He was EU Ambassador to China (1994 to 2001) and is a senior fellow at the Asia Center, Harvard University where he lectures on East Asian Languages and Civilizations.

Dr (John) Michael Wilkinson (b 1938) is descended from Rev. Alfred Wilkinson (another brother of Charles Wilkinson) and is a fourth cousin to David Allison and Endymion Wilkinson. He is a retired University Academic (Biochemistry) and lives in London.

Prof James Leonard Wilkinson (Jim - b 1943) is a great grandson of William Ayscough Wilkinson and grandson of Harry Collard Wilkinson. He is a second cousin, once removed, to Endymion Wilkinson and a third cousin, once removed, to David Allison and to John Michael Wilkinson. He is a Professorial Fellow, in Paediatrics, at the University of Melbourne.