Born 28th May 1853. Baptised 24th July 1853 in Angmering.
Married Jane Parvin on the 26th August 1878
in the church of St Peter the Great, Chichester.
Died in Brighton 8th February 1924
Alfred Charles. b 21.8.1879 at Withdean. d. 6.8.1960
Fredrick James. b. 12.12.1880 at Withdean. d. 28.10.1949
Elsie May. b. 12.10.1882 at Withdean. d.14.2.1940
Edith Ellen. b. 28.4.1884 at Withdean. d. 30.6.1969
William Edward. b. 30.11.1885 at Withdean. d. 9.12.1954
Lettie Jane. b. 1.8.1887 at Withdean. d. 1957
Lottie Daisy. b. 18.12.1888 in Brighton. d. 26.4.1961
George Arthur. b.5.1.1891 in Brighton. d. 30.6.1963
Rose Kathleen. b. 22.11.1892 in Brighton. d. 30.6.1956
Albert Victor. b. 7.11.1894 in Brighton. d. 17.8.1973
Reginald Cecil. b.26.5.1898 in Brighton. d. 24.2.1972
Dan lived through three reigns – Victoria, Edward VII and George V. During his lifetime the world was transformed with the invention of the internal combustion engine, the introduction of electricity in the home, and the invention of the radio. The railways brought the opportunity to travel to many people. Queen Victoria reigned for over 60 years and gave her name to an era. The British Empire expanded. Africa was explored, the American Civil War took place, ending slavery in America. Lister invented antiseptic surgery.
It would be so nice to have a family with lots of influence and documentation to research and write about, but alas, I’m afraid that Dan Dyer, like so many of his generation, came from a family living in what must have been a fairly remote village in those days, who earned their living on the land as agricultural labourers. Those were the days before the railway came, and even a journey from Angmering, where he grew up, to Worthing must have been a big expedition.
Dan’s parents were also both born in Angmering. Despite many, many hours of research, it has not been possible to prove where his grandparents came from, but it likely that they, too were born locally – there were families of Goddards in the area from the early 1700s.
Dan’s father died at the age of 59, when Dan was only 9. From the 1871 census when Dan was 17, we know that he was living at home in Angmering with his mother, who was a charwoman, his unmarried brother Henry, who was an agricultural labourer and his niece Emily. His brother George had married, and was also living in the village. George and his wife lived there all their lives – they appear to have had no family. Another brother Alfred had also married and was living in the village with his family. Alfred was a gardener, and Dan was a gardener’s labourer.
We do know know how Dan and Jane met. Jane came from a large family, and had eleven brothers and sisters. Her maiden name was Parvin, and it was family legend that the name was derived from ‘Paravincini’ – a Spanish sounding name. Jane’s great grandfather Thomas Parvin was living in Chichester when he married in 1783, so the Spanish element, if there were one, was a long time ago. Jane was the daughter of a shoemaker and living in Chichester when she married, in Chapel Street which is opposite the cathedral. In the family Bible there is an inscription “Dan Goddard – A Present From His Beloved Jane Parvin, October 4th 1876” – presumably a gift to mark their betrothal. jane’s father was a shoemaker. She came from a large family, and had eleven brothers and sisters. Jane and Dan married in the church of St Peter the Great, opposite the cathedral in Chichester on the 26th August 1878. (This church is now St. Peter’s Market).
Whether they started their married life in Angmering or not is uncertain, but by the time of the 1881 census they were living in Old Court, Withdean, Brighton, with the first of their eleven children, – Alfred who was 1, and Fred who was 3 months. Dan was working as a gardener for Lady Ogle who lived in Withdean Hall, Great Lane, Patcham. They seem to have remained there until sometime after the date of birth of William Edward (30.11.1885) – their next child was born in Coleman Street, Brighton in 1887.
Family tradition has it that Lady Ogle was a good employer – Alfred (known as Charlie) was supposedly taken by her coachman to school each day in one of the horse drawn vehicles. Dan is reputed to have planted the elm trees which now line the London Road alongside Preston Park, and which were so sadly depleted by Dutch Elm disease – whether this was during his employment by Lady Ogle or at some later date is not certain.
Lady Ogle was heir to the Withdean Estate, and the house was built in 1871. It was the largest of all the grand villas built in Withdean, and stood in several acres, with an entrance lodge on the London Road, and at one time a chapel. She also had a small school built in the grounds for the children of her employees, to whom she also gave free use of some of her land as allotments. It is quite likely that Dan and Jane moved there when they first married in 1878.
Lady Ogle died in 1886, and the house passed to her daughter, which may have necessitated a change of employment for Dan for the next record we have of the family is when Lettie was born in 1887, and they were living at 74, Coleman Street, Brighton, and Dan was was a Corporation labourer. It is believed he worked for the Water Department. (In 1921 he was described on his daughter Rose Kathleen’s certificate as a Retired Water Works Director). The family moved from Coleman Street to Lincoln Street in about 1890. When Reginald was born in 1898 Dan was again a gardener, – possibly for Brighton Corporation. Perhaps it was then that he planted the elms! Their children were born over a period of nearly 20 years, and the youngest, Reg, was only 3 when Charlie, the eldest married. (Charlie was christened ‘Alfred Charles’, but was always known as ‘Charlie’. Similarly, Elsie May was always called ‘Cissie’, Lottie Daisy was always called ‘Daisy’ and Rose Kathleen was known as ‘Kath’).
Their next move was to Trinity Street – they were only there for a short while, but it was while they were there that both Cissie and Edith got married – within six weeks of each other. They then went to Gladstone Terrace, and finally to 71 Roundhill Crescent where they were to remain until after Dan’s death.
I believe that they had bought the house in Gladstone Terrace and I think it was rented out for some years before being sold after they had moved from it. It is possible that Daisy’s husband, Len Everett, and Dan and Jane’s son Bill helped with the purchase of the house in Roundhill Crescent. It was a large house, and with a large family it must have been a happy home. The family seem to have kept coming back, even after they were married, and Lettie and Arthur’s twins Reg and Vera were born there. Elsie, Charlie’s eldest daughter (in fact the eldest of all the grandchildren) lived there with her grandparents after her mother died and her father remarried. Cissie’s son Bill, and Edie’s son Bob were both born in Roundhill Crescent. In fact, Edie was to live with here mother for the rest of her life – her husband died of TB at an early age in 1921. Cissie and her husband moved to Jersey Street. Every time a new baby arrived in the family a woman came in for six weeks to help, and was known by the family as “Mrs Six Weeks”. Added to the eleven children were various ‘waifs and strays’. One of these was an orphan boy who had lived nearby and was treated as a family member. He joined the navy eventually, and came ‘home’ every leave until he married. Another young man named Ernie Parks was another honorary member.
I think it is almost impossible to imagine today the sort of life they must have lead, with such a large family, and so many of them living close by when they married, so that the house must always have been full of people and children. I don’t know if it applied to all the sons, but certainly Reg called in to see his mother every single day until the day she died. The impression I have is that the grandparents were the centre of a close and happy family, and Kathleen’s son Victor confirms that his mother spoke of the very happy times which were they had there.
I don’t know the details of the lives of all Dan and Jane’s children. Charlie went to sea on coastal vessels, and served his time as an engineer. As a young man he travelled the South Coast of England in search of work – at sea he was known as a ‘donkeyman’. Fred ended up working for GEC, Edith was employed by a high class store in Castle Square called Needhams until she married. William was apprenticed to a wheelwright. Lettie was a nurse and served during the 1st World War in India. She married Arthur Hurrell, who was a regular soldier. Rose Kathleen married Victor Neuberg, an author of some note, and lived at Steyning where Victor had a printing press. Daisy trained as a teacher and became a Headmistress in later years. She married Leonard Everett, who was with the GPO. During the war he had served in Macedonia with the Royal Regiment. George joined the Navy, and served on Jellico’s flagship at Jutland. He had taught himself Pitman’s shorthand, and was the first person in the Navy to use it when taking down evidence at a court martial. His daughter Daughter Barbara tells me that he taught it for many years in later life. Reg became an engineer, with great expertise in diesel engines. On leaving school he had worked for the aviation pioneer A.V. Roe at Shoreham Airport. (He had cycled every day from Roundhill Crescent – no mean feat!). All the boys served in the services during the 1st World War, mostly in the Army. George went into the Navy, and Reg, who must have been quite young joined the Naval Air Service. Fortunately they all returned from the war safe and sound, Bert having won the Military Medal for action at Gallipoli. Bill and possibly some of the other boys served in France during the War. I remember him telling me that coming home on leave by train all the other passengers left the compartment he was in because he was so filthy and lousy. How lucky Dan and Jane were that all their sons survived. All the children married, and they all, with the exception of Fred, had families.
Dan died of cancer in Roundhill Crescent on the 8th February 1924 at the age of 70. He is buried near the Downs Crematorium in Brighton in the same grave as his wife Jane. (Plot FE 68). There is a cross with an inscription on it. His son William and William’s wife Edith are close by, buried in plot FE 61. Visiting the graves in 2017 they are now sadly very overgrown.
By 1924, all the children, except Reg, were married, and so Jane bought a smaller house – 9 Ashdown Road. This was literally just round the corner from the big house in Roundhill Crescent, and she moved in there with Edie and Bob. Her son Bill was living close by after his marriage, and when tragedy stuck and his wife died shortly after the birth of their second son, Bill, it was natural that Grandma Jane should help again. She and Edie took the two little boys (George was only 14 months) and helped bring them up. Bill (William Edward) remaining in his house in Richmond Road for the time being. They grew up calling Edie “mother” so close was the relationship.
Not many of the grandchildren of Dan and Jane would have remembered their grandfather, all of them would have remembered their grandmother well, she was known as ‘Grandma’. All who have spoken to me of her, speak with great affection.
At some time, possibly in 1941, Bill bought 9 Ashdown Road from his mother, and it was not long after that that Jane died. She had gone into hospital for an appendicitis operation, but at her age she was very frail and didn’t survive it. She was 89. She seems to have lead a happy and active life even after her husband’s death. Here sisters also lived to a good old age, and she saw them frequently.
For some years after Jane’s death, Edie continued to live in the house in Ashdown Road, with her brother William Edward, and his sons Bill and George. After Edie’s son Bob married, he and his wife Eileen also lived there. Although not all the brothers and sisters were in touch all the time, they appear to have remained fairly close.
The house was finally sold in 1955 after Bill’s death, when Edie went to live with her son Bob, and Eileen, at Seaford.