William Harris Jr and son Ronald Harris

I’m being really optimistic.  My Dad has always known that his father, William Harris,  had been in the Merchant Navy during the war at some time,  BUT never knew anything about what he did, or about what happened while he was there.  This I think is going to change very soon.  I recently discovered that the Merchant Navy website offers a service for £50, for which they research their records and supply information they may have on an individual who served in the Merchant Navy during the war.

But to apply for this information we wanted to supply the Merchant Navy my grandfathers date of birth. And we had no clue as to when or where he died until now.   My father even thought he may have actually died in the war as he had never heard ever again since he vanished in 1943.  Read more in the the post -> William Harris rediscovered.  Morlin, who’s parents had been good friends with William Harris in Wales after the war, had no record of the date he died, and she only suspected he had probably died in a nursing home or hospital in Llandudno  or Colwyn Bay between 1981 and 1984.

Back in October 2009, I contacted the Gwynedd Registry office,  and they tried to be so helpful, but they could not find any record of William Harris with the little information that I supplied. No wonder, I had no date of birth, no exact place of death, and only a date of death that was somewhere between 1980 and 1985.  I also had no idea which nursing home or hospital in North Wales that he had died in. Not much to go on, no wonder we got no results back in October.

About a month later, I had made contact with Sophia and as a result my parents travelled to Caernarfon to meet her to try to learn more about the life of William Harris after the war. We managed to narrow down the date of Williams death to either 1982 or 1983,  and then just a couple of weeks ago Morlin somehow tracked down Williams will and registration of probate, and sent me copies. What a result!!! We finally have a date of death –  10th December 1982. Thank you Morlin! Any chance I can publish the will and probate on this post please?

Now finally,  having his actual date of death, I provided my father with contact details for Gwynedd registry office, and he arranged for Cathy who works there to attempt another search for William. She got a hit almost straight away. She promply contacted my parents, received a small payment for the document, and immediately posted it to them. My parents are finally the proud owners of my grandfathers death certificate, which has not only provided us with his date of birth, but also with the fact that he died at the Great Orme nursing home in Llandudno.

great ormeNow finally, knowing William Harris’s date of birth, my father has been able to complete the Merchant Navy’s application form in the hope of discovering even more about his fathers life time during the war.  We hope to learn more about his rescues from the sea after two different torpedo attacks (his hair turned white overnight after one of them) , and you never know, some information provided by the Merchant Navy may even hold a clue as to why he returned to his wife and family in 1943, one last time, never to return again.

The Merchant Navy’s application form has now been sent along with payment. Confirmation of its receipt and a contact name of their assigned researcher has already been emailed to us..  Wow!  What an amazing service….   So, my family and I are now waiting in the greatest anticipation – for more news about William Harris..

I will write more as soon as I know any more. If you want to automatically receive the next published post by email, please click this link here and enter your email address.

More to come – I hope 😉

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William Harris (1901-1982) – Rediscovered…

William Harris’s   DESCENDENTS and/or   ANCESTORS in the HARRIS family Tree (Click links to view)

William  Harris was the son of Lionel Harris, the brother of Tomas Harris and Enriqueta Harris. He was also my Fathers Father AND  my Grandfather who I never knew.

Lastest changes  highlighted in green (25th Feb 2010) Updates gathered from William Harris’s registered Probate document, and a copy of  his latest will ( written in 1954 ). Copies of these documents were received today from Morlin . Thank you Morlin! yellow (Nov 2010) William was born at 21 Lymington Road, Hampstead  31/5/1901 and died at the *Great Orme Nursing Home, Llandudno on 10th December 1982.

* Having got an accurate date of death, Dad and I finally located  Williams Death certificate from the council offices at Gwynnedd (I had tried back in November without success as his date of death was thought to be anytime between 1980 and 1984 -too vague) . The death certificate provided two new pieces of information 1)  Williams date of birth  and 2) which  Nursing Home William had lived (and died) in .

My grandmother, Anna Bersteinwas his second wife and bore him three boys, Gordon, Ronald and David.

When my father Ronald was 16 years old during world War II, his father William came to visit his mother for the last time, and my father never saw or heard from him again. My father, now in his young 80’s has just this year discovered that not only did his father not die during the war but lived a respectable life in Wales until 1982

After the war William Harris worked at the Hawker Siddeley plant in Broughtonon the outskirts of Chester which is now known as Airbus UK. While working there William met May Evens who became his partner until he died.  He could never have married May Evans, because he was still married to Anna and he never made contact with again after 1942.  It is said, but not believed by all, that he tried to  locate Anna his wife after the war but had been informed that she had  returned to Poland with her three sons, which was not the case.

Anna raised her three sons as a single parent in London and in the Home counties by having a hat business in Bond Street, a refuge for US soldiers during the war and after the war a nursing home in Eton Avenue, Swiss cottage, London. This nursing home was converted into 6 flats after Annas death in the late 1950’s by my father,  Ronald Harris (William and Annas 2nd son), and in 1959 Ronald married my Viennese mother, Hildegard Maresch from Vienna.  My parents were living in one of the converted flats in Eton Avenue when I was born in 1960.

William and May Evans moved to Festiniog in North West Wales after working in Chester,  and lived above a rented shop to start their antiques business below.

From Documents just received (Williams registered probate and a copy of his will),   I am now able to confirm that William had known May Evans  (Miss Hannah Mary Evans) since at least  1946 because his will which was written on 31st May 1954 states that she had helped him build up his business for the last 8 years (ie 1946-1954). William and Mays address in 1954 is stated on his will as Bryn Dewi, St Davids Road a three storey  house in Caernarfon, Gwynedd, Wales, and their address at the time of Williams death was stated on his registered probate documents as being at Flat 27 Llys, Maelgwyn, Gloddaeth Avenue, Llandudno, Gwynedd, Wales. William Harris’s date of death is now finally confirmed as  10th December 1982 !

In 1953,  after they had a son who they named David William, who they gave up for adoption (  discovered Nov 2011 – Born as William Maurice Evans in 1944, Adopted in March 1946 at Evesham Magistrates Court, adopted name Martin Goodall ) , they gave up (or sold) their business  and moved to Caenarfon and started another antique business, with a  shop called ‘The Regent Antique Company’ – now in 2009 it is an upmarket gift shop.  Caernarfon is a small Welsh Castle town, and the shop was located inside the castle walls. William Harris was a member at Caernarfon sailing club, for the social life (not the sailing) and became a well respected antiques dealer and salesman, assited by his assistent called Sophia.  During their time in Caernarfon  they had moved from their bungalow to a flat and eventually retired to Llandudno William and May had first moved to Bryn Dewi a three storey house in St Davids Road then to Waterloo Post, again a three storey house, then to a small bungalow on Bangor Road, which was called ‘Casita’ (Small house in Spanish), then to another house called ‘Linton’ in Bethel Road, and from there they then retired to Llandudno.

In the early 1970’2 William and May Evans retired to Llandudno. Morlin recently  found an old address book showing the address : 27 Gloddaeth Flats, Gloddaeth Road, Llandudno In the early 1980’s he became ill and lived out his final years in two nursing homes in Llandudno. His sisters provided some funding to enable him to be transferred from the first nursing home into a private one. He died on December 10th 1982 at the private nursing home and he had his ashes thrown out to sea by a friend of his,  from a boat just off the beaches of Caernarfon.

William had befriended a couple who owned a hotel in Caernafon and had a daughter called Morlin. Morlins parents, Morlin and Sophia (Williams shop assistant) had all known William well. They describe him as a reserved man.  They had met and become aquainted with many of Williams brothers and sisters who were called Enriqueta, Violetta, Conchita, Tomas (see other links on Garbo & MI5), Maurice, and Lional and his two sons, David and Anthony. Sophia became good friends with David when he was a young boy,  and she has not seen him in many years. She does not have any knowledge of where he is today, so if anyone reading this knows him, please contact Anita Harris and all information will be forwarded to Sophia.

Just this year Morlin, while carrying out research for Nigel Glendinning from the London University about the Harris family and their connections to the Art World in England and Spain, discovered my fathers name on the internet on a family tree website. This website connected my father with the unusual names Enriqueta Rodrigues and Spain and a father called William Harris. She contacted him by email asking if he was the Ronald Harris who could possibly be the son of the William Harris she grew up knowing. It was a long shot, because William Harris had not made it public knowledge that he had a past that included a wife and three sons in London.

Morlin, Sophia and Nigel have enabled us to fill in a lot of gaps and create a fuller picture about our family, family stories and our family history of art dealers, artists, MI5 officers .. the list goes on…

There is only one place to put all the information we have been gathering since a most pleasant and memorable dinner with Morlin and Nigel, and since my parents 5 day trip to Caernarfon to meet Sophia.   And that place is HERE …  on the Internet…. on this HARRIS FAMILY website.

This Website and my family tree on the tribalpages together contain all I know at this point in time about my HARRIS FAMILY history. All new information would be greatly appreciated..

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Tomas Harris created a lot of art, of many kinds, including ceramics, oil paintings, engravings, dry points, lithographs, watercolours, sketches and also tapestries (View my Tomas Harris ART Gallery, showing almost 200 pieces <—click here ).

Tomas wanted to try his hand at making tapestries just like Goya Francisco did, using the same weavers that Goya had used. Goyas’ exclusive tapestries were all made at the Royal Factory in Madrid, so that was why Tomas had his three made there too.

So in the early 1950’s Tomas created three cartoons (the weavers use these as blueprints) and had a tapestry woven for each one.  It was a very lengthy and expensive process.

Tapestry Loom at the Royal Factory in MadridTapestry Loom

Bristol Museum with signature of weaver (bottom right margin)<— This is one of the woven tapestries which is now (in all its glory, and in colour) at the Bristol Museum at the time of writing, but is not currently on public display. Notice the weavers personal signature woven into the fabric (bottom right).

This image is shown in the 1975 Courtauld Exhibition Catalogue - Cacti - Cartoon for a tapestry,  dated January, 1955The Factory had some kind of official state support under Franco, but in recent years the owners have been trying to sell it without much success.

 

In 1955, Tomas organised and held an exhibition for his tapestries, in Madrid, with a  famous speaker friend of his,  Valentine de Sambricio, who was an Art Historian.. The exhibition provided information about the process of creating the tapestries, and how the weavers signature came to be in the border of the final pieces.  The photos of the looms above are rare and the looms were part of the exhibits in the exhibition.

Today the thee tapestries are in museums around the world, one in Spain, one in England, and one in Australia.

Bristol Museum with sig

 

This Tapestry is held at the Bristol Museum in England, but is not on public display.

Tapestry woven at the Royal Factory Spain (2)

 

This tapestry is at the museum in Seville, Museo de Sevilla.

 

 

 

 

Tapestry woven at the Royal Factory Spain (3)

The third tapestry is at a museum in Melbourne, at the National Gallery of Victoria (Victoria State Gallery). It was gifted to the museum by Tomas’s three sisters (Enriqueta, Conchita and Violeta Harris) after the 1975 Tomas Harris Courtauld Exhibition. (The introduction in the catalogue for the 1975 exhibition was written by the well known Anthony Blunt <— read the introduction

 

Tomas was well known and respected in the Art World – worldwide.

 

DSCN3536

Apparently, last year, 2009, an exhibition of modern tapestries made by the Royal Factory in Madrid, was held, and a catalogue was produced.  Unfortunately, there was no mention of Tomas Harris in it, and so it has been assumed that it is very likely that Tomas had actually commissioned the tapestries to be made at the factory.

Subscribe to Email updates <— here, to stay informed.

I am currently hoping to receive new information about these tapestries from a major expert on tapestries in Spain, who will be visiting the museum in Seville in the near future, and who has very  detailed knowledge of the history of the Madrid factory and currently works as curator of the Royal Tapestry collection at the Palace in Madrid.   I will update this post if/when I receive further information.

Bristol Museum, in England National Gallery of  Victoria in MelbourneSeville Museum, in Spain

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Harris, Barnett and Lazarus Family Tree updates

Thanks to Carol Kino (My father’s second cousin’s daughter), John Gould (my grandfather’s second cousin’s son) and Shlomo Shalev (no relation) I have made MAJOR  progress on my Harris Family Tree and also received some of the photographs below which I have already added to my Gallery of Family Photos.

John, Shlomo and I made contact through our TribalPages Family Tree websites. Carol found me through this website. My website now has 240 relatives, it stood at about 130 this time last month. Its been a busy month!

My Great Great Grandparents were William Harris and Eve Barnett

Eve Barnetts mother was Caroline Lazarus, her father was Abraham Barnett, her sister was Julia Barnett, and Eve and William had NINE Children, two of which are pictured below – Lionel Harris (my Great Grandfather), and Ethel Harris (Carol Kino’s Great Grandmother)

To view my Eve Harris (nee Barnett) Family Tree <— Click link.

Caroline Barnett nee Lazarus (Eve Barnets Mother)Abraham Barnett b1808Eve Harris nee Barnett b. 1841  Julia Barnett nee Mandelstam (Eve Barnetts sister)Ethel Harris b1865 (Eve Barnetts daughter) Carol Kinos Great Grandmother  Lionel Harris - (Eve Barnetts Son ) My Great Grandfather

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I have accumulated quite a few images of the various catalogues produced for exhibitions held by Tomas Harris around the world, not only for exhibitions showing his fine collections of Art by famous artists but also for exhibitions displaying art actually created by Tomas himself.

To View the whole Tomas Harris Exhibition Catalogue Gallery <— click link

Tomas Harris Ltd,  29 Bruton Street

      2009 August - Tomas Harris - Andratx segons Harris - Mallorca page1

 

Other galleries about Tomas Harris on this website can be viewed by clicking any of the thumbnails below

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