Mayor 1853 – 1854.


Member of the Conservative Party.

A member of the established church – Church of England.

Charles moved with his parents to Ipswich in 1816. He entered the Council in 1849 as one of the representatives of the Bridge Ward.


Born: 25th September 1807, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire.

Baptised: 5th December 1807, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire.


Father: Richard Hall Gower, born November 1767, Chelmsford, Essex – died July 1833 on his Nova Scotia estate, Ipswich.


Mother: Elizabeth Gower (nee Emptage), born 1781, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire – died 11th November 1840, Nova Scotia House, Ipswich.


In 1817, Richard & Elizabeth moved to Nova Scotia House, Wherstead Road, Ipswich. Their family home was upriver from Halifax Mill on the West Bank, with gardens reaching down to the shore of the River Orwell.


Richard Gower was educated at Ipswich Grammar School, before moving up to Winchester College. In 1780, he entered the service of the Honourable East India Company as a Midshipman. Richard rose to Chief Mate of the ‘Essex’ and qualified as Captain. By 1800, Richard had resigned his appointment to give his full attention to naval architecture and improvements to naval instruments. With empirical evidence Richard devoted his time to his inventions and designs, which for most he defended with applications for patents. He became the author of pamphlets and supplements on nautical subjects, rigging of vessels, seamanship, and the betterment of the common sailor. The four mast barquetines ‘Transit’ were designed and built to the order of Richard. In 1799, the first built at Itchenor, West Sussex, and launched in 1800. Another ‘Transit’ was built and launched from the Halifax Yard, Ipswich. After successful demonstrations and trails, Richard tried hard to sell his design, but the Royal Navy, the East India Company, and private merchants, were not interest. Gower Street in Ipswich was named after Captain Richard Gower.




Mary Ann Gower, born 1803, Cheshunt, baptised 16th February 1803, Cheshunt. On the 4th June 1844, at St. Peter’s Church, Great Totham, Essex, Mary Ann married Cuthbert William Johnson, born 21st September 1799, Widmore House, Bromley, Kent. A barrister admitted a member of Gray’s Bar, January 1832, and elected F.R.S., March 1842, and a writer on agriculture, fertilisers, and rural affairs. Cuthbert was one of the earliest members of the Local Board of Health and an advocate of the Health Act. Mary Ann Johnson, of 5, Cornwall Terrace, Croydon, Surrey died 5th October 1861, at Lee, Kent. Laid to rest 10th October 1861, at St. Peter’s Churchyard, Croydon, Surrey. Cuthbert Johnson died 8th March 1878, at ‘Waldronhyrst’ Waldrons, Croydon, Surrey.


Richard Emptage Gower, born 1804, Cheshunt, baptised 7th September 1804, Cheshunt. Richard married Susannah Salter, born 1806, Winfarthing, Norfolk, daughter of John Salter, a Linen & Hemp weaver & manufacturer, & Rhoda Salter (nee Long). Susannah and Richard had four children. Susannah Gower died 1883, at her residence Kentucky House, Anglesea Road, Ipswich. Richard Gower died 11th April 1890, at his residence Kentucky House, Anglesea Road, Ipswich.


Elizabeth Gower, born 1806, Cheshunt, baptised 24th July 1806, Cheshunt – died 18th April 1900, Nova Scotia House, Wherstead Road, Ipswich.


Sarah Rozanne Gower, born 1811, Cheshunt, baptised 30th August 1811, Cheshunt – died 1854, Nova Scotia House, Wherstead Road, Ipswich.


Caroline Gower, born 1813, Cheshunt, baptised 30th April 1813, Cheshunt – died 26th April 1883, Nova Scotia House, Wherstead Road, Ipswich.


Charlotte Gower, born 18th August 1817, St. Mary Stoke, Ipswich, baptised 28th September 1817, St. Mary at Stoke Church, Ipswich – died 26th September 1883, Nova Scotia House, Wherstead Road, Ipswich.


Captain Richard Gower had a strong disgust of public schools so educated his 5 children at home.




1841   Nova Scotia House, Wherstead Road, St. Mary Stoke, Ipswich.


Charles was 30 years old, a Merchant. He was married and head of the household, his wife’s sister was staying at his family home.

Sarah, 30.

Charles, 4.

John, 3.

Mary, 1.

Eliza Badham, 20, an Independent, born Bulmer, Essex.

2 female servants.

1 male servant.


1851   Nova Scotia House, Wherstead Road, St. Mary Stoke, Ipswich.


Charles was 43 years old, a Merchant. He was married and head of the household.

Sarah, 41.

Charles, 14.

John, 12.

Mary, 11.

Elizabeth, 9.

Sarah, 5.

1 cook.

1 general domestic servant.

1 male servant.


1861   Nova Scotia House, Wherstead Road, St. Mary Stoke, Ipswich.


Charles was 53 years old, a Magistrate, and a Manufacturer of Soap. He was married and head of the household, his wife’s sister was staying at his family home.

Sarah, 51.

Mary, 21.

Elizabeth, 19.

Eliza Badham, 42.

2 general domestic servants.


On the 12th November 1835, at St. Andrew’s Church, Bulmer, Essex, Charles married Sarah Badham, born May 1810, Long Melford, Suffolk – daughter of David and Rebecca Badham.


Father: David Badham, born 1784, London – died 16th November 1865, The Cedars, Bulmer, Essex. A Deputy Lieutenant and for nearly 60 years a Justice of the Peace.


Mother: Rebecca Badham (nee Pung), born 15th September 1774, Sudbury, Suffolk – died 24th April 1826, The Cedars, Bulmer, Essex.

Rebecca and Charles were laid to rest at the Badham family vault, at St. Andrew’s churchyard, Bulmer, Essex.


Charles & Sarah had 5 children:


Charles Foote Gower, born 15th October 1836, St. Mary Stoke, Ipswich, baptised 22nd November 1836, at St. Mary at Stoke Church, Ipswich. A Civil Engineer and surveyor. On the 15th October 1901, at St. John the Baptist Church, Frenchay, Gloucestershire, Charles married Mary Harriett Brooke, born 1861, Capel St. Mary, Suffolk – daughter of John Brooke & Eleanor Brooke (nee Josselyn), a Gentleman and Farmer of Capel St. Mary. Charles Gower died 9th January 1922, Nova Scotia House, Wherstead Road, Ipswich. Mary Gower died 29th December 1939, 3, Drybridge Hill, Woodbridge, Suffolk.


John Nathaniel Gower, born 9th April 1838, St. Mary Stoke, Ipswich, baptised 18th May 1838, at St. Mary at Stoke Church, Ipswich. On the 20th September 1870, at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, John married Elizabeth Erskine Forbes-Mitchell, born 23rd March 1840, Kintore, Aberdeenshire – daughter of Duncan Forbes-Mitchell & Maria Forbes-Mitchell nee Bromley, of the Thainston & East Beltline estates. John was an Officer for the 78th (Highlanders) Regiment of Foot, The Ross-shire Buffs. By purchase of the junior rank of Ensign on the 1st May 1857, he became Lieutenant by non-purchase on the 20th November 1857, a Captain by non-purchase on the 26th October 1865, a Brevet Major, on the 13th February 1878. John retired on the 25th May 1878, as an Honorary Lieutenant Colonel in Her Majesty Army. John returned to Ipswich, where he and Elizabeth made their family home at West Tower, Norwich Road. John Gower died 28th August 1905, at 54, Creffield Road, Colchester, Essex. Elizabeth Gower died 17th May 1928, at Dacca House, 2, Queen’s Road, Colchester.


Mary Rebecca Gower, born 1840, St. Mary Stoke, Ipswich, baptised 14th January 1840, at St. Mary at Stoke Church, Ipswich. On the 30th December 1892, at St. Mary at Stoke Church, Ipswich. Mary married her maternal cousin Charles Badham, born 1841, Waldringfield, Suffolk – died 27th December 1915, at The Moat, Great Cornard, Suffolk. Mary Badham died 12th April 1917, at The Moat, Great Cornard – laid to rest 16th April 1917, with Charles at the Badham family vault, at St. Andrew’s churchyard, Bulmer, Essex.


Elizabeth Lucy Gower, born 1842, St. Mary Stoke, Ipswich, baptised 14th April 1842, St. Mary at Stoke Church, Ipswich. Elizabeth resided with her brother, Charles at Nova Scotia House. Elizabeth died 26th September 1933, at Oakham House, Barham, Suffolk.


Sarah Caroline Alice Gower, born Valentine’s Day, 1846, St. Mary Stoke, Ipswich, baptised 14th April 1846, at St. Mary at Stoke Church, Ipswich – died 1853, Ipswich.


Charles Gower died 28th January 1867, at his residence Nova Scotia House, Ipswich.


Probate to Sarah Gower – widow.


Sarah Gower died 10th November 1888, Nova Scotia House, Ipswich.


Probate to Charles Foote Gower – son, a Civil Engineer, of Nova Scotia House, Wherstead Road, Ipswich & John Nathaniel Gower – son, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in Her Majesty’s Army, of West Tower, Norwich Road, Ipswich.



Charles was in partnership with Joah Hunt, of 60, St. Peter’s Street, Ipswich. Joah was also a Liberal Councillor and Magistrate. Under the title ‘Gower And Hunt Soap Works,’ they were based at St. Peter’s, Ipswich. The company used 2 – 3 tons of grease a fortnight. Charles and Joah advertised in local newspapers to farmers and gardeners of the large quantity of soap ashes to be disposed of, for immediate removal and CHEAP! These ashes are valuable for manure, as they consist of chalk saturated by a considerable proportion of the Salts of Soda.

Joah Hunt continued the business after the death of Charles Gower in January 1867.


On Wednesday, 14th October 1868, at Ipswich, Joah Hunt and his late partner’s widow Sarah Gower went to the County Court, to put their case before Judge of the County Court of Suffolk, Mr. John Worlledge, Esq. Mr. Edward Broughton Broughton Rouse appeared for the plaintiffs; Mr. Sanderson Corpe on behalf of the Great Eastern Railway.

In February 1868, Joah entered into a contract with Messrs. Wilson and Co., Glue Works, of Bevington, near Birkenhead, for 70 tons of grease used in the manufacture of soap, to be supplied throughout the year. The nearest railway station was Bebington on the North Western Railway, so Joah wrote to Mr. William Birt, general goods traffic manager, of the Great Eastern Railway asking what would be the through rate from station to station of four ton lots from the purchased 70 tons of grease from Messrs. Wilson and Co throughout the year. Before any final arrangement had been made as to the rate Gower And Hunt received 12 tons of the grease. The charge was 30s. at first, and afterwards, the charge was 35s. 10d.

On the 5th June Gower And Hunt received an invoice from the senders, and the Ipswich company knew their goods would be no more than two or three days on the route. Ten casks of the grease were sent off from Bebington Railway Station on the North Western Railway on the 8th June, but they did not arrive at Ipswich for ten or eleven days. Joah went to Ipswich Railway Station to look at the casks. The head of one cask was out, and all the grease was gone, and the other casks were more or less damaged, the hoops of some being off. Joah told the head clerk at the Goods Station that he declined to receive the casks. The Clerk replied, “You had better take them, the damage can’t be disputed,” but Joah them, but afterwards he received a message from the Clerk that the casks were in a bad state, and that he had better get them. Again, Joah declined to take the responsibility of removing them in the state they were in, so the Clerk sent the casks by their own carter to the Soap Works warehouse. Joah declined to sign for the receipt of the casks unless he had an assurance that he would be compensated for the damage done.

 At the Crown Court the plaintiffs Joah Hunt and Sarah Gower sought to recover the sum of £32 18s., for that the defendants the Great Eastern Railway contracted to carry a quantity of grease in four ton lots, from the Bebington Railway Station, on the London and North Western Railway, to the Ipswich Station; and on or about the 5th June, 1868, the defendants detained ten casks of grease, containing 4 tons 11 cwt., and the grease was carried to Ipswich, but so negligently carried and delayed that the plaintiffs sustained damages in loss of weight 14 cwt. 3qrs. 21 lbs. at 32s. per cwt., – £23 18s., damage to casks, £1, and loss through delay in delivery £8.

The Judge Mr. John Worlledge, Esq., after hearing the evidence from both the plaintiffs and defendants said he would give the case his best attention to decide what the law was. He would look into the authorities in order to enlighten his mind on the subject. He would give judgement in the case at the next court.

 On Wednesday, 2nd December 1868, Joah Hunt and his late partner’s widow Sarah Gower returned to the County Court, to hear the judgement. The Judge of the County Court of Suffolk, Mr. John Worlledge, Esq., spoke to the plaintiff and defendants that after considering the state of the law with reference to the liability of the Railway Company for the loss of goods, when the goods pass over the railways of different companies in their transit from the receiving station to the delivery station. He, therefore, did not think that the supplementary evidence helped the plaintiff’s case, and he decided the case for the defendants, and the judgement of nonsuit must be entered with costs. Ipswich Journal – Saturday, 17th October 1868 and the Suffolk Chronicle – Saturday, 5th December 1868

After the retirement of his business partner Joah Hunt, Charles’s nephews Thomas Foote Gower and Walter Gower (sons of his brother Richard and Susannah Gower, of Kentucky House, Anglesea Road, Ipswich), who had been employed with the Company from an early age as Clerks continued ‘Gower And Hunt – Eastern Counties Soap Works,’ at their Grey Friars, Ipswich works and advertised their finest Primrose Bar Soaps, those branded “G & H” are pure, and being manufactured only from the finest materials, cannot injure the most delicate skin or the finest fabric. Their old-fashioned Bar Soaps will do the work at half the cost of those packed in cardboard boxes. The Laundry Soap – a one-pound tablet unrivalled for its economy and cleansing power. An indispensable requisite in every household.



Image courtesy of Mr. A. Gilbert – Ipswich Borough Council.

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