Person Male Born 17/7/1888 Died 18/7/1969
Barrister, literary critic and Charles I obsessive. He hyphenated his Nicholson with his wife's Hope.
Andrew Behan researched this eccentric character, bur first a preamble from Andrew: "I couldn't resist doing this research when I saw all the names. I don't think I have come across a family who used so many forenames for their children (even our own Royal Family usually stops at four). According to Wikipedia 'he counted among various eccentric hobbies a keen interest in King Charles I and was editor of the quarterly magazine of the Society of King Charles the Martyr. He kept a relic from the King's coffin and a piece of the shirt he wore on the scaffold in a box in the consecrated chapel in their London family home, More House, 52 Tite Street, Chelsea. His other great passion was for the Russian ballet. He was the author of The Mindes Delight: or Variety of Memorable Matters Worthy of Observation (1928).
In his Diaries James Lees-Milne quotes an explicit couplet, possibly by John Betjeman, about Hope-Nicholson's habit (at the time unusual for a man) of using make-up:
H is for Hedley, the pride of Old Place,
What he earned from his bottom he spent on his face'.
The observation behind this ditty could have some bearing on why he and his wife lived at different addresses from 1938." Now, the research:
Born William Hedley Kenelm Nicholson on 17 July 1888 in Bowdon, Cheshire, a son of Alfred John Nicholson and Mary Nicholson née Cleghorn. His father was Woollen Merchant and Coat Manufacturer. Together with his twin brother, Sigismund John Nicholson, he was baptised on 14 October 1888 at St John's Church, Altrincham, Cheshire. His brother died, aged 2 years, the death was recorded in the first quarter of 1891 in Chorlton, Lancashire. The 1891 census shows him living at the home of his paternal grandparents and with his parents at Ivy House, Albert Road, Withington, Macclesfield, Lancashire. The 1901 census confirms he was living with his parents, a cook and a housemaid at Asphodel Drive, St Albans, Hertfordshire. On the night of the 1911 census he was visiting one of his maternal aunts, Phillis Vickerman née Cleghorn, at St Austin's, Tomline Road, Felixstowe, Suffolk and his occupation is listed as an Undergraduate Oxford.
On 15 January 1916 he was attested at the St James' Vestry Hall, Piccadilly, joining the 2nd/4th Battalion, The Norfolk Regiment as a private with the service number 6706. He claimed on his application form to be 'Reading for the Bar' and his home address to be 62 Chester Terrace, London, S.W. He was mobilised and posted to the regiment on 29 April 1916, but on 15 May 1916 applied for discharge on medical grounds claiming to be suffering from chronic pulmonary tuberculosis and and an induration of the apex of the left lung.
On 1 June 1916 he married Jaqueline Louise Rachel Hope and gave his new home address as 34 Tite Street, Chelsea. He was discharged from the army on the grounds of 'Not likely to become an efficient soldier' on 27 July 1916.
He changed his name by deed poll to William Hedley Kenelm Hope-Nicholson and he and his wife had three children, Mary Lauretta Jaqueline Carola Desiree Valentine Esmee Hope-Nicholson (1919-2005), Charles Felix Otho Victor Gabriel John Adrian Hope-Nicholson (1921-1990) and Marie-Jaqueline Dorothea Beatrice Alexina Romaine Adriana Hope-Nicholson (1922-2010). Electoral registers from 1922 to 1929 show him residing with his wife and mother-in-law, Laura Elizabeth Rachel Hope at 34 Tite Street. His mother-in-law died in 1929 and they continued to live together at the premises. In 1931 the local council renumbered properties in Tite Street and No.34 become 52 Tite Street. Both he and his wife were also listed as electors in local elections at his business premises, 4 New Square, Lincoln's Inn, London, WC2 from 1930 to 1938.
Telephone directories from 1938 show Mrs Jaqueline Hope-Nicholson listed at 52 Tite Street, but Hedley Hope-Nicholson at 18 First Street, London, SW3. The 1944 London telephone directory shows his address to be 3 Lincoln Street, SW3 and from 1945 the directories show him at 4 Lincoln Street, SW3.
He died, aged 81 years, on 18 July 1969 and his death was registered in Fulham. He was buried in Putney Vale Cemetery & Crematorium, Stag Lane, London, SW15 3DZ. Probate records dated 2 December 1969 show his addresses to have been 4 Lincoln Street, Chelsea and 20 Fitzjames Avenue, West Kensington. His effects totalled £24,910. His wife, who had continued to live at 52 Tite Street died, aged 83 years, on 17 December 1972 leaving an estate totalling £1,488.
Another man who changed his surname to incorporate that of his wife was William Burdett-Coutts.