After his service in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment during World War One, Ernest returned to his work as a master printer and partner with his father in the family business, A. E. Maisey & Son, 95 Warwick Street, Leamington Spa.
Although he had survived the war, the immediate postwar years were ones of personal loss when he experienced four family bereavements in three years. He lost the four people closest to him: his wife, his parents and his sole sibling. His mother Mary Louise died in June 1920, his sister Edith Roberts on 23 January 1921, his wife Emma Jane on 30 September 1923, and his father Alfred Edward on 23 December 1923.
While the deaths of his elderly parents and his ailing sister might have been expected, the death of his wife Emma, aged 44 years, as the result of an operation, was sudden and unexpected. Ernest was now the head of his much-reduced family, requiring him to administer their estates, as well as being the sole proprietor of the printing business, and the father of two motherless children, aged 12 and 11 years respectively. He continued to run the business with the assistance of Reginald Baum Webb, an assistant printer who had joined the company in 1919.
He remarried in 1925 to Clemence Mary Hodgkinson, the younger sister of his deceased first wife, the 1907 Deceased Wife’s Sister’s Marriage Act ensuring this second marriage was permissible and legal. His new wife seems to have assisted him in the retail side of the business, as she was reported in the local press as being fined ten shillings in November 1928 for selling a firework to a child under the age of 13 years. The following year his son Harold, now seventeen, was also fined ten shillings for riding his motorcycle in nearby Cubbington without a rear light.
A popular figure
Ernest died on 8 May 1934 at the Warneford Hospital, Leamington Spa, aged 55, leaving an estate valued at £3,196 3s 6d. His widow, Clemence, survived him for another twenty-three years, and died in 1957.
Ernest’s obituary published in the Coventry Evening Telegraph in 1934 gives a picture of a popular man, engaged in community activities beyond home and business. There was mention of his wartime service with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and he was said to be an “excellent rifle shot”, involved in the Leamington Air Gun League and the Old Comrades’ Rifle Association after the war. He was active in the local British Legion and was also a member of the Odd Fellows, a friendly society offering charitable support to members in need, and had been a Past Grand Master of the Guy’s Cliffe Lodge.
The printing business continues
The printing business of A. E. Maisey & Son continued for another thirty years. In October 1934, Ernest’s executors sold it to his employee, Reginald Baum Webb, and Hatton J. H. Edwards, who had previously worked as an experienced manager for Burgis & Colbourne, the Leamington grocery firm. In 1952, Webb, now the sole proprietor, moved the undertaking from 95 Warwick Street to larger premises at 4 Morrell Street and in July 1967, the business was merged with Kennard’s printer, thereafter known as Maisey & Kennard, printers, and operated until the late 1970s.
This story is part of the Warwickshire Bytes ‘After the Tribunals’ project, which ran from 2019 to 2020.