Going back over things 2

I’m sitting here about to embark on the next chapter, chronicling the life of my mother’s grandfather Alfred Edgar Goss Ellicott, when it strikes me; there’s an anomaly here. Well, not so much an anomaly so much as a missing link or two.
When I was tracing the life of his father, William, I couldn’t help but notice the progress of his daughter Adela and her sisters in the drapery business – the census records were quite clear on the matter; throughout the period Adela, Annie and Julia are living with their parents and so, without really trying, we can follow their career paths too.
Turning to the available trade directories for Torquay confirms “A&J Ellicott, Drapers and Milliners” registered at the family address. All well and good until I turn to Alfred and remember that he too was a draper and shopkeeper. So where’s his business entry? Despite an extensive search of available resources, Alfred refuses to be found and then the penny drops; A&J Ellicott – Alfred and Julia? Adela, Alfred, Annie and Julia?
Of course, Alfred has his own family and his own place while his sisters remain unmarried living ‘at home’ but it must be that it’s a whole family business, Alfred would not set up in competition would he?
But then I start wondering. The census shows Adela is an employer, Alfred is a shopkeeper and this is late Victorian Britain; Is Alfred just the figurehead, the public face of A&J Ellicott so they can allow the public to assume the ‘A’ is for Alfred when in reality is remains Adela’s business?
I need to find out more about this before I can write Alfred’s story.


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