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Herskind, Holgar William August- biography

Fritz Holgar William August Herskind

(Images and some of the detail kindly donated by his great granddaughter Nina Brammer whose paternal grandmother was Violet Herskind)

Fritz Holgar William August Herskind was born in Aarhus, Denmark on 13 August 1831 to Peter Herskind and his wife Anne Marie Margret.

On 22nd October 1858, he married Cornelia Brammer in Aarhus and they moved to Hartlepool from their native land. Presumably Fritz had a sense of adventure and could see the potential of the quickly growing port in the mid 1800s.
The London Daily Telegraph & Courier of July 10th, 1860, records the dissolving of a partnership between Hermann Julius Schier and Fritz Holger William August Herskind, Merchants of Hartlepool.

On the 1861 census, the couple were living in Cliff Terrace on the Headland which at the time was locally known as ‘millionaire’s row’. The beautiful terrace of substantial 4 storey houses are still there today and look over the North Sea, Tees Bay and in the distance the hills of the Yorkshire Moors, an  ideal location for watching ships coming and going. In 1861, there were no children, Fritz was a coal merchant and the couple had two servants.

The Newcastle Journal of February 19th, 1862, records Fritz making a donation of £1.1s 0d to the Hartley Colliery Disaster Fund. 

In January 1868, their daughter Signe Marie was born in Hartlepool and sadly, her mother Cornelia died in October of the same year. By 1871, Fritz and his young daughter Signe (given as Marie) had moved to Bay House, Foggy Furze, a prestigious area of quite substantial villas in West Hartlepool and they had two female and one male servant. Fritz by 1871 was a shipbroker. The previous year he had become a British Subject.

In 1873, Fritz was remarried to Sophia Blackburne who had been born in Attercliffe, Sheffield to a Church of England Rector. Her father was not alive when she married, and the couple were married by Sophia’s stepbrother who was a clergyman in Chipping Sodbury in Gloucestershire. Fritz was given as a gentleman of West Hartlepool at the time.

The South Durham & Cleveland Mercury of September 29th, 1877 records Fritz making a donation of £5.5s.0d to the Mansion House Fund for the relief of sufferers from the famine in India.

The Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail of January 31st, 1879 gives notice of a Ball to be held in the Athenaeum, at 8.30pm on Friday, February 7th, in aid of funds for Hartlepools' Hospital, noting that Fritz was a member of the Ball Committee.

The 1881 census shows that Fritz and his family had moved to 137 Station Lane, Seaton Carew, West Hartlepool. Although the actual house name is not on the census, we now know it is the propery currently called Dinsdale Lodge, (2023) a large Victorian villa at the east end of the road not far from the sea. He was shown as a shipowner and in the household were Signe (May) Daisy  (who was Margaret Dagmar) aged 6, Violet (Constance Violet Sophie) aged 4 (the Morning Post of Friday, September 26th, 1879 records: Herskind – on the 21st inst., at Seaton, Mrs. Herskind, of a daughter), and Letitia (Letitia Maria) aged 1 year. All three girls were born in Seaton to his second wife Sophia who was not there on census night. There were two visitors and seven servants in the house which indicates Fritz’ prosperity. In 1875, Sophia had given birth to their only son, Edward, in Bristol but he died in 1877 in Seaton Carew.

By 1891, the family had moved to Duchy Court, Harrogate which was a fine house close to The Stray. Fritz by then was an ‘East Indies Shipowner’ and making up the family were Sigme, Dagmar (now apparently born in Ventnor, Isle of Wight where her mother was living in 1861, rather than Seaton Carew) Constance and Beatrice (Letitia) born in Seaton. There was also a 26 year old niece. The number of women in the house seems to have necessitated a dressmaker, a sewing maid, a cook, two housemaids, a parlourmaid, a kitchen maid and a scullery maid ! As Fritz was a pianist, he had a conservatory built onto this home in which he kept two Steinway grand pianos. His daughters all played instruments and the family often gave concerts in their home.

1901 finds the family at Lancaster Gate London. Fritz was a shipowner employing sailors and his wife and four daughters were still at home along with a visiting surgeon and nurse and seven servants. The company offices at this time were in Victoria Terrace, West Hartlepool.

In 1907, Fritz Herskind died at Lancaster Gate but was brought ‘home’ to Seaton Carew for burial in Holy Trinity Churchyard. In the same grave are three of his children, Edward aged 2 in 1877  and Marie in 1939.  His estate was £15,085 .

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