Jonathan & Edith Hunnisett of Eastbourne

Jon in 1925
Edith and Jon - 1925

Jonathan Caleb Hunnisett, a son of William and Sarah Ann, was born at Stone Cross, Westham, on 27 January 1884. First registered as John Caleb, this was later changed to Jonathan Caleb. He was a boat builder's apprentice in 1901 but later became a milkman, which was his trade for most of his working life. He worked for Frowd's Alderney Dairy Ltd, who had premises at 16 & 264 Seaside and 7 Station Parade, Terminus Road.

Edith Bishop, daughter of Robert and Hephzibah, was born in Cley-Next-The-Sea, Norfolk, on 2 April 1884. She was a housemaid in Ware, Hertfordshire, in 1901 but later worked in Eastbourne where she met Jonathan.

Jonathan married Edith at Christchurch, Eastbourne, on 19 September 1908. They had planned to be married in May but it was postponed due to the untimely death of his younger sister Violet, of TB, just before the wedding. They had four children born in Eastbourne:

Violet Ella (Ella)

8 July 1909

bapt. 5 Sep 1909 E'bn, Christchurch

Doris May (Dot)

12 Dec 1910

bapt. 5 Feb 1911 E'bn, Christchurch

Sydney Harold (Syd)

27 Apr 1914

bapt. 7 June 1914 E'bn, St Andrew

Gordon Derek (Derek)

16 Sep 1918

bapt. 12 Oct 1918 E'bn, St Andrew

Derek, Syd, Ella & Dot 1925
Derek, Syd,
Ella & Dot 1925

When their first child was born they were living at 4 Seaford Road but shortly afterwards moved to 451 Seaside on what has always been known as the 'high pavement' because of the raised area in front of the shops. This house was also occupied by his parents and two brothers in 1911, but they later moved out, to Ballast Cottage further down Seaside. The houses in Seaside have since been renumbered and 451 is now 417. When his father died in 1919 his mother, Sarah Ann, and his brother, William (mentally retarded due to childhood meningitis), moved back in with them. In about 1925 they moved to Channel View Road where Jonathan bought number 76.

During the First World War he was in the Labour Corps and sent to work on a farm near Colchester. Ella remembered that while there he broke his arm and returned to Eastbourne wearing a blue uniform. During the Second World War he worked as a porter in Bobby's department store from 25 September 1940 until the end of the war.

Edith died on 19 February 1944 and Jonathan died on 19 March 1953. Both were buried at Langney Cemetery where a headstone commemorates them and Jonathan's brother William.

MI in Langney Cemetery
In Langney Cemetery,

loving memory of
my devoted wife
died February 19th 1944
aged 59 years
husband of the above
died March 19th 1953
aged 68 years
brother of the above
died April 19th 1954 aged 71 years

Of their children:

  • Ella lived for a while in Ballast Cottage with her grandparents, William and Sarah Ann. This was probably during the First World War. She also remembered visiting her great grandmother, Naomi Elphick, in Friday Street. In 1932 she married Jack (William John Lewis), a sailor who served on the royal yacht and they had four children; Mary (1934), Violet (1936), Jacqueline (1946) and Barry (1948). They continued to live in the family home at 76 Channel View Road. After Jack retired they moved to Gosport, but after he died Ella moved back to Eastbourne where she died of a heart attack, on 11 June 1991.
  • Dot married John William 'Jack' Young, a fireman in London, in 1936 and they had three sons John (1937), Robert (1940) and Colin (1946). It was while visiting Dot and Jack in Wimbledon that Sydney first met his future wife, one of the two daughters of another fireman. Dot died in Calne, Wiltshire, in February 1991 and Jack in 1995.
  • Sydney was an electrician, married Winifred Winchester, and lived in Eastbourne (see Sydney & Winifred Hunnisett).
  • Derek was not very strong as a child and was sent to an open air school in Old Town. He apprenticed as a printer and his first foreman was a Reg Hunnisett who was a lay preacher and travelled to work on a motorcycle. Derek was a keen sailor in his younger days and at the start of World War II applied to join the navy. He was, however, put into the army and was captured in Belgium at the time of the retreat to Dunkirk and spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner, mostly in Poland and East Prussia. He later wrote an account of his wartime experiences which has not been published but a synopsis appears on the page Derek's war.

    On 6 September 1947 he married Ethel Mary Winchester in Wimbledon and they lived in Eastbourne where he worked as a printer. They had two daughters; Susan (1948) and Marjorie (1954). By the time Marjorie was born they had moved to Parkfield Avenue in Hampden Park. Later the family moved to Aylesbury where they lived at 47 Fleet Street. There Derek worked for the local printer, Hazel Watson & Viney until he retired. They then moved to Newton Longville, near Milton Keynes with Ethel's mother, Marjorie Winchester.

    Derek was always a keen modeller, specialising in miniatures of old sailing ships. He won many prizes and sold a lot of his models, many to a dealer in the USA.

    Derek died in Oxford on 27 October 1990 after heart surgery and was buried in Newton Longville. Ethel died on 11 October 2020 and was also buried in Newton Longville.