Louise Heilgers. Again, I have to thank John Herrington for getting this one started, as it was he who did the initial research.
"According to the 1911 census, this seems to be Louise Helene Henrieth Heilgers, aged 28 and described as an author, living with her mother in Fulham," says John. "I found her birth on FreeBMD which is 1882 and lists her as Louise Henriette Heilgers. I assume Henriette is correct—I haven't subscribed so cannot see original document. She married in 1919—as Louise H. H. Heilgers. But the groom is odd: he is listed as both Charles Hosken and Charles Granville. Also a Louise Heilgers is born in Fulham in 1913—mother's maiden name given as Heilgers. Since Louise Heilgers was in Fulham in 1911, seems likely this is her child."
Potentially there's lots of fun to be had here.
First thing that strikes me is that Heilgers is a very uncommon name and a quick dig around the internet showed that one Frederick William Heilgers ran a successful shipping business between London, Calcutta and Australia. They get a brief mention in Montague Massey's Recollections of Calcutta for over Half a Century...
F.W. Heilgers & Co., in the far distant past, were known as Wattenbach Heilgers & Co. When I first remember them they had their offices in an old building occupying the site of Balmer Lawrie & Co's handsome new premises, after which they removed to 136, Canning Street, where they remained for a very great number of years, until the Chartered Bank of India, etc., built their present offices when they took over and rented the whole of the second floor.In the 1850s, Wattenbach, Heilgers & Co. commissioned Rickmers to build three cargo ships, the Winterthur (1853), Ida Ziegler (1854) and Augustus Wattenbach (1855). They also had interests in jute mills in Calcutta. Augustus Wattenbach eventually left the partnership in 1872. Frederick William Heilgers also became a director of the Chartered Bank of India, Australia and Chine.
When Frederick William Heilgers died on 15 February 1885, he left over £100,000. The company then passed to William Heilgers and Robert Philip Heilgers who had previously been partners in F. W. Heilgers & Co. The business was subsequently taken over by Alexander Frederick Heilgers, who later became sole head of the firm when Robert Philip Heilgers (c.1855-1922) retired in April 1894. It would appear that the Heilgers family's last connection with the firm ended in 1917 when Frank Julius Frederick Alexander Heilgers (at the time a Lieutenant in the army) ended his part in the partnership that ran the firms based in Calcutta and London.
The one easily noticeable thing about Louise Heilgers is that she doesn't seem to appear in any of the UK census records until 1911. Indeed, the Heilgers' barely appear on any of the census returns. To take a quick sampling in the 1881 census we find only two families:
Elm Lodge, Champion Hill, Lambeth
J. H. [actually F. W.] Heilgers (head; 67) b. Germany
Helene Heilgers (wife; 51) b. Germany
A. F. Heilgers (son; 13) b. Lambeth, Surrey
L. L. [actually F. F.] Heilgers (son; 12) b. Lambeth, Surrey
5 The Terrace, Champion Hill, Camberwell
Robert P. Heilgers (head; 26) b. Camberwell, Surrey
Louise Heilgers (wife; 21) b. Marseilles, France
In 1871, Robert can be found as a scholar at Brighton College and, in 1891, Helene Heilgers is widowed but still living in Camberwell. But other than that, no more Heilgers. It seems almost certain that they must have spent much of their time abroad, almost certainly in India
Frederick William Heilgers (c.1815-1885) and his wife Helene Amalie Gesina Heilgers (c.1829-1894) had a son, Adolphus Augustus William Heilgers, born 19 Nov. 1848 in Calcutta, India. At least three more followed:
- Walter Leopold Heilgers (born ?. Died Shanklin, Isle of Wight, 9 Sept. 1856.)
- Alexander Frederick Heilgers (born 8 Sept. 1867. Married 1891. Died 1905, aged 37.)
- Frank Fehrman Heilgers (born 26 March 1869. He died of typhoid fever at Cannes on 2 April 1890, aged 21.)
- Frederick William Heilgers (1879)
- Elizabeth Helene L. Heilgers (1881)
- Louise Henriette Heilgers (1882)
- Helena Lisette F. Heilgers (1884)
Even so, for such a large family with important business connections, the Heilgers seem to have left remarkably little trace of themselves across the internet. Robert Heilgers was a consul in Calcutta from around 1885 (although would appear to have later been sued by Henry William Crane, a publisher, in 1896; his address at that time was formerly 24 St. James's-square, London, but his "present residence the Judgment Creditor is unable to ascertain"). I don't know if this is Robert Phillip Heilgers.
Let's get back to Louise Helene Henrietta Heilgers, because I'm likely to be going off at another tangent in the not too distant future. As was previously mentioned, she does not show up on census records until 1911, so confirming her family background is almost impossible. However, is has now been confirmed that she was the daughter of Robert Philip Heilgers (1855-1922) and his French-born wife Josephine Louise (nee Bertrand, 1860-1935).
Louise Heilgers was a popular author, contributing stories and articles to Punch, The Bystander, Sketch, Blue Magazine, Novel Magazine, Eve, Royal Magazine, and others. She was a contributor to the Sunday Herald, where she published a series of war stories that, I believe, were reprinted as Somewhere in France. Her earlier collection, Tabloid Tales, was favourably reviewed in The Equinox (v1 #8):
To quote the preface of Horatio Bottomley, "Louise Heilgers is the only female writer of short stories of the present day." She is in truth one of the ten million, her heart is their heart, her mind is their mind, and consequently her thoughts are thier thoughts. She will soon be acclaimed as a popular author. It is refreshing indeed to find somebody writing direct from the heart without in any way striving after originality. Excepting as to their length, these stories do not in any manner resemble those of Baudelaire.
Novels & Collections
Stephen the Man (as Henrietta Heilgers). London, John Long, 1909.
Vain Tales from "Vanity Fair". London, John Ouseley, 1909.
Tabloid Tales. London, 1911.
The Naked Soul. Three years in a woman's life. London, Stephen Swift & Co., 1912.
More Tabloid Tales. London, Odhams Press, 1914.
Rose and Grey. A further collection of short stories. London, Dryden Press, 1914.
Somewhere in France. Stories of the Great War. London, Dryden Publishing Co., 1915.
Babette Wonders Why. London, Dryden Publishing Co., 1916.
Sackcloth and Satin. London, Dryden Publishing Co., 1916.
That Red-Headed Girl. London, Herbert Jenkins, 1917.
Further Tabloid Tales. London, Dryden Publishing Co., 1918.
An Officer's Wife. London, Herbert Jenkins, 1918.
The Green Heart. London, Odhams Press, 1921.
Love and Life. London, Cecil Palmer, 1922.
The Humming-Top. London, John Long, 1927.
The Dark Lamp. London, John Long, 1927.
How to Write Stories for Money. Richmond, Louise Heilgers Correspondence College, 1920.
The latter non-fiction title was the result of another string Louise Heilgers added to her bow. The Louise Heilgers Correspondence College Ltd. was based at Parkshot House, Richmond, Surrey and advertised in various newspapers. The following adverts from 1921 is typical:
LEARN WHILE YOU PLAY.—One 5s. P.O. will bring you "STORYTELLING" designed by Louise Heilgers, which is two things in one. (1) The most amusing of indoor games. (2) The finest lessons ever given in story-telling, and worth guineas to you. £105 are offered to players of "Storytelling." Conditions of the Competition are sent with every set. Send your 5s. Order to-day.—The LOUISE HEILGERS CORRESPONDENCE COLLEGE Ltd., Richmond, Surrey.The company went into voluntary liquidation and began winding up in January 1922 and was eventually struck off the company's register in March 1925. Not that the closure of the Correspondence College stopped Heilgers as she continued to advertise herself in newspapers (e.g. The Times, 1 February 1923):
ADD to INCOME by writing for the Press and Magazines. Personal tuition by Louise Heilgers. Apply L.H.C.C. Ltd., 7 Parkshot, Richmond, Surrey.The L.H.C.C. also published its own magazine: The Louise Heilgers Magazine ran for six issues between September 1920 and February 1921 before being relaunched as The Writer in March 1921, although with issue 5 it was taken over and published by Hutchinson & Co. in London.
Louise Heilgers was chairman of the L.H.C.C. under her married name of Louise Granville, which is where a twist is added to our story. In May 1919, Mrs. Charlotte Mary Hosken sued for a divorce from her husband, journalist Charles Hosken, on the grounds of his desertion and adultery with Louise Heilgers. Hosken was also known as Charles Granville, under which name he had written a number of novels.
Charlotte Mary Hosken (nee Taylor) had married Charles Hosken at Helston Parish Church, Cornwall, on 5 October 1892 and the couple had one child, a boy, who was killed in action in 1917. She had lived with her husband after marriage in Cornwall and various places abroad. In 1907, when they were in Germany, he had deserted her and had, she said, never since contributed to her support.
Charlotte had been living in Brussels in 1915 at the time of the German occupation and had escaped to England early that year to find that her husband was living in Hurlingham Court Mansions, Fulham, with Louise Heilgers. Mrs. Hosken only sued for divorce four years later when she produced a certificate recording the birth of twin daughters on 28 February 1918 (Elizabeth M. Granville and Mary D. L. Granville, born in Fulham) on which the father's name was given as Charles Granville. The two were living together as man and wife—the mother's name given as Louise Helen Henriette Granville. Although not mentioned, a daughter, Dorothy E. L. D. Heilgers, had been born in 2Q 1913, although her birth was not registered until 3Q 1915; the birth was cross-referenced under both Heilgers and Granville.
Not surprisingly, the judge granted Charlotte Mary Hosken a decree nisi, with costs.
This was not the first time that Hosken had been in court over his marriage. Or, rather, marriages, because he was a serial bigamist.
The story starts in 1912 when an author and publisher by the name of Charles Granville, of Waltham House, Epsom, was charged on remand at Bow Street with fraudulently converting to his own use the proceeds of a cheque for £1,500 entrusted to him by Mr. Richard Johnson Walker, editor and proprietor of the Oxford and Cambridge Review. In early 1912, Walker became acquainted with Granville through his connections with Stephen Swift Company Ltd. and agreed to buy 3,000 £1 shares in a new company that was being formed, Swift Press Ltd. The first half of the transaction went through without any problems in early September and the company was duly registered on 30 September. On that day, Walker gave Granville a cheque for the second half of the money due, which Granville promptly paid into his own account.
The following morning, he withdrew £1,400 in cash. On 2 October, Granville departed from the Hotel Victoria, where he had been staying since 10 August, and—accompanied by a lady who was purportedly his wife—fled abroad. In Spain he had taken the name of Godwin and had travelled to Tangier where he was eventually arrested on 28 October; £1,200 was recovered. Granville's own private accounts on 30 September was overdrawn to the extent of £677 19s. 11d. and £163 11s. 5d. and that of Stephen Swift & Co. overdrawn by £1,309 5s. 9d. The cheque Granville paid his hotel bill with bounced.
By now it was known that "Charles Granville" was actually an author and publisher by the name of Charles Hosken, who had been in bankruptcy since 2 May 1898 and had never secured a discharge. A number of further outstanding warrants were added to the charges against Hosken: of obtaining £20 by false pretences from Emily Esther Parker at Porchester Square, Paddington on 7 November 1905; of feloniously intermarrying Mrs. Parker at Paddington Registry Office on 18 November 1905; and of feloniously intermarrying Mrs. Caroline Leontine Fawcett at Edinburgh on 3 November 1908. His lawful wife, Charlotte Mary Hosken, as we have seen, was very much still alive and remained with him until he "deserted" her in 1907 (although, as we shall see, he continued to forward money to her until at least 1912; how aware Mrs. Hosken was of her husband's activities we will never know).
Between December 1904 and November 1905, Charles and Charlotte Hosken had been living in lodgings at Seymour Place; after some time their son, aged 10 or 11, joined them. The couple left without notice, owing the landlady, Mrs. Ada Elizabeth Carter, £15. She had been told by Hosken that he was a clerk in a solicitor's office in Westminster. However, under the name Henry Charos James, Hosken was the principal of the Rapid Language College in Great Quebec Street. It was here that the recently widowed Mrs. Parker came to learn French. She had a few resident pupils at her house in Porchester Square and "James" suggested that they should combine their businesses. James proposed marriage and subsequently began borrowing sums of money; she also paid the license fees for their marriage. The marriage took place on 18 November 1905, after which "James" went to lie down; around 2 o'clock that afternoon, he borrowed 10s. from his new wife, left the house and did not return. The newly married "Mrs. James" then visited the lodging house where Hosken was living, but saw no one except the woman she now knew to be Mrs. Hosken.
Hosken subsequently, as Charles Granville, litterateur and widower, married Mrs. Caroline Leontine Fawcett at Portobello near Edinburgh. The new Mrs. Granville claimed that her husband was devoted to literature and the best man that anybody could wish to know; she had been uncertain about marriage but had been persuaded by her parents after she had announced that she intended living with "Granville". She had lived with him until August 1912 and would stick by him; indeed, she had posted bail for him when he was brought back from Tangier. Since 1908, she had advanced him some £3,000 for his business and, she said, she would have given him as much as he liked to ask for if she had it.
The real Mrs. Hosken, meanwhile, had last been seen by her father in February 1912 and he understood her to be "somewhere on the Continent" and making a living by giving lessons in English. According to her letters, Hosken was providing her with money.
The various cases dragged on and yet another indictment was added, charging Hosken with obtaining £2,000 from actor, journalist and playwright Mr. Joseph Edward Harold Terry by false pretences. The case was livened up one day in early July when an elderly spectator inadvertently wandered into the jury box when trying to find his seat, leading one of the prosecuting councils to joke that "The 13th juryman is on the Bench I always understood." "I hope not," replied one of the councils for the defence.
Eventually, on Friday, 4 July 1913, the trial ended. Hosken was found guilty on all charges. He was sentenced to six months hard labour, both sentences to run concurrently, on the bigamy charges; on the other charges he was sentenced to fifteen months hard labour, the whole of the sentences to run concurrently.
The birth of Dorothy E. L. D. Heilgers shortly before Hosken was sentenced suggests strongly that the "young lady" with whom Hosken (as Granville and then Godwin) had fled to Tangier was, in fact, Louise Heilgers and that the two had been living together as Mr. and Mrs. Granville at least as early as 1912.
Their relationship continued after Hosken was released from jail. The two married in 1919 and, with Louise Granville as chairman, the Louise Heilgers Correspondence College was set up. The company was registered on 14 September 1920 and, as previously mentioned, began winding up in January 1922. A new company, Louise Heilgers Correspondence Courses Ltd. was registered on 1 February 1922.
Louise Granville eventually petitioned for a divorce from Charles Granville in 1928. She was still only about 46 but vanishes from the literary world as far as I can see.
Louise Granville died on 28 October 1954 in Eastborne, her death registered as Louise Granville, with no middle initials, hence earlier problems tracing her death. Her age was given as 61, but probate records confirm it is Louise Helen (sic) Henriette Granville. She was actually 71. A Dorothy E. Granville married in 2Q 1930 to a Mr. Smith in Hackney and Mary died, unmarried, in 1992, aged 74.
Charles Hosken, born in Helston, Cornwall, in 1867, the son of William H. Hosken (an iron founder) and his wife Martha, also disappeared. Mind you, with so many different aliases that might be no surprise. From the 1890s on he was most commonly known as Charles Granville. It was under this name that shipping records noted his return from Gibraltar to London on 7 December 1912 in the custody of Detective Sergeant Cole and Detective Crawley.
Granville was a contributor to such magazines as Western Review and New Age and his novels were, in their time, well regarded. I rather think that one title—The Indissoluble Knot—rather summed up his life.