G. Bristow

From Historical Hastings

Born in Orpington, George Bristow (1862-1947) was a Naturalist (taxidermist), gunsmith and ornithologist. Serving an apprenticeship in the mid-late 1870s, he started work in the family business that had been founded circa 1845. In 1881, the family was known to have worked from premises at 15 London Road[1]. By 1891, they had re-located to 15 Silchester Road[2], where the company remained, George still living at home. The Bristow family moved to 1 Shornden Villas by 1901[3]

After his marriage, George (junior) had moved to 17 Battle Road by 1911[4] He had a son - his middle child, also named George, who followed in the family business by becoming a taxidermist also. By this time, it would appear that most of his business revolved around the sourcing and taxidermy of rare bird species for wealthy collectors, work in this area continuing until at least 1930.

When the 1939 National Registration exercise was carried out pre-WW2, George was recorded as living at 91 St Helens Road with his wife Keturah[a] and their two adult daughters; Edith K. (dob 11/08/1891) and Doris M. (dob 24/06/1896) Bristow; the daughter's employments being given as Sorting Clerk/Telephonist and Bookkeeper respectively[5]

Dying in 1947, his work commanded good prices through until the 1960s. Following a statistical analysis of bird taxons in 1962, it was concluded that many of the records were likely to have been falsified. Investigations revealed that Bristow had been acting fraudulently for over thirty five years; passing off birds from elsewhere in the world as having been caught locally. As a result of this, Baines conducted a search of species held in the Museum, removing suspect species from display. Ultimately 13 species were temporarily deleted from the 'British List' and three others were permanently removed[6].


:15;Silchester Road;1891;1947 :15;London Road;1845;1891

References & Notes

  1. This registration has her birth date as 18/3/1862 and place of birth as being Hastings, but there do not appear any records of her early life.
  1. "UK Census", , 1881; St Mary Magdalen; , enumeration district 16 page 8,.
  2. "UK Census", , 1891; St Mary Magdalen; , enumeration district 23 page 20, line 234.
  3. "UK Census", , 1901; St Matthew; , enumeration district 18 page 26, line 171.
  4. "UK Census", , 1911; , enumeration district 15 .
  5. 1939 Register of UK citizens Hastings C. B. 69-1 Ancestry
  6. Hastings Rarities - Wikipedia, accessdate: 22 June 2020