Theresa and Joseph Callard were a brother and sister who moved to Berkhamsted in the 1890s and remained in the town until their deaths in 1929 and 1934 respectively. Neither married. They lived together in Berkhamsted for nearly forty years and remain together in death, buried in the same grave in Rectory Lane Cemetery.
Theresa’s birth was registered in Marylebone, London in 1854, although subsequent census entries give her date of birth as 1855. She was the eldest child of five children born to James and Elizabeth Callard. Joseph was born eight years later in Hertfordshire in 1863. He was the fourth child of the family, Henry being born in 1857 and Alfred in 1860. Walter, the fifth and youngest child was born in 1868.
The 1871 census records the entire Callard family, with the exception of Theresa, living at the Manor House in Bushey. At that time the Manor House was owned by Sir Edward Walter Forestier-Walker, a serving soldier who was commander H.M. Forces Scotland. The Manor House was leased to the Taylor family who had a business in Calcutta.
In 1877 James died. The 1881 census records the family still living at the Manor House. The mother, Elizabeth, is described as an annuitant, indicating she received an independent income. Theresa, then 26, was described as assisting at home. Joseph, 18, is recorded as a baker. As the Callards all have listed occupations they were not servants. It is likely they were caretakers of the Manor House.
By the time of the 1891 census the family had not only moved from the Manor House but had split up. Elizabeth, Theresa, now 36, and the youngest child Walter, were living at London Road, Bushey. Alfred had moved to Penge in Surrey, where he had married and had a one year old son (who sadly was to die two years later aged 3). Joseph, age 28, lived with Alfred and his family in Penge.
In 1892 their mother, Elizabeth, died.
Joseph moved to Berkhamsted, leasing 189 High Street from Mr A W Spicer at a rent of £40 per annum on 31st January 1893. The property was on the corner of the High Street and Cowper Road. (189 High Street is today Barclays Bank, the High Street being renumbered in the 1950s.) The property is no longer standing, having been demolished in the 1930s. On the site where it stood together with adjacent properties there is now a large building consisting of commercial premises with residential flats above, known today as Callard House.
Whether Theresa joined Joseph in Berkhamsted when he leased 189 High Street is not apparent, but the two of them are recorded as living at that address in the 1901 and 1911 census. Joseph’s occupation is “baker and corn merchant” and Theresa “assists”.
Both Joseph and Theresa remained at 189 High Street for the rest of their lives. Percy Birtchnell, writing in the Berkhamsted Review in 1970, recalled Joseph: “Joe Callard, for much of his life a chorister at St Peter’s, kept the shop at Cowper Road corner. I don’t know when his business closed down, but in 1929 he still advertised himself as a corn merchant and family miller, with “all kinds of dog biscuit and bird seeds kept in stock”. His windows attracted much attention, especially after business hours, when one often saw rats and mice helping themselves to the corn and biscuits. Rats were also seen running around the outbuildings in Cowper Road.”
Theresa died at the Institution in Berkhamsted on 30th November 1929 aged 75. Her estate, valued at £1,456 6s 11d, was divided between her surviving brothers and nephews and nieces. Joseph died five years later in Oxford House Nursing Home in Watford on 19th May 1934. His estate was worth £2,355 15s 9d and was also left to his two surviving brothers and nephews and nieces.