A Mediterranean Background
James Price Galliano was the youngest of seven children born to a Roman Catholic family in a well to do area of Clapham. His parents Victoria Mary née Price (known as Victorine) and Anthony Galliano were married sometime prior to 1864 in Gibraltar. Victorine was a British subject and Anthony a Spanish subject, both born in Gibraltar.
Victorine’s father was a Merchant and one imagines that a business opportunity must have arisen in London for the whole family to move here. This must have happened just before James’s brother Charles was born in 1872 as prior to this all the older children were born in Gibraltar.
James was born on 31 January 1875 and was named after his maternal Grandfather James Price who was still alive at this point. The baby James was baptised at Our Lady of Victories church in Clapham on 11 March 1875.
At the time of the 1881 census the family can be found living at 25 Gauden Road in Clapham. This house is in a middle-class area and a newspaper article from around the time describes it as “In a capital position close to the Railway Stations. 5 Bedrooms, dressing room, bath-room, drawing, dining and breakfast rooms and offices with a garden”.
Within this house was James’s mother Victorine aged 47; James’s Grandfather and namesake James Price aged 80 was a retired Merchant; his older sisters Josephine aged 16, twin sisters Victorine and Anita aged 15 and Mary aged 13; his two older brothers Domingo (Dominic) aged 11 and Charles aged 8. There was also a” live in” domestic servant. James’s father Anthony must have been away from home at the time of the census.
Sadly, James’s father died 14 May 1883 aged only 45 and he was buried at Kensall Cemetery. James was only 8 years old at that time. The family continued to live at 25 Gauden Road and then Charles died aged 17 in October 1889. How this affected James we cannot be sure but Charles was the closest to him in age so he must have felt his loss.
In April 1891 the household at 25 Gauden Road continued to be a busy full household as Josephine had married in 1888 and her family joined that of her mother’s. The family was recorded as Victorine Galliano who was the Head of the house aged 55, daughters Josephine, married, aged 26, Anita aged 25 who was an Insurance Clerk, Mary aged 23, sons Dominic aged 21, a merchant, and James, aged 16, a Commercial Clerk, son-in-law Joseph Valderrama Gil aged 42, a merchant who originated from Malaga and a grandson, Joseph, aged 5 months. There was also a nurse and a domestic servant.
Daughter Victorine who was one of the twins was now living as a Nun in Devon and this is where she spent the rest of her life.
By 23 October 1895 James’s mother Victorine had passed away aged 63 and she is also buried in Kensall Cemetery. The probate of her will shows she left £753 which is equal to nearly £100,000 in today’s values.
During the next few years up to 1901 the family continues to grow following Mary and Dominic’s weddings and Roman Catholic records show James to be involved with his family being a Godfather to some of his nephews and nieces. Sister Anita seems to have taken over the running of 25 Gauden Road and the next census shows the house to be very busy with the addition of young children.
The 1901 Census we find Head Anita, single, aged 35 and working as an assurance clerk, Brother-in-law, Joseph, aged 53, a commission merchant working for himself, sister Josephine aged 36 and their children Joseph 10, Victorine 9 and Ani aged 6. James is single, aged 26 and working as a merchant’s clerk. There is also a Spanish cousin who is staying with them and an Irish Governess and a servant.
Dominic and Mary are now married and living with their families.
Nothing further is heard about James until his marriage in a Roman Catholic ceremony on 13th January 1907 when he married Alice Hannah Harley aged 29 the daughter of Daniel Harley a Butler from Chelsea. In 1901 Alice had been working as a waitress so it is unclear what her social standing was at this point. The witnesses were Sean Kirk and Joseph Evans, unusually not anyone from the Galliano family. By 25th June 1907 their son Victor James was born so it appears that Alice was pregnant when they married. He was baptised at Our Lady of Victories church on 21 July 1907 and his Godparents were his cousin Joseph Valderrama Gil and Aunt Anita Galliano.
In the Electoral Register of 1908 James is shown as living at 91 Gauden Road.
In just over a year on 8th December 1909 poor James was admitted to Horton Hospital and less than 3 months later he died 18th February 1910. It is telling that he was admitted to a county asylum and not a private asylum. No record can be found of him entering a workhouse or Infirmary so he was either committed from home or a hospital and on whose instigation it is unclear.
Sadly, his death certificate reveals he died of “General Paralysis of Insane” what is now seen as untreated syphilis which he must have contracted at a young age. How this manifested itself we can only imagine.
James was born into a Middle Class fairly well-off family. Of the seven siblings Josephine, Mary and Dominic made good marriages into the same social group, Josephine marrying Joseph Valderrama Gil, a Spanish Merchant, who when he died had effects totalling nearly £500,000 in today’s money.
Mary married Stanley Norfolk and Dominic married Nellie Norfolk who were both the children of Ernest Norfolk who was the Secretary of the Licensed Victuallers Protection Society of London and he was heavily involved in changes to Licensing laws so seemingly quite an influential man.
Whereas James’s marriage to Alice seems out of sync. Did he marry her out of guilt because she was pregnant or did he genuinely love her? Or was he a bit of a “Jack the lad” who came unstuck?
Tellingly after James’s death his child was not cast out from the Galliano family. In 1911 Victor can be found staying with Uncle Dominic and after that the electoral registers find him living with his aunts Josephine and Anita and his cousin Victorine Gil right up until 1939. It is unclear how much contact he had with his mother Alice, if any.
In 1911 Alice was living with her brother’s family in Pimlico and in 1939 she was on her own, an unemployed Charwoman. It seems as if she had nothing to do with the wealthier, better-connected Galliano family. Did they hold her responsible for James’s demise? So many questions are unanswered in this case despite extensive research.
Thankfully James did not pass on his syphilis to his wife and son and they both lived to a good age.
Stigma, shame and/or a lack of understanding or an inability to cope with James’s situation meant he ended up in the asylum with what feels like a total desertion from his “well off” loved ones. Was it a case of too much “wine and women” for perhaps a wayward family member?