FAMILY CONNECTIONS

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The Corbetts

Until now the main information I have about the Corbetts are the census records and a few photographs which fortunately are named. There is however information emerging about the family connection with South America, where my great-grandfather was born.  My grandfather was Eric Sidney Hely Corbett (1888-1930).  His father was Richard Sidney Corbett (1851-1908), and his father was Augustus Sidney Corbett (1808-1857).

Augustus Sidney was married to Sarah E. Oldham and her mother Maria is recorded in the census records as living in Liverpool so perhaps it is no surprise that the Corbetts decided to seek their fortune in the America's, principally Brazil, as according to my father the family had a lot of business connections there, although it is not known what they were. Sarah had 7 children that we know of including my great-grandfather Richard Sidney. His brother Charles (pictured above) also had a large family some of whose Brazilian descendents live there still, so the Corbett name lives on there. Later in the 19th Century part of the family including Richard Sidney returned to England and it seems he, my great grandfather took over the family business, its varied activities having been moved to the colonies of the Empire included tea in Ceylon and rubber in Malaya. When his father died in 1909 aged only 58 my grandfather Eric left Oxford where he was studying classics to take over the family business which by this time was called Whittalls and Co. In the 1920's the company took on a risky deal with China and lost so much money it was then taken over by a firm called Thomson Austin. After my grandfather died his son Dick Corbet took over as managing director, after a period of apprenticeship, but he was killed in Malaya by communist terrorists in 1951.  Eric Corbett met my grandmother at Antibes in 1908 and they were married the following year.  They lived for a few years in a house in Oakley Street, Chelsea, and then moved to Send Barns, a very old house near Woking where my father was born in 1916.  Later on they built a house called Gorse Hill near Witley, which was sold after the war. The Corbett name continues with Dick's two sons Pompey and Roguey and their families. My brother Simon has two sons, Mark and Richard who are part of a new Scottish branch of the family.