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Sunday 2 June 2024

Musical Genius, Church Organist and Builder - Joseph Love Silver and Elizabeth Silver

All saint's Cemetery,
Maidenhead, Berkshire, UK.

to the Memory
Joseph Love silver
Who Entered Into Rest
On September 16th 1911
In His 72nd Year.
'There Remaineth Therefore A Rest To The People Of God'. Heb. IV 9
Also In Loving Remembrance of 
Widow Of The Above
Who Fell Asleep On Oct 7th 1919
In Her 81st Year.
'The Night Is Passed. And Lo, It Is Day'."

Joseph Love Silver was born in Tittle Row, Maidenhead, Berkshire om 29th January 1840 to parents Richard Silver, a carpenter and builder, later Alderman and Justice of the Peace for Maidenhead, and Mary Kay. 

Joseph's mother and two sisters are buried at St James the Less, Stubbings. You can read about them here: Silver - Believeth.

Joseph can first be found on the 1841 Census living with his parents in Tittle Row, Berkshire. The family ran a building business called Silver and Sons. In 1844 Silver and Sons built the St John the Baptist Church in Cookham Dean

In 1851 the family is still living in Tittle Row, but has expanded to include Augusta born in 1842, Kate born in 1846 (living with her aunt and uncle Sarah and James Silver in 1851), Agness born in 1848, and Annette born in 1850. Sadly, Augusta was to pass away in 1860, and Annette in 1861. Visiting the family at the time of the 1851 Census is Maria Ashwell King.

In 1856 Silver and Sons manufactured the bricks used in the construction of All Saint's Church, Boyn Hill Maidenhead. Silver and Sons owned a brick and tile works in believed to have been in Bisham.

1861 Jospeh, now a builder working for his father, is still living with his family, now including James Edward born in 1852, in Tittle Row. In 1862 in Bray Berkshire Joseph married Eliza Susannah Mills. 

Elizabeth Susannah Mills was born in 1839 in Stepney, Middlesex to parents Robert Mills, a grocer, and Martha Fletcher. In 1841 the family can be found living in Great Titchfield Street, Marylebone, London. 

By 1851 Eliza has moved with her family to Maidenhead High Street where they run a grocery shop. Eliza's mother Martha would pass away in 1856. In 1861 Eliza is still living with her widowed father and younger brother in Maidenhead High Street.

In 1871 Joseph and Eliza can be found living in Maidenhead High Street, where Joseph is listed as a builder and organist. Joseph had since taken over the family business of Silver and Sons. Living with them are their children, Alice Augusta 1865, Helen Annette born 1868, Eva Mary born 1869, and Amy Martha born in 1871. Joseph was the organist and choir master for St Luke's Church, Maidenhead. In 1874 resigned as choirmaster and organist for St Luke's. The Musical Times and Singing Circular reported:

"Maidenhead - In a meeting in the National Schools on the 19th ult., the choir of St. Luke's Church presented Mr. J. L. Silver, organist and choirmaster, on his resignation, with a very elegant Album (in which is to be placed a portrait of each member) in appreciation of his professional ability and kindness of manner to them on all occasions."  - The Musical Times and Singing Circular, Vol 16, No. 375, May 1st 1874. - A History of the Parish.

In 1879 Joseph's business Silver &Sons was contracted to build St Joseph's Church in Cookham Road, Maidenhead.

"In 1879 Canon John Scannell acquired a 'finely situate' acre of land as the site a Parish Church and set about raising funds at erect a building to accommodate the town's growing Catholic population. The eminent architect Leonard Stokes was appointed and the builders were Messrs Silver and Sons and Filewood." 

By 1881 Joseph and his family have moved back to Tittle Row, including Arthur Richard born in 1874, and Kate born in 1877. 1891 and the family remain in Tittle Row, the address of the house given as Fountain Cottage where Joseph remained living until his death in 1911. in 1894 Silver and Sons erected the Bath Stone spire of St Luke's Church, Maidenhead.

In 1904 Joseph was involved in a serious accident. The Slough, Eton and Windsor Observer reported on 22nd October 1904:

"Serious Accident At Maidenhead

On Friday morning last a somewhat serious trap accident occurred on Castle Hill, Maidenhead. Mr. T. A. Durrant's son Colin was returning from delivering meat in the Castle Hill district and when about halfway down the hill, between the railway bridge and Messrs Cooper and Son's, the band of the harness gave way, and the startled horse, in breaking free from the harness and cart swerved the latter round and overturned a trap coming in the opposite direction, and in which was Mr. Joseph Silver, of Altwood-road, and his man Marsh who was driving. Mr. Silver was badly shaken, while Marsh sustained an injury to one of his shoulders, and was incapacitated for work. Mr. Silver had only recently recovered from a severe illness, and he had to take his bed again on his arrival home in a cab. The trap was badly damaged, Mr. Durrant's horse, getting free bolted down the High-street and Bridge-street, and proceeding by the riverside returned to the High-street via North Town and Market street. It was stopped at the Saracen's Head, after a quarter of an hour's good gallop, during which it kicked off a couple of shoes and injured its legs. Fortunately, no further personal injury was sustained. It was lucky that the animal did not drag the cart with it as it careered down the High street, as a good deal of traffic was about, and a serious collision would have been inevitable. Mr. Silver, we are glad to say, is progressing satisfactorily." - Slough, Eton and Windsor Observer, 22nd October 1904.

Joseph was to pass away on 16th September 1911 aged 71 years old. Elizabeth was to follow Joseph later on the 7th October 1919. 

The Maidenhead Advertiser reported on 20th September 1911 as follows:

"Death of Mr. Joseph Silver

We much regret to have to record the death of one of the oldest and most esteemed residents of Maidenhead, Mr. Joseph Love Silver, A.R.C.O. (associate of the Royal College of Organists), eldest son of the late Alderman R. Silver J.P., of Tittle Row, Maidenhead. Mr. Joseph Silver had been unwell for some years, but it was only a few days before his death that his condition gave any cause for anxiety. He had been addended some years by Dr. Moore, who did all that medical skill could suggest to prolong his patient's life. Mr Silver was able to transact business up to within a short time of his death, but ominous developments ultimately rendered it necessary for him to keep his bed. Unfortunately, his condition did not improve, and he passed away peacefully on Saturday last, at the age of 71.

Mr. Silver was born on 29th January 1840, at Tittle Row. Early in life he was seen to be possessed of considerable musical talent, and his parents encouraged him all they possibly could in his musical studies. Subsequently, he became associated with the Royal College of Organists, and took the degree of A.R.C.O. in 1872. He was organist at St. Luke's Chruch, Maidenhead, for ten years, resigning through stress of business in 1877. He served as organist under two Vicars of St. Luke's - the late Rev. W. B. Hole and the Rev. W. G. Sawyer. Previous to this he was an organist at Maidenhead Congressional Church. West-street, during the pastorate of the eat Rev. John Mcfarlane. On resigning his post at St. Luke's, presentations were made to Mr. Silver by the clergy and congregation in recognition of his valuable services and as a mark of esteem and goodwill.

He was quite an enthusiast in musical matters and a recognised authority on organ-building, in connection with work he was frequently consulted and prepared plans and specifications. Mr. Silver was a college-friend of Dr. Bridge of Westminster Abbey, and was well known by all the leading organists of the time. He was also a composer of organ-music, and some of his compositions are still favourites in local churches. These include chants and settings to the Te Deum Kyrie, Venite, and other portions of the Church Service. Mr. Silver was very gifted in extempore playing and many of our readers will recall with pleasure recitals given by him in various churches, more especially at St. Lukes, St. Pauls, and St. Peter's. It is not too much to say that he was a musical genius; his whole soul entered into his playing, and the service of praise was always marked by the truest reverence and devotion and real sympathy when he was seated at the keyboard of the organ. To the musical world, Mr. Silver's death is a great loss. He was a Christian gentleman in the highest sense of the term, and was greatly loved by all who were privileged to enjoy his friendship. The deceased was throughout the greater part of his life a valued member of the well-known firm of Messrs. Silver and Sons builders, etc., Altwood Works, and at the time of his death was one of the firm Messrs. Silver and Sons Ltd.

The deepest sympathy is felt with Mrs. Joseph Silver - who we regret to say is an invalid - and family in their great bereavement. The funeral with take place this (Wednesday) afternoon, at 3.30, at Maidenhead Cemetery." Maidenhead Advertiser, 20th September 1911. 

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