Albert Gammell and his descendants

Albert Gammell and his descendants

Albert Gammell was the 10th and youngest child of James Gammell of Ardiffery and his wife Sydney Holmes. He was born in Edinburgh on 27 July 1840. He received his first education at a preparatory school in Circus Place in Edinburgh, and from there followed his brothers to Edinburgh Academy, where he was a pupil from 1851 to 1854. Unlike his brothers, however, he did not join the armed forces, and we know little of what he did after leaving school. Eventually however he evidently decided to seek his fortune overseas, and sailed for Jamaica, where he became a sugar planter, whether in his own right or as an employee, is not presently known.

On 18 March 1863, he married, at Falmouth, Jamaica, a lady by the name of Agnes Kidd Close. Agnes was the daughter of the Rev Isaac Close who was the incumbent of Kirkby Ravensworth, Yorkshire. After Albert's death, she married again in Jamaica, to Phillpotts Brown, by whom she had at least two sons (Information from Roma McDougal). Albert and his wife had one child, Sydney Albert Wharton Gammell, but unfortunately Albert died when this son was only four years old, on 14 June 1868 at the age of 27. He is buried at the cathedral in Spanish Town Jamaica, and his will, in which he left his whole estate to his wife, is in Somerset House, London.

1. Sydney Albert Wharton Gammell (known as Bertie) was born in Jamaica on 20 February 1864, and was as stated above the only child of Albert Gammell and Agnes Close. It is said that he failed to get on with his stepfather after his mother's remarriage and whether this was in fact so or not, we do know that at the age of eight or nine he was sent home to England to be educated. It is believed that he only saw his mother once again after that date.

There is no firm evidence about his early education, but it is almost certain that on his arrival in England he was taken under the wing of his uncle The Rev. James S. Gammell, and educated by him, together with his own son Sydney James, at his vicarage at Outwood, near Leeds in Yorkshire.

In 1880, the Rev. James S. Gammell left Outwood, and Bertie was sent as a maritime apprentice to the firm of Donald Currie & Co. in London. He served a four year apprenticeship in the 'Tantallen Castle' and 'Pembroke Castle', which he completed on 18 June 1884. He received a 2nd Mate’s ticket the following year, a 1st Mate’s ticket in 1891, a Master’s Certificate in 1896 and an Extra Master’s Certificate in 1902; during these years he had served in various shipping lines including The Union Steamship Co. of New Zealand, the White Star Line and The British India Steam Navigation Co.

Bertie's uncles and Great uncle were very generous to him; Andrew Gammell of Drumtochty left him £3,000, The Rev. J.S. Gammell £5,000, and he was sole executor and residual legatee under the will of his uncle John H.H. Gammell of Lethendy, so by about 1903 or 1904 his financial position was such that he was able to abandon his career as a Merchant Navy Officer and concentrate on his etching and painting for which he had great love and ability. He was elected a member of The Royal Society of Painters, Etchers and Engravers in 1913, and in 1922/3 painted tiny pictures for Queen Mary's Dolls House. He was also the winner of Gold and Silver medals for his paintings and etchings in the years 1911/12.

On 18 October 1905 Bertie married Anne Cowx daughter of John Cowx of Liverpool at St. James' Church, West Derby, Lancs. She was also a talented painter. They settled in Liverpool in a house called Lethendy in Huyton, and there their only child Shiela Marion Gammell was born. Bertie, prior to his marriage spent a part of each year at Drumtochty the home of his cousin Sydney Gammell, with whom he had grown up, and many of his paintings are of scenes of the country around Drumtochty. After his marriage the visits were less frequent, but he and his wife visited Scotland quite regularly, and often stayed at Countesswells.

In the 1914/18 War, Bertie served throughout as a Lieutenant in the R.N.R. on board HMS 'President', and after the war was over, returned to his home in Huyton, where he and his wife continued their artistic careers until Bertie died on 29 January 1946 at the age of 82. His wife Anne who was nearly 20 years his junior, continued to live in the family home, and eventually died there on 22 November 1966.

1.1 Bertie and Anne's daughter Sheila Marion Gammell (known as Jum) was born on 7 June 1909 in Huyton. On 4 December 1934 she was married in Calcutta Cathedral to Robert Alan Gourlay, son of Francis N.M. Gourlay of Kirkland, Tynron in Dumfriesshire. He was born in 1904 and died in 1951. Sheila died on 6 June 2000. They had two children:

1.1.1 Elizabeth Anne Gourlay who was born in Calcutta on 22 September 1935. She married Robert James Barclay Chrystal in 1958 and had four children:

Andrew   b. 1959
Duncan   b. 1960
Neil         b. 1963
Malcolm  b. 1967

and are presently resident in British Colombia, Canada.

1.1.2 Francis Moffat Gammell Gourlay (known as Frank) who was born in Scotland on 16 October 1942. He married Susan Younger in 1971 and had two children:

Rupert  b. 1973
Hugh    b. 1974

and reside on the Solway Firth, in Kirkcudbrightshire.