James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

Norman's Death and a Recollection of him

Norman was listed on the Electoral Register in London until 1936 but, at some point, he returned to live in the family home in Wistanstow, until it was sold. He ended his days in the equivalent of the old town Workhouse in Oswestry, where he died, aged seventy-seven [Oswestry 1961, 1st qt]. His funeral was on 6 January 1961.

A man called Claude Wilfred Summerfield (1900-1988), a long-time resident of Craven Arms, for historical research was interviewed in 1986 and was asked, specifically, about Elisha Edwin Owen (see here). (When reading the following extract, it should be borne in mind that some of Claude's account was exaggerated; it may be that he was confused or that he had been misinformed. For example, in speaking of Elisha, he said: "Now they were obviously a very clever family [true] because there was a brother of his was a Professor of History in Cambridge and another brother was a Professor of English at Oxford. [not true]"). Anyway, Claude finished the conversation by talking about two of Elisha's children, Norman and Vera Owen:

When the old man died, you see, Norman Owen, one of the sons, he was artistically inclined and he went to Cavendish House, in Cheltenham, to study the dress designing and he became quite famous. In fact he opened a shop in Bond Street, next door to his cousin, Dorothy Wilding, the photographer. And it was known as Nigel Ltd. And he did the dresses for the Queen Mother's brother, the Honourable David Bowes-Lyon, and he did all the dresses for that and he used to dress, well, obviously, the Countess of Powis and, oh, all the best people. Then, of course, when the war started, well. of course, the balloon went up and he came to live with his sister, who had been with him, but left him in London when father died, to carry on the business. Miss Vera owen, and she carried it on, I suppose, for fifteen years or more but she wasn't a very good business woman by any means. Then Vera died and Norman had to come home to live with her then so he carried on for a little while but, I mean, you can just imagine a dress designer from London, like, trying to run the village shop. I mean, it was a bit hopeless, wasn't it?"

The evidence suggests that the Claude may have been misled about the enormous success of Norman's business, though it might have thrived while Effie was involved. See this page for some of the distinguished clients of neighbouring businesses. Incidentally, his cousin, Dorothy Wilding, did have a photographic studio in New Bond Street but not next door.