Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: September 19, 2019
Webpage updated: September 19, 2019




The Plymouth business house of Messrs Charles Harding (Plymouth) Limited, house and soft furnishers, cabinet makers and upholsterers, was situated at 79, 81, 83, and 85 Mutley Plain, and Belgrave Lane, Plymouth, before and after the Second World War.

Mr Charles Harding, who founded this business, was the eldest son of Mr John Harding and his wife, Ann, who founded the business of Messrs Harding and Sons Limited.  He was born in 1852 at North Huish, near Ivybridge, Devon, and became an upholsterer like his father.

In 1872 he married Miss Jessie Margaret Bishop in Plymouth and by the time of the census in 1881 they had four children, two boys and two girls and were living at number 3 Devonshire Cottages, Plymouth.

Mrs Jessie Margaret Harding died in 1885 at the same time as an infant Jessie Harding.  She was 31-years-old.

With young children to look after, Mr Harding quickly re-married, but at Reading, in Berkshire.  His bride was Miss Catharine Unwin, of Worksop, Nottinghamshire.  When the census was taken tin 1891 he and Catharine were living at number 18 Buckingham Place, East Stonehouse, along with Charles Harding junior, an apprentice draper, 13-years-old Albert Harding, Edith, 11, and Maud.  They had a lodger, 28-years-old Mr F Martin, from Mere, in Wiltshire, who was employed as a railway booking clerk, probably just along the road at Plymouth Station at Millbay.

The business was founded on Mutley Plain in 1894.

Mr Harding had been describing his occupation as upholsterer but in 1901 this changed to house furnisher.  His eldest son, Mr Charles Harding junior, had joined him in the business as an assistant house furnisher while 25-years-old Miss Caroline Harding had become Miss Carrie Harding and was a draper's assistant.  Miss Edith Harding, 21, was a dress maker, and there was no occupation shown for 19-years-old Miss Maud Harding so maybe she was helping her mother with the household chores.

The business clearly prospered as in 1911 Mr and Mrs Harding were living at number 1 Beechfield Avenue, Yelverton, where they had a domestic servant, 15-years-old Miss Mary Ann Palmer, from Buckland Monachorum.  She probably had her hands full looking after the Harding's granddaughter, Miss Doris Catherine Beard, aged just 6, who was also in the house at that time.

Mr Charles Harding junior assisted in his father's business and in 1911 was living at number 15 Edgcumbe Park Road at Peverell, with his wife of seven years, Mary, and 3-years-old Roy Harding.  Unfortunately, he died in 1921 at the very young age of only 48 years.  Consequently when his father died on the morning of Tuesday May 3rd 1927 at the more respectable age of 74, the business succeeded to the second son, Mr Albert William Harding, house furnisher and removal contractor, of number 41 Barn Park Road, Peverell.

Mr Harding was working right up until the day before his death at his home, "Ashfield", at Yelverton.  He became a Guardian of the Poor in 1910, became its Governor for 1919-20, and remained a Guardian until his passing.  During his lifetime he had been a good friend of the Salvation Army and had also distributed gifts in many directions, mostly anonymously.

The funeral was held at Saint Andrew's Church, Plymouth, on Friday May 6th 1927 and was attended by the Mayor of Plymouth, Alderman J J H Moses, members and officers of the Town Council, Mrs Emma Jones, Governor of the Plymouth Board of Guardians, and a large gathering of members of the Board.  Only Miss Sargent, the cashier, and Mr S Cole, foreman of the factory, attended from the staff of his business but there were 14 members of the Plymouth Tramways Department present.  The funeral arrangements were undertaken by Messrs G Flemen and Sons, of Mutley.

By 1935 the business occupied numbers 79, 81, 83 and 85 Mutley Plain.

Mr Albert William Harding died in 1942 and was succeeded by his son, Mr Albert Frank Harding.  From him the business passed to Mr Richard Harding but he left in 1980 and set up his own business, Furnishing Collections, with a partner on North Hill.  After a while in Molesworth Road, it finally settled in to number74 Hyde Park Road.

Messrs Charles Harding (Plymouth) Limited ceased trading in 1987.