Charles Allen Du Val

His life and works

William Thomas Holland

William Thomas Holland
Born: 1834 Loughborough
Died: 1899 Bridgwater
Thomas Crompton Holland 1794-1861
Thomas C. Holland
Florence Du Val 1842-1924
Joseph Robberds Holland 1862-1864
Charles Thurstan Holland 1863-1941
Mina Holland 1865-1948
Lilian Florence Holland (Lily) 1868-1949
Kathleen Holland 1879-1960

William Thomas Holland was born on 26 February 1834 in Loughbrough, Leicestershire. He was baptised at Cross Street Chapel in Knutsford, Cheshire.

His father, Thomas Crompton Holland was the Unitarian Minister in Loughborough. William’s great-great-grandfather was the great-great-uncle on her mother’s side of Elizabeth Cleghorn Stevenson (1810-1865) who became famous as the ‘Manchester novelist’ Elizabeth Gaskell.

On 4 June 1861 William Thomas Holland married Florence Du Val in Manchester Cathedral. She was born on 20 July 1842, the fifth child and second daughter of Charles Allen Du Val and his wife formerly Elizabeth Renney.

When first married, Florence and William Holland lived in a small house in Wembdon near Bridgwater in Somerset. His brother Thomas C. Holland was the Unitarian minister in Bridgwater. Prominent among the congregation was Charles P. Browne, owner of Browne & Co, manufacturer of bricks and tiles, for whom William worked. By 1871 William Thomas Holland was himself described as a brick and tile manufacturer, and may have taken over his former employer's business. The family had by then moved to a large house on West Quay in Bridgwater called The Lions because it had large stone lions guarding the front entrance. William Holland was a Justice of the Peace, three times Mayor of Bridgwater (from 1879 to 1882), and was made an Alderman in 1880. He died on 11 December 1899 aged 65 years.

Following his death, Florence Holland moved in with her daughter Lilian and son-in-law Frederic Stanley Kipping in Nottingham and seems to have lived with them for the rest of her life. She died in 1924, aged 81.

Florence and William Holland had the following children, all born in Bridgwater (1):

Joseph Robberds Holland. He was born on 2 February 1862 but died on 13 January 1864 aged two years (2).
Charles Thurstan Holland. He was born in 1863, and died in 1941.
Mina Holland. She was born on 7 March 1865, and was married to William Perkin in 1887.
Lilian Florence Holland (Lily). She was born in 1868, and was married to Frederic Stanley Kipping in 1888.
Kathleen F. Holland. She was born on 1 June 1879, and was married to Arthur Lapworth in 1900.

William Thomas Holland died aged 65 in 1899.

Charles Thurstan Holland entered the medical profession and qualified in 1888 at University College in London. He became a general practioner in Liverpool, but made a great reputation as a pioneer radiologist. In 1890 he married Elizabeth Lilian May Fergusson. Their son James W.T. Holland also entered the medical profession.

All three daughters were married to famous scientists.

Frederic Kipping was cousin to the Holland sisters, their mothers being daughters of Charles Allen Du Val. He graduated as a zoologist in 1882 but was persuaded to change to chemistry, and went to Munich University to study under the supervision of William Perkin, the son of the renowned chemist of the same name. Having been awarded a doctorate in 1887, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Heriot-Watt College in Edinburgh. In 1888 he married his cousin Lilian Florence Holland. Frederic Kipping was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1897, and became Professor of Chemistry at the University College in Nottingham, where he stayed until his retirement in 1936. He died in 1949 (3).

In 1892, on a visit to her Kipping relatives in Manchester, Mina Holland met William Perkin, who was staying with his friend Frederic Kipping. They shared a great love of music, and William Perkin was an excellent pianist. After he returned to Munich they wrote letters to each other. In 1886 he came back to England and spent a year studying at Owens College (now the University of Manchester), during which time he made visits to Bridgwater. In 1887 William Perkin was appointed Professor of Chemistry at Heriot-Watt College in Edinburgh, and on New Year’s Eve in that year he married Mina Holland (4).

Kathleen Holland, the youngest of the three sisters, met yet another organic chemist. When her brother-in-law was at the Institute of Chemistry in London, her sister Lily Kipping told her that he had taken on a young Birmingham student, Arthur Lapworth. He was the son of Charles Lapworth Professor of Geology at Birmingham University. Arthur Lapworth played the viola at musical evenings organised by Mina Perkin, and he also played the violin. Kathleen Holland was herself a keen musician and played the cello. She eventually met the new student when Arthur Lapworth was invited by the Hollands to spend his summer vacation with them at The Lions in Bridgwater.

In 1898 Arthur Lapworth was appointed Professor of Chemistry in London, and the prospect of marriage dawned. However William Holland, father of the three sisters, became seriously ill, and died on 11 December 1899. Not until after the usual period of mourning could the wedding proceed, and Kathleen Holland and Arthur Lapworth were married in St Mary’s church in Bridgwater on 14 September 1900.

Neither Mina Perkin nor Kathleen Lapworth had any children.

Lily Kipping died on 4 September 1949 at Nottingham.
Kathleen Lapworth died on 29 January 1960 in Teignmouth, Devon aged 81 years.

(1) Information is mostly from The Holland Sisters by Rochow and Krahe. A very critical review of this book by William Brock is in Chemistry and Industry dated 1 October 2002. But despite its fictional style, the book does provide factual family information and photographs.
(2) The Holland Sisters footnote on page 77.
(3) A full account of the life and work of Frederic Stanley Kipping is given by Frederick Challenger in the Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society in the Journal of the Chemical Society (1951) pages 849 to 862.
(4) Although a passage in The Holland Sisters (page 78) relates that Mina Holland acquired her name as a diminutive of "Willemina" after her father William, she was more likely to have been named after a favourite aunt Jemima Hampton Renney who went to live with the family in Bridgwater and indeed died there in 1894. (The same passage misnames Thurston as Thurstan throughout.)