COWES, ISLE OF WIGHT
Situated today at 30 Cowes High Street are the very distinctive premises of Pascall Atkey & Son Ltd, arguably the oldest yacht chandlers in the UK. Although the business was sold in the 1960s, and no longer has any connection to the Atkey family, the art deco shop frontage survives and is a delightful reminder years gone by. An ironmongery business was established in Cowes by Pascall Atkey’s father Joseph Atkey (1771-1813). Joseph Atkey had married Christian Larkins Pascall who came from a very influential family of Dover – hence the origin of Pascall’s name. Pascall Atkey (1808-1882) was just five when his father died but his mother kept the business going. Then in 1840 Christian ‘retired’ and Pascall Atkey, at the age of 32, took over sole control of the business: Pascall Atkey & Son, Est 1799. That same year Pascall married Helen Ratsey who was the daughter of George Rogers Ratsey, the founder of the internationally famous sail making firm of Ratsey & Lapthorne of Cowes. In 1844, on the other side of the Medina, Queen Victoria purchased Osborne House and the Isle of Wight became well and truly ‘on the map’. Cowes prospered and became the social yachting centre of the world; so too did Pascall Atkey and, at one time, he employed over 50 people. As an employer he was much respected by his workmen and, when there was a good cause in need of funding, he was one of the first to put his hand in his pocket. Pascall was still living at 30 High Street when he died in 1882; his obituary in the Hampshire Advertiser comments that he was the first to see the how the galvanizing process could be of benefit to ironwork exposed to the sea. On Pascall Atkey‘s death his son Joseph Henry Atkey inherited his very profitable business, now a chandlery, which had greatly expanded during Pascall‘s lifetime – to the extent that when he died the family had a large number of properties in Cowes and many business interests. Joseph Henry Atkey was then living in grand style in Cambridge House, a large house in Queens Road, Cowes (the Vicarage of Holy Trinity before his occupation and Solent School after – now demolished), together with his wife, Mary Elizabeth (nêe Dashwood) Atkey, his three sons, his five daughters and numerous domestic servants. One of his daughters, Olive Mary Atkey, married a Frenchman, Raymond Charvet, and they had two sons, Guy Charvet and Patrice Charvet. It is Guy’s three children, Patricia Cocks, John Charvet and Anne Charvet who have so kindly commissioned the cleaning of the Vault and Obelisk. The Obelisk names Pascall and his wife Helen Atkey, who died in 1853 (before the Cemetery was opened for burials). The Memorial is also to two of their three sons, George Rogers Atkey (who died in infancy) and Pascall Ratsey Atkey (who died of tyhoid fever, aged 20). Guy Charvet is commemorated on the grave, as is his aunt Ellenda (nêe Atkey) Ratsey. Patricia and Anne visited the Cemetery in June when Bernie Coleman, the groundsman, gave them details of stonemasons on the Island; they invited the Trustees to take the weeds out of the ‘roof’ of the Vault and do some gardening around the adjacent areas; we were delighted to accept their invitation! Given its proximity to the Friends’ House and the new bulb plantings, its position for restoration could not have been more perfect – so this corner of the Cemetery (known as Plot 1) really is being given a good facelift!