CHARLES WILLIAM BENBOW, the son of GEORGE and Mary Benbow
nee Coles, was born 13th February 1842 at Bordesly, Warwick, and was
baptised there on 20 May in 1842. His parents married 06 APR 1840 at Saint
Martin, Birmingham, Warwick.
He was educated at a Birmingham Church School and at the age of 12 had
completed his education and entered the office of a Birmingham firm,
remaining with them for 22 years. He married ELIZABETH JENNINGS 11th
August 1866 in Aston Juxta, Birmingham, Warwick. She was the daughter of
Michael Jennings born on January 2nd 1845, and died January 1906 at
Wellington and was buried at the Karori Cemetery.
In 1875 Charles came
to New Zealand arriving in Wellington on the sailing ship "Border Chief" in October of that year and entered
the employment of Messrs Levin and Company, merchants, where he
superintended the Insurance department and conducted the correspondence
until 1891. He severed his connection with that firm to take up the
position of manager of the Wellington Branch of the South British
Insurance in Tasman Street where they had their home.
Charles took an
active part in the many movements but was perhaps best known as a chess
player. He was one of the original members of the Wellington Chess Club
and was the president for many years past. He is also one of the
vice-presidents of the New Zealand Chess Association. Another great
interest was in cricket and was a remaining foundation member of the
Phoenix Cricket Club and one of the vice-presidents. Friendly Society work
also engaged a great deal of his attention. He was a member and a trustee
of the Southern Cross Lodge, No 24, I.O.O.F. and for a long period held
the position of Deputy Grandmaster of the Order for the Wellington
An ardent book lover, he gathered a somewhat extensive
library. He became a Justice of the Peace in 1901 till 1904. His death
occurred on 9th March 1908 in Wellington and is buried at Karori
REF: CYCLOPEDIA OF NZ 1897 Wellington Province
Benbow has kept aloof from both colonial and civic politics, he has in
less prominent ways, been serving the public with commendable ardour and
most satisfactory results. Whatever he takes in hand is done, and done
thoroughly. He is, of course, best known as a chess player; but as a
separate article in connection with the Wellington Chess Club speaks of
him in that capacity it need only be said here, that in addition to his
duties for 15 years as President of the Club, he has for many years past
had charge of the Chess column of the New Zealand Mail, It is to be
congratulated on having, therefore, in one department at least, the
highest talent that the colony can supply. The Chess Club met Tuesday and
Friday evenings on the top floor of the Echange Buildings in Lambton Quay.
As a composer of problems, as in other branches of the game, Mr Benbow
many years ago made for himself a prominent position among the first chess
stars of England. In draughts, too, he plays a strong game.
cricketer he has shown a keen interest, and no small ability in at least
one out-door pastime; but in this, his son, Mr Charles Benbow of the AMP
staff, has outstripped his father. Mr Benbow sen. still plays occasionally
for exercise, and he occupies the position of president of the Phoenix
Club and vice-president of the Cricketer's Association. Mr Benbow is a
rare example of a rare class of men - there is hardly an important game
which he does not play really well; and yet he has sacrificed himself to
none. The positions he has held in business circles show that very
Mr Benbow's library is one of the best in the city; and of the
thousands of books which compose it, there are very few with wose contents
he is unfamiliar. He is not a mere collector of books: his study of thmis
characterised by the same thoroughness which wins for him the highest
esteem in all quarters. As a public lecturer he cannot be said to have
come prominently before the public; but several audiences have been kept
in almost breathless interest throughout the delivery of his lectures on
Goldsmith, John Bright and others.
As an Oddfellow of the American
Order, Mr Benbow has held for many years the high position of deputy
Grandmaster for the Wellington District. He is a member of the Southern
Cross Lodge, No 24 of which he is a trustee, and both officially and
privately, he takes a leading partin Oddfellowship.
In Church matters,
too, Mr Benbow has an extraordiary capacitiy and an equal willingness for
hard work; and as he is incaable of doing anything badly or of neglecting
the due performance of a duty devolving upon him, it is not surprising
that he is pressed into positions of responsibility and honour. With his
genuine desire to be useful, and genially courteous to all, the wonder
that he has been able to limit the number of public duties within the
possibility of such punctilious performance. Among the positions held by
Mr Benbow in connection with the Wesleyan body may be mentioned those of
Senior Circuit Steward, Society Steward of Wesley Church, and Trustee of
the Wellington Circuit Education Trust. In the Wesley Sunday School and in
connection with the Literary Institute he has given much valued
Newspaper report, Hawkes Bay Herald: May 5
Chess- The chess match by telegraph between the Wellington and
Napier Chess Clubs was commenced on Saturday evening, the Napier men
playing in the cloak room of the Telegraph office, in which a telegraph
instrument was fixed for the occasion. The combatants were matched as
HULLETT V PIRANI; WHITTEM V LESSSONG; DIDSBURY V HINDMARSH;
HOLLAND V WILSON; RIGHT V RIDDELL; SEARLE V J DINWIDDIE
Mr KING was in
attendance as emergency man for Napier and the referees were Mr BENBOW for
Napier and Mr A J MORTON for Wellington.
Mr FALKINER was the
telegraphist at Napier, and Mr BURR for Wellington.
1906 - In October at Wellington, a fire reported. The estimated value
of the damage to the building ( a dwelling) and contents. It was insured
with South British Insurance Co for £1750. (Source Australasian Insurance
and Banking Record 1906)
The children of CHARLES BENBOW and ELIZABETH JENNINGS were:
CHARLES ALBERT BENBOW was born 1870 in Solihull, Birmingham,
England and arrived with his parents in June 1875. He attended the Mount
Cook Boy's School, Wellington and the Wellington College. His first
employment was with the Wellington Fire Office for 7 months before joining
the staff of the Australian Mutual Provident Society on 7 Nov. 1887. In
the 1896 Stones Directory he is recorded as a clerk living at Tasman St,
He, like his father, was a keen cricketer and played in
senior cricket matches from 1886 to 1902 in Wellington and was member of
the teams playing against one of the Australian teams which visited
England, Melbourne and New South Wales and played for local representative
matches. In March 1902 he married ALICE REBECCA BIRCH in 1902, the
daughter of GEORGE Baynes BIRCH and REBECCA.
It was in this month that
the Australian Mutual Provident Society opened a branch in Broughan
Street, New Plymouth which covered an area from the Kawhia in the north to
the Wanganui River. It had public and private rooms and employed three
agents to canvass Taranaki. Charles was appointed the Secretary.
1911, Charles is an Insurance Agent and Manager of the AMP and lived at
Vogel Town, New Plymouth where he died on 29th March 1912. Alice, his
widow died in 1954 at Wellington.
Obituary - Taranaki Herald 28 Jan 1954
Mrs Alice Benbow, a
resident of Wellington for many years and wife of the late Mr Charles
Benbow, well known in New Plymouth, died in Wellington recently at the age
Her husband opened the AMP Society's first office in New
Plymouth which was then in Brougham Street. A member of the New Plymouth
golf Club for many years, he was a keen golfer and was also an outstanding
cricketer for Wellington.
Mrs Benbow is survived by her daughter Rona
(Mrs L Avann, Karori) A son Howard predeceased her eight years ago.
funeral service was conducted at the Thorndon Methodist Church where mrs
Benbow had been a popular worker for many years.
The children of CHARLES BENBOW and ALICE BIRCH:
1. CHARLES HOWARD BENBOW, born 01 Jul 1910, New Plymouth; Charles was
IHC and attended the Side School Masterton in 1920. Howard spent many
years at Levin in residential care. He died 24 Aug 1944 at Wellington
and is buried at the Karori Cemetery.
2. ALICE RONA* BENBOW was born in 1904 at Wellington and is in the
1921 New Zealand Gazette as teaching at Masterton.
Evening Post 5 Jun 1926: The engagement is announced of Leonard, only son of the late Mr. and Mrs. S. Avann, New Plymouth, to Rona, only daughter of Mrs. Benbow, and the late Mr. C. A. Benbow, Wellington.
Rona married LEONARD
AVANN in 1928, civil servant and son of Stephen and Alice Avann (nee
Robert). Leonard was born in 1896, served WW1 and his death occurred on 25th
February 1981 at Wellington. Rona died prior on 24th April 1970, and
they are buried at the Karori Cemetery in Wellington
Rona had a
degree from Victoria and taught at Solway College before her marriage.
She and Len had no children, as her brother Howard was intellectually
handicapped and she said she would never put herself through what her
mother had to go experience. Rona looked after her mother and Len at her
house in Karori, installing a lift when Alice couldn't manage the
ii. ANN AGNES BENBOW was one of three children who accompanied
their parents on the ship to New Zealand. She died in 1922 at Wellington.
She participated in the first woman's electoral roll in 1893 and is living
at Guilford Terrace Wellington, spinster.
Annie died in 1922 aged 81
years and is buried at Karori Cemetery
iii. ELIZABETH (LIZZIE) LOUISE BENBOW Her birth was registered at
Wellington in 1875 but from her school roll it appears she was born 1873.
LIZZIE attended the Mt Cook Girls school where she was admitted March
1881. Her home address was Tasman St, and said to be aged 8 years. In 1896
she undertook the Wellington Teacher Examinations and records show her as
a teacher till at least 1910. She married FREDERICK WILLIAM PRINCE. He was
born abt 1870 and lived in Hopper St, Wellington where his father was
employed as a wharfman, and attended the Mt Cook Boys School. In 1906 they
were on the Wellington Suburbs electoral roll and when military callup
came in 1917, the Princes lived at 44 Hill St, Wellington and Frederick
was employed as a storeman. Frederick died in 1948 at Wellington and
Lizzie passed away on 2nd July 1942 - they are buried at Karori Cemetery,
Area 12, Block BF; Row 15, Plot 13
Wedding of Fred Prince and Pearl Benbow. From left to right:
Mr William and Mrs Jane Prince (nee Spencer), Fred Prince, Pearl Benbow
and her father C W Benbow. Photograph taken circa 1908
iv. MARY ETHEL BENBOW was born in 1876, Wellington
and attended the Mt Cook Girls school. In 1911 NZ Post Office Directory
her home address is “Miss Mary Benbow, 134 Tasman St,
Wellington”. She worked as a Clerk in the Ocean Accident
Insurance Office, Wellington and died 9th Febrary 1963 and is buried
at the Karori Cemetery
v. EDITH LILLIAN (LILY) BENBOW was born 1882 at
LILY BENBOW attended the Mt Cook Girls School at Wellington
and between 1895 and 1897 went to the Terrace School, Wellington She died
8th Aug 1957 and was buried at the Karori Cemetery
vi. ELSIE ALICE BENBOW was born in 1885 at Wellington
attended the Mt Cook Girls School, Wellington and between 1895 and 97 at
the Terrace School, Wellington.
New Zealand Free Lance, 13 April 1907: The engagement has been
announced of Miss Elsie Benbow, fourth daughter ot Mr C. W Benbow, of
Wellington, to Mr. W J. Prictor, jun., only son of Mr. W. J. Prictor, of
Evening Post, 13 June 1908: William Prictor, aged 25, this morning
walked on to the lawn of a house in Tasman-street, and there shot himself.
He had with him a five-chambered revolver, from which he fired two shots,
the second of which took effect behind the ear. He then walked to the
front door of the house, and told the inmates that he had shot himself.
There was blood running from his head, and the inmates ran for a doctor,
and afterwards summoned Sergeant Stewart, officer in charge of the Mount
Cook district, who had Prictor taken to the hospital, where he was further
succoured. It is not thought that the injury will prove dangerous.
Prictor, who came to Wellington from Dunedin about four weeks ago,
attributed the cause of his act to his inability to get work in this
Elsie never married and died 4th June 1917, Wellington – her death
registered as Eltie Alice Benbow and she is buried at Karori
vii. FLORENCE MARY ANN BENBOW was born 1886 and in
1897 was admitted to the Mt Cook Girls School; home address Tasman St; age
given as 9 years five months; Parents occupation given as "Clerk" A
natural scholar, she was in the sixth standard by the age of 10.
1893 Florence is recorded as voting on the First womans electoral roll
City of Wellington; living at Tasman St, spinster. She died on the 12th
July 1968 at North Shore Auckland at the age of 82 Years and was buried on
the 16th July at the Birkenhead/Glenfield Cem. Public Lawn Row V Plot
THE TEACHING STAFF OF THE CLYDE QUAY SCHOOL, WELLINGTON. Back Row.—Mr.
Polson, Mr Dempsy, Mr. Cowles, Mr Price, Mr. Castle. Front Row.—Miss
ONeill, Miss Benbow, Miss Scott, Mr W. T Crum (Headmaster), Miss Robinson,
Miss McLean. (New Zealand Free Lance, 07 March 1903)