In 1831 Ireland’s great grandfather, the Reverend Mark Nicholson, purchased a new home in Clifton, Bristol. Here he lived along with two of his sons – William and Mark – and his three daughters, Elizabeth (Iddy), Ann and Lucy. The house was one of a fine row of Georgian houses, with a small park immediately opposite. The terrace survives largely intact, with fine trees in the green space in front as seen below. When the Reverend died in 1838, the children chose not to remain in what was never a particularly happy family home. The house was sold in 1839. William and Iddy eventually emigrated to Ohio, Mark to Melbourne, while Ann and Lucy married and relocated to Liverpool and Monmouth respectively.
Ireland’s great aunt, sister of his grandfather John, was Ann Nicholson (1814-92), like many of his family born in Barbados. She married Dr Charles Hayes Higgins (1811-98), who was the son of Colonel Charles Thomas Higgins and Emma Maria Higgins. Born on a ship
off the coast of Java, Dr Higgins was an eminent surgeon and physician whose obituary below gives a sense of the depth and breadth of his life and career.
Ann and Charles had seven children:
- Charles Thomas Higgins
- James Simpson Higgins
- Anne Emma Higgins
- Edmund Ironside Higgins
- Robert Bruce Higgins
- William Henry Higgins
- Henry Alleyne Higgins, sub-lieutenant in the Cheshire Engineer Volunteer Corps.
Charles Hayes Higgins’s brother Edmund emigrated to Australia (temporarily), where he set up in business with family member Mark Nicholson (Ireland’s great uncle).
Charles is buried in Flaybrick Hill cemetery in Birkenhead.
Naval and Military Medical Services, 29 January 1898, p.346.