Louis Ernest Hardingham

Census Address: 12 Ironmonger Street
Place of Birth: Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Date of Birth: 10 September 1898
Enlistment Address: --
Regiment: Royal Naval Air Service
Service Numbers: 244356
Place of Death: Farnborough Hospital, Kent
Date Died: 8 March 1983

Louis Ernest Hardingham – 12 Ironmonger Street

Louis Ernest Hardingham aged 12

Louis Ernest Hardingham aged 12

12 Ironmonger Street, Stamford

12 Ironmonger Street

Louis was the only son of Ernest Radford Hardingham and Agnes Jemima Petch. He was born in Tunbridge Wells, Kent on 10th September 1898 but by April 1901 his father was established as a hairdresser and wigmaker at 18 St Mary’s Street, Stamford.

Having been awarded a scholarship in 1906, Louis attended the Endowed School in St Peter’s Street. In 1910 he was awarded a scholarship to the Grammar School, (Stamford School).

By 1911 Louis and his parents had moved to 12 Ironmonger Street where Ernest established his business, above which they occupied 9 rooms and employed a servant. The entrance to their home is to the right of the shop front.

Louis was still at school at the outbreak of World War I, but at the age of 17 years he volunteered for the Volunteer Training Corps (similar to the World War II Home Guard). In December 1917 he joined the Royal Naval Air Service. He was posted to Withnoe Camp near Plymouth in late 1917 and by the early part of 1918 was posted as an Aircraftman 1st Class Engineer to the Crystal Palace in London where he remained for the duration of the war, when he was demobbed in February 1919.


Louis Ernest Hardingham Service Record

Louis Ernest Hardingham Service Record

Louis met Dorothy Ellen Isabel Donald in London at the end of the war and at the age of 23 years he married her at St Michael’s Church, Stamford, on 4th December 1921. At some stage Ernest and Agnes moved to 50 New Cross Road and Louis took over the business at 12 Ironmonger Street as Hardingham & Son.

In 1939, at the outbreak of World War II, Louis went to work as an engineer at Martin’s Agricultural Implements on Ryhall Road, where he stayed until the end of the war. During this time his father, Ernest, ran the shop.

Louis and Dorothy had four children. Derek (b 23 February 1923), Malcolm (b 3 July 1928, Martin (b 13 February 1933) and Catherine (b 16 July 1944).

After spending some years at Blackstones, Derek joined the Merchant Navy for the duration of the war. Malcolm joined the army after leaving school and was a full-time soldier.

Martin taught for 15 years at the Royal College of Art, London after which he worked overseas on a number of government and non-governmental projects. After leaving Stamford High School, Catherine worked in the shop and eventually took it over before the business was eventually taken over by a new proprietor.

Many people have fond memories of shopping at Hardinghams for their sports equipment, fishing equipment, gramophone records, Hornby, Dinky and Matchbox toys, Britain’s lead soldiers and stink bombs.

Louis was very musical and while he was at school shared the same piano teacher, Mrs Tinkler, with Malcolm Sergeant. After World War I was over, he formed a dance band and a garden party orchestra, which played at the Assembly Rooms, Stamford Hotel and Burghley House. He also provided the music in the form of gramophone records, to the Picturedrome and Central Cinemas.

Louis died in 1983 aged 84 years, Dorothy was 97 years old when she died in 1995 and their eldest son Derek died in 1987.