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William Goodacre

In the 1881 census William Goodacre is listed as a retired Landscape Artist, aged 77, living in Long Acre. William died in 1883 but was listed in White’s directory for that year as living at East Cottage. His wife Anna was a teacher. No family are recorded, so we don’t know who Elizabeth was. In 1885 Ann is listed in a directory as running a school in East Cottage. She would have been 71 and presumably in need of making a little money in her widowhood!

Goodacre was a licentiate of the College of Preceptors (a professional association for teachers that still exists and of which membership is by examination) and a landscape artist. His wife was a teacher. We have traced Goodacre on some American art web sites. Born in Nottingham, he went to America in 1823 with his father Robert. They produced drawings for a ‘History and topography of the United States’. He taught, drew and exhibited with the academy of design in New York City. His father returned to the UK in 1826 and William returned when his father died in 1835, to ‘take over the family business’.

According to the US web site he lived from 1803 to 1883, which would make him 77 or 78 in 1881 – which tallies with the census information. There is said to be a watercolour of his in the Valentine Museum, Richmond, Virginia. (We are still researching this Bingham minor celebrity previously unknown to us!)

A William Goodacre can be traced through successive trade directories for Nottinghamshire from 1840 to 1883 when he is listed as living at East Cottage, so it looks very much like the right man! Pigot’s 1840 directory for Nottingham has him as proprietor of a day and boarding school (a ‘Classical and Business Academy’) in Standard Hill, Nottingham (near the castle). In 1853 he went into partnership as Goodacre and Cockayne, running a boarding school in Standard Hill (near Nottingham Castle), moving to Addison Street in 1864 and to 53 Forest Road East when he was about 60. This house, a large Victorian detached villa, is now an accountant’s office. In 1864 Thomas and Mary Cockayne are listed as running a boys school and a ladies school in Arboretum Street. By 1879 John Cockayne was living at 51 Forest Road East and Thomas at the school next door.

Goodacre lived at the Standard Hill School until about 1858 when he moved to Chilwell and then in 1879 he was living in Scarrington. Two years later he was in Bingham. By 1885 Cockayne was running both Cockaynes Academy in Forest Road East and Standard Hill Academy, now in Addison Street.

It may be no coincidence that Thomas and Elizabeth Cockayne were Master and Mistress of the Bluecote School on High Pavement from 1835 to 1853. The Bluecoat School moved to Mansfield Road in 1853 but Elizabeth is listed in the directory of 1864 as Mistress of the Bluecote School, Weekday Cross! The Cockaynes who were Goodacre’s partners may have been sons of the master and mistress. Is it too fanciful to imagine a further connection between Goodacre and the Cockayne family – could Anna have been a daughter? Perhaps he spent his first five years back in this country at the Bluecoat? Perhaps William and Anna had a daughter Elizabeth named for Anna’s mother.


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