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We Remember ... Heroes of the Faith at St. Michael's - Frederick and Rachel Geldart

1870 – 5 January 1912

On Trinity Sunday 1911, our magnificent Processional Cross, a gift from Frederick and Rachel Geldart, was dedicated. Eight months later Frederick was dead, killed in an explosion at Chiswick Soap Works and leaving his wife and 5 children, with ages ranging from seven to seventeen.

Frederick and Rachel were born and raised in Liverpool but moved to London at the beginning of the century, possibly via West Bromwich where their third eldest son, Henry, was born. The family lived at 25 Burlington Gardens with their domestic servant, Lilian Green.

Frederick was a Soap Maker, a very skilled job, and worked for the Chiswick Soap Company, a forerunner of Reckitt and Colman, on the north side of Burlington Lane. On New Year’s Day 1912 Frederick and his assistant were pouring calcium carbide into a vat of soap ingredients for a new product range. The mixture exploded, burning both men. The assistant died that day at Chiswick Cottage Hospital, nearby in Burlington Lane. Frederick, who had burns over most of his body, lived until January 5th in the same hospital.