Charles Toase interview: Background

To start, please could you give your full name, date and place of birth?

Charles Alpin Toase, born on 9 August 1927. I was born in a nursing home in Kingston. My birth certificate says 50 Kingston Hill but my family were living in Wimbledon at the time. 

What were your parents’ names, their backgrounds and how big was your family?

My mother was Jessie MacGregor and that accounts for my second name Alpin because her branch of the MacGregor family had the tradition that they were descended from the first King of Scotland. The name Alpin was handed down through the generations and the eldest son had it as his second name. This goes way, way back. My mother was actually called Alpina. I was called Alpin as my second name but at that point the family petered out as they only had daughters. So my daughter was called Alpin and her first daughter too as her second name, but after that I suppose it will disappear.

Do you have any siblings called Alpin or otherwise?

No, I was an only child.

When did you move into your first home and was it in Wimbledon?

That was 77 Lambton Road and I presumably moved in in August 1927. That house was bombed during the last bombing of Wimbledon in 1944 by a doodlebug which also went right through to Amity Grove and demolished a number of other houses. So that house has disappeared and there is a new house there now.

What was your father’s occupation?

His name was [Walter] Toase and he was in shipping, grain shipping, he was on the Baltic Exchange. If I can go back a bit, his father was also in the same firm. It was a French firm, Louis Dreyfus in Paris. My grandfather worked there and then came to the London office and my father carried on in that business. But the Toases had been in France for a long time. They started in Yorkshire, it was a Yorkshire name, and sometime at the end of the 1700s my great, great grandfather – I’m never sure how many greats - came south. He was a Methodist minister and he went to the Channel Islands, married a Jersey girl called Margaret de Jersey, and then moved to France where he was in charge of the Methodist missions in France. Their children continued to live in France and married there. My grandfather married a French woman and then came back to London and lived in Merton Hall Road and Lambton Road. So that’s that bit of ancestry.