Female portrait placeholder image

Name: Florence Coombe

Burial Number: 1852

Gender: Female

Occupation: Authoress;

Distinction: Authoress

Born: 00/00/1871

Died: 04/02/1953

Buried: 23/02/1953

Mother:
Eliza Mary Chalk

Father:
Charles George Coombe

Family No: 1852

Story

Florence was born in 1871 in Beckenham Kent to Charles George Coombe and Eliza Mary Coombe (nee Chalk).

Florence’s Father was a vicar for 27 years at St. Thomas’s Church, Crooke, Sheffield and for 20 years at St. Pauls church Worthing. He was born on 13th May 1822 and died on 5th March 1902 in Worthing, and is buried in Broadwater Cemetery.

 

Florence spent her early life living with her family at Nether Hallam in Sheffield, then by 1881 the family moved to Selden Road in Worthing Sussex. She became an Author and wrote many books, her first being ‘A Chum Worth Having’ in 1897 which was a children’s story of Hector and his friends.

After that she wrote another 10 books (some of which are still in print today) –

That merry crew in 1898

Her Friend & Mine in 1899

 

Jack of both Sides in 1900

 

 

Boys of the Priory School in 1900

For the Old school in 1901

 

Two to One in 1902

 

Comrades All in 1903

A Day at Tikopia in 1908

 

School Days in Norfolk Island in 1909

 

Islands of Enchantment in 1911

The last three books were written after she joined the Melanesian Mission of the Anglican Church in 1905. She travelled to Melanesia to teach Christianity (Melanesia is a region in the Pacific Ocean, and includes the islands of New Guinea in the west to Tonga in the East). She visited many islands travelling on the steamboat called Southern Cross, which was a ship serving the Mission of the Anglican Church and the Church of the Province of Melanesia. She wrote books on her experiences and J W Beattie took many photos of the people and islands, which were included in the books Florence wrote.

Florence  lived in the island of Mota from 1911 to 1915, and the Norfolk Islands from 1915 to 1919. She returned to England in 1919 due to ill health, and was immediately made a member of the Anglican General Committee.  The next year she became a Travelling Lecturer, and sometime later became the Editor of the Anglican Southern Cross Log. With increasing age she relinquished the job of travelling lecturer and then a while later she gave up the job as Editor of the Southern Cross Log. However she continued as a member of the general committee until 1950.

In 1939 she was living at The Rectory Chelsfield Kent with Herbert and Ethel Mary Mackay, before moving back to Worthing and living at

Greengates Hotel Lansdowne Road, where she died on 4th February 1953. She left an amount of £6551 10s 7d (approx. £156,300 in 2020) with probate to Ethel Mary Mackay

(FoHC Acknowledge the Geoffrey Godden Collection and Worthing Library Service, for the permission to publish this photographs)

Researcher: Jackie Rooney

The Grave

No headstone image available

Location in Cemetery

Area: EB Row: 4 Plot: 46

Exact Location (what3words): sorry.dollar.erase

Ashes or Urn: Casket Only

Headstone

Description:

Florence Edith Coombe ashes are buried under the headstone for Cecil, Reginald and Lucy Lane

Inscription:

No inscription has been added.

Further Information

Birth

Name: Florence Edith Coombe

Gender: Female

Born: 00/00/1871

Town: Beckenham

County: Kent

Country: England

Marriage

Maiden Name: Not applicable

No marriage information is available for this burial record.

Information at Death

Date of Death: 04/02/1953

Cause of death: Unknown

Address line 1: Greengates Hotel

Address line 2: Lansdowne Road

Town: Worthing

County: Sussex

Country: England

Obituary

Miss Florence Coombe, well‑known to all Melanesia’s friends in England, died at Worthing on February 4th. The funeral service was at the Parish Church Of Heene, Worthing, on the 9th February. Melanesia was. represented by the General Secretary and the Rev. H. V. and Mrs. Adams. Mr. and Mrs. Adams were  contemporaries of Miss Coombe in the Banks Islands.

Miss Coombe joined the Mission staff in 1905 and retired in 1919 owing to ill health. She came to England and immediately she was made a member of the General Committee. The next year she became Travelling Lecturer, and sometime later she became Editor of the Souhern Cross Log. With increasing age she relinquished first one and then the other of these activities, but she continued as a member of the General Committee until 1950.

Personal Effects

Money left to others: £6551 10 s 7 d

Current value of effects: £156300

Census Information

1881

Nether Hallam Sheffield

Charles George Coombe (head) age 58, Eliza Mary (Wife) age 52, Emily (Daughter) age 27, Cecil Arthur (Son) age 25, Caroline Elizabeth (Daughter)   age 23, Charles Frederick (Son) age 21, Florence Edith (Daughter) age 10, plus two servants

1891

Selden Road Worthing Sussex

Charles George Coombe (Head) age 68, Emily M (Daughter) age 37, Caroline E (Daughter) age 33, Annie B (Daughter) age 23, Florence E (Daughter)  age 20

1901

17 Selden Road Worthing Sussex

Charles G Coombe (Head) age 78, Emily M (Daughter) age 47, Annie B (Daughter) age 33, Florence E (Daughter) age 30 plus 2 servants

1939

  1. The Rectory Chelsfield, Kent

Florence living with Herbert and Ethel Mackay, Rector of Chelsford

Miscellaneous Information

Worthing Gazette – December 23rd 1896

Miss F Coombe As An Authoress – “Rambler,” who writes in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph upon incidents that come within scope of his observation “Round the Town,” had the following paragraph of local interest in Thursday’s issue of that journal: “A well written book for the season, ‘A Charm Worth Having; the Story of Hector’s friends,’ published by Messrs. Blackie and Son, Limited (Old Bailey, London), is very well known in the West End of the city. The authoress is the daughter of the Rev. C.G. Coombe, formerly Crookes, now Vicar of St Paul’s, Worthing. This book is Miss Coombe’s maiden effort, and it gives promise of further excellent literary work. Nor is she without prompt encouragement, for another firm of publishers has already accepted her next book.”

Worthing Herald – 1st May 1953 – Worthing Wills

Bequests to Missions – Miss Florence Edith Coombe, of Lansdowne Road, formerly of Chelsfield Rectory, Kent, and for many years a missionary in Melanesia, who died on February 4, left £6,551.10s.7d. gross (£6481.10s.7d. net)
She left £1,500 to the Melanesian Mission, £500 to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, £200 each to the Church Army and Anglo-Catholic Ordination Fund, £100 each to the Church of England Children’s Society, the National Society for Promoting the Education of Children in the Principles of Church of England, Jerusalem and the East Mission, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, and £20 to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

 

War Office Times – 1st Nov 1911

Islands of Enchantment: Many-sided Melanesia – by Florence Coombe (London: Macmillan & Co. Ltd.) – On board the “Southern Cross,” the steam-yacht employed on the business of the Melanesian Mission, Miss Coombe visited the numerous islands included in the term “Melanesia” – the Northern New Hebrides, Banks Islands, Torres Islands, Santa Cruz, Reef Islands, and the Eastern Solomon Islands. This book is an extremely interesting account of the inhabitants of these various islands. Miss Coombe is a charming writer, and her descriptive touches are excellent. The work contains over a hundred illustrations and gives a vivid insight into a still comparatively little known part of the world and the divergent, though allied, types that inhabit them. Miss Coombe writes in eloquent terms of the work done by the Missionaries in these Pacific islands.

Sheffield Telegraph – 1st Dec 1911

“Islands of Enchantment”  11, Ambrose Place, Worthing
Sir – I have just received a copy of your paper for the 27th inst. in which appears a very appreciative notice of my sister’s book, “Islands of Enchantment.” It may interest some of your older readers to know that “Florence Coombe” is the youngest daughter of the late Rev. C.G. Coombe, vicar of Crookes, 1855-1882; and that she has, for the last six years been a missionary on the staff of the “Melanesian Mission.”  She lives now in the little island of Mota (Banks Islands), and has devoted all profits resulting from the sale of her book to the funds if the mission. Faithfully yours, E.M. Coombe

Derbyshire Advertiser – 25th Feb 1921

Melbourne, Church Missions – A lecture on mission work in the South Sea Islands was given in the National Schoolroom, on Monday evening, by Miss Florence E Coombe. There was a good audience, over which the vicar, the Rev. E.T. Harcombe, presided. Miss Coombe has recently returned from Melanesia after 14 years’ service, and the account she gave of mission work in the islands of the South-west Pacific, forming the diocese of Melanesia, was full of interest. The lecture was illustrated by good lantern views. A collection was taken for mission funds, the amount raised for the Melanesian Mission during the year being over £27.

Kent & Sussex Courier – 17th June 1921

Miss Florence E Coombe, who worked in the Melanesian Islands for fourteen years, gave an interesting address on the work of the Mission. Answering the question, Why take the Gospel to the Melanesians – a people right away by themselves with apparently no special contributions to bring to the cause of humanity? the speaker said the first reason was because the people needed Christ. The non civilised Melanesian was not a very attractive person, but the civilised non-Christian was a thousand times worse. Another reason for the Mission was that Christ needed them. These people were bringing as their contributions to His Kingdom the gifts of a simple childlike faith, a remarkable reverence and a gift of joy. The people realised something of what Chestorton called “the fun of being a Christian.” In Melanesia they were not striving to reproduce the exact counterpart of the Western Church, but a strong, pure, living, active branch of the Holy Catholic Church of Christ.

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