Picture of 31 Piccadilly in the modern era - courtesy of Fay (Todman) NevilleA son of James Drew married the daughter of Thomas Nias
The James Drew/Sarah Nias Story ...

From their marriage certificate, James Drew was already living in London in 1850 at 31 Piccadilly. James Drew was marrried to Sarah Ann Merewether Nias in 1850. In 1851 - according to the census - that is where they set up home together as they were enumerated at 31, Piccadilly, in Westminster, London. It is likely that this address was both his home and his workplace with connections at the Burlington Arcade coming later as he achieved commercial success.

If he owned the property outright it would go some way towards explaining a family feud - and now mystery - involving the Court of Chancery and a fortune left in London by a member of the Drew family - details of which are mentioned elsewhere on these Drew pages.

The 1851 census detail for that property lists the occupants as follows: James Drew (Head) aged 26 - giving his birthplace as Llandrindod (Wells) - Radnorshire (adjusted to Cefynllys by the time he came to fill out the 1881 census) and he states his occupation as "Outfitter". S. A. M. Drew - Sarah Ann Merriwether Drew - (Wife) aged 25, born Newbury, Berks. and Sarah Nias (Mother-in-Law) aged 57, stated as a widow - born at Froxfield in Wiltshire.

Also living at the house were two "assistants" and a servant. The male assistant was Charles Price, aged 16 and born at Llandrindod (Wells) in Radnorshire; the female, M. Harris, aged 17 - born in London. The servant was named as W. Jolliffe (female) - aged 19 and born at Plymouth in Devon.

It is highly likely that Charles Price was a relative of James Drew since the Drew and Price families of Radnorshire often intermarried. It is quite possible that M. Harris, the female assistant, was also the daughter of a Harris relative and from a family with similar Radnorshire roots but settled in London prior to the birth of their daughter. (Female Drew married to a male Harris) Question: M = Martha? (see previous Nias generation notes). This is an extract from that page ... written by Len Oliver, a Nias family researcher and relative of Brett Oliver.

"Joseph Somerset Nias was the grandson of the original Benjamin Nias / Mary Merriman marriage and the son of the Thomas Nias / Sarah ? (Somerset)? [Merewether?] marriage. Joseph Somerset Nias was born in 1824 at Newbury and died 1897 at Weybridge. It appears he married a Martha J ["unknown"].

In the 1881 census he was 57, occupation - Oil Miller - and his wife was only 45, therefore an age gap of 12 years. Was she a widow - as the daughter in the house was known as Nora M. Drew age 24, unmarried and no occupation and born in London?

Site Note 10/2002
Could this be "assistant" Martha Harris ... age 17 in the 1851 census?

New question - who, then, was Nora M. Drew? For, if she was the daughter of the house, she should have been called "Nias". Suggested answer ... a Drew relative (next question - who?) impregnated "Martha Harris" in about 1857 - when she was about 23 - and she was quietly married off to Sarah (Mrs. Drew) Nias' brother, Joseph Somerset Nias. He must have been a "favourite" brother because James Drew and Sarah included the Somerset name in their son William's name string - William Somerset Drew.

The father was ... John James Drew - the elder brother by one year (and eldest sibling) of James (Hosier) Drew. John James Drew went off to America and is recorded as being there (a farmer) by the time the American 1860 census was taken.
James (Yeoman) Drew - the father of James (Hosier) Drew and of John James Drew - had a nephew James Edmund Drew, who had migrated from Radnorshire in 1854 and settled in America with his 15 year old Radnorshire bride and infant child.
James Edmund Drew was virtually ignored (as cousin, David Ward relates) in his mother's will - as were Nias James Drew and William Somerset Drew in the will of their mother!

Read Sarah Nias' 1894 will or follow the Nias James Drew story ... seemingly "banished" from London in 1881.