Famous Freemans

My Great Aunt, Mary Lines, daughter of Joseph Lines, married Ralph Freeman at St Olave, Stoke Newington, Hackney, on the 14th of July 1908.
Ralf Freeman’s father, George James Freeman died on 6th of April 1908, shortly before the wedding.

George James Freeman (~1853 – 1908)

George James Freeman, born about 1853, was the son of James Rykes Freeman, whose mother came from Holland, where James was sent as a young man to learn the cigar business. On his return to England James started his own tobacco business in Wales in 1839, which became JR Freeman and son. They produced several well know brands including Hamlet.
George married Edith Marion Henderson in 1875 and they had six sons and three daughters.
Of the sons,  Donald George Freeman (1877 – 1937), followed him into the cigar business, eventually taking over running the business.
Three of the other sons were sufficiently noteworthy in their own fields to warrant Wikipedia articles.

Ralph Freeman (1880-1950)

As well as marrying my Great Aunt,  Ralph became a famous Civil Engineer, designing,  amongst others, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which celebrated its 75th Birthday in 2016.

Plaque on Sydney Harbour Bridge

The two arches of the bridge were joined on 19th August 1930, an event commemorated by an article in The Guardian (including a picture, which appears to show the confidence Ralph had in his creation as he is probably the figure in the centre, standing on a wooden plank)

Workers stand atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge during the joining of the two arches. Photograph: Sydney Morning Herald/Fairfax

Arnold James Freeman (1886-1972)

Arnold Freeman was a writer, philosopher, anthroposophist, adult educator, actor, director, Fabian Socialist, Labour Party candidate and co-founder of the anthroposophical magazine, The Golden Blade. He was the founder and first Warden of the Sheffield Educational Settlement.
In the Wikipedia article it says that  “He and his sister Daisy spent a year at the Quaker Settlement in Woodbrooke,” –  Daisy will be (probably) Ada Marion Freeman – see below.
He was also probably the Anthony Freeman who was one of the witnesses, along with Joseph Lines, as the marriage of Ralph Freeman to Mary Lines in 1908.

He, along with his mother, and sisters Daisy and Dolly were with my Grandfather in Bellagio in 1914, as my Grandfather wrote in his letter from Bellagio.

Peter Bernard William Freeman (1888-1956)

Peter Freeman was Labour MP for Newport from 1945 to 1956.
He as also a director of J.R. Freeman Cigars, despite being a non-smoker, and is credited with inventing the brand name Manikin.
He was a keen tennis player and Lawn Tennis Champion of Wales three times, as well as being a vegetarian and writer on Vegetarianism.
He married Ella Drummond Torrance, daughter of Andrew Mitchell Torrance, Liberal MP for Glasgow Central from 1906 to 1909.

The daughters

Edith Elizabeth Freeman – born 1885, shown as Patty E. in the 1901 Census. She married James Edmonson, 1st Baron Sandford who was Conservative MP for Banbury from 1922 to 1945.

The Twins

Ada Marion Freeman – born 1895. Known in the family as Daisy. She became a doctor and was the family doctor of George Bernard Shaw.
Ellen Dorothy Freeman –  born 1895.  Known in the family as Dolly.


  1. Hi
    Do you know anything more about the family of Peter (Bernhard William) FREEMAN?
    I am related to him via his wife Ella Drummond nee TORRANCE

  2. Thanks for your reply
    I presume you are aware that a biography has been written on Peter Freeman. I have unable to locate a copy of it in New Zealand.

    1. I know Arnold Freeman was with my Grandfather in Bellagio, and some things he wrote about his brother, Peter Freeman, appear in the the biography of the latter – The Green Cassanova. I have a letter from Ralph Freeman to my Grandfather saying that he did not realise that Arnold Freeman was responsible for my Grandparents meeting, but I do know know how this came about.

  3. I was updating the family tree and filling in blanks. We must get in contact. My name is Dominic Alexander Freeman (Producer) son of Michael Alexander Reykers Freeman FRCS (pioneer of the replacement hip and knee) and nephew of Sir Ralph Freeman. Jemma Freeman still runs the family cigar business as the Managing Director of Hunters & Frankau

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