William Bliss

Also appears as W.B. His full name was William Herbert Wray Bliss (and he names himself as Herbert in the 1911 census, but as William in 1901. I suspect the first one, as in 1911, the writer would be Bliss himself, and as he is Herbert in 1891). His wife was called Ethel(burga) Sophie (she survived him), nee Meyer. They had six children.

Bliss was born in Cwmcynfelin, nr. Aberystwyth in 1865, was living in Oxford in 1871, Lewisham in 1891, married in 1896, and is then shown in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, and then Hersham, Surrey. He was a solicitor.

The 1911 census shows that he had impish sense of humour. He lists his children’s occupations as ‘Eating, Playing, Learning Lessons, Getting Into Mischief, and Wearing Out Clothes’. The enumerator has solemnly struck a line through this.

In the Sussex archive, his address is given as Priest Leys Farm (sic, the author of the linked blogs has this wrong, as does the letters page in the WR at one point), Lane End, Bucks.

Bliss wrote three books about canal-boats and boating and one about his early life. There is a good description of him here and here. According to these blog posts, he was 68 in 1933, and a retired lawyer. He was indeed born in about 1865, which makes his win in 1949 (as recorded in the Sussex archive) all the more remarkable. He died on 23rd October 1949 (one source says 18th), in the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, after being involved in a road accident near his home in Lane End. The newspaper report notes that his father, another William, was ‘of Oxford and Rome’ (his father died in Rome in 1909). His father is shown in the 1870s as an assistant at the Bodleian Library: in fact he was Keeper of the Periodicals. His father’s obituary in The Tablet is here.



Wins 29A (one third of available amount shared = £1.0s.2d)


Wins 66A: 10s 6d
Wins 71A: £2.2s.0d
Wins 72B: £1.1s.0d


Wins 104A: 10s 6d
Wins 120A: 10s 6d
Wins 125B: £1.1s.0d
Wins 141A: £2.2s.0d
Wins 144B: £1.1s.0d


Wins 147A: 10s 6d
Wins 148A: 10s 6d
Wins 151A: 10s 6d
Wins 155A: £2.2s.0d
Wins 156B: £2.2s.0d
Wins 167A: 10s 6d
Wins 184B: £1.1s.0d
Wins 191B: 10s 6d
Wins 196A: 10s 6d

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