Alice Thorburn BRIGGS



My mother, Alice Thorburn BRIGGS (2) was the third of four daughters of Christopher Rawdon BRIGGS (3) and Helen Thorburn RIDDEL(4), who was herself one of seven daughters. Alice was born on 22 Aug 1909 at Carolside1, the house her father had had built in Upper Park Road, Rusholme, Manchester. I know nothing about her schooling. But she learnt to play the 'cello, a skill which remained totally unknown to me until we had all left home and she suddenly started playing again.

Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3
alice thorburn briggs
alice thorburn briggs aged 5
alice thorburn briggs as a bride
Alice aged maybe two? Alice aged 5½ Alice as a 23 year old bride

Alice trained, and presumably worked, as a physiotherapist, and at the time of her marriage described herself as a masseuse2.

On 3 Oct 1933, when she was 24, she married Bertram STOWELL(1) at St Aidan's presbyterian church, Didsbury, Manchester. They had five children, the first born in Manchester and the other four in Scotland after she and Bertram had moved to Luncarty, near Perth, in 1935.

Figure 4
alice thorburn briggs at Ely
Alice at Ely, Fife

Following Bertram Stowell's retirement in 1975, they moved to a cottage in Almondbank which they converted and extended, and there they remained. She took up her 'cello, and played chamber music with a group of friends from Perth, and also in the Perth Symphony Orchestra, an amateur orchestra which was founded in 19513. She also taught 'cello for a time at Glenalmond School.

Alice died at home at Almondbank on 17 April 1999, aged 89, and her ashes are buried at Redgorton cemetery together with those of her husband Bertram, who survived her by four years.


1) Birth certificate. Her birth was registered by her father in the sub-district of Ardwick, district of Chorlton, Manchester, on 17 Sep 1909, her father describing himself as a Professor of Music.
2) Marriage certificate. The marriage was registered in the district of Manchester South.
3) Perth Symphony Orchestra website:

© John Stowell 2012/2013             This file last edited on 6 May 2013.