Alfred was born on 16th January 1873 in Waterside, Dalmellington, Ayrshire. He was the sixth and youngest child of Alexander Gavin and Matilda Bulkeley.
In the 1891 census, at the age of eighteen, Alfred is listed as a medical student. His studies continued over the next ten years. and he is found in the 1901 census, at the age of 28, to be living 12, Chalmers Street in Edinburgh and is still studying medicine at Edinburgh University. Alfred qualified with both Bachelor of Medicine and Master of Surgery degrees and became a fellow of the Edinburgh Society of Obstetrics.
By 1911, Alfred had travelled to London and was living at Chesham Mansions, Belgravia before moving to his more permanent home at 5, Berkeley Square, Kensington, an impressive home with seventeen rooms in which he lived his bachelor life, looked after by his housekeeper, Fanny Norris, and servant, Ethel Ormiston.
This is where the story gets interesting.
By 1902, the Thurstons had a house in London as well as in Ardmore, Waterford in Ireland and were very much part of the social scene in London and New York. Katherine's novels were made into silent films and then 'talkies' and her then husband, Ernest, turned her most successful novel, 'John Chilcote MP' into a Broadway play.
Katherine's success, however, became too much for her husband to handle and in a fit of jealously he left her in 1907. Katherine then split her time between Ardmore, near Waterford in Ireland and at Victoria Road, Kensington, London. She received her decree nisi on 7th April 1910. It was then that she published her final novel, 'Max' and fell in love with Alfred Thomas Bulkeley Gavin.
Suddenly, on the 7th of September 1911, Katherine was found dead in her room at the Moore's Hotel, Morrison's Island, Cork. The cause of death was given as asphyxia. It seems possible that Katherine suffered from epilepsy but there is no evidence to prove this.
Many of Katherine's novels dwelt on themes of poison and death, as well as her fascination with doses of lethal poison and medical over-prescription, so there was some speculation on her death. I wonder how Alfred felt after the loss of his fiance? This is the difficulty with finding these stories more than 100 years later - we don't know the man and we don't know what happened to him after Katherine died. Very sad..
Alfred lived until he was 94 years old and believe me - there is more of his life story yet to be told!
Download novels by Katherine Thurston.