Thomas’ life is straightforward as far as we can tell. There is little in the evidence to suggest anything other than a normal family life, which ended too early and so sadly in 1910.
Life would have been simple for the Aves family and Thomas was a labourer for his whole short adult life. There is no particular indication as to why Thomas ended up at Long Grove. The statement that he was an ‘alleged lunatic’ is a tragic story for him and for the wife he left behind with several young children to raise.
Thomas Aves was born on April 30th, 1862, in Pimlico, London to John and Mary Aves. His father was born in Chelsea, but this is a family that spends its history in Pimlico, even after Thomas’s death.
Pimlico was described as “a section of St. George-Hanover-Square parish, Westminster, Middlesex, extending from Buckingham-Gate to Chelsea, around a convergence of railways, 3 miles SW by W of St. Paul’s, London. It formerly was all open fields, belonging to the Grosvenor’s: it now is all a compact portion of the metropolis, well-built and well-aligned, with many magnificent edifices, and many fashionable squares, streets, and places; it contains Buckingham Palace, Belgrave Square, Eaton Square, Chester Square, Ebury Square, Eccleston Square, Warwick Square, and Wilton Crescent.” (John Marius Wilson’s Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales 1870 – 1872).
In 1871, Thomas aged about 8 years old, is living with his parents John and Mary in Westminster in St Andrew’s Terrace. His father is a sign lease painter by trade. Siblings to Thomas are older brother John b.1860 and younger sisters, Charlotte b.1868 and Anna b.1870.
Thomas marries young in 1882. His wife is Hannah Stedman Brooks, and they marry in the ecclesiastical parish of St George’s Hanover Square. Seemingly, the records suggest, there are no children born before 1888, when Edith is born; this is unusual and suggests that children may have been born and yet not thrived.
In 1890 their daughter Rose Ethel is baptised at St Gabriel’s Parish, Pimlico.
By 1891, Thomas is living in Upper Garden Street, Westminster with his wife Hannah and two of the children, Edith born 1888 and Rose born in 1890. He is a general labourer and is confirmed as being born in Pimlico.
There is a son, Thomas who was born in 1897 who possibly died in 1898 in Westminster Hospital (ref GRO 1897 1A 470)
In 1901, Thomas is living with his wife Hannah and their children – Edith, Rose, Emily and now a son George – in Old Paradise Street, Lambeth. Thomas is working as a general labourer. The son George is interesting later in our story.
On March 10th, 1899, George is baptised at St Stephen’s, Rochester Row.
Edith has a baby
It appears that Edith may have had a child named Harry Fairfield Aves, born on 10th August 1907. On 13th June 1908 Harry is admitted to the Westminster workhouse, aged 10 months. He is there because his mother in in custody. He is discharged to his mother on 15th June.
On 4th November 1908 Harry is admitted again to Westminster. The notes record that he is illegitimate and that his mother is in another workhouse (unreadable). He is discharged on 11th November.
Harry is admitted again on 8th December 1908 as is Edith. She is listed a few lines later as a milkmaid. They are transferred to the infirmary. They seem to disappear from the records after that.
Back to Thomas
On 31st August 1909, Thomas is admitted to Fulham Road Workhouse. The record says that he was an alleged lunatic. He is Church of England and a labourer. He does not stay long. What happened between 1899 and his admittance to the workhouse is a mystery, as are so many of these stories.
On September 9th, 1909, Thomas is admitted to Long Grove Hospital, Epsom.
The new decade begins, and Thomas dies on May 17th, 1910.
Just one year after Thomas’ death, in 1911, his wife Hannah, a recent widow, is living at 13 Aylesford Street, Pimlico with children, Rose, Emily, Clara and Louisa.
The census indicates that Hannah had given birth to 10 children in total. Some of those are found in the records:
- Hannah Mary who was buried 18th March 1884 at St George’s Hanover Square. The address given was 16 Charlwood St. (ref GRO 1883 M Quarter vol 1A 457);
- Elizabeth born 9th August 1884 and baptised 17th September 1884. Her father is listed as a labourer. There is a possible burial for her on 22nd October 1885 at St George’s (ref GRO 1884 S Quarter vol 1A 477);
- Florence who was born 5th February 1886 and was baptised 16th April 1886. Her father is given as a brewers servant. She was possibly buried on 25th May 1887. Their address was 4 Gardens Place ((ref GRO 1886 vol 1A 501)
Hannah now had four daughters to raise without her husband. Two of the girls work for Watney, Combe and Reid as bottlers.
However, this challenge may be the least of her worries as her only son George is unwell. On July 26th, 1911, son George is admitted to the Millgate House, Rustington, Sussex, which appears to be a sanatorium for children with TB; the record states that he has been admitted ‘from the infirmary’.
Sadly, George had been in the St George’s Infirmary on Fulham Road and it would seem that he is amid older patients, ranging in age from 50 to 76 years. He was resident there for the 1911 Census. Let’s hope that his tender age of 11, meant that he was cared for well. His move to the coast must have been both unnerving to move away from family but also a good location to get better in the sea air… and away from the sickly sanatorium with lots of older people.
He is discharged on August 28th, 1912. His mother Hannah’s address is given as 73 Ethelred, St Lambeth. In one record, it says that on August 28th, 1912, he is discharged to his sister.
There is a researcher on ancestry who has Thomas and his family in their tree. The researcher does not record when Thomas dies or where, so I would assume she may be unaware. She might like to read about his history and that of George, his son.