Walter Cartwright 263b

A story revisited by the author when invaluable case notes came to light at the London Metropolitan Archives. What followed resulted in a thorough family history for Walter Cartwright and his family.

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b.1858 – d.1908

Initial notes

Without any further facts regarding Walter Cartwright it was impossible to determine where he was born. A birth registration in Marylebone in the September Qtr 1858 looked promising but this family moved to Sheffield. 

Several other birth registrations were in the correct time frame but were found throughout the rest of England. I followed numerous Walter Cartwrights in the London censuses, particularly one in Streatham, which disappointingly proved not to be our man, but none offered up a clue to the correct Walter Cartwright. Without concrete evidence to go on, I had to halt my research.

The breakthrough came after a visit to the London Metropolitan Archives where I found Walter’s Case Records in H22/HT/B/26/015. Two important facts emerged. Firstly, that he was born in Bayswater, and secondly that he was cohabiting with a lady called Annie Scease. From here I was able to build Walter’s story.

Early years 1830s – 1850s

Walter was born to George Frederick Cartwright (1812-1878) and Sarah Richardson (1816-1898), the last of seven children. His parents were married on 30 Aug 1837 in the Parish Church of St James, Paddington. Both were literate and both living in Black Lion Lane, Bayswater. 

Interestingly George’s occupation at the time of his marriage was recorded as a shoemaker, as was George’s father, another George Cartwright. Fourteen years later, by the time of the 1851 census, George had changed to working on the railways as a porter, a calling he would follow for the rest of his life. I would imagine that this form of employment could provide a more reliable, steady income for a man with a growing family.

The arrival of children

George & Sarah Cartwright’s first child, George Frederick was born on 23 July 1838, and his birth certificate shows that George was still working as a shoemaker. The family were living at Charles Street Cottages.

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Their second child, William John Cartwright was born on 23 Dec 1843, and his birth certificate tells us that he was born in Leyton, Essex and that George was working as a Policeman. I cannot find any clue as to why George was working in Essex. This employment was short lived since within three years the family were back in Bayswater.

The birth certificate of their daughter, Sarah Ann, born on 21 July 1846, shows that George is now employed as a porter. The family live at 8 Chapel Side, a cobbled cul-de-sac off Moscow Road, Bayswater.

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Their fourth child, Ellen Elizabeth, was born on 5 May 1849 at 3 Poplar Place, Bayswater, the same address where we find George and Sarah’s family in the 1851 census – George 39, continuing his employment as a Railway Porter, Sarah 35, George 12, working as an Errand Boy, William 7, Sarah 4, and Ellen 1. Their fifth child David Charles was born later the same year. 

George & Sarah continue to add to their growing family with the arrival of Samuel on 13 Nov 1857.  The family have moved to 30 Caroline Place, just around the corner from Poplar Place, their previous home. This house would be their permanent place of residence for both themselves, and later their elder daughter Sarah, for the rest of their lives.


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Interestingly on Samuel’s birth certificate a cross was entered for Sarah’s signature implying that she was illiterate, yet on her marriage certificate she supplied a handsome signature.

Family life in the 1860s to 1870s and Walter’s schooling

George and Sarah Cartwright completed their family in 1860 with the birth of their seventh child Walter on 26 November 1859. I find it intriguing that Walter and his brother Samuel were given only one Christian name whilst his first five siblings were given two! No baptism records have emerged online for the Cartwright family.

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The 1861 census shows the family living at 30 Caroline Place, with George 49, working as a Railway Porter, Sarah 45, taking in washing as a Laundress, Ellen 11, David 9, Samuel 3, and Walter aged 1. The elder children have moved on – both George and William have joined the Royal Navy, and Sarah is in service nearby in Petersburg Place.

A school admission record for Walter shows that he was admitted to St Matthew’s School on 20 May 1867. He is now aged 7½ and his previous school was Poplar Place School which he attended for 4yrs. The record 

confirms his address as 30 Caroline Place and that his father’s occupation is a Porter. An addition to this school record is a specimen signature of all the boys upon admission. Walter’s signature is rather charming.

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Ten years later, in the 1871 census, 30 Caroline Place is home to the dwindling family of George and Sarah, found together with their two youngest children Samuel 13, and Walter 11. 

The eldest sibling George has left the Royal Navy after a relatively short service, and has married a young widow, Mary Ann Hook née Draper, and lives in Kensal Town in Pikes Cottages, Middle Row. Sarah is also married, to George Thomas Gill, and lives in the same street as her parents at 4 Caroline Place. David has joined the Royal Fusiliers and is based in Dorset.

Walter’s father George Cartwright died in 1878, aged 66. Walter is aged 18.

Caroline Place, Bayswater

Family life for the Cartwrights continues to centre around Caroline Place in Bayswater.  By the 1881 census Walter had moved out and was found lodging at number 1A Caroline Place, aged 20 and working as a labourer. 

His married sister Sarah Gill, has moved from number four to number thirty Caroline Place, taking over her childhood family home. Together with her husband they have five young children aged from eleven down to two, so this must not have left much room for Walter, hence his moving to lodgings at number 1A. 

His widowed mother has been admitted to Paddington workhouse where she will spend the rest of her life, almost twenty years, moving in and out of the infirmary several times. More of this later.

Walter’s brother George & his wife Mary continue to live in Kensal Town at 69 Middle Row. 

His brother Samuel is now married to a young lady named Amy Gunner, whom I would imagine he met through his elder brother as the Gunner family lived on the same street as George in the 1871 census at 8 Middle Row. 

Samuel & Amy married on 11 Mar 1877 at St Clement’s Church in Notting Hill, and by the time of the 1881 census they too were living in Middle Row at number 66, just a few doors away from his elder brother at number 69. Samuel’s marriage into the Gunner family has great significance for Walter as we will discover. 

Life in Kensal Town, Middlesex

This growing area of north west London is soon home to four of the Cartwright siblings – George, Ellen, Samuel and Walter. 

Late 1880s and meeting Annie Scease née Gunner

In the census of 1891 Walter had also moved to Kensal Town living at 128 Southam Street, which runs off Middle Row. Either he or Annie, his partner, allow the enumerator to record themselves as a married couple, which they are not. Walter has found happiness with Annie whose maiden name is Gunner, her sister being married to Samuel Cartwright, Walter’s brother. 

From extensive research it would appear that Annie has not been widowed nor divorced from her husband George Scease. Annie Gunner was barely sixteen when she married in 1877, at St Clement’s Church in Notting Hill, and her husband George Scease, whose trade was a Mattress Maker, had just turned twenty-one.

They had two children, George b. 1878, and Florence b. 1883. Through exploring matches for Annie within other family trees posted on, I came across a delightful photo of young Annie attached to the family tree of the descendants of her child George Scease.

Both Annie and the two children from her first marriage – George and Florence, are listed on the 1891 census under Walter’s name of Cartwright. The joy for Walter is that Annie has given birth to his own daughter Mary Ann Cartwright, born the previous year, 1890. The census records Walter 31, working as a Bricklayer’s Labourer, Annie 30, George 12, Florence 8, and Mary Ann 1.

Walter’s eldest brother George died at just aged 48 in 1886. His married sister Sarah Ann Gill is still living in the Cartwright family home at 30 Caroline Place, Bayswater. His married sister Ellen is now widowed and continues to live in Kensal Town. His brother Samuel, his wife Amy and their four young children also live in Kensal Town. I like to think that Walter has a rich family life with his three siblings and their families in Kensal Town.

In 1895 Walter is still living at 128 Southam Street as he appears listed in an Electoral Register. Southam Street came under the polling district of Golborne.


Life moves on in Kensal Town for Walter and Annie and in the 1901 census they are found at 47 Golborne Gardens, close to Southam Street, their home in 1891-1895. Walter aged 39, continues his employment as a builder’s labourer. Annie aged 40, works in the laundry business as an ironer. Mary Ann 11, is at school. Annie’s son George Scease 22, aattress maker, lodges with them and has followed his father, also named George Scease, into the Scease family business of upholstery and mattress manufacturing.

Walter’s sister Sarah died in 1900 at Caroline Place. His widowed sister Ellen has married John Carter and now has a further four children. They are living at 8 Great Western Terrace, Kensal Town.  Walter’s brother Samuel, his wife Amy and their five children are living just doors away from Ellen and John at 11 Great Western Terrace. Walter is surrounded in Kensal Town by his sister and brother, and an ever-growing number of nephews and nieces. 

Walter’s declining health

During 1907 Walter’s health was in decline. Even though he has so many members of his close family nearby, Walter enters the Kensington Infirmary, I would assume via the Kensington Workhouse, in March 1908. The Reception Order is dated 5 Mar 1908. 

Walter’s mental health is so low and giving such cause for concern that he is transferred to Horton Asylum on 7 Mar 1908. The records indicate that Walter has been suffering for several months, later ten to eleven months are written. Walter, or an informant as it is unclear just who supplied the details, declares that he has been married for 18yrs and has one child who is now aged 18. This ties in with the birth of Mary Ann Cartwright on 13 Jun 1889.

After spending nine months in the asylum Walter died on 8 Dec 1908. The cause of death is given as 1. General Paralysis of the Insane, of which a contributing factor is untreated Syphilis, and 2. Broncho Pneumonia. The Post Mortem findings give the cause of death as i) Cerebral Atrophy, and ii) Convulsions. Walter was buried six days later, on 14 Dec 1908 in Horton Cemetery plot: b263.

Author’s Notes

In Walter’s Horton records, under contributing and associated factors, it states two things. Firstly, Syphilis and secondly, Heredity Insane (Mother). How the authorities came to the second piece of information baffles me. Yes, his mother Sarah Cartwright née Richardson spent the last decade or so of her life in Paddington Workhouse, but she was never sectioned nor committed to an asylum. I found this judgement rather harsh.

Walter’s family

Annie Cartwright née Gunner, his common law wife, and Mary Ann Cartwright, his daughter

In 1908, at the time of Walter’s admission to Horton Asylum, Annie was living at 288 Kensal Road in Kensal Town. We find her there in the 1911 census where she declares herself as widowed and named Annie Cartwright. She states that she is 52, still works in the laundry business as an Ironer, rents one room and shares the property with three other separate families. 

Walter’s daughter Mary Ann Cartwright, now aged 21, is employed as one of three servants working for Charles Hill, a Pianoforte Tuner, and his wife Kate Hill, a Licenced Victualler.

Happily, on 25 Jan 1913 at Emmanuel Church, Paddington, Mary Ann marries Albert Rowson Morgan, an Omnibus Conductor. They are both aged 23 and both their fathers are deceased. The two witnesses at the marriage are named Hill, the surname of Mary Ann’s employer just two years previously. Perhaps related? Albert and Mary Ann have two children, Lucy Marion b. 1913, and Albert William b. 1922. I am sure that Walter would have been delighted in having two grandchildren to call him Grandfather. 

By the 1939 census Annie Cartwright is now aged 78 and registered as incapacitated and lives with her married daughter Mary Ann Morgan, her husband and their two children, at 1198 Greenford Road, Greenford. Annie never remarried. She died three years later in 1942.

Walter’s daughter, Mary Ann Morgan, is widowed in 1954 at the age of 65, and her husband’s estate is valued at £2,890 6s. 5d., a splendid sum to have accumulated after a career working as a bus driver. Mary Ann died in 1963 aged 74.

The Cartwright siblings and the next generation

Walter’s only child, Mary Ann Cartwright, had at least twenty cousins, sixteen full cousins and four half-cousins. There may be more. I’m sure that there are, since I have not been able to trace Walter’s other two brothers, William John, who possibly emigrated to Australia, and David Charles, who in 1871, at the age of twenty, fell foul of the law whilst serving with the Fusiliers.

He earned himself a prison sentence for larceny, stealing two coats worth forty shillings, and assaulting a police officer, serving three months with hard labour on both counts to run concurrently. He was released from Dorchester Gaol and House of Correction after the full six months in 1872, no time off for good behaviour in those days!

Another Horton Committal

This is a very interesting footnote to Walter’s story. George Scease, Walter’s “step-son”, who was lodging with his mother Annie Scease and Walter in 1901, married Elizabeth Watts two months after the 1901 census. On 4 Jan 1907 Elizabeth was committed to Horton Asylum. We find her in the 1911 census as a patient in Horton Asylum aged 31 and classed as a lunatic. 

At some stage she was transferred to Hanwell. Through her burial record we find that she died at the London County Asylum in Hanwell in 1917, aged 37.

Her family did not forget her and gave her a burial within a public cemetery at Greenford. I will endeavour to find her Horton case notes on my next visit to the London Metropolitan Archives.

A touching portrait of George and Elizabeth has been found through

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