At first, we knew very little about Ada Clayton other than she was born around 1880 and that she was admitted on 3 December 1914 into the Newington Workhouse, Southwark, London.
The admission records show that her name was Ada Clayton alias Wells and that she was a Roman Catholic. No occupation had been recorded for Ada. It would seem that she was unwell as she was recorded as being on an ‘infirm diet’ but was ‘able bodied’.
Just a few days later, on 9 December 1914, Ada was discharged from Newington Workhouse to the Manor Hospital in Epsom, Surrey.
The Manor Hospital visitors book recorded that she had a couple of visitors with the first being a ‘friend’ named George Wells. He originally lived at 172 East Street, Walworth, but this was later crossed through and substituted with 13 Isabella Street, Blackfriars Road. We can see that he was a regular visitor and indeed his last visit was on 16 March 1915, not long before her death. The other visitor was James Taylor, her landlord, who also lived with his wife and children at 172 East Street, Walworth.
Using this address, Ada was found in the 1911 census as living there as the wife of George Wells. Ada’s husband was working as waiter for Spiers and Pond restaurants. Also recorded was their 5-year-old son George. The census noted that the couple had been married for 8 years during which time they had had 2 children but only George junior had survived.
Despite having this information, no UK marriage has been found for them. Also, there was no UK birth record found for George junior in 1906.
Searching the GRO birth entries did reveal the birth in 1903 of twins Alice and George Wells whose mother’s maiden name was Clayton. Without sending for their birth certificates, it is unknown if these children were Ada and George’s.
Ada died in Manor Hospital on 20 April 1915 aged 35 years old and was buried on 30 April 1915 in the Horton Estate Cemetery in grave 839a.
Ada’s record of her time in Manor Hospital is likely to surface at some point and then perhaps we will be able to fill in the gaps in her short story.