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DACOMBE, Amy

b.1877 – d.1911

Amy Dacombe (Nee. Ludgate) was born in the September quarter 1877, in the registration district of Pancras, London. She was the 3rd child of Edward Ludgate from Hitcham in Buckinghamshire and Mary (nee Barnard). Edward’s family were agricultural labourers.

In the 1881 census Amy is living with her parents Edward and Mary and her siblings, Edward age 7, Louise age 6, and Emily age 1 at 47 Carlton Rd, Kentish Town in North London. Her father is a porter age 35.

(Amy’s parents appear to have married in the registration district of Pancras in the Sep quarter 1882, many years after their children were born)

Amy’s mother Mary dies in 1888, Dec quarter when she is 38 and Amy is only 11.

By the 1891 Census, Amy is 14 and working as a general servant at 215 or 217 Tufnell Park Road, Upper Holloway, Islington, London. Amy appears to be the only servant at the property. At this time, it was typical that a girl of this age and class would be working.

In 1893 March Quarter, Amy’s father Edward dies. He is 47, Amy would have been an orphan at 15.

She gave birth to her first child a son in 1898, in the Strand registration district, June quarter. (DOB 17/02/1898). His name was John. The records suggest that Amy was not yet married to the father John Dackombe but her son has been given the Dackombe surname, so they were likely a couple.

She marries John Dackombe in the December quarter 1899 in Lambeth, London when she is 22 years old. (John’s British Army World War I service record shows they were married at Brixton Registry Office). John is from London. In 1891 he is with his family in Feather’s Court, St Mary Le Strand, a very poor, overcrowded yard near Drury Lane. John is a Roman Catholic (according to the admission register of Prince’s Road Workhouse, Lambeth 26/11/1908).

Her 2nd child is a girl, Mary Louisa, born in the 1900 June quarter in Lambeth. (DOB 13/04/00 from the admission register of Prince’s Road Workhouse, Lambeth dated 26/11/1908 ).

In July 6th 1900 John is baptised at St John the Evangelist church in Lambeth when he is 2 (the register also gives his birth date as 17/02/1898) The parents are listed as living at Cornwall Road. Mary Louisa is baptised at the same time.

At the time of the 1901 census, Amy is living in 57 Cornwall Road, Lambeth, with husband John age 25 and 2 children, John age 3 and Mary L age 4 months.  John is listed as a “market porter fruit.”

John Dackombe, Amy, John (son), Mary L. (dau)

1903 (March quarter) Amy gives birth to a son William Arthur on Jan 23 1903, (from Parish Register of St Mary Newington dated 4 March 1903) again in Lambeth. He was baptised in St Mary Newington in Southwark, on March 4, but by 14 November in the same year, he has died. The baptism record shows they are living at 46 Holyoak Road. The Lambeth infirmary and workhouse are just across the road.

Note the correction of Dacombe/Dackombe

On May 29th, 1904 Amy gives birth to another son, Frederick Daniel also in Lambeth. He is baptised on June 22nd 1904. They are still living in Holyoak Road.

On the 8th June 1904 Amy is being discharged from the Lambeth infirmary/workhouse with her unnamed child (Frederick) after being admitted on June 1st which was only a short time after/possibly the day after Frederick was born. She is discharged to her husband.

Yet another spelling Dackomb (no ‘e’)

On June 22 1904, Frederick is being baptised at St Mary, Newington, the same church as his sibling William, the family address is still 46 Holyoak Road.

On 22 March 1905, Amy and her 3 children are admitted to Newington Workhouse. (Westmoreland Road, Southwark). It appears John and Mary are separated from Amy and sent to Boyson Road Receiving House (a children’s receiving home) then discharged to their father on the 25th with Frederick but there is no discharge for Amy that day.

We do not find her again until the record for April 5th 1905, when it tells us she is being discharged to Horton Asylum.

During those same two weeks, we can see that John and his sister Mary were readmitted to the Boyson Road Receiving House. Both are listed as Roman Catholic on the admission register of the 27th and John is also called Ludgate (we wonder how would they have known he was born before his parent’s marriage?)

John is discharged the next day March 28th 1905 but it appears there is no discharge for Mary until the 31st.  when they were both released to their father.

So, was Amy’s admission to Horton a result of her grief following the death of Arthur 17 months ago, or post-natal depression after the birth of Frederick who is only 11 months old at the time? Or was it a combination of the two? Did her husband or her children who were aged 7, 5 and 11 months at the time, ever see her again?

Her husband and children appear to struggle without her. It must have been very difficult for a man to look after his young children then when he also had to earn a living. On November 26th 1908 John and the 3 children are admitted to Prince’s Road Workhouse in Lambeth. It is noted “wife in asylum” on the register.

Workhouse Admission “Wife in asylum”

Under religion he is again listed as Roman Catholic but here the 3 children are listed as Church of England. He is still shown as a market porter. The same day the register shows the 3 children were sent to another workhouse, Renfrew Road and presumably separated from their father. On November 27th 1908, John and Frederick are admitted to Norwood Schools in West Norwood as per the Poor Law School District registers

Amy is showing as a patient at Horton Asylum in April 1911 on the Census, along with a long list of other female patients. She dies 6 months later on 19 Sep 1911, after spending 6 years there. She was only 33/34 years old. She was buried in Horton Cemetery on the 25th September in plot 1289a.

Amy’s death certificate shows she died from dysentery 6-days which appears to indicate a poor level of sanitation for patients. The secondary cause is listed as Mitral disease which is a problem with the mitral valve in the heart. There was a post mortem.  

Family after Amy

On the 1911 census return John is living in just one room with his 3 children. John Dackombe (he has signed his name with a K), is at No 21, Block 2 Artizans Dwellings, Boyfield Street S E. The Census states 4 children born, 1 has died. He is still a “market porter fruit”.

His birthplace is listed as St Clements, London. He and Amy have been married for 12 years. (Date of marriage 1899 as is confirmed by the GRO records.). He goes on to serve in the Royal Defence Corps in World War 1 and appears to spend the rest of his life in Lambeth. He dies in 1937.

With regards to her 3 children, John appears to leave England for Canada in July 1924, when he is 26.

Mary Louisa is in and out of the workhouse with her brothers for several years but marries Charles Cleary in the Dec qtr 1926. She died in Suffolk in 1992.

Frederick appears to stay in Lambeth, London. He is a news vendor in 1939 and dies in 1976.


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