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Jane Eliza Dawes was 58 years old when she died in Horton on 12th September 1914. This would give a birth year of c1856. The Findagrave website gives her maiden name as Holton and states she was born in Stepney but there is no corroborating evidence of this. It also gives her date of death as 18th September but perhaps this was her burial date? However, I had nothing more to go on when starting my research so taking this information as still unproven I decided to go with it and see if I could work out whether this Jane Eliza Dawes nee Holton was the same woman I knew had died in Horton.

The obvious first step was to look for a marriage and I found that a Jane Eliza Holton had married Edward Dawes on Christmas Day 1880 in St James’s Church, Bermondsey. Jane was 24 years old and her father was Charles Holton, a carman, the equivalent of a van driver or delivery person today. Edward was a carpenter aged 30 and his father George was a butcher. Charles and Alice Holton, obviously close relatives, were the witnesses, probably her siblings (see below).

This Jane’s age on her marriage gives her a birth year of 1856 which fits with her age at death. So the next step was to look at the 1861 census and I found the Holton family living in Mile End Old Town, Stepney. This consisted of Charles aged 38, a boiler maker originally from Somerset and his wife Mary Ann, aged 36, who was born in Whitechapel. Jane is there, the oldest child at 4 years of age, along with Charles aged 2 and Mary Ann 11 months. All three children were born in Stepney. 


Moving on to the next census in 1871, two more children have been added to the family: Alicia (sic) aged 8 and Julia Ann aged 2. Their father is now working as a corn dealer. They are living at 121 High Street, Stoke Newington and they also have a lodger, John Hutchinson a 57 year old Clerk at a carriage builder’s.

I found a baptism for Jane in St Dunstans, Stepney on 22nd March 1857. The register helpfully gives her date of birth as well, which was 1st November 1856. Her father Charles is shown as a boiler maker.

Charles and Mary Ann were baptized, like Jane, in St Dunstans, Stepney, Charles on 6th March 1859 and Mary Ann Ellen (surname shown as Houlton) on 22nd May 1860. The Registrar has also noted their dates of birth, 27th July 1858 and 12th September 1860 respectively. 

I didn’t find baptisms for Alice or Julia but their births were registered in 1862 and 1869 respectively. All the children show the mother’s name as Overell.

1880s and 1890s

After their marriage the previous year, the 1881 census finds Jane and Edward living at 9 Egmont Street, Deptford. Jane’s parents and siblings have also moved south of the river and are living at 56 Upper Grange Road, Bermondsey. This is in fact the address given for both Jane and Edward on their marriage certificate so had Edward been lodging with the family or was it an address given simply for convenience? 

Jane’s brother Charles is a wheelwright’s apprentice, Alice is a lace worker and Julia is still at school. Mary Ann is not recorded with the family but is old enough to be working. I found one likely entry for Mary Ann, working as a servant in Warwick Gardens, Kensington, in the household of an auctioneer and surveyor named Harry Robison. Also, there is Harry’s wife, his nephew and a cook.

By the time of the next census in 1891 Jane and Edward have two daughters, Lilian and Olive. Both girls were born in Peckham and the family is now living there, in Brayards Place. Lilian is 3 and Olive 1.They also have a lodger, Charles Chadwick aged 28 who is also a carpenter so it’s likely he worked alongside Edward.


The year 1901 sees Jane and Edward and the two girls living at 30 Kings Road, Peckham. Also living there is Frederick A Hardie, described as “nephew” and, two boarders, John Jackson and Nelson Williams. I looked for young Frederick’s birth and found him registered as Frederick Alexander Hardie in 1888 with the mother’s maiden name of Holton, so obviously this is one of Jane’s sisters. Has something happened to her that her son is living with his aunt?

Interestingly it wasn’t until the following year that Jane and Edward’s daughters were baptized together on 26th February 1902 at St Jude’s Peckham, when they would have been 7 and 11 years old.

Given his year of birth, Frederick should have appeared in the 1891 census and I found him aged 3 with his parents, Alexander and Mary Ann living in Camberwell so this answers the question of which of Jane’s sisters was Frederick’s mother. Alexander is a bookseller’s assistant, originally from Scotland.

That 1901 Census doesn’t say that Frederick is a visitor so, if he is indeed living with his aunt and uncle, what has happened in his own family? My first thought was that perhaps Mary Ann had died from complications following the birth of another child. However, further investigation proved that theory was unfounded. In fact it was Alexander who had died, aged 30, in the June quarter of 1891, so not long after that census, where 3 year old Frederick was at home with his parents. So, if his father had died and he was with his aunt and uncle, where was his mother Mary Ann in 1901?

I found her as a widow aged 40, working as a domestic servant in the house of a Walter Moxon, a 34 year old licensed victuallers manager in Bow Street, Covent Garden. The household also consists of Walter’s wife and their two children, a nursemaid and three bar staff. If Mary Ann was living in, then this would explain why she was not with Frederick. The address given, no 39, does not mention that this was a public house but, given Walter’s occupation, I looked it up and found that it was and still is a well-known pub, The Marquis of Anglesey. I also found a list of past license holders, but Walter wasn’t shown but, given that the census shows him as a manager, he is probably not the owner or license holder. 

The Marquess is built on the site of Edward Miles’ coffee house, one of the first in London in 1663, and the site of a licensed victualler. Licensed in 1752 as the Barley Mow and the Green Man from 1755 until 1815. It was then renamed the Marquis of Anglesea after William Henry Paget (then the Earl of Uxbridge) who was elevated for his exploits at the Battle of Waterloo when as cavalry commander he lost a leg to one of the last cannon shots fired on June 18th 1815. Reputedly he was near to the Duke of Wellington and exclaimed “By God, sir, I’ve lost my leg!”, to which Wellington replied “By God, sir, so you have!” Rebuilt in 1880, the pub has also been in the wars having been bomb-damaged in WWII; shrapnel damage can still be seen on the outside. It was rebuilt in 1956; the current spelling of the pub name dates from 1979.


In October 1875 the pub was offered for Lease and described as follows

The Marquis of Anglesea, admirably situated and being at the corner of Bow street and Russell street, Covent Garden. The position of this property for the command of a gigantic trade is singularly eligible, being at the junction of four thoroughfares, also in direct line from NW to the SE of London, via Waterloo Bridge, and within a few yards of Drury lane and Covent garden Theatres; likewise a short distance from the Gaiety and Lyceum Theatres, and abutting upon the Police court and station of the district; and lastly, its contiguity to the largest Flower and fruit market in the Metropolis.

From these multifarious and never failing sources the present trade is derived, which is extensive, lucrative, and thoroughly spontaneous. The premises are in excellent condition, fitted with an attractive plate-glass front, and replete with domestic comforts far beyond the average. A Lease will be granted for a term of about Thirty four years, at a rental of £150 per annum. https://londonwiki.co.uk/LondonPubs/CoventGarden/AngleseaArms.shtml

This photograph is also from londonwiki.co.uk


The next census in 1911 was the last before Jane’s death and she is shown with Edward, Lillian and Olive still at 30 Kings Street. They have been married for an impressive 31 years and Edward is still working as a carpenter. Lilian is a housemaid and her younger sister Olive is a shop assistant.

Admission to Camberwell and Horton 

The first record I found for Jane, in the Poor Law records, was just a few months after this census. She was admitted to the Constance Road Workhouse in Camberwell on 5th October 1911. It is noted that she is married to Edward, a carpenter, and the reason for her admission is given as “alleged insane”.

She is entered into the Creed Register for the workhouse the following day although it notes she was admitted the day before and her address is given as 30 Kings Road. The Creed Register also gives her date of discharge as 19th October and adds she is going to Horton. This is confirmed by a separate entry in the Admissions and Discharges Register. 

The Register of Lunatics for that period shows her being admitted to Horton on 19th October 1911 and she remains there for quite a short period, being discharged on 2nd March 1912, shown as “relieved”.

Unfortunately later that year she is re-admitted to Horton on 9th November and she remains there until her death, just 22 months later on 12th September 1914. I have found no records for her entering the workhouse prior to this second admission.

Not having seen any records of Jane’s time in Horton Asylum, I have no information about her time there. The description of alleged insanity is not specific and it was obviously something deemed treatable, as her first stay there lasted only about five months. It may simply have been a deterioration in her health related to age, maybe early onset dementia or something similar, although she was not even 60 when she died. 

Alternatively it may have been something like epilepsy or a breakdown of some kind. The few records I found give no clue. I feel that what I have found out about her life is rather scant and lacking in detail, mainly because I have only been able to follow her through the censuses both before and after her marriage. I’ve found no other records. 

I can only presume that her second admission to Horton means her condition had deteriorated as she remained there until her death. What happened to Jane’s family?

What happened to Jane’s family?

I had been intrigued by the entry I had found right at the beginning on the Findagrave website which gave Eliza’s maiden name. This suggested some personal knowledge, so I contacted the person who had transcribed the entry but unfortunately she was unable to help. It’s possible that one of Eliza and Edward’s daughters or their descendants had added this information. It seems certain now though that Jane Eliza Holton was indeed Jane Eliza Dawes, as the Kings Road address substantiates this. So what happened to Lilian and Olive, and indeed Edward?

I didn’t find a great deal of information about Edward either. He first appears as a 2 year old in 1851 living with his parents, George, a butcher from Hampshire, and Hannah. There are also 2 brothers, George aged 3 and Walter, 4 months. They are living in Albion Buildings in the St Bartholomew the Great area of the City of London. Albion Buildings was a large, 5 storey block of flats and I found a photo of it in a derelict state on the London Photo Archive. 

 In that census of 1851, there are 292 people living in the block, the men being employed in jobs such as porter, glassmaker, policemen, teacher. Their wives, for the most part, didn’t seem to be in paid employment so I guess this was considered a fairly good place to live compared with other areas of London at the time.22 Albion Buildings.png


I was unable to find Edward in the 1861 Census, but in the 1871, he is living with his mother and siblings in Lambeth. His mother is the head of the household and describes herself as a widow, so it seems that George has died, although he is not shown as deceased on Edward’s marriage certificate in 1880. 

This 1871 census shows that Edward has a younger sister Hannah born 1856 and so I looked for her in 1861. I found her in Southwark, living with her mother, already a widow, and another sister Mary born around 1856 but none of the boys are there. I wonder whether, having been widowed, Hannah was unable to look after five children and perhaps the boys have been put into care? Hannah is working as a dressmaker. Her daughter Hannah was born in Hackney and four years or so later the family is in Southwark, so if the boys have gone into the Poor Law system it would be difficult to locate them without knowing which Union they were in at the time of entry. I couldn’t find any relevant registers for St George the Martyr, Southwark, or Hackney for the late 1850s

Following his marriage to Jane it would seem they must have led a fairly normal family life with their two children, as nothing more shows up about them until Jane’s admission to the workhouse and then Horton. I couldn’t find Edward in the 1921 Census but there were a couple of likely deaths in the intervening decade. A couple of family trees on Ancestry give 1913 as his death year but there is no supporting evidence that this is the correct Edward.


As for their daughters, I was lucky enough to find a school admission record for Lilian. The family was then living at what looks like Culmore Road. Lilian went to Colls Road School, Southwark in 1893 aged 4. In the censuses up to 1911, she is with the family when she is working as a housemaid and her sister Olive is a shop assistant. 

The next record I have of her is the 1939 Register when she is still working as a servant but she is now living in Bedford at 43 St Michael’s Road. There are two other women in the household, Margaret Martin, a school mistress and Jean Coldicott, a divorced woman of private means who presumably is the owner of the property. It is still quite rare to see a woman described as divorced in the records at that time.

The last records I found for Lilian relate to her death. According to the Probate Register she died intestate on 16th May 1949, at the Three Counties Hospital, Stotfold, Biggleswade and her address was given as 56 St Michael’s Road, Bedford. I looked up the hospital and was interested to learn that it was in fact an asylum. This does beg the question of whether Lilian and her mother had suffered from something similar. The Bedford Archives website however states that the 19th century records indicate that many of the patients at that time were suffering from epilepsy so, again, this is a possibility. However it doesn’t state whether this was the case when Lilian was there some decades later. 

One final mention of Lilian was in The London Gazette of 26th June 1951 when a Notice appeared asking for relatives or other persons with an interest in her Estate to appear at the Principal Probate Registry to accept Letters of Administration, failing which it would pass to the Treasury. I wonder if anyone did? 


So, what had happened to Olive? Had she already died or, given the above Notice, had the sisters lost touch?

I found that Olive had married Archibald Cyril Neale on 5th August 1911 in St Marks, Camberwell. She was 21 and he was 22, a printer. This was just two months before Jane went into Constance Road workhouse, so I would like to think she had been well enough to attend and celebrate her daughter’s wedding.

In the 1921 Census, Olive and her husband, using his middle name Cyril, are at 59 Warner Road,Camberwell with two daughters Ethel and Winifred. Cyril is employed by T Neale, manufacturers of toys and fancy goods, which I would think is his father’s company ( the father as shown on Cyril and Olive’s marriage certificate was Thomas). Ethel is 8 years old and Winifred is 4.

By the time of the 1939 Register the couple are living in Lewisham where Cyril is working in a carriage manufacturer’s as an Examiner and Despatch Clerk. Ethel is no longer at home. Winifred is living with her parents and employed as a Clerk and the entry tells me that she later married a Mr Taylor. There is also a son Eric who was born in 1923, and one redacted entry – so is there a fourth child? Indeed there is – Brenda born in 1931. This means there were four children born over a span of seventeen years which is quite unusual. However I could find no other birth registrations. There may however have been miscarriages or stillbirths in between.

Olive’s children

Turning to their four children, I now knew that Winifred’s future husband’s name was Taylor so I was able to find their marriage. She married Norman Taylor in 1940 but I haven’t found any children. I believe Winifred died on 19th September 1987. There is just one entry with the correct date of birth.

It was likely that Ethel had married prior to the 1939 Register. Her birth registration confirms her full names as Ethel Jane Lucy and I found a marriage registration for Ethel J L Neale and George W J Pring in the second quarter of 1939 in Woolwich. This enabled me to find them in the 1939 Register living at 30 Dunblane Road, Woolwich. George is an Estimator for Roads and Ethel is a clerk. Ethel lived until 2005 and the Cremation Register shows she was cremated in Greenwich on 5th October. At first I found no children for Ethel and George. 

Eric died in Peacehaven, Sussex in 2006. I have found no other records for him.

I found one record for a Brenda O Neale joining the Postal Service as a Typist in May 1947 which is likely the right person as she would have been sixteen and the right age to be starting work. The place of work is shown as LIR. Findmypast has a possible marriage for her in 1953 in Woolwich, when a Brenda O’Neale married Jack Hoye. Ancestry has the same marriage but has transcribed her husband’s name as Holye whereas on the register entry it is Hoyle!) Again I have been unable to find any children.

However whilst looking at Ethel’s husband George Pring on Ancestry, I found a Hoye family tree. This shows that  George’s sister-in-law married Jack Hoye. Although not named, this must be Brenda and would indicate that she is still alive or there is no evidence of her death attached to the tree.

This Hoye tree also indicated that George Pring and Ethel Neale had had a son, David George Neale born 1944 in Kent. Looking again I found David George Pring, mother Neale, registered in Tonbridge in 1948, so this must be him, but I have no further information. It does seem though that Brenda’s husband was in fact Jack Hoye. According to the tree they divorced four years later.

To sum up, Jane had at least one great-grandchild in George Pring and it would be lovely to think that there might be someone out there who will read this story and be able to add to it as I feel Jane Eliza is something of an enigma. I’ve found out quite a lot about her extended family but she herself remains somewhat in the shadows. Maybe she was, like most people perhaps, someone who did nothing extraordinary but just got on with her life, married and had a family but then unfortunately died in Horton. Whatever or whoever she was the Horton Project means she will not be forgotten.

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