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FUZZENS, William

b.1875 – d.1915


The wider Fuzzens family are well-established in Windsor, particularly, and one member was the first Labour Mayor of the town. There is a Fuzzens Walk in the centre and a blue plaque to local historian Fred Fuzzens (1921-1995).

A Fuzzens family tree on Ancestry suggests that his mother was born in Ireland and his father in Berkshire, England. William’s grandparents are Saunders Fuzzens and the unfortunately named Fanny Buckett.


In 1871, before William’s birth, his father is working as a scullery man at the Whitehall Club, opposite Downing Street. In 1878 and until 1882 the family are living at 18, Portland Street, in the St James/Westminster area of London. It is an address with multiple occupants many of them tailors.

William Fuzzens was born in July 1875 in Westminster, London to William Edwin Fuzzens (born 1849) and Mary (born 1847).

His grandmother died in the year of William’s birth and his grandfather Saunders when William was 13.


The family have been joined by a sister for William named Mary Frances, who is a year old in the 1881 census.

On December 10 1882 William Edwin married Eliza Sarah Martin Oman at St. Mary Church in Lambeth. Therefore, in a period of 20 months our William has lost his mother, Mary, and gained a stepmother. William Edwin is listed as a cook and his address (so presumably our William’s too) is listed as Hotspur Street which is in a poor area of Vauxhall, Lambeth in London. William Edwin’s new wife is a 26-year-old spinster, Eliza. Our William is now 7 years of age and his sister 2.


In 1891 William is an inmate in the Metropolitan Imbecile Asylum, Darenth Near Dartford in Kent. He is described as an imbecile. What has happened to the 16-year-old that it has been decided he should be in an institution remains to be uncovered.

His sister Mary Frances, now aged 11, is listed as a scholar and living in The Orphanage of the Convent of St Vincent de Paul in Marylebone. She is clearly not an orphan as her father’s death is not yet recorded. Perhaps the second marriage disintegrated, and Mary’s father could or would not care for her. The family unit has had a catastrophe with one child in an asylum and the other in an orphanage.

Poor William is destined to spend at least the next 20 years in the asylum in Darenth.


In 1901 he is recorded again as an imbecile and 1911 as a Ward Helper and Congenital Imbecile which suggests he was in possession of some of his faculties and not an “imbecile” at all.

In 1904 a training colony was established at Darenth where “higher grade mental defectives” were taught industrial skills and crafts. Darenth also had its own farm.

“Imbeciles” making mattresses at the Darenth Training Colony

William was admitted to Long Grove Hospital on 24 June 1912. He died on 12 August, 1915 at Long Grove Hospital and was buried on 16th August in Horton Cemetery plot 1813b, aged 40.

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