Thomas was born on 15th March 1878 in Fulham. His parents were Thomas Gardner and Jane Miller Crook and they married in St Saviour’s church Southwark on 22nd April 1877. The later censuses suggest that both parents were born about 1842 so were in their mid 30s when they married.
The family at the time of the parents’ marriage lived in Great Guildford Street London SE1, at no 98. Great Guildford Street was a poor area at the time (see extract from Booth’s maps alongside which dates from approx. 1886 to 1903). The blue shaded area represents streets where the family’s income was only about 18 to 21 shillings per week. Thomas Snr is described as a gardener on the marriage certificate. Later censuses describe him as a labourer, so it seems unlikely he was a skilled gardener.
Thomas was the eldest of 4 children. His siblings were:
John Miller Born 1880 Died 1953 Aged
William Henry Born 1881 Died 1940 Aged 58
Alice Jane Born 1884 Died 1958 Aged 74
Thomas Jnr was admitted to the Waterloo Street School on 13th April 1885 at age 7. His brother John was admitted to the same school on 13th November 1887, also aged 7.
The 1880s and 1890s
The 1881 census shows the family living at 4 Garden Grove Hammersmith and Thomas Snr is then shown to be a labourer. I have not been able to find that street on recent maps so it may have been demolished during the slum clearances. By 1901 the family was living at 6 Bayonne Road Fulham. The 1911 census shows the whole family lived in just 3 rooms. Bayonne Road seems to have been redeveloped during the 1970s and there is now no trace of no 6.
In 1901 Thomas Snr is still described as a labourer but by then his wife had died (she died in the first quarter of 1900). All the children are unmarried and still living with their father. Thomas Jnr is a plumber’s mate, John is a shop assistant, and William is a labourer.
Thomas’s mental health problems
At the time of the 1911 census all the siblings were still single and living with Thomas Snr. Thomas Jnr is not listed however as he was admitted to the Horton Colony on 30th March 1908. He spent the rest of his life in the various Epsom institutions. He was discharged from the Horton Colony ‘not improved’ on 21st May 1909 and transferred to Long Grove Hospital, Epsom on the same day. He was discharged from Long Grove on 11th October 1911 and moved back to the Colony, where he died on 26th May 1913, aged just 35. He is buried in Horton Cemetery, grave number 573b.
Thomas’s siblings after his death
All Thomas’s siblings are shown as single on the 1939 register, and his 2 brothers are then running a newsagent business at 7 Boston Road Hanwell. Alice is described as a housekeeper at the same address. It seems therefore that none of the siblings ever married so the family line would have died out with the death of Alice Jane Gardner in 1958. Thomas Snr is shown on the 1918 electoral register still living at 6 Bayonne Road and he would then have been about 76 years old. The siblings, Alice and John also lived into their 70s which was a good age at the time.
The shop is still there but is no longer a newsagent’s (see above).