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b.1847 – d.1908

Hjalmar Hallén died on 19th April 1908 in Long Grove Asylum and was buried in Horton Cemetery on 25th April in grave 133a.

The 1881 census

The 1881 census finds Hjalmar living at 64 Bolsover Street, Marylebone. He is head of the household, aged 34 (est. birth year 1847). His occupation is ‘Bootmaker’ and his place of birth is ‘Sweden’ which explains the absence of any earlier English census records for him. Emma Hallen is recorded as his wife aged 26 (est. birth year 1856), place of birth ‘Old Kent Road’ though in fact they were not yet married. They have a son, Ernest, aged 1, place of birth ‘Middlesex, St Pancras’. The record also includes a daughter Alice Hallen aged 8, place of birth ‘Middlesex, St James’.

1881 census

Hjalmar’s life before 1881

There are Sweden Household Examination Book records for a shoemaker called Hjalmar Hallén born on 3rd January 1847 living at various addresses in the Storkyrkoförsamlingen Parish of Stockholm between 1867 and 1872. We cannot be certain that this is the same man who appears in the 1881 census in London but his birth year, trade and the dates make it a possibility.

1872 [Credit: MyHeritage Sweden Household Examination Books, 1820-1947]

Emma’s life from 1856 to 1877

Earlier records found for Emma fill in details of her troubled early life and explain the presence of Alice in 1881.

A baptism record for 8th June 1856 shows that Emma’s parents were William Lee, a labourer, and his wife Jane. Her birth date is given as 18th May 1856. The family’s address is given as Swan Place which was just off the Old Kent Road in Walworth. Following the deaths of her father in August 1857 and her mother on 22nd January 1859 Emma was admitted to St George’s Workhouse, Southwark on 26th January with two of her sisters – Maria b. 1848 and Ann b. 1951. She has been taken there by her maternal aunt Mary Ann. On 29th January the sisters were transferred to St George’s Industrial School in Mitcham. Another sister, Elizabeth b. 1853, was in the care of her uncle Ambrose Lee. The whereabouts of an older sister, Hannah Jane b. 1834, and brother, Ambrose b. 1843, are unknown.

It is assumed that Emma was at St George’s Industrial School at the time of the 1861 census but the record for the school appears to be incomplete as it doesn’t include any female pupils.

There is a record that Emma was discharged from the school into service with Mr Palmer, New Kent Road on 18th January 1869 when she would have been aged 12. This employment apparently didn’t last long as there is a further record that she was discharged again into service with Mr Dalgleish of Attleborough Cottage, St James Park, Croydon on 22nd April 1869.

The next record found for Emma is in the 1871 census when she is a domestic servant aged 15 to Alfred Dancey, a victualler, of Gravel Lane, Southwark.

Then on 21st March 1873 she is admitted aged 16 to Westminster Union Workhouse and gives birth to a daughter, Alice Emma, the same day.

After a gap of nearly two years Emma is admitted again to Westminster Union Workhouse on 10th February 1875 and gives birth to a child on the same day, this time a son, William.

On 1st April 1875 Emma, Alice and William are admitted as a family to Westminster Union Workhouse with Emma’s occupation recorded is ‘Servant destitute’. They were transferred to the Croydon Union, Surrey on 19th June 1875 presumably because of her connection with the Industrial School in Mitcham. Sadly, William died and was buried in Croydon on the 11th August 1875.

Emma meets Hjalmar

Emma appears to have met Hjalmar in early 1877 as there is a registration in St Pancras in Q4 of that year of the birth of Charlotte Hannah Hallen with the mother’s maiden name Lee. Sadly, Charlotte’s death was recorded in the same quarter.

They go on to have two sons, Ernest, born 18th January 1880, who appeared with Alice on the 1881 census, and Herbert, born on 9th February 1884. The two boys were baptised at St Andrew’s Church, Marylebone on January 26th 1885; their baptism records include their birth dates. The family’s address is in Foley Street, Marylebone. Hjalmar’s occupation is recorded as ‘shoemaker’.

Baptism of Ernest and Herbert

Hjalmar eventually marries Emma on 27th August 1888 at St James Church, Kennington. His father’s name is given as Anders Peter Hallén, a bootmaker. One of the witnesses is Emma’s sister Maria who was with her when they were first admitted to the workhouse.

Aug 27 1888, marriage of Hjalmar to Emma


In the 1891 census Emma is now recorded as Head of the household. She is living at 19 Castle Street East in St Marylebone with Alice aged 18, Ernest aged 11 and Herbert aged 7. Emma and Alice’s occupations are given as ‘Tailoress’. They are all using the surname Hallen. No record has been found in 1891 for Hjalmar.

On 18th August 1893 Alice gave birth in the St Marylebone Workhouse. She had been admitted under the name Alice Hallen and the baby girl was baptised in the workhouse on 3rd September as Alice Matilda Hallen. Her birth was registered under that name in Marylebone in Q3 1893. Unusually, she was baptised again on 21st November as Alice Rose Lee at All Saints, St Marylebone. Taken with later records this seems to be a rejection of the surname Hallen by Alice


At the time of the 1901 census Emma is living at 156 Great Titchfield Street, Marylebone, with her two sons, Ernest, a Brewer’s Clerk and Herbert, a Jeweller’s assistant. She is recorded as married and has no occupation. Alice is living not far away at 75 Castle East Street with Alice Rose age 7. Her occupation is Tailoress and she is using the surname Mitchell and claiming to be widowed. There is no record that she was in fact ever married.

Hjalmar is living on his own in one room at 9 Charlton Street, Marylebone. He is recorded as married and his occupation is bootmaker. His place of birth is given as Sweden.

On 23rd February 1906 Hjalmar is admitted to Ladbroke Grove Infirmary. In the admission record ‘No Friends’ is entered under ‘Name and Address of Nearest Relation’. It appears that he has lost contact with his wife and children. He is discharged from the Infirmary on 6th April.

He is then admitted to Fulham Road Workhouse on 29th March 1907 and discharged from there on the 4th May at his own request ‘to Marylebone’. On 25th June 1907 he is admitted to Bethnal Green Asylum and transferred on 2nd August to Long Grove Asylum.

Asylum Record bethnal Green, Admitted 25 June 1907 – Discharged 02 Aug 1907 Rel’d
Asylum Record Long Grove, Admitted 02 Aug 1907 – Discharged 19 Apr 1908 ‘Died’

He dies there on 19th April 1908. Cause of death is given as Arterio Sclerosis and Chronic Bright’s Disease (hardening of the arteries and inflammation of the kidneys). His address prior to being admitted to the asylum is given as Hackney Union Infirmary which would explain why he had been initially admitted to the nearby Bethnal Green Asylum. His surname is wrongly recorded on his death certificate as Hallan. His age is also incorrectly recorded as 65. He was actually 61. He was buried in Horton Cemetery on 25th April. There is no indication of any involvement from his family.

Death certificate of Hjalmar Hallan

Meanwhile Emma had been admitted to Ladbroke Grove Infirmary on 25th May 1907. Her nearest relative is recorded as her son Ernest of Leighton Road, Kensal Rise. She is discharged from the Infirmary on 18th July and admitted to Claybury Asylum, Essex on 22nd July.


Emma died in Claybury Asylum on 7th April 1910. Cause of death is Morbus Cordis and Hypostatic Pneumonia (heart disease and pneumonia resulting from inactivity/immobility). Her son Herbert informed the registrar of her death and she is buried not in the asylum cemetery but in Kensal Green Cemetery near where her son Ernest was living. She is described as the wife rather than widow of Hjalmar Hallen which suggests that her family may not have been aware of Hjalmar’s death.

Death certificate of Emma Hallen

The 1911 census shows the following:

Alice Emma is living with her daughter Alice Rose in Uxbridge Road, Shepherd’s Bush, and they have both reverted to the surname Lee. Alice Emma’s occupation is given as ‘Gentlemen’s Tailoress’ and Alice Rose’s is ‘Telephone Operator’. Alice Emma continues to describe herself as a widow. She claims that she was married for 10 years and has had two children, one of whom has died. No record of a marriage or of the birth of a second child can be found.

1911 census

Ernest Hallen is married and living with his wife in Kempe Road, Willesden. He is a Traveller and Collector for a brewery.

Herbert Hallen is a City of London police constable living at Bridewell Place in the City.

Later records

There is a passenger list recording that a Mrs Alice E Lee, a tailoress of Julien Road, W5. sailed for Melbourne on 1st October 1930 with the intention of permanently residing in Australia. No further records have been found that can be definitively linked to Alice Rose.

Ernest Hallen married twice and died in 1950. He had two step-children from his second marriage. Herbert also married twice and died in 1956. He had four children with his first wife. Three of his children lived in the Epsom area as adults but because of the disruption in the family are unlikely to have known that their grandfather had died in one of the Epsom asylums.

Swedish diacritical mark

In Swedish sources Hallén has a diacritical mark over the e to indicate that the vowel is a long e /e:/. Hjalmar included this mark when he signed the marriage register. There appears to be an attempt to reproduce the mark in the printed Civil Registration Marriage Index. The mark is absent from other English records for Hjalmar and other members of his family. When Hjalmar entered the workhouse and asylum system his surname was recorded variously as Hallahan, Hallane and finally Hallan, which is how it appears on his death certificate.

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