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HOLTON, Emma

b.1882-d.1914

The sad story of Emma of whom we know very little. She was born without speech and spent most of her life away from her family, perhaps only knowing them in her very early years, eventually dying very young in The Manor Hospital.

Clearing the confusion of Emma’s birth year.

Emma Holton is listed in the Burial Record of Horton Cemetery as being buried on the 24th August 1914 in Grave 1225b. The transcript says her death age was 49. However, this appears unlikely to be correct.

The UK Lunacy Patients Admission Register 1846 -1912 registers Emma being admitted to Manor Asylum on the 13th February 1904 and states that she died there on the 19th August 1914. With the knowledge that Emma was at Manor from 1904, we can look for her in the 1911 census. In this Census, patients at Manor are not fully named, and only initials are shown.

So, searching for EH, whilst there are several, there are none showing an age in the region of 45-47 which would be necessary if Emma was 49 at her death in 1914. But, there are good reasons to research elsewhere. Firstly, both the General Registration Office and the Free BMD website list the death in Epsom of Emma Holton in that Quarter as being a person aged 32. (Emma Holton 1914 3rd Quarter Epsom Volume 02A Page 56. Age 32).

If we now look for patient EH with an age of 29ish in the 1911 Census, we find Emma, dumb since her birth in 1882. (EH, age 29, occupation Dressmaker, unknown birthplace, Congenital Dumb)

Now, can we find a birth for an Emma Holton in about 1882? Indeed, we can. There is an Emma Holton listed in the General Registration Office, in the 4th Quarter 1882. (Emma Holton 4th Quarter 1882 Fulham Volume 01A Page 208 Mother’s maiden name Holton).

We can also find a baptism record. (St Matthew’s Church, Kensington and Fulham, 5/11/1882 Emma Holton. Birth date 24/9/1882). Parents William and Sarah Holton of 33 Ceylon Road. Father’s occupation Porter.

Emma in A Deaf & Dumb Asylum 1891.

We can now move on to 1891, when the next census was taken. Emma Holton, aged 8, is found at the Deaf and Dumb Asylum in Old Kent Road, Southwark, London. There are 45 boys and 26 girls present who are all listed as deaf and dumb.

This really is the final document to confirm that the Emma in Manor in 1911, listed as being congenitally dumb, is for sure the Emma born in 1882.

Emma boarding in Eltham, London, working as a Dressmaker 1901

There is one final Census document available and that Census took place in 1901. Emma is living at 145 Lee Road, Eltham, Kent. The Head of the house is a William Andrews, who is a Draper and Dressmaker and an employer working from home.

Apart from his wife, their three oldest children are working for him. He also has 4 other young ladies boarding there and working for him as Dressmaker Assistants. One of those is Emma Holton, aged 18, born Hammersmith, and listed as deaf and dumb. There is no indication that Emma married.

Emma’s Family

Emma’s parents were William George Holton and Sarah Holton. The fact that they both had a surname of Holton and were born in the same village would suggest that they were probably cousins.

They were both born in Tingewick in Buckinghamshire, a village some 4 miles west of Buckingham. William was born in 1854, his mother being Abi (mistranscribed as Ali) Holton. Sarah was born in 1855. Her parents are Benjamin and Eliza Holton.

Following the reading of banns for three Sundays, they were married at St Paul’s Church, Hammersmith on the 12th October 1878.

They had three children, including Emma. All girls, the other two being:

Abi Hannah Holton, born 1880 in Fulham (Abi Hannah Holton 1st Quarter 1880 Fulham Volume 1a Page 243), and
Annie Eliza Holton born 1886 Buckingham (Annie Eliza Holton 1st Quarter 1886 Buckingham Volume 3a Page 775).

Unfortunately, William never saw his third daughter, Annie, as his death is registered in Fulham in 1885 (William George Holton, 4th Quarter 1885 Fulham Volume 1a Page 152. Age 31)

It would appear that Sarah had returned to her home town of Tingewick after her husband’s death and before the birth of Annie. We find Sarah Holton, a widow, aged 36, in the 1891 census at Tingewick. No occupation is shown. She is living at 93 Main Street with daughters Abi, aged 11 and Annie, aged 5.

But Sarah does not stay in Tingewick. By 1901, she has returned to Hammersmith and is living at 7 Hythe Road. She is now aged 46, a widow and has an occupation as a caretaker. She has just one daughter with her and that is Annie, aged 15.

It appears that Sarah Holton did not live much longer. There is a death entry for a Sarah Holton, aged 48, dying in the 4th Quarter of 1903 at Fulham and this would seem likely to be her. (Sarah Holton, 4th Quarter 1903, Fulham, Volume 1a Page 14. Aged 48).

Emma’s sisters

Abi Hannah Holton has been difficult to trace after 1891. Abi was a witness at her sister Annie’s wedding in 1911. There is a Hannah A Holton listed in the 1939 Register at The Green, Poplar Cottage, Winslow, Buckinghamshire with a birth date of January 16th 1880 which would fit with her birth record. Her occupation is listed as “incapacitated”. On balance, this is probably Abi although with first names reversed.

The only entry found for the full name of Abi Hannah Holton after 1911 is a Death Register entry for an Abi Hannah Holton in the 3rd Quarter 1950 in Harrow, Middlesex with a birth date shown as approximately 1880 and that would certainly fit. (Abi Hannah Holton 3rd Quarter 1950 Harrow, Volume 5f Page 240. Death age 70).

Annie Eliza Holton married on the 18th March 1911 at St John’s Church, Kensal Green, Paddington. Annie is 25, a Housekeeper. She gives her father’s name correctly as William George Holton, deceased, a Railway Porter.

Her spouse is Alexander Willie Arbour Bacon, a bachelor, aged 25. His occupation is an Art Metal Worker. His father is shown as John Bacon, a Council Employee. The address of 32 Ponsard Road is given for both Alexander and Annie. There are two witnesses: Edward Lee and Abi Hannah Horton, Annie’s sister.

In the 1911 Census, they are living at 7 Hythe Road, Willesden, Middlesex. They appear to have 2 children born in Willesden; in 1912, Alexander G A Bacon and in 1920, John W A Bacon.

Alexander Willie Arbour Bacon died in 1952 in Willesden. (Alexander W A Bacon 3rd Qtr 1852 Volume 5c Page 196. Aged 66). Annie Eliza Holton probably died in 1968 in Harrow where the death age is correct. (Annie E Bacon 3rd Qtr Harrow 1968 Volume 5b Page 753, Aged 82).

Author’s thoughts

It is doubtful that Emma had any memory of her father as he died when Emma was three. It is not known for how long Emma remained with her mother and sisters but by the age of 8 she was already living away from home, albeit she may have returned in holiday times and perhaps weekends.

Her diagnosis of deaf and dumb led her to a life almost entirely in institutions. This may have helped her manage her problems but would have deprived her of a homely development.

It was good to see her in employment in 1901. How that came about is not known but perhaps there was some action taken by the Deaf and Dumb Asylum in Southwark, to find her an employment placement as Emma had reached 18.

We do not know the events that led to Emma being placed at Manor Asylum in 1904. At first glance it does not seem a particularly suitable destination. Did Emma’s mother’s death in 1903 have any bearing on that taking place?

It is not known whether the two sisters had any contact with Emma after childhood.


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