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George Jakeman died on 31st March 1908 in Long Grove Asylum and was buried at Horton Cemetery on the 4th April 1908. The Lunacy Patients Register shows that he was first admitted to Claybury Asylum, Ilford on 6th November 1894, before transferring to Hellingly Asylum, Sussex on 10th March 1904, and then to Long Grove on 14th October 1907.

Early Years

George was born in late 1853 in Bramham, West Yorkshire, which is a village between Leeds and York. His parents were Robert Jakeman b. 1826, a baker, and Fanny Blackman b. 1827. He had one sister, Hannah Maria b. 1849.

In 1861 he was living with his sister and his parents in Bramham. His father was a baker.

By 1871, Robert, Fanny and George had moved to the larger town of Tadcaster to the east of Bramham and the family has been joined by Hannah Maria’s son, Arthur Pawson b. 1866. Hannah had married George Pawson, a joiner, in 1865 and they are living with their other two sons, George b. 1867, and Herbert b. 1870, in Clifford Cum Boston, a small village near Bramham. George Jakeman was now 18 and an apprentice baker working with his father.

George’s marriage

On the 14th December 1873, George married Sarah Stevens b. 1854. Their first three children, Ada Jane b. 1874, Arthur Edwin b. 1876, and Thomas b. 1877, were all born in Tadcaster. Before their fourth child, Clara, was born, they moved south and her birth was registered in Wandsworth in February 1880.


In 1881, George, Sarah and their four children were living in Mitcham Road, Streatham and George is now a Bricklayer’s labourer. George’s parents Robert and Fanny have also moved south and are living a few doors away. Robert is also a labourer.

George and Sarah go on to have five more children: twins Minnie and Alfred b. 1882, Lily (Lillie) b. 1883, Ellen (Nellie) b. 1886 and Percy Henry (Harry) b. 1890, whose births are all registered in Wandsworth.


In 1891, George and Sarah are living at 92 Besley Street, Streatham with all their children except Ada who is now a parlour maid in St. Leonards, East Sussex. George is a general labourer. All the children at home are scholars except 18-year-old Arthur, who is a ‘boy help at Ladies House’.

Robert and Fanny in 1891 are still living in Mitcham Road, now renamed Mitcham Lane.

George was admitted to Claybury Asylum, Woodford, Essex on the 6th November 1894, leaving Sarah with at least her five youngest children to look after. Ada had been in service since 1891 and Arthur had enlisted in the army in April 1894. It is not clear what Thomas was doing at this point.

Claybury Asylum near Woodford in North East London was the first of four major LCC asylums that would be designed by Hine. The asylum was opened in June 1893 and was intended to accommodate 900 male and 1,200 female patients. The buildings and furnishings were considered to be of the highest quality. The Chairman of the London County Council Asylums Committee, Mr Martineau, in opening the asylum mentioned that the growth in the number of ‘pauper lunatics’ for whom the Council had responsibility already meant that a new site was needed.

Arthur Edwin was discharged as medically unfit from the army on the grounds of insanity on 10th April 1906, having enlisted in the Welsh Regiment when he was 18 in 1894 and served in what is now Pakistan. The Lunacy Patients Register records his admission to Cane Hill Asylum in Coulsdon on 26th April under the name Edwin Jakeman.

George’s mother Fanny died in 1896.


The 1900s, begin with the loss of George’s father Robert in 1900.

In the 1901 Census, George appears as a Pauper Patient at Claybury Asylum. His status is married and his occupation is recorded as baker.

George’s wife Sarah and her five youngest children are still living at 119 Besley Street in 1901. The address was shared with a widowed tailor and his daughter. Sarah is described as head of the family and a widow, even though George is still alive. Her occupation is laundress.

Alfred is working as a flower nursery hand and the three girls, Minnie, Lillie and Nellie, are working as firework makers. This would quite possibly be at the factory of the well-known manufacturer of fireworks, James Pain and Sons Ltd in Mitcham. Nine-year-old Percy would be at school.

More asylum admissions

On 10th March 1904 George was transferred to Hellingly Asylum in East Sussex. Hellingly had been opened in 1903. At its peak it held 2,000 patients.

The third and final asylum where George lived was the LCC’s Long Grove Asylum, which was opened by the LCC in June 1907. George would have moved there as one of its earliest inmates.

He died at Long Grove on the 31st March 1908. His death certificate tells us that his cause of death is arteriosclerosis (several years) and gangrene of the leg (two days). Arteriosclerosis is the narrowing and hardening of the arteries and gangrene is a common complication that can arise from restricted blood flow to the feet and legs. His occupation is given as baker. Asylums were designed to be as self-sufficient as possible with patients involved in farming and other productive activities, so it is possible that George worked in the bakeries of the asylums where he was an inmate.

Death Certificate 1908 George Jakeman

All three of the asylums where George was a patient were designed by the specialist asylum architect George Thomas Hine and were laid out in the echelon pattern he favoured.

The Jakeman family after George’s death

The 1911 census shows a likely location for Edwin, a Cane Hill Asylum entry with the initials EJ aged 35. The patient’s occupation is given as painter which is the same as that recorded on Arthur Edwin’s 1894 army attestation form.

In 1911, Sarah was at 87a Leverson Street, Streatham and now really a widow. She has no occupation. Her sons Thomas and Harry (Percy Henry), both single and labourers, are living with her, as are her two youngest daughters and their families. Nellie, who has a son Albert aged 3, is a widow at 23 following the death of her husband, Benjamin Smith. Lillie is married to Thomas Clarke and they have two children – George aged 3, named for his grandfather, and Sidney 9 months.

Her daughter Minnie is living in Besley Street with her husband Charles Locke, their three children, and two stepchildren from Charles’s first marriage.

Son Alfred is living with his wife Alice and their four children at 3 Firework Road, Mitcham, near the Pains firework factory. Sadly, Alfred was to be killed in action near Ypres in August 1915, after being at the front only a few weeks.

Daughter Clara is living in Southsea near Portsmouth with her sister Ada Jane, who has married Walter Gutt, a Royal Navy stoker.

Arthur Edwin died in the asylum in March 1919.

Sadly, George’s youngest son Percy Henry (Harry) appears to have been the third member of the family to have been admitted to an asylum or mental hospital and died there. Percy married Catherine Palmer, a widow with four children, in 1915 and they went on to have two more children. Electoral records show that they lived in Killino Street in Tooting between 1928 and 1938, until 1939 when Percy appears in the England and Wales Register as a patient in West Park Hospital, Epsom and Catherine is recorded as still living in the family home with her daughter Doris. Percy Henry died in the hospital in 1969.

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