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KELLY, Henry


Early life

Born in 1867 in the December Quarter in Camberwell registration district.

He was baptised at St Mary, Newington on February 9th, 1869, along with siblings George William, Ellen, and Elizabeth. Their address was 2 Edmund Street, Camberwell and his father Thomas gave his occupation as that of Painter; that was at odds with Thomas’ occupation given on the Census and Marriage Register, where his occupation is given as Printer. It is most likely an error on the part of the Clerk completing the Parish Baptism Register.

Admission to Long Grove Asylum and death

When I started to search for Henry it seemed like looking for a needle in a haystack as there were at least two dozen birth possibilities in Surrey and London alone. I decided to send for a copy of his death certificate to see if there were any clues as to his life.

The certificate stated that he had been a barman of the Lambeth Infirmary, so I decided to research that aspect of his life. He had been admitted on 31st August 1908 to Long Grove Asylum. Henry’s death certificate stated that his cause of death was General Paralysis of the Insane of nine months duration. He died at Long Grove Asylum on 19th November 1908, having only been admitted a few months prior, aged 39 years.


On the 1901 Census, Henry is working as a barman at a hotel in Rye Lane, Camberwell. He gave his age as 30 and place of birth as Camberwell.


For the 1891 Census, he gave his occupation as a barman and is lodging along with Thomas Kelly, presumably his father, who was aged 57, a widower and a lithographic printer at Walcorde Avenue, Newington. They are boarding with Alfred and Ellen Harrison, Ellen being his sister, now married. They married in the September Quarter of 1889.


In the 1881 Census, he is aged 13, working as an Errand Boy and living with his father Thomas, a widower aged 48 and his sister Lydia, aged 11, a scholar at 182 St Georges Road, Camberwell.


His mother Esther died in 1874, aged 40 years.

On the 1871 Census, Henry is 3 years old, living with his father Thomas aged 37 and a journeyman printer, his mother Esther aged 36, brother George aged 10, sisters Ellen aged 8, Elizabeth aged 5 and Lydia aged 1.


I felt that this information was leading in the right direction (or else a huge coincidence). I looked at the GRO (General Records Office) site for the births to obtain Esther’s maiden name – for all children, except Elizabeth (see below), it appeared as Biggs. I looked for a marriage between a Thomas Kelly and Esther Biggs and found that they married on 24th March 1856 at St Bartholomew’s Church, Moor Lane, Middlesex. Both were of full age and unmarried. Thomas’ occupation was that of a printer.

Henry had eight siblings:

  • Brother unnamed 1856 – 1856
  • Esther Elizabeth 1857
  • Thomas George 1859
  • George William 1861
  • Ellen 1863
  • Elizabeth 1866 (Mother’s maiden name appears as Bees on the GRO index)
  • (Henry 1867 – 1908)
  • Lydia 1870
  • Jemima Sarah 1873

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