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LAIT, Alfred Benjamin


Alfred’s birth – 1866

Alfred was born in 1866, in the small village of Weeley in Essex. The village is approximately 7 miles from Clacton-on-Sea, it is part of the civil parish of Tendring. The name Weeley came from the Old English ‘Weo-Leah” meaning temple clearing. There may have been a heathen temple there.

Alfred’s family

Alfred was the sixth child of Samuel, aged 41, born 1825, and Sarah Lait (née Lungley), aged 35, born 1831, when Alfred was born. Samuel was an agricultural labourer. Alfred’s brothers were George, aged 13, born 1858; John, aged 11, born 1860; Joseph, aged 8, born 1863; William, aged 6, born 1865; and Samuel, aged 17, born 1854. This is taken from the 1871 Census. Samuel Lait’s father was John Lait and his mother was Susanna Beecham.

1880s and 1890s

In the 1881 Census, the family had moved from High Road to Thorpe Road in the same village of Weeley. Alfred is now a farm labourer aged 15, along with Joseph and William. Samuel, George and John are no longer living at home. Alfred now has a younger brother Ernest, aged 7, listed as scholar.

A farm labourer simply refers to someone who works with their hands as a manual labourer. Alfred would have been working on the farm during the Great Depression of British Agriculture, which would have affected the farmer he worked for.

In the 1891 Census, Ernest is now a farm labourer along with his brother Alfred and his father. There is a nephew to Alfred, named Beecham, aged 4, living with his grandparents. He is named after his Grandmother’s family.


The 1901 Census finds Alfred listed as Tait, now living in a lodging house in St Giles in the Fields, Holborn, in 88 Betterton Street, Camden. There are a lot of people lodging at this address. Alfred is now a brewer’s labourer along with a number of others living there listed as brewer labourers. There was a Camden Brewery listed from 1859 – 1926, maybe Alfred worked here.

Two of Alfred’s brothers, Samuel and John, are working on the railway. Samuel is an engine-driver and his son is a porter. Alfred’s brothers and family have really advanced themselves from a lowly farm worker family in Weeley.

Alfred’s admittance to Long Grove Hospital

I wonder why Alfred was now living in Camden and not with his ageing parents and also, why he never married. Did Alfred have special needs?

In 1908 1st April, Alfred was admitted to Long Grove Hospital. Why was he admitted?

Alfred died 18 months later, aged 43, on the 16th November 1909 and was buried in a pauper’s grave on the 22nd November 1909 in Horton Cemetery grave 519b.

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