John Henry (the younger) was born 14 December 1889 in Newington. His birth was registered in the March quarter of 1890, reference St. Saviour, Southwark (1d 125). The St. Savour Southwark Registration District covered Newington.
The 1851 Census lists siblings, the earliest Joseph having been born in 1829. The sisters become relevant to the story later.
The 1861 Census for 12 West Ferry, Tower Hamlets shows John Henry (senior) aged 11 year. John Henry had been born on 9 October 1849. He is living with his parents, Henry and Elizabeth and his sisters Mary Ann b 1833, Sarah Freestone b. 1837, Caroline born 1847.
All children are listed as being born in Mill Wall, in the district of Poplar.
On 15 October 1863 John Henry’s aunt, Sarah Freestone Leverett, married Frederick Willhelm Brocksch. The name Freestone comes from Sarah’s mother who was Eliza Freestone Saville. This unusual name helps our research.
Records for 1871 and 1881 have not yet been found.
John Henry marries
At some point John Henry senior marries Jessie. We know this because it is mentioned that she is married when she later entered the Newington Workhouse. She gave birth to John Henry junior in 1889.
There is a census entry for 1891 for a family which matches ours in part, but with various mismatches. A Henry Leverett, a piercer on brass was living in Kennington with his wife Jessie born in1857. They had a one year old son, named Henry. An entry which conveniently matches our names and yet feels as if it is not the family. However, we do not have any other record for our Jessie and John Henry junior in 1891.
John Henry senior appears with his sister at 274 Camberwell Road Camberwell as John Leverett head single age 41 a clock repairer. His sister, Mary A. Leverett is single and aged 58. There is also an Emma Allington. All were born in Mill Wall.
His mother Jessie falls ill
On 16 October 1898 Jessie was admitted to the Newington Workhouse Westmoreland Road. She was aged 41 years, born in 1857. Her religion was Church of England and she was married. Under ‘observations’, she was described as ‘lunatic’.
On 2 November 1898 she was admitted to the Claybury Lunatic Asylum, in Woodford, London. Her entry in the Lunacy Patients Admission Register is marked, ‘dead 11 June 1899’.
The Claybury Lunatic Asylum was opened in 1893. Sir Frederick Mott was director of research from 1895 till 1915. He established the principle that “the general paralysis of the insane (GPI) was due to syphilis”. The Asylum closed in 1997.
In the Census of 1901 at 24 Elliott Road, Kennington were John Henry Leverett, head, widower and a watchmaker aged 52 born Millwall, and John Henry, his son, aged 11, born Newington. Elliot Road is half a mile from Farmers Road.
John Henry’s (senior) sister Mary Ann died in 1901. She left her estate of £157 to John Henry.
A late baptism
John Henry was actually baptised as an adult when he was 20 years old. The record states he was born December 14th 1889. His baptism was on 4 June 1910 at St. Marks church Kennington. His parents were John Henry, a clock and watchmaker, and Jessie. The address was given as 47 Stockwell Green, which is the home of his aunt Sarah.
In the Census of 1911 John Henry appeared twice, once as an inmate and also in his own home:
- Aged 21 he appears as an inmate in the Princess Christian’s Farm Colony in Hildenborough Kent. His address was given as 47 Stockwell Green S.W. He was marked as “feeble minded”.
The Farm Colony was established in 1910 by Princess Christian, the third daughter of Queen Victoria, as a home for people with learning difficulties. Today it is managed by Kent County Council and Hadlow College.
- He also appeared in the Census record for 47 Stockwell Green Road, Stockwell. On that census return were,
- S. F. Brockster (a mis-transcription of Brocksch) head, aged 74. She was a widow married for 38 years.
- J.H. Leverett, brother age 61, born on 9 October married 8 years with 1 son living. He was suffering with a cataract.
- J. H. Leverett age 21 son born 14 December. His entry is marked “affected from 6 years of age “. In the column headed Infirmary, the comment is “feeble minded”.
The return was signed by “S. Brocksch and J.H. Leverett”.
John Henry’s 74 year old aunt completed the return incorrectly. John Henry was not present on the 2/3 April, the night of the Census. Also, he was her nephew not her son.
Entry to Long Grove
Sometime after 1911 John Henry was transferred to Long Grove Asylum. In 1918, he died aged 29 years. John Henry was buried in Horton cemetery on 3 May 1918, (reference June quarter 1918 Epsom 2a 65).
The family after his death
The National Probate records show that “John Henry Leverett of 40 Cowley Road Brixton died 11 February 1922. Probate in London on 12 April to Isabel Harriet Powell spinster £87 12 shillings”.
In the 1911 Census Miss Powell’s address was Holmwood Road Brixton, 2 miles from Cowley Road.