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William’s parents

William John was the first child of Alfred and Elizabeth Putman. 

Alfred was born in the City of London on 3 Sept 1842 and baptised at the Welsh Anglican church of St Benet Paul’s Wharf, Queen Victoria Street, on 25 September 1842. His parents John and Susan lived at 225 Upper Thames Street. I am unable to find him or his siblings being officially registered.

William’s mother, Elizabeth Robinson was born about 1822 at Falkenham Suffolk. The records show Elizabeth was 19 years Alfreds senior. 

It’s possible that Elizabeth was the daughter of John Robinson and Abigail Hewke; they married on 31 October 1820 in Falkenham, East Suffolk. I found a baptism for Elizabeth and her brother John on the same day 26 July 1826 at the Baptist Chapel in Walton near Felixstowe. Falkenham being in the manor of Walton. Elizabeth was born 8 December 1822 and John 17 March 1825.

I also came across a baptism for a William Robinson 11th March 1821 in Levington a few miles west of Falkenham, naming John Robinson and Abigail Hewke as parents in Falkenham, this is a transcription, a parish baptism not under non-conformist as Elizabeth and John. Hence the speculation as to whether I have the correct family. I cannot find them in the 1841 census. 

 I may have found Elizabeth in the 1851 census at Witton, Blackburn, Lancaster, she is a servant to George Ashe the curate at St Marks church in Witton. Alfred is living with his parents at the same address as his baptism. 


Alfred and Elizabeth were married on 23 December 1860 at Holy Trinity church, Marylebone Road in the parish of Marylebone, London. 

By the time of the 1861 census Alfred and Elizabeth are found living in St Andrews Hill, in the parish of St Andrews by the Wardrobe, close to Blackfriars station. 

William was born later the same year, on 5 October 1861 when Elizabeth was 38, in the city of London. Elizabeth registered the birth and signed with an X as her mark. The address was 15 St Andrews Hill. Alfred’s occupation a printer’s clerk.

I haven’t found a baptism for William online. 

On 24 September 1864 an addition to the family with the birth of William’s brother. Registered as George. 

There is a possible baptism for a George Henry Putman on 16 October 1864 at St Leonard’s St Mary, Bromley in Tower Hamlets. Parents Alfred and Elizabeth. 

Sadly, young George dies on 19 October 1866 of smallpox, Elizabeth is the informant. Address given as 1 Jackson Court, Blackfriars. 


The first census we find William in is 1871, and the family are living at 2 Brunswick Court, Christchurch, Southwark. Alfred aged 30, a Carman, Elizabeth aged 40, which is incorrect, and William aged 9, a scholar. They have been fitted in at the bottom of the previous page as the house had been already enumerated and they had been left out. Also at this address is Abraham Holt and family.


On 11 October 1880 at St John the Evangelist church, Lambeth, William married Charlotte Ellen Illsey born in 1860 in Lambeth, daughter of James Illsey and Mary Dougless. Neither of them is aged 21, however, full age is given on the marriage document. Alfred Putman and Anne Willmore are witnesses. 

In the first quarter of 1881 a son William George is registered in Lambeth, so Charlotte would have been pregnant when they married. His second name George, this could be in memory of William’s brother. 

The 1881 census shows the family are living at 40 Wootton Street in the Waterloo area of Lambeth, a shared dwelling with 3 other families. William is aged 19 a coachman, Charlotte is aged 21 and baby William is 4 months. 

Booth’s maps say it was a ‘poor to mixed’ earnings area. 

William George is baptised at St Andrews church, Lambeth on the 5 June 1881. 

Sadly, baby William dies one month later on 5 July from Dentition Diarrhoea, aged 6 months at 71 Kings Street, Cornwall Road in the Waterloo area.

Dentition pertaining to the development of teeth. So tragic to lose a baby to teething.

I can’t find any reason for baby William to be at 71 Kings Street. There are 5 heads of family living at the address on the death certificate when the census was taken on 3rd April 1881, one a Mr Mallory is a coachman – corn chandler, the other a bricklayer. Perhaps by July William’s mother Elizabeth Putman was living there. She is recorded as living at 2 Bennett Street in Christchurch, Southwark working as a Charwoman in the 1881 census.

William’s father Alfred was in 37 Kings Street with his parents. Maybe William’s parents were separated. 

Tragic Accident in 1883

I found Charlotte’s death in 1883 thinking she might be pregnant, and her death was probably caused by complications during childbirth given her age. I ordered her death certificate. I was shocked to read that she drowned in a boating accident on the Thames. I searched the newspapers and found a report of the accident. There was more terrible news. William’s mother Elizabeth also drowned in the same accident. 

Two men who survived were unidentified and I haven’t been able to find the names in any other report. Maybe one could have been William the other his father. A family outing for the afternoon at the boat races. Although if it was them, it is strange that their names were withheld. 

Worcester Journal 21 April 1883

South London Press 28 April 1883

Three years later both William and Alfred remarried.

Alfred married on the 28 March 1886 a widow Emma Rowena Barrett nee Warland, at John the Evangelist church, Waterloo Road, Lambeth. Both give 182 Waterloo Road as their abode.  

One week later on 4 April 1886 at the same church William married Charlotte’s elder sister Sarah. Both reside at 37 Cornwall Road. William is a Coachman. 


William and Sarah have moved slightly east of Waterloo to 42, Hatfield Street Christchurch Southwark. William is now aged 29 and he is now a general labourer, Sarah aged 32, a Candied Peel Maker in the Confectionery business. 


By the time of the 1901 census they have returned to the Waterloo area living at 50 Ethelm Street, William aged 39, is back working as a Carman. Sarah, aged 41, no occupation. They have a visitor Georgina Peck aged 6. From Webber Street Lambeth. 

William’s health declines.

Wednesday 2 Oct 1907 William is admitted to St George workhouse Southwark. He appears to have been discharged on 10 Oct 1907 on his own request. But on the same day he is admitted to Newington Workhouse. From here on 15 October 1907 he is transferred to Champion Hill Infirmary where he stays until 11 Nov 1907 when he is sent back to St George Southwark, He is discharged on 14 March 1908 (Ch Ch )to Christ Church Workhouse. Two days later he is discharged. I suspect back to St George’s although no records seem to survive to prove this.

It may be that William remained in St George’s Workhouse until he was medically examined at the end of July 1908.

The Reception Order reads as follows:

Southwark Union London. 

Reception Order by Thomas Haynes. Justice of the peace and assisted by Thomas Massie Medical Practitioner of 197 Southwark Bridge Road. 6 Aug 1908. Said William John Putman of St George’s Workhouse, Mint Street, is of unsound mind. 

Statement of Particulars.

William John Putman. 46, married, Carman, CofE, previous address. St George’s Workhouse. This is his first attack. Started at 45. Not previously in an Asylum. Attacks increasing over 15 months. Supposed cause unknown. ( This would give May 1907 that his health started to decline) Lunatic chargeable to Southwark Union.

Next of kin Sarah Putman, wife. 29 Milcote Street, Blackfriars Road. London SE.

Signed H H Wright. Relieving officer, union of Southwark. 30 July 1908. 

Certificate of medical practitioner Thomas Massie 5 Aug 1908.

Wiliam John Putman of unsound mind. 

He is lost as to his surroundings and as to time and dates. He is indifferent as to his welfare and takes no interest in himself. Frederick Russell ward attendant says that the patient rambles about aimlessly and is wet and dirty in his habits. 

William sadly dies only 6 months after being admitted to Horton hospital, on the 7 February 1909. The cause of death, General Paralysis of the Insane. 

He was buried in Horton Cemetery on 11 February 1909 in grave number 299a.

Extended family. 

William’s wife Sarah is living at 7 Marshall Street, Southwark in 1911 also at the address is Charlotte Hull nee Peck, aged 64 who is the head of the household, a Charwoman. Along with Phoebe Peck her niece aged 16.

Sarah Putman died on 2 September 1916 of a perforated Gastric Ulcer and shock in Lambeth infirmary. 


Whilst checking the workhouse records for William I found that William and Sarah had adopted two girls. Georgina and Ethel Peck. I cannot find any relationship to the girls, but they were from the Waterloo Area. So possible friends.  Sarah was at the time living at 17 Marshall Street Southwark. Was this the correct address or should it have been no 7 as in the 1911 census. 

There seems to be confusion over the parentage of the girls, however with some further research and some certificates I believe I have managed to solve the issue. 

The mother is Rosina Charlotte Peck born 1873 in Histon Chesterton Cambridgeshire to Thomas and Lydia. And the 1881 and 1891 census’s show her living with her parents in Histon.

Her first daughter Ethel Lydia Peck was born 24 July 1892 in Chesterton Workhouse, her father was not named. Rose, her mother, is working in a Jam Factory in Impington. Chivers and son had a Jam factory near Histon Station which is next to Impington, this must be the jam factory where Rosina is working.

On 3 October 1894 Rosina has another daughter Phoebe Charlotte Georgina Peck at 13 Webber Street in Lambeth. A father was named Thomas Peck who was a conjurer and Mother Rosina Williams – this is false information. I have been unable to find a Thomas Peck who was a conjurer. It could be that Rosina used her father’s name. Where the occupation came from is anyone’s guess.

Ethel Peck

In 1901 Ethel is living with Aunt Charlotte Hull, in the census is described as a widow and using the surname Peck at 12, Boundary Row Christ Church, Southwark. She is the sister of Rosina’s father Thomas. So, in fact a great aunt to Ethel whose mother Rosina is working as a general domestic servant in Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridgeshire. Rosina died in 1906. Registered in Chesterton Cambridge.

The workhouse records of 1907 show Ethel is living with her grandfather Mr Peck, in Cambridge, address unknown. By 1911 Ethel is a general servant to Robert Smith, a Baptist Minister and family in Histon.

In the second quarter of 1914 Ethel married Bertie Mallion in Chesterton Cambridgeshire. They emigrate to Canada and Ethel gives her sister Phoebe as her British contact. The 1921 and 1931 Canadian census shows the family living in Toronto but they were back in Cambridge in late 1930. However, they did return to Canada at some stage as we find that Ethel died in 1977 and is buried in Fonthill Niagara Ontario along with Bertie who died in 1972. They had children.

Phoebe Charlotte Georgina Peck

 In May 1900 a school admission record for Georgina states her father is James, when she transfers schools. He is not at the address shown on the record in the 1901 census at 39 Cornwall Street, Waterloo. 

Georgina Peck was the visitor referred to in the 1901 census living with William and Sarah Putman.  The 1911 census shows her as Phoebe. Living with her Aunt Charlotte Hull and Sarah Putman, her adopted mother.

25 December 1913 Phoebe Peck married Willam Rombol.

Phoebe is saying her father is Arthur Yates an Artiste, he also witnesses the document, so he does exist. The other witness is Horace A Peck, this is her uncle, Rosina’s brother. 

Maybe Rosina had friends in the theatre when she was living in London hence stating the father was a Conjurer.  Was Arthur a friend of the family or the real father?

Arthur was an established performer along with his wife, no children recorded to the marriage. By 1910 he had left his wife and fell on hard times.  This is a story in itself. 

The 1921 census recorded Phoebe Charlotte Georgina living in Short Street Lambeth, Aunt Charlotte living with them. 

1939 register Phoebe Charlotte Georgina and William are living in Feltham, Middlesex and she died in Rochford, Essex in 1964.  

Author’s notes

This has been quite a journey with so many questions, I hope I have managed to find most of the answers. Poor Willam had such very sad events in his life. first losing his brother, then his son and of course the tragic loss of his first wife and mother at the same time.  I hope his marriage to Sarah and his short time with adopted daughters brought him joy. I haven’t been able to find out if the girls were family or friends. Maybe William or Sarah was a friend of Rosina’s or maybe her Aunt Charlotte. Sarah and Rosina were both involved with Confection. They mostly lived in the Waterloo area, mainly around Cornwall Street, including William’s Grandparents. 

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