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SYMES, David


There is a birth for David B. Symes in the September quarter in 1866, in Greenwich, with a mother who had the surname of Lawrence. I have not found a baptism record.

His mother’s marriage to a David B. Symes senior had taken place at St Martin in the Fields, in December 1865.

On the 1871 Census, we find David B Symes, a marine engineer, aged 23 and born in Greenwich and living in Greenwich. His wife, Caroline is aged 26, born in Folkestone. David junior is four years old and he has a sister Carrie, aged 1.

Searching for other births, revealed that David and Caroline had six children, three of whom reached adulthood:

David Barham 1866-1908
Laurence Barham 1867-1869
Carrie Barham 1870
Augustus Barham 1872-1872
Percy Leplastica 1873
Winifred Mary 1876-1878

Fortunately, the 1911 census supports this sad fact. David senior is in the infirmary and Caroline is with son, Percy and his wife of two years. They had no children at this stage. Caroline is now 64 years old and is working as a dressmaker on her own account. She is recorded as married for 46 years, having had six children, of which only two survive. Caroline’s place of birth varies from Folkstone to New Cross, but here it is recorded as Maidstone.

In 1911, David is described as a marine engineer and his place of birth given variously as Greenwich, Deptford or Folkestone.

David’s profession

‘Our’ David became an iron moulder, by the time of the 1891 and 1901 censuses. It is likely that he worked in the Deptford Foundry which began in 1831.

1907 sees David admitted to the Greenwich Union Infirmary and is recorded as having ‘fits’. On the 7th September 1907, he is transferred to Long Grove. Sadly, he died on 18th January 1908, the cause of death being chronic cystitis and ascending nephritis, of sixteen days.

It is known that metal workers are susceptible to bladder cancer from metal toxins. I suspect that that is what David suffered from and it could also account for the seizures.

David is buried in grave 69b in Horton Cemetery.

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