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WILSON, Frederick Leon

b.1892 – d.1911

Intro

Frederick was born on 4th May 1892 at 30, St Albans Street, Lambeth. According to the 1911 census, he was the sixth of fifteen children born to William John Arthur Wilson and Georgina Elizabeth Cullen and was baptised on 26th June 1892 at St Mary’s Church, Lambeth, his Father William is shown as a Policeman.

The family siblings:

  • Georgina Emily 1885-1889
  • Grace Dangerfield 1887-1942
  • James Campbell 1888-1953
  • Thomas Arthur 1889-?
  • Florence Lucy 1891-1940
  • Frederick Leon 1892-1911
  • John Creighton 1893-1913
  • Louise Mary 1895-1957
  • William 1898-1899
  • Mary Ethel 1899-1977
  • Alfred George 1901-?
  • Edward Ernest 1904-1914
  • Frank 1907-1907 and his twin
  • Emily Dora 1907-1909

Amazingly with 15 children they managed to give most of them two names and some unusual names at that, although poor William and Frank did not fair so well.

1880s

William and Georgina were married at St Mary’s Church, Lambeth on 3rd August 1884. William was 25yrs old, born in 1858 in Lambeth son of John Wilson and Mary Emily Dangerfield. Georgina was 21yrs old born in about 1863 in Whitechapel daughter of George Cullen and Eliza Corr.

On his marriage certificate Williams says he is a labourer, their first home together was in St Albans Street, Lambeth which we are told by Booth was “29ft from wall to wall with china pots in the windows but a mess of paper in the street.”

Over the years William’s occupation is shown variously on baptism certificates and census returns first as a Labourer then Policeman, and then later in life as a Drayman’s Mate. William initially joined the Metropolitan Police on 1st February 1886, warrant number 71127.

ATTESTATION: Warrant 71127, William John Arthur Wilson, 1st Febry 1886

1890s

In the 1891c William is shown as a Metropolitan Police Constable and they are living on Brixton Hill, Lambeth next door to a school, and their neighbours have occupations such as Civil Engineer, Insurance Clerk.

1891 Census, Frederick’s Family at Brixton Hill

Frederick is born on 4th May 1892 at 30, St Albans Street, Lambeth. The Baptism record for Frederick, confirms they are living at 30 St. Albans Street.

Frederick Leon Baptism, 26th June 1892

1900s

By 1901c the family are living at ‘A-Block-9’, Streets Buildings Southwark and everyone in the building is shown as a Labourer. This address is also shown on brother Alfred George’s Baptism record.

1901 Census, shows the ever growing family

Epileptic Colony

On 31st October 1907 Frederick became an inmate of the Ewell Epileptic Colony when he was just 15 years old. ‘The Epsom Colony’ which had been opened in 1903 to care for the “Epileptic insane of the metropolis” and, in 1907 housed approx. 400 patients who lived in a collection of villas, avoiding the stigma of living in a mental asylum. The treatment consisted of a specially regulated diet and doses of Potassium bromide, the first effective treatment for controlling epilepsy. The patients were expected contribute to their costs by working on the farm or in the kitchens or laundry all of which supported the Epsom cluster hospitals.

Patient 60325, Wilson, Frederick Leon

In 1907 when Frederick entered the hospital, his mother Georgina had just given birth to twins, Emily Dora and Frank and although we believe that several of their children died young they were still supporting a large family with meagre resources. We can only imagine that as Frederick grew older and stronger his family felt unable to deal with his condition and placed him in the care of the hospital.

1910s

When the 1911c is taken Frederick is living in ‘The Colony’ and he is shown as “lunatic from birth” although on the 1901c no mention of any disability is made. Possibly his problems had not yet developed or perhaps they were just not mentioned due to the stigma involved.

We have no further information (at this time) about Frederick’s life in the hospital until he died on 29th December 1911, aged 19 yrs, and was buried in Horton Hospital Cemetery, grave number 1189a on 4th January 1912.

When we have access to the records again we will fill this detail out more.

The 1911c shows his family living at 5 Library Mansions, Borough Rd, Southwark and William is a Brewers drayman’s mate. Nine members of the family are sharing a three-room tenement and the neighbours are mainly trade/labourers.

1911 Census – Frederick’s Family at 5 Library Mansions

Family After Frederick

Of their remaining children, we know that five married, seven died unmarried and at present two are unaccounted for leaving one unknown to make fifteen.

William John Arthur Wilson died in 1939 and Georgina Elizabeth in 1936 in Southwark.

Authors Notes

We do not know why William left the police force sometime in the late 1890s, but it did seem to bring a decline in the family’s situation.

The family lived mainly in the Lambeth/ Southwark area, which were generally poor, with tenements housing high numbers of families living in close proximity leading to the easy spread of diseases. Originally, the area was marshland and prone to flooding and the dirty nature of the industries along the river led to an unhealthy atmosphere particularly after the railways arrived in the mid 1800’s.


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