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50 York Street

The Family of John Williams - Grocer


Henry Chilley, head, 43, 1838, general dealer, Thetford, Norfolk
Elizabeth Chilley, wife, 41, 1840, Thetford, Norfolk
Elizabeth Chilley, daughter, 13, 1868, scholar, Cherington, Shropshire
Caroline Chilley, daughter, 9, 1872, scholar, Wells, Somerset
Anney T. Chilley, daughter, 3, 1878, Sutton at Tow, Kent

1886 – 1912

The electoral roll records that John Richard Williams is resident at 50 York Street by 1886.  On the 1891 Census he is 39 and a grocer from Swavesey. John married Sarah Elizabeth Darton in 1879.  By the time the couple are living here they have four children.

John Richard (11), Bertie Bradley (9), Mable Darton (6) and Minnie (2).  Sarah’s sister Emily is visiting the couple on census night. Emily is a 29-year-old sick nurse.  There are also a pair of bricklayer brothers boarding at number 50.  Ebenezer Madlock is 23 and George Madlock is 20.

The school register of Brunswick Boys’ School shows John and Bertie joining on 11th April 1892.  John left in January 1894 and Bertie in January 1896.

By 1901 John and Sarah have had two more children Alfred (9) and Gertrude (6).  John junior is now 20 and works as assistant schoolmaster, Bertie is a grocer like his father and Mabel is working as a pupil teacher.

John junior marries Margaret Gazeley in October 1905.  By 1911 he is working as a Vocalist and living in Chiswick.  The 1911 Census shows that his brother Alfred, a grocer’s assistant, and his sister Gertrude are staying with him.  Whether this is a permanent arrangement or just a visit is unknown.

Alfred married Florence Pitts in Hammersmith on 9th July 1916.  During World War 1 he served with the Army Service Corps in a Mechanical Transport company.  He died in 1920, aged 28, and the Cambridge Independent Press reported on his funeral.  The funeral was conducted by Rev. A Shinn of Eden Chapel.  They report that Alfred “had been for three years or more a great, though patient, sufferer.”  Alfred is buried in Mill Road Cemetery.

Bertie marries Kate Gazeley (Margaret’s sister) on 26th December 1909.  In 1911 he is living in Shepherd’s Bush and working as a commercial traveller, dealing with fruit preserves.  He joined the Navy on 15th June 1917 and transferred to the RAF reserve in 1920.  Bertie gives his occupation as “professional vocalist”, like his brother. On the 1939 Register he calls himself an “actor vocalist”.

By 1911 John and Sarah have been married for 31 years and have had nine children, one of whom has died.  Sarah is assisting John in the grocer’s shop.  Eldest daughter, Mabel, is recorded as an assistant elementary school mistress. Minnie is assisting in the household and the youngest two children, Olive Margery (8) and Gladys May (6) both attend school.

Mabel moved to London at some point and died there in September 1931.  She was buried on the 19th of September in Mill Road Cemetery alongside her brother Alfred and her father.  John died in 1927.

The Williams family have left York Street and moved to 10 Tenison Road by 1913. Gladys appears in the register of Brunswick Girls School on the 1st of April 1913.  She leaves on the 31st of March 1915 due to a “scholarship to Melbourne Place”.

Sources: 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911 UK Census, 1939 Register, Cambridgeshire Electoral Registers, Burgess Rolls and Poll Books (1722-1966), National School Admission Registers & Log-Books (1870-1914), British Royal Navy Seamen (1899-1924), Cambridgeshire Burials, Church of England Marriages and Banns (1754-1936), Mill Road Cemetery,


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