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71 Sturton Street

The Family of a Timekeeper


Robert Holder, 46, corn miller, b. Orwell, Cambridgeshire
Elizabeth Holder, 47, b. Barrington, Cambridgeshire
James Holder, 20, butler out of employ, b. Barrington, Cambridgeshire
Herbert Holder, 13, scholar, b. Barrington, Cambridgeshire
Elizabeth S. Holder, 10, scholar, b. Barrington, Cambridgeshire
Alice Kate Holder, 7, scholar, b. Barrington, Cambridgeshire

1891 – 1952

The Census for 1891 and 1901 record Joe Disbury Baker and his family family living  at 71 Sturton Street.

Joe was born in 1845 in Chesterton, the son of an Engine Driver. He first trained as a whitesmith, but when he was 20 Joe joined the Royal Artillery as a Driver. He spent the majority of his service in India, with one campaign in Egypt.

Joe was awarded the Afghan War Medal for service during the Second Anglo-Afghan War in 1880 and the Egypt War Medal for service during the Anglo-Egyptian War in 1882.  He earned a clasp for fighting in the Battle of Tell-El-Kebir and also the Khedive’s Bronze Star. Joe rose to the rank of Sergeant.

On the 5th of February 1872 he married Anna Sophia Elizabeth Wood, daughter of George Wood, at St. James Church, Baroda (now known as Vadodara).  Anna was born in Poona, India.  The 1911 Census records that the couple had ten children, three of whom died, however, not all records can be found.

Louisa Susan was born in Belgaum in 1873, Alice was born in London in 1875 after Joe’s first period of service with the Royal Artillery. James George was born in 1877 in Trimulgherry, Secunderabad.  He died in August 1878. Maud Elizabeth was also born in Trimulgherry on Christmas Eve 1878.  Martha Jane Maria was born in Mooltan, Bengal in November 1880.  Frederick was born in Jalandhar in 1883 and Sophia was born in Mhow, Bengal in 1885.

Joe was discharged from the Royal Artillery on the 7th of June 1887.

The Electoral Register shows that Joe and his family briefly lived at 56 Covent Garden before moving to 71 Sturton Street by 1891.  The 1891 Census records Joe as a 45-year-old timekeeper for the Board of Commissioners.  Anna is “Hannah” on all the census records.

Alice is 15, Maud is 12, Martha is 10, Frederick is 8 and Sophia is 5. Louisa has left home and is working as a maid, she never marries and by 1939 is living at 16 Kingston Street with her widowed sister Alice.

Mabel is born in 1894.

By 1901 only Frederick, Martha and Mabel are at home with their parents.  Alice has left home and is working as a servant on Market Hill.  She marries Arthur Pearce in 1921.

Between 1906 and 1911 Joe and his family live at 47 Great Eastern Street. For these few years a William Samuel Brown is living at the property.

Sometime after the 1911 Census, however, the Electoral Register for 1911 shows Joe back at 71 Sturton Street until his death in 1914.  Anna stayed at the property until her death in 1921.

Martha married William Rolfe in 1916.

Frederick is a general labourer in the sewers.  He married Gertrude Pearson in 1926 and lived at 71 Sturton Street until 1952.  The 1939 register notes that he was an ARP in the Second World War.

Source – 1861, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911 UK Census, 1939 Register, Cambridgeshire, England, Electoral Registers, Burgess Rolls and Poll Books (1722-1966), India, Select Marriages (1792-1948), British Army Service Records, British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records (1730-1960), History of Vadodara, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations)(1858-1995),


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