We now move on to the children of Godfrey, the youngest of the Holdsworth siblings who came to London at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and his wife Diana Cam. As noted in my earlier post about Godfrey, who worked as a plumber in Mile End Old Town, he and Diana had seven children that we can be sure about: Joseph, born in 1794; John Henry, 1796; Godfrey, 1798; Diana, 1802; Edward James, 1806; Elizabeth, 1808; and Charles William Millrow, 1811. Some sources claim that they had another daughter, Sarah, born in 1795, and that she is the person who married customs agent Thomas Fladgate; however, since there are a number of discrepancies in the records, I’ve decided not to include Sarah here. In this post, I’ll be drawing together what we know about all of Godfrey and Diana Holdsworth’s children apart from Charles, who will be the focus of a separate post.

Joseph Holdsworth, Godfrey and Diana’s eldest son, married Jane Stride at the church of St John, Hackney, on 2nd May 1819, when he was twenty-five years old and she was twenty-two. One of the witnesses was William Parker, who was almost certainly the man of that name who was the second husband of Joseph’s aunt Sarah. Jane Stride, the daughter of Joseph Stride, a farm labourer and his wife Betty Barns, came from a large family in Lymington, Hampshire, and it seems likely she had come to London in search of work, perhaps as a domestic servant.


Part of Hackney, from Weller’s 1868 map of London, showing Morning Lane and Water Lane, with Heslop Place just to the south of Retreat Place.

At the time of the 1841 census, when they were in their mid-forties, Joseph and Jane Holdsworth were living at Heslop Place, on Water Lane (now Morning Lane), Hackney, where Joseph was working as a painter. There is no trace of any children in this or later records, and it would appear that the couple remained childless. In 1851 they were still living at Heslop Place, and at this time they had a visitor: twenty-eight-year-old William Martin, also of Hackney, and described as a ‘coaching gentleman’. The census record describes Joseph as a ‘painter and journeyman’.

Joseph would die in November of that same year, at the age of fifty-seven, at which time the Holdsworths were said to be living in Water Lane. The 1861 census would find Joseph’s widow Jane, now sixty-eight, a lodger in the home of Samuel Somers, a retired coachman, in Musgroves Buildings, on Homerton High Street.


Homerton High Street in the late nineteenth century

John Henry Holdsworth, the second son of Godfrey and Diana Holdsworth, married Phoebe Bathaw in Limehouse, probably at the parish church of St Anne, in 1820. Phoebe had been born in about 1799, making her three years younger than John. Some census records give her place of birth as Benson in Oxfordshire.

When their daughter Harriet was born in January 1821, John and Phoebe Holdsworth were living in Bow and John was working as a plumber, like his father Godfrey. In fact, it’s possible that they worked together and that John took over the family business. Harriet was christened at the parish church of St Mary, Stratford-le-Bow, two years after her birth, on 19th January 1823, at the same time as her brother Henry John, who had been born in the previous October. A second son, William, would be baptised at the same church in October 1824.

The next record we have for John Henry and Phoebe Holdsworth is the 1841 census, which finds them living with their three teenage children in Jerusalem Square, off Morning Lane in Hackney, just a few streets away from John’s brother Joseph. In 1851 John and Phoebe, now in their early fifties, were living in Morning Lane, perhaps at the same address, and the only one of their children still at home was twenty-three-year-old William, who was working as a journeyman painter, like his uncle Joseph (and perhaps with him?). Their old son Henry, also a painter, had married Eliza Emily West, a Hackney-born widow and a ladies’ maid, in 1847 and they were now living in Marylebone. To date, I haven’t been able to find any further records for John and Phoebe’s daughter Harriet.

In 1861, John Henry and Phoebe, now aged sixty-eight and sixty respectively, were still living in Morning Lane and John was still working as a plumber. I’m not sure where their son William was at this date, but Henry and Eliza were also living in Morning Lane, in a house close to that of Henry’s parents; they seem to have had no children.

John Henry Holdsworth died in 1863 at the age of sixty-four. In 1871 his widow Phoebe would be living with Henry and Eliza at their house in Morning Lane. Phoebe died in 1875. In 1881 Henry, now described as a plumber as well as a painter, and Eliza were still at the same address, together with lodgers Martin and Mary Jeffrey, relations of Eliza’s. Henry died in 1889. In 1891 Eliza was still in Morning Lane with the Jeffreys, and she is now described as Martin’s sister-in-law. She died in 1895.

In the meantime John and Phoebe’s son William had married his wife Mary, from Homerton. The 1871 census finds them in College Street, Homerton. William is working as a house painter and the couple, now in their forties, appear to be without children. I’ve found no further records for them, but some sources claim that William died in 1892.


Victorian house painters (occupational cabinet card photograph, 1880s)

Godfrey Holdsworth, the third son of Godfrey and Diana Holdsworth, married Mary Lee Shackleton at St John’s, Hackney, on 16th April 1819. Born in the City of London in 1802, Mary was the daughter of John Collier and Mary Shackleton, but appears to have taken her mother’s surname, perhaps because her parents were not married. Godfrey appears to have worked as a glazier, but the proliferation of Godfrey Holdsworths in the family makes it difficult to be certain about any other details of his life. However, I’m fairly sure that he and Mary were the parents of the Diana Holdsworth born at Charlotte Terrace, New Court, in Southwark in 1821, and of the Godfrey Holdsworth born at Martha Street, in the parish of St George-in-the-East, three year later.

We have better information for Godfrey and Diana Holdsworth’s daughter Diana Holdsworth, who married George Wood of Tottenham Court Road at St John’s church, Hackney on 14th October 1827, when they were both twenty-five years old. They had four children, all born in Stepney: Jane Grace, born in 1829; George Truman, 1830; Elizabeth Hannah, 1832; and Eliza Ann, 1834.

At the time of the 1841 census the family was living in Jubilee Street, Mile End Old Town, and Godfrey was working as a clerk. Some time around 1849, daughter Jane Grace Wood married Spitalfields-born leather seller Thomas Felton. They would have seven children during the next two decades. The 1851 census record appears to include some double-counting. According to one record, Jane Felton and her two small children, Elizabeth and Thomas, were staying with her parents, George and Diana Wood, at 25 Coburn Street, Stratford-le-Bow. Both children are said to have been born in Shadwell. George Wood is now described as a clerk in the ‘E.W. India Dock company service’, an occupation he shares with his 21-year-old son George.  Daughters Elizabeth and Eliza are still living at home, and the family has a general servant, thirty-two-year-old Louisa Crouch. Meanwhile, the record for 2 King David Lane, Shadwell, shows Thomas Felton, his wife Jane and baby son Thomas, as well as eighteen-year-old house servant, Mary A. Burt.

New Dock House of the East and West India Dock Company in Billiter Square

The 1861 census finds George Wood, a clerk to the East and West India Dock Company, with his wife Diana and eleven-year-old granddaughter Elizabeth Jane Felton, living at Billiter Square in Aldgate, in a property described as ‘East and West India Dock House’. With them are a housekeeper and his wife and daughter.

I’ve yet to find the Feltons in the census record for this year. Meanwhile, another daughter – Elizabeth Hannah Wood – had married confectioner Henry Farey Beeton in April 1855. By the time of the 1861 census, Elizabeth and Henry were living in Kentish Town with their three small children. Since Henry is now described as a bread and biscuit baker, and at the same address are a shopwoman (Matilda Wood: a relative, perhaps?) and two bakers’ handymen, we must assume that they were living over their own baker’s shop.

Henry Farey Beeton died in 1863. His will is interesting, since it claims that he died at Calcutta in the East Indies. He is said to be ‘formerly of 10 White-Horse-Lane Stepney but late of 1 Warkworth-terrace Commercial-road Limehouse’, which is also the address given for his widow Elizabeth Hannah Beeton.  Elizabeth married again in 1869, to Norfolk-born flour and malt factor William Williams. At the time of the 1871 census they were living at Belgrave Villas, Ilford Road, Stratford, in a large household with four children from William’s first marriage, as well as Elizabeth’s daughters Ellen and Marian, plus a servant, groom and washerwoman. William Williams had been a mill owner in Hindringham, Norfolk, and he and his first wife Harriet had six children in all. Harriet died in 1860.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth’s other daughter, Elizabeth Jane, now thirteen, was staying with her grandparents, George and Diana Wood. By 1871 George Wood had retired from the East and West India Dock Company and he and Diana were living at 1 Stratford Green in West Ham with a general servant, twenty-one-year-old Kezia Patstow. Their daughter Jane and husband Thomas Felton were close by, in Stratford High Street, with their six children and a servant. Since Thomas was still working as a leather seller, perhaps they too were living over the family shop.

George Wood seems to have died by the time of the 1881 census, when his widow Diana can be found in Stratford High Street, in the house of her (step) grandson Charles Williams, described as a manager.  The rest of the Williams family – William, Elizabeth and their various daughters and step-daughters – were living in Romford Road, West Ham (where their relatives Elizabeth Moore and Sarah Crawshaw were also living at one time). The two Beeton girls were both working as schoolteachers. By now William and Elizabeth had a daughter of their own: Emily, born in 1872.

By this time the Fenton family was living in Poplar High Street, where Thomas had gone into business as a corn, flour and coal dealer, employing his adult son Thomas as a secretary and messenger and his sixteen-year-old daughter Grace as an assistant. Perhaps Thomas Fenton and William Williams were business associates?

Diana Wood née Holdsworth died on 6th January 1884 at the age of eighty-one. Her son-in-law Thomas Felton was one of the executors of her will. In 1891 the Feltons were in Skelton Road, Forest Gate, where Thomas had changed his occupation yet again and was now working as a ‘traveller’ and candle manufacturer. Living with them were their unmarried daughters Marian, a teacher of music, and Agnes, a milliner. Thomas died in 1896 and Jane in 1900.

Edward James Holdsworth, another of the sons of Godfrey and Diana Holdsworth, married Mary Ann Chambers, who was also from Mile End, at St. Leonard’s, Shoreditch., on 11th July 1825. Their first child, also named Edward James, was christened in the same church in the following year. The record reveals that Edward James worked as a painter and that the family lived at New Inn Yard.  A second son, George, was baptised at Christ Church, Spitalfields in 1828, while their daughter Lydia was christened at St. Leonard’s in 1831: the family was now living in nearby Leonard Street. They were at the same address when another daughter, Mary Ann, was baptised in 1835.  However, by the time their next child, Emma Jane, was christened at St.Leonard’s in 1837, they had moved to nearby Anchor Street.


Section of map from Cross’ London Guide of 1851, showing Shoreditch with New Inn Yard to the west of the High Street and Anchor Street to the east.

By 1841 the family was living in Selby Street, officially in Bethnal Green but in reality close to Shoreditch and Spitalfields. Their youngest child, Elizabeth, was born in 1842. At the time of the 1851 census,  journeyman painter Edward and his family were still in Selby Street, where son Edward was now working as a book binder, Lydia as a seamstress, Mary as a shirt maker, and Emma as a watch guard maker.

Edward and Mary Ann Holdsworth’s son George had married his wife, Emily Jane, some time before 1850, when their first son, George Alfred Holdsworth, was baptised at St Leonard’s, Shoreditch. George Holdsworth senior is described as a bookbinder (perhaps he and his brother Edward were apprenticed together?), living in New Inn Broadway, close to where his parents were living in the 1820s. George and Emily Jane had four other children: Charles, born in 1854, Josiah, 1856, Edward 1858, and Caroline, 1859, were all christened together at St. Sepulchre, Holborn in 1865, when the family was living at 1 George Yard.

At the time of the 1861 census the household at Selby Street was largely unchanged, with two exceptions. Edward and Mary Ann Holdsworth’s youngest daughter Emma had married in the interim and was now listed under her married name, Emma Jane Dean. She had married coach painter George Dean at St. Matthew’s, Bethnal Green, in January of that year; he was staying with his brother-in-law in Rochester, Kent, at the time of the census. Another daughter, Lydia, had married William Hobbs in 1854 and by this date they were living in Commercial Road with their daughters Lydia Ann, five, and Mary Ann, three. William had been a painter when they married but was now described as a beer house keeper.

In 1871, Edward and Mary Ann Holdsworth, now in their sixties, were still in Selby Street, with their son Edward. Also living with them was their eleven-year-old granddaughter Caroline, youngest daughter of their son George. The latter, by now a widower, was living with his three sons, Charles, Josiah and Edward, at Strand Buildings in the parish of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster.

Lydia’s husband William Hobbs had died in 1870. She was now working as a housekeeper for Inland Revenue copying clerk Richard Humphrey, and she and her family were living with him at 210 Whitechapel Road. Lydia had five surviving children from her marriage to William: Lydia, fifteen; William, nine; Emma six; George, four; and Elizabeth, one. At the time of the census Lydia’s daughter Mary was with her aunt Emma and her husband George Dean (now a coffee house keeper) in Lambeth. Another visitor was Emma’s and Lydia’s sister Mary Ann.

In 1874 Lydia married for a second time, at St. Dunstan’s, Stepney, to widower William Henry Dunbar, a butcher. By 1881, Lydia and William were living in White Horse Street, Ratcliffe, with Lydia’s children and William’s two sons from his first marriage, together with a young man described as a butcher’s servant. In 1881 Emma and her husband George Dean were still in Lambeth, though only one daughter, Elizabeth Ann, is mentioned in the census record.

Although I can’t find any record for their brother George at this date, we know that his oldest son George Alfred, a bookbinder like his father, had married his wife Caroline (who had been born in Grays Inn Road in about 1845) before 1872, when their first child, Emily, was born. In 1881 they were living in Crown Court, in the parish of St. Dunstan’s in the City of London. Besides Emily, now eight, they had three other children: John, six, Ellen, four, and Caroline, seven months, all born in Gray’s Inn Road.

Edward James Holdsworth’s wife Mary Ann died in 1880 at the age of seventy-four. At the time of the 1881 census Edward and his unmarried son Edward were visitors, as was Lydia’s daughter Mary Ann Hobbs, in the home of Sarah Fladgate and her daughter, also Sarah, in Smith Street, Mile End Old Town. (This is the only clue we have that Sarah Fladgate might have been born a Holdsworth, and could have been another of the children of Godfrey Holdsworth and Diana Cam.) Edward James Holdsworth senior died later that year at the age of seventy-five.


In 1891 Edward James Holdsworth junior, aged sixty-two and still working as a bookbinder, was living in a boarding house in Haggerston. However, ten years later, he can be found living in a large institution (a workhouse, perhaps?) in Wood Green, where he is listed as a ‘pauper’. He died in 1907.

Lydia Dunbar née Holdsworth died in 1886 at the age of fifty-five. In 1891 Emma and George Dean and their two daughters, Elizabeth, seventeen, a piano teacher, and Alice Mae, 6, were living in Camberwell. In 1896 Elizabeth married civil servant John Edward Plowman in Peckham. By 1901, George had retired and he, Emma and Alice were living in Deptford with Elizabeth, John and their three year old daughter Winifred. Emma died in Camberwell in 1917, at the age of eighty.

As I noted in an earlier post, Godfrey and Diana Holdsworth’s youngest daughter, Elizabeth Holdsworth, married her first cousin, another Godfrey Holdsworth, and the son of Joseph and Margaret Holdsworth, in 1850,after the death of his first wife, Anne. Elizabeth emigrated to New Zealand with Godfrey and his family and died there in 1900.