My great grandfather, Charles Edward Robb, was born on 22nd January, 1851. He was the fifth child of William Robb and Fanny Sarah Seager, who were married in 1836. I’ve just obtained a copy of his birth certificate, which confirms that his mother died in childbirth, since she was already dead when the birth was registered on 29th January. She was 36 years old, and besides Charles she left behind three other children: William, 10, Elizabeth, 8, and Matilda Fanny, 5.

The birth certificate gives William’s occupation as ‘clerk’ and their address as 33 Old Compton Street, in the parish of St. Ann, Westminster. By the time of the census taken in the same year, William would be living in nearby Queen Street with his older son William, while the two girls would be with their late mother’s family a short distance away, in Gerrard Street. The whereabouts of the infant Charles at this time are still unknown.

(Of historical interest is the fact that Karl Marx was living in Dean Street, which runs off Old Compton Street, from 1851. Three of his own children would die in the 7 years that he lived there.)