In this post I attempt to summarise what I’ve discovered about the children of my great great grandfather, William Monteith Robb (1813 – 1888), from his second marriage. The information is based on my own researches, supplemented by information from other researchers and family trees.
William Robb married Marianne Mansfield Palmer on 5th June 1854. William and Marianne had 10 children: Lydia Palmer (1855), Alice Martha Stormont (1857), Marianne Mansfield (1858), Rose Emma Tunstall (1860) David Enoch (1863), Eliza Annie (1865), Gertrude Constance (1867), Alexander George (1870), Grace Amy (1872) and Arthur Ernest (1875).
Lydia Palmer Robb married Charles Frederick Walkley at Leytonstone in 1887, when she was 31. This was probably the Charles Frederick Walkley who was born in Pimlico in 1842 and had previously been married (in 1861) to Sarah Clayton, by whom he had two children. The clue is in his occupation: the Charles who married Sarah was a mercantile clerk in a wool warehouse, and the Charles who later married Lydia was a superintendent at a wool warehouse.
One curiosity about Lydia and Charles is that they can be found living together (in Hackney), and sharing a surname, in the 1881 census, but the records state that they didn’t marry until 1887. As far as I can see, they didn’t have any children, and I’ve been unable to find any trace of the couple in the 1891 census.
Charles died in West Ham in 1895, at the age of 51. At some point after this Lydia must have moved to the Midlands, since she died at Kings Norton in 1897, at the age of 42. According to another tree at Ancestry, she died at the Refuge in Clarendon, Edgbaston, but I haven’t yet found any records confirming this.
In 1874 the 17 year old Alice Martha Stormont Robb married 28 year old Alfred Timpson at the Wycliffe Chapel in Mile End. Alfred was born in Tunbridge Wells in 1846. In 1881 they were living in Wolverhampton and Alfred was working as an accountant and commissioning (?) agent. In 1891 they were in Leytonstone, and Alfred is described as a stockbroker/agent.
Alice and Alfred had 9 children: Isabel (1871), Caroline (1873), Alfred (1876), Spencer Cuthbert (1877), Marianne Alice Rose (1880), Sydney (1882), Wilfred (1886), another Wilfred (1889) and Howard Monteith (1890). Alice died in 1895 at the age of 38.
Of their children, I know that Spencer married Mabel Wood; Marianne married Frank Alma Baker; and Sydney married Daisy Hosking; Wilfred (born 1889) died in France in 1917, during the First World War. Apparently Howard died in 1963 and Annie in 1966, but I have no other details for them at present.
In the 1901 census Marianne Mansfield Robb, age 40, a parish sick nurse, is recorded as living in the household of retired law clerk Edwin Harris, 70, in Battle, Sussex. At the same address are Edwin’s daughter Emma, 44, a teacher of music, and boarder Francis J Harris, 24, a carpenter. Later that same year Marianne married Edwin Harris in Battle. To date, these are the only records we have of her. There is a record of an Edwin Harris dying in Hastings in 1909.
Rose Emma Tunstall Robb could be the Rose E. Robb, born in Bow in about 1861, who can be found in the 1891 census living in Victoria Street, Belgravia, where she is said to be the manageress of a servants’ agency (?) or institute. Rose, described both as a wife and a widow, is living with her 1 year old daughter Daisy G Robb. From other family trees at Ancestry, I have gleaned the information that Daisy’s full name was Daisy Gertrude Poulides Robb, that she was born in Paddington in 1890, and that she had a brother, Bertram Poulides Robb, who was both born and died in Southwark in 1885. The father in both cases is unknown, and we would need to see the birth certificates to know who Mr. Poulides was and when Rose married him (I can find no record of their marriage).
David Enoch Robb, who was working for the Post Office at the age of 17, when he was still living at home in 1881, is probably the person who was boarding in East Ham and working as a stockbroker’s clerk in 1891. In 1892 he married Emma Judd and in 1901 they were living with her family in Mile End. David was now working as a ship’s steward. By this time they had 4 children: Sissie Emma Lydia (1894), Clara Lettie (1896), Winifred Alice (1898) and David Walter (1900).
I’ve found no further records for Clare, Winifred or David. Sissie married Arthur Kemp, a despatch clerk, in Mile End in 1921.
Eliza Annie Robb is probably the person to be found in the 1891 census, working as a nurse and servant at Cumberland Lodge,Lewisham, the home of Manchester warehouseman Frederick Bell. I’ve been unable to find any records of her after that date.
Gertrude Constance Robb married Scottish-born Barking greengrocer William Mackenzie in Stepney in 1888 (shortly after the death of her father). In 1891 they were living in Mile End with their year-old son Donald, and William was now working as an electrical engineer.
In 1891 Alexander George Robb was living in Southwark and working as a stationer’s packer. In 1901 he married Elizabeth Jane Sherwood in East Ham. They had 7 children: Alice Rose (1902, London), Alexander Arthur (1905, London), Grace Jennie (1907, West Ham), George Edward (1909, London), Marion Lilian (1912, Croydon), William Henry (1914, Thornton Heath) and Constance Ruth (1918, Thornton Heath).
Alice Rose Robb died in Epping in 1907 at the age of 4. Alexander George Robb and Jane Sherwood Robb both died in Croydon in 1921, she in March and he in May. According to Diane Babington, Alexander died from colon cancer and Jane in the course of a pregnancy. Apparently they died paupers and some of their children attended a school for orphans.
Alexander Arthur Robb married Kathleen (Kitty) Lois Brown in Croydon in 1909. They had three children, of whom two are still living. Their son Keith Alexander Peter was born in 1932. He married Margaret Frances Nourse. Keith and Margaret had one child, still living. Keith died in 1981 and Margaret in 1986. Alexander Arthur Robb died in 1969 and Kitty in 1994, both in Croydon.
Grace Robb married Edward J Payne in Croydon in 1943. I have no information about any children, but I understand that Grace died in Croydon in 1975.
George Edward Robb married Joyce Eileen Tailby in Hendon in 1935. They had a son, Donald, born in 1936 and died in 1967. Joyce died in 1994 and George in 1998.
Marion Lilian Robb married Charles George Babington in Bermondsey in 1937. They had a son Frank Charles, born in 1944 in Croydon, who married Diane Moore in Lewisham in 1975. Frank died in 2005 in South Norwood. (Diane Babington has been a pioneering researcher into her late husband’s family history, and has been a tremendous help to me in my own research.)
William Henry Robb married Gwendolen Constance Eagle in Harrow in 1952. She had previously been married to, and divorced from, Ernest Walter Atkinson. William died in 1998 and Gwendolen in 1979, both in Watford.
An intriguing story surrounds Constance Ruth Robb. According to Diane Babington, Constance was given up for adoption at a very young age by her parents, and taken into the care of the unmarried daughter of Rev. David Long (originally of Dillington Hall, Norfolk, but at one stage resident in the Croydon area). I’ve been in contact with the journalist Christopher Long, who has provided more detail of his aunt Margaret (‘Gret’), including the information that she died in 1943 when a cinema was bombed. According to Diane, Constance had quite a privileged upbringing. Her family only managed to trace her in the 1960s, via the Salvation Army. The only definite record we have for Constance is her death in Somerset in 2004: I have sent for the death certificate in the hope of throwing some light on the mystery.
In the 1891 census a Grace Amy Robb, 19, can be found living at St George’s Residence for Girls in Whitechapel, and working as a portmanteau liner. In 1901, a Grace A Robb, born in Bow, was working as a domestic servant in the household of solicitor Victor Thomasset in Croydon.
According to another tree at Ancestry, Grace Amy Robb married George Hill Moss in Croydon in 1904, when she was 31, and they emigrated to Canada in 1905. Their daughter Thelma Moss was born in 1908 in West Hamilton, Ontario, where they can be found living at the time of the Canadian census of 1911. Grace died of a paralytic stroke in 1913, at the age of 42
The only definite record we have for Arthur Ernest S Robb, apart from his birth, is in the 1881 census, when he was 5 years old and living with his parents. After that, we have nothing definite. It’s interesting that my great grandfather gave the name Arthur Ernest to his youngest son – my grandfather – on his birth in 1897, perhaps in fond memory of a short- lived half-brother?