I’ve written before about George Webb, the father of my grandmother (my father’s mother), Mary Emily Elizabeth (‘Polly’) Webb. The availability of more London parish records at Ancestry, and coming across a linked family tree at the same site, have enabled me to fill in some of the gaps in my knowledge of the Webbs.

My great grandfather, George Webb, was born on 15th July 1874 and baptized on 9th August in the same year, in the parish of St. James the Great, Bethnal Green. He was the son of George Webb, a bricklayer, and his wife Elizabeth, whose address is given as 83 Cornwall Street. This road ran (and still runs) parallel to, and just north of, Cable Street. It’s not far from the church of St. George in the East – and also close to the Wellclose Square / Pell Street area where my Robb and Bowman ancestors were living at around the same time.

St James theGreat Bethnal Green

St James the Great Bethnal Green

George Webb junior seems to have been one of 8 or 9 children. I’m not sure when his father, George senior, married his mother (though it was probably in the early 1860s), or what Elizabeth’s maiden name was. The first record I’ve found of the family is in the 1871 census, when George, a 23 year old dock labourer, and Elizabeth, a 22 year old needlewoman, are living at 36 Sheridan Street (a little to the north of Cornwall Street) in the sub-district of St Paul’s, part of the larger parish of St. George in the East. They have three children: Ann (born in about 1865), Elizabeth (about 1868) and Georgina (mis-spelt as Georgianna, born about 1870). I haven’t been able to find birth or baptismal records for Ann or Elizabeth, but Georgina Virtue Webb was born on 8th May 1870 and baptized on 5th June at St. James the Great. The family’s address is given as 25 Sherrington Street, but this could be a mistake for Sheridan.

Ten years later, in the 1881 census, we find George, 34, now working as a house decorator ,at 83 Cornwall Street with his wife Elizabeth, 32, a machinist, as is their daughter, Susannah (born 1866). The other children are Elizabeth (1868), Rosina (about 1871), George (1874) and Alice (about 1876). The differences in the names of the older children from the 1871 census record is, at first, off-putting. But perhaps Susannah is the same as Ann, either because of a recording error, or the use of a middle name? From baptismal records we know that Susannah was born on 12th June 1866 and baptized on 1st July at Christ Church, St. George in the East, when the family was living at 35 Spencer Street, a couple of streets from Cornwall Street. Elizabeth’s name and date of birth seem to be the same in both records. However, Georgina has disappeared: perhaps she died in infancy. Rosina Webb was born on July 5th 1872 and christened on 28th July at St James the Great. George senior’s occupation is given as bricklayer and the family’s address is 25 Sheridan Street.

cornwall street etc 1851

The Commercial Road / Cable Street area in 1851 (Cornwall Street and Spencer Street visible)

By the time of the 1891 census George, a 47 year old house decorator ,and Elizabeth, a 43 year old tailoress, are living at 50 Prusom Street, not far from Wapping High Street, south of the Ratcliff Highway, and about a ten minutes walk from their previous homes in Cornwall and Sheridan Streets. Their 23 year old daughter Elizabeth has the same occupation as her mother, while 17 year old George (my great grandfather) is working as a baker. Three younger siblings are also part of the family: Alice (15), Virtue 10) and Alfred (7). Also at the same address is boarder Jane Haywood, 28, another tailoress.

I’ve found the baptismal record for Alice Virtue Webb: she was born on 9th October 1876 and christened in the parish of St. George in the East on the 29th, while the family was still living at 83 Cornwall Street (called ‘Middle Cornwall Street’ in this record). Virtue Webb was born on 24th May 1881 and baptized at St. George’s on 12th June in that year; the address is again given as Cornwall Street. Alfred must have been born in about 1884, but I’ve yet to find any record of his baptism. The absence of Susannah from this record might be accounted for by the fact that she would have been 25 by this time, and could easily have been married and/or living away from the family home.

From the Jacobs family tree at Ancestry, I’ve discovered that Rosina Webb married William Jacobs, a labourer of Gold Street, Stepney, son of coffee house keeper David Jacobs, in March 1895, at St Thomas Church, Stepney. Rosina was living at 26 Jamaica Street in Stepney at the time.

Alice Virtue Webb married barman George Edward Burwood on 4th August 1898, at St. George in the East. The Webbs were still living in Prusom Street at the time, and George senior was still alive and working as a painter. The Burwoods were neighbours from the same street: the father of the groom, Ralph Burwood (deceased) had been a waterman and lighterman.

I’ve yet to find out what happened to my great grandfather’s other sisters and brother, or to identify the dates when his parents, George senior and Elizabeth Webb, died.