Today I found two new records for my great grandfather, Charles Edward Robb. I’ve finally discovered the date of his death – it was in the last quarter of 1934, in West Ham. The record states that he was 83 years old, which fits with his being born in 1851.

A photograph found in my late grandfather’s wallet, assumed to be of his father, Charles Edward Robb (image reversed)

More interestingly, I’ve also found the record of his baptism. Ancestry recently added London Non-Conformist Registers to its online collection, and it was there that I found a record of the baptism of Charles Edward Robb, son of William and Fanny Sarah Robb, at Great Queen Street Chapel in the borough of Camden, on 25th May 1851. The family’s address is given as 16 Queen Street Soho.

Great Queen Street Chapel was a Wesleyan Methodist chapel, demolished in 1910, in the area between Drury Lane and Lincoln’s Inn Fields (William Robb’s second wife, Marianne Mansfield Palmer, and her family were living in nearby Wild Street in 1841 and in neighbouring Duke Street in 1851).

This record is significant in two ways. Firstly, it establishes that the Robb family’s association with Methodism began before William’s second marriage to Marianne Palmer (which would take place in 1854). I’d hazard a guess that William, who had been baptised and brought up an Anglican by his Scottish (Episcopalian?) parents, derived his Methodist connection from his first wife, Fanny Seager.  I’ve yet to find any Seager baptisms in the Non-Conformist Register, though we know from other sources that they were indeed Nonconformists, and Fanny herself was buried at the Tabernacle in Tottenham Court Road. My great grandfather’s devotion to Wesleyan Methodism would be lifelong: he worked for a time for the East End Mission and was a sworn teetotaller who raised his children along similar lines.

Great Queen Street Chapel

The other point of interest is that this record places Charles Edward with his father in Queen Street, Soho, in 1851. Charles was born on 22nd January at 33 Old Compton Street, and his mother Fanny died on 26th February at the same address. The 1851 England census was held on 30th March, at which time William and his older son William Henry were living at 16 Queen Street, but the infant Charles Edward must have been elsewhere at the time (I’m still looking for the record). His christening took place two months later, in May, by which time Charles had returned to his father’s home.