Postcard From The Past

…or, how I found myself researching an unrelated family!

On 30th July, 1907, someone identified only as ‘V’ sent a post card to ‘Miss Kingsford, 294 Brockley Road, London N6′.

I purchased the above postcard on eBay, because it featured the home town of my husband’s great grandfather, John Peter Jackson (1861-1915) a Bargeman who lived with his wife and family at Amwell End, Ware. Amwell End was one of the poorest slum areas of the town. Reading the postcard, we wondered who ‘V’ and ‘Miss Kingsford’ might be. The likliehood of them being connected to my husband’s forebears was unlikely, but given that John Jackson was living and working in the area in 1907, perhaps they had passed each other on the street? They would certainly have walked the same streets, used the same post office and shops.

Wouldn’t it be interesting, my husband mused, if we could find out more about ‘V’ and Miss Kingsford, who as the message makes clear, was ‘V’s sister? So I did some investigation…. but first, the postcard.

V’s message to her sister Lily went as follows:

Dear Lily – Glad to hear you got home alright, pity Pa had to wait so long for a train, recieved basket today, you might have sent a little music. Mr Hicks and to (sic) ladies came yesterday & play Alice a Minnies requet, She thanks us for letters. Am quite well hope you all are.”

So what was behind the request for ‘a little music’? Looking at the 1901 census for 294 Brockley Road, London, we can see that ‘V’ must be Violet, age about 16 in 1907, perhaps working away from home? Lily is her older half-sister Lilian age 25. Minnie, another sister, would be 11 years old, and may have been visiting with Violet in Ware? Their father Walter is a Master Baker/Confectioner, who in 1871 was an assistant to his father, John, also a Baker, in Lee, Kent. By 1881 Walter has moved to London, and appears to be living above the premises at 102 Waterloo Road, London with his first wife Emily, his sister-in-law Lavinia Davies and WIlliam Lane, a 15-year-old servant. Louisa and Willliam are working in the Shop. By 1901 Walter is married to his second wife (Emily having died in 1886) Lavinia – his sister-in-law, with whom he has four more daughters and two sons.

1901 Census for 294 Brockley Road, London S6.

The mystery of the music Violet berates Lily for not sending is solved in the 1911 census:

Violet is a Pianist, living on own means.

Was Violet giving music lessons by 1911? It seems likely. The family are still living at 294 Brockley Road, Lewisham, London.

294 Brockley Road, Lewisham.

In 1921, the family are still living at 294 Brockley Road: Walter is still a Master Baker. His second wife Lavinia is looking after the family. Daughter Ethel, age 27, unmarried, is a clerk for a local solicitors, Leonard, Bingham, Sharp. Minnie, aged 26, also single, is a Baker’s Shop Assistant, working for her father. 21-year-old Harold, unmarried, is also working for the family business as a Baker’s Assistant. So, too, is Edward, again a Baker’s Assistant. Eldest daughter Lillian (the daughter of Walter’s first wife, Emily, who died when Emily was 4 years old) married William George Thomas Bennett in 1911, and they had two daughters, Lillian Margorie Bennett (1912-1994) and Joan Bennett (1918-1923). Violet, elest daughter of Walter’s second wife Lavinia,, is now married to Cedric Norman Walter, an Incorporated Accountant and Employer at 19 Garrick Street. They are listed as ‘visitors, but in 1918 Cedric is shown in the Electoral Register as living with his in-laws. Presumably Violet is with him, but has not registered to vote so isn’t shown on the electoral register.

It’s not known if Cedric and Volet had any children: several possibles come up on searches (Louisa, Robert, Daisy and Violet) but trees on Ancestry show their parents as Arthur Walter (not Cedric) and Violet Ethel Kingsford (not Violet Louisa) , with slightly different birth dates for the parents. Further investigation is needed to establish whether or not Arthur and Violet are at all related to that Kingsford family. Certainly their birth index records record the mother’s maiden name as Kingsford. And, also interestingly, none of those 4 siblings show up as siblings on other trees I have come across on Ancestry…. You would expect at least one of them to be aware of the other 3 siblings… Could there have been another Violet Kingsford, different middle name, who also married a Mr Walter?

Finally, it appears that of all Walter Kingsford’s children, only first child Lillian, and Violet appear to have married, and as mentioned above, I have been unable to find records for any offspring for Violet and Cedreic. Violet’s half-sister Lillian from her father’s first marriage to Emily Davies, had two daughters by William GT Bennett.


Kingsford Family Tree as at 20th March 2022,with Lillian as Home Person.

Are YOU related to this Kingsford family? If you are, I would love to hear from you! You can reply via the comments, or message me via either of my Twitter accounts , @ElaineJackson12 or @ancestorsreuni1

Elaine Jackson 20 March 2022

Categories: Ancestry, family history, genealogy

Tagged as:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s