Arthur Richard French

Peter Bloomfield

Born 9 Feb 1862. Parents: Wm Henry French and Emma, formerly Dent. Turnpike Row, Stratford. [GRO Birth Mar qtr 1862. Arthur Richard French. West Ham, 4a, 12.]

1862. Elizabeth Pratt. [GRO Birth Jun qtr 1862 West Ham, 4a, 8.]

Arthur Richard French, 21, Labourer, and Elizabeth Pratt, 20, Spinster. 25 Dec 1881. In the Baptist chapel, Stratford. Both residing at 323 High Street Stratford. Fathers: Wm French, dyer, and Caleb Pratt, furniture salesman. [GRO Marriage Dec qtr 1881, West Ham, 4a, 241.]

Died on 9 Jul 1898 Arthur Richard French, 36. [GRO Death Sep qtr 1898. Whitechapel, 1c, 206.]

At death living at 2 Victoria Street, West Ham, died on 9 Jul 1898 in the London Hospital. London Administration granted 5 Sep 1898 to his widow: effects £22 18s 8d. [England & Wales, National Probate Calendar 1898, p143.]


NLR Records

Grinder. Eye cut. Bow Shops. 16 Sep 1891. [RAIL 529/56 7 Oct 1891, Loco Com Min 8169.]

Grinder, Bow Shops. Head and body seriously injured owing to grindstone breaking in Bow Works on 8 Jul 1898 and he died the following day. Verdict of Coroner’s jury: accidental death. [RAIL 529/59 3 Aug 1898, Loco Com Mins 10565.]

Under the provisions of the Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1897, the amount payable was £283 11s 2d. The widow requested the Company to retain the amount and pay her £1 per week, until the sum was exhausted. This was agreed and that 2½% interest would be paid on annual balances; this case was to be taken as a precedent. [RAIL 529/59 3 Aug 1898, Loco Com Mins 10562.]



I think this showed a certain amount of prudence on the part of the widow but it must have been a huge sum of money to her. I give full marks to the NLR for their response to her request. Living in Stratford I would have thought the GER would have been a better bet than the NLR, I suppose it would depend on which end of Stratford he lived. For the 1911 Census, she includes her widowhood in the number of years being married. Child mortality rate was pretty high. The only Robert Joyce I have recorded was a porter from Feb 1880 to Jan 1881, when he would been 21. I wonder if the one shown worked on the NLR and I wish I knew how he managed to lose three years from 1871 to 1881. I am sure half the population didn’t know how old they were in those days! Probably lack of education prior to the Education Act of 1870 when school became compulsory.


Arthur Richard French

Arthur French was born in Stratford on 9 Feb 1862, son of labourer in a dye works. After leaving school he followed in his father’s footsteps into the dye works, but by 1891 he was a machine grinder. It is possible that he was influenced in taking on this type of employment as his parents had a permanent lodger, Robert Joyce, of some 30 years who was a machinist in a railway works. As Joyce was born and lived in Stratford it is not known whether he was with the GER or NLR. Arthur, however, was with the NLR.

On Christmas Day 1881 he married Elizabeth Pratt in the Baptist Chapel in Stratford. Between them they managed to produce eight children, sadly though, three died at an early age.

On the 8 Jul 1898, as a grinder in Bow Shops, he received severe lacerations to his face and brain when a grindstone on which he was working burst. The next day he died in the London Hospital. The Coroner’s Jury’s verdict was accidental death.

They appear to have been a prudent family. His pay is likely to have been in the twenty to twenty-five shillings per week bracket. When he died he left nearly twenty-three pounds, the equivalent of four or five months’ pay. The weekly family living expenses were probably in the region of a pound a week. Under the then new Workmen’s Compensation Act of 1897, Elizabeth received £283 11s 2d. She asked the Company to retain the amount and pay her a pound a week until the sum was exhausted. This the Company agreed to do and also would pay 2½% interest on annual balances. The Company made a precedent of this case.


Name Status M/S M/F Age YOB Occupation Born
1871 Census [RG RG 10/1623, folio 52, page 48]
Registration District: West Ham Civil Parish: West Ham Address: High Street, West Ham, Stratford
FRENCH, Wm Henry Head M 37 1834 Labourer in Dye Works Stratford
FRENCH, Emma Wife F 36 1835 Holborn
FRENCH, Mary Ann Daughter F 12 1859 Stratford
FRENCH, Wm Henry Son M 11 1860 Stratford
FRENCH, Arthur Richard Son M 9 1862 Stratford
FRENCH, Louisa Daughter F 6 1865 Stratford
FRENCH, Agnes Elenor Daughter F 3 1868 Stratford
JOYCE, Robert Lodger M 35 1836 Machinist Rly Works Stratford
1881 Census [RG 11/1704; Folio: 110; Page: 12]
Registration District: West Ham Civil Parish: West Ham Address: 323, High St, West Ham
FRENCH, William Hy Head Married M 47 1834 Traveller Coal Merchant West Ham
FRENCH, Emma Wife Married F 48 1833 London
FRENCH, Arthur Richard Son Single M 19 1862 Dyer Labourer West Ham
FRENCH, Louisa Daughter Single F 16 1865 Domestic Servant West Ham
FRENCH, Agnes Daughter Single F 13 1868 Scholar West Ham
JOYCE, Robert Boarder Single M 42 1839 Machinist Rly Works West Ham
1891 Census [RG 12/1312; Folio: 117; Page: 32]
Registration District: West Ham Civil Parish: West Ham Address: 2, Victoria Street, West Ham, Stratford
FRENCH, Arthur R Head Married M 29 1862 Machinist Grinder Stratford
FRENCH, Elizabeth Wife Married F 29 1862 Stratford
FRENCH, Elizabeth Daughter F 8 1883 Stratford
FRENCH, Arthur R Son M 6 1885 Stratford
FRENCH, Agnes Daughter F 5 1886 Stratford
FRENCH, Wm Harry Son M 2 1889 Stratford
FRENCH, Mary Daughter F 1 1890 Stratford
1901 Census [RG 13/1564. f155, p20]
Registration District: West Ham Civil Parish: West Ham Address: 4, Mark Street, West Ham
FRENCH, Elizabeth Head Widow F 38 1863 Stratford
FRENCH, Arthur Son Single M 16 1885 Pattern Maker’s Appr Stratford
FRENCH, William Son Single M 12 1889 Stratford
FRENCH, Amy Daughter Single F 6 1895 Stratford
FRENCH, Albert E Son Single M 2 1899 Stratford
1911 Census [RG 14/9350, RG 78/505, RD188 SD1 ED9 SN204]
Registration District: West Ham Sub District: Stratford Address: 21 Channelsea Road Stratford E
HOBROW, Mary Head Widow F 47 1864 Charwoman General Stratford
HOBROW, Jenny Daughter Single F 20 1891 Ironer Stratford
HOBROW, Albert Son Single M 18 1893 Labourer Stratford
HOBROW, Hannah Daughter Single F 16 1895 Confectionery Hand Wrapper Stratford
FRENCH, Lizzie Lodger Widow F 49 1862 Charwoman General West Ham
(Married 29 years; eight children, three died in childhood.)
FRENCH, Albert Son M 12 1899 School West Ham

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