William Girton

Births. Neither William nor Sarah-Jane appear to have been registered with the GRO although Sarah-Jane was baptised in St Dunstan, Stepney, on 18th March 1838. Her parents were Jesse (carpenter) and Charlotte Wilson. [LMA, St Dunstan, Stepney, Register of Baptism, P93 DUN 19.] There does, however, appear to be something strange about his parenthood. He lived with his grandparents, there is a daughter of the grandparents called Naomi, about seventeen years older than him. In the 1881 Census he has a Naomi, no surname shown, living with him and under relationship she is shown as his mother, again seventeen years older than him. As to his father, take your choice, George Girton, agricultural labourer (William’s, first marriage records February 1861), or William Girton, Inland Revenue officer (second marriage October 1870).

Column heading for all censuses:
Name Relationship Status M/F Age YOB Occupation Born
1841 Census (other than children, ages are to the nearest five years)
[HO 107/1036; book 20; folio 21; page 9; lines 11-13]
Registration district: Stow Sub-registration district: Rattlesden Hundred: Thedwestry Address: Burnt(?) Houses, Thurston
William Girkin M 55 Agricultural Labourer Suffolk
Susan Girkin F 25 Suffolk
William Girkin M 2 Suffolk
[HO 107/1036; book 15; folio 15; page 2 line 5]
Registration district: Thingoe Sub-registration district: Ickworth Hundred: Thedwestry Address:Bemans Hall
John Cockerill M 70 Farmer Suffolk
Elizabeth Cockerill F 60 Suffolk
James Mugay M 15 Gr??in Suffolk
Neoma Girkin (Naomi?) F 15 F Servant Suffolk
Mary Stringer F 15 F Servant Suffolk
1851 Censuses
In the wilds of East Anglia in the village of Thurston young William was being spoilt by his grandparents.
Registration district: Stow Sub-registration district: Walsham Address: Norton Road [HO 107/1794 folio: 232 page: 4]
William Girkin [Girton?] Head Widower M 66 1785 Pig Butcher Stowmarket
Naomi Girkin [Girton?] Daughter Unmarried F 28 1823 Housekeeper Thurston
William Girkin [Girton?] Grand Child M 11 1840 Scholar Thurston
Anna Girkin [Girton?] Grand Child F 6 1845 Scholar Thurston
Meanwhile up in The Smoke (was it called The Smoke as early as that?)
Mile End Old Town, 18 Coborn Road [HO 107/553 folio: 100; page: 29]
Jesse Wilson Head Married M 43 1808 Builder Abridge
Charlotte Wilson Wife Married F 45 1806 Shaftesbury
and ten of their eleven [at least?] children from the eldest Robert aged twenty-two to little Isabella aged one, all born in Stepney. Meanwhile the future Mrs William Girton, Sarah Wilson, aged fourteen, was a house servant to a grass widow whose husband was on the high seas, and living at 37 Tredegar Square, also in Mile End Old Town.


Marriage in St John of Jerusalem Church, Hackney, on 11th February 1861 between William Girton, bachelor, railway clerk, and Sarah Wilson, spinster, both of South Hackney. Fathers: George Girton, labourer; and Jesse Willson, builder. [LMA, Saint John Of Jerusalem, Hackney, Register of marriages, P79/JNJ, Item 027. GRO, Hackney, v1b, p357.]] His father was William Girton, when he married a second time!

1861 Census [RG 9/304, folio 92, page 21]
Registration district: Poplar Sub-registration district: Bow Address: 4 Mostyn Terrace
William Girton Head Married M 21 1840 Railway clerk Thurston
[Sarah-]Jane Girton Wife Married F 23 1838 Stepney



North London Railway Matters

Only four items have so far been uncovered, all Committee Meeting Minutes

Submitted Dr Gills account for medical attendance on William Girton, fireman in the Company’s Service and injured when on duty. Ordered that the account £16 7s 6d be paid as a special case. That notice be given to the medical officers and to the men, that in future no claim for medical attendance will be entertained unless such attendance be previously authorised by the Board or one of the heads of departments. [RAIL 529/41, Stores Com, 14 Oct 1862, Min 4.]

Comment: presumably referred to as fireman because that was how he was employed at time of accident.

Five years later:

Assistant time-keeper, Bow. Injured 27th July 1867. Sick on half pay. Some years years previously, he lost a leg in the service of the Company by falling from an engine of which he was fireman. The injured part of his leg never healed properly. In alighting from a train on 27th July at Shadwell, he missed his footing and fell on the platform. [RAIL 529/42 30 Jul 1867, Loco Com Min 289.]

Six months later:

Under the special circumstances of this case he was given an allowance of 7s per week until fit to take duty as a watchman. [RAIL 529/42 3 Dec 1867, Loco Com Min 368.]

A year later:

Time-keeper. Returned to duty. [RAIL 529/42 7 Jan 1868, Loco Com Min 385.]

Possible timetable with the NLR

1854 – 14 years old – Joined as an engine cleaner.

1858 – 18 years old – Promoted to fireman.

1858-60 – 20 years old – Had accident.

By April 1861 – Recovered sufficiently to be employed as an assistant time-keeper: hence railway clerk by time of 1861 census.

July 1867-December 1868 off sick for 18 months?

1862 – 22 years – Had problems with leg and saw doctor.


Death December qtr 1869, Sarah Jane Girton, 31. [GRO, Poplar, v1c, p534.] Before she died she produced three children: William, Harry Cornelius, and Isabella.

Second time around, William literally married the girl-next-door. This happened in St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney, on 9th October 1870 when he got hitched to Eliza Imber, spinster, of No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, Alfred Street. Fathers: William Girton, Inland Revenue officer; and George Henry Imber, butcher. [LMA, Saint Dunstan And All Saints, Register of marriages, P93/DUN, Item 106. GRO, Dec qtr 1870, Stepney, v1c, p1060.] His father was George Girton first time round!

1871 Census [RG 10/571, folio 72, page 38]
Registration district: Poplar Parish: Bromley St Leonard Address: 32 Wellington Road
Willm Girton Head Married M 31 1840 Railway clerk Suffolk
Eliza Girton Wife Married F 32 1839 Dorset
William Girton Son M 9 1862 Middlesex
Harry C Girton Son M 8 1863 Middlesex
Isabella Girton Daughter F 3 1868 Middlesex


It was during this decade that: William decided that being a railway servant was not for him, being his own boss would be a good idea and set himself up as a sewing machine dealer; Eliza, not to be left out of it, produced a daughter, Ada Georgina [GRO Sep qtr 1876, Poplar, v1c, p655]; and the family employed a maid.

1881 Census [RG 11/496, folio 73, pages 21/22]
Registration district: Poplar Parish: Bromley Address: 106 Bow Road
Willm Girton Head Married M 41 1840 Dealer In Sewing Machines Thurston
Eliza Girton Wife Married F 42 1839 Dorset
Willm Girton Son Single M 19 1862 Assistant Bow
Henry Girton Son Single M 18 1863 Assistant Bow
Isabella Girton Daughter Single F 13 1868 Scholar Bow
Ada Girton Daughter Single F 4 1877 Bromley
Naomi Mother Widow F 58 1823 Assistant Thurston
Hannah Hughes Servant Single F 16 1865 General Servant Bow
1891 Census [RG 12/321, folio 43, page 27]
Registration district: Poplar Parish: Bromley Address: 106 Bow Road, Bromley
William Girton Head Married M 51 1840 Dealer In Sewing Machine & Musical Instruments Thurston
Eliza Girton Wife Married F 51 1840 Shaftesbury
Isabella J Girton Daughter Single F 23 1868 Shop Assistant To Above Bow
Ada G Girton Daughter F 14 1877 Scholar Bromley
Rose J Maguire Servant F 15 1876 General Servant Domestic Canada
1901 Census [RG 13/350, folio 124, page 25]
Registration district: Poplar Parish: Bromley Address: 106 Bow Road, Bromley
William Girton Head Married M 61 1840 Dealer In Musical Instruments & Domestic Machinery Thurston
Eliza Girton Wife Married F 62 1839 Shaftesbury
Isabella J Girton Daughter Single F 33 1868 Shop Assistant (Music) Bow
Ada Georgina Girton Daughter Single F 24 1877 Shop Assistant & Music Teacher (Piano) Bromley
1911 Census [RG14/1712]
Registration district: Poplar Sub-registration district: Bromley Address 106 Bow Road, Bromley.
William Girton Head Married M 71 1840 Dealer Musical Instruments Thuston
Eliza Girton Wife Married F 72 1839 Assisting in the business Shaftesbury
(Married forty years; three children, two of whom had died; nine rooms.)

Death 7th April 1924 at 106 Bow Road, Bromley. Probate granted Harry Cornelius Girton, dealer. Effects £1383 9s 6d. [Probate Register 1924, page 398.] Jun qtr 1924 age 84. [GRO, Poplar, v1c, p330.]

I assume Eliza died somewhere along the line.


LMA: London Metropolitan Archives.

GRO: General Register Office.

HO, RAIL, RG: The National Archives (TNA) catalogue references