The Squires family...

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Lulu Squires is my paternal grandmother. While I knew some things about her life while she was alive, I learned far more after. In retrospect, I wish I had asked many questions of her, about her upbringing and early life experiences, for she overcame great hardship all through her life. She was an exemplary individual.

The story of this Squires family takes place in late-Victorian and early-Edwardian England. This was a time in London of affluence for some, but extreme poverty for many. Work was scarce and wages were poor. Finding a full-time job seemed like a dream. The industrial revolution was changing the country in the extreme, with more and more people leaving the countryside, coming into the cities to challenge for what work was available. Disease, workplace injury and early death was common. Crime was rampant, an occupation for some, and an income supplement for others.

It is 1903. The age of Charles Dickens hasn't left, the age of H.G. Wells not yet arrived. Jack the Ripper disappears before Sherlock Holmes can catch him. Coal, candles and gaslight are being replaced by electricity; horsepower is giving way to steam and gasoline. The Wrights are first to fly, the first World Series is played, Madame Curie wins a Nobel Prize, The Great Train Robbery is released, the first box of crayons is in a child's hands - in a world wondrous, it was far less so for the hungry, the unemployed, and the work-weary.

For a young family named Squires, living day-to-day in Hackney, their world is about to be irreversibly changed...


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Section One - The ancestral family of William Squires and Mary Ann Harrowell (the parents of Alice Squires)

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The family line of Alice Violet ("Lulu") Squires has been pieced together and is presented here. Some facts are known for sure, others surmised. Anything in red in the following sections should be considered "probable", and an effort to confirm the details and add to them is being made. Anything in blue (not counting the links) is a missing piece to locate. The information has been divided into sections to make it easier to follow. There are hyperlinks on this page that link to external information, to other parts of this same page and to additional subpages of information. Overall, the page generally does flow from top to bottom.

Note: I believe that the pet name "Lulu" was given to Alice in Ontario so, on this page about Squires, I have referred to her as Alice.

Note: Census images on this webpage are courtesy of The National Archives, London, England. Click on any image to enlarge.

Starting here, with the first known member of the Squires family...


Charles Squires (Sr.)


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Section two - the times and environmental circumstances around the family of Alice Squires...

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This section is intended to add colour to the facts reported in Section One. Wherever I had a question about the logistics or the relevance, I did some research and have added these findings to the known and surmised facts. At the conclusion of this section, Alice's story picks up again on the page for Archibald Thomas Longhurst, the Canadian whom Alice (Lulu) married.

Briefly, about life in London, England, around 1903...

The immediate family of Alice Squires lived in a borough in East London known as Hackney. Within Hackney, the district they lived in was known as Lower Clapton. Chatsworth Road, a major road running north and south, seems to have been the "main street" for the Squires family. This map, made by Kelly's Directories, shows Chatsworth Road as it was in 1894. Notable on this map are Chatsworth, Blurton Road (which intersects with Chatsworth) and Maclaren Street (which runs between Rushmore and Redwald).

Since the time this area was built (circa 1865), storefronts have lined both sides of Chatsworth, occupying the lower level of three-storey architecture. Store owners may well have lived above, and perhaps in or behind, with others probably renting the remaining space from the property owners.

According to notes made for Charles Booth's survey (more about this below), Chatsworth was "one of the chief shopping streets of the district". "On Saturdays there are stalls on both sides of the road. This day gooseberries were selling in the greengrocers' shops at 2d and 1d per lb. Greengages (a kind of plum) fair at 4d, red currants 3d. Lettuces at 1d and 2d each, according to size. There were some good stationers shops selling newspapers and good bakers at the corners."

To give some perspective, this picture (above) is actually two period photos merged together to make it appear as if one is looking north, in the direction of 84 Chatsworth (relevant below), from the corner of Chatsworth and Clifden Road. (The pictures can be seen in their original versions at yeahhackney.com.) On the right, the first break in the buildings is where the intersection with Dunlace Road would be. If each store is two second-storey windows wide, then it appears to be eleven stores in this block. The next block break, for Glenarm Road, is also visible. One more break and you would be at Blurton Road. Chatsworth appears to be quite wide rendered this way. Today, from sidewalk to sidewalk, there is room for parked cars on both sides and two-directional traffic.

In 1899, people living along Chatsworth were, on average, in "the pink" according to the colour coding on the poverty map (below) - that is to say, they were "fairly comfortable, with good ordinary earnings".

From Wikipedia... "Like many other parts of East London, Lower Clapton is socially diverse and multicultural. Chatsworth Road, which had a regular market until the 1990s, still provides many amenities for people who live in the area. A new Sunday market has been established here since December 2010. The shops and restaurants on Chatsworth Road reflect the diversity of the surrounding streets, offering (international) produce alongside butchers, bakers and greengrocers."

(Click on this image to run the video in your media player, or right-click and "Save As" to download the MP4 to your computer.)

This BFI (British Film Institute) movie of a wide London throughfare in 1903 appears busier than life on Chatsworth probably ever was, but it does give some sense of the times. Horse-drawn buggies and buses, awnings and barrows, vested suits and street-sweeping dresses and skirts. Hats everywhere. Advertising for Lipton's, Bovril and Nestlé, Pears, Reckitt's Blue and Kodak - all that's missing are the sounds and the smells. People are outside, the streets were a place to be alive. Residences would not have the amenities they have today. The streets (or the pubs) would have been where your friends could likely be found (no email, texts or telephones to track them down). The streets would have been where the news came from - a newsboy selling the Hackney Gazette - rather than a newsreel, radio, TV or the Internet. The streets would have been where you shopped, no trekking off to the big box stores or indoor malls. For common kids, the streets would have been where you played - no drive to the local arena or soccer field or pool, no martial arts classes or dance studios. Your food, your clothes, and other items came from the stores along the streets or from the street vendors out front of them. Your local apothecary offered the earliest medicines, medieval concoctions and quackery to try and keep you out of the infirmary - if you could afford such.


The occupation of carman, around 1903...

William Squires was employed as a carman, (a deliveryman using a horse-drawn carriage) for Messrs Palmer & Co., grocers of 84 Chatsworth Road, Hackney. I can see carman being an abbreviation for carriage man or cartage man, or a combination of both. (If one says carr-y-man fast enough, like an Englishman might, the "y" almost naturally drops out.)

From Barnardo's documentation... Mr. Squires - "of exemplary character" and "well-liked" - was a carman for Messrs Palmer & Co., grocers of 84 Chatsworth Road, Hackney.

By 1903, William had had this job for more than eleven years, from about the time he was twenty-three years old. This was also from about two years before he was married. Having a steady full-time job would have been an unwritten requisite for marriage. William's wages in 1903 were known to be 25 shillings per week.

In the simplest terms, being a carman meant working long hours and being outside and unsheltered a good deal of the time. This picture is of an open-air grocery delivery carriage, with young carmen, from British Driving Society's Pictorial History of Trade Vehicles.

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The job and life of a carman are well described on these pages of Charles Booth's Inquiry into the Life and Labour of the People in London. Other volumes in Charles Booth's series describing other occupations and living conditions can be found at this link.

I can see two possible perks for William, with delivering for a grocery store. The first would be the store iself with the availability and proximity of the wares. When something was needed, William would likely be able to pick from the best of any item that suited his needs and could be afforded - first to pick from the heads of lettuce, for example, with the ability to pick from what's on the counter and what's not. If the store was to have something on special, it was unlikely that those working there would miss out. Soon-to-be-spoiled foods would have been available to him also, at an appreciable discount. This is a great advantage over someone coming to the market just once a week. An aside to this is that William would not have to make a special trip to the grocers (avoiding the expense of resources or time), he was probably there as many as six days a week as it was (although Sundays, for all, and Mondays, for those in his occupation, may have been days off). And being able to bring food home six days a week should have meant that the family's food at home had less of an opportunity to spoil.

Being a deliveryman, the second perk may well have been that of earning service tips. From Charles Booth's Inquiry, page 328 in the volume above, this comment about tips... "At one time tips were almost a system, but are no longer usual, excepting perhaps with the men engaged in parcels delivery, who may still substantially augment their wages this way."

Although it is unlikely that a poor East London family would opt for delivery if they could in any way get to the store and back, for deliveries to the better-off clients of Palmer's grocery store there may well have been tips. A reasonable amount of these tips could have wound up in William's pocket at the end of the day, especially if he was "well liked", as reported.

To estimate what the tips might bring in, consider that a pizza delivery person, for less effort, gets a tip of about $2 today. "Eight eggs for sixpence" in 1901, eight eggs for about $2 today. An efficient grocery store's deliveryman might be able to make 30 deliveries in a ten-hour day. Even if just half of these deliveries gave the deliveryman a tip of 6d., that's 90d. a day, perhaps 2s. a week.

The 25s. wages William was being paid is about 10% below the union rate of pay for carmen operating one-horse vans. For an employee with eleven years service at the same company, this seems to reinforce the likelihood that there were tips and that there were these other perks.

In William's case, nothing is mentioned about who owned the horse and carriage, or who was paying for the feed and upkeep, but with no mention of the horse and carriage as being left to the family or being sold by the family, I would take from this that they were not his and he was not paying for feed or upkeep. I would think it possible that a grocery store might own their own vehicle so they could advertise on it (see period photo above), or advertising in general on a vehicle might help defer the costs of operation for whomever the owner was (see period video above).

The rigours of being a carman (at times, leading to chronic issues with rheumatism and bronchitis) may well have led to William dying of pneumonia, in the winter of 1903.


The occupation of charwoman, around 1903...

Char is an olde English way of saying chore. A chore is a bit of work, often tedious and menial, but necessary nonetheless. A charwoman would equate to being a chore woman, a woman who does chores for a paid wage - cleaning, washing, laundry and the like, for pay. Charwomen could be employed by businesses or households. The work could be full time, but was often part time, or was a combination of several different part time situations that added up to being full time in the number of hours. The position would not be "live-in" (that would be a maid or housekeeper). A cleaning woman's job today would fit this description. One of Carol Burnett's characters was the Charwoman, you may remember.

By the late 19th century, char woman would more often mean domestic, rather than commercial, or office, cleaner, but was still used by hotels and the like when advertising. (Click on image below to see want ads.)

In 1903, 33-year-old Mary Ann Squires had five children and one on the way when her husband died. Mary Ann had been supplementing the family's income by working as a charwoman for a Mrs. Bainton of 57 Powerscroft Road up until that time. After William's death, Mary Ann continued to do so until the imminent birth of daughter Amy Ella (in August).

The Bainton family, living at this address on Powercroft (middle house in photo), was "fairly comfortable" according to the poverty map (learn more below). While there were want ads for every kind of job, including charwoman (like the one above found in a searchable period Welch newspaper online), it would not surprise me to learn that William learned of the job opening at the Bainton's home while delivering groceries there.

To get to the Bainton's house, Mary Ann probably walked along Blurton until it more or less ran into Powerscroft. Another half a dozen houses and she would have completed the three-tenths of a mile walk in under ten minutes. This route takes Mary Ann across Chatsworth only a few doors from where her husband was employed, so I expect that there was many a day she stopped in there on the chance he was not out on delivery, and perhaps on the return to do some family shopping. If the employment with the Bainton's had been going on over the years the family lived on Maclaren, there would have been many a day Mary Ann would have made the walk and worked while at some phase of pregnancy, and certainly this was the case while carrying Amy.

Of note... The Reverend Watson lived at 54 Powerscroft Road, across the street from the Bainton family. It is highly likely that he had known, or known of, Mary Ann for a period of time, having bumped into her occasionally on the street or having heard about her from Mrs. Bainton. Mary Ann might well have brought a young child or two with her when coming to work when a babysitter was unavailable, so the Reverend had probably met some of the children also. And perhaps William had delivered groceries to his residence, or the Reverend had met William while he was making his rounds. No surprise that it was he that tried to help with fostering out the two eldest children and it may well have been he that made social services aware of the situation.

Since there were many children at home, and since William's work day was long, they must have had a babysitting arrangement with the neighbours for the children not in school yet. This makes it harder to get the full benefit of the wages earned since some of it would probably be going to a sitter.

One would think that finding out what charwomen earned would be a simple task, that this information would just jump out of an Internet search. Well, it doesn't. I did find that, for laundry work, (four or five days a week, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., with three-quarters of an hour for dinner and half an hour for tea), washers made 2s. 6d. to 2s. 8d. per day. If this in any way equates, then a charwoman working perhaps four hours on a given day might expect to pocket about four/tenths of this 47d., or about just under one shilling per shift. Working part-time, five days a week, four hours a day, could therefore net about 5s. for a housewife like Mary Ann. Working 50 weeks a year like this, Mary Ann could add £12 10s. to the annual household income.


Wages, and the cost of living, in 1903...

At this point, it seems helpful to look at the money situation. As I have learned, prior to 1971 when the U.K. went "decimal", monetary amounts were expressed as pounds (£), shillings (s.) and pence (d.), where £1 = 20s. = 240d. This system is abbreviated as Lsd. Noting an amount as 1/10/6 is a way of saying 1 pound, 10 shillings, 6 pence. If guineas are mentioned, one of them was worth 21 shillings, pre-decimal.

William's carman's wages were noted in Bernardos documentation as having been 25/- per week which follows to mean 25 shillings and no pence. Tips might bring another 2s. per week. Working as a grocer's deliveryman would have been beneficial in a variety of ways, with some of them monetary. Mary Ann's earnings as a part-time charwoman is estimated (above, in the information about charwomen) to be £12 10s. This would put the family's income at £82 10s. annually.

The common wages earned and the typical expenses of people living in Victorian days has been assembled on Lee Jackson's victorianlondon.org site, specifically this webpage. Be sure to click where directed to reveal the volume of information at that site. Under the banner of Family Budgets, there is one specific section that seems quite relevant to this young family... From the Cornhill Magazine, 1901. FAMILY BUDGETS. I. A WORKMAN'S BUDGET. by Arthur Morrison. I have snipped a few things from the magazine to show here on a local page. This is a must-read for any real understanding of this family's story.

The Victorian age ended in 1901, with the beginning of the Edwardian age, but this should not make the comparison made any less informative for the sake of two years.


William Squires' employer's address in 1903 -- Messrs. Palmer and Co., grocers, 84 Chatsworth Road, Hackney, London, UK.

84 Chatsworth is located about halfway between Blurton Road and Rushmore Road, on the east side.

This image of 73 Chatsworth Road (the corner shop) at the intersection of Blurton Road and Chatsworth Road, is dated to shortly before 1910. Seven years earlier, this location would have looked much the same. Of course, 83 Chatsworth would be five doors north, with 84 Chatsworth expected to be across the street. For comparison, this Google streetview is dated about 2016. Note the absence of several of the northerly buildings with reconstruction taking place.

This Google streetview shows 84 Chatsworth as it was in 2012, the brickwork and colour unlikely changed much since 1903. How long the Palmer's grocery store was there may be partially determined by the coming of Arthur Toms, established in 1906, a retailer of local fare, a seller of meat pies and live eels, according to the window signage that still exists.

While curious about how long these buildings will remain standing, I noticed this 2008 streetview of 88 Chatsworth getting a new façade. The 2012 streetview shows all is back in order. The 2008 streetview shows a Chinese food seller occupied 84 for a time, but by 2012 the Arthur Toms sign sees daylight again, with the method visible of how the Friends sign was attached. Curiously, the "meat pies" and "live eels" signs remained up even while Chinese food was being offered - perhaps the words are etched into the glass. The 2015 streetview shows the storefront covered by a green roll-up door (perhaps while renovating or for security) and there is scaffolding in front of 82.

I wonder if a Messrs Palmer and Co. sign could possibly be behind the Arthur Toms sign or on its other side?

Sadly, the "driver wanted" notice in the window of the Chinese food place brings me back to the Squires family story.

A note regarding the store owners - in the 1874 Hackney Trade Directory, there is a record for "Palmer Charles, grocer, 145 Well Street", perhaps connected. Chatsworth Road was being developed around that time and may have been a more promising location than 145 Well Street (which is only about a mile away to the southwest, a 20-minute walk).


The residential address of Mary Ann Squires and children on October of 1903 -- 13 Maclaren Street, Hackney, London, UK.

The family address at the time of social services proceedings in October of 1903 was 13 Maclaren Street, Hackney (or, more specifically, Clapton Park ward, South Hackney). It is my belief at present that the family moved here from Blurton Road after the father died to get some rent relief.

There is a very high probability that this address was the birthplace of Amy. Godmanchester, the birthplace of William and where his parents were in 1903 is about 65 miles north of Hackney, the northernmost borough of London before the creation of Greater London in 1963. Mary Ann's birthplace was about 7 miles away in Paddington W. Kensington.

Another significance of 13 Maclaren Street is that this is the last place Alice and Amy lived with her mother. It is worth some space here to talk about where Maclaren was and what happened to it, even if for others who may find this page when wondering.

Maclaren Street cannot be found on a modern map. In order to find out where it was, I tried looking on old maps, but London is a big place and I wasn't having any luck. So I tried a different approach and searched instead for a mention of Maclaren in relationship to a street that does exist today. I found this text somewhere... "the part of Clapton Park Ward to the south of a line drawn along the centres of Glenarm Road, Glyn Road and Redwald Road to its junction with Maclaren Street". This was enough for me to find Redwald and see where a junction with Maclaren might be. I looked on an old map from 1899 and found it. Sadly, the map is a study in poverty, and the colouring of the street indicates that the residents were not doing very well.

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This is a snip of one map in a series of twelve maps (Sheet 2, click here to see this map in its full size) originally used to illustrate the levels of poverty in London, in 1899. The twelve maps, assembled together, cover all of London. The map series was a companion to Charles Booth's Inquiry into the Life and Labour of the People in London from which I have drawn information on the occupation of carman. (The other titles in the series, for the most part, can be found and read here.) The series used Ordnance Survey maps as their foundation.

The Charles Booth Online Archive site has an interactive version of the map as well as an extended explanation of the colour coding. Chatsworth Road, which runs roughly north-south, is indicated above at E1. 84 Chatsworth (where William worked as a carman) is about halfway between Blurton and Rushmore, on the east side, about where the "r" in Chatsworth is shown. 120 Blurton Road (where the familiy lived) would be east of Chatsworth, almost to Glyn, about where the "R" in Blurton Rd. is, south side. Maclaren Street (where the family lived when social services stepped in) is indicated at E2.

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The notebooks that were used by the data gatherers for Booth's books have been digitized and are available online. I believe the notes were handwritten by data gatherers working for Booth with comments from Inspector Thomas Fitzgerald of Bethnal Green police station. The latter half of this notebook is hard to read, but there is enough of interest in it to make it worthwhile trying. The notes on pages 222 to 236 make mention of the Chatsworth neighbourhood, including Maclaren. View the pages at the source, or view the pertinent pages here. A foreboding remark in the notes, on page 231, describes Maclaren Street as being perhaps a little better than it was painted in the study, but expected to later decline: "Pedro Street, a distinct purple, 'All Saints', a red brick church, is in this road, and there is some open, unbuilt space opposite (the church). The houses have small gardens behind, but the impression left is that Pedro Street is on the road to squalidity. McLaren Street which is a turning south out of Rushmore Road, is the same as then Pedro Street, tho' the map marks it light blue." Some 60 years later, Maclaren is no more.

Ther are two ways to get to where Maclaren Street was from 120 Blurton Road. One is to go north on Glyn then east on Rushmore, then east to beyond Pedro Street, but not as far as Oswald Street. As you get east of Glyn Road, the reconstruction efforts in the area have wiped out any chance of seeing the Maclaren Street of 1903.

The corner of Rushmore Road and Maclaren Street would have been about where the three blue pillars are blocking cars from entering the pedestrian square of this "shopping precinct", a combination of stores and residences, that was built somewhere around 1960.

To help confirm the timeline for the demise of Maclaren Street... this aerial view of the neighbourhood taken in 1945 shows Maclaren, the middle image shows an overlay of the reconstruction on the 1945 map, the right image shows the location after reconstruction today.

If you use Google Earth streetview to "walk" south instead on Glyn, many old house fronts can be seen on the west side. When turning onto Redwald Road, you will be entering into an area known as Clapton Park, Nye Bevan and Millsfield Estates. This is one of the few places where the images allow you to see the grade - you will be looking downhill. At the point on Redwald where it once conjoined Maclaren Street, Redwald instead now continues on through to Daubeney Road.

Looking north today (from Redwald) as if looking north on Maclaren, one can see instead this building complex. A sign just off the image to the right identifies this as Clapton Park Estate. At the far end, the south side of the "shopping precinct" can be seen. The image on the right is looking south from the "shopping precinct", from the northern end of Maclaren.

As yet I have not found anything to tell me where exactly #13 on Maclaren was situated - closer to Rushmore or closer to Redwald, on the west or on the east side, I don't know for sure. The numbers on streets in the area increase south to north, and the odd numbers are on the west side. There are thirty houses on Glyn Road in a stretch about as long as Maclaren Street was. With these three observations, one would think that 13 Maclaren would have been the seventh house on the west side, north of Redwald, and closer to Redwald than Rushmore. Looking on the poverty map (above), there is an open space with an unknown purpose about where the house would have been. It may simply mean non-residential, in which case #13 could have been unusually positioned on either side of the space.

Another observation from this 1896 Ordnance Survey map is the way that Redwald Road conjoined Maclaren Street. If one counts the houses on this map on the east side of Maclaren, the blue dot there indicates the seventh even number, #14. #13, therefore, would likely be across the street, making it perhaps the first house proper on Maclaren's west side.

When built, houses on Maclaren Street probably started out looking as good as this series of two-storey houses on nearby Roding Road (left), but more than likely had the architecture of this series of less ornate three-storey houses on Glyn. No telling how many families lived in each house, or if they were rented or owned, though this information may be on census reports of the time. In the case of the Squires family, the Barnardos documentation noted that, when living at 13 Maclaren, the family had just two small rooms, renting for 5/- per week, and was three weeks in arrears. The family almost assuredly had more space when the father was alive and they were living on Blurton Road. If the houses on Maclaren at that time were being used for low income residents as the map above indicates, the houses may also have suffered from lack of care and maintenance, leading to their demolition in favour of the shopping precinct that replaced them.

Of note: the count of rooftops on a modern satellite view does not exactly jibe with the count of house-like rectangles on the map from 1899 (above) for most of the surrounding streets, so the rectangles on the map may only be representative of housing in general terms, perhaps making my determination of the location of 13 Maclaren less than accurate.

A reminder... Alice's story picks up again on the page for Archibald Thomas Longhurst, the Canadian whom Alice (Lulu) married.



How this family connects...

The generations to present include :

Charles SQUIRES / Mary Ann LEA

William SQUIRES (Sr.) / Harriett HOWELL

William SQUIRES (Jr.) / Mary Ann HARROWELL

Archibald Thomas LONGHURST / Alice Violet "Lulu" SQUIRES

Alfred Thomas Burton LONGHURST / Theresa Mary BURKE


This file last modified 5/20/2016...

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