Cemeteries and graveyards, full of love, betrayal, tragic deaths, murder, and suicide. What will you find?

Tuesday 6 May 2014

Tombstone Tuesday - The Britten Family - Queen Street Dairy, Maidenhead

Memorial to Thomas Britten, Mary Charlotte Britten (nee Ginders) and Thomas Ginders Britten, All Saints Churchyard, Boyne Hill, Maidenhead, Berkshire.

"In Loving Memory Of 
Thomas Britten
Born June 19th 1829 Died April 8th 1883. 
Also of
Mary Charlotte Britten
wife of the above
Born March 6th 1840 Died 28th Dec 1914
'her children rise up and call her blessed'
Also of
Thomas Ginders Britten
son of the above
Born Jan 6th 1870 died Feb 2nd 1913
Buried At Sea"
"The Eternal God Is Thy Refuge. And Underneath Are The Everlasting Arms"
Thomas Britten was born in Stoke Bliss, Herefordshire on 19th June 1829 to John Britten, a farmer of 250 Acres, and his wife Sarah.
In 1851, fifteen year old Thomas is working as an assistant draper whilst living with his parents and older brothers Edward and John at the family's farm in Laysters, Herefordshire.
By 1861, Thomas Britten was working as a draper's assistant in Liverpool for Woolright's Silk Mercer and Carpet Dealer, 18-22 Bond Street.  However in 1865 Thomas Britten set up his own drapery shop at 54 Argyle Street, Birkenhead, Ginders and Britten, having married Mary Charlotte Ginders that same year on 9th August.
Mary Charlotte Ginder was born in Ingestre, Staffordshire in 1840 to Jeremiah Ginders II, a brick works industrialist, and his wife Ellen Marsh.  Mary's father passed away when she was only 3 years old in 1843, leaving her mother Ellen and her siblings well provided for.  Mary lived with her widowed mother and siblings at 13 Church Street in Birkenhead until her marriage to Thomas Britten in 1865.  There are some accounts that the Ginder family were not happy with the arrangement and felt Thomas was not a good match for Mary as he was 'socially inferior' being 'trade'.
In 1866 Thomas and Mary celebrated the birth of their first child, a daughter,  Charlotte Thomasine Britten, followed closely by a son, Thomas John Britten in 1867.  Sadly baby Thomas was to pass away that same year.  Another daughter Julianne Britten was born in 1868, followed by a son Thomas Ginder in 1870 and a third daughter, Ellen Elizabeth in 1871.  That same year, the Britten family were living above their drapery shop in Argyle Street, Birkenhead

Argyle Street, Birkenhead
Ginders and Britten was located opposite
the Argyle Theatre.
Source: Wirral History.net
In 1873 another daughter, Mary Louise was born, followed by another daughter, Jessie in 1875, followed by Florence in 1876.  1877 saw the birth of a son, Robert Victor and 1879 saw the birth of Thomas and Mary's youngest child, a son, Edward.  Sadly 1879 also saw the passing of Thomas and Mary's eldest child, 12 year old Charlotte Thomasine.
However, it seems that perhaps the Ginder family had a greater reason for their disapproval in Thomas Britten other than his social standing, as the drapery business soon failed.
By 1881 Thomas had moved his family to Maidenhead in Berkshire where they ran a small dairy shop from 9 Queen Street.  Sadly Thomas was to pass away two years later in 1883, leaving Mary penniless with eight surviving children to support.  Mary had no choice but to take over the running of the Dairy shop in Queen Street.

9 Queen Street, Maidenhead
As it is today 2014
The 1891 Census shows Mary as running the dairy business from 9 Queen Street, her daughter Ellen is working as a governess while Jessie, Florence, Robert and Edward are all attending school.  Thomas Ginder Britten, now working as a drapers assistant, is visiting the family of William Hutchinson in Croydon, London.  Soon after Thomas Ginder enrolled in the army and served as a Private during the Second Boer War with the 7th Royal Dragoon Guards.  Thomas soon became a hard drinker.
On the 1901 Census Mary Charlotte Britten can be found visiting her sisters Elizabeth Pike and Julia Nicholson in Malvern, Worcestershire, along with her daughters Julianne, Mary Louise and Florence.  Mary's daughter remained in Malvern to run a private school for girls.  The venture was sort lived.
Mary was still running the dairy business in 1905 when she was summoned to court for "selling milk being 13 per cent deficient in fat",  as reported in the Slough, Eton and Windsor Observer on January 14th 1905.  The case was dismissed due to the summons being wrongly served.
By 1911 Edward, Mary's youngest son Edward had taken over the running of the dairy business.  Unfrotunately Edward was feckless and the business soon began to decline under his control.  After his wife Sarah's death in 1925, Edward emigrated to Canada and his eldest son, also Edward to Australia.  There is a rumour that Edward's younger children were simply packed off to an orphanage, but I haven't been able to find any evidence.

Mary Charlotte has moved to Killarney, 4 The Crescent, Maidenhead.  At the age of 71 her occupation is listed as a director in a dairy business.  Living with Mary are her three daughters, Mary, Jessie and Florence, all who which have varying roles in the dairy business.  Visiting Mary at the time is her elder sister, Julia Marbella Nicholson.

The Creamery
A similar dairy located at
76 Queen Street, Maidenhead
c1908 Source: Maidenhead Advertiser
Private Thomas Ginder stayed on in South Africa after the Second Boer War, however his heavy drinking was soon to catch up with him.  Sadly, Thomas Ginder passed away on 2nd February 1913, after suffering from Delirium Tremens due to acute alcohol withdrawal on his passage back to England on The Edinburgh Castle.  He was subsequently buried at sea.

The Edinburgh Castle, leaving Cape Town, 
South Africa.

Mary Charlotte passed away a little less than a year later on 28th December 1914.
Linked with


Free BMD
Slough, Eton and Windsor Observer
Maidenhead Advertiser
Wirral History.Net
Family Search
My Brother Benjamin by Beth Britten

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