Esther Whiting 1848-1930

Parents: David Whiting and Elizabeth Buttle (1,2)
Born: 5th March 1848 in Burton End, Haverhill. (1,2)
Baptised: 26th March 1848 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill.(1)
Married: Frederick Squire, 19, batchelor, of Notting Hill, in 1870 in the Kensington district.(3)
Children: Esther Alice Squire b.1871, Frederick Nelson Squire b.1872, Ellen Squire b.1874, Jane Squire b.1876, John Clemson Squire b.1878 died in infancy, Elizabeth Lily Squire b.1879, Annie Gertrude Squire b.1881, Robert Squire b.1882, Herbert Squire b.1885 and John Clemson Squire b.1886
Died: 7th October 1930 at 61 Craven Avenue, Ealing, Middlesex.(5,7)

Bio: Esther Whiting was born in Burton End, Haverhill in 1848. She appears on the 1851 census living in Burton End with her parents David and Elizabeth and Frederick and Ellen, her older siblings. On the 1861 census she is still living in Burton End with her parents and growing family, working as a silk winder.

Between this census and 1870 Esther ends up in a relationship with Frederick Squire, a pig feeder of Kensington, and marries him there in 1870. We see her on the 1871 census - living in the Potteries, Kensington, with her new husband and 2 month old daughter Esther Alice.

This area, around Notting Dale (now Notting Hill), known as the 'potteries and piggeries' had been previously been squalid slums plagued by pestilence and drainage problems. By this time improvements were starting to be made, and in the 1890's the pigs that had previously been kept here in adundance were to go.(4)

On Esther Alice's baptismal entry for 21st April 1871 we see that the family are living in 8 Thomas Street, Kensington, and that Frederick's occupation is given as carpenter. Quite soon after this, the family must have moved to South Acton, because this is where we find them on 23rd June 1872 when their second child Frederick is baptised. Frederick senior is back with the pigs again, this time working as a pork butcher.

The Squires were to settle in Enfield Road, South Acton in around 1874. This is where they were for the birth of their third child Ellen. Frederick was now making his money as a fat melter. He seems to have undertaken a number of pig-related jobs, he is a pig-feeder again on the baptismal record of his fourth child, before progressing to the role of dealer at the time of John Clemson Squire's birth in 1878.

By the 1881 census they have six children - Esther, Frederick, Ellen, Jane, John (who died in infancy), Elizabeth and Annie. Frederick has furthered himself and is now working as a cattle dealer and the family are living in Enfield Road, Acton.

It appears that Frederick had been in partnership with his brother Joseph Squire as a pig dealer and fat melter at 59 Tobin Street, Notting Dale, Middlesex, because the firm of F & J Squire was dissolved on 25th March 1886.(8) Perhaps he felt it was time to go it alone.

Esther and Frederick's last child, John Clemson Squire was baptised on 6th September 1886 and we can see that they are living at 59 Tobin Street, where Frederick still works as a cattle dealer. Tobin street (now called Avondale Park Road) had previously been called Thomas street, which is where they had been living ten years previously.(4)

School admissions records show that Frederick's children Ellen, Jane, Elizabeth, Robert, Annie and Herbert were enrolled at Oxford Gardens School, Kensington in 1887 and 1888.(10)

On the 1891 census, Frederick is still at 59 Tobin Street with Esther, and is a tallow fat contractor. He is head of a large family, and interestingly his eldest daughters are working alongside him as assistant contractors.

Business must have been tough at times for there was a Deed of Assignment dated 25th June 1894 executed to a Trustee for the Benefit of Creditors by Frederick Squire, Fat Melter, of 59 Tobin Street.(9) Essentially this meant he was bankrupt, and the Deed was giving his creditors a last chance to make their claims. Whatever the result, Frederick must have been a resourceful character because it appears his fortunes were revived before too long.

For the 1901 census we find the Squire family living at 168 Lancaster Road, Kensington, with children Robert, Herbert, John and Annie. Frederick is listed as an 'employer'.

Appearing again on the 1911 census at 168 Lancaster Road, now just living with his wife and a granddaughter Ellen Jane Shailer, Frederick would remain here until his death on 19th November 1928.

Although Frederick came from humble origins work-wise, he was definitely of an entrepeneurial persuasion because he ended up doing very well for himself.

My grandmother Lorna told us how her mother Effie was impressed by the fact that Fred and Esther (her husband's aunt and uncle) would turn up in a Landau complete with footman to visit her father-in-law Frank.

As well as looking after their money, the couple must have had a generous streak, because when their nephew Bennett (who also did very well for himself) lodged with them in Kensington they charged him rent - but Esther repaid it all in a lump sum when he left.

If you consider that the price of a semi-detached home in a suburb of London would be around £750 in 1920(6), when probate was granted after Frederick's death to his sons and now company directors Frederick, Robert, Herbert and John on 14th January 1929, the effects amounted to a staggering £14,911 4s 4d.(5)

Esther was to die not long after her husband, and passed away at 61 Craven Avenue, Ealing, on 7th October 1930.(5,7)


(1) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578/4/p11 of 37
(2) Birth Register. 1st Quarter 1848, Risbridge District, Vol 12 Page 421
(3) Marriage Register. 3rd Quarter 1870, Kensington District, Vol 1a Page 150
(5) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations),1861-1941
(7) Death Register. 4th Quarter 1930, Brentford District, Vol 3a Page 176
(8) London Gazette, 9th April 1886, p.1745
(9) London Gazette, 3rd January 1896, p.40
(10) London, England, School Admissions and Discharges, 1840-1911