Frances Whiting 1870-?

Parents: Edmund Whiting and Lucy Clover.(1)
Born: 21st May 1870 in Bethnal Green, Middlesex.(1)
Baptised: 9th May 1873 at St Philip's Church, Bethnal Green, Middlesex.(1)
Married: George Phillips, 21, batchelor, cabinet maker, of 16 Gibraltar Gardens, son of George Phillips, cabinet maker, on 22nd November 1886 at St Thomas Church, Bethnal Green. (2,3)
Children: Daisy Isabella Phillips b.1887, George Alfred Phillips b.1890 and Alfred Phillips b.1893
Died: ?

Bio: Frances was baptised Fanny Whiting on 9th May 1873 at St Phillip's Church, Bethnal Green, on the same day as her sister Caroline and brother James. On the register it says '2 years 21st May 1872'. This must mean that she was two years old on this date, as she could not have been two if she was born on the date mentioned.

The family moved back to Haverhill sometime in the 1870's and on the 1881 census Frances is a scholar and living with them in Burton End.

It is clear that they returned to London at some point before the 1891 census, because we find Edmund living once more in Bethnal Green at this time with his children Joseph, Ruth and Eliza. Fanny is not present, and the reason for this appears to be that she had married

The marriage of Fanny Rebecca Whiting to George Phillips is recorded at St Thomas Church, Bethnal Green, on 22nd November 1886. She was living at 11 Holywell Lane, Shoreditch, and her occupation is given as button maker. Her age is given as 17 which is close enough to be acceptable, and her father is listed as Edward Whiting, bootmaker. The profession is correct and we do know that Edmund's name was recorded as Edward quite often throughout his life. That Fanny had the middle name Rebecca is news to us, but this is entirely plausible, as is the location in which she lived which is congruent with what we know of her family's return to London.

George was the son of George Phillips, also a cabinet maker, and Sarah Ann Webster. They were married on 2nd October 1864 at St Mary's church, Newington. We see George's birth date given as 26th August 1864 on later workhouse papers (8), and the implication here is that George would have been illegitimate and so born a Webster. He was born in Shoreditch, but there doesn't appear to be a baptism entry for him anywhere.

On 20th November 1887 Fanny and George had their firstborn child Daisy (who had been born on 19th October) baptised at St James the Great, Bethnal Green (5). They are living at 11 Gibraltar Walk at this point. We have confirmation, too, of George's occupation as cabinet maker. Fanny's siblings Eliza and Joseph Jabez also lived in Gibraltar Walk at various times.

The baptism register of St Matthias church, Bethnal Green, suggests that eldest son George was baptised as George Alfred on 16th February 1890 having been born on 29th January 1890.(7) George senior is referred to here as a cabinet maker residing at 45 Gibraltar Walk, but Fanny is named as 'Annie'. Because of the proximity to their previous address and the accuracy of George's occupation, I suspect this is a clerical error and this refers to the same family. The Phillips are not traceable on the 1891 census, although records of the Bethnal Green Union suggest they would have been living in Kingsland Road at this time.

Bethnal Green Union settlement papers of 25th August 1891 give us a really valuable insight into what was happening in Frances' life at this time:

'Phillips, Fanny. Age 21. Married. 2 children. Deserted by husband. Admitted from 53 Austin Street, where she has been for 4 nights. Not lived out of B.G [Bethnal Green] more than 2 ½ years all her life.

Husband and self after marriage resided in a court near the Post Office, Bethnal Green road for about 3 months, somewhere near Columbia Market for 5 months, Austin St 3 months, Virginia Rd 5 months, Jacob Street 2 ½ months, ? 4 months.' (11)

An examination report by Bethnal Green Union on 1st September 1891 gives us further detail:

'Phillips, Fanny, 21, Married. Wife of George. Married 5 years last xmas. Husband deserted 3 weeks. 2 children, Daisy 4 years next Sept(?) born Gibraltar Walk. George 1 year and 9 months same place.'

The account then switches to the first person:

'I Only knew husband about 3 months before marriage, during that time at Dalston first place lived at after marriage in B.G. Rd by Gibraltar Walk. There about 3 or 4 months then to Columbia Market 5 months then to Austin Street 5 or 6 months then to Jacob Street 5 or 6 months then to Virginia Road 3 months Gibraltar Walk 7 months then to Tottenham 5 months then to Goldsmith Row 9 months then to Shipton Street 7 months Virginia Row. Kingsland Road then to my fathers at 53 Austin Street. I came in here from that address. My father at Jacob Street, mother Lucy Whiting in this house. Husbands parents at Cat & Mutton Fields. My sister knows their address: Mrs Wastell, 19 Mary St, Kingsland Rd. Husbands parents George Phillips, cabinet maker.' (12)

Another entry for the Phillips appears in the Bethnal Green Union registers for 14th June 1892 (13).

We get a better picture of George's sporadic absence from the family set-up, and the references to other family members are interesting, too. Frances' sister Mrs Wastell, is her older sister Elizabeth. Her mother, Lucy Whiting was suffering from mental-health issues and was often away from the family home at Asylums or in the care of the Union. We see from their frequent changes of address just how unsettled the family were.

The family must have moved to Stoke Newington which is where George and Frances' third child Alfred was born on 26th May 1893 according to later Hackney Union settlement papers (8).

In June 1895 Frances is admitted to the Bethnal Green Union again, and all of her children are noted this time. She is said to have lived at 36 Chambourd Street for a week prior to her admission, and in Buckhurst Street, Bethnal Green, for three years before that. A note is also made here that her husband is suffering from rheumatic gout (14).

Where the couple are on the 1901 censuses is a mystery, but in September 1902 we see that Frances becomes chargeable to the Hackney Union and again on 24th August 1906 (8). The Settlement papers give her previous address as 18 Derby Road, and the papers list her marriage date, maiden name, and details for her husband and children including their dates of birth. This seems to confirm that they only had three children that lived, and interesting is the reference to her relationship with George as 'Married. Deserted'. Sons George and Alfred are living with their father, but his address is not known. Daisy, like her mother, is in the workhouse. It looks like George had left and taken his sons with him, at least for the moment.

On the 1911 census Frances is living at 8 Hertford Street, Haggerston, Shoreditch. She is listed as being married, although George is not present. Daisy, 24, the eldest of her children is a boot machinist, George, 22, is an electrical engineer, and Alfie, 19, is a wireman for the national telephone company. The census reveals that Frances has had 10 children, but the three present in the house are the only ones still living.

Later in the year, daughter Daisy got married. On the register entry we find confirmation of her father as George Phillips, cabinet maker, and also of the address on the census. She married Christopher Thomas Carpenter, a french polisher, on 4th June 1911 at St Andrews Church, Hoxton.(4)

Records show that Frances became chargeable to the Hackney Union again in the period 11th to 22nd April 1912.(9)

It seems that the Phillips moved again in the following few years, because when eldest son George is married to Sophia Elam at St Andrews on the 25th January 1914, the family are at 10 Wilmer Gardens, Hackney.(6) By this time George is following in his fathers profession as a cabinet maker.

Frances is in the Hackney Union workhouse once more from 28th August 1914 to 21st September the same year.(9)

We find Frances living with her sister Elizabeth and her husband Henry Wastell at 25 Market Row, Hackney on the 1934 Electoral Register. She is still there on the 1936 roll. Without further confirmation it is hard to draw a conclusion about what happened to George or Frances after this point.


(1) London Metropolitan Archives, Saint Philip, Bethnal Green, Register of baptisms, P72/PHI, Item 004
(2) London Metropolitan Archives, Saint Thomas, Bethnal Green, Register of marriages, P72/TMS, Item 031
(3) Marriage Register. 4th Quarter 1886, Risbridge District, Volume 1c Page 657
(4) London Metropolitan Archives, Saint Andrew, Hoxton, Register of marriages, P91/AND, Item 009.
(5) London Metropolitan Archives, Bethnal Green St James the Great, Register of Baptism, p72/jsg, Item 014.
(6) London Metropolitan Archives, Saint Andrew, Hoxton, Register of marriages, P91/AND, Item 009.
(7) London Metropolitan Archives, Bethnal Green St Matthias, Register of Baptism, p72/mts, Item 015.
(8) London Metropolitan Archives, Hackney Poor Law Union Settlement Papers, HABG/196/007,
(9) London Metropolitan Archives, Hackney Poor Law Union Settlement Papers, HABG/195/009,
(10) London Metropolitan Archives, Saint Mary, Newington, Register of marriages, P92/MRY, Item 231
(11) London Metropolitan Archives, Bethnal Green Union Examinations, 25 Aug 1891, BEBG-267-044 p.204,
(12) London Metropolitan Archives, Bethnal Green Union Examinations, 1 Sep 1891, BEBG-267-044 p.213-4,
(13) London Metropolitan Archives, Bethnal Green Union, 14 June 1892, BEBG-267-044 p.483,
(14) London Metropolitan Archives, Bethnal Green Union, June 1895, BEBG-267-047 p.55,