Frank Whiting 1882-1952

Frank Whiting and Effie Cowell, marriage certificate 1904.

Frank (left) and Arthur Whiting as boys.

Frank Whiting's grave space at Haverhill Cemetery.

Parents:         Frank Whiting and Emma Spicer. (1)
Born:              17th March 1882 in Haverhill. (1)
Baptised:       ?
Married:          Effie Cowell, 19, spinster, domestic servant, of Halstead, Essex, daughter of Fanny Cowell, on 1st April 1904 at West End Congregational Church, Haverhill. Witnessed by Gerald Cowell and Susannah Cowell.(2)
Children:        Lorna Joan Whiting b.1921
Died:               26th June 1952 at 21 Broad Street, Haverhill. Buried at Haverhill Cemetery.(3,4)


Bio:                  Frank (my great grandfather) was born on 17th March 1882 (1, 8), although he doesn't appear to have been baptised at St Mary's Church. As a boy of nine, Frank is found on the 1891 census living at 7 Chauntry Row with his parents Frank and Emma and brothers Arthur and Bennett. He is at school. 

The records of Gurteen's, the clothing manufacturer, show that he started work there on 18th March 1895.(5) He would have been 13 at this time.

On the 1901 census, Frank is living with his family at 21 Broad Street. Like his father, he is a tailors cutter at Gurteen's. 

Three years later he married Effie Cowell, who was working as a domestic servant in Halstead. She was originally from Castle Camps, and was the illegitimate daughter of Fanny Cowell. She had been born at Castle Camps on 3rd August 1885 and baptised as Averill Belle Cowell at Castle Camps Congregational Chapel on 11th October. She seems to have been known at various times as 'Averbell' or 'Affie', and 'Effie' seems to have derived from this.

Frank and Effie married at the West End Congregational Church which was just over the road from where he was living at the time. The witnesses were Effie's brother and sister.

On the 1911 census, Frank and Effie are living at Frank senior's house at 21 Broad Street, Haverhill. Frank is a cutter at Gurteen's and Effie is a tailoress working from home, at this point they have no children. 

At some stage Frank senior, Frank junior and his brothers Arthur and Bennett owned a smallholding at Puddlebrook and kept pigs and chickens and grew vegetables. It seems the two Franks did most of the work on the smallholding and according to his daughter Frank junior did the lion's share.

Frank did not take part in the First World War, and the Cambridge Daily News of 2nd June 1917 records that after conscription came in during 1917 he was temporarily exempted: "Temporary Exemptions: Two months - ...Frank Whiting (34), band knife cutter, employers Messrs. D. Gurteen and Sons".(7)

It was on 31st July 1921 that their only child Lorna Joan was born. Although my grandmother Lorna is now dead I understood from her that Frank suffered a depressive illness and left his employment at Gurteens sometime between March 17th 1932 and March 1934 (5). According to Lorna he had also suffered from typhoid meningitis around this time, from eating contaminated shellfish.

My mother remembers Lorna telling her how keen her father was on cricket and how they listened to it on the radio together. Something else Frank loved, according to several members of the family, was playing cards and Lorna recalls being taught to play cards at a very early age in order that she could make up a four at Whist although she would only play if her pairing won!

On the 1939 Register, Frank and Effie are shown living at 21 Broad Street. Frank is a retired tailors-cutter (8).

Despite his ill health, Frank lived to the age of 70, although he was more or less bedridden for the last few years of his life.

Frank died on 26th June 1952 at 21 Broad Street and was buried at Haverhill Cemetery.(3,4)

His obituary appeared in the South West Suffolk Echo of 5 July 1952:
"Haverhill Funeral Of Mr. Frank Whiting, Death of Retired Cutter. The funeral took place at Haverhill Cemetery on Tuesday of Mr. Frank Whiting, of 21, Broad Street, Haverhill, whose death took place at the age of 70 on the previous Thursday.
Mr Whiting on leaving school went to work at the Haverhill factory of Messrs. D. Gurteen and Sons Ltd., and was employed there as a cutter for many years before he had to retire through illness about 20 years ago.
He had been connected with the West End Congregational Church for many years and in his younger life was a member of the Church's old Institute orchestra. He leaves a wife and one daughter.
The interment was preceded by a service in Church conducted by the Rev. J.E.K. Moss. Mr A.A. Claydon was organist and hymns sung were 'Fight the good fight' and  'Lead , kindly light'.
Immediate mourners present were: Mrs F. Whiting, widow; Mrs. G. Smith , daughter; Messrs. Arthur and Bennett Whiting, brothers; Mr G.Smith , son-in-law; Mrs A. Whiting, sister-in-law; Mr and Mrs D.Cowle , Mr and Mrs W. Notley, Mr and Mrs. A. Webb, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law; Mr and Mrs Maxwell Notley, Mr Desmond Notley, Miss Cynthia Notley, Mr J Cowle, nephews and nieces.
Among others present were noted the Rev. W. Rose, Messrs. C.Cooke, W. Sizer, G. Heckford, H. Carter, G.W. Darking, H.E. Smith, D.M. Graham, J.P., and P. Tiffin, Mr and Mrs J. Parkin, Mr and Mrs J. Bassett, Mesdames Moss (senior), J.E.K. Moss, F. Bennett, E.M. Pannell, A. Robbins, A. R. Suckling, Misses A.E. Goodwin, A and F. Wiseman, Nurse Twinn and Nurse Thoms.
Wreaths were from: Effie; George and Lorna; Jackie and Vivienne; Arthur and Emily; Ben and Lil; Arthur, Freda and Dick; Ben, Phyllis and family; Elsie, Eric and the Boys; Dorrie and Cyril and family; Charlie, Mabel and Victor; Doll, Will, Cynthia and Ron; Jack, Lill and Judith; Des and Margaret; Max and Peggie; Mary; John and Sidella; Ella and Perce; Mr and Mrs J Bassett and Ken; Uria, Dick and family; Mr and Mrs J. Page; Mr and Mrs W.J. Beavis; All at No.7, Broad Street; All at No.33, Broad Street; Mr and Mrs C. Benton and family; Mr Twinn and Nurse; Mr and Mrs Spurgin; Mr and Mrs Parkin."

Probate with effects of £1172 8s 10d was granted to Phillip Golden Darking, house furnisher.(6)


(1) Birth Register. 2nd Quarter 1882, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 560
(2) Marriage Register. 2nd Quarter 1904, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 1413
(3) Death Register. 2nd Quarter 1952, Newmarket District, Volume 4b Page 830
(4) Haverhill Cemetery, Compartment V, Space 16.
(5) Employment records of Gurteen & sons.
(6) National Probate Calendar, 1858-1966,
(7) Cambridge Daily News, 2 June 1917, p.4,
(8) 1939 Register, 21 Broad Street, Haverhill, Suffolk. The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/6661B