George Shipp/Whiting 1879-1944

Parents: Elizabeth Whiting, father unknown - likely George Shipp.(1,2)
Born: 23rd February 1879 in Burton End, Haverhill.(1,2)
Baptised: 13th July 1879 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill.(2)
Married: Elizabeth Brown (maiden name Jones), widow, on 7th August 1912 at Edmonton Register Office. Witnessed by E Wills, and Sarina Grove.(4,5)
Children: Ernest George Tilbrook b.1898 (illegitimate son of George and Sarah Tilbrook), Elizabeth Isabella Shipp b.1913 and Rose L Shipp b.1916(7)
Died: 1944 in Edmonton.(6)

Bio: George was base-born on 23rd February 1879 as a Whiting, the son of Elizabeth, a weaver of Burton End, Haverhill. As his mother married George Shipp soon afterwards it is possible he was the father.

George first appears on the 1881 census living in Burton End. His mother is a factory hand tailoress and his step-father is a farm labourer. He is known as George Shipp, here, and it seems he adopted this name going forward.

On the 1891 census the family are living at 90 Burton End. George is a scholar aged 12, and now has four siblings, Henry, Phoebe, John and Sarah. George senior is working as a brick maker.

It appears that George had an illegitimate child with Sarah Tilbrook, a factory worker, in 1898.

Ernest George Tilbrook was born on the 19th April 1898(8). Sadly, it seems very likely that Ernest's mother is the Sarah Ann Tilbrook, 21, who was buried at Haverhill Cemetery on 29th April in the same year. Her occupation is given as factory hand, and address as Puddlebrook(9). It is likely she died as a result of complications in childbirth. Her death would explain why Ernest ended up living with his father and grandparents and later adopted the Shipp surname. Ernest was baptised at St Mary's Church, Haverhill, on 14th May 1898(8). The address given on the baptism entry is 23 Clements Lane, which is where George and his parents were living at this time. It seems strange that Ernest's mother is not mentioned as having died, but her occupation in given as hair weaver, which if she was working at Gurteen's as is likely, would mean she could also have been a factory hand. Clements Lane is adjacent to Puddlebrook, which is mentioned on Sarah's burial entry. Although Ernest George Tilbrook/Shipp is not mentioned as being George's son on his baptism or other records, the circumstantial evidence of his middle name, his surname change and the fact he lived with the Shipps points us in this direction. Also, Karen Lampe, a descendant of the Shipps confirms it was family knowledge that this was the case.

George moved with his family to London in the next few years and can be seen on the 1901 census living at 8 Lawrence Road. He is working as a navvy along with his father and younger brother John. George's son Ernest, 3, still called Tilbrook here, is living with them. He is listed as a visitor.

At the time of the 1911 census the family are at 43 Folkestone Road, Upper Edmonton. George is a builders labourer, aged 32, still living with his parents. George senior is also a builders labourer. Brother John, 24, is a labourer with the Great Western Railway, and sister Rose is a worker at a cartridge factory. His son Ernest, now called Shipp, 12, is at school.

Three years later war broke out and from George's surviving service records (4) we get some valuable information about his status and activities during this period.

George attested for the Royal Regiment of Artillery Special Reserve on 14th August 1914 at Tottenham, and was given the number 1872. At this time he is living at 226 Brettenham Road, Edmonton. Interestingly, he mentions that he had formerly been involved with the Royal Garrison Artillery militia up until 1902, so the military life would have been somewhat familiar to him.

George was called up to the 13th RGA on 29th August 1914 but only served 166 days with the reserves, and was discharged on 10th February 1915 as being unlikely to be effective for military service due to health reasons. The note at the top of the page gives us a glimpse of where he was with the RGA during his initial training.

We get to see from his records that George had married on 7th August 1912 at Edmonton Register Office to Elizabeth Brown, a widow. She can be seen on the 1911 census living at 82 Brettenham Road, working as a pedlar of laces. She was born around 1875, and had one son Charles, 4, before being widowed. She is living with her sister Violet Jones, Violet's son James and two boarders Zilpah and Ernest Wills. The latter was a witness at her marriage to George.

George and Elizabeth have one daughter at this time, Elizabeth Isabella, who was born in Edmonton on 24th October 1913. He was married as a Shipp, despite being born a Whiting.(5)

We also get a description of George. He was 5ft 8ins, weighed 142 lbs, with brown hair and grey eyes.

George and Elizabeth had another child, Rose, in 1916.(7)

George's son Ernest George had joined the 6th Battalion Royal Irish Regiment at the start of the First World War as private E.G.Shipp, no.10149.

Sadly, He was killed in action in France on 30th August 1917. He is buried at Croisilles Railway Cemetery, I.A.6.(10)

Daughter Elizabeth Isabella married Edward Lampe in 1934, and their granddaughter Karen Lampe recounts how they lived next to Elizabeth's parents at 228 Brettenham Road until 1965 when the houses were demolished to make way for a new housing development.

Electoral registers show he stayed at 226 Brettenham Road up until at least 1939, and very likely for the the rest of his life as it appears he died in Edmonton in 1944.(6)


(1) Birth Register. 1st Quarter 1879, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 507
(2) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578/4/p14 of 37
(3) Marriage Register. 3rd Quarter 1914, Willesden District, Volume 3a Page 679
(4) British Army WW1 Service Records, National Archives WO363,
(5) Marriage Register. 3rd Quarter 1912, Edmonton District, Volume 3a Page 1458
(6) Death Register. 1st Quarter 1944, Edmonton District, Volume 3a Page 1088
(7) Birth Register. 1st Quarter 1916, Edmonton District, Volume 3a Page 1145
(8) Suffolk Baptism Register, Clare Deanery, 1813-1900, SFHS.
(9) Suffolk Burial Index, 1538-1900, SFHS
(10) Commonwealth War Graves Commission.,%20E%20G