Joseph Jabez Whiting 1873-1950

Joseph Jabez Whiting senior, c.1910. Pictures courtesy of Andrew Whiting, great grandson of Joseph.

Edmund Whiting (left) Joseph Jabez (seated) and Joseph Jabez junior (right) c. post-1914

Joseph Jabez (later Javis or Jarvis) Whiting junior, c.1910

Edmund Whiting, son of Joseph, c.1910

Parents: Edmund Whiting and Lucy Clover.(1)
Born: 27th March 1873 in Bethnal Green, Middlesex.(1,11)
Baptised: 9th May 1873 at St Philip's Church, Bethnal Green, Middlesex.(1)
Married: Letitia Louisa Moore, 19, spinster of 23 Digby Street, daughter of Joseph Moore, general dealer, on 3rd July 1893 at St James the Less, Bethnal Green. Witnessed by A. Moore and E. Whiting. (3,4)
Children: Lucy Elizabeth Rebecca Whiting b.1894, Ann Mary Letitia Whiting b.1896, Edmund Joseph Javis Whiting b.1899, Joseph Jabez Whiting b.1901, Stanley Whiting b.1904, David Whiting b.1908, Minnie Whiting b.1910 and Edith L Whiting b.1912.
Died: 26th March 1950 at Metropolitan Hospital. Buried on 1st April 1950 at Abney Park Cemetery, Grave No. 1726756, Location: M07. (8,12)

Bio: Joseph was baptised Joseph James Whiting on 9th May 1873 at St Phillip's Church, Bethnal Green, on the same day as his sisters Caroline and Fanny. His date of birth is not given. It seems he was actually Joseph Jabez, and both his GRO birth index and marriage details attest to this.

James can be found on the 1881 census living in Burton End, Haverhill with his parents and siblings.

Records of School Admissions in London, a recent addition to, show that Joseph was admitted to Rochelle Street School, Tower Hamlets, on 17th October 1881(11). The record gives his date of birth, which ties in with his baptism entry, along with naming Edmund as his father. It also shows that he was living at 3 Virginia Row at the time and his previous school was in Haverhill. It suggests the family moved back to London not long after the 1881 census was taken. Rochelle School is actually still in existence, but now features in the local community as a workplace for artists

The 1891 census shows Joseph living at 53 Austin Street with his father and sisters. He follows his father's trade and works as a boot repairer.

In 1893 James married Letitia Moore. At this time he was living at 28 Digby Street, Homerton.

From the Baptism records of his children we get snapshots of where he was living at various points in the mid to late 90's. His first child, Lucy, was born on 18th June 1894 and baptised on 8th July 1894.(6) At this time Joseph and Ettie, as she's known here, were living at 12 Holmbrook Street, Homerton. Joseph was a bootmaker.

We get a glimpse of the surroundings they were living in from A History of the County of Middlesex: 'The poor lived mainly in side streets like College Street (later Row), Durham Grove, and Bradshaw's Margaret Street, the very poor behind the high street around Holmbrook Street to the north and Nisbet and Crozier streets to the south, and off Victoria Road which bisected Hackney Wick. All three of the poorest areas were the only ones in Hackney to contain the lowest, 'semi-criminal' class.' It seems that with the benefit of a trade, maybe Joseph and his family escaped from falling into this category.

When daughter Ann was born on 1st June 1896, they were living at 80 Digby Road. The birth of a son, Edmund, on 2nd January 1899 saw them at 4 Benn Street, Wick Road. Clicking on the link, you can still get a flavour of how the street must have looked in Victorian times.

Not being ones to stay put for too long, we find Joseph and Letty at 36 Gilman Street, Bethnal Green on the 1901 census. Joseph is a shoe repairer, and their three children are living with them. Records show daughter Lucy started at Maidstone Street School (renamed Sebright School in 1951) on 11th March 1901(11), and the same address is recorded as father Joseph's abode.

Not long after this census, Son No.2 Joseph Jabez was born on 19th June 1901. The family reside at 27 Gibraltar Walk.

Again the School Admissions records come in useful because we get a glimpse from the childrens attendance of where the family were at various points in between censuses.

Lucy and Edmund started at Glyn Road School on 25th August 1902, and it looks like they were living at 31 Crozier Terrace at the time.

We see daughters Lucy and Ann starting at Hammond Square School (renamed Burbage Primary School in 1912) on 21st and 28th September 1903. Joseph started on 19th June 1905. The Whitings are living at 1 Watson Place during this period. He was removed on 29th June 1906, presumably as a result of one of the frequent family moves.

We find sons Edmund and Joseph starting at Homerton Row School on 18th January 1909.(11) Although the names are unclear, the birth dates match exactly. At this time the family were living at 43 Templar Road.

By the time of the 1911 census, there are seven children in the family. Joseph's occupation remains the same, and his eldest daughter Lucy is working as a box maker. Ann is a blouse finisher. Sons Edmund, Joseph and Stanley are at school. The two newest additions are David and Minnie, who is less than a year old. They are all living at 15 Homerton Row. Miraculously all seven children that Letty had given birth to had survived, and she had another one, Edith, in 1912.

We get an unexpected sighting of Joseph a few years after this census was taken. On the 14th August 1914, he signed up for a short service attestation in the Royal Field Artillery(10) at the age of 41. This was just ten days after Britain had declared war on Germany at the beginning of the First World War and the country was gripped by a wave of patriotic fervour. Joseph was no doubt keen to 'do his bit', even though he had a large family and was no longer in the first flush of youth.

On his service record are his vital statistics. He was 5ft 4ins, weighed 102 pounds, with a chest measurement of 32 ½ inches. His complexion was sallow, and he had grey eyes and dark brown hair. He gave his occupation as saddler, and it is easy to suppose that he imagined this would fit in with a role working with horses in the Field Artillery - as undertaken by his cousin, another Joseph Whiting. He was given regimental number 85643.

As it turned out, and this can only be seen as very fortunate for Joseph considering how the war unfolded, he was discharged from the Field Artillery on 27th August 1914. Although he had passed his initial medical, it seems from his discharge code - Para.392 (ix), that he was deemed 'unfitted for the duties of the corps'(7) after three weeks service. What is not clear, however, is whether he re-enlisted for service of some sort at a later point in the war when the standards required had dropped considerably. This is entirely plausibe, and there are some J J Whiting's on the medal rolls that could possibly be our man.

We do know, however, that both of Joseph's sons Edmund (Ted) and Joseph Jabez Whiting also served during the First World War. Some pictures provided by Andrew Whiting (great grandson of Joseph senior) clearly show the brothers in uniform with their father, and there is the suggestion that Joseph senior did serve later in the war, too.

On the group picture with father and sons, Edmund's cap badge provides the key to tracing which regiment he served in. Close inspection shows that it is the badge of the Middlesex Regiment; it's distinctive features being the motto underneath the badge, with the rest of the badge encircled and no crown sticking out above. Medal Index cards show an Edward J Whiting, Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex) Regiment), Service Number G/53046, received the British War & Victory Medal.

At first glance we could dismiss this because of the first name being Edward not Edmund, but looking at the corresponding Medal Roll gives us more: Edward Jarvis Whiting, Middlesex Regiment, G/53046, 3/10th Battalion, Private

transferred to 7th Battalion, finished as T/Corporal (Transport Corporal)

We know that Edmund’s middle name was ‘Javis’ or ‘Jarvis’ , and we also know that his grandfather Edmund Whiting was sometimes called Edward on official records, too. Andrew Whiting was able to recall the confusion with the names Edward and Edmund for his great uncle.

Joseph Jabez junior's uniform clearly shows he served in a Scottish regiment, and Medal Index records give a Joseph J Whiting who was first Private No. 22433 in the 2nd Scottish Rifles (Cameronians) and then Private No.49291 in the Scottish Borderers.

More puzzling is which regiment Joseph senior served in later in the war. In the group picture he does not appear to be sporting an Artillery cap badge. It looks more like a fusiliers cap-badge. There was a Joseph Whiting who served with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers as Private No.22236, who served in France from 2nd December 1915 and was demobbed on 19th February 1919. Perhaps more digging around will eventually reveal which regiment he served in after his stint in the Artillery.

The London Electoral Registers are a useful way of tracking Joseph after the last available census. The 1919 register sees him and Letitia living at 10 Holmbrook Street (Which is has now been replaced by flats called Bannister House) in the Homerton Ward. They are are present at this address until 1931 when Joseph seems to go missing for several years before returning. He and Letitia stayed at the house with various combinations of children until their deaths.

Joseph died on 26th March 1950 at Metropolitan hospital (according to cemetery records and the order of service from Joseph's burial) and was buried at Abney Park Cemetery in grave number 176726, location M07(8,12) and Letitia survived him by three years dying on 25th June 1953 at Hackney hospital. She was buried in the same plot at Abney Park Cemetery on 4th July 1953. (9,12)

I'd like to say 'thanks' to Andrew Whiting, grandson of Joseph's son Stanley, for the pictures and family details and Juno, a great granddaughter of Joseph for some interesting information about this branch of the family.


(1) London Metropolitan Archives, Saint Philip, Bethnal Green, Register of baptisms, P72/PHI, Item 004
(2) Birth Register. 2nd Quarter 1873, Bethnal Green District, Volume 1c, Page 199
(3) London Metropolitan Archives, Saint James The Great, Bethnal Green, Register of marriages, P72/JSG, Item 024
(4) Marriage Register. 3rd Quarter 1893, Bethnal Green District, Volume 1c Page 297
(5) A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney (1995), pp. 51-59. URL:
(6) London Metropolitan Archives, Saint John At Hackney, Hackney, Register of baptisms, P79/JN1, Item 042
(8) Death Register. 1st Quarter 1950, Volume 5c, Page 740.
(9) Death Register. 2nd Quarter 1953, Volume 5c, Page 606.
(10) National Archives, British Army Service Records, WO 364, Piece 4647.
(11) London, England, School Admissions and Discharges, 1840-1911
(12) Abney Park Trust,