Kate Laura Whiting 1865-1934

Parents: Charles Whiting and Susannah Mason (1,2)
Born: 13th January 1865 in Queen Street, Haverhill. (1,2)
Baptised: 25th September 1865 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill.(2)
Married: None.
Children: None.
Died: 3rd March 1934 at 37 Whiting Street, Bury St Edmunds.(4,5)

Bio: Kate was born in Queen Street, Haverhill in 1865 when her father was working as a servant/groom and her mother was a dressmaker. On the 1871 census we see her living in Cross House, Haverhill Hamlet with her parents and two younger sisters. Because of her father's employment with wealthier families, it seems Kate got the opportunity to work as a servant at Copdock Lodge, (now a residential home) which was in the grounds of Copdock House, Ipswich, the home of Alfred Herbert Morse - a former Army Captain and the Justice of the Peace for Suffolk. We find her here on the 1881 census, working as an under housemaid at the lodge. She was one of five servants for the Bennet family whose head was widow of 57, Anne Bennet.

For the 1891 census, there is no trace of a Kate Whiting born around 1865 in Haverhill. We know she hadn't married in the intervening years as we will see she is present as Kate Whiting on the 1901 census. There is, however, a Kate Whiting working as a parlour maid for Edward Lake, the manager of a brewery, at 13 Westgate Street, Bury St Edmunds on the 1891 census. Her birthdate is correct to within a year, but her birthplace is given as Hadleigh, Suffolk. The reason I think that this is a mistake is that I've found no record of a Kate Whiting born or living in Hadleigh at any time whatsoever.

On the 1901 census we find Kate Whiting staying with her sister Genetta at, appropriately, 14 Whiting Street, Bury St Edmunds. Genetta is married to Wesley Baker, who is listed as being a Maltsterer's labourer. As you can quickly see from clicking on the link, 14 Whiting Street is infact the Mason's Arms (formerly the Bricklayers Arms), and although it is not mentioned as such on the 1901 census, Wesley Baker is recorded as the publican on Kelly's 1900 and 1904 directory.(3)

No reference is made to Kate's occupation on the census, so we don't know if she was still working as a servant somewhere - only that she is still a spinster at 36.

The 1911 census has revealed Kate's whereabouts as being at Coolhurst, Manor Road, Bournemouth, where she is single and still in service - again as a parlour maid, one of a team of seven servants for Lucy Bidwell and family. Maybe an opportunity presented itself here, or she may even have been recommended to them. Lucy Bidwell was the widow of Thomas Shelford Bidwell, a brewer originally from Thetford, Norfolk, who died on 11th October 1903. He had been trading under the name of Bidwell and Company.(6) Unfortunately Coolhurst no longer exists, all that remain are the gateposts which you can see on this picture.

How long Kate remained at Coolhurst is unclear, but Probate records reveal that Kate died on 3rd March 1934 at 37 Whiting Street. Probate was granted to her sister Genetta Baker, widow, Cyril Geoffrey Baker (Kate's nephew) and George Carter, solicitor. Effects were £1258 5s 2d, which was quite a reasonable amount in those days.(5)


(1) Birth Register. 1st Quarter 1865, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 426
(2) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578/4/p13 of 37
(3) http://suffolkcamra.co.uk/pubs/pub/150
(4) Death Register. 1st Quarter 1934, Bury St Edmunds District, Volume 4a Page 1314
(5) Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1861-1941
(6) The London Gazette, July 11th 1905, http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/27815/pages/4835/page.pdf