Robert Boreham 1861-1944

Image of Robert Boreham in Canada, 1913, with kind permission of Linda Hendry.

Robert Boreham's grave at Braintree Cemetery, London Road. (click to enlarge)

Parents: Zachariah Boreham and Caroline Sandfield(1)
Born: 2nd February 1861 in High Street, Haverhill. (1,2)
Baptised: 8th June 1862 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill.(1)
Married: Sarah Ann Whiting, 20, Spinster, of Burton End, Haverhill, daughter of Harry Whiting, farm labourer, on 19th November 1881 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill. Witnessed by David and Emma Whiting.(3,4)
Children: Rose Boreham b.1880, Arthur Robert Boreham b.1883, Janet Boreham b.1885, Alfred George Boreham b.1888, Caroline Boreham b.1890, Gracie May Boreham b.1892, Christiana Boreham b.1894 died in infancy, William Henry Boreham b.1896 died in infancy, Albert Boreham b.1898, Kathleen Mary Boreham b.1901 and Freda Lily Boreham b.1904
Died: 27th August 1944 at St John's Hospital, Wood Street, Chelmsford. Buried on 31st August 1944 at Braintree Cemetery, London Road, Braintree. Grave no.6924 (7,8)

Bio: Robert's parents Zachariah Boreham, a chimney sweep, and Caroline Sandfield married in Haverhill in 1857. Robert first appears on the 1861 census living in Haverhill High Street. His father is a chimney weep employing 1 boy, who appears to be his step-son Samuel Sandfield. Robert has three elder sisters Emmeline, Susannah and Matilda. Zachariah was born in Lawshall, a village between Long Melford and Bury St Edmunds and Caroline was from Clare.

The next census sees them still in the High Street. Zachariah and Caroline now have 8 children. Emmeline, Susannah, Matilda, Robert, Arthur, Edward, William and Christiana.

When we next see Robert, he is a boarder with Henry and Mary Whiting of Burton End, and is working as a groom. Later that year he was to marry their eldest daughter Sarah Ann, and from the baptism registers we can see that they were living at 20 Crowland Road at the time of their first child Arthur's birth in 1883. Robert's occupation at this time was as a drayman. They lived there for several years as their second child Jane was also born here. On the 1891 census we see them at 26 Crowland Road, and they have had several more children - Alfred, Rose, Jane and Caroline. Robert's occupation is carman (mineral water) - which seems a bit odd. We see on the next census in 1901 that he is a mineral water maker - presumably working as part of the bottling and transporting process, though I have not managed to work out which company he would have worked for yet.

Now at 28 Duddery Road, the Borehams have children Jane, Arthur, Alfred, Caroline, Grace and Albert living with them. Sarah Ann is a trousers machine tailor, Jane a hair brush weaver and Arthur a chimney sweep like his paternal grandfather had been.

The Boreham's seemed to like to move around a fair bit, and by the 1911 census they have relocated to 56 High Street, Haverhill. Robert is a worker in a mineral water works, and Sarah Ann is a trousers finisher working from home. They still have five of their children living at home with them. The census shows Sarah gave birth to 11 children, 2 of whom died in infancy.(5)

Linda Hendry, great granddaughter, of Robert discovered that he visited Canada in May 1913 whilst accompanying his son Alfred who was moving out there. He returned on 27th September 1913. The image at the top of the page is of Robert dressed in cowboy get-up, a souvenir photo from his travels.(5)

At some point before 1917, the Boreham family moved to Braintree. We know this because Sarah's daughter Caroline is mentioned as living at 29 South Street, Braintree on her son's birth certificate from this year.(5) Also, Robert and his son Albert have entries in Kelly's directory for 1926 and 1929 that refer to a Chimney Sweep business they ran from this address.(5)

Sarah Ann died in 1927 and was buried at Braintree Cemetery.

Kelly's directory for 1933 and 1937 show Robert Boreham running his own Sweep's business from 19 Martins Yard, Braintree.

The 1939 Register shows Robert, now a widower, still working as a chimney sweep. He is living at 59 South Street, Braintree, with Eliza Basham, his sister-in-law. They are both widowers of around the same age(10).

Robert Boreham died on 27th August 1944 at St John's Hospital, Wood Street, Chelmsford, and on 31st August 1944 was buried alongside Sarah Ann at Braintree Cemetery.(5,6,8)


(1) Suffolk Baptism Register, SFHS, Clare Deanery, 1813-1900
(2) Birth Register. 1st Quarter 1862, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 370
(3) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578/4/p28 of 37
(4) Marriage Register. 4th Quarter 1881, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 933
(5) Information from Linda Hendry, great granddaughter of Sarah Ann Whiting, with ref. to Kelly's Directory, 1911 census etc.,.
(6) Death Register. 3rd Quarter 1944, Chelmsford District, Volume 4a Page 611
(8) information from Cheryl at Braintree Council Cemeteries Service.
(9) Marriage Register. 2nd Quarter 1857, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 564
(10) 1939 Register, Ref: RG101/1483G/015/36 Letter Code: DBIF