Sarah Whiting c.1866-1944
Parents: William Whiting and Elizabeth Jacobs (1)
Baptised: 30th May 1866 at St Mary's Church, Withersfield (1)
Died: 1944 in Bridge district, Kent.
Bio: Sarah was baptised as a Whiting on 30th May 1866 at St Mary's, Withersfield, but there is no GRO entry for the birth under this surname or a variation in the Risbridge district that I can find.
When she first appears on the 1871 census, her birthplace is given as Withersfield. She is living with her parents and siblings there.
Sarah next turns up on the 1881 census as a servant at the home of William Norden at 50 Fitzroy Street, Cambridge. William Norden, 33, was a publican and blacksmith from West Wratting and his wife Betsy, 28, like Sarah, was originally from Withersfield. Her full name was Elizabeth Ann Townsend and she'd married William Norden in 1865.(2) They had children Frederick, 6, Herbert, 4, Louisa, 3, and Sarah, 1. Also living in the house were John Norden, 19, a blacksmith from Birmingham. Sarah was the only servant, aged 16.
A life in service suited Sarah, it seems. However, she seemed not to be without ambition and by the 1891 census she had moved on to London where she resided at 62 Albert Street, Regents Park. She is living here as a 'servant in charge', and is the only person at no.62 apart from a visitor, Sarah Ann Butler, 65, a shirt maker from Wantage. Presumably she worked for the family at an adjacent address although this is not clear from the censuses. Most of the people in the street were fairly well-to-do, of the profession of Clerk, manufacturer, or similar.
By the next census in 1901 Sarah is at the same address, but now she is a lodging house keeper living on her own account. She is single, and appears to be doing fairly well for herself. Also at no.62, presumably her customers, are Beatrice Mellers, 25, a clerk at a savings bank, Florence Hamel, 34, a private secretary, and Siragur R. Khan, 28, a law student from India. She has two visitors, both from Withersfield. Mary A Thompson, 30, who was her married younger sister, and Edith Darkin, 15, who was her niece - the illegitimate daughter of her sister Susan, who had since married Frederick Darkin.
For the 1911 census, now 45, still single, Sarah remains at 62 Albert Street. Her occupation is given as Letting Apartments (boarding house). She has two rooms to herself, and seems to be renting the rest. What happened to Sarah after this point was unclear at first. Electoral registers showed her at this address up until 1914, but after that she seemed to disappear.
Then the 1921 census game out, and bingo! she appears as a spinster, aged 55, born in Withersfield, Suffolk, living at 'Sunnyside', Eastry, Minster, Thanet, Kent, with her niece Edith, 35, who is now married to William Hugh Hendle (3).
The information from the 1921 census helps us to pinpoint where Sarah was on the 1939 Register. She was still, in fact, living at 'Sunnyside', Monkton Road, Eastry, Kent, with her niece Edith who is now a widow. Sarah's d.o.b. was entered as '12 April 1884', but then the '84' has been crossed out and replaced in red with '64' which is much closer to the year we understand she was born in (4).
She was probably the 'Sarah Whiting' who died aged 79 in 1944 in the Bridge registration district, Kent (5).
(1) Suffolk Baptism Index, SFHS, 1538-1900
(2) Marriage Index. 2nd Quarter 1865, Linton District, Volume 3b Page 872
(3) 1921 Census, 'Sunnyside'. Minster, Thanet, Kent. Mr W H Hendle. ED: 63, R Sub-D: 1, ED:1. Findmypast.co.uk
(4) 1939 Register. Sunnyside, Monkton Road, Eastry, Kent. The National Archives; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/1820E . Ancestry.co.uk
(5) Death Index. 4th Quarter 1944, Bridge District, Kent, Volume 2a Page 1415