Henry Christopher Senior (1814-1865)

From Agricultural Labourer in Dorset to Platelayer & Railway Carriage Inspector in Turkey

©Compiled by Michael Russell OPC for Fordington July 2014 (last update Jan 2017)

Link to House of CHRISTOPHER Master File

St Mary's Church Morden in Dorset
© 2005 Limited edition print owned by Michael Russell FIPD

1. Baptism at St Marys Church Morden in Dorset - 1814

Henry CHRISTOPHER Senior (1814-1865) was born into the tranquil rural parish of Morden in Dorset in 1814 and baptised in the local parish Church of St Mary's on 2nd April 1815. Morden lies north of the Purbeck hills 5 miles from Wareham and 6 miles north-west of Poole with it's all important harbour.
    The Parish is made up of the hamlets of Morden, East and West Morden and Whitefields, with Charborough Estate to the north. The main employment in the area has always been based on farming and agriculture much of this linked to the Charborough Estate which still owns most of the land and at one time owned the majority of the houses. Today, most of the parish is designated a Conservation Area and there are a considerable number of listed buildings, ancient monuments and historical features with a number of farms such as Sherford where the Lithgow family lived situated to the south of the village. Population has always been modest amounting to 597 souls in 1801. It grew in the following years reaching about 700 when Henry was born there and peaking at just over the 1,000 in 1851. It has since declined with the 2001 electoral role showing only 325 people being eligible to vote. As a consequence it has retained its rural character and many families have lived in the village for generations. Unfortunately the church was completely rebuilt in 1873 (apart from the bottom of the west tower) so I have provided above an image of a limited edition print which I own, which shows the present church but in a rural setting which would probably have been familiar to Henry.

I know that the original church within which Henry was baptised was of ancient origin and consisted of a nave and chancel with an embattled tower. The 12th century font was an octagonal bowl and survived the restoration, Henry being the fifth of George & Jane CHRISTOPHER's children to to baptised in it. (Follow the link for more information on his family).

Henry was not alone in his journey to the font that day as he was accompanied by his 1st cousin Reuben Christopher (1815-1894) the son of his father's brother James CHRISTOPHER (1764-1847) by his wife Jane Stickland (1775-1860). The joint ceremony was carried out around the font (picture right) by the Rev Charles Bowle MA curate at St Mary's and there would have been quite a gathering of Christophers that day as the two families had 17 children between them. The Rev. Charles Bowle was a graduate of Queens College Oxford and joined the church in 1792 being ordained a priest at Bristol Cathedral on 29th Sep 1793. Church records which are incomplete record him as being curate at Chalbury in Dorset from 10th June 1792 but he was clearly operating as curate at St Mary's from the outset as he regularly signed the Morden parish registers from the end of 1792. he left to become Vicar of Milborne Port in Somerset in 1825 but returned to Morden as vicar in 1834 so he had a long association with the parishioners and the Christopher Family.

Henry lived with his parents in Morden until he was 7 years old when in 1821 the family moved to live at Bulbury within the adjoining parish of Lytchett Minster. About this time he started working with his father, an agricultural labourer in the fields surrounding the village. Already by 1821 the wages of Agricultural Labourers were barely at subsistence level, and in the years ahead things gradually got worse sowing the seeds of discontent which were to eventually result in the Swing Riots of 1831. At the same time as discontent was growing in the countryside the industrial revolution was beginning to have an affect on the way ordinary people lived. In addition to the attraction of better paid factory work in towns and cities, a revolution in transportation was taking place. It hardly seems possible now but the first railway in the World was only built by George Stevenson in 1825 and ran from Stockton to Darlington. This however signaled the start of a huge investment in privately funded Railway Companies which were to change the landscape of Britain for ever. George Christopher had the common sense to see that a fundamental change in the way the family had lived for generations was necessary and in 1826 he and his extended family consisting of 16 individuals left Dorset and headed for a better life in London.
2. Migration to London - Map of where Henry Christopher Lived - 1826-1837

Leigh's Map of West of London - Dated 1819 showing the Grand Junction Canal

Henry CHRISTOPHER (1814-1865), therefore arrived on the outskirts of London along with the rest of his family early in 1826 when he was still only 12 years old. They settled near the Grand Junction Canal in West Hayes in Middlesex where work in the market gardens gave them employment and a stable platform from which to progress. In July the same year his eldest brother William Christopher (1800-1853) and his wife Isabella nee Stickland (1798-1882) added a 17th to their number with the birth of the infamous Betsy Christopher (1826-1850) and as might be expected various members of the group started to go their separate ways. In January 1827 his father was relieved of his responsibility for his 24 year old sister Ann Christopher (1803-1863) when she married Henry Noble (1802-1871) at St James Church in Clerkenwell and they settled at Lambeth to raise their own family of 8 children. Ann is a classic example of why George Christopher moved his family out of the growing misery of agricultural Dorset. Henry Noble was only a car man when they married but he had regular employment and enough money to purchase a licence, and by 1851 he was already a journeyman engineer and ten years later a foreman of engineering works. Clearly Ann had a future which was unlikely to have been available to her in Dorset and she was not alone in that regard.

His elder sister Sarah Christopher (1809-1857) also soon left the fold to marry a labourer named Richard Onley (1808-1851). They married at St Luke's in Chelsea in 1829 and had the first of their nine children born there the following year. Richard however had been born at Isleworth in Middlesex and by 1832 they had moved back to his home town where they added another 3 children to their family between 1832 and 1837. In 1830, back in Dorset, Henry Christopher's grandmother Elizabeth Christopher (1744-1830) died and this seems to have caused his eldest brother William and his family to return to Dorset arriving there before September 1831. Other members of the group however were by now well entrenched in Middlesex. Through Sarah his brother Thomas Christopher (1811-1872) had already met Rebecca Etherington (1811-1845) another native of Isleworth, and they married at Heston in 1831 but lived in Isleworth raising a family of 7 children, the first four of which were all born at Isleworth during the same period (1832 and 1837). The increasing demand for fresh food in London as the population expanded meant agricultural workers like the Christophers could find better paid employment in the local market gardens surrounding the village. About the same time (1832) Sarah and Thomas were joined by their parents accompanied among others by our Henry Christopher now aged 18. Three years later in March 1835 his mother Jane Christopher (1776-1835) died at Isleworth being buried in All Saints Churchyard on the 17th of that month.

His father George Christopher (1771-1843) now a widower and aged 64, decided the following year to return to Dorset with the youngest of his brothers Richard Christopher (1823-1885). On their return they lived with William & Isabella near George's sister Sarah Fancy (1762-1840) in Lytchett Minster. Their remaining children however had all found jobs and either married or were about to do so and remained in Middlesex. His sister Eliza Christopher (1818-1866) married in 1836 at Heston to James Spencer (b.1810) yet another native of Isleworth and they lived at nearby Whitton (part of Twickenham) in Middlesex. She nevertheless had her children baptised at Isleworth.
3. The Coming of the Railways (1834-1838)

Map showing the routes of the Great Western and South Western Railways - 1850
The 'South Western Railway' shown above going via Basingstoke was originally known as the 'London & Southampton Railway Company'

It is difficult to imagine the excitement and vibrancy of London for Henry and his siblings after their much more tranquil life in Dorset. Here great things were afoot and history being made. During the early 1830’s many privately funded companies applied to Parliament to build new Railway Lines. One such venture was “The London & Southampton Railway Company (L&SR)” which was established in 1831 but not authorised by Parliament until 25th July 1834 when Royal Assent was granted. Construction of the line is thought to have started on 6th October that year with the first 23 mile section of line to run from it's Terminus at Nine Elms and pass about 4 miles south of Isleworth where they lived going onto Woking Common. The Engineer, Francis Giles, chose to employ a number of small contractors working concurrently with the company supplying materials for construction of the 4 foot 8½ inch track. This created a huge demand for manual labour all along the route and the obvious place to draw them from was the surrounding market gardens so contractors offered higher wages.
    At this date these men were generally referred to simply as 'Labourers' but as specialist skills developed you come across more specific terms such as 'Navvy' (a shortened form for navigational engineer') and 'Excavators' more often used to describe men working on excavating tunnels and cuttings through rock etc and 'Platelayers' who actually laid, inspected and maintained railway track. The name is derived from 'Plateway' an early form of or tramway or wagonway, with a cast iron rail. As we will see later the Railways opened the door to many of these people enabling then to progress to ancillary and better paid employment such as gatekeepers, engine drivers, signalmen, and carriage inspectors.
As explained above Henry's mother Jane Christopher (1776-1835) was buried at Isleworth on 17th March 1835 and this seems to have signaled another step change within the family. His father George and his youngest brother Richard returned to Dorset but from this time Henry, and his brothers Thomas and Joseph seem to have been drawn into Railway construction as was Eliza's husband James Spencer, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. As an aside Thomas's wife Rebecca was pregnant when Jane died and as it turned out to be a girl she was named after her grandmother and baptised at All Saints Church in Isleworth on 26th July 1835.

As will be seen from the history of the London & Southampton Railway (link above) the original intention was to run a spur to Bristol but this Franchise was hotly contested and eventually awarded to the Great Western Railway Company (GWR) the Act receiving Royal Assent on 31st August 1835. It was engineered by Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859) and unlike the L&SR he chose a wider gauge for the track of 7 feet as this would allow for greater loads and a more stable and smoother ride. Construction of the first 22½ miles of track between Paddington and Maidenhead Bridge which commenced in 1836 doubled the demand for labour and certainly Joseph appears to have joined the GWR from the outset. Before I continue with the Railways we need to cover Henry's marriage.
4. Marriage to Elizabeth HAWKINS (1819-1861) at Isleworth - about May 1837

Isleworth Church on the Thames by C Charlwood - painted 1858
From Art Collection of Dept Culture Media and Sport

Henry CHRISTOPHER (1814-1865) was therefore surrounded by his parents and siblings throughout his youth and living at Isleworth from 1832 and ideally placed to take advantage of railway development. During this period he met Elizabeth Hawkins whom he married at the parish church of All Saints when she was 18 years old. The church stands on the river bank at the end of church street and the picture above shows how it looked when Henry and Elizabeth married there. The tower dated from the end of the 15th century and the nave had been rebuilt in 1706-7 and is said to have been part designed by Sir Christopher Wren. A ferry ran from the steps in front of the church and went across the Thames to old Deer Park. Shortly after this picture was painted (in 1866-8) a chancel, vestry and organ chamber were added to the end of the church and other pictures can be found which depict these features, but the whole church was destroyed by arson in 1943 . Unfortunately for us Henry and Elizabeth's marriage record was among those destroyed in the fire. Although the church was rebuilt the only feature to survive was the stonework of the tower.

The best guide we have for when their marriage took place is the birth of the first of their 10 children in March 1838. Elizabeth would therefore have been pregnant around June 1837 and in all probability married shortly before that. Annoyingly this just pre-dates the start of registrations at the General Registry Office on 1st July 1837 and as far as I can tell Bishops Transcripts for this period have not survived either. It's almost certain however that they were married by the resident vicar of All Saints the Rev Henry Glossop MA (1780-1869) a graduate of Corpus Christie in Cambridge. He had been vicar there since 1821 and would have known the Christopher family well, not only from attendance at church since 1832 but also at the many baptisms he carried out for Henry's siblings Sarah, Thomas and Eliza(4) against which his name appears in the parish registers. The only other person that could have married them was the curate the Rev William Harris Parker but the vast majority of ceremonies were personally carried out by Rev. Henry Glossop.
    Elizabeth HAWKINS (1819-1861) was the youngest of ten children of John Hawkins (1771-1847) by his wife Sarah nee Fry/Try (1777-1839) and had been born in Isleworth on 3rd December 1819 and baptised at All Saints church on boxing day the same year, so she had probably known Henry since she was 13. Her father lived at Smallberry Green in Isleworth where he was described at his death in 1847 as a market gardener. Her eldest brother Joseph Hawkins (1797-1840) was 22 years her senior and already had ten children when Henry and Elizabeth married but Joseph went on to have sixteen children in all before his death in Heston in 1870. Many of these children were also baptised by the Rev Henry Glossop so Elizabeth would have been present and known him from a very early age.
    As they married in Isleworth around May 1837 Elizabeth in particular must have been full of excitement, hope and expectation for their future as London stood on the brink of the biggest change and upheaval in it's history as railway lines snaked their way through the countryside not only from the south of London as described above but also from Birmingham in the north. The initial sections of these tracks all came to fruition in 1837/8 and I will describe these in more detail in the sections below. Every level of society was under huge change. The countryside was never to be the same again, as new Acts of parliament were passed and travel was transformed. The way business operated also radically changed and expanded as investors took advantage of situation, and the age of invention had arrived with a bang.

    Elizabeth fell pregnant in June 1837 and on the 20th of that month King William IV died and his 18 year old niece Victoria became Queen. She was the same age as Elizabeth, and a year later on 28th June 1838 her Coronation was held at Westminster Abbey in the heart of the City. The Coronation was another huge event with an extra 400,000 visitors arriving in London that day to see the new Queen crowned and we all know what a catalyst Victoria was for change in the Monarchy. I have to wonder whether Henry & Elizabeth traveled the 11 miles from where they lived to be amongst the crowd lining the street and see her pass in her carriage.

5. Birth of Henry Christopher Junior (1838-1914) - Isleworth March 1838
and death of Thomas Christopher's 3 children - May 1838

1838 was to prove a most eventful year for my family. First it saw the birth of Henry and Elizabeth's first child whom they named Henry after his father. It was a milestone for me as Henry Christopher Junior (1838-1914) was to become my maternal 2x great grandfather. He was born at Isleworth on 24th March 1838 and duly baptised at All Saints Church by the Rev Henry Glossop on 22nd April 1838.

Both the first sections of line for the L&SR and GWR were completed with work naturally coming to a close by 1838 and we know that both Thomas Christopher and Sarah Onley and their families moved that year as they added children to their growing families. Work was available on the next section of line but that entailed moving closer to the construction sites now more than 25 miles out of London and heading away so many labourers were gradually laid off. One of these was Henry's elder brother Thomas Christopher (1811-1872) who by 1838 had temporarily moved from Isleworth to Scrattage near Heston where his wife Rebecca's family lived. Unfortunately they fell victim to one of the worst epidemics of smallpox ever to afflict England and Wales killing over 42,000 people between July 1837 and December 1840. In London 6,449 people died and tragically three of them were Thomas and Rebecca's children. Joseph aged 4 years 9 months was the first to die at 11.30pm on 17th May 1838 followed by his 3 year old sister Jane half an hour later. Their younger 16 month old sister Eleanor lasted another 3 days passing away on 20th May 1838.
6. Official Opening of the First section of the London & Southampton Railway Company (L&SR) - 21 May 1838

The picture below shows the Thames in 1840 with the Nine Elms terminus to the left.

The very next day 21st May 1838 saw the first section of L&SR railway line officially opened with 5 passenger trains running each way with fares costing 5s.0d (first class) and 3s.6d (second class). It took 57 minutes to cover the 23 miles from the terminus at Nine Elms passing 4 miles south of Isleworth to Woking Common. Epsom races were held in the second week of operation, and the Company advertised the intention of running eight trains to Kingston on Derby Day. That morning a crowd of about 5,000 persons was found at the station gates. Several trains were dispatched but still the throng increased, till at length the doors were carried off their hinges, and amid the shrieks of the female portion of their number, the mob broke over the booking counter, leaped through the windows, invaded the platform and rushed pell mell into a train chartered by a private party. Finding resistance useless, the officials sent for the Metropolitan Police, and at twelve o'clock a notice was posted on the booking office window announcing that no more trains would run that day.

This report shows the huge interest in Railway development and whilst the Christopher family may not have been at the official opening I cannot imagine that they were not among the crowds lining the whole route to see the first ever passenger train pass by as the line passed just 4 miles south of Isleworth where they lived - a gentle stroll in those days)
7. Official Opening of the First Section of the Great Western Railway Railway (GWR) - 4 June 1838

The 'VULCAN' one of the first two locomotives owned by GWR      -      and      -     Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859) dated 1857

Two weeks later on 4th June 1838 the first section of railway line of the Great Western Railway (running from Paddington to Maidenhead) also opened for business. Joseph Christopher (1813-1867) was actually living at Yiewsley south Hillingdon, right on the line, and having been involved in laying the track it seems inconceivable that he was not present for this historical occasion, probably with the rest of the Christopher family in attendance. They would all have seen the above steam locomotive called the 'Vulcan' make its epic journey with 3 first class and 5 second class coaches attached.

On 17th September 1838 the third great railway line into London from Birmingham opened transforming travel into the capital city forever. This line had been engineered by Robert Stevenson and employed 20,000 men. It also opened its Main Line Station in London at Euston in 1838 having taken 5 years to build. 1838 also saw the start of her Majesty’s Mail Service being introduced when workers would sort the mail on the train to save time(5). The Mail Carriages had big nets on the side to collect sacks of mail whilst the train was still moving something which could not have been conceived only a few years earlier.

On the 10th Nov 1838 Henry's sister Eliza Spencer gave birth to their 2nd child Cain Spencer whom they had baptised at All Saints church in Isleworth on 2nd December, again by the Rev Henry Glossop. The year ended on a high note when on Christmas Eve 1838 Henry's 25 year old brother Joseph Christopher married the 17 year old Elizabeth Taylor (1821-1902) in St John the baptists church at Hillingdon when his marriage certificate confirms his occupation as being that of a platelayer on the railways. Elizabeth's father George Taylor was a brickmaker and had been drawn to Hillingdon from Fulmer in Buckinghamshire where she was born as demand escalated for bricks. Later in his life Thomas Christopher would become a brickmaker as well.
    Some of the engineering works required to build the Railways at this time were the wonders of the industrial age, and have since stood the test of time. On the GWR for example, only 12 miles from Isleworth, they built the revolutionary 128 foot span Maidenhead Viaduct which was built in 1838 but only brought into use from 1st July 1839. It has been in constant use for over 175 years and now carries the much faster and heavier trains of today. My son Simon coincidentally lives within walking distance of it . Another engineering feat is the Tunnel they had to build between Bath and Swindon through Box Hill which took 8 years to build, was two miles long, consumed over 30,000,000 bricks, and killed over 100 men before it opened on 30th June 1841. I made over 200 journeys between 1984 and 1989 from Cardiff to London on this line, never fully appreciating that the Christopher family helped build the end section of line into Paddington.

8. Moving from Isleworth 1839-1840

I have not located any information about Henry & Elizabeth Christopher in 1839/40 but we know his sister Sarah and her husband Richard Onley had moved from Isleworth to West Drayton in Middlesex, a station on the GWR line, to live by 20th January 1839 as their daughter Rachel Onley was born there. They were still in West Drayton in Nov 1840 when Rachel unfortunately died and was buried on the 8th of that month. West Drayton is next to Yiewsley where Joseph lived, working as a platelayer maintaining the GWR track. Joseph's first child David Taylor Christopher (1839-?) was born at Yiewsley on 25th Nov 1839 and baptised at Hillingdon on 29th Nov 1839.

Henry's brother Thomas and his family were at Scattage a small village east of and within the parish of Heston and just north of Isleworth by 1838. They were still there on 30th April 1839 when their son James Christopher (1839-1905) was born and again on 19th May 1839 when he was baptised at Isleworth ( Heston was given as their place of abode). His sister Eliza Spencer was still at nearby Whitton just south of Isleworth. Henry & Elizabeth's next child was not born until 1841 so I have to assume they were still living in Isleworth during this period but it is also possible that like Sarah they moved to be near Joseph, as Henry & Joseph's families were to remain very close over the next 20 years.

Issue of the Worlds first Postage Stamps - 1st May 1840

As mentioned above her Majesty's Mail service was introduced in 1838 and proved popular from the start partly because the railway was used to significantly reduce delivery times. In 1837 Sir Rowland Hill proposed a system of pre-payment and the worlds first adhesive postage stamps were issued. The most famous of these was the 'The Penny Black' and I have added here images of one that I purchased several years ago. It is appended to a bill to a firm of Solicitors in Edinburgh and was posted on the 9th Nov 1840, the day after Rachel Onley was buried in West Drayton. Interestingly because it was the first ever adhesive stamp to be issued there is no country name, a tradition that survives to this very day.

Links to the National Postal Museum:- Apart from the 'Penny Black' a 'Twopenny Blue' was also issued in May 1840.
9. The Eastern Railway Company
And the arrival of the Christopher Family in Essex 1841

Another private venture called “The Eastern Counties Railway (ECR)” had been authorized in 1836 to build a line from London to Yarmouth via Colchester, Ipswich, Diss and Norwich and according to the prospectus was meant to afford the means of railway communication to the inhabitants of 58 important towns. Construction had started in March 1837 and they opened the first section of line from a temporary terminus at Devonshire Street in Mile End to Romford on 23rd June 1839. During the early stages of construction the London clay soil meant that much of the ground was unstable adding to the cost of construction. On 1st July 1840 the line was extended to a new London terminus at Shoreditch (renamed Bishopsgate in 1846) and at the other end of the line onto Brentwood. The locomotives for the line were built by Braithwaite Milner & Co of New Road, Mr. Isaac Braithwaite being the Engineer for the Eastern Counties Railway. By 1840 London had become the centre of a Railway network of 6,658 miles with additional main line stations also opened at Kings Cross, Victoria and Waterloo. The building of the line in the 1840s brought an army of navvies into the area, most of whom lived in shacks alongside the line; the lucky few, mainly those with families like Henry and Joseph, lodged in cottages often in villages behind where the railway line was being constructed with workers being ferried to the head of the line down the track. They brought with them a huge demand for food, drink, tobacco and other necessities. Construction of the line beyond Brentwood was slow and became problematic because of the need to dig cuttings, the instability of sand and the need to remove vast quantities of spoil.

In January 1841 all three brothers Thomas, Joseph and Henry, together with their families, became a part of this invasion of railway workers into Essex. On 30th January 1841 a sixth child was born to his brother Thomas Christopher at Woods Rise in Great Ilford where they lived which was right on the railway line. The picture to the left is a watercolour painted by Thomas Colman in 1838 and shows a house beside a bridge crossing the Eastern Counties Railway near Ilford. Ilford railway station had opened on 20th June 1839 so Thomas would have traveled to work from that station. The birth certificate for their son Thomas Christopher (1841-1842) confirms that his father was employed as a labourer on the Railroad. The family was still in Ilford on 28th Feb 1841 when their son was baptised at St Mary's church in Great Ilford, but within 4 months Thomas and his family had returned to London to live at 12 Somerset Place, in the parish of St Paul's, in Hammersmith. Thomas in 1845 will move again to Chelsea and become a brickmaker, but Joseph & Henry continue to work for the ECR until the 1860's and the birth of their children closely follows construction of the line.

On 21st May 1841 Henry and Elizabeth had their 2nd child whom they named Charles CHRISTOPHER (1841-1860) born at Ridden Court in Hornchurch with his birth certificate confirming Henry's occupation as that of a 'navigator' i.e. a labourer employed on railway line construction. As far as I can tell Ridden or Redden Court was where Harold Wood station is today so again directly on the railway line about 7 miles further up the line from Ilford. Charles was baptised at St Andrews church in Hornchurch on 20th June 1841.

The following week on the 30th May 1841 Joseph and Elizabeth had their 2nd child, whom they named Mary Ann Taylor CHRISTOPHER (1841-1867). She was born in the next village of Great Warely which is only 2 miles further on and where they would have rented a cottage. Mary's birth certificate confirms her father Joseph to be employed on the railroad as a platelayer. The 1841 Census taken on the 6th June suggests they were living on Warley Common whilst Henry is still at Ridden Court. Mary was baptised at St Mary the Virgin church Great Warley on 27th June 1841.

Slow progress in construction of the line was a constant drain on company resources and several times work had to be stopped for lack of funds. Between Feb and August 1841 they excavated 140,000 cubic yards of earth at Brentwood Hill which was estimated to be a third of what was necessary. By 1843 Henry & Elizabeth had moved to live at Great Warley with Joseph & his family and on 8th January 1843 Elizabeth gave birth to Henry's third child whom they named Robert James CHRISTOPHER (1843-1899). He was baptised at St Andrews Church Hornchurch on 5th Feb 1843. The following month the line finally reached Colchester but the severe financial situation meant the ECR was virtually bankrupt and unable to extend the line further. Whether they were still in touch with those who returned to live in Dorset is not known but his father George CHRISTOPHER (1771-1843) was suffering from Jaundice and had to be taken into the Infirmary attached to the Poole Union Workhouse at Longfleet where he died on 29th May 1843. On 25th October 1843 the ECR merged with the larger Northern & Eastern Railway Company.
10. Colchester in Essex - 1843-1847
Henry Christopher becomes a porter & Joseph Christopher still a platelayer

With the railway line having finally reached Colchester in March 1843, both Henry & Joseph moved their families there to live having arrived sometime before August 1844. Joseph's wife Elizabeth gave birth to their third child Amelia Jane CHRISTOPHER (1844-1929) on 7th August 1844 whilst they were living at Water Lane in Colchester and she was baptised the following month at St Peters Church on 1st September. Both families continued to live together at Water Lane which is situated close to the railway station in the sub district of Lexden in Colchester. Water Lane was a short lane that extended from Sheepen Bridge over the River Colne to the start of Sheepen Road the junction of which today is crossed by the A133.
    1st Nov 1844 : There were so many schemes arising all over the country that the government through the Board of Trade made an effort to control development and bring in some strategic planning. It was fiercely resisted however by the companies and the main result was the introduction of Parliamentary trains. Every company now had to run at least one daily train conveying third-class passengers in carriages provided with seats and protected from the weather at a speed not less than 12mph and at a fare of a penny a mile. Prior to this date 3rd class passengers often stood in open wagons.
Apart from the Great Western Railway where Brunel had deliberately adopted a gauge of seven feet, the Eastern Counties was the only other line to adopt a gauge wider than the four feet eight and half inches proposed by Stephenson which had been taken from tried and tested horse drawn track used in the mines in the industrial North of England. The line up to this point had been built to a width of 5 feet (1,524 mm), but this was found to be impracticable and during September & October 1844 the line was converted to standard gauge or 1,435 mm (4 ft 8½). As a platelayer Joseph would have been employed on conversion work when not maintaining the track. Henry Christopher on the other hand was given a temporary job as a porter at the Railway station. Henry's wife Elizabeth also fell pregnant and gave birth to their 4th child George CHRISTOPHER (1845-1881) at Water Lane on 23rd July 1845. He was baptised at St Peters church the following month on 24th August when his baptism registration confirms Henry as working as a porter.
11. The Denman Family 1845

At this point I need to make mention of the Denman Family who remain the closest of friends with the Christophers over the next 80 years. During construction of the line Henry Christopher senior made great friends with a fellow worker on the Railways by the name of John Denman (1815-1886). John had been born in about 1815 in Hornsey Middlesex the son of William Denman a gardener by trade. John however was a journeyman smith, a trade much in demand during railway construction, and like Henry had been attracted to the area by better wages. Whilst they were working in Colchester John met a lady by the name of Elizabeth James (1822-1859). Her elder brother Samuel James (1820-1896) had married in Lexden in 1842. She came from an agricultural family of Congregationalists from the small village of Ardleigh which is the first railway station on the line to Ipswich as it heads northeast out of Colchester but I will come back to them later in this account. Suffice it to say that they were later to marry in Colchester in the Stockwell Independent Chapel on 5th Nov 1849 and had at least 2 children there before moving to Stratford between 1854/5 .
12. Eastern Union Railway (EUR) & Ipswich & Bury Railway (I&BR)

Some dissident directors of the Eastern Counties Railway who were aggrieved at the Companies failure to build their line from London beyond Colchester and onto Ipswich, formed a new Company called the Eastern Union Railway (EUR). It was initially sanctioned by Act of Parliament on 19th July 1844 with a capital of £200,000 and proceeded to build a line from Colchester to Ipswich a distance of 17 miles. It took two further Acts of Parliament and further capitalisation's however before the company effectively bought out the ECR's unexercised rights immediately east of Colchester and the route was opened to passenger traffic on 15th June 1846.

Even before the extension to Ipswich was completed another Company the “Ipswich and Bury Railway Company (I & BR as it was known) was formed and gained approval from Parliament on 21st July 1845 for a further extension to Bury St Edmund's. A month later on 1st August 1845 they performed the formal breaking of the first ground ceremony at Ipswich. The first passenger service was a special train that ran from Shoreditch in London on 7th December 1846. It was hauled by two locomotives and consisted of 17 carriages and one open truck in which the Humfress Band rode and played. The Board of Trade authorization was given on 23rd December and the first public train ran from Ipswich for Bury St Edmund's at 9.10 the next Day, Christmas Eve 1846.
13. Colchester, Stour Valley and Halstead Railway Company 1846
Henry works on the new spur line

On the 26th June 1846 the Colchester, Stour Valley & Halstead Railway Co was authorized to build a line from Marks Tey (On the ECR line just before Colchester) to Sudbury a distance of 12 miles and this generated a huge new demand for jobs and Henry who was only in a temporary job as a porter appears to have joined it's workforce. I think Henry's departure is the reason Joseph moved within Colchester to Golden Place, which is still situated near the ECR railway line, and this is where his wife Elizabeth gave birth to their 4th child Alfred CHRISTOPHER (1843-1883) on 30th Oct 1846. His birth certificate gives Joseph's occupation to be that of a Railway Signal Man which also suggests that he stayed working on the main line at Colchester and was probably working the signals when the trains referred to above passed through. Their son Alfred was baptised at St Peters Church in Colchester on 22nd Nov 1846.

The stations on the spur line were to be at Wakes Colne, Bures and Sudbury. To reach these however it was necessary for the line to cross the river Colne and then traverse the Mount Bures ridge. In order to do this it was planned that the line should cross the Colne on a timber viaduct about 70ft high at a point just before the line reaches Wakes Colne which is still within the Borough of Colchester. In the event, good brick earth was subsequently discovered at Mount Bures, so it was decided to change to brick arches which would be cheaper to maintain. With construction of the railway line itself under way Henry moved his family to live at a small hamlet called Golden Square situated between Wakes Colne and Bures right on the course of the proposed route. It was close to the line nestled between Sergent's and Rowney's farms. Henry's wife Elizabeth gave birth to their 5th child Emma CHRISTOPHER (1847-1848) at Golden Square on 16th Mar 1847 but I have not so far located a baptism for her perhaps because she died the following year. Her birth certificate records Henry's occupation as that of labourer.

Chapple Viaduct - Henry present at start of it's construction

The Chapple Viaduct is 1,066 feet long and has 32 arches of 30 feet span and it's maximum height is 75ft. In July 1847 after 2 million bricks had been readied and a workforce of 606 men assembled work began on the foundations. The foundation stone is still visible today on the forth arch and was laid with great ceremony on 14th September 1847. The foundations for the bridge were completed in Feb 1848 having used closer to 6 million bricks and this seems to be around the date that Henry moved on, suggesting that he was one of the 606 labourers working on the bridge rather than building the railway line itself.
14. Thurston in Suffolk 1848-1859

By 1848 The Ipswich & Bury Railway was in financial difficulties and had to make savings. As a consequence a number of staff were made redundant with a cut in wages for the rest. Clearly some rationalization was called for and the Company then amalgamated with the Eastern Union Railway. As far as I know Joseph was still working in Colchester In 1848 but Henry Christopher having completed work on the viaduct moved that year to live in the village of Thurston in Suffolk, on the Bury railway line where he secured a job as a platelayer maintaining the track. They lived close to the Railway station at Thurston in cottages built by the railway for it's employees. Here unfortunately his daughter Emma CHRISTOPHER (1847-1848) died from Smallpox and was buried in the graveyard at St Peters Church on the 19th May 1848, the same day as she died. This seems to be very quick but the overriding concern here was to contain the spread of smallpox which they seemed to do as nobody else died in the family. This must have been of great concern to Henry given the earlier fate of 3 of his brother Thomas's children.

A year later a much happier event occurred when Elizabeth was blessed with their 6th child whom they named Sarah Jane CHRISTOPHER (1849-1912) who was born on 20th June 1849 and baptised at St Peters a month later to the day. The station itself was built in 1846 and is now a grade II listed building. It was quite an imposing structure in such a small village as can be seem in the photographs shown below which I took in 2005.


Thurston Railway Station was set on a high embankment and consisted of two and a half storey buildings constructed with local red bricks with white stock bricks used decoratively on the corners and around the door and windows. There was originally a building on both sides of the track but the up building to Bury was demolished in 1965. The down building which survives contained the station masters house and the booking office on the ground floor with a stairway which ran up past the gentleman's cloakroom at the mezzanine level. From the booking office a subway ran under the tracks to the up platform. A stairway led up past the ladies cloakroom at the mezzanine level again to a waiting room at platform level.

The original Railway Fare Table for 1st June 1848 has survived and I have quoted below some examples of the fares charged.



1st Class

2nd Class

3rd Class

Bury St Edmund's


10d (4p)

6d (2.5p)

4d (2p)

Bury St Edmund's


18s (90p)

13s (65p)

9s (45p)

It also shows that the up train to London from Bury left at 6am, arrived at Thurston at 6.09am, Colchester at 7.43am and London at 10.05am – a Journey of just over 4 hours. I am tempted to say that there are many occasions when it takes that long today!

15. Railway Accident Thurston - 4th October 1850

The following year there was a tragic accident on the line. On 4th October 1850 the locomotive due to work the 0800 departure from Bury burst a tube and had to be withdrawn. There was no telegraph at the time; however Gideon Hatchwell the station master at Bury knew that when the Bury train did not arrive at Ipswich, the engine from the connecting down train from Ipswich to Norwich would be run up the other line to Bury St Edmund's to investigate the situation. To save time he ordered four of the company’s horses to be connected to the two-coach train to pull it along the line to meet the loco coming from Ipswich. To enable them to see the relief train at the earliest opportunity Hatchwell and a porter William Baldry climbed on to the roof of the first carriage.

On arrival at Thurston the stationmaster James Walton (reported to be about aged 33) joined the other two on the roof. At the second (over) bridge from Thurston station the horse drawn train met the relief engine coming from Ipswich. After the removal of the horses the engine was coupled to the train and started its journey to Ipswich. Unbelievably the three men remained sitting on the carriage roof, with the two stationmasters sitting in the opposite direction of travel and facing Bury. At the fourth (over) bridge from Thurston, known as Jannings Bridge (now No 1158) they were hit by the bridge as the train passed under it doing 14mph. James Walton, who would certainly have been well known to Henry Christopher and his family, was killed instantly being thrown forward onto the luggage. Despite valiant efforts by the porter William Baldry, Gideon Hatchwell was twisted round by the impact, fell from the train, and was also killed. The train was stopped as soon as possible by the mortified driver and the train reversed slowly back to Thurston, where both bodies were placed in a horsebox.

That same afternoon an inquest was held at the Fox and Hounds public house that stands opposite the station. According to the newspaper report published in the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser on 12th October 1850 "Mr Bruff, the engineer of the line, informed the coroner's jury that neither of the deceased had any business on the roof of the carriage. It was a breach of discipline, and both of the unfortunate men had subjected themselves to dismissal for leaving their stations without order. Both had been in service of the Company since opening of the line in 1840. They left widows and children". A verdict of accidental death was recorded and subsequently Wolton was buried in Thurston churchyard and Hartwell at St. Marks, New Lakenham
16. Census for Thurston - Taken on 30th March 1851

In the 1851 Census, which was taken only 5 months after the accident on 31st March, we can see that Henry and Elizabeth lived in the Railway Cottages on Station Road. The Cottages are about 100 yards to the right of the station and were built at right angles to the railway line. As can be seen in the picture below, which I took in 2005, they sit today on a mini roundabout at the junction of two roads. As shown on the street sign Barton Road comes in from the right and exits to the left immediately going through a brick built bridge in the embankment to go under the railway line. The road which passes the front of the railway station (see pictures above taken at the same time) and approaches this junction is today called Station Hill, I am standing on the right hand side of that road to take the picture. Immediately to my right is the Fox and Hounds Public House. The cottages which were built specifically to house railway employees are contemporary with the Railway station itself which opened in 1846 so they were relatively new when Henry & Elizabeth arrived in 1848 and would have meant a distinct improvement in living conditions compared to the temporary rented accommodation they had been used to. This then was where Emma Christopher died of smallpox in May 1848 but before we move on lets take a closer look at the 1851 census. There appear to be five families living in these four cottages so it's not clear who was in which cottage but the 1851 Census provides quite a lot of detail:-

The 1851 Census enumerators description of his area is useful because it starts off describing his district as "All that part of the Parish of Thurston lying on the north side of the Railway including the Lodge, Malting, Burnt House, Railway Station & Cottages, Fox & Hounds, ----etc". The Census shows that:-

George Frederick Butcher, his wife and six children all lived in the Railway Station itself. George is described as the 'railway clerk' and would have been responsible for collecting ticket money and keeping the official accounts. He was the replacement for James Wolton which means that his family not only had to cope with his sudden and traumatic death but lost their home as well. They had already left Thurston by the time of the Census. In any event George as the new station master earned enough to employ an 18 year old girl as a Domestic Servant.

Next comes the railway cottages on Station road in which live five families:-

    William Allen aged 28, one of the 'railway porters' with his 23 year old wife Anna and six year old daughter Jane

    Henry Christopher, described as a 'platelayer' with his family. Henry was then aged 34, his wife Elizabeth aged 32 and their surviving children Henry (then aged 13), Charles (9); Robert James (7), George (5), and Sarah Jane (2). Henry's job was to maintain the track as in the early days of the railway they had not achieved the sophistication and reliability we expect today.

    Thomas Walker aged 23, with his 28 year old wife Maria and one year old son. Thomas was the 'railway gatekeeper' and had to close the gates by hand each day when the trains were due.

    David Drake aged 37, with his wife Mary Ann and six children. He is described as a “carter” and would have been employed to look after the horses owned by the company and used to move wagons etc around the yard as well as distribute goods locally that had been brought up the Railway Line.

    Philip Robinson another 'railway porter' aged 25 with his wife Susanna and 2 year old son,
The next family listed in the Census lived just across the road and was Robert Cobbald the Innkeeper of the Fox and Hounds with his wife and 3 children. Working so closely together with these men and living opposite the Fox and Hounds it is likely that Henry Christopher was present when the inquest was held. Indeed given that everybody in those days drank ale not water they were probably all regulars at the inn. English Heritage have Grade II Listed the property and have dated at to 1846 as they believe it was probably built at the same time as the station which makes sense as it gave travelers somewhere to stay. The picture below left is thought to date to about 1955, that on the right taken by myself in 2005.
Fox and Hounds Public House Thurston


Elizabeth was seven months pregnant when the 1851 Census was taken and on 20th June 1851 Henry & Elizabeth's 7th child was born in the railway cottages and no doubt occasioned a pint or two in the Fox and Hounds. They named her Emma Charlotte CHRISTOPHER (b1851) in memory of Emma who had died at Thurston in 1848. She was baptised on 20th July 1851 at St Peters in the same font (picture shown left) as her elder sister Sarah Jane. In 1854 she was joined by their 8th child Mary CHRISTOPHER (1854-1932) and on the 17th November 1855 by another brother whom they named Joseph CHRISTOPHER (1855-1893).

So from 1855 Henry & Elizabeth were living in the small railway cottage with their eight surviving children, perhaps another good reason why Henry would have been a regular across the road at the Fox and Hounds? Their eldest son Henry CHRISTOPHER Junior (1838-1914) however was now an adult and left to find work. One of the major changes that the Railways brought was that ordinary people could afford to move about with relative ease using the Parliamentary Trains. As employees I suspect that Henry’s family may even have had free transport, in any event he seems to have traveled back down the railway to Chelmsford where he plied his trade as a Hawker. I think that he was actually selling shoes for George Keys, a local shoemaker from Woodham Ferrers, as he married his daughter on 22nd June 1858 and their marriage certificate shows that they were both already living in Galley Wood Common which is only a couple of miles South of Chelmsford. Mary Ann Keys (to give her full name) was 3 years older than Henry, and two months pregnant when they married at the Church of St John at Moulsham.

For some reason Henry & Elizabeth were late in having Mary & Joseph baptised so they were Christened together in St Peters on 30th August 1858. The following year they moved back to London living in West Ham which is just as well as on 18th March 1860 the 14th century tower of St Peter's church collapsed and the rest was so unstable that the church had to be completely rebuilt apart from the chancel. In the process the 14th century font in which Henry's children were baptised was shattered but repaired using a silicate, hence the picture.
17. Return to London - West Ham 1859-1863

Migration of the families back to London was started by John DENMAN (1815-1886) (see section 11 above) who having arrived in Colchester around 1845 as a blacksmith journeyman, married there in 1849 and had two children before being offered work at the Eastern Counties Railway main depot at Stratford where he arrived prior to 1855. John and Elizabeth soon added a 4th child to their family with the birth of Catherine Lucy DENMAN (1857-1935) on 5th Feb 1857. She would later become my great grandmother. John had remained in contact with Henry Christopher Senior throughout this period and after his son Henry Christopher Junior (1838-1914) married in Chelmsford in 1858 his son moved to live near John Denman residing at Alfred Terrace in West Ham. John Denman lived not that far away at Globe Crescent (See map below), easy walking distance from the depot, and here he taught Henry Christopher Junior to be a blacksmith. Henry & his wife Mary Ann soon produced their first child, my great grandfather Arthur William CHRISTOPHER (1859-1916) whose birth was registered as having taken place at Alfred Terrace on 5th Feb 1859.

It was about this time that Henry Christopher Senior and Elizabeth also moved their family from Thurston to live at West Ham residing at 4 Nursery Terrace. I think there may have been a combination of reasons for the move. Certainly with 7 children still at home they were cramped in the small railway cottages at Thurston but his children were also reaching adulthood and it made sense to move to where the whole family could get work. Initially Henry became a dock labourer as did his sons Robert and George Christopher. Charles then being 18 years old worked in the nearby railway depot at Stratford cleaning the railway engines.
18. Deaths of Elizabeth Denman (1822-1859) Charles Christopher (1841-1860) & Elizabeth Christopher (1819-1860)


My grandmother often said 'bad things always happen in threes' and that certainly was the case for these close knit families during 1859/1864 and probably meant that at least initially they regretted their decision to return to London. John's wife Elizabeth DENMAN (1822-1859) was 37 years old and pregnant in 1859 with their 5th child. Clearly the birth did not go well for she died on 14th May 1859 just 7 days after giving birth to a baby boy they named Joseph Denman (1859-1864). Her death certificate gives the cause of death as "Childbirth/Peritonitis 7 days" and I have little doubt that Mary Ann (Henry Christopher junior's wife) who was already nursing her own 3 month old baby stepped into the breach and temporarily looked after Joseph. The decision was then taken to send Joseph to live at Ardleigh in Essex with his maternal grandparents Samuel & Susan James.

In July 1859 Elizabeth Christopher, Henry Christopher Seniors wife fell pregnant with her 10th and last child. It must have been with some relief that the baby was born at 4 Nursery Terrace on 2nd April 1860. Elizabeth appears to have been all right registering the birth herself on the 13th May when the baby girl was named as Lavinia CHRISTOPHER (1860-1884), but by then a second major tragedy had already struck the family.

Henry had managed to get his son Charles CHRISTOPHER (1841-1860) a job at the main Stratford railway Depot (See map above) cleaning Railway Engines. Unfortunately this meant that he was constantly scrubbing them down with polluted water and at the beginning of April 1860 he contracted typhoid. He died at the age of 19 on 30th April 1860 his death being notified by his father the same day.

11 months later Henry's wife Elizabeth CHRISTOPHER (1819-1860), still only 43 years old and having successfully given birth to 10 children, died after 14 days of Pneumonia exhaustion on 13th March 1861. This threw the family into disarray and Henry Christopher junior and his wife Mary Ann moved into 4 Nursery Terrace where Mary took charge of the younger members of the Christopher Family, Sarah was 12, Charlotte 10, Mary 7, Joseph 6 and the baby Lavinia only just over a year old. Mary Ann of course also had her own son Arthur William with her, aged 2. On the 7th April when the 1861 census was taken we find all eleven members of the family living together at 4 Nursery Terrace. I can't help but remember that Elizabeth married Henry Christopher in the same year that Queen Victoria ascended the throne of England and that Prince Albert was to die 9 months after Elizabeth on 14th December 1861. The whole world knows just how deeply Queen Victoria felt the loss of her husband, never fully recovering, and this for me brings into perspective the scale of loss that must have been felt at this difficult time for John Denman and Henry Christopher Senior.
19. Move to Sydenham in Kent (1862-1864)

In 1862 the families looked to start afresh. John DENMAN now recorded as a train inspector re-married to an old friend of the family Ann BRAZIER (1812-1898) on 10th Feb 1862 at the Primitive Methodist Chapel in Chelmsford. Ann was one of 10 children of George Brazier (1781-1861) a miller by trade by his wife Lucy Finch (1780-1860). Her father had lived for most of his life at Great Baddow In Essex and when the 1861 Census was taken he had retired, was 79 years old, and living with Ann at Galleywood Common. Galleywood Common was a small area of 175 acres within Great Baddow parish and was also where Henry Christopher junior (1838-1914) was living when he married Mary Ann Allen in 1858. Ann's father already a widower died 3 months after the census was taken being buried in the parish church on 1st August 1861. It was therefore an opportune time for Ann to marry and for John Denman to provide a mother for his children. Ann therefore moved to live in West Ham and raised my great grandmother Catherine Lucy Denman who was only five years old when Ann Joined the household.

I have not been able to locate any records that directly relate to Henry CHRISTOPHER Senior during these three years but various documents recorded shortly after his death refer to him being a carpenter. We know that his son and daughter in law were living with him as Mary Ann was taking care of his younger children, and it's clear from their children's birth and baptism certificates that Henry Christopher Junior was employed on the Railways as an engine driver and that by the end of 1862 they were living at Wells Road in Sydenham Kent. Their second child Eliza Ellen CHRISTOPHER (1862-1863) was born there on 23rd Dec 1862 and baptised at nearby St Bartholomew's church on 31st May 1863. Mary Ann appears to have returned to her parents in Woodham Ferris in Essex for a short period later that year because the daughter Eliza Ellen died there from convulsions on the 17th of August and was buried on the 23rd. The following year on 7th Aug 1864 Mary Ann gave birth to their 3rd child Joseph Henry CHRISTOPHER (1864-1865) at Sydenham and he was baptised at St Bartholomew's church on 27th November.

I am fairly sure that both Henry's, father and son, worked on the Railways. I think that during this time Henry Christopher senior was employed as a carpenter and worked on the Railway Carriages whilst his son was an Engine Driver. It was experience during this time that then set them up for another radical change in family fortunes.
20. The Ottoman Railway Company (ORC) - Smyrna to Aidin Railway Line - Turkey
(Official commencement Ceremony - 1857)

Published in the Illustrated London News 31st Oct 1857)

The History of the 'Ottoman Railway Company (ORC)' in Turkey

Map of Ayasalouk drawn by JT Wood in 1865 and published in 1877]

The Ottoman Railway Company was a British venture, backed by British banks, and formed in 1856 to build a Railway line between Smyrna (now called Izmir) & Aidin (Aydin). The ORC as it became known received its concession from the Sultan on 22nd September 1856 and it was to last for 50 years from 1st October 1860 when it was projected to open. It had a capital of £1.2 million, a huge amount for those days, but this also embraced provision of a whole infrastructure. The original intention had been to encourage the growth of cotton, for which the climate was ideally suited, and supply the textile mills of Northern England. They built a new pier to the North West of Smyrna’s existing harbour together with warehouses, engine sheds, and stations along the line. They even seem to have encouraged the formation the Cotton Association of Anatolia, but severe delays were encountered, to such an extent that the Board of Directors became concerned at the constant outlay with no revenue being generated, and the company was taken off the London stock exchange.

Fortunes improved on Christmas Eve 1859 with the opening of the first section of line from Smyrna to Trianda, a distance of some 27 miles, and trains were run up and down the line thereafter on a daily basis. A Mr WF Ferguson, an experienced traffic and locomotive superintendent was sent out and took charge of organising a complete system of conveyance. To their surprise 3,000 people traveled on the line in the first week, and 100,000 passengers were conveyed in the first six months adding welcome revenue to the operation. Delays continued however with the building of the second section of line from Trianda to Gelat Café being affected mainly by the prevalence of fever. Nevertheless this 10 mile extension to the line opened on 9th September 1861.The Board of Directors then agreed to re-route the line through Ephesus Pass to save time and cost of construction over the next most difficult section.

Another four mile extension was officially opened on 14th November 1861 when a train left conveying Riza Pasha, Governor General and his suite the full 41 miles to Kosbounar. On arrival the Cadi of Smyrna said a prayer for the Sultan, invoked prosperity on the Railway, and then prayed for and blessed the directors, shareholders and all the company employees. This was remarkable and was reported in the Times Newspaper as being the first time that Christians had been publically prayed for in Asia Minor. All 300 of the company employees then sat down to a collation (light evening meal) followed by a number of congratulatory speeches. One of these was by Mr Ferguson who reported that they had now conveyed 170,000 passengers and were commencing goods traffic – all without a single accident.

On 15th September 1862 they finally managed to extend the line another 7 miles to the foothills at Ephesus which was where the whole trade of the Meander Valley crossed the mountain range. At that time everything was transported by Camel along well trodden trade routes and Ephesus Pass was a major junction. Mr Fergusson estimated the season’s fig trade for example to be 70,000 camel-loads alone.

In early 1863 the Company re-negotiated with the Turkish Government a new three year contract to complete the line through the difficult terrain of Ephesus Pass to Aidin adding another £1.78m capital. This construction required more experienced workmen and the contractor was forced to look for these in England.

In April 1863 the Sultan visited Smyrna and his Imperial Majesty and his suite were conveyed over the line to Ayasolook (usually spelt Ayasalouk and now known as Selcuk). By August travelers were using the line to go and see the ruins at Ephesus, and take a brief tour of a few weeks to visit the classical and historical sites in the district. By December 1863 all the major work for construction through Ephesus Pass had commenced. The progress report to the Board is reported in the Times Newspaper on 26th March 1864 and states

“The report of Mr. E Purser, the engineer-in-chief, stated that the remainder of the line (32 miles in length) from Ayasolook (Ayasalouk) to Aidin was commenced in December last. It included the passage of the mountain chain which separated the valleys of the rivers Cavster and Meander, and was divided into three sections, the first from Ayasolook (Ayasalouk) to the summit of the pass, five miles and a half; the second from the summit of the pass to Balachick, seven miles and a half; and the third from Balachick to Aidin, 19 miles in the plain. The first section included the tunnel on the summit of the pass between 700 and 800 yards in length, and another short tunnel between 100 and 200 yards. The cuttings and embankments were about 40 in number, generally short but deep and of hard material. The earthworks had been commenced at all the principal points, and for some time past about 500 men had been engaged upon them, and satisfactory progress had been made”.

In the event the summit tunnel was to prove particularly difficult.

Henry Christopher Senior (1814-1865) and his son Henry Christopher Junior (1838-1914) were two of the men hired by the contractor. My Great Aunt told me a number of things about their time in Turkey but I will relate these in the life of Henry Christopher Junior as they have more to do with him. She said that Mary Ann went with her children and this probably included her husband's youngest siblings as well. Robert James at least appears to have stayed in Stratford as he married there in Sep 1865 by which time he was employed as an engineer. His brother George also appears to have stayed remaining close to Robert and also training to be an Engineer. Robert and his wife for example were witnesses at his wedding in Stratford in 1868. I also suspect that Sarah Jane (who was 14) and Mary (who was 10) stayed behind as they had the support of their elder brothers and the Denman family.

The two Henry's with Mary Ann and several children set off for Turkey around December 1864 / January 1865 and arrived initially at Smyrna Old Harbour (picture left which is dated to 1865) and went on to Ayasalouk on the railway. The map above which was published in 1877 was drawn by the British Explorer JT Wood FSA who was searching for the Temple of Diana at Ephesus whilst the Christopher family was there. It shows Asasolouk and the railway in the top right hand corner and how close it is to the ruins at Ephesus. It also shows the road leading off to Ephesus Pass which converges with the railway line off the top right hand side of the map. The timing of their arrival seems to be about right as we know from reports to the shareholders of the company that 1st class carriages were introduced on the line in 1864 and from Robert's marriage certificate we also know that his father, an experienced carpenter, was being employed there as a carriage inspector. JT Wood in his book " Discoveries at Ephesus" states on page 45:-

"The Smyrna and Aydin Railway Company had this year (1864) provided first class carriages on their line. The journey therefore between Smyrna and Asasolouk was made with greater comfort but it still took fully 3 hours to traverse a distance of scarcely fifty miles. There are ten intermediate stations between Smyrna and Asasolouk."

Henry Christopher Junior was an experienced engine driver but may have had other duties such as being in charge of a gang of locally employed workers excavating the cuttings. We know that by 1865 they were living in Ephesus Pass and from Company reports published in the Times Newspaper that women and children were present.
    In April 1865 there was a further report:-

“The tunnel works have now been extended to 1100 yards in length, inclusive of a portion of the approaches on the Ephesus side, which, from the nature of the rock, could not be an open cutting as intended. The contractor was working on 12 faces in the tunnel and had sent out large numbers of English Miners to expedite the work. The length of the open line to Ephesus was 49 miles, the tunnels and approaches through the mountains extended 13 miles and the section through the Meander Valley to Aidin was about 20 miles making in all 82 miles. The works on the Meander plain would be speedily commenced so that on the completion of the tunnels the whole line might be opened”.

21.  Death of Joseph Henry CHRISTOPHER (1864-1865)     &    Henry Christopher Senior (1814-1865)
at Ephesus Pass in Turkey from Cholera - 1865

The first indication I have of trouble is the death of Mary Ann's one year old son Joseph Henry Christopher, which occurred on the 10th August 1865 (See top consular certificate above). On the 22nd August I know of another 28 year old British railway worker called Joseph Arger (a native of Buckland in Dorset) who died in Ephesus Pass(9) . He was followed on the 26th August by Henry Christopher Senior (See 2nd consular certificate above). The half yearly report to the Board published on 30th September 1865 throws some light upon events in Turkey: -

“At the tunnel works deaths had amounted to 12 Englishmen, two English Women and three children, one Italian and 40 natives; but the worst had passed, the Cholera had ceased, and active operations were to be renewed about the 15th of this month ----- During the visitation of Cholera at the tunnel works, Mr. Drew and other officers had kept the men together till the disease left them. If they had gone away it would have been difficult to have collected such good men together again and considerable time would have been lost”.

It is clear from Newspaper reports that his was only a small part of a much wider outbreak of Cholera which hit Smyrna and the whole region and it was inevitable that it would spread to Ephesus. One estimate was that between 40,000 and 50,000 died. The decision was taken by the railway to quarantine workers in the pass until it had passed. The deaths were duly reported by Mr. William Buchner Lewis the British Chaplin at Smynra but not until the 30th December 1865. The late registration may also have been because an assassination attempt was made on the life of the British Consul in 1865. I have no real information as to where the 17 English, 1 Italian and 40 locals were buried. With Cholera it was standard practice to bury the dead very quickly, more often than not on the same day to help control the spread of the disease. If this was the case they would have been buried in Ephesus Pass but I have not so far located any burial ground which surely would have been significant to cater for 58 people. The only cemetery nearby was that at Ayasalouk (now called Selcuk) and it's location close to the railway line can be seen in Woods map above. I purchased a photograph shown below which shows what it looked like in 1860. The majority of local workmen would most probably have lived at Ayasalouk so perhaps they were all interred there.

Ayasalouk Cemetery - 1860

My Great Aunt, Minnie Amelia Christopher (1894-1972), told me that Henry Christopher Junior's fourth child was conceived on Mount Ephesus so they were still there in November 1865. I think they were probably paid up to completion of the final section of line the following year. The Tunnel in Ephesus Pass and the rest of the line to Aidin was finished and officially opened on 1st July 1866. It seems unlikely that Henry and his family were still in Turkey for the official opening however as they had returned to live in Malden Essex by the birth of their son on 20th July 1866. They named him Ephesus Harry Christopher (1866-1944) in memory of his father and their son who were buried in Turkey.
Their 10 Children (1838-1860)

    (1) Henry Christopher Junior (1838-1914 ) a full account of my 2x great grandfather - follow link to a separate account of his life
    (2) Charles CHRISTOPHER (1841-1860) born at Ridden Court in Hornchurch Essex on 21st May 1841 he was baptised at Hornchurch on 20th June. He moved with the family obtaining a job at Stratford main railway depot washing railway engines. He contracted typhoid from which he died on 13th April 1860 aged 19.
    (3) Robert James CHRISTOPHER (1843-1899) born at Great Warley Hornchurch in Essex on 8th Jan 1843 he was baptised there on 5th February. He moved with his parents returning to live at 4 Nursery Terrace in West Ham in 1860 and working for a short period as a dock labourer. He does not seem to have gone to Turkey but worked in the docks learning the trade of a ships engineer. He married to Mary Ann ALLEN (b.1847) the daughter of a journeyman carpenter Robert Allen by his wife Sarah Ann. After marriage they lived at Angel Lane in Stratford where Robert George CHRISTOPHER (1866-1934) the 1st of four children was born on 24th Aug 1866 by which time Robert's occupation is recorded as that of a ship inspector. A second son Henry CHRISTOPHER (1871-1872) was born in Jan 1871 but died a year later. A third child they named Hannah Emma Elizabeth CHRISTOPHER (1872-1950) was born at Victoria Docks in West Ham and married a waiter by the name of George Herbert JENKIN at St Marks Church, Edmonton, in Middlesex on 22nd Apr 1900. They went on to raise a family of 5 children. Robert and Mary's last child Nellie Grace CHRISTOPHER (1876-1931) was also born at Victoria Docks and went on to marry Monson Alexander Sigrist in West Ham in 1896 and they also raised a family of five children. Robert died at 35 Chauntler Road, in Victoria Docks on 24th June 1899 leaving a modest estate of £99 to his widow who was still alive in 1911 and living with their daughter Hannah.
    (4) George CHRISTOPHER (1845-1881) born at Water Lane in Lexden Colchester in Essex on 23rd July 1843 he was baptised at St Peter's Church in Colchester on 24th August. Like his elder brother he remained with the family until 1860 when they returned to West Ham to live working initially in the dock yard and going on to train as an engineer. It is doubtful that he went to Turkey either as he remained very close to his brother Robert with Robert and his wife Mary Ann acting as witnesses at his wedding in 1868 to Sarah Ann STEWART (b.1846). Sarah Ann was the daughter of Richard Stewart an engineer and at one time a gun smith. They lived after marriage at Victoria Dock with George becoming an engine driver on the railway and raised a family of five children between 1870 and 1881. He worked for many years with John James Denman who married his younger sister Mary but at the young age of 36 he died from a heart attack and five years later his widow remarried.
    (5) Emma CHRISTOPHER (1847-1848) born at 7 Golden Square on 16th March 1847 she died a year later from Smallpox and was buried at St Peters Church in Thurston on the day she died 19th May 1848
    (6) Sarah Jane CHRISTOPHER (1849-1912) born on 20th June 1849 at Thurston in Suffolk she was baptised there at St Peters Church on 20th July. As soon as Sarah was old enough she went into Service and she married on 7th July 1873 at All Saints Church in Poplar Middlesex to a man 4 years her senior, called Henry ANDREWS Junior (b.1846) who was a lighterman on the Thames, but they had no issue. Sarah died in West Ham at the age of 63 in 1912.
    (7) Emma Charlotte CHRISTOPHER (1851-1911) born on 20th June 1851 at Thurston in Suffolk and baptised at St Peters Church on 20th July. She was known as Charlotte within the family and was with them in West Ham at the age of 10 in April 1861 but for 40 years we could find no other trace of her.(8) I am very grateful to Iain David Ramsey who made contact in Feb 2016 who revealed that Charlotte was his 2x great grandmother and without his help this would have remained a complete mystery. We know that Charlotte was with the family when they moved from Suffolk to West Ham and would have been present when her mother died there in 1n 1861. I can't be sure but I think she probably went with them to Turkey returning in 1865. A few years later she met James Hutchins [Hutchings; Hutchines] a labourer who had been born locally in Plaistow. (10) By 1870, when she was 19, she had moved in to live with him. So far we have not been able to locate a marriage (11) but census returns show that she gave birth to 13 children between 1871 and 1893 as shown below. They clearly moved around locally as James found work and in April 1881 they were living at 16 Beaumont Road in the parish of St Andrews in Plaistow. Ten years later they were still in the parish but living at 29 Abbey Street in Plaistow with James working as a labourer in London's docks. James died between 1891 and 1901 as Charlotte is shown to be a widow and head of the household in 1901 and living with 5 of her children at 39 Stanley Street which is still in Plaistow but in the parish of St Mary's. Charlotte died on 3rd March 1911 at 32 Warmington Street in Plaistow at the age of 59 from acute bronchitis and exhaustion from congestion in her lungs .

      (7.1). Henry (Harry) Hutchins (c1871-aft 1911) May have been born at Leyton near Stratford in Essex . Henry never married and in April 1911 aged 41 he was working as a Dock Labourer with his brother-in-law William George Mallett. There is a side note on the census return which states that he has been deaf and simple since the age of 12 and nearly blind.

      (7.2). James Hutchins (c1873-aft 1881) Born at Stratford in Essex c 1873. With his parents aged 8 years in April 1881.

      (7.3). Charles Hutchins (1874-aft 1911) Born in Canning Town West Ham in 2nd qtr 1874 (GRO Ref 4a/35) he became a seaman and in April 1911 aged 37 he was still unmarried and living with his Brother-in-Law William George Mallett

      (7.4). Robert Hutchins (1876-Aft 1881) Born Plaistow Essex in 1st qtr 1876 (GRO Ref 4a/102) With his parents aged 5 years in April 1881.

      (7.5). Amelia Jane - alias Jane Elizabeth - Hutchins (1878-1938) David Ramsey has now located her birth certificate [Jan 2017] which shows she was born at 27 Kent Street, Plaistow, West Ham and named as Amelia Jane HUTCHINGS . The birth was registered by Charlotte Hutchings formerley Christopher on 27th March 1878. No trace of a baptism registration, but the 1881 census refers to her simply as Jane Hutchens aged 3 born at Plaistow and the 1891 census as Jane Hutchins aged 13 born at Plaistow. She married as Jane Elizabeth Hutchines aged 26 a spinster resident at 18 Foster Road in Plaistow, father James Hutchines a labourer to a fireman George William Ramsey (1878-1957) at St Mary's church in Plaistow on 26th Dec 1904. By April 1911 they had raised a family of 7 children (3 of which had died) and were living at 9 Warmington Street in Plaistow with her husbands occupation described as a ships fireman. They went on to have 3 more children 1912-1916. Jane died at Whipps Cross Hospital at the age of 60 on 1st June 1938 when she was living at 44 Anne Street in Plaistow.

      (7.6). Andrew Philip Hutchins (1880-1941) His birth at Plaistow in Essex in 1880 appears to have been registered as Andrew Hutchings (1st qtr of 1880 - need certificate to confirm). He is also in the April 1881 Census recorded as Andrew Hutchins living with his parents at 16 Beaumont Road in Plaistow. Thereafter he used his second name of Phillip which is how he is recorded in the 1891 Census aged 11 and still living with his parents and siblings at 29 Abbey Street in West Ham. By 1898 he was living in Stratford with his future wife Elizabeth Godfrey (1882- 1956), the daughter of a wood carver John Godfrey (1850-1929) by his wife Phoebe Ann Bashford (1852-1892). Elizabeth gave birth to a son on 25th September 1899 whom they named George Philip Godfrey. On 3rd June 1900 they married at St Philip's church in Stepney when Philip was 22 and Elizabeth still only 18 years old. Their wedding was witnessed by her father and Philip's sister Sarah Lavinia Hutchines. Including George who later went on to join the Royal Navy, they had 7 children. Philip died at the age of 61 recorded again as Andrew Hutchines but Elizabeth lived until she was 75 years old.

      (7.7). Sarah Lavinia Hutchins (1801-1927) Born on 25th Nov 1881 at 14 Beaumont Road Plaistow her birth certificate usefully gives her mothers name as Charlotte Hutchins formerly Christopher. She married Thomas Probert in West Ham in 1905 and when her mother died in March 1911 they were living at 38 Jersey Road, Custon, House, West Ham. The April 1911 Census shows that she had 5 children by then but only her son Thomas was still living. She went on to have another six children the last in 1924. She died aged 45 in Sep 1927 in West Ham.

      (7.8). Sophie Hutchins (1884-aft 1891) - Only recorded in the 1891 Census

      (7.9). George Hutchins (1886-aft 1891) - Only recorded in the 1891 Census

      (7.10). Amelia (Ellen) Hutchins (1887 - aft 1911) Born abt 1887 in Plaistow, she married abt Nov 1908 to Edward Wilson a dock labourer. They were living at 36 Warminton Street in Plaistow in 1911 by which time they had 2 children.

      (7.11). Charlotte Eliza Hutchins (1888-aft 1911) Born about Nov 1888 in Plaistow, she married abt Oct 1909 to William George Mallett a slater's labourer from South Norwood. They were living at 32 Warmington Street in Plaistow in April 1911 by which time they had a 1 year old daughter Louisa. With them are her two brothers Henry and Charles.

      (7.12). Eliza Hutchins (1891-1892) Born about January 1891 at Plaistow she died an infant being buried there in the 1st quarter of 1892.

      (7.13). Edith Daisy Hutchins (1893-1977) Born at Plaistow on 28th Jan 1893 she was employed as a teenager in mat making before she married on 23rd March 1913 at Holy Trinity Church in Canning Town West Ham. She gave her place of residence as 38 Warmington Street Plaistow. Her spouse was Ernest McKay of 260 Barking Road, a 23 year old labourer.
    (8) Mary CHRISTOPHER (1854-1932)

    Mary was also born at Thurston in Suffolk in the 1st quarter of 1854 but she was not baptised at St Peters church until the age of 4 when Mary and her younger brother Joseph were baptised there together on 30th August 1858. She moved to West Ham with her parents in 1860 and lived at 4 Nursery Terrace where she appears in the 1861 Census taken on 7th April. I have already outlined the Christopher’s earlier involvement with the Denman family. John Denman had more or less been Mary’s substitute father since Henry Christopher Senior went to Turkey in 1864. With the death of her mother in 1861 and her father in 1865 there is no doubt that John Denman felt an obligation to continue to look out for her and her sisters not least of all because of all the help he had received from the Christophers when his 1st wife died in 1859. Mary's closeness to John Denman can be readily seen from the one surviving photograph of him shown left.

    Mary worked at Tower Hamlets as a domestic servant before marrying John Denman's eldest son John James DENMAN (1853-1939) at St Andrews Church in Plaistow on 13th April 1873. The picture left shows Mary with her father-in-law John DENMAN (1815-1886). The picture right was taken at my great grandfathers house at Wickford in Essex during a family reunion and shows Mary with her husband John James Denman who was a railway engine driver. Surprisingly the reason these photographs survived was not because they descended within the family from Mary Christopher but because John James Denman's younger sister Catherine Lucy Denman (1857-1936) also married into the Christopher family to my great grandfather Arthur William CHRISTOPHER (1859-1916) the eldest son of Henry Christopher Junior. It was Catherine who had the photographs which descended to me.

    Mary and John had nine children between 1874 and 1894 all born at West Ham(7). After marriage they lived at 7 Custom street Plaistow which was in close proximity to where Mary's elder brother George CHRISTOPHER (1845-1881) was in residence. For some reason her 2nd child Elizabeth Ann was raised in her early years by her married sister Sarah Jane Andrews and as a consequence went to school in Plumstead. Mary was still very much in contact with her elder brothers, so it's not surprising that her husband was very good friends with her elder brother George. They worked together for many years as Engine Drivers at Stratford. It was John that was present and took charge of informing the Registrar when George died suddenly in West Ham in 1881. They lived for many years at 69 Clever Road in West Ham and Mary died at the age of 78 in 1932.
    (9) Joseph CHRISTOPHER 1855-1893) Joseph Christopher although baptised with the full name of Joseph was always known throughout the family simply as Jo (or Joe) and as time went on he used the abbreviated form on official documentation. When he was about 14 years old he was apprenticed to a George Gibbard in Hackney. Jo’s father Henry was actually a Millwright at one stage so carpentry was not new to the family. George Gibbard was a Looking Glass Frame Maker [i.e. for mirrors] and Jo became a skilled picture frame maker, a trade he was to eventually pass onto his eldest son.

    Jo met and married in the Parish of St Mark Old Street Middlesex, a lady by the name of Lydia Ann Sore who was a Londoner having been born in Islington and the daughter of a sand and glass merchant Edwin William Sore. Soon after their marriage they moved to Blythwood in Glasgow for a short time as their first child, a boy, whom they called James William Christopher, was born there in 1879. Returning to Tottenham to live their second child a girl called Ellen was born there in about October 1880. The April 1881 Census shows them living at 4 Lanhedge Terrace in Edmonton Middlesex. They then moved to Holbourn where Lydia was born in 1882 and Clerkenwell where Robert G Christopher appears upon the scene. Their last two children Henry and John were born in St Lukes London in 1888 and 1891.

    Jo and his wife Lydia both died young. Jo in 1893 aged 37 and Lydia in 1895 aged about 45. Their son James was therefore only 15 years old when his father died and he continued the picture frame making business and 17 when he lost his mother and had to assume sole responsibility for his 5 younger brothers and sisters. By 1901 we find them all still living together at 181 Kingsland Road Shoreditch.
    (10) Lavinia CHRISTOPHER (1860-1884) All I know about her short life was that she was brought up by the Denman Family and went to live with her sister Sarah and her husband in 1873. When she was older Lavinia became a nurse and worked in the City of London Lunatic Asylum at Stone in Dartford Kent.

      It is important to appreciate that it was the Victorians who for the first time tried to tackle public health. The first anaesthetic for operations only came into use in 1846 and the first Public Health Act passed by Parliament in 1848. 1853 saw the “Big Stink” in London when the Thames was so rank that it actually stopped the work of Parliament. That same year vaccination against smallpox became compulsory and after the 4th major outbreak of Cholera in London the sewers were enlarged and modernized in 1855. Lavinia had been born in 1860 and this year saw the introduction of the first flushing toilet although it took many years to become widespread. Mental institutions were also built to house the insane with Broadmoor opening in 1863. The City of London Lunatic Asylum was built by the Corporation of London between 1862 and 1866, being officially opened on 16th April 1866.

    The 1881 Census shows Lavinia as one of 30 Servants [Nurses] looking after 306 male and female patents in the institution. In later years it was to be improved and in 1924 changed its name to “The City of London Mental Hospital”. When it was finally taken over by the Ministry of Health in 1946 it changed its name again to “The Stone House Hospital” which is still there today [2004] just off junction 1a on the Approach Road to the Dartford tunnel close to the Thames. I believe it is due to close and be turned into luxury apartments.

    Unfortunately for reasons that we shall probably never know, she moved to Hackney. I think she arrived around the end of 1883, and went to work in the smallpox hospital there attached to the Hackney Union Workhouse. On arrival she was given the smallpox vaccination and unfortunately had an adverse reaction which in effect gave her a milder form of the actual disease but this was still bad enough to kill her and she died on 11th January 1884 at the age of 23.

Genealogical Notes:-

(1). Oxford Alumni

(2). Clergy of the Church of England database

(3). Fire damage at all Saints Church Isleworth National archives HO 207/125 - Former references: in its original department: LR 1619/25. I cannot trace Bishop Transcripts for 1837 and had to assume these also have not survived.

(4). The following children are known to have been baptised at All Saints Church Isleworth
    4.1 Elizabeth Christopher - daughter of Thomas & Rebecca Christopher Born 03 Jan 1832 baptised 29 Jan 1832 by Rev Henry Glossop
    4.2 John Onley - son of Richard Onley and Sarah Christopher born 26th Oct 1832 baptised 25 Nov 1832 by Rev Henry Glossop
    4.3 Joseph Christopher - son of Thomas & Rebecca Christopher Born 31 Aug 1833 baptised 22 Sep 1833 by Rev William Harris Parker curate
    4.4 Sarah Onley - daughter of Richard Onley and Sarah Christopher baptised 7th June 1835
    4.5 Jane Christopher - daughter of Thomas & Rebecca Christopher baptised 26th July 1835 by Rev William Harris Parker curate
    4.6 Richard Onley - son of Richard Onley and Sarah Christopher born 22nd Jan 1837 baptised 12 Feb 1837 by Rev Henry Glossop
    4.7 Eleanor Christopher - daughter of Thomas & Rebecca Christopher Born 3 Feb 1837 baptised 26th Feb 1837 by Rev Henry Glossop
    4.8 Adam Spencer - son of James Spencer and Eliza Christopher born 27 Mar 1837 baptised 16 Apr 1837 by Rev Henry Glossop
    4.9 Henry Christopher - son of Henry Christopher senior and Elizabeth Hawkins born 24 Mar 1838 baptised 22 Apr 1838 by Rev Henry Glossop
    4.10 Cain Spencer - son of James Spencer and Eliza Christopher born 10 Nov 1838 baptised 2 Dec 1838 by Rev Henry Glossop
    4.11 Abel Spencer - son of James Spencer and Eliza Christopher born at Witton 21 Jun 1844 but baptised at Isleworth 7 July 1844 by C Way curate
(5). January 1838 - George Karstadt, a Post Office surveyor, was the first to suggest using a special railway carriage for the sorting of mail whilst en route. On 20th January 1838 the first Traveling Post Office was born. It lasted until 2004.

(6). Unfortunately the main church and consulate records were burnt and destroyed in the fire of 1922. By an ironic quirk of fate it was the grandson of the Reverend Lewis called Bill Lewis who, as verger of St John’s, successfully hid and fed thirty Greeks in the Crypt of the church during the 1922 troubles when the Greeks and Armenians were trying to escape.

(7). John James Denman and Mary Christophers known children are:-
    (7.1) Joseph John Denman (1874-aft 1911)
    (7.2) Elizabeth Ann Denman (1876-1948)
    (7.3) Hannah Denman (1877 - aft 1901)
    (7.4) Richard Christopher Denman (1879-1930)
    (7.5) Nellie Grace Denman (1881-1922)
    (7.6) Ethel Lavinia Denman (1884-1962)
    (7.7) Alice Mary Denman (1886- aft 1911)
    (7.8) Gertrude Mabel Denman( 1889-aft 1901)
    (7.9) Rosa Ada Denman (1894-aft 1914)
(8). For some time I thought Emma Charlotte Christopher was the wife of Samuel Barton who married in 1873 but he married Emma Vincent who was born at Tirston in Suffolk according to the 1881 and 1901 census when she is with her 2 children by him the first named Willie Vincent Barton 2nd George Barton. I think this refers to the hamlet of KIRTON between Ipswich and Felexstowe as the GRO has a birth reg at nearby Woodbridge. The IGI has a baptism of an Emma Vincent baptised at Kirton Suffolk 7th Dec 1851 the daughter of George & Mary Vincent so I concluded this is not our Emma Charlotte.

(9). See British Newspapers Archive On-Line The Kentish Gazettepublished on 17th Oct 1865 page 5 under DEATHS: ARGER

(10). In 1867 Plaistow one of three wards in the parliamentary borough of West Ham.

(11). Emma Charlotte Christopher - Research Difficulties:- The absence of any marriage was one of the main difficulties in tracing her life as until Iain made contact we had no idea what surname she was using. Some of her siblings children became Methodists and certainly most of their records have still to be filmed and indexed. Hopefully one way or another more information will come to light, but I get the feeling that they did not marry as I can find no further contact between Emma Charlotte and her family after she lived with James. Tracking down documentation relating to her subsequent life with him is still fraught with difficulty and there are a number of reasons for this. First Charlotte and in all probability James as well were both illiterate (Charlotte signs her name with an X on her daughters birth registration). This means that it was the enumerator that actually recorded information on the Census returns so he would simply write down what he was told. Secondly there are some indicators of estrangement from her family and a desire not to co-operate or offer more information than was strickly necessary with official recording. We still can't find the family anywhere in the 1871 Census, and on the 1881 Census she uses her first name of Emma whereas she was always referred to as Charlotte within the Christopher family and by 1891 she has returned to using that name. Her birth place given in 1881 as Bury St Edmunds is more understandable. Although she was actually born at Thurston in Suffolk, they were building the Railway line out to Bury St Edmunds where it terminated in 1860 so that is the last place she would remember in Suffolk and she was then still only 9 years old. As an aside her siblings generally signed their name rather than used a mark? A third reason for complexity is that James surname is spelt in lots of different ways (Hutchens, Hutchins, Hutchings and often Hutchines which is not picked up on ancestry's search engine as a derivative of the others). A fourth reason is that they often gave their birth place as where they were or had recently been rather than where they were actually born.

Having said all that the 2 census returns we have show that Charlottre gave birth to 13 children between 1871 and 1893 so yoiu would think that it was easy to track them during that period. So far however we have only identified one birth certificate for Sarah Lavinia Hutchins. I have listed all the children in the hope that others will be able to help us fill in some of the blanks.

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