Alexander Leahair Kirk [1893 - 1939]

[1893 - 1939] MMF

Born: 22 November 1893

Birth Certificate:

Registration DistrictIslington
in the Sub-District ofHighbury
in the County ofLondon
When and where born22 November 1893, 42 Isledon Road
NameAlexander Leahair
Name of FatherRobert Kirk
Name of MotherEleanor Amelia Kirk, formerly Leahair
Profession of FatherLaw Clerk
InformantEleanor A Kirk, Mother, 42 Isledon Road Islington
When Registered1 January 1894

Baptised: 14 March 1894, St Barnabas Islington

Father: Robert Kirk

Mother: Eleanor Amelia Leahair

5-generation pedigree


  1. Harold Leahair Kirk [4th qtr 1883 Islington RD, baptised 2 December 1883 Tollington Park St Marks - 24 May 1962] married 3rd qtr 1907 Islington RD Ethel Stuart Turner [- 1918] died in the great influenza epidemic
    1. Kathleen Winifred Kirk [24 August 1910 - 2 January 2004] married 2nd qtr 1933 Edmonton RD Leslie J Porter [29 August 1911 -]
        79 Bellamy Drive, Harrow: RG101/795J sn252 {1939 [Leslie and Kathleen. No closed entries]}
    2. Gladys E Kirk [10 September 1914 Edmonton RD -] married 1st qtr 1942 Edmonton RD William Frederick 'Bill' Holmes
      26 Hawksley Road, Stoke Newington: RG14/1013 sn109 {1911 [2 children, 1 surviving]}
    Harold Leahair Kirk married 4th qtr 1920 Islington RD Rose Wortley [1st qtr 1890 Islington RD - 17 October 1961]
    1. Kenneth Harold Kirk [11 July 1921 - 1st qtr 1993 East Staffordshire RD] married 3 November 1945 All Saints Forest Gate Joan Olive Harding [2 May 1925 - 10 November 2003]
      1. Susan Joan Kirk
      2. David Kenneth Kirk
      134 Effingham Rd, Tottenham: RG101/903C sn48 {1939 [Harold, Rose, Gladys and Kenneth. No closed entries]
  2. Robert Leahair Kirk [2nd qtr 1886 Islington RD - 3rd qtr 1886 Islington RD]
  3. Ralph Leahair Kirk [5 April 1887 - 13 November 1946 Los Angeles CA USA ] married 1921 Dooley MO USA Virginia Lizzie 'Ginny' Barnhouse [14 December 1896 IL USA - 18 May 1955 San Mateo CA USA ]
    1. Marjorie Lee Kirk [7 May 1932 CO USA - 4 October 2007 Tuolumne CA USA ] married 19 December 1979 Reno NV USA Frank Lee Trover [- 2003 Tuolumne CA USA ]
    Sheridan MO USA: roll T625_975 page 3A {1920}
    Hill Ave, Grand Junction, Mesa CO USA: roll T626_247 page 4B {1930}
    3972½ West Santa Barbara Avenue, Los Angeles CA USA: roll T627_418 page 15A {1940}

    Ralph Leahair Kirk sailed to New York on the SS Majestic arriving 13 April 1913, his final destination being Spy Hill SK Canada. Shortly after, he adopted the name Robert Leahair Kirk. In January 1917 he moved across the Canada/USA border at Portal ND, on his way to Dooley MT, where he worked as a hired man on the farm of John A Newburg, via Council ID. In later records he is shown as a baker.

    The obituary for Virginia L Kirk in the San Mateo Times of 19 May 1955 says she was a resident of Los Angeles and native of Illinois. She died at the home of her daughter, Mrs Marjorie L Trover, 970 Magnolia Drive, Millbrae. She was also survived by sister Mrs Harriet H Bristow of Eugene OR, brother V G Barnhouse of Pasadena, and two unnamed grandchildren.

  4. Gilbert Leahair Kirk [born 16 March 1888, baptised 29 April 1888 Islington St Barnabas - 12 July 1942] married 1 March 1919 Finchley Holy Trinity Ada Austin [1st qtr 1896 Barnet RD - 1st qtr 1968 Barnet RD]
    1. Eric Austin Kirk [1st qtr 1920 Barnet RD - 16 April 1942]
    2. Madeline Bertha Kirk [2nd qtr 1924 Barnet RD - 7 March 2011 Waltham Abbey as Mrs Madaline Bertha Alger] married 3rd qtr 1953 Hendon RD John H Alger
    3. Doreen M Kirk [3rd qtr 1927 Barnet RD - 4th qtr 1928 Barnet RD]
    4. Evelyn Marian Kirk [3rd qtr 1936 Barnet RD -] married 3rd qtr 1959 Hendon RD Kenneth G Brereton
        26 Regal Court, Edmonton {1961, 1963 electoral rolls}
        22 The Larches, Southgate {1965 electoral roll}
    5. John William Kirk [3rd qtr 1936 Barnet RD -] married 2nd qtr 1960 Hendon RD Sylvia I Wray
      1. Austin John Kirk
      8 Upway, Finchley: RG101/769D sn260 {1939 [Gilbert and Ada. 4 closed entries]}
  5. Cecil Leahair Kirk [28 September 1889 - 3rd qtr 1966 Hackney RD] married 27 July 1919 Stoke Newington All Saints Rosina Dudley [25 September 1876 -]
      69 Denman House, Stoke Newington: RG101/569G sn202 {1939 [Cecil and Rosina. No closed entries]}
  6. Leonard Leahair Kirk [1st qtr 1892 Islington RD - 2nd qtr 1892 Islington RD]
  7.   Alexander Leahair Kirk [1893 - 1939]
  8. Georgina Eleanor Leahair Kirk [born 21 January 1895, baptised 24 March 1895 Islington Emmanuel - 1st qtr 1895 Islington RD]
  9. Winifred Alice Kirk [born 9 January 1903, baptised 21 May 1903 Islington St Mary Magdelene - 3rd qtr 1962 Salisbury RD] married 4 August 1928 Ernest Valentine Rodway [26 April 1901 - February 1984 Salisbury RD]
    1. Ronald E Rodway [13 September 1930 - 1st qtr 1962 Huntingdon RD] married 3rd qtr 1956 Wood Green RD Millicent Alice Edwards [23 February 1932 - 3rd qtr 2000 Hastings and Rother RD]
    2. John R Rodway [4th qtr 1938 Edmonton RD -]
      Church Street, South Kesteven LIN: RG101/6396H sn156 {1939 [Ernest, Winifred, and Ronald Rodway, and 1 closed entry, Alice Kirk (widow born 29 March 1914, Winifred's mother) and Ethel G Kirk {sister}.]}
  10. Eric Richard Kirk [25 November 1904 - 1st qtr 1981 Canterbury RD] married 2nd qtr 1934 Stoke Newington RD Dorothy Susie Annie Leader [9 March 1904 - 4th qtr 1976 Chichester RD]
      29 Hydethorpe Avenue, Edmonton: RG101/740B sn162 {1939 [Eric and Dorothy, and Susan Leader born 25 April 1868, presumably Dorothy's mother. No closed entries]}
  11. Stanley Robert Kirk [14 October 1906 - 4th qtr 1974 St Austell RD] married 4th qtr 1929 Edmonton RD Maud Allen [13 July 1909 -]
    1. Jean P Kirk [1st qtr 1930 Edmonton RD -]
    2. Brian R Kirk [4th qtr 1936 Edmonton RD -]
    3. Rita J Kirk [1st qtr 1940 Malling RD -]
      59 Fernleigh Rise, Malling KEN: RG101/1831A sn244 {1939 [Stanley and Maud, and 2 closed entries]}
  12. Laurence Walter Kirk [25 October 1907 - 3rd qtr 1995 Chichester RD] married 1st qtr 1935 Pancras RD Ivy Iris Hoare [16 March 1907 St Pancras RD -]
      15 St James' Court, Nightingale Rd, Wood Green {1935 electoral register}
      92 Woodfield Way, Wood Green: RG101/991D sn171 {1939 [Laurence and Ivy. No closed entries]}
    Laurence Walter Kirk married 4th qtr 1945 Edmonton RD Betty M Findlay Ivy I Kirk married 3rd qtr 1945 Westminster RD Norman H Hutton so Ivy and Laurence must have divorced.
    1. Robert A Kirk [4th qtr 1946 Islington RD -]
      Robert Kirk worked in libraries in New Zealand in the early 70s, and was appointed Deputy County Librarian of Surrey in 1978, becoming County Librarian in 1992. He served with LASER as Chairman of the Management Advisory Panel and also on the British Library Advisory Committee for Bibliographical Service and Document Supply. In April 2000 he was seconded to the role of Head of e-government to West Sussex County Council
      1. Jamie Kirk
  13. George Edward Kirk [2 May 1909 - 2nd qtr 1981 Haringey RD] married 3rd qtr 1934 Stoke Newington RD Vera Adelaide M Blandford [11 June 1909 Edmonton RD - 1st qtr 2002 Chichester RD]
    1. Rita M Kirk [3rd qtr 1940 Nottingham RD -]
    2. Janice M Kirk [1st qtr 1943 Nottingham RD -]
    3. John A Kirk [3rd qtr 1945 Nottingham RD -]
      25 Grand Avenue, Hornsey MDX: RG101/863J sn211 {1939 [George and Vera Kirk, Alice M Blandford born 28 April 1877 (presumably Vera's mother), Elsie M K Blandford born 26 May 1906 (presumably Vera's sister). No closed entries]}
      The household also contained John T Parkins born 27 May 1890, Percy G Wiles born 19 September 1911, William J Wiles born 23 February 1912, and Douglas G Lee born 25 July 1920
  14. Edith Catherine 'Kitty' Kirk [24 August 1910 - 2nd qtr 1993 Bourne RD] married 2nd qtr 1936 Edmonton RD Ronald E 'Jack' Long [22 November 1908 -]
    1. Lawrence N Long [1st qtr 1937 Bourne RD -]
    2. Christine M Long [2nd qtr 1948 Bourne RD -]
    3. Richard A Long [1st qtr 1951 Bourne RD -]
      Church Street, South Kesteven LIN: RG101/6396I sn80 {1939 [Ronald and Edith, and 1 closed entry]}
  15. Ethel Grace Kirk [8 April 1913 - ] married 3rd qtr 1940 Bourne RD Morris A 'Rodney' Mason
    1. Janet Mason [2nd qtr 1942 Bourne RD -]
  16. Phyllis M Kirk [2nd qtr 1914 Hackney RD - 4th qtr 1917 Bourne RD]
    The last 8 siblings were stepsiblings by Robert Kirk's second wife, Alice Sherman
    44 Hawksley Road, Stoke Newington RG14/1013 sn91 {1911 [7 children, 6 survivng]}

Photographs of his siblings

Married: Sybil May Bonas 15 November 1915

Marriage Certificate:

Registration DistrictEdmonton
Solemnized atThe Register Office
in the County ofMiddlesex
When Married15 November 1915
Name and SurnameAlexander Leahair Kirk
Rank or ProfessionRailway Porter
Residence59 Greenfield Road, Tottenham
Father's NameRobert Kirk
Father's ProfessionClerk to a fountain pen maker
WitnessesC Bonas, C Rawlings
bride's sister Charlotte, family friend - there are Rawlings in ALK's Birthday Book?

The Marriage Certificate gives the date of marriage as 15 November 1915, but is dated 5 November. Examination of the entries before and after in the Register shows that the ceremony took place on the 15th.


  1. Lavinia May Kirk
  2. Henry Cecil Kirk
    Born in Swaffham Norfolk.
  3. Violet Sybil Kirk

1926 The Kirk Family circa 1926

All known descendants

Died: 22 January 1939

Death Certificate:

Registration DistrictColchester
in the Sub-District ofColchester North West
in the County ofEssex
When and where died22 January 1939, Severalls Hospital
Name and SurnameAlexander Leahair Kirk
Age45 years
Occupation of 143 134 Collingwood Road, Lexden Colchester, Railway Gate Keeper
Cause of death1(a) Pulmonary Tuberculosis certified
InformantS M Kirk, Widow of deceased, 134 Collingwood Road, Lexden Colchester
When Registered24 January 1939

Buried: 27 January 1939, Colchester

Newspaper: Unknown, January 1939:

The Late Mr. A. L. Kirk The funeral took place at St. Leonard's, Lexden, on January 27th, of Mr. Alexander Leahair Kirk, of 134, Collingwood Road, Lexden. Deceased was for some time in the employ of the L.N.E.R., and was engaged at the level crossing at Chitt's Hill. He was a popular personality. Death occurred after a long illness, patiently borne. There were numerous wreaths. The chief mourners were the widow, Vena and Violet (daughters), Henry (son), Gilbert (brother of deceased) and Mrs. G. Woodrow (sister-in-law). The service was conducted by Rev. S. L. Dolph, and the funeral arrangements were carried out by the Colchester Co-operative Society.


He worked at several stations, firstly on the Great Eastern Railway, then on the London and North Eastern Railway following LNER's takeover of GER in 1923: Brimsdown, possibly Tottenham Court Road, Swaffham, Roudham Turnpike Level Crossing, and finally Chitts Hill (to which he moved in February 1932).

At Brimsdown in 1914

While he was permanent crossing keeper at Roudham Turnpike Level Crossing, there was an accident on 27th October 1926:-

"As a 2-ton pneumatic-tyred open Morris type motor lorry, owned and driven by a poultry carrier of Attleborough, was passing over this level crossing from the direction of Norwich on a journey to London, it was run into by the 1.20 pm. down special goods train, Peterborough to Yarmouth.

I regret to report that [the driver] sustained injuries from which he succumbed in Thetford Cottage Hospital early next morning. [Two passengers] were travelling on the front seat with him. The former was seriously injured and the latter severely shaken, singed about the face, and bruised on the legs and back."

His daughter Violet remembers the injured men being carried into the gatekeeper's cottage. The report on the accident makes it clear that the accident happened while Alexander Kirk was away due to illness, his job being temporarily performed by two replacements.

WW1 Service:

page 1 page 2 page 3 page 4 page 5
33833 Alexander Leahair Kirk enlisted in the 3rd Battalion East Surrey Regiment 1 May 1917, and discharged on medical grounds: exophthalmic (marked by protrusion of the eyeball) goitre, 19 October 1917.


1933-45: Benhams Colchester A L Kirk, 134 Collingwood Rd

Electoral Roll:

134 Collingwood Road, Colchester (as Alexander Kirk Kirk) 1936-7: Lexden Ward, Colchester


189342 Isledon Rd, Islington (Booth Map)
unknown60 Elwood St, Highbury (Booth Map)
190157 Fulbourne Terrace, Walthamstow
1907-191144 Hawksley Rd Stoke Newington
191559 Greenfield Rd, Tottenham
1917134 Effingham Road, Harringay
circa 193022c Alfoxton Ave, West Green, London N15
193148 Turnpike Crossing, Roudham
1933-9134 Collingwood Rd, Colchester [TL963245]

His addressbook (written in several hands - not all of which can be his, as the entries refer to people born after his death - and containing the addresses 60 Elwood St, Highbury, N and 44 Hawksley Rd, Stoke Newington), contains the following entries:-

January 1Mrs. Harriet Bonas
January 4Alice Barnes§
January 9Winnie KirkSister
January 12Harriet BonasMother in law
January 161899 Thomas LeahairGrandfather. 1899 was the year of his death, but January 16th not the date of death, so perhaps the birthdate
February 101923 Arnold Rawling age nine
February 12Mr. Eric BonasBrother in law
February 18W Austin
February 20Mr. Barnes
February 22Willie Sherman "I think the Willie Sherman mentioned is my grandfather (1880-1927). I think so because he had a sister who married a Kirk; I also remember my father talking about his Aunt Alice, probably the same; they lived in the same part of London, and they had some sort of connection with the Deepings in Lincs." (Mick Sherman [])
February 26Agustas F Read
March 61917 Miss Lavinia May Kirk - 1942 Lavinia May WatsonDaughter
March 10Enid Reeve age 15 a friend
March 121942 Walter William WatsonSon in law. 1942 is his year of marriage
March 16Gilbert KirkBrother
March 181906 Coralie Norman
March 20A Sherman - Mrs. A KirkStep-mother §
March 21Percy VivashMarried Alice Sherman's sister Annie
March 31Arthur Harber put in the year 1929
April 1Gilbert Hollis
April 4Henry BonasBrother in law
April 5Ralph Leahair KirkBrother
April 81913 Ethel Grace KirkSister
April 11Marion Hume
April 13Annie Sherman - Annie VivashAlice Sherman's sister
April 15Amelia L Thorn
Fanny Thompson
April 21Alice Chance
April 22Mr. Sherman§
April 28Harold Thompson
April 29Miss Pansy Bonas, Post Office St, Castle Acre, Kings Lynn, NorfolkSister in law
May 1Doris Brown
May 21909 George KirkBrother
May 6Frances M Huggings age 15 a friend
May 8Alice E Barnes
May 9Mrs. Lottie Rawlings
May 11Mrs. Thorn
May 12Miss Dulcie Dutchman
May 14Ernest VivashSon of Alice Sherman's sister Annie
May 18Dorothy M Rust age 15 a friend
May 20Maud Lloyd
May 23Violet Sybil Kirk 48 Turnpike Crossing Roudham nr Thetford NorfolkDaughter
May 251906 Arthur William Bonas
May 28Laura M E Kidd
May 29John BerrimanGrandson
June 20Richard Sherman§
June 21G Pettbridge [entry deleted]
June 23Henry Thompson
June 251903 age 15 Louie Hackman
July 2Heather BerrimanGranddaughter
July 6Ronald Brown
Sybil Bonas
Mrs Sybil May Kirk
Sybil May Bonas 21st
July 7Freddie Thompson
July 11Susan BerrimanGranddaughter
July 21G Petherbridge
August 51900 Eleanor Amelia KirkMother. 1900 was her year of death.
August 71918 Henry Cecil KirkSon
August 101924 age 7 Joan V Rawlings
August 231908 Fred BonasFather in law
August 24Edith T KirkSister
September 6Jim Haggs
September 12Jas H Cunningham
September 141914 Albert Leahair BonasBrother in law
September 16Hd KirkBrother Harold Leahair Kirk?
September 171893 Wolly Webber
September 19Mrs. Sherman§
September 24Vera M Woodrow age 10
September 28Cecil KirkBrother
September 291898 Catherine Leahair1898 was her year of death, but September 29 1898 cannot be the date of death, as it was registered in the 1st qtr 1898, Edmonton, aged 44.
October 2Roland VivashSon of Percy Vivash and Annie Sherman
October 8Miss Edna Grace Woodrow
October 9William Thorn
October 141906 Stanley KirkBrother
October 25Laurence Walter Kirk (?)Brother
October 311948 John Hall BerrimanSon in law. 1948 is his year of marriage
November 5Nellie Kinsey
November 9Mrs. Hegarty
November 121906 Lesile Read
November 161893 Alice Thompson
November 19Edwin John Harber 1930 age 2
November 221893 Alex Leahair KirkHimself
November 25Eric KirkBrother
November 29Emma Sherman§
Mrs Grace Woodrow
December 1Robert Kirk
Bonas 1936
December 6Leslie Reeve 1918
Iris Harriet Harber 1931
December 9Sat - D - 1922 Jun 3rd Violet Bonas (sic)Sister-in-law?
December 15Daisy Webber
December 26Louie Guyatt
December 30Ethel Stuart Turner - Ethel Stuart KirkSister in law: married Harold Leahair Kirk
December 311918 Ronald Simpson

§ In the 1901 census (RG13/177 f100 p1), Alexander's brother Harold is listed as a visitor at 295 Liverpool Road, Islington. The Head of the household was George Sherman (70). Also in the household were his wife Mary A Sherman (52), daughters Alice Sherman (27), Emma Sherman (24) and Mary A Sherman (15), sons William Sherman (20) and Richard Sherman (12), and visitor Alice M Barnes (7). In 1871, the Kirk family was living at 108 Liverpool Road.

He spent some time at the Herman De Stern Convalescent Home in Felixstowe Suffolk. The Home is shown on a postcard he sent to his wife as "Mrs A L Kirk, 22c Alfoxton Ave, West Green, South Tottenham, London N-15", which reads:
Nov 23rd
Dear S

Just a card to say got letters and B'day Cards alright. Thank little Violet, I feel 27 today. Well dear I'm still getting fat for Xmas you wont know me. I'm here for another 2 weeks. I shall be at Hospital about (11-30 AM on Dec 6th)


The card is postmarked 24 November, but the year cannot be read. However, from Violet Kirk's recollection, and the reference "I feel 27 today'', the year 1930 (in which he was actually 37) seems likely. In the same year, he also attended the London Hospital - hence the family moved back to Alfoxton Avenue for about 6 months - and convalesced in Herne Bay. The costs of these convalescences may have been met by the London and North-Eastern Railway Company.

According to a family tradition, he once tried to break into Buckingham Palace to see the Queen (Mary of Teck?).

Amongst the photographs kept by his daughter Violet was a cutting from an unidentifiable newspaper, with a poem attributed to A. SELL KIRK:-


I am on duty twenty-four hours a day,
My freedom, there is none to dispute.
From this centre I give right of way
To the man, the motor and brute.

O servitude! where are the charms
Through these gate I oft put my face,
Better be in the mid'st of some farms
Than dwell in this out-landish place.

I am out of humanity's reach
While I stand by these gates all alone;
Never hear the sweet music of speech,
But some growls like a dog at a bone.

The beasts that roam over the "main,"
My form they can hardly see,
They are so unattended by man,
And their lameness is shocking to me.

No society or friendship. I shove
These gates are too much for one man.
O, had they the wings like a dove,
How soon I'd taste freedom again.

My sorrows I then in old age
Would soothe with religion and truth;
Might learn to live out of this cage,
And be cheer'd by the friendship of youth.

Ye winds that make me your sport
Sometimes in the morning at four;
"Gate, gate!" Oh, I've heard the report.
Some day I shall hear it no more.

My friends, do you ever intend
Or wish to liberate me?
O tell me I yet have a friend,
Though a friend I never can see.

When I think of my own bit of land,
Scant moments I've time to be there.
Forty times a day with my hand
I open these gates in despair.

The bird is gone to its nest,
The beast is down on the moor;
They have a season of rest -
I my fate in my cabin deplore.

No mercy for me in this place -
Not one encouraging thought.
I've no time to buy boots or a lace
Now I am stopped the few hours I had got.

The similarity of the names A. SELL KIRK and Alexander Kirk is interesting. Was Alexander the poet? There is no known railway with the initials MLS — the closest being the MSL (Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire) and LMS (London, Midland and Scottish), but there is no evidence to suggest he worked for either.

1914 1926

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