Updated January 17, 2020 with new information about Alfred’s second wife.
When Alfred Thomas (Thomas) Webb was born in January 1861 in Great Boughton, Cheshire, England, his mother, Sarah Webb (1842-1915), was unmarried and only 19. He’s found as a “nurse child” in the home of Thomas and Ann Povey on the 1861 census as his mother is working as a nurse (possibly a wet nurse) in a nearby home. Thomas had two brothers and four sisters (one adopted).
The civil registration marriage index suggests that Thomas married Emma Alice Dodd early in 1882 (the Banns and certificate have not been located).
Emma Alice Dodd was born in 1862 in Chester, Cheshire, England, the daughter of Charles Dodd (1833-?) and Sarah (1832-?). She had two brothers.
In 1869, Emma and her parents were living at 2 Francis Street, Cheshire (just up the street from Alfred’s family) and Emma was attending the Victoria Road School (which is the same school that one Alfred’s siblings attended).
- Alfred James Webb (1887-1887)
- Alfred James Webb (1888-1897)
- Gertrude Webb (1891-27-Dec-1970) m. George Povey (1899-18-Feb-1950)
- Charles Henry Webb (1895-1983) m. Alice Cooper
In 1871, Thomas is back with his mother and family with his new stepfather. In 1881, his whereabouts are unknown.
When Alfred James is born on January 9, 1887, the family is still living in Cheshire now at 4 Francis. The child is baptized on February 2nd at St. John the Baptist in Cheshire, but dies within a few months.
The couple has a second son, who they also name Alfred James. The child was born on August 15, 1888, and baptized at the Church of St. Mary’s, Ince-in-Makerfield on February 10, 1889. The family is living at 497 Warrington Road and Thomas’s occupation is Engine Driver.
Daughter Gertrude Webb is born on March 20, 1891. She’s baptized at St. John the Baptist in Cheshire (as was her father) on August 23, 1891. The family is still living on Warrington Road at the time of the 1891 Census and Gertrude is one month old. Thomas’ occupation is still an Engine Driver.
In 1901, Thomas and Emma are living with Charles and a servant Nellie Jones (b. 1874) at 214 Central Drive in Blackpool. Thomas’ job is clarified – he is a Railway Engine Driver (in keeping with his stepfather, James Squires who also worked on the railway). I don’t have the death record, but I believe that the younger Alfred James died in 1897 in Wigan (there is a matching death in the registry).
And daughter Gertrude was boarding at the Institute for Blind Welfare and School for the Partially Sighted on Watling Street West in Fulwood, Preston, Lancashire (the census suggests that she was blind). Information about the school is documented in the book, “Those Derby Days: A History of the Derby School for the Partially Sighted.”
In 1911, the family is living at 32 Hornby Road in Blackpool—Thomas, Emma, Gertrude, Charles Henry and the same servant, Nellie Jones. Thomas (Alfred Thomas in the census) is still a railway engine driver. (You’ll note that the census suggests that Gertrude is “totally blind.”)
The building is now known as the Franklin Hotel.
The National Probate Calendar suggests that Emma died on January 23, 1932. Her effects were left to her husband and daughter.
Alfred remarried to a widow, Harriet Slater on January 31, 1933, in the parish church in Blackpool. Alfred’s, aged 72 at the time of the marriage is a “retired engine driver.” His blushing bride is 64 years old.
Harriet’s address at the time of the marriage is a few doors up from Alfred at 26 Mere Road. Her father was a hotel keeper. When Harriet Slater was born in 1869 in Ardwick, Lancashire, England, her father, William Slater (1842-?), was 27, and her mother, Harriet (née Ardern) (1841-?), was 28. She was married and widowed twice prior to her marriage to Alfred Thomas. She had one daughter with her first husband. Harriet had three brothers and two sisters.
Main image: Two trams near North Shore Promenade Gardens, Blackpool, ca. 1935 (image via Wikimedia)