Matthew Ireson and Esther Frances Dovey

Matthew Ireson

When Matthew Ireson Jr. was born on May 11, 1856, in London, London, England, his father, Matthew Ireson Sr. (1818-1857), a conductor, was 38 and his mother, Charlotte Augusta (née Lang) (1821-1913), was 35.

He married Esther Frances Dovey on May 21, 1881, at Holy Trinity Church in Islington, Middlesex, when he was 25 and she was 22. Matthew’s occupation according to the certificate was a belt maker. Not just any kind of belt maker though – a fancy belt maker. Witnesses to the marriage were Henry Dovey (father of the bride) and Helen Lang (likely a relative of Matthew’s mother.

Marriage Registration (image via
Esther Frances Dovey

When Esther Frances Dovey was born in June 1858 in Tottenham, Middlesex, England, her father, Henry Dovey (1831-1909), a surgical instrument maker, was 27, and her mother, Mary Ann (née Hayden), was 27.

They had seven daughters and four sons over 21 years:

  • Esther Augusta Ireson (1882-1885)
  • Henry Matthew Ireson (1883-1954) married Margaret Josephine Aldcroft (1880-1973)
  • Walter Ireson (1884-1951) married Ellen Mary Dunn (1889-1920) and Constance Downey (1887-1980)
  • Ada Ireson (1886-1974) married William Joseph Victor Davies (1886-?)
  • Florence Ireson (1888-1963) married Thomas Robert Rowland* (1887-1963)
  • Ellen Ireson (1891-1921) married Thomas Thurling (?)
  • Louisa Ireson (1893-1979) married James East (1891-1979)
  • Ethel Ireson (1895-1980) married William Henry Stokes (1898-?)
  • Edith Ireson (1887-1981) married John Rowland* (?-1952)
  • John Ireson Sr. (1900-1973) married Helen Alice Rowland* (1899-1967)
  • James Hayden Ireson (1902-1968) married Emily Rosina Clawson (1907-1986)

*Three of the Ireson siblings married three Rowland siblings, children of Frederick Rowland and Eliza Salter. 

I’ve found Matthew on the 1881 census, presumably just prior to marrying Esther. He’s a lodger living at 35 Half Moon Crescent in Islington (the home doesn’t appear to be still standing). He’s living with Samuel Lawrence and his wife and their three children. It’s unknown what Samuel’s relationship (if any) is to the Ireson family.

The couple’s firstborn child, a daughter, born early in 1882, was named Esther Augusta, for her mother and her maternal grandfather. Esther was baptized at the same church her parents were married in, on March 19, 1882. The couple appears to be living at 35 Half Moon Crescent – it’s unknown whether or not they’re still lodgers as Matthew was in 1881. Matthew’s occupation is now “warehouseman.”

Baptismal Record, Holy Trinity Islington (image via

The couple’s first son, Henry Matthew, is born on April 2, 1883. He’s baptized on April 29, 1883. Matthew’s occupation appears to be “electrician,” but the address on the record is unreadable and does not appear to match the previous or the next address.

Baptismal Record, Holy Trinity Islington (image via

By the birth of son Walter on December 21, 1884, the family is living at 101 Offord Road in London. According to the baptismal record on May 17, 1885, Matthew has settled into his role as an electrician.

Baptismal Record, Holy Trinity Islington (image via
101 Offord Road, London (image via Google Maps)

Esther Augusta dies at the age of 3 in June 1885. She’s buried in London.

A second daughter, Ada Ireson, is born August 28, 1886, and baptized on November 14. The family is (oddly?) back at 35 Half Moon Crescent. Matthew is an Electric Dynamo Attendant (a Dynamo is a type of motor.)

Baptismal Record, Holy Trinity Islington (image via

Florence is born next on September 9, 1888, followed by Ellen in 1891. The girls, though born three years apart, are baptized on the same day–June 21, 1891. The family has moved to 39 Alfred Street in London and Matthew is an Electrical Operator. The buildings currently on Alfred Street are more modern–I suspect as London was bombed heavily during the war, that perhaps this neighbourhood was refreshed.

Baptismal Record, Holy Trinity Islington (image via

At the time of the 1891 Census, we find the entire family living at the home on Alfred Street. Matthew (36) is an Electric Light Attendant. All of the older children with the exception of Henry appear to be going to school. Matthew’s mother Charlotte is also living in the home–she’s a “Monthly Nurse” for the sick. A monthly nurse would be a modern post-partum doula, and the note indicates that she likely took care of ill mothers in their post-partum stage (think “Call the Midwife”).

1891 England Census (image via

Louisa is the next daughter born on March 9, 1893. She’s baptized on July 9. The family is at the same Alfred Street address, and Matthew’s occupation is simply “Electrician.”

Baptismal Record, Holy Trinity Islington (image via

The couple has two more daughters, Edith, born March 3, 1897, and Ethel, born August 1, 1895, and a son, John, born July 22, 1900. All three are baptized on September 23, 1900, at  St. Silas Church in Pentonville. The family lives at 39 Sonning Street, and Matthew appears to have settled on Electrician. (I haven’t located Soning Street on modern maps.) The curate appears to have registered John incorrectly. Although the address and other information is the same as the girls, his mother is listed as “Caroline” as is the child listed above him and baptized on the same day.

Baptismal Register, St. Silas, Pentonville (image via

The couple’s final child is a son, James Hayden Ireson, born January 18, 1902. James isn’t baptized until February 4, 1912. Walter’s daughter Florence is baptized on the same day at All Hallows Church in Tottenham. By this time, the couple is living at 90 Bruce Grove, in Tottenham (London). According to city directories, the move occurred in about 1905. The address appears to be an apartment over a corner shop, which makes sense, as Matthew is a Storekeeper (as is Walter).

Baptismal Register, All Hallows Tottenham (image via
89-90 Bruce Grove, London (image via Google Maps)

The 1911 Census, taken the year before James’ baptism, show the family living at 89 Bruce Grove (which appears to be one in the same with 90). Matthew (54) is an “oilman shop keeper.” Florence (22), Ellen (Nellie) (20), Louisa (18), and Ethel (15) are dressmakers. Edith (14), John (10) and James (9) are at school.

In London, in the days before electricity and gas were supplied to all homes/establishments, lighting and heating were still sourced from candles, open (coal or wood) fires and oil-fired lamps and heaters. An oil shop sold different varieties of oil for these purposes, but primarily paraffin. The shops also sold candles, dyes, ironmongery, household items but would often employ someone to deliver the bulky paraffin. This would be an “oilman.” Some entrepreneurial oilmen had their own tanks on carts that they would hawk around the streets calling out their wares to prospective purchasers, but it appears that Matthew had a brick and mortar location.

1911 England Census (image via

Esther died on June 10, 1914, in Edmonton, Middlesex, England, at the age of 55. The residue of her estate was settled on July 2, and left to her husband.

Probate Record (image via

Multiple electoral records show Matthew continued to live at 89-90 Bruce Grove after Esther’s death, and Matthew Ireson and Sons appears in the 1926 city directory for London at that address.

In 1939, we find parts of the family living at both 89 and 90 Bruce Grove. John Ireson is living at number 89 with his wife Helen. He is described as a “Shopkeeper” at a grocery store. At number 90, Matthew is living with daughter Edith, who is still unmarried and a “dressmaker.” Like his son, Matthew is also described as a “shopkeeper,” but he is retired.

1939 Register (image via

Matthew died in 1948 at the age of 92. I haven’t found a probate record, a burial record or an obituary.

Main image: Tower of London, 1901 (image via Wikimedia)


9 Responses

  1. My Gt Gt Grandparents were Matthew and Charlotte Ireson.I am interested in what you have found out.Is it possible to find out further without using Instagram?

  2. Hi,
    My grandfather was Kenneth Ireson who was a navigator in the RAF and was killed in early 1950’s. When my mother was six months old. I believe his father had an ironmongers in North London.
    He was married to Hazel Clacey and they had one daughter Christine Ireson who is my mother.Does this ring any bells or wrong Ireson family?

    1. Thanks for commenting Bryan! I wonder if you can clear up a mystery. Does your mum know when and where Matthew Ireson died? There has been some implication that he might have relocated to Canada and remarried even though his wife is listed as a “widow” on the census.

      1. Hi, We cannot help with that but I will keep an eye out for you. Mum is descended from Matthew’s elder brother Giles.

        1. My family tree was compiled in 1950. James Ireson retired from metropolitan police and the whole family were at a party for him with the exception of my grandfather Henry who was living in Hamilton then.

  3. Hi Brian.My previous reply should have connected Eileen Doyle with Arthur James Birch and then on to the Iresons.Does that make sense?


    Richard Ireson

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AG Knapper

I’ve been researching my tree for over twenty years…and I’ve found some easy branches, and some gnarly ones…

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