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Albert in Woking

Army Service : III. Discharge

Albert and his family, Margaret, Minnie, now 11 and George aged 5, and perhaps Margaret's other two children, Margaret and Edward who would have been 9 and 7 if still alive (see the previous page, Albert in India for details) arriving back in England three days before Christmas in 1873. It must have been a great culture shock for the children who had never been to England before as they shivered in the cold and damp. Margaret is not known ever to have returned to Ireland, unless she took the two younger Mernin children there (they have not been found yet in any census) but her brother is recorded as living in London in 1903. He too has not been found with any certainty on any census although he was still alive in 1903 (see the account of Albert's funeral Albert and/or Margaret must have written many letters home and received many in India over the years but whether they met any relatives at this time is not known. Albert was still in the army and had to travel to Woolwich as before, probably from Portsmouth or Southampton, being stationed under the command of Major C.G. Robinson. He was not on leave until 15 Jan 1874 when he was given about five weeks. Now that the country was criss-crossed with railways he could have visited his family easily, all of them no longer in Devon but now living with or near his sister Emma at Burton Park in Sussex.

On 28 April, presumably back at Woolwich, Albert was again placed on the married establishment list. It is assumed that this meant he was entitled to army quarters for his family, though conditions in some of these quarters were still disgraceful. He had several more months to serve having signed on for 20 years and had to go to Newcastle upon Tyne from January to March in 1875. On April 10th he was stationed at the army base at Weedon and listed in the Pay Lists and Muster Books. It must have been a very frustrating time, mostly just waiting with nothing in particular to do except endless parades and polishing of brasses and buttons. .

Albert Jackson R.A.

Then in August Albert's discharge papers came through. He had completed his 'period of limited engagement' - 21 years and 4 days, having served 1 year and 3 months in the Crimea and 16 years, 1 month in India. His record of service was signed by Captain G.H.Marshall R.A. commanding his company , and also by Lt. F.G. Wilson, R.A., Major P.B.Raikes R.A. and Lt Col Edward Harrison commanding the 16th Brigade R.A.
Albert was in the E Battery. He was awarded medals for Good Conduct, for Long Service, the Crimean Medal with clasp for Sebastopol, the Turkish Medal and the Indian Mutiny Medal. He can be seen wearing them in the photo. He also received an inscribed clock, presented by the regiment. All these, the clock and the medals, are now in the possession of his gg-grandson.

Albert's discharge papers tell us some more about him. Now aged 40 he was 5ft 8 ins in height, he had a "fresh complexion, grey eyes ('hazel' crossed out), and brown hair." he had no marks or scars and was never injured or court-martialled etc, his intended place of residence was Sutton End, Pulborough, he held a 3rd class School Certificate, and by trade he was a carpenter.

Albert at Sutton End

On 7 September 1875 Albert was given a railway warrant for 1 15s 10d to travel to Pulborough in Sussex and another 20/- on his actual discharge. (1 would easily feed the family for a week or two or was perhaps to last him till he received his pension). His parents were now living at Sutton End on the eastern side of Burton Park. It was presumably easier to reach there from Pulborough rather than from Petworth. He was listed for the last time that November on the Pay Lists of the 16th Brigade which was no doubt for pension purposes.

Albert stayed only a short time with his family at Sutton End. Just across the park Uncle George Mason and Aunt Emma already had, perhaps, ten children, as the family always believed, though not all have been named or traced. Perhaps the older ones had already left home, George at 18 may have already moved to London where he was a carman in the St Pancras district and at least one of the girls, Amy (Mary Amy) was planning to be a nun. By 1881 she was living at St Elizabeth's Convent in Kensington, but there were three girls around Minnie's age. Peter, later to become a priest, was only six so a playmate for his cousin George and there were three more still under five years old. Emma herself had been a schoolmistress in 1861 in the big house and a school had now opened next to the church built in 1863-1866 by the main gates to Burton Park so it could have been an advantage in one way to stay, but on the other hand could have been very cramped with the extra children.

By 1881 Albert was living in Woking but he must have moved there within weeks of his visit to Sussex in 1875. The house at Sutton End was 'two up two down' and would have been very cramped, especially if Margaret's other two children were still alive and living with them. (See the previous page on Albert in India for details of the children). It was on 19 April 1879 that George Jackson, Albert's father, died. The informant was Sarah Sherwin who lived with her family next door to the Masons at the Bailiff's house in Barlavington. George was buried in the new graveyard of the church, just above the main road south through Duncton. Mary Anne moved in to live with Emma and the Mason family, died three years later and was buried in the same grave. Next to the Jackson grave is that of the George and Emma who both lived well into the next century, both graves being clearly marked, and with them lies their son Richard, 1866-1891, twin to Agatha (who survived till about 1950). There must still be some descendants but only two are known for sure, Fr.Peter Mason, Emma's son, who remained in touch with his cousins till his death in Streatham where he was parish priest about 1951, and a descendant, Kathleen O'Neill, daughter of Frank and granddaughter of George and Emma, who did not marry and who was a great friend as well as 2nd cousin of George Jackson's daughters

Albert in Woking and St John's

Albert would certainly have been at the funerals of his parents if at all possible, but he first took a post in Woking as a prison officer, living at 11 Prison Cottages.

Knaphill Prison and Inkerman Barracks

The prison for infirm convicts was begun in 1859 with the building of the quarters for male prisoners between the villages of Knaphill and St John's. By 1870, when the female convict prison had been built alongside, the total prison population reached 1,400. A huge staff was required and it looks as though some housing for them was provided by the Home Office nearby.

The census of course gives no indication of how far apart all these places were but a map of 1873 shows the prison as quite isolated between Knaphill to the northwest and St John's, roughly south-east. (see Inkerman Barracks, Knaphill or Woking Prison, Woking Surrey on Between Knaphill and the prison was a large area named 'Fulks Orchard'.

(left) The buildings in 1902, by which time they had been converted to Barracks for a number of years.

(right) The married quarters opposite the entrance>
to the barracks, originally 'Prison Cottages'

At one end of the 30 'Prison Cottages' were houses for the Chaplain (at this time the prison doctor lived there), a deputy governor and a steward. After the 'cottages', only one of which was unoccupied, was 'Model Cottage' occupied by a Charles Harvey 'Blacksmith Warder'. (He probably had more to do with horses rather than chains on the prisoners by then!). Next came Prison St, with a number of 'Principal' warders, the houses being numbered 1-8 and then, oddly, more houses numbered 1-20. Then there were individually named houses, their occupants having jobs like Scripture Reader, steward, surgeon and assistant surgeon, chaplains, (Anglican and Catholic), Lady Superintendent (cook) and then 10 more houses in New St. with yet more employees, gatekeepers, carpenter, messenger, bricklayers, stoker and gardeners.

(below left ) Entrance to the barracks - opposite the married quarters above.
Hermitage St had 11 houses with bakers, grocers etc, then Prison Path which appears to mark the end of the prison houses. First was Norfolk House, occupied by two families, a grocer and bootmaker and a prison officer. At Buttevant House was an 'Edmund A.Barrymore, B.A., Of Ch.Ch. (Sch) Classical Master' aged 24, born in Amesbury, Wiltshire. His wife was the daughter of a Baronet and he does not appear to have had any connection with the prison. Perhaps he was a private tutor. (At 24 he would not yet have received his M.A. 'Ch.Ch.' could be Christchurch Oxford. As it is a cathedral as well as a college it has a choir school, but this reference is still obscure.)Next, still on Prison Path, were 'Sutton Cottages', a row of six houses, 2 empty, the rest occupied by people working at the prison. It is not known how many of these houses were private property nor how far apart the roads or the individual houses were.

It is interesting to notice that the next two dwellings are called Belle Vue Cottages as Albert is recorded in the accounts of his funeral as having died in a house of that name. The first of these two was occupied by a 'teacher of languages' and the second by a 'foreman in nursery'. Belle Vue Cottages are also listed as being in St John's. However, there were three more cottages, Flora, Fir Tree and Smithers, then the St John's Post Office and then Goldworth Rd. The route of the enumerator past an inn called the New Barge and a lock indicate that the road ran by the canal and then led into Woking itself. The 'New Barge' is simply a mis-reading of 'Row Barge' and was on Goldworth Rd, which can now be identified as the one running parallel to the canal and past the pub.

One lane went from Knaphill past the north-east side of the prison via the Robin Hood public house and Brookwood Farm which both faced the prison. Only a couple of fields further on came the canal, Woodend Bridge and then the Row Barge Inn.

From the Anchor Inn in Knaphill there appears to be another track along the south-eastern side of the orchard, on past the prison, next a large 'Brick Field', and then past the Prince of Wales Inn, over Kiln Bridge and into St John's by the old National School. This other inn is mentioned in the account of Albert's funeral because the proprietor, another (unrelated) 'Mr Jackson' was present as a friend. The only named cottage in the area is Kiln Cottage near Kiln bridge and the Prince of Wales Inn. Between the two bridges and the pubs is a lock on the canal. Both the lock and the brickworks as well as the nurseries (which still flourish in the area) brought much of the trade to the two inns.


St John's with Inkerman Barracks just visible beyond

The establishment of the 'Brookwood Lunatic Asylum' nearby must have also added to the huge growth of local housing at this time. More background to this phenomenal growth of Woking, including the original intention to make it one vast cemetery (now known as 'Brookwood'), can be found on quite a number of websites easily available through search engines such as 'Google'.

The Anchor Inn is obviously in Knaphill, but according to the map it was only a hamlet in 1873 and the whole area was referred to as 'Woking'. Some of the new residents on the road beyond Kiln Bridge were working at the prison as clerks and the number of Knaphill shopkeepers had also increased considerably since 1873. The Robin Hood pub appears to have had only a scattering of houses along its lane with the engineer and foreman at the prison living at the Knaphill end, but near Brookwood Farm were more houses which must have been fairly new, with more warders, cooks, gardeners, carpenters and brick workers etc. All the residents were incomers from all over the British Isles and many returning from spells overseas. Out of a total of 52 people, mostly children in fact, said to be born in Knaphill, only one family, that of John Cheeseman a nursery worker aged 47, could be said to be a real Knaphill family, while over 50 people given as born in Knaphill, mostly older, had long moved elsewhere in the Home Counties.)

The Inkerman Barracks became the home of the Royal Military Police in 1947, but it has now been demolished and replaced with new housing. There are still new housing schemes in operation which are described on the official site of Woking Council. Most of the old prison cottages may have gone or else names like 'Prison St' will have changed their names along with the prison.There is no Hermitage St now but a Hermitage Road is shown on modern maps. Barrack Path, a continuation of Inkerman Way via a pelican crossing on Amstell Way was originally 'Prison Path', leading towards St John's. Roads named after Crimean War battles and generals like Raglan indicate the location of the old barracks. The 'Row Barge' is still 'going strong', is very family friendly, and figures on one of the local 'pub walks'. The canal was derelict for years but like many such projects is being restored, though there is no longer any access to it from the pub. It's unlikely that the large lawn at the front will be changed back from the packed car park which long ago replaced it.

A 'calendar of events'

Woking Prison, sometimes called 'Knaphill Prison', was opened in 1860.
Albert moved to Ivy Cottage when he first arrived in St John's "28 years ago" - i.e. 1875 (the reporter or his informant must have been counting back from when he wrote the report as Albert was quite definitely still in the army until his discharge on 19 August 1875)
In 1881 Albert's address was given as 11, Prison Cottages. The newspaper account does not mention Albert's prison service. It would appear to be from 1875 (to an unknown date). There is an obvious discrepancy between this and the '28 years at Ivy Cottage', a mystery yet to be solved.
It was claimed 'The deceased is better known as the first person who instituted the omnibus service running from St John's for over 20 years.' So he would have begun this service about this time, 1881-2
1881 or 1882 is perhaps when Albert also became proprietor of the Rowbarge Inn on the canal. (The 1882 edition of Kelly's directory gives Jeremiah Collins and he is also listed - with no help from the enumertor's handwriting - on the 1881 census as Jeremiah 'Clollings', proprietor of the 'New Barge' (Directories are bound to be months out of date)
The prison was transferred from the Home Office to the War Office in 1889.
Albert was proprietor of the Rowbarge until 1890. By then he was probably more involved in his bus service.
The conversion of the old prison for invalids into a barracks to house two battalions of infantry began in 1892. It was renamed the Inkerman barracks and in 1895 the 2nd Battalion The Royal West Surrey Regiment, the Queen's, was the first to be stationed there.
Margaret, Albert's wife, died on 17 March 1897
The 1901 census describes Albert as a 'bus and cab proprietor'
Albert died at 'Belle Vue' Cottage on Boxing Day, 1902. He had moved there only a week before, from Ivy Cottage. This is an odd move as he had been ill for about three months and was apparently 'laid up' - presumably in bed. The move was perhaps for the convenience of whoever was caring for him. His death certificate lists him still as an 'omnibus proprietor' as well as an 'army pensioner', so he never officially 'retired'.

Only Albert, Margaret and George are listed in the 1881 census as in Woking and it was a mystery for a long time about where Minnie had gone. Now 19, she was was found eventually not as 'Minnie Mernin' but as 'Minnie Jackson', a nurse at 'Earlswood Asylum for Idiots' at Redhill in Surrey : 'Nurse Dom Ser (Inst Service)', born in Agra, India. She did not abandon her name of Mernin, though it was rather an afterthought, written over the top when she signed her marriage certificate in 1893.

back - Tom, George, Minnie front - Albert, Margaret

The Taylor family

Tom and Minnie and three of their four children.

Thomas Taylor became a Regimental Sergeant Major and was often in charge at events like the Queen's birthday parades in London. He also served in the Boer War and was at the relief of Mafeking and of Pretoria. The photo on the left was perhaps taken on the occasion of Minnie's engagement or marriage to Sgt Thomas Taylor of the Grenadier Guards (before 1893), even though the couple are not standing together. George does appear to have a white handkerchief in his jacket pocket (as usual for a wedding) It soon became apparent from the records that 'Minnie' was just a nickname but her immediate family don't seem to have been aware that she was baptised as 'Mary Elizabeth.

George married Fanny Ricketts who was then living at Westfield in September 1893. Three months later Minnie and Tom married on Christmas Day, perhaps the only day Tom could get leave at the time. Both marriages took place at the Catholic church, St Edward's, Sutton Place.

Albert and Margaret with their first two grandchildren
Elizabeth (Cissie) and Nellie

Margaret's style of dress is unchanged!

George and Fanny had five surviving children who all attended this school in Knaphill, built in 1880/81 at a cost of £2090 (including a schoolmaster's house), replacing the earlier Church School (but now long closed). By 1902 when Albert died the third of George and Fanny's children, Arthur (aka Hugh), had probably joined his brother and sister there. Click on the photo for a larger one taken two or three years later, presumably at the back of the school, showing the pupils and teachers with Arthur sitting cross-legged at the front.

One of George's children born in July 1900 was baptised with the name of 'Minnie Pretoria' - she spent a lifetime trying to hide it!

George joined the army and fought in Salonika. A postcard shows him sitting outside Mtarfa military hospital on Malta where he was sent for about three months with malaria. The names, ranks and regiments of all the other soldiers in the photo are given.
See also the Jackson family photo album

First Bus Service in St John's
Albert had been involved with horses from his earliest years and he soon acquired several. He also bought several vehicles and began a service to take the officers from Inkerman Barracks to the station or even further afield. Eventually his 'omnibuses' ran to Woking, Knaphill, Send and Ripley and he also hired out traps and shooting brakes. It was said of him in the local newspapers that he was

'the first person who started the business of fly proprietor and ran a service of buses to Woking Station for twenty years...He frequently drove his vehicles himself and at special times was to be seen mounted on his box with his medals on his breast. When Colonel Harris of the 3rd East Surrey Regiment returned from South Africa, Mr Jackson drove him to the Inkerman Barracks, and it was on such occasions as this that he delighted to display his well-won decorations.'

Albert made quite a number of notes about his expenses which would certainly have been lost but for the fact that he used the blank spaces in his father's account book! Among the various items listed was brandy - 2/6 a time, quite expensive compared to a breakfast for 6d! Papers are frequently included,, meaning presumably newspapers, and hire of the trap varying from 1/3 to 2/6, but also tobacco at 4d, telegrams, washing and potatoes!. Several bills seems to be for a Mrs or Miss Sam and another was for a 'Mr Howard_James' who had hired the trap every day for a week. The entries also include various calculations, one listing 'pension' which appears to be '35-14 - 10', 'Rent' of '12', Licence '11-5' , Taxes. These are just scrawled across the page with no other explanation and no entries are dated. The following 'trips' are listed on one page and are included in case the names are recognised::

Mrs Bolton - half past eight train at Woking Station
Father Geoghan (Gaughan, Geoghegan - correct spelling uncertain).- quarter to twelve Woking Station
Miss Hutchings 2 to 6 (illegible word)
Mr Phipps 8 06 W. St.
Mrs Bonny(?) quarter to (?) Stoke.

Unfortunately Albert's handwriting is not very easy to read, especially 'n's, 'm's and 'w's where the pen seems to run away with him. Fr 'Geoghan' was not the parish priest at St Edward's so he has not been identified.

First Woking Fire Brigade
Albert became very involved in the local scene in St John's, becoming a member of the Village Club, and served for many years in the first, then voluntary, Fire Brigade. The early rather stormy history of the fire service is documented in the minutes of the local council meeting. The brigade was formed in 1895 by Charles Sherlock who then became its first Captain, with four sections, each covering one of the four urban wards. Their equipment was primitive, their volunteers untrained and there was a rift between Sherlock and the chairman of the fire committee, Kitteridge, a shopkeeper from St John's, who was more concerned with saving council money, to the extent that Sherlock and 17 of the fire brigade then resigned. Eventually after more disagreements. in 1899 the fire brigade was provided with a permanent fire station and then the new steam engine which they wanted though their own communications were still too poor to guarantee arrival at a burning property in time to save it from destruction.

It's interesting to note that in the same newspaper which carried a lengthy account of Albert's funeral, the Woking Herald of Sat. Jan 3rd 1903, it is reported that the local council - including Mr Kitteridge who had been re-elected for Knaphill and St John's - voted against the fire brigade being involved in helping outside their local boundaries. "The Fire Brigade has rendered yeoman service during the past year, six fires being attended, only one of which proved to be serious. Considerable discussion took place as to whether the Fire Brigade should be allowed to attend fires outside the area of the Woking Council and it was finally resolved that the other parishes must take care of themselves." There was one exception. "Horsell, however, at length came into line with a promise to contribute the necessary expense."

Charles Sherlock the Captain, Grantham the Foreman, and Mr Howard a fellow fireman, represented the fire service at Albert's funeral. Albert is reported by the Woking Observer as being foreman of the St John's branch and that he was succeeded by his son George, so either Grantham had replaced him when he was ill or was foreman in another ward. The last mentioned fireman here was presumably James Howard whose name appears among those Albert recorded as ordering a trap to take him to the station. Howard and his wife also sent a floral tribute.

Footnote: The following two entries in the 1881 census could be relevant?
1. Henry A. Sherlock aged 38 in 1881, born in Puttenham, Surrey, was living at 29 Prison Cottages and was the 'Prinicpal Baker' at the prison.
2. Charles A. Sherlock aged 30, born in Puttenham, Surrey, and a labourer, was living in Stoke (next to Guildford) in 1881

With many thanks to Trevor Howard who has not only corrected mistakes and made many helpful suggestions
but supplied all the postcards of Woking above.

1. Albert in the Crimea 2. Albert in India 3. Albert in Woking 4. Newspaper Report