The Family of Richard and Ann Jones

As can be seen from the family tree – Appendix 1, Richard and Ann had eight children. Whether there were other children who died at birth or soon thereafter we do not know. There might possibly have been another child between Emily and Charles (a five year gap) as siblings arrived thereafter at an almost regular two year interval.

Emily, born on 21st November 1865 and the eldest, is described as a Warehousewoman in the 1881 Census when she was 15 years old. The family was living at 38 Russell Street, Wolverhampton. The fact that Emily began work at this age is clear evidence that the family fortunes had not reached the heights achieved by the end of the century when Richard and Ann were living in the Georgian splendour of Gorsebrook House, probably with servants.


Emily married Thomas Wootton at St Mark’s Church, Great Wyrley (near Walsall) on April 11th 1887 when she was 21 years old. Thomas Wootton was a carpenter and his father, Joseph, a farmer. There is still a "Wootton’s Farm" in the Great Wyrley area. The witnesses to the marriage were Charles Jones and Lucy Hancox. Charles, Emily’s younger brother,would have been 17 at the time. The name Lucy Hancox is of interest. Hancox was the maiden name of Emily’s mother, Ann. Lucy is, thus, likely to have been a relative, possibly a niece or younger sister of Ann.
Charles, or, to give him his full title, Charles Jones M.Inst.C.E., M.I.E.E., was born in 1870, and is probably the most famous member of the Jones family. We know little about his early training, but in course of time he joined the Great Metropolitan Railway Company in London in 1903 as an Electrical Engineer. On January 1st 1906 he was appointed Chief Resident Electrical & Mechanical Engineer. He retired in mid-1924 due to ill health at the age of 54, but stayed on as a consultant for a further 3 years. What happened to him after this we do not know. During his time with the Metropolitan Railway he designed the ‘H’ Class steam engine, and the ‘G’ Class was based on a broad specification for its design given by Charles Jones to the builders, the Yorkshire Engine Company. A measure of the esteem in which Charles Jones was held by the company can be appreciated from the fact that of the four ‘G’ class engines, regarded as the leading class of their day, three were named after prominent members of the company. Lord Aberconway was named for the Chairman of the company; Robert H. Selbie was named for the General Manager and one of the Directors of the company; and then there was Charles Jones. The fourth engine was called Brill after one of the Metropolitan Railway depots.
Charles’s skills did not only extend to steam engine design. He arrived at the Metropolitan Railway at a time when the directors of the company had decided to electrify their London and suburban services. Charles Jones was responsible for designing the main power stations and substations and bringing them into commission. In this context we come across another family connection. The Corns family has already been mentioned. Samuel William Corns (born 1878), was the brother-in-law of Charles Jones’s younger brother, Henry. He was also an electrical engineer working in a senior position with the Metropolitan Railway. He was younger than Charles and may well have been recruited to the company by Charles. He also was very much involved in the design of power stations for the company.


Whilst we know a great deal about Charles Jones’s business career, strangely, we know very little about his personal life. One can assume that, with his father being a "Manager of Electricity Shops" whilst Charles was in his teens (and probably working for the GWR when Charles was younger), Charles’s interest in railways and things electrical was fired by his father. It is highly likely that he did some form of apprenticeship with the ECC, as did his younger brother, Henry. Alternatively he may have been apprenticed at the GWR locomotive works which was less than a mile from the family home of the time, and within a few hundred yards of the ECC factory.

We know that Charles was married, but we do not know when or to whom. We know that he had one son, but not whether there were any siblings. We have no further knowledge of the family beyond this.

The successor entity of The Metropolitan Railway is, of course, the Metropolitan Line of the London Underground system. So, whenever you travel upon it, think of your ancestor. He had an awful lot to do with its transformation into an electrified system. Think also of Samuel William Corns, he was also an important part of the story of the electrification of the Metropolitan Railway.

Edith was born in 1872, the third child. We know nothing about her at all and have no photographs. Did she die young? If not, did she marry? If she married, did she have any children?


Lucy, the fourth child was born on February 20th 1874 at 66 Zoar Street, Wolverhampton. She married Bernard Thomas Fletcher on December 24th 1896. The witnesses were Henry Jones and Alice Jones, her brother and sister. Lucy’s address was given as Stafford Road, Wolverhampton. This might well have been Gorsebrook House, but we do not know when Richard moved into Gorsebrook. All we know is that he was not living there at the time of the 1891 Census. Bernard’s father, Thomas Fletcher, is described as a Railway Engine Driver on the Marriage Certificate.

Bernard Fletcher is described on the Marriage Certificate as a "Pattern Maker" and also as resident in Stafford Road.

One assumes that Lucy and Bernard were not, in the late Victorian era, some 70 or so years ahead of contemporary mores, and living together before they were married! Bernard died sometime in the 1930’s and Lucy, aged 80, at Great Wyrley on October 22nd 1954. She was described as the widow of Bernard Fletcher a Master Cabinet Maker. Lucy and Bernard had two sons, Bernard and Sidney Thomas.

Henry, who was born in 1876, was always known as Harry by the family. He was apprenticed at the ECC and succeeded his father Richard as Works Manager. Henry remained as Works Manager until around 1943, when he was pushed aside because one of the directors wanted the position for his son. Nepotism! This is the family version of events. However, one must bear in mind that he would have been 67 at the time, and already beyond normal retirement age. 

Henry then moved to a somewhat less important position as a personnel manager with Henry Meadows, another Wolverhampton engineering company. An inevitable consequence of the loss of his job with the ECC was the loss of the tenancy of Gorsebrook which had always been in the ownership of the ECC. Thus a nearly 50 year association of the Jones family with Gorsebrook came to an end. Henry and his wife, Harriet (always referred to as "Cissie" by the family), moved to a house at 7, Rectory Terrace, Newhampton Road. This somewhat austere property was in stark contrast to the Georgian splendour of Gorsebrook, even taking full account of the fact that Gorsebrook backed onto the mighty ECC factory.


As mentioned above, Harriet (Cissie) was the daughter of Samuel Corns senior. Henry and Harriet had four sons and one daughter, Eileen, who died young. Three of the four sons, Leslie, Charles and Alan were apprenticed at the ECC and followed the family tradition by becoming engineers. Ronald, the third son in line went into the National Provincial Bank, although his real ambition was to become a doctor. However , although all four sons were educated privately at Tettenhall College, Wolverhampton, Ronald was told by his father that the money was not available for him to train as a doctor. This, and the fact that Henry was only able to afford a rather modest house when the family had to leave Gorsebrook when his job came to an end,, suggests that, whilst the position of Works Manager of the ECC provided the family with a comfortable style of life, it did not provide a route to accumulating much capital.

Alice, the sixth child, was born in 1879. It is believed she married someone called Simcox and lived in Wolverhampton. It is thought that she was a teacher and somewhat bossy! Nothing further is known about the family.


Anne, the seventh child was born in 1881. Again, not a great deal is known about her beyond the fact that she married someone called Wright and lived in Sheffield. They had a son, Frank, and a daughter, Marjorie.
Florence, the last child of Richard and Ann Jones, was born in 1884 and is described as "School Teacher" in the 1901 Census. She was called Florrie by the family. Little is known about her other than the fact she married someone called Snow, lived in Derbyshire, and had a son John and a daughter Dorothy.


A note by Wendy Rankin:

Florence Ada Jones, the youngest child of Richard and Ann Jones was my paternal grandmother. She married William Snow. My fathers' name, William Howard Snow D.O.B 24.8.1912. He died in Derby on 2.10.1977. His name was omitted from the family tree. He was her first son and second child.

I am his only child.
Wendy Rankin
February 2013

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