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
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
|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
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
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
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.
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.
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.