Joseph Sear, 1863-1941, #14

My great grandfather Joseph Sear was born on 13th October 1863, at 36 Clarendon Square, St Pancras.

Joseph Sear, 1863-1941, #14
Visiting Joseph's grave space (no headstone) in 2021, eighty years after his death

My great grandfather Joseph Sear was born on 13th October 1863, at 36 Clarendon Square, Somers Town, St Pancras, the son of William Sear and Lucy Jane, nee Wright. In 1871 he was living with his parents, two sisters and three brothers at 116 Great Cambridge Street, Haggerston. His father William was a baker. By 1881 Joseph and his family were living at 38 Inkerman Road, St Pancras. His father and eldest brother were now cab drivers. Joseph was now 17, and he and his 19 year old brother Fred were both clerks. Unfortunately the census does not state where they worked, but a neighbour was a clerk for a music seller, so perhaps they worked in a retail business.

On 6th February 1888 Joseph married Annie Sophia Godman at St Luke's Church, West Holloway. At this time he was working as a letter carrier (postman). He was living at 27 Goodinge Road, and Annie was living at the greengrocer's opposite, number 86. Their first son, Joseph Henry, was born in 1889.

Joseph's daughter, my Great Aunt Helen, remembered that in about 1890 he was sacked from the post office because he attended a union meeting. Thankfully he was not unemployed for long. The 1891 census shows Joseph and Annie were one of four households living at 67 Goodinge Road, and Joseph was working as a cab driver's groom. This was probably at his uncle's cab yard (Edwin Trathen). In 1895 Joseph's Aunt Harriet died, and the cab business declined. Edwin sold off all the stock in 1899.

In 1901 Joseph and Annie were living at 31 Goodinge Road. They now had three children, 11 year old Joseph, my grandmother 9 year old Annie, and five year old Arthur. Their youngest daughter, my Great Aunt Helen, was born in 1906. Despite his uncle's misfortunes, Joseph carried on working in the cab business. He was recorded as a hackney carriage driver and groom in the 1901 census.

By 1911 the family were living in three rooms at 16 Goodinge Road, Islington. Joseph was now 47 and unemployed, although his trade was still listed as cab driver. Three of the children were living at home, but my grandmother Annie had left home and was now in service. Twenty one year old Joseph was now a canvasser for a coal company, and 15 year old Arthur was a Drawing Office Clerk for an arc lamp manufacturer. In 1921 Joseph was listed as a warehouseman on my grandmother Annie's marriage certificate.

My mother Margaret remembered visiting her grandparents in their flat in Goodinge Road when she was young. The recalled his wireless and the canary cages he kept stacked up in the bedroom.

On 29th Nov 1931, my Great Aunt Helen married a Welshman named Idwal Jones, who she had met through work. Some time between 1931 and 1937 my Great Aunt Helen bought a new modern house at 96 Fairway Avenue, Wembley. Joseph and Annie left Goodinge Road and moved in with her. Joseph and Annie are listed here in the 1937 Electoral Roll and the 1939 Register, when Joseph was listed as 'Retired incapacitated'.

Joseph seated left, Idwal standing, Annie seated right. This was either taken in Wembley or New Quay. This is the only photo I have of Joseph Sear.

Some time between 1939 and 1941 Joseph, Annie and Helen self evacuated to New Quay in Wales. They were now in their seventies, and probably hoping for a lovely retirement, however, in May 1941 Joseph died, and was buried on 15th May 1941 in New Quay Cemetery, New Quay. Annie moved to Altwallis with my Great Aunt Helen.

The cottage in Altwallis, now much modernised

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