Summary From the Children's Society Records Relating to Thomas Weston Date of Birth: October 1893 & Richard Weston Date of Birth: 30th November 1897
THOMAS WESTON Weston-9382 The application for Thomas to be taken into the care of “the Church of England incorporated Society for Providing Homes for Waifs and Stays” was made on 7:5:1903. According to the records Thomas was nine years old , and was said to have been born in October 1893(there is no birth certificate). He had been baptized at St Mary's Islington.
Thomas' father, James Weston, was aged 35 or 36, and was living at 36 Hollingsworth Road, Lower Holloway. He worked as a scaffolder, was seldom in work, and had no regular employer. Sadly, Thomas' mother had died of consumption the previous year, May 29th .
Thomas' siblings are listed as: Florence Mabel 36 Ashburton Grove Age 16 In Laundry 6/- per week James Mr. Edgcombe's Training Age 14 Ship Saltash Thomas Truant School, Highbury Age 9 Richard With Father Age 5
The only other relatives mentioned are the father's brother (not named). He had 13 children and so was unable to help.
Thomas had previously attended the Foster Board School in Hornsey Road, and the Sunday School at the Mission Room, Whistler Street, Drayton Road.
The application form was signed by the Vicar of Christ Church Vicarage, Highbury Street. (Unusually, it is not signed by the father). The report on the family was signed by a Miss Souter (She was probably a Church visitor). She had known the family since October 1899 when she had found them in “a very destitute condition”, living in one room. After a year they had found better lodgings. The father was the son of a coastguard and partly educated at Greenwich Naval School. He had married at the age of 18, when his wife was 17, at St Mary's, the parish church of Islington, where all the children were baptised. The father was said to be a good workman but could not get permanent work through his “hot temper and quarrelsomeness”. After his wife's death he got into bad company. He was caught in helping an attempted burglary and sent to prison for 4 months. He came out the previous month.
The mother Sarah Jane, was the illegitimate child of a bishop and was brought up very carefully by her grandparents (both now deceased). She went into service, much liked by her mistress, who was then kind to the daughter. She seemed to have been a drudge from the age of 17, had 13 children, only 4 now living. She had often stood at the washtub when she was far gone with consumption and had died last May at the age of 34.
The eldest boy, James, was consumptive like his mother. He was in the Great Northern Hospital for several weeks (date not given) and also in convalescent homes. After his mother's death he was placed in a home for working boys. He was convicted of stealing from his employer and then sent to Mr Edgecombe's training ship at Saltash.
Thomas had been twice in the Truant School for roaming the streets. The master there said he was a good quick boy, though small for his age.
Richard was living with his father. The only other relative was said to be the father's brother in Eastbourne, where they were born. He could not help because of his large family.
The only girl was Florence Mabel, who was said to have been 2 years at the Midmay Home for Servants, where she was carefully trained in every way. She was now in service in Muswell Hill, earning £8 p.a. She was 16 “last Christmas Day”.
There is a list of Placements on the back of the form.
June 29th 1903 Admitted to the Boys Home, Bognor. Novenber 21st 1905 Transferred to Standon Farm Home, Staffs. May 7th 1909 Placed in service in Walton Bury, Staffs. June 21st 1910 Re-admitted to Standon House. July 21st 1910 Placed in service in Bridgend. (there were no record of further placements but see below)
In the correspondence the first letter is from Miss Souter, on 8.4. 1903, offering to subscribe £5 per annum each for Thomas and Richard.
On 14.11.05 there is a letter from the Vicarage at Bognor, asking if Thomas could be moved to Standon Farm, as he had twice been caught stealing.
There is a memo dated 17.7.1909 to say that Miss Souter can no longer continue support for the boys.
On 17.10. there is a memo, concerning a different boy, to say he had absconded from the place in Bridgend after 4 days. It says that this was a suitable place for a boy as the previous one. Thomas Weston, had absconded a week before, and is now with Mr Davies, Dairyman, Redhill, Laleston(spelling not clear) near Bridgend.
On 7.1.1911 there is a memo that Thomas is living and working with Mr Davies, delivering milk, “is attending to his work and giving satisfaction to his master”. A further memo refers to (the Society) holding Thomas' bank deposit and a box with clothes.
There is then a letter from a Mrs Buckley, 82 Campbell Road, Finsbury Park, London (date stamped by the Society 23.3.1926). She asks about her brothers Tom and Dick Weston, and states she is their only sister.
The reply states that the last news from Thomas was from Mr Davies(as above) the last information about Richard was in 1916 when he was c/o Mr Cairns, Compton, Quebec, Canada. It was suggested she write to Gibbs' Home, 20 Lawford Avenue, Quebec. (it is to be hoped Mrs Buckley received the letter as, according to the copy it was sent to Finsbury Hall and not Finsbury Park)
There is further information in Richard's file, see below.
RICHARD WESTON Weston-9384 The application for Richard was undated but was clearly later. It was signed and filled in by the same Miss Souter who reported on Thomas (but see below). Richard Weston was born on November 30th 1897 at 11 Queens Square, Highbury. He was baptized at St. Mary's, Islington. The form stated that the father, James Weston was believed to be living and that the mother, Sarah Jane Weston had died in May 1902.
Richard's siblings are listed as:
Florence St. Magdalen Hospital, Streatham age 18 James At sea (just gone) Ordinary Seaman age 16 Thomas Boy's Home, Berstead age 12 Richard c/o Mrs. Palmer, 36 Elwood St. age 7 Blackstock Road, Finsbury Park
There are said to be no relatives on the father's side.
It is hard to read the report, as the paper is torn, but the details appear to be copied from those given on Thomas' file. The details are not in Miss Souter's handwriting and the report is not updated.
There is a list of placements on the back of the form.
September 25th 1905 Boarded out in Messing, supervised by the local Vicar. February 1913 Passed for emigration to Canada. April 7th 1913 Transferred to Islington Home. April 25th 1913 Emigrated to Gibb's Home, Sherbrook P.Q. Canada.
The correspondence above shows that Miss Souter took a great interest in the boys. In August 1905 she wrote to say she hoped that plans would be made for Richard. She referred to Mrs. Palser caring for him and treating him as one of her own. Mrs Souter only wanted Richard to be moved as she feared that if she herself died her means of support for him would cease. She said that the mother had begged her on her deathbed to care for Richard.
A letter dated 20.9.1905 from the Vicar in Messing, Kelvedon, Essex arranges for Richard to be placed at the Society's Messing Cottage Home, on the following Monday. Frances Souter replied to say she would bring Richard to the Cottage herself. Further correspondence with the Society indicated that Miss Souter was writing to both Thomas and Richard “from time to time”.
A report was sent to Miss Souter dated 4.6.1907, which said that Richard was of a very kindly disposition, of average intelligence, his health was very good, and his conduct was extremely satisfactory. A further report in February 1908 described him as very gentle, and his health and conduct were good. In 1911 Miss Souter asked for Richard's address, as she hadn't heard for some time. In 1912 she wrote, referring to a further report and said she was glad he had made such progress.
On 19.1.1913 the Vicar wrote to say that Richard would like to go to Canada, and mentioned he did not wish to be a baker. The reply, enclosing the necessary forms asked if Richard had heard from his siblings. (Unfortunately there is no record of a reply to this query).
On 17.2.1913 Richard signed the form to say he would like to go to Canada. The “proposal” form stated that he reached Standard VI, his disposition was very good and he wished to work on the land.
In January 1913 Miss Souter wrote to say she had heard from Thomas, who had asked for James' address. Thomas had said that he himself a sailor, on the H.M.S. Hecla, She also asked for news of Richard. The reply from the Vicar in February suggested that Miss Souter should contact the Training Ship for news of James. The letter says that Richard was hoping to go to Canada. (Unfortunately there is no indication as to whether or not Thomas was put in touch with Richard).
On 28.2.1913 there was a letter from the Society to the Industrial Training home for Boys, 119 Copenhagen Street, Islington, asking for Richard to be received there prior to emigration. He was said to be “a lad of good Character”. There was a further letter proposing that Richard should sail from Liverpool on May 16th 1913, on the SS Tunisia. He would go to Islington to prepare his outfit and for further training. In the same month there was a letter from the Vicar to the Society to say he had had a letter from Thomas on the H.M.S. Hecla, Chatham asking about Richard. He said he was replying to say Richard wished to emigrate.
On first April there was a letter to the Vicar to say Richard should go to Islington on 7th April. The last paper in the file is a memo to say that Richard should be given the 10/- which has been held in his account for him.
Summary prepared by Judy Clark Senior Social Work Practitioner. 29.8.2005