Friday 4 May 2012

Temperance Hotel -Station Road Rainham, Bessie Humpreys

I have received the message below. If anyone is able to help shed any light on the questions please post your replies as comments below: I was guided to your address through your web site, and also from Freddie Cooper’s site, and wondered whether you could offer me any suggestions for solving a family mystery? My paternal grandparents (who I did not know) were from Northampton where my grandfather was a shoe maker. They married in 1887 in a Baptist church in that city and immediately moved to Brighton where he set up a small shop making and selling his shoes and boots in Edwards Street. They remained in Brighton for the rest of their lives and had 8 children, the last 5 of which were born in Rainham between 1895 and 1905. I only have the birth certificate of the last child who was my father who died in 1967, and this gives his place of birth in 1905 as ‘Station Road, Rainham’. The mystery is why my grandmother went all the way to Rainham for her confinement. We can find no family connection with the town, and a quick glance at the 1901 census only offers the remote possibility of the Temperance Hotel in Station Road where the ‘Head’ was a Bessie Humphreys single, age 27, whose occupation was Midwife (?LOS) and she was born in Brighton. She was 12 years younger than my grandmother which seems o.k. and it may be that she undertook her midwifery course at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Kemp Town, Brighton which is close to where my grandparents lived. Probably wishful thinking but I can find no other slight link between my grandparents and Rainham and wondered whether you might tell me any more about the Temperance Hotel or it’s Bessie Humphreys, or whether you might have any other thoughts about why she should have travelled to your town. Any ideas or suggestions will be most welcome, Thank you, Chris Woods retired mariner, Norfolk (born Brighton)

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