London Poor Law school registers

Ancestry.com regularly adds new datasets, usually with indexes, transcripts and often linked images. I keep an eye on the new additions, and check any that might be promising for Cavers references. Usually that would need something Scottish based or UK wide. But when I spotted London Poor Law School Records I was hopeful, given the London Cavers family, which pops up in the poor relief records as well as records reflecting better times.

The new records online are the Poor Law School District Registers for 1852-1918, held by the London Metropolitan Archives. Only two Cavers names appear in the registers: brothers Edwin George Cavers (b. 1858) and Ernest Frederick Cavers (b. 1859). Note the older brother here is recorded in the school register as “George Edward Cavers”.

I’d found the brothers before in the Cleveland Street Workhouse in 1869 with their parents William and Sarah as well as younger siblings. The new school admission records date from the same period. Both brothers were admitted to Edmonton Schools on 27th March 1869. The admission register noted that neither had been in a workhouse school before, but both had been in another school or schools.

By the time of the 1871 census this large Cavers family were living at 4 Market Street, St Anne’s parish, Westminster. William was again noted as a gun maker, and together with his wife Sarah nine children were living in the household. This included Edwin Cavers, aged 14, and Ernest, aged 13.

I haven’t properly traced the brothers forward in time, but Ernest shows up in the 1939 Register, taken on the outbreak of war, a “Printer – Press” living in Great Percy Street, Finsbury, London, with a birth date noted as 7th October 1859. Noted as unmarried.

It is likely that other Cavers children in the nineteenth century received some form of poor relief, still to be uncovered.

Cavers references in the London workhouse records

Ancestry have recently added a searchable database of London workhouse admission and discharge records between 1738 and 1930. The original paper records are held by the London Metropolitan Archives.

Unsurprisingly, given that there was a London cluster of Cavers in the 19th century, there are Cavers references in there. All concern the same family, which I’ve covered on this blog a number of times before.

For example on 19th March 1869 a large Cavers family was admitted to Cleveland Street Workhouse. This was 48-year-old William Cavers, a gun maker, his wife Sarah aged 39, and their children George Edward (10), Earnest F. (9), Grace (6), Alice (4), Edith (3) and Kate (2). Some of the family were only in the workhouse for a day, but Sarah and her youngest daughters were there for several weeks. And some of the children appear back in the same workhouse a couple of months later. George Edward, Ernest Frederick, Alice and Grace were all admitted on 22nd May, but discharged that same day to their parents.

Decades later the father William Cavers appears again in the workhouse records. By now it was 1902, and he was a 81-year-old man. On 5th March 1902 he was recorded still as a gun implement maker, and admitted to the Westminster Union Workhouse. His nearest relative was noted as his son William. This time he stayed in the workhouse until 11th March, when he was discharged at his own request. But that’s not the end of the story. There’s a record for the workhouse on 18th March, of William being discharged to Colney Hatch Asylum, which in its day was the largest lunatic asylum in Europe.

Intriguingly I’d previously thought that William had died between 1881 and 1891, because his wife Sarah appears in the census of 1891 described as a widow. But I’m now guessing that the marriage had broken down, and they were living apart. He was certainly still alive in 1902, as these records show.