Two actors and an accidental drowning

My recent research into my family history has focused on my Haw ancestors. Whilst I have traced them back from my great grandmother Sarah Ann Haw (1874-1944), to my five times great grandfather William Haw (1755-1798), what I hadn’t done was look in more depth at each generation to identify further aunts, uncles and cousins.

The two actors and the accidental drowning who form part of this blog post were related to Maria Haw (1841-bef.1901) my first cousin four times removed. Maria’s father William Haw (1811-1897) was the brother of my three times great grandfather James (1804-1871).

Maria was born in 1841 and baptised on 26 September 1841 in St Maurice’s Church, Monkgate, York. By 1851 the family were living in nearby Gate Fulford where her father William was a gardener. There is then a gap in the information I have found for her until she married Henry Morley (1837-1881), a soldier, on 27 May 1868 in Ashton-under-Lyme in Lancashire. Later birth records for their children confirm their marriage although, when I first found it, it seemed unlikely it was her marriage. Henry’s military record includes information about him re-attesting for the 6th Dragoons on 7 January 1868 in York where he probably met Maria. He had previously served in the Crimea and Turkey, as well as the East Indies.

Henry attained the rank of Corporal in the 6th Dragoons and completed his military service on 5 January 1876. He gave his intended address as Lowther Street, York. While he was in the 6th Dragoons it is likely that Maria spent some of her time with him as this is reflected in where their children were born.  Their eldest daughter Annie was born in Aldershot, Hampshire in 1871, son William in Tipperary, Ireland in 1872, son Charles in 1873 in York and daughter Lavinia in 1876 in York. The following chart shows Henry and Maria, their four children, their children’s spouses and their grandchildren. The two actors are circled in blue and the accidental drowning in red.

Descendant chart for Henry Morley and Maria Haw

Although Henry and Maria’s eldest daughter Annie’s birth was registered in Aldershot, Hampshire, she was baptised in York, Yorkshire on 28 May 1871. The family were recorded in York in the 1881 census and, at the age of 20, Annie married George Curryer (1848-1925), an actor, on 10 June 1890 in Folkestone, Kent. He gave his condition on their marriage certificate as a widower; however, Annie was his second wife. He had previously married Mary Ann Wheeler on 26 January 1874. Together they had had four children, only one of whom was still alive in 1882 when George divorced Mary as a result of her adultery with Edward Shelton. Mary was also an actress who performed under the stage name Mabel Verner

On both his marriage certificates George gave his father’s details as Thomas Curryer, gentleman. George had spent his early life in Islington, London. It is not clear when George became an actor. In the 1871 census his occupation was recorded as an architect, but by 1874, when he married Mary, he considered himself an actor. His father Thomas was a retired stationer in 1871 living at no 20 St John’s Villas, Upper Holloway, London.  

After their marriage George and Annie, and their two-month old daughter Madge, were next found in the 1891 census living in Scarborough with Annie’s mother Maria, her second husband James Davison (b. 1852) and her three Morley siblings. George’s occupation was recorded as an actor. Maria and George went on to have a son Henry (1893-1920). However, after the 1891 census George and Annie were not found together in later census records.  

So far, I’ve been unable to find Annie in the 1901 census. There is an education record for her son Henry which shows that he was admitted to Acomb School on 19 March 1900 by his mother Annie who gave her address as 4 Whitehall Cottages, Acomb. These were near Southview Terrace as shown on the 1910 OS map below. (Acomb Schools are also circled on the map.) In addition, her daughter Madge was recorded as living at 4 White Hall Cottages with her “aunt and uncle” in 1901. Henry was in London with his father George and uncle William Curryer, a retired jeweller, living at 62 Vicarage Road, Tottenham.

Extract from OS Map York 1910 CL.XXIVSW

By 1911, George’s census entry states that he had married 20 years ago and his address was 142 Gladstone Buildings, Willow Street, Finsbury, London. He continued to live there until his death on 17 December 1925. Probate was granted to his brother Henry.  His wife Annie was probably living in London in the early 1900s although records for her have been difficult to find.

George and Annie’s son Henry enlisted as a Royal Marine. He was serving on HMS Lowestoft in South Africa when he accidentally drowned on 19 March 1920. He was buried in the cemetery at Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape and his mother’s address was given as 128 Brixton Hill, London.  It is possible that by then she was calling herself Alice Curryer rather than Annie. Perhaps the 1921 census will help me to find out what happened to her.

The second actor in the family was Annie’s younger sister Lavinia (b 1876) who had married Henry Paine (b 1872) in 1898 in London. She was described as an actress in the 1911 census. A snippet from the Music Hall and Theatre Review dated 21 December 1911 details her appearance in a comedy sketch called “The man who knew a bit” at the Leicester Pavilion. It is possible her husband moved to the USA but it is unclear what happened to Lavinia.

With regards to Annie and Lavinia’s two brothers William Morley (1872-1957) and Charles Morley (1873-1952), they both continued to live and work in Scarborough. By 1911 William was a lithographic printer and his address, when he died in 1957, was 80 Highfield, Scarborough. Charles was recorded as a watch repairer in 1939 and was living at 42 Trafalgar Road, Scarborough when he died in 1952.  The brothers lived within about a mile and a half from each other during their lives.

I am interested in knowing more about all the people mentioned in this blog post. Do contact me if you have any further information which you are willing to share with me.

Note: the map used in this blog has been reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under the following creative commons licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/ and sourced from the NLS maps site https://maps.nls.uk/.

Bibliography

Darby, Neil. (2017) Life on the Victorian Stage: Theatrical Gossip. Barnsley: Pen and Sword.

OS Maps. https://maps.nls.uk/ : accessed October 2020.

Music Hall and Theatre Review. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed October 2020.

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