I’ve previously written about George in my blog two actors and an accidental drowning. George married Annie Morley (born 1871), my 2nd cousin three times removed, on 10 June 1890 in Folkestone, Kent. He gave his occupation as an actor and his condition on their marriage certificate was recorded as a widower. However, Annie was George’s second wife. He had previously been married to Mary Ann Wheeler (born 1855), who he had divorced in 1882, as a result of her adultery with Edward Shelton. Mary was also an actress who performed under the stage name Mabel Verner.
After their marriage, George and Annie, and their two-month-old daughter Madge (1891-1940), 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 1891, George and Annie, do not appear together in any further census records.
The first record which gave George’s address as 142 Gladstone Buildings, Willow Street, Finsbury, London EC2 was the 1911 census. He continued to live there until his death on 17 December 1925. The probate calendar showed that probate was granted to his brother Henry and that his effects were valued at £1,392 1s 11d. I wondered if there would be any mention of his second wife Annie, my 2nd cousin three times removed, in his will, so I ordered it. It was dated 1 August 1924 and contained the following list of bequests, which amounted £970, before funeral expenses etc:
The following statement was included at the end of the will:
“My reason for not leaving more than here stated to my son and daughter is because their uncle and aunt provided for them leaving houses and liquid assets and myself no liquid assets.”
At the time of his death only George (1874-1935), his son from his first marriage and Madge (1891-1963) his daughter from his second wife Annie, were still alive. George clearly stated that they had been left assets by their uncle and aunt. Two of his brothers, Thomas (1844-1895) and William (1846-1917), were jewellers so perhaps he was referring to them?
Annie wasn’t mentioned in his will and it has taken some further research to find out a bit more about what happened to her. In the 1920 London Electoral Registers her address was 128 Brixton Hill, London. This was confirmed by her son Henry’s death entry in the Navy record of his accidental drowning on 9 March 1920 in South Africa. I also found 1901 and 1911 census records for a “Madge Morley” born 1874/1876 in Aldershot who was an actress. In 1911 Madge was a visitor at 112A Brixton Hill, London where the head of the household was John Sanders. On the assumption that Annie could also have become an actress with the stage name Madge Morley, I carried out a search of The Stage newspaper. The deaths column of the 12 September 1929 issue included the following entry:
“John Sanders – died 28 August 1929, age 48, after a short illness. Deeply mourned by his wife, Madge Morley.”
Another look at Annie’s 1920 Electoral Register entry showed that John Sanders was also living at 128 Brixton Hill. In addition, there were entries in The Stage on 27 January 1921, 20 October 1921 and 17 April 1930 posted by Madge Morley seeking work. In all three her address was 128 Brixton Hill. Eventually I found a marriage between Annie Curryer and John Sanders in Q4, 1925 recorded in Lambeth. Did Annie and John wait until her husband George had died before they got married?
Finally – George’s will was also interesting because two of the addresses caught my eye: Oakfield Rd, Penge and Ewart Rd, Forest Hill. I lived in both Penge and Forest Hill before my move out of London. Something of a coincidence!
I am interested in knowing more about all the people mentioned in this blog post, and in particular, what happened to George’s second wife Annie. Do contact me if you have any further information which you are willing to share with me.
Census Records. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed January 2022.
Darby, Neil. (2017) Life on the Victorian Stage: Theatrical Gossip. Barnsley: Pen and Sword.
London, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1965. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed January 2022.
Music Hall and Theatre Review. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed January 2022.
Probate Records. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed January 2022.
The Stage. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed January 2022.
UK, British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed January 2022.