Category Archives: Rowntree’s

Alfred and Martha Haw – York, England

Alfred Haw (1869-1940) is my first cousin four times removed. He was born in Heslington, near York, the youngest son of Joseph Haw (1818-1875) and his second wife Anne Cariss (1827-1888). In 1871 Joseph was farming 55 acres in Heslington. By 1891 Alfred was a general labourer living with his brother Frederick (1861-1936), a gardener, at 93A Heworth, York. Alfred married Martha Emma Fowler (1867-1938) on 10 July 1892 in the Centenary Chapel (Wesleyan Methodist), in York. Alfred was described as a labourer from Dennison St, York and Martha, a domestic servant, whose father John, a railway foreman, was deceased. Alfred’s brother Edwin was one of the witnesses.

Alfred and Martha had four daughters and one son. No baptism record has been found for Elsie their eldest daughter. Lydia, Lily and Alfred were all baptised in St Maurice’s Church, Monkgate while the family were living in Dennison St. The church was demolished in 1966. Ivy was baptised at St Thomas’, York with a change to her father Alfred’s occupation. Their address’ proximity to the Rowntree Cocoa works, suggest that Alfred was working at Rowntree’s by November 1899. The following table shows their children’s birth and baptisms and where the family were living in York and Alfred’s occupation.

Child’s nameBirth dateBaptism dateAddressAlfred’s occupation
Elsie Evelyn Haw21 Jul 1893   
Lydia Anne Haw21 Aug 18954 Sep 189517 Dennison StLabourer
Lily Constance Haw05 Dec 189623 Dec 189617 Dennison StLabourer
Alfred Edward HawQ2 189827 Apr 189817 Dennison StLabourer
Ivy Maud HawQ4 189915 Nov 1899Ashville StPacker
Table 1 Baptism details for Alfred and Martha’s children

All seems to have been well with the family until the later part of the 19th century. However, what happened to the family in the early 20th century becomes less clear. In the 1901 census Alfred was recorded as the only member of his household at 2 Ashville St, York. Neither his wife Martha nor any of his five children were recorded as living with him at the time. Further census records for his wife Martha and son Alfred have so far proved elusive. Three of Alfred and Martha’s daughters, Elsie, Lydia and Lily, were recorded in the 1901 census in St Stephen’s Orphanage, Trinity Lane, York and their youngest daughter Ivy was probably living with Frederick, one of Alfred’s siblings.

St Stephen’s orphanage was set up in York in 1870 in a house in Precentor’s court near York Minster to provide for destitute orphans. By 1901 the orphanage occupied premises in Trinity Lane (numbers 21, 23, 25 and 27), York and that is where Alfred and Martha’s daughters were living in the 1901 census. By then it was providing for children who had lost one or both their parents. Elsie, Lydia and Lily’s father Alfred was alive in 1901, as evidenced by his entry in the 1901 census. The following extract from the OS (1910) Yorkshire CLXXIV.SW map shows the location of Trinity Lane in York (marked by a square box). The premises occupied by the orphanage have been converted to residential use.

OS (1910) Yorkshire CLXXIV.SW map

What is unclear is what had happened to Martha and her son Alfred by the 1901 census; they haven’t been found in either the 1901 or later censuses in York.

By the 1911 census it seems that Alfred senior had been reunited with two of his daughters: Lily and Ivy, who were living with him at 2 Ashville St, York; his occupation was recorded as a labourer. His two eldest daughters, Elsie and Lydia, were both working as servants. Elsie was a housemaid at The Mount School in York and Lydia a kitchen maid at Alne Hall, Yorkshire. The following extract from the OS (1910) Yorkshire CLXXIV.NW map shows the location of Ashville St in York (marked by a square box).

OS (1910) Yorkshire CLXXIV.NW map

The FindmyPast collection of National School Admission Registers and Log-Books helped bridge the gap between the 1901 and 1911 census records. Some information about the girl’s education was gleaned from these records, although no information for their son Alfred was found. The following table charts each of their daughter’s education.

Elsie Evelyn HawLydia Anne HawLily Constance HawIvy Maud Haw
SchoolBishophill and Clementhorpe Infants for GirlsBishophill and Clementhorpe Infants for GirlsPark Grove Infants for GirlsPark Grove Infants for Girls
Date entered21 Feb 190229 Jun 190313 Aug 190615 Feb 1910
Home addressThe Home, Skeldergate58 Skeldergate13 Lord Mayor’s Walk2 Ashville St
Date left4 Jul 19027 Jul 190429 Jan 190725 Aug 1911
Next schoolGrey Coat School for GirlsGrey Coat School for GirlsHaxby SchoolLeeman Rd School
Table 2 Four daughters and their schools

Elsie and Lydia also attended the Grey Coat School for girls. This was a charity school which fed, clothed and prepared pupils for domestic service.  

Whilst no further information has been found for Alfred and Martha’s son Alfred, Martha’s death certificate does help to explain what had happened to her. She died on 5 February 1938 in York City Mental Hospital, Fulford. It is possible that she had been in a mental institution since around the turn of the 20th century, although that has not yet been confirmed. A visit to the Borthwick to consult their mental health records is planned for when archives can re-open.

It looks like Alfred was unable to cope with his children around the time of the 1901 census, hence why he was living on his own and three of his daughters were in St Stephen’s Orphanage and his youngest was probably living with one of his brothers. He was reunited with his two youngest daughters by 1911. It is likely that the education his two older daughters Elsie and Lydia received meant that they were able to secure work by the time of the 1911 census.

Only one of Alfred and Martha’s daughters, Ivy, married; the other three remained single. Brief biographies for Alfred and his four daughters are as follows:

Alfred Haw (1869-1940) continued to live in 2 Ashville St, York and in the 1939 Register he was listed as a widow and confectioner’s labourer with two of his unmarried daughters: Elsie and Lydia. He died in York in Q2, 1940 at the age of 70.

Elsie Evelyn Haw (1893-1984) remained single and in the 1939 register was recorded as a housekeeper. She died in York in Q2, 1984 at the age of 90.

Lydia Anne Haw (1895-1985) was a daily maid in 1939. She was living at 2 Ashville St, York when died on 25 September 1985. She left an estate of approximately £40,000 and was the last member of her immediate family to live at the address.

Lily Constance Haw (1896-1983) was a patient in the York City Mental Hospital in Fulford, near York in the 1939 Register. Her personal occupation was described as “private means”. She died at the age of 85 and her death was registered in York in Q1, 1983.

Ivy Maud Haw (1899-1977) married Joseph Taylor in Q2 1932. They were living at 34 Diamond St, York in the 1939 Register. Ivy died in York in Q1, 1977.

I am interested in knowing more about all the people mentioned in this blog post, and in particular what happened to Alfred and Martha’s son Alfred. Do contact me if you have any further information which you are willing to share.

Note: the maps used in this blog has been reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under the following creative commons licence and sourced from the NLS maps site


National School Admission Registers and Log-Books 1870-1914. : accessed February 2021.

OS Maps. : February 2021.

St Maurice, Monkgate. : accessed February 2021.

St Stephen’s Orphanage, York. : accessed February 2021.

St Stephen’s Orphanage, York. : accessed February 2021.

Tillott, P. M. ed. (1961) Victoria County History: A History of Yorkshire, The City of York. London: Oxford University Press. pp. 440-460.