These two documents are probably the saddest end to George Williams Bennett`s recorded life . In 1865 his uncle Sir John Bennett gave him £1,187 for his one fourth share of the Banks estate. This was George`s inheritance from his deceased father George Weedon . And Sir John`s way of ensuring that he had the whole of the freehold estate of the Banks in Mountfield , his ancestral home to impress the City big-wigs . Evan Vaughan the surveyor reckoned it a very generous price . And in today`s money it would be worth thousands. For a very young man fairly newly married, this must have been like the start of a new life . Yet here he is in the workhouse from 1903 to when he walked out in 1918.
The final document is the death certificate of George Williams Bennett. This has only come to light this January (2016) . It was as a result of finding a possible death for him in the FreeBMD online site. Working forward from 1918 a few years at a time, it was possible to eliminate both the Unknowns in the indexes , none came close to the correct age, and so that eliminated a nameless body found in the street or the river . Assuming therefore that he died able to give his name , it was just a question of finding a Camberwell/Lewisham/Greenwich death registered of a George in the 60 -70 age range . The first certificate ordered was the right one. George died on 10th Dec 1920 so not too long after he walked out of the workhouse. He died at 48 Vanburgh Hill , which was the Greenwich Infirmary . He is recorded as being 66 so born 1854 almost correct, and is still of his childhood home of 9 Osborne Place , Lewisham , a surveyor . His cause of death is Chronic Pancreatitis which is mostly caused by chronic alcoholism . Its a sad end to a potentially successful life .
Eliza Bennett his wife is more elusive . It is such a common name .
She is in the 1911 census at 53 Meeting House Lane , Camberwell . Its a full and odd household . there are 6 rooms and 12 people living there . From first glance , none of the names seem to be related . She is not with her sons or her sons relatives . Nor luckily did she decide to return to Australia to be with the other half of her family . She instead chose to live with a sister . But this was not a search for Eliza Bennett, it was a random search for an Eliza Evans , just in case she had for whatever reason , resumed her maiden name . And a family website on Ancestry turned up the whole Evans family . This website had Eliza and Sophia both of whom were known . And a sister Susannah Sarah b 1854 . She married first a James Partridge and then a Henry Higlett. In the 1911 she is listed as Sue Higlett . and with her is her son James Partridge jnr , her daughter Sarah Ann who is also a widow but with five children . Also in the house is Sue`s 87 year old father in law Albert Partridge . Plus a visitor Eliza Bennett , 55, single , not true , and a cook domestic . Eliza`s niece Sarah Littley, 33 , and already a widow, had named three of her sons Bertram , Sydney and Lennard . Eliza`s middle son was Bertram Leonard.
In detail the Janet Goldstraw list of Evans starts with Mary Ann b 1849, Emma, b 1852, Susannah Sarah , b 1854, and then the family move to Yorkshire from London, Sarah Ann b Sculcoates, Yorks, 1856, William Charles Peter , b Sculcoates 1858, Sophia , b Sculcoates, 1860, Letitia , b Sculcoates, 1862 , (she married Nelson Banks in 1883 ) and after Letitia the family move back to London , and Victor and Walter are born 1865 and 1867 . Of these Sophia went to Australia around the mid 1880s and was last heard of with “Vic” in Perth . Sarah Ann and Walter might also have emigrated to Australia .
Susannah Sarah , b 1854 and her first husband James Partridge, had Sarah Ann, b 1877, Victor, b 1879, Florence, b 1880, Sophia Letitia , b 1883, May, b 1887, and James Nelson b 1889. After the death of James Partridge she married secondly Henry Higlett in 1900 . He died 1906.
Sarah Ann b 1877 married first Henry William Littley, and they had Mabel Florrie , 1896, Maud Violet, 1898, Henry James, 1899, Bertram, 1901, Sidney, 1903 , Hilda May , 1905 and Leonard, 1906.
In the Electoral register for 1921 , the household is diminished by the deaths of Sue Higlett and Albert Partridge, and possibly Sarah Ann , but Eliza is still there and Sarah Ann`s last husband also plus a Henry James Littley . In 1921 Eliza would have been 71 yrs old . The last Electoral register entry is for 1925 still in Meeting House Lane , and she died in the March of 1926 . She is buried in Camberwell Old Cemetery on 26th March 1926.
Far from Eliza being buried on her own in Camberwell Old Cemetery , the website deceasedonline reveals further burials of family members. Eliza and Susan`s sister Letitia also married twice , to Nelson Banks and to Frank Webber. Letitia and Nelson are buried in Camberwell O C. Frank Webber is buried in Nunhead cemetery as is Eliza, Susan and Letitia`s brother William Walter Evans . And a possible William Evans , father to the whole family is buried at Nunhead aged 57 in 1884 which ties in reasonably with his date of birth of 1828. Mary Ann his wife and mother to the family , may be buried in Camberwell O C she was born in 1829 and there is a burial for a 47 year old Mary Ann Evans in 1883. If this is her , she has shaved 6 years off her age. All Susan`s family are in the Camberwell O C , she was buried in 1917 , her first husband James Partridge in 1888, and her second husband Henry Higlett in 1906 as well as her 6 year old son James Nelson Partridge in 1895.