Thursday, 29 January 2015

Mabel Barry / Lanyon nee Wilkins (1891-1957)

Mabel was born on October 1st 1891 in Woolwich. She was the youngest of nine children (two boys and seven girls) of Henry and Jane Wilkins. One of Mabel’s sisters was my grandmother Gertrude Amy Wilkins (1890-1919).

When Mabel was born her family was living at 31 Kidd Street, Woolwich Dockyard, which was the address of the grocery shop run by Henry Wilkins. In 1900, he began to operate a coffee house at 11 Church Street, Woolwich. The 1901 census shows Henry (aged 50, a coffee house keeper), Jane (49), Albert (23), Alice (21), Ethel (19), Bessie (16), Annie (15), Herbert (13), Gertrude (11) and Mabel (9) living at this address.

Mabel was still living at 11 Church St in 1911. The census gives her age as 19 and her occupation as a rubber casing machine hand working for Siemens Brothers Electrical Works. Also at the address were her father Henry (62, a dining room keeper), mother Jane (59), sister Gertrude (21) and niece Florence Wilkins (7).
Mabel at the marriage of her sister Gertrude in 1912

In 1913 Mabel married Laurence Barry in Woolwich. He was aged 25, she was 21. His occupation in the 1911 census was “fireman (ship)”. This was a rating for Merchant Navy seamen working in the engine room. Mabel and Laurence went on to have three children, Laurence Robert in 1915, Norah Annie in 1918 and Dennis in 1921. Dennis died soon after he was born.

In 1915, Laurence volunteered to join the army to fight in the war. He was a Gunner in the Royal Garrison Artillery and was sent to Egypt, where he arrived on 30th October 1915. He survived the war, returned home and rejoined the Merchant Navy.
Laurence Barry's Merchant Navy record card 

Electoral registers show Mabel and her family living at 5 Glass Yard, Woolwich from 1922 to 1932. They moved to 38 Arsenal Road, Eltham in 1933. The electoral register for 1939 shows Mabel and Laurence living at this address with their children Laurence and Norah. The 1939 national register shows that Mabel's husband Laurence was by then working as crane driver in a brass foundry.
38 Arsenal Road (in 2012)

Mabel's son Laurence Robert Barry joined the Merchant Navy in 1930. On August 23rd 1940, he was on board SS Cumberland, which was in a convoy heading from Liverpool to Curacao. The Cumberland was torpedoed by a German submarine. Laurence, aged 24, and three other of the ship's crew of 58 were killed.

Mabel's husband Laurence died in 1942 aged 53 in Woolwich. Probate records show that administration of his estate (value £535) was granted to Mabel. She remarried in 1943 to Charles Lanyon. She was aged 52, he was 55. Charles’s first wife, Ethel had died earlier that year. The 1945 electoral register shows Mabel and Charles at 38 Arsenal Road with Charles’s children Gladys Mamie (born 1917) and Harold (born 1921). Gladys had moved out by 1949. Mabel, Charles and Harold continued to live at this address until Mabel died on July 1st 1957 aged 65. She was buried in Plumstead cemetery in the same grave (K / 2031) as her first husband Laurence. Probate for her estate (value £2097) was issued to Charles Lanyon (a retired carpenter) and Norah Annie Stemman (her daughter, who was married to John Stemman). Charles died in 1967 aged 79.

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