Occupants of 13 Rock Street

13 Rock Street 2016-11-11T13:07:44+00:00
1881 OS plan with house numbers

1881 OS plan with house numbers

We are disappointed not to have any photos of this house.  It was one of five houses located between the Seven Stars and the Oxhouses.  The house was one of a row of 5 houses owned by the same owners.  Click here to read about the OWNERS

We have had great difficulty in identifying the occupants of each house in the 19th century census records so we have not attempted to do so unless we have some other supporting sources.  In this case, we know from local knowledge and from the rating books and censuses that the house was occupied by:

Oliver and Lucy Screen – the 1876 rate book shows us that the house was occupied then by Oliver Screen.  The 1881 census shows us that they were living there with three children and in the 1891 census they were still there.  Click here to read more  

Mark Curthoys – the 1894, 1899 and 1905 rate books show that Mark was occupying this house.  Click here to read more

Mary Ann Screen – the 1911 census shows that Mary Ann Screen was living in the house.  Mary Ann was a widowed charwoman aged 48 from Berkeley.  We are not sure how Mary Ann connects to other Screens living next door or in the neighbourhood.

The Smarts – members of the Smart family lived in this house for about 70 years from about 1905 until the house was demolished in 1970’s.  The first of the family to live there was Mary Ann Smart who had separated from her husband, Harry (or Henry as referred to in some records).

Mary Ann’s maiden name was Mary Ann Wakefield.  She had been born in Peddington near Berkeley, the daughter of James Wakefield a labourer and his wife Ann.  She was baptised at Stone on 8th February 1863.  On 29th March 1884 she had married Harry Smart in Thornbury St Marys Church.  Click here to read about Henry and Mary Ann’s early life

Mary Ann moved into a house at 15 Rock Street which is where ‘Mrs Smart’ was living in the 1905 rate book.  When their son George started at the Council Upper School in 1905 his guardian was ‘Mrs Henry Smart’ of Chapel Street.  We believe that the reference to ‘Chapel Street’ is another case of the houses in this own, including the Severn Stars being listed as Chapel Street instead of Rock Street or one of the many alternatives.  The 1910 rate book shows her as living in 13 Rock Street.  We suspect that some of her other children may have been living with her there.  Her son, Albert Henry, died aged 21 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 25th May 1910.  His address at that time was Rock Street.

Another son, William enlisted in the Royal Regiment of Artillery on 2nd February 1912.  He was described as a general labourer aged 20 years 3 months.  He was 5ft 10 and a quarter inches, 146 lbs, chest 36 and a half inches, fresh complexion, blue eyes and brown hair.  He served as a gunner in the Bermuda Expeditionary Force from 1912 to April 1915.  He was based in England until 6th August 1915 when he deserted at Lydd.  We don’t know the repercussions of him deserting.

By 1918 Mary Ann was listed as living in Outer Back Street (one of the many old names for Rock Street).  She continued to live there.  The 1926 rate book shows ‘M. A. Smart’ as being the occupant of the house.  In 1927 William Smart, presumably Mary Ann’s son, is shown as living ‘c/o Mary A Smart, Outer Back Street’.  The Gazette of July 30th 1927 describes how William Smart was found guilty of an offence involving theft.  William seems to have been a suspect from early on and the police went round to a “a house in Upper Bath Road” which is likely to have been another name for 13 Rock Street.  William was asleep in his chair under the influence of drink.  William received a custodial sentence.

William died aged 41 and was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 9th March 1933.  He had never married.  Mary Ann died in 1934 aged 71.

Jane Wakefield (nee Smart) – the 1939 register compiled in preparation  for the war shows Jane Wakefield was living in the house. A baker, Reginald Perry, was also living there.  Jane was born in Thornbury on 6th June 1886, the daughter of Henry Smart, a labourer and his wife, Mary Ann (nee Wakefield) (see above).  The burial record says Jane died in Rock Street and she was buried in Thornbury Cemetery on 25th May 1942.  Click here to read more

George and Emma Smart – the electoral registers of the mid 1900’s indicate that the house was occupied for many years by George and Emma Smart and their family.  However George lived further up the road at number 4 Upper Bath Road before he moved to 13 Rock Street.  The 1939 register compiled in preparation  for the war shows George and Emma and their family living at 4 Upper Bath Road (then referred to as Raglan Castle’.  The electoral register of 1946 shows George and Emma at ‘Raglan Castle’ which we assume refers to the time when he was living at 4 Upper Bath Road.

George Thomas Smart was born on the 8th August 1898, the son of Henry Smart, a labourer and his wife, Mary Ann (nee Wakefield).  They lived at Crossways when George was born and they were still there in the 1901 census in which George is listed as ‘Thomas G Smart’.  When George started at the Council Upper School in 1905 the family had moved to Chapel Street (which we assume might mean the house at 13 Rock Street).

George married Emma Amelia Till in December quarter 1925.  Emma was born in Oldbury on 21st July 1903.  She was the daughter of Alfred Till and his wife Maria Alice.  George and Emma had at least three children: Alan Richard born on 18th March 1926, Alec George born on 11th May 1930 and Mary Constance Elizabeth born on 1st December 1935.

George was a quarryman.  He was a large man known locally as ‘Porker’.  We also know that Emma cleaned at the MEB shop in the High Street.  The 1921 electoral register shows that George was living in Upper Bath Road, probably with his mother who was listed as living in Outer Back Street (again assumed to be 13 Rock Street).  The 1927 register shows the same information, although we believe that by then George was married by then and living in 7 St John Street as that was their address when their son, Alan, was baptised in 1926.  George was shown as living in this house in the 1926 rate book.

We know from locals living in the area that the Smarts lived in least two houses there although we are not sure when the family moved from one to the other.  The first of these houses was at 4 Upper Bath Road, which was also known as Raglan Castle Road during this period.  The second house was at 13 Rock Street.

By 1930 when their second son, Alec, was baptised their address was ‘Raglan Castle’, the same address as shown in school records in 1932 and 1937 when their two sons started at Council Upper School.  The electoral registers for this period in 1931,1935 and 1938 all show their address as Upper Bath Road, which could be either of the two addresses mentioned above, but it is likely that this refers to 4 Upper Bath Road.

In 1940 when Mary started at the Council Upper School their address in the school records was ‘Bath Road’ but the electoral registers were still showing Raglan Castle or Upper Bath Road.  When Mary married Bernard Leslie Pritchard in 1956 her address was 13 Rock Street.

George and Emma continued living at 13 Rock Street until the house was earmarked for demolition at which time they moved to a council house at 2 Streamleaze which is where they were listed in the 1965 electoral register.  Emma died in February 1974 aged 70.

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