Author Topic: Footman or Coachman to Queen Victoria  (Read 1329 times)

Offline BlueSky38

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Footman or Coachman to Queen Victoria
« on: Thursday 26 August 21 00:49 BST (UK) »
My MIL tells me that one of her grandfathers was either a footman or a coachman for the Queen of England.  She identified two men -  father and son- who she suspected could be the person.   One is George Christmas Wood b. 1842 Lydd, England.  His census records list him as a farmer and grocer.  So it's not him.

His son George Arthur Wood b. 1869 in England is listed on the 1891 census as being a "coachsmith" in Canterbury, Kent, England. By 1901 he lived in Ontario, Canada.   I can't find any records that he actually served the Queen. 

Can anyone give me advice about this?
Thank you!

Offline ShaunJ

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Re: Footman or Coachman to Queen Victoria
« Reply #1 on: Thursday 26 August 21 10:00 BST (UK) »
FindMyPast has the Royal Household employment records - that might be a good place to start.
UK Census info. Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline maddys52

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Re: Footman or Coachman to Queen Victoria
« Reply #2 on: Thursday 26 August 21 10:50 BST (UK) »
George Arthur WOOD married Elizabeth Annie BREEDS in Ashford, 25 March 1893 (His father  - George Christmas WOOD, grocer).

They are in the 1901 census in Hammersmith and he is a "Warder HM Prison" (with 5yr old son Richard C - presumably Richard Christmas birth reg Mar qtr 1896 Canterbury 2a/813 - mother's maiden name BREEDS).
RG13/43 pg5

So he did work for Her Majesty, just not in her household.  ;D

Modified:
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Online Girl Guide

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Re: Footman or Coachman to Queen Victoria
« Reply #3 on: Thursday 26 August 21 10:56 BST (UK) »
Welcome to Rootshat  :D

I've had a look at the record Shaun mentioned but the George Woods mentioned are after your George went to Canada.

A description of coachsmith

A coachsmith was a smith who forged by hand or under a power hammer the iron work used in the building of railway or tramway coaches, carts etc.' repaired, cleaned and tempered coach springs etc.

A coach maker, aka body builder, body maker, built up by hand the wooden parts,e.g. framework, lining, floors, mouldings, of the bodies of coaches, carriages, railway carriages, tramcars etc.

It doesn't sound like George had anything to do with the royal household judging by George's occupation in the 1901 census that maddy found.
Ashford: Somerset, London
England: Devon, London, New Zealand
Holdway: Wiltshire
Hooper: Bristol, Somerset
Knowling: Devon, London
Southcott: Devon, China
Strong: Wiltshire
Watson: Cambridgeshire
White: Bristol
Windo - Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire

Offline ShaunJ

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Re: Footman or Coachman to Queen Victoria
« Reply #4 on: Thursday 26 August 21 11:10 BST (UK) »
According to his obituary in the Whitstable Times of 13 October 1906, George Christmas Wood was an inspector at Messrs F Finn and Sons' grocery establishments in Canterbury, where he had worked for 25 years.

https://search.findmypast.co.uk/bna/viewarticle?id=bl%2f0000338%2f19061013%2f161&stringtohighlight=george%20christmas%20wood
UK Census info. Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline GrahamSimons

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Re: Footman or Coachman to Queen Victoria
« Reply #5 on: Thursday 26 August 21 14:49 BST (UK) »
The archivists at Windsor Castle are helpful - even when they draw a blank!
Simons Barrett Jaffray Waugh Langdale Heugh Meade Garnsey Evans Vazie Mountcure Glascodine Parish Peard Smart Dobbie Sinclair....
in Stirlingshire, Roxburghshire; Bucks; Devon; Somerset; Northumberland; Carmarthenshire; Glamorgan

Offline BlueSky38

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Re: Footman or Coachman to Queen Victoria
« Reply #6 on: Thursday 26 August 21 17:28 BST (UK) »
My George Arthur Wood married Louisa Jane Langley sometime between 1891 and 1901.  The 1891 census shows him as a "Coachsmith".  He emigrated to Canada around 1886/7 when he was about 18. In 1901 he was in Hamilton City, Ontario, Canada married to Louisa and his occupation was a "coachman". 

I ran across some of the Royal Household records awhile back, but I don't think I found anything on him.  I will look again to be thorough. 

The fact that he moved out of the country at age 18 suggests that he wouldn't have had much time to
work as a coachman. 

I just called my MIL and she tells me she is pretty sure she was told the ancestor was a footman to the queen.  The reason my MIL believes that her ancestor worked for the queen is that there is a pair of ceramic "royal doulton" figurines passed through her family. Her mother said they came from my MIL's grandmother.  George A Wood is that woman's father.

George did have a brother named Richard born in 1873 in Lydd, Kent, UK.  His sister Kate was born about 1870 and that's all the siblings he has as far as I know.   I don't have any info on Richard, so perhaps he was the footman and the figurines didn't pass through his line.

My MIL described the figurines: the man was in britches and a white wig, the woman had a fancy dress with a bustle and there might have been a dog.  These figurines are in the possession of her sister, she doesn't have a photo of them, and she says that for all she knows her mom made up the story about the footman!   :o

So I think maybe my next line of attack is to find out about the brother Richard.

Thank you for all of your replies!
I have been an avid family historian for a few years and wish I had found this forum earlier!




Offline Dundee

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Re: Footman or Coachman to Queen Victoria
« Reply #7 on: Thursday 26 August 21 18:57 BST (UK) »

His son George Arthur Wood b. 1869 in England is listed on the 1891 census as being a "coachsmith" in Canterbury, Kent, England. By 1901 he lived in Ontario, Canada. 

They are in Bedfordshire, England in 1911, are you sure you have the right George Arthur WOOD?

Debra  :)

Offline Dundee

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Re: Footman or Coachman to Queen Victoria
« Reply #8 on: Thursday 26 August 21 19:26 BST (UK) »
Your George was already in Hamilton, Ontario by 1891.

https://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?app=Census1891&op=img&id=30953_148143-00737

Debra  :)