Saturday, January 8, 2011

Carpenters, Heroes and Plumbers

Carpentry in the Victorian Era

Getting back to the Cutting side of the family I wanted to find out a little more about Charles Harry Cutting (great grandfather) and his son Charles Harry Newland Cutting (grandfather on my Mother's side.) The records show the Charles Harry came from a line of carpenters - all of whom would have been in great demand for their skills in the building industry in the Victorian era. It is possible that Charles and his father Thomas before him practised as Village carpenters.

The definition of Village carpentry as it was practiced in Victorian times covered practically all the woodworking done except wheelwright's work. There are several types of carpentry work but it is not yet revealed which type Charles Harry was skilled at. (thanks to the Witheridge site for this information: http://www.witheridge-historical-archive.com/carpenter.htm)
 
The Cuttings resided originally in Hampshire but moved to Kingston-on-Thames and were living there by the 1881 census. By then Charles Harry Newland Cutting was already married and would have been supporting his family from his chosen trade - Plumbing. I am not sure how or why CHN Cutting chose a plumber's trade but it too would have been in demand in the latter part of the 19th Century.

Freedom of the City of London

The episode in our family history in which CHN Cutting appears as a hero is a much more interesting story.

CHN Cutting served as a soldier of the City of London Imperial Volunteers in the second Boer War in 1899 and was awarded the Freedom of the City, a document that is now proudly displayed in the homes of his descendants.

Here is the wording from that document:

FREEDOM GRANTED BY ORDER OF THE COURT OF COMMON COUNCIL UNDER DATE OF 20th DECEMBER 1899

Charles Harry Cutting of "The City of London Imperial Volunteers" was admitted into the Freedom aforesaid and made the Declaration required by Law in the Mayoralty of Alfred James Newton Esquire Mayor and Sir William James Richmond Cotton Knt. Chamberlain and is entered in the booked signed with Letter M1 relating to the Purchasing of Freedoms and the Admissions of Freemen (to wit) the 17th day of January in the 63rd Year of the reign of Queen Victoria And in the Year of our Lord 1900
In Witness whereof the Seal of the Office of Chamberlain oft he said City is herunto affixed Dated in the Chamber of the Guildhall of the same City the day and Year abovesaid. 

Honorary Freedom is the highest honour the City of London can bestow. Honorary freemen do not apply for but are invited by the Court of Common Council to take the Freedom. The presentation ceremony usually takes place in the Great Hall of the Guildhall before the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, Common Councilmen and invited guests. The presentation on these occasions is made by the Chamberlain of London, and is usually followed by a Guildhall or Mansion House banquet.
Famous Honorary freemen include The Queen, Princess Diana, Nelson Mandela, Florence Nightingale, General Eisenhower, Theodore Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. For more information about the Freedom of the City visit wikipedia at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Honorary_Freemen_of_the_City_of_London

Over the last 300 years, about 300,000 ordinary people have been made Free of the City of London. Even today, many men and women continue to be admitted to the City Freedom, although most of the privileges and practical reasons for doing so have now disappeared.

Thanks to our cousin Sally for tracking that down the actual document for our very own Freeman, Charles Harry Newland Cutting and for arranging for it to be framed. It was a chance remark made by my brother Michael recently, when asked about the possible reason for this particular award that sparked my research into the records from the Boer War. If I have the facts correct then this image shows the official record of Charles H N Cutting as a Private soldier number 760 in the Boer War.


It is not clear what role Private Cutting played in the Boer War, but obviously he earned his award and we are immensely proud of this achievement - to us he is a hero.

A Plumber in the family

The 1911 census shows that CHN Cutting was a plumber and now living at 6 Borough Road, Kingston Hill. The significance of his location will become more obvious as we now trace the family history surrounding the Cutting line.

In particular you can see in this image of the 1911 census, with the handwritten signature of my grandfather Charles HN, that the first of the six children were living at this address, but what we cannot see are the names of the youngest of the tribe, the triplets, who were born to Mary Jane in 1909. Note that of the six births for Mary Jane, five were live births and one has died. I shudder to think of such anguish and pain, the suffering and the sorrow of her child's death.

My mother would always tell me about the multiple births in her family and how this set of genetics would be passed on to her children and grandchildren. Indeed - twin boys were born to our mother in 1940. Twins, boy and a girl, were born to our brother John and twin girls to our sister Patricia. But I was always a little unsure of who were the triplets amongst Mum's siblings and which of them survived, and now I wonder where were they on the night of the 1911 census.



The story now takes on another aspect - that of family links between the Cuttings and the Allerys.
Location, location, location! The importance of Kingston-upon-Thames becomes clearer as we now explore the relationships and stories surrounding our parents, Winifred Edith Cutting and Cecil Henry Allery. The 1911 census above shows my Mum aged 8 living at 6 Borough Road, Kingston Hill - a suburb of Kingston-on-Thames. The 1911 census below shows my Dad aged 10 living at London House, Coombe Lane, Norbiton - a suburb of Kingston-on-Thames.


In this census you can also see that grandmother Harriett Priscilla had seven births, five of whom lived and two who died. I know that childbirth and childhood illnesses accounted for the loss of many children in the early part of the 20th century, but I can understand what heartaches Harriett would have experienced then on the death of one of her two daughters. Ivy Dorothy B. 27 Jan 1904 D. 4 Apr 1904). There was more agony in store for her, but she did not know it then.It was in May of 1930 that she lost another child, my uncle Edward Lionel, aged 28, who was killed at Brooklands in a tragic car racing accident. (more about that in another episode as I explore the lives of these brave women in my ancestry)

I wonder at the way in which history repeats itself - my mother lost her first born child and I don't think she ever got over that. I imagine that she received some comfort from her mother and mother-in-law in 1925 - two other brave women who also lost their babies.

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