BEESTON, Rickmansworth, late 19th/early 20th century

May 2001




PLEASE NOTE: When this question was asked the amount of information available online was very restricted and the only census available (on a CD) was the 1881 census. The answer given below should be carefully checked using the additional information now readily available online.

M. B. of Cairns, Queensland wants to know more about Sidney Charles Beeston and his wife Jane Holland.

Sidney Charles Beeston was born at Mill End, Rickmansworth on 10th May 1889. His father was Jack Beeston, Engineer. Jane Holland was born on 11th October 1895, her father Absalom Holland, a general dealer, being dead when she married. The couple married by war license at Holy Trinity Church, Anerley, [near Crystal Palace, SE London]. Both gave the residential address Hawthorn Grove, Anerley. The witnesses were Absalom and Joseph Holland (brothers of the bride) and she had a sister Elsie. Her mother Elisa? Holland, died November? 1933? aged 68. She lived in Harrow and was buried at St John the Baptist Church, Pinner. The couple's children were Phyllis 27.11.1919, Arthur John 3.1.1921, Elsie 26.9.1924 and Molly 25.10.19? At the time of his marriage Sidney was a Sergeant in the Manchester Regiment and went to France, and later Ireland.

Sidney's father, Jack Beeston, is almost certainly the John Beeston who was living in a farm house in Rickmansworth in the 1881 census.





Farm Bailiff

Shawbury, Shropshire






Walsall, Staffordshire






Hawkhurst, Kent

Lydia Ethel HUGGETT





City of London





Farm Labourer (Indn)

Tibberton, Shropshire

The 1881 census CD does not include the description of the route the census enumerator took but by looking at the "neighbours" in conjunction with the contemporary large scale Ordnance Survey map available online at old-maps, it is possible to deduce that the farm was close to the canal and the mill at Mill End, Rickmansworth. I am not sure what the (Indn) means against John's occupation - but it may mean "Industrial" or something similar - and at the time many farms had steam driven engines which required an engineer to work them. The other thing of interest is that Shawbury and Tibberton were not that far apart - and both are a long way from Hertfordshire - so it might be that John was visiting his future in-laws and that he married Eliz. Ann Foulkes. Speculation perhaps - but worth bearing in mind.

You know enough about Sidney Charles Beeston to be able to order his birth certificate, which should give his parents' names, and allow you to start looking for his parents' marriage certificate. The 1891 census should help identify the household - including any siblings. You local LDS Family History Centre (see familysearch) should be able to get the microfilm and birth/marriage certificate indexes you need.

I can't trace any reference to Absalom Holland - and as Anerley, Harrow and Pinner are not in Hertfordshire you will need to look elsewhere for help. Information on Sidney's war activities will be somewhere in the Public Records Office at Kew - but you would probably need to employ a professional researcher to dig them out.

Merial also asked My grandparents lived in a cottage in Moor Lane with a canal behind it, I can get a copy of the picture, it was a triplex, ie, 3 cottages joined together, is it still there?

Moor Lane is still just south of Rickmansworth, running close to the canal, and I have driven along it several years ago. Currently the South side of the road is mainly very expensive 20th century houses forming part of Moor Park. The cottages may still be there, on the North side of the road - and some buildings are marked on my road map. [You should try multimap online.] However they may have been demolished when a large roundabout was constructed at the Rickmansworth end - or perhaps modernised into a single property. Perhaps someone who knows the area better will know the answer.

February 2006

M. B. has kindly provided an update. She writes: Its a while since I have written to you ... I have now found many generations of Beestons going back to 1750 from your search on John Beeston in Tibberton in 2001. Thanks for your help, we even have found relatives in Australia that were from Rickmansworth. It seems a few of the men back in the Beeston family worked at Walkers Boatyard, including my great grandfather, and I have learned that there was a Walkers Magazine produced for the centenary [in 2005], with photos of both cousins & my great grandfather in it. I am trying to find out the publishing company for Walkers of Ricky so I can find Anthony J Walker, the author, to find out where all the old photos are archived as we have none of these. 

The publisher of Walkers of Ricky was W H Walker & Brothers Ltd, of Rickmansworth, and their current address is given in the Yellow Pages at