BALDWIN, Hemel Hempstead, Early 20th century

May 2002

Alan Gibbs of Melbourne, Australia, writes: My GGMother Charlotte Baldwin (nee Redrup) died on 26 Nov 1915 at 61 Ebberns Rd, Hemel Hempstead. The informant was an F. Baldwin, daughter-in-law. How can I find out the other inhabitants at that address? Are there any electoral records I could consult and if so where are they?

When I wrote the book The London Gunners come to Town, which describes life in Hemel Hempstead in the First World War, I would have found the electoral registers very useful, but there were no surviving copies in the Council archives, or the local library, and I am pretty sure there were none at HALS. If they had survived they would only have recorded those entitled to vote - which would have excluded women and those below voting age. In fact three volumes for Hemel Hempstead have survived from the early 1920's and are held in the Hemel Hempstead Central library - with a complete set starting in the 1960's.

The only official documents to record all the occupants are the censuses. The 1901 census was to be made available online - and the delays in making it available are a major scandal. In addition microfiche/microfilm copies have been made available - and you will have to check whether a set is yet available in Melbourne. The 1911 census will not be available until 2012.

Trade directories have been regularly published, especially Kelly's, but they only covered the "gentry" and "trades" so most people are not included. I note that in the 1914 Kelly's Directory for Hertfordshire a Mrs Mary Baldwin, laundress, and a Thomas Baldwin, boot repairer, are both recorded as trading at 61 Cotterells, Hemel Hempstead - but whether they are related to yours is, of course, not stated.

Street Directories are more helpful, in that they list all the houses in a street, together with the head of household. Unfortunately I don't think any were published for Hemel Hempstead before the 1930's - and the 1937 edition shows a William Baldwin at 61 Ebberns Road - as one of 15 houses with a Baldwin head of household.

You could try a message to the local newspaper's online site hemelonline, which has a lot of historical information and answers queries - as it may be possible to contact living members of the Baldwin family.

June 2002

Alan Gibbs  responded: Thanks very much for your information on Directories, etc., and especially your suggestion I contact the Hemel Hempstead Gazette. This I did with outstanding success! I'm now in contact with lost cousins in both Hemel Hempstead and Australia. Thanks again.....Alan Gibbs, Melbourne, Australia.

Thanks for your reply - as it helps me to give a better service if I know what is successful.

If you can add to the information given above tell me.