WILKINS, Tring, circa 1905

September, 2007

Beverley Link (beverley @t from Shropshire writes: Lily Wilkins, via family story, was meant to have been brought up in an orphanage in Tring, with a brother on the death of her parents. She then went into service in the same area, until she had a child born in 1920 in Esher. She then moved to Wolverhampton from where her history is known. She died in 1958.

I have traced her on the 1901 census, living with widowed father and brother Walter in Tring Urban. I am trying to find the orphanages in that area, whether Union or charity, but have so far spent days on the internet and only found the Union. I have also had attempts on A2A to trace records. I would be grateful for any pointers

I would guess that Lily would only have been in an orphanage from the time her father died until the age of 13 when she would have been found a job, most likely as a domestic servant. As you forgot to tell me when she was born I checked the 1901 census on Ancestry and found the following.

1901 Census Frogmore Terrace, Tring

Frederick Wilkins Head Widower 30 Roadman (Lab) Herts Hang Hill
Walter Wilkins Son   9 Scholar Wilstone
Lilly Wilkins Daughter   7 Scholar Northchurch

This suggests that she would have been in an orphanage for no more than about 6 years, or less depending on when her father died.

Apart from Berkhamsted Workhouse I know of no obvious "orphanage" in the area - and it would seem that the relevant workhouse records have not survived. It is likely that the 1911 census records will be available with a year or so from now which could help you fill in the gap between 1901 and 1920 - but by 1911 she would almost certainly already be in service. Your best bet would be to see if HALS has any school records for the Tring/Berkhamsted area for the period up to about 1907.

While this may not be as helpful as I would like I can at least give you some guidance relating to the 1901 census entry. I had never heard of "Hang Hill, Herts" and the name interested me. Tring is on the edge of the Chilterns and there are many steep hills, and one of the walks along the edge of the escarpment is referred to as "Beech Hangings". So the name "Hang Hill" might well be somewhere on the northern "face" of the Chilterns. The 1871, 1881 and 1891 census returns all record Frederick as being born in Tring, so perhaps "Hang Hill" was somewhere close to where I live!

A quick search and I found a reference to it - with a post code of HP23 6JX - which should allow you to find it on Google Maps. Along the foot of the Chilterns, immediately to the West of Tring there are a number of narrow farm lanes - and I sometimes walk my dog Franci along some of them. One winding lane is a dead end - I have never ventured beyond Terriers End - and at the end I now know there is a group of houses called Hang Hill. While Tring is the nearest town, and the post code (HP23) is that of Tring, Hang Hill is actually a few hundred yards over the county boundary into Buckinghamshire.

There is a web page for Tring

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


Page created September 2007