A White Christmas at Watford in 1906


The Starkey "Railway" Family of Watford


The Pond, Watford High Street, Sbow, Boxing Day 1906 - by Downer  

The Pond, Watford,

on Boxing Day 1906

by Fred Downer of Watford



Cassio Hamlet

on Boxing Day 1906

by Fred Downer of Watford


  Cassio Hamlet, Watford, Snow, Boxing Day 1906, by Fred Downer

Reverse of above card


Father & Mother's love & here's another wee bit of snow for you to feast your eyes on.


Posted Watford

January 4th 1907


S Starkey, Esq.

c/o Engineer in Chief's Office

Natal Govnt Railway



S. Africsa


The Starkey "Railway" Family of Watford


My original plan was to identify the people on the card - and my initial guess was that the card was from a sister talking about their shared father and mother. However a more detailed look showed that was impossible and it would appear that Nance was just a friend taking about her father and mother - and I haven't been able to identify her. However the Starkey family's involvement with the railway is worth recording.


Sam Starkey (1881- after 1937)

STARKEY, Samuel, Signal Engineer, Natal Government Railway.: b 18th September 1881 in Lancaster, Lancashire, England; son of Joseph Starkey and late Ellen Starkey, of Watford, Hertfordshire, England. Educated at Watford Grammar School. Came to Coloney June 1903. Is a football and tennis player. Address, Engineer in Chief's Office, Natal Government Railway; and 103 Pine Street, Maritzburg.

Natal Who's Who 1906


At the time of the 1891 census Sam Starkey (9) was living with the family at  29 Woodford Road, Watford. Ten years later he was a junior signal draughtsman boarding with Benjamin Muckley, a 60 year old railway engine fitter at 30 Richard Moon Street, Monks Coppenhall, Cheshire. As the above biography shows he went to South Africa in 1903. Following his father's death in 1925 he briefly returned to England, from Durban, staying at 5 Canterbury Road, Watford. The immigration records describe him as a railway engineer. With him were his wife Mary Louise Starkey (40), and children Frank (6) and Douglas (4). He returned again in 1927 (on his own) and with his wife in 1937.


Joseph Starkey (1845-1925)

Joseph Starkey was born in 1845, in Walton, Cheshire, the son of Thomas Starkey (a boot and shoe maker) and Elizabeth. In 1866 he married Ellen Howard and children were born in Warrington (1867-1878), Lancaster (1880-1886) and Watford (1890). His occupation is given as a wheelwright (1871) and railway signal inspector (1881-1901, retired in 1911). He was living in Woodford Road, Watford (1891, 1901) and at 3 Westbury Road, Watford (1911-1925). He was widowed in 1905, and remarried Ellen Goble in 1912. Probate records show that Joseph, of 3 Westbury Road, Watford, died 9 January 1925 and his executors were John Starkey railway superintendent and Joe Starkey railway official.


Ellen Starkey nee Howard (1848-1905)

Ellen Howard was born in Warrington,  the daughter of John Howard (blacksmith) and Martha, his wife. She married Joseph Starkey in 1866 and died in Watford in 1905.


The Starkey Family connections with the Railway

The following table lists the Starkey children and their dates of birth and occupations from the census

  Born 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911
Joseph 1845 Walton Wheelright Railway Signal Inspector Railway Signal Inspector Railway Signal Inspector Railway Signal Inspector (retired)
Thomas 1867 Warrington     ? Railway Clerk Railway Rates Clerk
John 1869 Warrington     Carpenter Railway Signal Inspector Railway Signal Inspector
Martha 1871 Warrington          
Joe 1874 Warrington     Railway Good Clerk Railway Clerk Railway Clerk
Annie 1878 Warrington          
Alfred 1880 Lancaster       Railway Clerk Solicitor's Clerk
Sam 1882 Lancaster       Junior Signal draftsman [Railway Engineer]
Bertie 1884 Lancaster       Cotton Card Room Handler Under Carder for Cotton Mill Co.
May 1886 Lancaster          
Maude 1890 Watford          
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