The Corke Family Siblings 1936👔

It’s so nice to have a date and a family name on this small photo, and not just the family name. Also the likely initials of all three siblings and the married surnames of the two ladies.

Looking to come across the right Corke family, I first looked for marriages between a Corke and a Hingstone and a Corke and a Jay. These were almost correct as the first one was actually Kingstone. S.E. was Samuel Charles Whitmell Corke. M.E. was Marie Elizabeth Corke who married Alfred Henry Jay. Then W.A. was Winifred Annie Whitmell Corke who married Frederick Ernest Kingstone.

Small piece of paper that came with the photo.

The Corke siblings parents were mother Elizabeth Whitmell 1854-1904 and father Samuel John Corke 1849-1890, Samuel was a Warehouseman working for his father John Thomas Corke 1826-1888. John T had begun his journey into business in 1841 at the age of 15, working for George Marchant ten years his senior, who had a Linen Draper’s in the High Street in Sevenoaks, he was learning the trade, because ten years later John had his own business, a Drapers Shop in the High Street of Deptford, nearer to London. He had also married Sarah Frances Southee in 1848 and they had one son Samuel John Corke by the time of the 1851 census, the siblings father. John T and his wife had a daughter later that year in November, Ann Jemima Corke. I have been unable to find the whole family in the 1861 census but found a likely record of Samuel at School. By the time of the 1871 census John T, now a Linen Merchant, and Sarah and their family are living in Hamilton Villa on the Dulwich Road, Lambeth. Son Samuel was working for his father as a Warehouseman. Also part of the household is Annie who is described as a Cook & Sew and Susannah who is a Housemaid & Servant. Interestingly they have visitors, an Aunt and Niece surname Corke and a young man by the name of Charles Mussared who is also working as a Warehouseman. Two years later on 1 February 1873 Charles and Ann Jemima married, they had one daughter Lillie Annie Mussared born in 1876. Samuel also married after this census on the 2 June 1875 to Elizabeth Whitmell.

John T had progressed greatly by the time of the 1881 census, now owning his own factory, described in the census as a ‘Shirt/Collar Maker Employing 360 Women 50 Men 6 Boys‘. His son Samuel is living with his own family at the home of his widowed Mother in Law Elizabeth Whitmell and his occupation is still Warehouseman, for his father. John T died on 9 Aug 1888 at home in Benhilton Mount, Sutton, Surrey. Samuel his son died just two years later on 19 Dec 1890. More on Samuel later.

The Old Bailey. The company: Corke, Abbott, & Co., 44 and 45, Fore Street, shirt collar, wristband, and front manufacturers. I came across two interesting records on the Old Bailey online mentioning the family:

The first one was dated 31 Jan 1876. WILLIAM GARNHAM (35) , Feloniously receiving 172 dozen shirt collars and 38 dozen wristbands, the property of John Corke and another, knowing them to be stolen“. It was interesting to see that Samuel, John’s son was a Witness as it givves us more information about the company and his job there.

SAMUEL JOHN CORKE, JUN . I am son of Mr. Corke, one of the firm of the prosecutors—I have seen all the property produced by Westaby—the last portion of it came in on Tuesday night, on the 4th January, between 5 and 6 o’clock, from outdoors, for the button-holing—then the quantity was not complete; there were two dozen to make it so, and I had a row with one of the young girls—I knew it was part of the property found at Westaby’s because I took it in myself—it was Marlborough cuffs; about ten dozen came in on the Tuesday; the rest, about thirty dozen, came in on the Monday—I know them by the price given out at, and I am positive they are Marlborough wristbands, and W.R.F. Glasgow—they were made for a particular firm, and they have the letters of that firm upon them—I am able to swear positively upon that, that they were at our premises on the 4th—I am positive about the rest of the property because you will find P.S.H. on a part of the collars—I cannot say whether those goods were ever made or in existence upon the 18th December; the portion upon the 4th January I am positive of—they were given out to button-hole on the 1st“.

Cross-examined.I am a warehouseman—there are about 300 to 400 people employed—our business consists of nothing but cuff, collar, and front making—the Marlborough wristband is not a common one; it is. Not known all over the trade; you could not go into half a dozen shops in London and buy it—the Stanley collar is not a common one—when we receive orders to execute I take them upstairs and enter them into a book in the cutter’s room—it is at home now—W.R.F. is a firm in Glasgow; their names are W. R. Finlay & Co.; they have dealt with us a number of years—they are large warehousemen—we supply them with a large number of cuffs and collars in a dressed state—I cannot say without reference how long before this order we had had one—we do not make these Stanley collars cheaper than anyone else, other people have the same privilege—to the best of my belief we have made Marlborough cuffs three years, Stanley collars three months—we make the Marlboroughs for one house and the collars for another; P.H.S. one and W.R.F. another—cuffs and collars might have the same name—that particular Marlborough cuff cannot be bought all over the the trade at the same price—we had some goods come in on the Monday—I have a book to refer to, but not here; my word is enough—I did not see the cuffs at Westaby’s, I saw them at the police-station—the stitching is done by a machine—I can tell who stitched them by the number“.

Re-examined.The wristbands are made in dozens, not half-dozens—on each dozen there is a mark—were they separated there would be a mark on each half-dozen—the particular shape of the wristband is not uncommon to the trade—on this dozen (examining) there is No. 48 very indistinct“……. after many witness statements and much detail the last witness was JOHN CORKE, SEN .” I have seen these thirty odd dozen Marlborough wristbands—they came down stairs on the 4th—I was present, all but two dozen, and they came down on Wednesday the 5th—these cuffs before me are what came down on the 9th—not one of this lot had been down before the 4th“.

Cross-examined.I was in the workroom when they came down—it is the department I take the management of—there is a book kept to show about outdoor buttonholers—we have lost between 3 and 400l. worth of goods—cuffs, collars, and fronts“. Full trial in detail here via this direct link: Old Bailey trial:

Previous to this trial I also found on 4 Mar 1850 another mention of John Corke in an Old Bailey Trial: 649. SARAH JAMES , stealing 14 yards of ribbon, value 4s. 9d.; the goods of John Corke.JOHN CORKE .” I am a haberdasher, of High-street, Deptford. On 23rd Feb., about half-past three o’clock in the afternoon, the prisoner came and asked my apprentice to show her some satin ribbon—the box was put before her to select the colour and width—she purchased one yard, at three farthings a yard—the apprentice cut the ribbon, and was in the act of putting the box back, when the prisoner said, “Stay a minute, my little dear; I will take one more yard,” and while he was reaching for the yard-stick I saw her take one piece of ribbon out—she laid it on the counter for five minutes, covered with her hand, till she got an opportunity of putting it under her cuff—I saw her draw the cuff down, and take it up—I told her to step to the other end of the shop—I said I was very sorry, but I saw her take and conceal a piece of ribbon—she said I was a good-for-nothing fellow to accuse a lady—I told her to draw off her right-hand cuff, and the ribbon dropped out”. After more statements and cross examining she was found GUILTY. Aged 30.—Recommended to mercy by the Jury. Confined Fourteen Days Full details of trial here:

There was another mention Of John Corke at an earlier trial on the 26 Feb 1849 too on the Old Bailey site: 784. JEMIMA BOARD, stealing 1 tea-pot, value 4s. 6d.; the goods of John Long Vincer: also, 6 yards of printed-cotton, and 1 victorine, value 8s.; the goods of John Corke: also, 1 tea-pot, value 5s.; the goods of Joseph Burnby: to all of which she pleaded GUILTY . Aged 15. Confined Three Months. Link here:

Trial details can give you such a fascinating insight into our ancestors lives can’t it and it was so interesting to learn more about the Corke family business.

So now back to the family history after my Old Bailey diversion. By the time of the 1881 census Charles Mussared had become a Commision Agent and he and Ann Jemima and their daughter Lillie were living in Camberwell with one general servant. Sadly at the beginning of September 1883 Ann Jemima died, she was just 31.

Ann Jemima was known as Topsy.

Charles did remarry but much later in life in 1923 to Caroline Edith Mary Dubber, he was 73 and she was just 37. Two years later he died. Daughter Lillie I believe went to live with her Grandmother Sarah soon after her Mum had died as she was just 7 then. Lillie was with Sarah on the 1891 and 1901 census. Sarah was a widow by 1891 as Lillie’s Grandfather John T had died on the 8 August 1888. Sarah lived very comfortably I would think, as John T left £7,000 at least, worth roughly three quarters of a million today. Looking at the household in 1901 there is a visitor at the home Sarah and her Grandaughter Lillie shared, a certain Harold Frank William/s, he was the same age as Lillie too. I spy a romance, was my first thought when I saw this ha ha! So glad I was proved right! The dateline is very interesting! Grandmother Sarah died on the 5 July 1903 and Lillie and Harold married on the 1 August 1903 just a month after her death. Did she not approve? There’s a story there I’m sure! The couple had one son Harold Leslie Mussared William/s. Harold Snr died in 1927 and Lillie died in 1940.

Going back to the 1891 census after Samuel John Corke had died his wife Elizabeth and three children were living at the home of Elizabeth’s Mum, also Elizabeth Whitmell ( who was now 79. I was surprised I didn’t find a mention in the newspaper about Samuel’s death? He was just 41.

1901 census

The three Siblings. Eldest born was Marie Elizabeth born 19 March 1876. By the census year of 1901Marie Elizabeth Corke is married to Alfred Henry Jay. They married on the 20 March 1895. He is described as a Photographer in 1901, not often I come across one in the family’s I research. Then he’s an Art Dealer in the census of 1911. They had three children during their marriage.

1901 census Alfred Jay and family

1) Hilda Jay 1896-1981 Hilda never married and died in Worthing, West Sussex as did her sister 2) May Jay 1897-1988, May remained unmarried too and it’s most likely they lived together all their lives. They were still in their parents home in the 1939 Register. Sadly Alfred was Blind now. The two sisters both worked, Hilda in a Tea-room and May as a Land Girl. Alfred H Jay died in Sussex in April 1951 and Marie Elizabeth died in January 1976, she was 99. Marie and Alfred also had a son, their youngest, born January 1900.

1939 Register

They called him 3) Harold, tragically like so many young men, he died during WW1. On the 17 Mar 1918 at Brixworth Isolation Hospital, Moulton Road, Holcot, Daventry, Northamptonshire. He is buried with his family in Hove, Sussex.

From Find A Grave Photo added by julia&keld

Second born of the three siblings was Samuel Charles Whitmell Corke born 30 August 1877. He married Emily Mary Anne Hoare 1878-1933 in January 1905 and as far as I can see they had no children. He is living alone at the time of the 1939 Register and described as a Garage Attendant. Motor Driver. Previous to this in the 1911 census he was described as a Chauffeur Domestic. He and Emily were living in Pimlico having been married 6 years with no children.

He served in WW1 in the Army Service Corps: Service Number Mi/5991. Corps, Regiment or Unit: Army Service Corp. Medal Awarded: British War Medal and Victory Medal.

After the war I found him living in 1922 at Bear Hill Stables, Windsor, Berkshire, a military connection? The following year finds them living in Knightsbride St, Westminster, London. The couple continued to stay in and around London all their lives. Emily died in Chelsea in 1933 and Samuel Charles died also in Chelsea in 1942.

Thirdly we come to Winifred Annie Whitmell Corke born 6 April 1881. She married Frederick Ernest Kingstone in April 1904, Frederick was described as a Gas Boy Clerk. Employer in the 1911 census. The couple had four children Ethel Bessie Florence Kingstone 1905-1983. Leonard Ernest Kingstone 1906-1998. Arthur Sidney Kingstone 1908-1976. Ethel, Leonard and Arthur all married. I have found likely children for all three of these first children of Winifred, all boys so far. Then last born Nellie Kingstone 1910-1997 who never married. When Winifred Annie died on the 8th May 1959 in Ruislip, Middlesex she left everything to her daughter Nellie Kingstone Spinster, Effects £5278.13s 4d. Husband Frederick had died previously on 14 Nov 1955.

Victorian Photographers.

There were several photographers working in Victorian times with the name of CORKE. Corke, Beatrice Essenhigh (Miss). Corke, C Essenhigh. Corke, C Essenhigh & Co. Corke, Ernest E and
Corke, H Essenhigh & Co Ltd. One was in Sevenoaks in the 1855 Directory, C. E. Corke. I wonder if this family were related to any of them? Worth researching if the Corke’s are your family.

During my research I came across this wealth of information about Sevenoaks History from David Killingray and Elizabeth Purves, Sevenoaks: an historical dictionary, free to access:

Here’s a small glimpse of what you will find:

A quick Screenshot of the Corke Family Tree.

As always if you are a descendant of this CORKE family here’s the direct link to the Public tree I have compiled on Ancestry: please get in touch and let me know via a comment or via my email address

Till next time then………..


  1. I don’t know if there is a connection with your Corke family, but the name of Corke with #Kent#drapers caught my eye when you posted on Twitter. I’ve been researching women in business in Maidstone, and there was a drapery shop there run by Richard & Hannah Corke, which appears in directories between 1855 & 1862. Hannah was Richard’s widowed mother, from newspaper ads 1848 to 1850 in the Maidstone Journal (I haven’t searched any later than that yet) it is clear that Hannah, played an important role in running the business – and there is a lot of detail in the ads about the business and its stock.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That looks interesting Audrey! I haven’t got a Hannah or a Richard Corke on the small tree I compiled for this Blog but it looks as though it’s likely there must be some connection doesn’t it. Would be interesting for an ancestor to research. Thanks so much. Lynn

      Liked by 1 person

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