One of Ari’s 4x great-grandfathers was William Morris, born in Milford, Derbyshire, in 1845.
He was the second son of foundry watchman John Morris and cotton spinner Ann Beresford. I have just discovered a third son, Jacob, who was born when William was five and died at eighteen months. Jacob was baptised at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Milford (this was built in 1842 and closed in 1949 – see this page for a photo).
The 1851 census shows that William was aged five, and at school. The family was living at No. 8, Hopping Hill, West Terrace, Milford.
Milford – view to Hopping Hill and West Terrace
These houses appear to be 2 storeys on Hopping Hill, but are 4 storeys when viewed from Derby Road below.
These houses were built by the Strutt family for mill workers. A conservation document drawn up in 2007 provides some interesting details. Built between 1813 and 1820, the back-to-back cottages were designed with care on a challengingly steep site, and each had its own yard and garden. The cottages did not have running water until 1897.
In the 1861 census, the Morris family were at No. 5. A photo of the unaltered interior can be seen in this document. William (15), his brother George, and their father John were all listed as cotton spinners.
William married Caroline Dawson on 28 Dec 1868. By this time he was a foundry labourer living at Russell Street, Litchurch, in Derby.
Their first child, John Henry, was born the following year, and the 1871 census shows them living with William’s parents at 69 Russell Street. Another three children were born before the next census: Elizabeth Ann (Lizzie) in 1873, Charlotte Ellen (Nellie) in 1875, and Annie in 1880. William started work as an agent for an insurance company, and the family moved to No. 6 Harrington St. In the 1891 census William was still at the same address.
By 1901, William had become a gas fitter. The family were now at 38 Nelson Road in Normanton, Derby. The 1911 census shows that William was working as a gas fitter for Midlands Railway. The Derby Daily Telegraph of 22 November 1904 highlighted the dangers of the job:
William died on 28 Dec 1914 at 100 Dale Road, Derby. He was described as a gas fitter’s labourer, Railway Works, and the cause of death was asthma, bronchitis and cardiac failure. He was sixty-nine. His daughter Annie was present. I have not found out where William was buried, and he did not leave a will.
Ari, this is how you are related to William: