Arthur Gosling was a name known to me from childhood as the loud chiming clock upon our bureau in the hallway was inscribed with his name:
The clock had been ‘presented to Arthur Gosling by the congregation of St Matthews Church, Ealing Common in February 1909′ and I was always told he was a lay preacher. The son of James Foulds and Margaret (nee Robson) Gosling, he lost his father in 1869 when aged just 5, his mother having six children under her care in 1871.
Strangely, we have a photograph in the family album taken by ‘A & G Taylor, Photographers to Her Majesty The Queen….’. The existence of this item from the past led me to wonder how on earth Arthur was able to afford such a photograph, which is marked on the front, in pencil, with ‘A.G. aged 18‘. My great-grandmother, Dorcas, clearly (though sadly in pen) recorded his name on the reverse, referring to him as her own father.
The 1881 census answers my question. Arthur was a footman in the household of William B. Brett, the Lord Justice of Appeal (RG11/121/24/44). My guess is that all the servants of the household were photographed at around the time of the census, as Arthur is stated to be 18 in 1881, though he would not quite have been so, his 18th birthday being the following January!
In 1889, Arthur married my great-great-grandmother, Ellen Laura Baynham and they had three children together: Olive and twins, Ruth and Dorcas. From 51 Falkland Road, Dorking in 1891 to 28 Grange Road, Ealing in 1901, Arthur’s involvement in church life is clear. BUT….. in 1911, Ellen Laura is at 103 The Grove, Ealing without Arthur. He is living on his own – still a church verger – at 6 Herbrand Street, St Giles in the Field and Bloomsbury St George. He never returned to the family home though the clock remained and has been passed down the generations. What made him leave, I wonder?
Just a year before the census, in 1910, Arthur strangely turns up as a witness on a friend of mine’s relative’s marriage certificate! Though it took many years to ‘despatch’ Arthur, I finally found his death in Epsom aged 72 in 1936. From the cause of death, I can surmise that perhaps Arthur had a brain haemorrhage. His demise was reported by his nephew, Albert H. Morris, and from the addresses recorded, it would seem that Arthur had lived next door to Albert in Leatherhead before he passed away.