LIFE GOES ON: AN INTRODUCTION

MY GRANDPARENTS - I - MY GREAT-GRANDPARENTS - I - MY GREAT-GREAT-GRANDPARENTS - I - MY GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GRANDPARENTS

THE SIXTEEN FAMILIES

KNOTT - I - BOWLES - I - WATERS - I - HARRALL - I - PAGE - I - WISEMAN - I - CROSS - I - CARTER

CORNWELL - I - HUCKLE - I - MORTLOCK - I - MANSFIELD - I - REYNOLDS - I - CARTER - I - ANABLE - I - STEARN

CHRONOLOGY - I - DRAMATIS PERSONAE - I - WHERE PEOPLE CAME FROM - I - CALENDAR

MAP OF ELY - I - MAP OF MEDWAY
MAP OF CAMBRIDGE AND DISTRICT

THE WORKHOUSE

WORLD WAR I - I - WORLD WAR II

simonknott.co.uk I home I e-mail

LIFE GOES ON

    Vincent Helgia Knott
born Dartford, Kent, 15th February 1908
died Ely, Cambridgeshire, January 1996

on the Knott family tree
part of the
Knott, Bowles, Waters and Harrall family stories

married to Phyllis Alice Page

son of
William Knott
and
Mary Ann Waters

1945: Joe Knott in Italy

1986: Joe Knott's 78th birthday Joe Knott Phyllis and Joe 1988: me and Joe Knott

Phyllis and Joe 1958 1957 1953 1956

1959: Brian and Audrey's wedding

1988: Joe Knott's 80th birthday 1986: Joe Knott's 78th birthday 1988: Joe Knott's 80th birthday

Joe Knott 1988: me and Joe Knott

1956 June 1961: my Christening day

Vincent Helgia Knott (1908-96). My Father's Father. My Grandfather.

Vincent Helgia "Joe" Knott was
born on the 15th of February 1908 in Dartford in Kent. Thus, he was the only one of my four grandparents to be born outside of Cambridgeshire.

Vincent Helgia was always known as Joe Knott. His parents were William and Mary Ann Knott, née Waters. William Knott was born in the rural parish of Upchurch to the east of the Medway towns on the 3rd December 1869. William's father was a brickfield labourer, and had been born and brought up in Gillingham, on the Medway. The family would be back in the Medway towns by 1881. They moved to the Strood district of Rochester, and William was still living at home at the age of 21 at the time of the 1891 census. On the 3rd December 1892, he married Mary Ann Waters at St Mary's church in Strood, Rochester, a short walk from William's parents' house in Grange Road. It was the day of William's 22nd birthday. William was a labourer, like all of my great-grandfathers, but he seems to have had more physically demanding jobs than many of my other ancestors, describing himself at various times as a cement labourer, a chalk digger, a burner in a cement factory, a brickfield labourer and even a stevedore and a greengrocer.

His wife Mary Ann, Joe Knott's mother, was born in the village of Llanferres in Denbighshire, Wales in 1872. But her parents were both English, from Kent. They had been married in Kent in 1871, and the family would be back in Kent again for the census of 1881. One clue might be that Mary Ann's father was an engine driver. This part of north Wales had many slate mines, most of which would have needed engine drivers to move their goods. The Waters family were probably in north Wales for Mary Ann's father's work.

When they married, William and Mary Ann lived in a terraced house in Tobin Villas, Cuxton Road, Strood, where their first two children Daisy and Gladys were born in 1893 and 1895. By 1897 they had moved the short distance to 12, London Road, where their third daughter Pansy was born. Unfortunately, she died at the age of one. They were still at the London Road address for the 1901 census, but when their eldest son William was born the following year they were living back in Cuxton Road, but further out, near to the cemetery. At some point in the next six years they moved some 15 miles west to Dartford, because my grandfather was born there in 1908. Their parents were near at hand: Mary Ann's parents kept the One Bell beer house in Wilmington, just outside of Dartford, at the time Joe was born in the town, and his eldest sister lived with and worked for them. My aunt, Joe's daughter, has told me that when her father was very young he used to be put on the bar of the One Bell to sing to the customers, and that this was how he acquired the name Joe.

William's parents kept a small shop in Grange Road in the Frindsbury district of Rochester (right). By the time of the birth of William and Mary Ann's last child, Iris, in 1910, and the 1911 census, my grandfather's family were living in Greenhithe, to the east of Dartford, but they seem to have returned to the Strood area of Rochester soon after; by 1914 they were living at 96 Temple Street in the centre of Strood, a short walk from William's grandparents' shop in Grange Road. They were still there for the marriage of Joe's sister in 1919, and at the same address in the 1925 Kelly's Directory of Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham. The Knott family probably lived in the Temple Street house throughout the time Joe was growing up. Temple Street was bombed during World War II, and demolished in the 1960s. It is now the site of a Tesco superstore. All of my grandfather's sisters who lived to adulthood were married in Strood.

  58 Grange Road
143 Maidstone Road   Joe Knott's father William died on the 27th July 1951 at 143 Maidstone Road, Rochester, Kent (left), which I think was the house of his daughter Gladys and her husband Frederick. William was 81 years old, and the cause of death was given as exhaustion and internal haemorrhage. Joe Knott's mother Mary Ann died on the 15th April 1952 at the same address. She was 79 years old, and the cause of her death was given as heart failure and senile decay. The informant of both deaths was their daughter, Gladys Violet Allen.

In the early 1930s, Joe Knott left Kent looking for work. He worked on road-building projects in Yorkshire where he met Arthur Page, the brother of his future wife Phyllis. Arthur was another migrant worker, and Joe came back with him to East Anglia, where he met my grandmother. Joe went to work for British Sugar at Cantley in east Norfolk, but he married Phyllis at Ely Register Office on 15th August 1932, when he was 24 and she was just 19. Joe's address was 9 Council Cottages Cantley. Interestingly, he gave the occupation of his father as Greengrocer, suggesting that by this time William had taken over the running of his father's shop in Grange Road, Frindsbury. The witnesses were Phyllis's brother Percy and her sister Violet.

They went to live at Council Cottages, Cantley, and then in 1933 they moved to Ipswich, firstly living in lodgings in Tacket Street in the town centre, and then in a rented house in Cavendish Street, the same street that I would live in almost exactly half a century later. They moved to 20 Fletcher Road (right) on the new Gainsborough Estate in Ipswich, where their first child and only daughter was born. You can also read an account of Joe and Phyl in Ipswich.

They returned to Ely in 1935, where they would remain. Joe Knott rarely spoke about his family in Kent, and my father and his brothers and sister seem to know almost nothing about them. Joe and Phyllis lived at 25 Willow Walk off of Waterside, where my father and his brothers were born. The house is now demolished. Joe was 31 when the Second World War broke out. He spent the War as a motorcycle dispatch rider, mostly in Italy. After he returned to Ely, the family moved to a new council house at 37 Chief's Street in 1947. They lived there for the rest of their lives. In the 1940s and 1950s Joe bred racing pigeons and canaries. Joe worked for British Sugar until he retired in the early 1970s. He had a great pride in his garden at Chief's Street, spending hours tending his fruit and vegetables until he was well into his eighties. For a while, Joe and Phyllis owned a caravan in Heacham, and enjoyed holidays on the Norfolk coast. Joe is remembered for his fondness for the horses, and his friendships with prominent sportsmen. He outlived my other grandparents, lived to hold my son as a baby, and died in Ely in 1996 at the age of 87.

  Fletcher Road

At the 1911 census, his parents William and Mary Ann had recorded that they'd had six children, five of whom had lived. Vincent Helgia was the fourth of these.

His oldest sister was Daisy Mary Knott. She was born in 1893, and baptised at St Nicholas, Strood on September 13th. The registers show that the family were living at Cuxton Road, Strood, Kent. In 1901 she was staying with her grandparents George and Mary Ann Waters in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. In 1911 she was with them at the One Bell, the pub they kept at Wilmington near Dartford. On 3rd April 1912 she was married at St Michael's church, Wilmington. She gave her address as the One Bell public house, and so did her new husband Charles James Marchant, who gave his occupation as an instructor in physical culture. Her father William and her sister Gladys were witnesses. Interestingly, Daisy gave her age as 21. In fact, she was just 18. Her grandfather had died in 1911. It seems probable that she said she was 21 to enable them to be married under licence, but is it possible that she gave a false age to enable her to take on the running of the One Bell with Charles Marchant now that her grandfather was dead and her grandmother was infirm? Daisy was probably the Daisy Mary Merchant who died at Ashford in Kent in 1962. If so, her age was given as 61, but really she was a few months short of her 70th birthday.

The next sister was Gladys Violet Knott. She was born in 1895, and baptised at St Nicholas, Strood on December 29th. The registers show that the family were living at Tobin Villas, Strood, Kent. This was a terrace on Cuxton Road and was probably the same address as they would be living at in 1893. Gladys was the big sister that Joe grew up with. She was 13 years older than him. She was married at St Nicholas, Strood on 8th February 1919. She gave her address as 96 Temple Street, and so did her new husband Frederick Allen. Interestingly, her father William gave his occupation as stevedore, meaning a docker. Apart from the occasion of my grandparents' marriage in the 1930s, this is the only time I have found it recorded as anything other than a cement or brickfield worker. Gladys and Frederick probably lived in Strood, and are likely to be the household recorded under the name Frederick Allen at 11 Pearson Street, Strood, in the 1925 Kelly's Directory of Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, etc. My father and uncle remember Gladys and her family visiting Joe and his family in Ely on at least two occasions in the 1940s. Gladys died in Chatham, Kent in 1980 at the age of 85.

The third sister was Pansy Miriam Knott. She was born in 1897, and baptised at St Nicholas, Strood on August 22. The registers show that the family were living at 12, Strood Hill (right). This is the same house as the family would be living at in 1901, 12 London Road. It sits at the bottom of Strood Hill a few doors from the famous Crispin and Crispianus Inn, at the start of Strood High Street. Pansy died in the second quarter of 1898.

  12, Strood Hill

The other boy of the family was William George Knott, born in 1902, six years before Joe. He was baptised at St Nicholas, Strood, on 16th November. The registers show that the family were living at 11 St John's Terrace, Cuxton Road, Strood, Kent. St John's Terrace was the part of Cuxton Road near to the Strood Cemetery, and not the address they were living at in 1893 and 1895. His name is too common in Kent to find his marriage without more information, but he is probably the William George Knott who died in Maidstone, Kent in 1988 at the age of 85.

The sister younger than Joe was Iris Alberta Knott. She was born at 16 Providence Street, Greenhithe in Kent on Christmas Eve 1910. She married George Gower in Strood in 1931, and lived to the fine old age of 91, dying in Rochester in 2002.



From the records:

Joe Knott 34 West Hill on GSV Holy Trinity, Dartford font

1908: Vincent Helgia Knott was born on the 15th of February at 34 West Hill, Dartford in Kent. This house still exists, on the main road into Dartford from London. In the photograph above, it is the house with the white door seen directly through the gap where the steps are. His father's name is given as William Knott, and his mother's as Mary Ann Knott, formerly Waters. His mother was the informant, and her address shows that he was born at home. His father's occupation is given as burner in a cement works. The birth was registered on the 21st of March 1908. He was baptised at Holy Trinity, Dartford on 22nd April 1908.

 


1911 census:

16 Providence Street on GSV

Vincent Helgia was three years old at the time of the 1911 census. The Knott family were living at 16 Providence Street, Stone, Greenhithe, Kent. The house still exists, and can be seen in the image above. Stone is best known nowadays for the massive Bluewater Shopping Centre.

Vincent's father William, my great-grandfather, is shown as a cement labourer and chalk digger. He was 42 years old. Vincent's Mother, Mary Ann, was 38 years old. They had been married for 18 years. They reported the births of six children, five of whom had lived.

Vincent was the third of four children at home: Gladys was 15, William 8 and Iris Alberta was 3 months old. (Another sister, 18 year old Daisy Mary, was living with her grandparents and working in the pub they owned, the One Bell at Dartford, Kent - the transcript for their entry is here.)

Vincent's place of birth is shown as Dartford, Kent. Gladys and William were born in Strood in Kent, and Iris was born in Greenhithe in Kent. Vincent's father was born at Upchurch in Kent, but his mother Mary Ann, my great-grandmother, was born in Flintshire in Wales. The transcript for their entry is here. You can see the original form here.

 


1914:
By November 1914 the family were back on the Medway, living at 96 Temple Street, Strood. Joe's mother's mother, Mary Ann Waters, died from cancer at this address on 27th November, and it was given as the family's home address. Most likely, it was the family address throughout the time Joe was growing up. Temple Street suffered from bombing raids in WWII and was demolished in the 1960s. It is now the site of a Tesco superstore.

1919: when Joe's sister Gladys married Frederick Allen on 8th February, her home address was given as 96 Temple Street, Strood.

1923: on the 31st August, Joe signed attestation papers to join the Royal Artillery Regiment at Maidstone. He was 15 years and 197 days old and had obviously just left school. He gave his birthplace as Dartford. On the 15th November he was discharged at Dover Castle, the reason given that his service is no longer required (gratuity received). His rank and conduct were recorded as boy, good. Joe's uncle Frederick had served with the Royal Artillery for 22 years, mostly in India. Frederick was discharged in 1917, but he may have been the reason that Joe chose the Royal Artillery. The details are in the attestation book below.

1925: Kelly's Directory of Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham gives 96 Temple Street, Strood as the Knott family address.

1926: Joe was 18 years old. On the 24th May, he signed up to the Territorial Army (Royal Artillery Regiment). This was the regiment he had joined and been discharged from in 1923, and the details are recorded in the attestation book in the thumbnails above.

1930: On the 23rd May, Joe was discharged from the Royal Artillery under paragraph 199(1) Territorial Army Regulations, which I believe simply means that he had served his four years, and his service was not required any longer.

1931: Joe left Kent looking for work. He would never go back to live there. Family stories indicate that he found work building roads in South Yorkshire, where he made friends with a fellow worker, Arthur Page from Ely, Cambridgeshire. While visiting Ely with Arthur he met Arthur's youngest sister Phyllis.

My grandparents get married
1932:
Joe married Phyllis Alice Page at Ely Register Office on 15th August. He was 24 and she was 19. He gave his profession as general labourer, and hers was a fruit factory hand. His address was 9 Council Cottages, Cantley, and hers was 29a Fore Hill Ely. Joe gave his father's profession as greengrocer. The witnesses were Percy Page and Violet Cooper, Phyllis's brother and sister. After the marriage, they went to live in Cantley, Norfolk.

1932-35:
Joe and Phyllis moved to Ipswich. They lodged briefly in Tacket Street and Cavendish Street before moving to 20 Fletcher Road on the Gainsborough Estate. You can read an account of
Joe and Phyl in Ipswich.

1935: Joe and Phyllis moved to 25 Willow Walk, Ely.

1939-45:
During the Second World War, Joe was a dispatch rider, mainly in Italy.

Chiefs Street
1947:
the family move to 37 Chief's Street, Ely.

1990: Phyllis dies in Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, at the age of 77.

1993: My son James was born on the 1st of July. Joe was 85. He sits in the middle of this photograph, holding the baby.

1996: Joe died in the Princess of Wales Hospital, Ely, a few days short of his 88th birthday.

   

 

 

LIFE GOES ON: AN INTRODUCTION

MY GRANDPARENTS - I - MY GREAT-GRANDPARENTS - I - MY GREAT-GREAT-GRANDPARENTS - I - MY GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GRANDPARENTS

THE SIXTEEN FAMILIES

KNOTT - I - BOWLES - I - WATERS - I - HARRALL - I - PAGE - I - WISEMAN - I - CROSS - I - CARTER

CORNWELL - I - HUCKLE - I - MORTLOCK - I - MANSFIELD - I - REYNOLDS - I - CARTER - I - ANABLE - I - STEARN

CHRONOLOGY - I - DRAMATIS PERSONAE - I - WHERE PEOPLE CAME FROM - I - CALENDAR

MAP OF ELY - I - MAP OF MEDWAY
MAP OF CAMBRIDGE AND DISTRICT

THE WORKHOUSE

WORLD WAR I - I - WORLD WAR II

simonknott.co.uk I home I e-mail

LIFE GOES ON