Bricklayer, Arthur John King, went on to found his own Building Company

Arthur John King was probably born between July and September 1884 in Westbury on the Severn, Gloucestershire.  He was baptised on the 4th of January 1885 at Newham, Gloucestershire. His parents were Herbert and Harriet King. They lived at Broad Oak, Gloucestershire and his father worked as a mason. He had a brother, Charles Herbert King, who was two years older. His parents moved to Portskewett, Monmouthshire, Wales before his second brother Robert Ernest King was born around 1887. By 1891 the whole family was living at No. 4 Railway Shaft, Many Brick Lane, Totley, Derbyshire. Herbert had changed professions to the Railway Line Keeper. They had moved back to Wales by 1901, to Dock Cottage, Caernarvonshire. Arthur had started work as a bricklayer, Herbert was now an inspector of buildings and Charles was an engine fitter.

Around 1905 or 1906, Arthur married Florence May King (maiden name unknown), who was 4 years his senior. On the 22nd of September 1906 they had a son, Arthur Archibald King in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire. In 1911 the family were living at Brickyard Lane, Thorne, Yorkshire. Arthur was a bricklayer, as was their unmarried boarder David Worsley, 34. In the next 5 years the couple may have had 2 more children, though their identities are unclear. In 1916 the family lived at 23 Beaconsfield Road, Doncaster. Arthur worked as a foreman bricklayer for Thomson and Dixon, and they submitted an exemption request on his behalf as he was working on their colliery housing project. The Advisory committee recommended for a conditional exemption, and it seems Arthur did not have to serve in the military as a result.

In 1939 the family lived on 136 Thorne Road, Doncaster with their daughter in-law Catherine King. Arthur John King and Arthur Archibald King were partners in a building contracting company, possibly W.R.C.C. of Don Valley. Arthur John supervised labour, while Arthur Archibald was involved in buying, estimating and surveying. The company seems to have been particularly involved in Air Raid Precautions initiatives, especially rescues, repairs and demolitions.

On the 12th of October 1949 Arthur John King passed away at the age of 65 at Abiel Nursing Home, Thorne Road. His home was still officially 136 Thorne Road, Doncaster. He left his wife and eldest son around £2,000 between them. On the 20th of June 1968 Arthur Archibald King passed away at age 61. Florence May King died in the first three months of 1976 at 96 or 97. All three of them are buried in the same plot at Barnby Dun Cemetery, Doncaster.

AJK Grave

Title: AJK Grave
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Percy Claude Standeven, Joiner Survived the War and Retired to Australia

Percy Claude Standeven was born on the 24th of March 1881, in Chapel Allerton, Leeds. His parents, William (38) and Mercy Standeven (37), were Methodist’s. He was baptised on the 28th of April 1881 at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Chapel Allerton by W. G. Hall. Percy had 4 older siblings: Thomas Henry, Frederic A, Frank William, and Jane. When he was 1 month old Percy was living at Cross Roads, Chapel Allerton. His name was recorded on the census as Percy James Standeven. It is possible that this was an older brother who died. Given Percy’s young age, it is seems they later changed his middle name to Claude. William owned his own Draper’s shop, with a live-in assistant, Andrew Midgley. He could also afford a live-in domestic servant, Eliza Wilson. It is noteworthy that at the time the census was taken, Frederic was not living with the family. They also had a visitor, Matthew Hirst, staying with them.

By 1891 the family had moved to 32 Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton. They now only had one non-family member living with them, Harriet Skirrow their new domestic servant. Mercy was now working as her husband’s Draper’s Assistant. Frank William had left home, and Frederic had returned. Mercy had another son, William, around 1883. Thomas worked as an assistant, and Frederic was a printer’s compositor.  By 1901, Percy had started work as a Carpenter. The family still lived in the same house except Harriet had moved out and Frank had moved back in. Frank took over from his mother as Draper’s Assistant. Frederic still worked as a Printer’s Compositor, William was a bricklayer, and it is unclear what work Thomas had undertaken.

Sometime between 1901 and 1911 Percy’s father, William passed away. In 1911 Percy lived at 34 Banstead Grove, Leeds with his mother, Mercy, and sister, Jane. Percy was a carpenter for a building contractor. Jane now worked as a Draper’s Assistant. Neither Percy nor Jane was married. In 1916 Percy was a joiner and carpenter working on the colliery housing for the contractor’s Thomson and Dixon. At this time he was living at Great Central Avenue, Doncaster. Thomson and Dixon applied for exemption from conscription on Percy’s behalf and it was recommended against. It is unclear where he served.

In 1920 Percy married Elizabeth Ellis in Scarborough, she was 4 years younger than him.  By 1924 they were living together at 4 Mansfield Road, Doncaster. In 1925 they moved just down the street to 45 Mansfield Road, and lived there at least a year. Before 1939 they had moved back to Percy’s birth town of Chapel Allerton, Leeds. They lived at 70 Miles Hill Crescent, and Percy still worked as a joiner. They stayed at this address until 1958, by which time Percy had retired.

On the 29th of April 1958 Percy and Elizabeth set off for Sydney, Australia on the Strathnaver, a P&O Ferry. Just under a month later they arrived in Australia. At first they lived at 30 Leybourne Street, Chalmer, Brisbane, Queensland. In 1963 they were living at 33 Brickfield Road, Aspley, Petrie, Queensland. On the 7th of August 1963 Elizabeth passed away. Percy lived at the same address until he too passed away in 1969.

Sam Waterhouse, Plumber used his skills in the Labour Corps

Sam Waterhouse was born on the 29th of August, 1879 in East Bierley, Bradford, Yorkshire. His parents were Lewis Waterhouse (30) and Martha Ann Waterhouse (31). Lewis was an iron joiner. Sam was the youngest of 5 children: Sarah G, Asa, Edith, and John William. The family lived in East Bierley for all of Sam’s youth. By 1891 Sarah had left home. Sam and John had by then taken up Worsted Spinning (which was pretty common locally), Edith did the weaving. Asa was apprenticed as a joiner. Lewis died in 1897, leaving Martha a widow. By 1901 Asa had left home, Sam was now a plumber and Edith was still a weaver. John worked as a tailor.

Around 1906 or 1907, Sam married Clara Blatchley, she was 5 years his senior. In October 1909 they had their first child, Ida. By 1911 the three of them lived in East Bierley where Sam was a general plumber. They had moved to 7 Melville Avenue, Balby, Doncaster by 1915. In the Spring of that year their second son, Arthur, was born. Sam was working as a plumber still but on the 11th of December 1915 he was attested for the army. He wanted to serve in the West Yorkshire Regiment, it seems this was probably overridden and he was sent to the 23rd Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry instead.

There is some confusion surrounding his service. It seems Thomson & Dixon applied for his exemption from service on the 11th of July 1916. This was nearly a full month after he had enlisted on the 16th of June 1916. Despite the committee recommending he be granted a conditional exemption, he served the entire war as a Private. On the 17th of January 1917 he was caught neglecting his duty as a mess orderly, the very next day he was punished with a week of confinement to barracks. Probably because of his skills as a plumber, he was moved around a lot between different Area Labour Corps Employment Companies. In particular the 511th, 911th and 751st Authorities. Being assigned to the labour corps may also have been due to his disability. The war had caused him a ‘debility’ which could have been any condition causing weakness, he was classified as 20% disabled. The army granted him a pension for the injury. He also received the Victory and Peace medal.

On the 1st of March 1919 he returned home. He would live at 7 Melville Avenue until at least 1948. Ida lived with her parents until at least 1939. It is not clear if Eileen Waterhouse is Ida by a different name, if so she lived there until at least 1948. There doesn’t seem to be a separate birth record for an Eileen Waterhouse. In 1939 Arthur Waterhouse served in the second world war, afterwards he lived at 7 Melville Avenue for at least one year; 1947.

Frank Waddington, Balby Born Joiner

Frank Waddington was born on the 5th of March 1886 in Balby to Henry Best Waddington (33) and Annie Maria Waddington (32). He had at least 4 older siblings: Frederic, Henry, Charles, and Anne. Around 1889 his younger sister Edith E was born, and then a brother Alfred in 1891. In the same year the family was living at 7 Back Lane, Balby. Henry senior worked as a joiner, Frederic was an apprentice railway carriage builder and Henry junior was an errand boy. Frederic Waddington probably died about 1899. This seems to lead to some confusion on the 1901 register where Frank was misnamed as Fred. Around 1900 Annie had another child, Alfred. By 1901 Henry junior had moved out of the family home. Frank had followed his father by apprenticing himself as a joiner and carpenter. The Family still lived at the same address in 1911, both Frank’s sisters had moved out but the brothers remained at home and unmarried. Henry senior was now self-employed as a joiner, while Frank had completed his training and was no longer an apprentice. Frank may have been putting his skills as a joiner to use for his father. Charles and Alfred were both carters. Like Frederic before him, Arthur had trained as a railway wagon builder.

In late 1914 Frank Waddington married Mary A Wright, she was a year younger than him. By 1916 they had two children, and lived at 11 Stanford Road, Doncaster. Frank was a foreman joiner working on 200 miners’ houses for Thomson and Dixon. They submitted an exemption from military service for him and it seems to have been accepted. In 1939 the couple lived at 72 Thomson Avenue, Doncaster. Frank was still a joiner, he seems to have been specializing in wire repairs.

Charlie Womack, Plumber Exempted from War for his Work

Charlie Womack was born on the 8th of December 1883 in Doncaster. His parents were John Womack (46) and Elizabeth Womack (38). He had 4 older sisters: Emma, Sarah, Elizabeth and Alice. Around 1886 his younger brother, Fred, was also born. In 1891 the family was living at 9 Dockin Hill Road. John worked as a gas-stoker, Emma was a dressmaker, and Sarah a confectioner. By 1901 Elizabeth and Alice had left home. John had started work as a labourer while both Charlie and Fred were apprenticed as plumbers.

By 1911 Charles and Fred had moved out, they became plumbers for a building firm. Together they boarded with Walter and Alice Calthorpe and family of 108 Dockin Hill Road. At some point in the intervening years Charlie had married. It is not clear who he was married to. Walter Gabbelin Calthorpe was a labourer at a paint works. Walter and Alice had two daughters: Kathleen and Ethel. All four of their other children had died young.

In 1915 Charles was living at 29 the Holmes, Wheatley, Doncaster. Before conscription he applied to the army Veterinary Corps. This is noteworthy as his brother had the same skill set, but applied instead to the Royal Engineers later that year. Charlie had previously done his time in the Doncaster Volunteers. Charlie seems not to have served in the First World War because in 1916 Thomson and Dixon submitted an exemption on his behalf. He was one of two Foreman Plumbers for the construction of 200 miners’ houses for Staveley Coal and Iron Company. The Advisory Committee recommended he be granted a conditional exemption from combat. In 1916 he had been living in Armthorpe with his wife and two children.

In 1924 Charlie remarried to Ethel A Adams, she was a few months younger than him. By 1939 he was a Master Plumber living at 73 Briar Road, Doncaster. They had an older boarder, George Jenkinson, a railway plate-layer. Charlie passed away in June of 1952, at the age of 68, in Don Valley.

Harry Leaney, Foreman Navvy Engineer

Harry Leaney was born on the 29th of June in Goudhurst, Kent to Henry Leaney (22) and Elizabeth J Leaney (20). Harry’s first brother, John D Leaney was born in Ticehurst, Sussex around 1878 or 1879. Seven weeks before the 1881 census another brother, James W Leaney was also born. The family lived on Rosemary Lane, Ticehurst, Sussex along with a 35 year old lodger, William Barrow. Henry Leaney was an agricultural labourer. Henry and Elizabeth had their only daughter, Caroline, in 1872 or 1873, and another son, Herbert, a year later. By 1891 Harry and John had joined their father as agricultural labourers. The family still lived on Rosemary Lane, but now Henry Leaney’s widowed mother Caroline (65) lived a few doors down from them. With Caroline lived Harry’s unmarried uncles James (35) and William (29), they were also agricultural labourers.  By 1901 Harry had taken up work as a bricklayer, he was boarding with the Whyborn family of Bexhill, Sussex. George Whyborn (44) was a carter for a coal merchant.

On the 21st of May, 1907 Harry married Rose Pickaring in Doncaster, she was from South Wales. On the 7th of March 1908, their first son Henry Leaney was born. By 1909 Harry was living at 30 Wellington Street, Doncaster, and in 1911 the family moved into 42 Nelson Street, Hyde Park, Doncaster. They lived with the Crosland family. Although Harry is listed as the Crosland’s son-in-law none of the family seems to be connected to his wife, or even to Wales. Ellen Crosland (60) had 3 sons: Benjamin (21), Arthur(19), Oswald (16) and a boarder  George Hemp (50). All of Ellen’s sons worked, or had worked, for contractors. Arthur was a labourer for a contractors called Johnson. Oswald and George worked for Logan and Hemingway; Logan as a Stoker, George as labourer. Benjamin was an out of work engineer, who used to work for a contractor. Harry was still worked as a bricklayer and labourer, for Bentley Colliery, it is not clear whether he was working for contractors yet. Perhaps Benjamin Crosland helped Harry into the engineering trade. Harry and Rose had a daughter, Florence Elizabeth Leaney on the 13th of June, 1911.

In 1916 Harry was a foreman navvy engineer building 200 miners houses for Thomson & Dixon on a contract from Staveley Coal and Iron Company. In 1916 Thomson & Dixon applied for exemption from service on his behalf. The advisory committee recommended against him being exempted, maybe because even though he was a foreman and an engineer he was still a navvy, and so a labourer. There do not seem to be records from his service. In 1939, Rose and Harry still lived at 42 Nelson Street. There is a closed record under the same household suggesting they had a third child. They lived at 42 Nelson Street until at least 1948. Harry passed away at the age of 79, in 1957.

The Kidgers, Brothers who Lived and Worked together

Harry Kidger was born around 1878 to Richard Hugh Kidger and Emma Sarah Kidger (maiden name Bishop), while George Kidger was born to them in 1885. In between them their sister, Ethel Kidger was born in 1880. In 1881 the family lived at 24 Rectory Place, Loughborough, Leicestershire. Hugh worked at J W K Cotton, and Emma worked in stocking. Hugh died in 1888, and Emma remarried in 1890 to Henry James Moss. In 1891 the former Kidger family lived with Henry Moss, his and Emma’s 10 month old son John, and Emma’s brother George at 1 Moor Lane, Loughborough. Harry was going by his stepfather’s surname and was working as a painter’s assistant.

Henry Moss was a bricklayer, and though Harry and George did not keep his name they learnt his trade. In 1898 Harry married Ada Dobbs of Radford, Nottingham. By 1901 Harry and Ada had moved into 48 Guthrie Street, Radford. George remained in the family home, which was now 71 Denison Street, Nottingham. The house was crowded by three more children of Henry and Emma: Sam, Frank, and one too young to have been named. Both Harry and George were working as bricklayers. Harry and Ada had a son, also Harry, in 1900.

By 1911 Harry and George had moved in together at 4 Miall Street, Radford. Harry was still married to Ada, and George had married a Nellie. Both Harry and George still worked as bricklayers. Harry and Ada had five children besides Harry junior: Nellie, George, Annie, Elsie and Ada. They had also had a seventh child who had died young. George and Nellie had a comparatively tame two daughters: Nellie, and another daughter who was only three days old so had not yet been named.

By 1916 they both moved to Doncaster. Harry and family lived on 15 Coronation Road, just across from George at number 18. Both Harry and George were Bricklayer Foremen at the building contractors Thomson and Dixon. Because of the company’s important work on colliery housing both brothers were exempted from service in the First World War. George’s life after this is hard to be certain of. Harry at least lived at 15 Coronation Road until 1925, then moved to 37 Mansfield Road, Balby. In 1939 he still lived there, by then his son George had followed him into becoming a bricklayer. Elsie was an assistant at a fruit shop. On the 14th of November 1946, Harry passed away leaving about £600 to Ada and George. It is unclear if George refers to his son or brother. Ada lived at 37 Mansfield Road until at least 1957.

Could Labourer Have Avoided War?

Born into an Irish Catholic family in Doncaster, Thomas Battle became a Foreman Labourer for Thomson and Dixon. Unfortunately the labourer part of his job description meant he wasn’t important enough to be exempted. He was sent to war and died of wounds on the 23rd of March 1918.


Thomas Battle was born on the 10th of August 1882 in Doncaster to an Irish father and an Irish descended mother, Thomas Battle and Joanne Murphy Battle. He was baptised on the 27th of August at the Catholic Church of St Peter’s in Doncaster. His Sister, Agnes Battle, was born in 1887. In 1891 they were living at 7 Portland Place. Three doors down was a crowded boarding house and many of their neighbours were other Irish immigrant families.

In 1901, with his older brother Jacobus (James) Battle, Thomas was lodging with an Irish couple John and Mary A McDermott at 28 Pepper Street, Leeds. John was a bricklayer labourer and may have helped get the brothers jobs in that line of work. If this was the case Thomas may have had the skills to be Bricklayer. Two other ageing Irish labourers lived with them, Mark Gaway and John McGuinness.

At some time in the next four years Thomas Battle worked at the Doncaster Wire Works, before starting work for Thomson and Dixon in 1905. On 21st of May 1907, he married Eliza Agnes Barker. In 1910 Thomas and Eliza had their first son, Thomas Battle junior.

In 1911 Thomas senior was not living with his family, instead he was boarding with Mary Burke, and her two daughters Agatha and Agnes May. Yet he seems to have still been with his wife and they had their second child, Agnes Battle in 1915. By 1916 Thomas was a Foreman Labourer at Thomson and Dixon. This promotion enabled him to move to 91 Stone Close Avenue, Hexthorpe, Doncaster.

Though many of his colleagues were granted exemption from duty in the First World War, Thomas was not. His colleagues were in many cases Foremen Bricklayers while he was a Foreman Labourer. The Tribunal replied simply to next to his name on the company exemption, ‘Even a Foreman Labourer cannot be considered indispensable. Think he should go.’

Desperately, Thomas submitted an individual exemption form, asking for exemption on the same grounds as his colleagues. He was denied again, and sent to war where he served in the 11th Battallion of the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment. He died of wounds on the 23rd of March 1918. He is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery in France, in grave XXXI. J. 23.


Many of his workmates did survive the war, find out more about them below:

Sam Waterhouse

Percy Claude Standeven

John Clayton Dixon, Architect for 200 houses in New Edlington

John Clayton Dixon was born on the 11th of October 1880 in Old Brampton, Derbyshire.  His parents were George Dixon, a farmer who was 24 at the time of his birth, and Martha Dixon, 29. John’s middle name came from his mother’s maiden name, Clayton. John was the eldest of six children: Martha Clayton Dixon who was born around 1882, James Henry Dixon in 1883, Ellen Arlette Dixon in 1885, Florence M Dixon in 1887, and Mercedes Jean Dixon in 1895. When John was 10 the family had a governess, Mabel L Whitaker who was 23. By 1901 Florence M Dixon had moved in with her ageing aunt and uncle, Edward and Sarah Lowe. The rest of the family were living in Brampton Hall in Old Brampton. George still worked as a farmer, and John had begun to work as an architect’s assistant.

By 1904 John Clayton Dixon was probably in Doncaster, as this is when Thomson and Dixon was founded. But, it is not completely certain that he was a part of the company from the very start. By 1911 he was definitely living in Doncaster working as an architect and civil engineer, probably for Thomson and Dixon. By 1916 John was a joint owner of Thomson and Dixon, as a Building and Engineering Contractor.  In 1911 he lived at 66 Cleveland Street, Doncaster as the boarder of 82 year old widow Emma Varley, and her widowed daughter Eliza Cornish, 52. This is in contrast to his partner in the company, Arthur Thomson, who already owned his own home. It is possible John was not yet an owner by 1911, or was the junior partner. Regardless, as Thomson and Dixon’s main architect he probably played a large part in the appearance of the 200 miners houses built around Staveley Street at New Edlington.

Late in 1916 John married Alice Wall who was 12 years his junior. On the 18th November 1918 they had a son, George Victor Dixon. George would go on to work as a builder, presumably for his father. John and Alice had their second son early in 1921, Colin James Dixon. Colin became an R.A.F. sergeant in the Second World War. Colin was killed along with four others at age 20 on 13th July 1941 when his plane crashed over Portugal. He was buried at the St James British churchyard in Porto, Portugal. Czech historian Pavel Vancata, who writes on the 311 Czechoslovakian R.A.F. Squadron, has expressed an interest in the crash on Ancestry.com and may have further information. In 1939 the Dixon family lived at 1 Greenfield Lane, Doncaster. They had hired an 18 year old domestic servant, Constance M Watson. Besides John, Alice George and Constance two others lived in the house, but their records remain closed. John Clayton Dixon died at age 76 in 1957.

Arthur Thomson, senior partner in a company that built 200 homes for miners

Arthur Thomson was born in Marple, Cheshire on the 24th July 1881. In 1904 he was living in Doncaster and founded the building contracting company Thomson & Dixon with John Clayton Dixon, which would later have offices at 6 St George Gate, Doncaster. In March 1908 he married Manchester born Beatrice Thomson. At some point in the next three years they had a child who died at a very young age. There is no evidence to suggest they had any more children after this. In 1911 the couple lived at 43 the Elms, Balby the success of Thomson and Dixon then allowed them to move to Imperial Crescent, Doncaster by 1916. Thomson and Dixon was worth £30,000 to £40,000 annually at this time, adjusted for inflation this would now be worth in the millions.

During the First World War the company only took up work of national importance, including building 200 houses at the Yorkshire Main Colliery and maintaining the Bullcroft Colliery, both for the Staveley Coal and Iron company. The houses built were most likely those in the area of New Edlington, north of Victoria Road, that encompasses Staveley Street. The Church and School at the end of Staveley Street have similar designs to the houses on it, and may have been built alongside them. While exempted from duty Arthur Thomson paid the rent of his workmen’s wives while they were at war and guaranteed their jobs upon return. He was active in the Doncaster National Motor Volunteers. At some point in the First World War he bought a half share of an eighty acre farm, mostly dedicated to poultry, as well as purchasing the Doncaster Coal Consumers Company in July of 1917. The Doncaster Coal Consumers Company was bought to occupy his brother after the war, maybe to keep him out of future conflicts. In 1939 Arthur was still active in the business; he and his wife had hired a twenty five year old domestic servant, Annie Congreve. On 15th March 1958 Arthur passed away. At the time of his death he was worth just over £30,000, his wife may not have inherited all of this as she only had around £7,000 at her death. She passed little more than a month after her husband on 21st April 1958.


Did you know Arthur Thomson has a street named after him?