Friday, 26 February 2010

40 Years Faithful Service 1922 - 1962: Thomas George Saddington

This post comes courtesy of Ebay and the National Gas Archive.

Last month I was fortunate enough to be the successful bidder for this little gem, which is the size of a 2p. It is a long service award presented by the South Eastern Gas Board. On the back, the inscription reads "For 40 years faithful service. Awarded to T.G. Saddington 1922-1962".

A little research on Wikipedia informed me that the South Eastern Gas Board was created in 1948 when the UK gas industry was nationalised, and that it was formed from a number of privately owned and municipal gas companies in the area covering Kent, and parts of the administrative County of London and of Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex. So prior to 1948, T.G. Saddington must have worked for one of these privately owned or municipal gas companies.

I got in touch with the National Gas Archive to find out if they had any information on T.G. Saddington. The archivist there could only find one reference to him, but that reference was directly related to the little badge that I had won. It was a double spread article in the February 1963 issue of the SE Gas magazine, headed "Forty years behind all these men...", and it listed all the men who had received long service awards. It also gave the area in which they worked and their job title. So under Eltham, there was a reference to Thomas G. Saddington, district fitting foreman. The article also had photographs taken at the banquet that had obviously been given as part of the award presentations, and there, referred to as one of "four from Greenwich and Woolwich district" was Mr T.G. Saddington and his wife. Unfortunately he is sat slightly behind another award recipient, so it is not a very good picture of him. (I only have this in pdf format, but would be happy to forward it to any interested party.)

So now I knew that his first name was Thomas and that he had worked in the South London area for possibly as many as 40 years. If, as seems likely, he had worked in the gas industry for his whole career, beginnng in 1922, he was probably somewhere between 14 and 18 at the time he started work. This meant searching for a suitable birth between 1904 and 1908, but I widened the search to the period 1900 to 1910 to cover all eventualities. I found two possibilities - a Thomas George born in the Lewisham registration district in the June quarter of 1904 and a Thomas George born in the Wandsworth registration district in the March quarter of 1906. In 1922, they would have been 18 and 16 respectively.

In order to try and find out a bit more about these two Thomases, I searched the 1911 census, when they would have been 7 and 6 respectively. Unfortunately I have only managed to locate someone who I believe to be the 1906 Thomas George Saddington. The 1904 Thomas George is as yet unfound.

The presumed 1906 Thomas George is living at 28 Arden Street, Battersea, London SW. He is living with his parents, John Henry Saddington, age 46, a potman in a public house, born in Northampton, and his mother, Clara, age 41, born in Clapham, London. His parents have been married for 22 years [FreeBMD states that John Henry Saddington married Clara Frances Randall in the September quarter of 1889 in the Wandsworth registration district]. The marriage has produced 8 children, 6 of whom are still living, and all of whom are listed on the 1911 census.

The children are John Henry G., age 20, a manufacturer's clerk, born in Clapham; Gladys, age 18, a book folder in a printer's, born in Battersea; Frederick, age 15, a house painter's assistant, born in Battersea; James, age 12, at school, born in Battersea; Albert, age 10, at school, born in Battersea; and Thomas, age 5, at school and born in Battersea.

These eight people shared four rooms, not including any scullery, landing, lobby, closet, or bathroom. It did include the kitchen, so the house might have contained a kitchen, a living room and two bedrooms. This would have presented some problems with five sons (two at work, and three at school) and an adult daughter to accommodate. It is likely that, if there was a living room, that it would also have been used for sleeping as well.

Having checked the Charles Booth poverty map of London for 1898/99, it seems that Arden Street ten years or so previously had been classified as "Purple - Mixed. Some comfortable, others poor." With four wages coming into the house, the family might have been quite comfortable despite the cramped quarters.

A quick check of the 1881 census finds John Henry Saddington, the father, living at 33 Castle Street, Northampton, described as a provision shop. He is aged 16, described as a confectioner, and living with his elder sister, Eliza, age 18, a tailoress, and his younger brother, James Bronham [James Brown, born 1868], age 12, a laborer. The relationships are a bit odd here. Eliza is enumerated as Daur (Head), John as Son (Bro) and James as Son (Bro), which seems to indicate that there is a parent somewhere in the offing.

There is still a lot of research to be done on Thomas George Saddington and his family. However, if he is a member of your family tree, I would be delighted to hear from you.