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Alice Pitts/Kinsey Timeline

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  • Alice Pitts/Kinsey Timeline

    Much of this info is already on two existing threads:

    The first was a real team effort, the second, almost three years old, is yet another example of Debra's painstaking work on the workhouse/infirmary records.

    My thinking is to keep this thread to one post which can be updated as and when new info or errors are discovered and bumped up. Any comments/suggestions can be routed through the other threads. Hope that's OK (How in particular)?

    ALICE PITTS/KINSEY 1845 - 1889


    Alice’s parents, Charles Pitts and Martha Watson, are married on 14th October, 1832 in Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire, a market town some five miles from Peterborough. Martha was a Whittlesey native, but Charles had been born in Edenham, Lincolnshire. His father, William, was an agricultural worker whose occupation was recorded on the 1851 census as a shepherd. A marriage notice in the Stamford Mercury of 19th October, 1832 described Charles as being ‘of Peterborough’ and revealed that Martha was the eldest daughter of ‘Thos. Watson, fowl-merchant, of Whittlesey’. The marriage was also announced in the Huntingdon, Bedford and Peterborough Gazette of 20th October.


    Census: Charles Pitts, 30, a servant, is recorded living in Minster Close, Peterborough. The household includes his wife, Martha, also 30, and three children: William, 8; John, 3; Martha, 1.


    8th March: Alice Pitts is born in the Precincts of Peterborough Minster (Cathedral). Her parents are Charles, a 'footman', and Martha, (formerly Watson). Martha is the informant on Alice's birth certificate and her address is given as 'Precincts Peterboro'.

    4th April: Alice is christened in the Precincts of the Cathedral of Peterborough. Her father is described as a 'servant'. The family surname is recorded as 'Pits'.


    Census: Alice Pitts is recorded at the family home in the Peterborough Cathedral Precincts. The household consists of :

    CharlesPitts/Head/45/Post Office Messenger/Lincolnshire, Edenham

    MarthaPitts/Wife/40/Cambridgeshire, Whittlesey

    William/Son/18/Apprentice Cabinetmaker/Cambridgeshire, Whittlesey

    John/Son/13/Scholar/Northamptonshire, Peterborough




    Charles/son/4/at home/ditto

    Thomas/son/1/at home/ditto

    John Graham/Lodger/21/Fireman/ Cumberland, Carlisle

    1860 (approx)

    According to the informant Mrs Strickland, who was interviewed in 1889, the 15-year-old Alice worked for her in her refreshment rooms in St. John Street, Peterborough. Mrs Strickland would later describe Alice as ‘prepossesing’.

    Thomas Ashe BA is ordained as a Deacon (1859) and then a Priest (1860) by the Bishop of Peterborough.

    Although it provides no idea of a date, an 1889 article in the Peterborough Express says, ‘It may be remembered that Alice appeared as a witness in an important case at the Sessions, her evidence breaking down the prosecution, and establishing the innocence of a young fellow accused of a serious offence.’ It seems most likely that this took place before the 1861 census was compiled.


    Census: The Pitts family are still resident in the Minster Precincts, but Alice is no longer living with them. Charles is again shown as a Post Office messenger. One notable addition to the household is a 2-week-old granddaughter, Annie Pitts, who is the illegitimate child of Alice's sister, Jane.

    Census: Alice Pitts, aged 17, place of birth, Northamptonshire, Peterborough, is to be found in the household of a master brazier named Edward Miller in High Cross Street, Leicester where she is employed as a house servant.

    Census: Martha Pitts, Alice’s older sister, is living in the household of Thomas Ashe in Whittlebury, Northants as Ashe’s household servant. Ashe’s spinster sister, Olivia, is also part of the household. Ashe is recorded as the Curate of Whittlebury cum Silverstone.


    October 11th: Alice Pitts marries Joseph Kinsey, a 24-year-old chair maker at All Saints Church, Leicester. Alice's father is recorded as Charles Pitts, a postman. The marriage is announced in the Peterborough Advertiser.


    21st July: A child, Joseph James, is born to Joseph and Alice Kinsey. The place of birth is given as 'Freeman's Common, St Mary' and the birth is registered on 4th August in the West Leicester registration district. Joseph's occupation is given as 'Chair and Cabinet Maker'.

    12th October: Joseph James dies at 4, Joseph Street, St. Mary, Leicester. The informant is his mother, Alice, who was present at the death. Cause of death is given as 'marasmus', a form of malnutrition.


    18th February: Joseph Kinsey dies, aged 25, at 4, Joseph Street. His occupation is given as 'cabinet and chair maker' and the cause of death as 'phthisis' (possibly TB). The informant is Alice Kinsey, who was present at the death. Notices of Joseph's death are printed in several local newspapers.


    7th January: At the Thames Police Court, a youth named George Palmer is convicted of assaulting a young woman named Alice Mackenzie and sentenced to one month’s imprisonment with hard labour. The victim is described as having ‘lately descended from a respectable position to cohabit with Benjamin Palmer, a costermonger and the brother of the prisoner at King-street, Limehouse.’


    Census: Alice Palmer, aged 27, is recorded as the wife of Benjamin Palmer and living at 18, Woods Buildings, Whitechapel with her ‘husband’ a 42-year-old Hawker. Alice’s place of birth is recorded as ‘Northampton, Peterboro’. There is no record of the couple ever having married.

    Census: Charles and Martha Pitts are still resident in the Peterborough Minster Precincts. Charles's occupation is given as 'Gardener'. Two of their sons are living with them - Thomas, 21, a carpenter and James, 15, an errand boy. Also in the household are a boarder named John Charity (15/errand boy/ born Peterborough) and a lodger, Robert Combie (25/Sgt 57 Regiment/born Ireland)


    31st October: A 27-year-old, laundress named Alice McKenzie is convicted of 'D & R' at Southwark police court. She is fined 10s and sentenced to 7 days imprisonment with hard labour, which she serves in Wandsworth Prison. One previous conviction is noted, but no details are given. Her description is:

    Height: 5ft 4 1/2 ins
    Hair: Auburn
    Eyes: Hazel
    Complexion: Pale
    Other Marks: Scar under left eye
    Weight in: 10st 9lb
    Weight out: 10st 9lb

    She is released on 6th November, 1873


    13th August: Alice McKenzie, aged 29, the widow of Joseph, a carpenter, is admitted to the Whitechapel Infirmary. She has been brought in by P.C. 169H from Leman Street police station and the cause of her admission is recorded as 'Ill and destitute'. An intriguing note in the remarks column says 'See police rept'. She is discharged on 20th August, 1875.


    June 14th: Alice McKenzie, aged 31, the widow of Joseph, a carpenter, is admitted to the Whitechapel Infirmary. The cause of her admission is given as 'ulcer'. Her place of residence is shown as 3(?) Lower Keat Street. She is discharged on 23rd June, 1877.

    1st August: Alice Mackenzie, aged 32, a hawker of St George (Southwark) parish, is admitted to the St George Workhouse, Mint Street, Southwark. She has been brought in by P.C. 110L having been charged with being drunk. She is discharged the same day, 'taken out by P. C. 256L.'


    March Quarter: Charles Pitts dies in Peterborough, aged 74.

    26th June: A 32-year-old laundress named Alice Taylor or McKensey is convicted at Southwark police court of being 'drunk in a thoro'fare'. She is fined 5s and sentenced to 7 days imprisonment with hard labour, which she serves in Wandsworth Prison. One previous conviction is noted, but no details are given.

    Her description is:

    Height: 5ft 5ins
    Hair: Dk brown
    Eyes: Hazel
    Complexion: Fresh
    Other Marks: Scar on forehead. Lost tip of left thumb.
    Weight in: 11st 6lb
    Weight out: 11st 6lb

    She is released on 2nd July, 1878.


    Census: Aged 73, the widowed Martha Pitts is still resident in the Peterborough Cathedral Precincts. Her son, John, a 43-year-old widower, is the only other member of the household. John's occupation is given as 'watch jobber'.


    11th August: Alice McKenzie, 37, the widow of Joseph, a cabinet maker, is admitted to the Whitechapel Infirmary. The cause of her admission is given as 'ulcerated stamma(?)'. Her place of residence is given as 36, Flower and Dean Street. She is discharged on 24th August.

    5th November: Alice McKenzie, 37, the widow of 'John?' a carpenter is admitted to the Whitechapel Infirmary. She has been brought there by P. C. 267H, having been 'found in Dorset Street'. The cause of her admission is given as alcoholism. She is discharged on 16th November.

    20th December: Alice McKenzie, 37, the widow of 'John?', a carpenter, is admitted to the Whitechapel Infirmary having been brought there by P. C. 162H from Leman Street police station.The cause of her admission is alcoholism and fits. She is discharged on 23rd December, taken out by police.


    September: In Peterborough parish church, Martha Pitts is one of 20 ‘poor persons’ awarded a prize under the terms of Bishop White’s Charity for ‘exactly and distinctly repeat[ing] the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed and the Ten Commandments without missing or changing one word’. The prize amounted to 10 shillings for each successful candidate, the equivalent of several weeks’ ‘doss’ in a Spitalfields lodging house.


    December Quarter: Martha Pitts dies in Peterborough, aged 74. According to the 1889 Boston Guardian article, at the time of her death Martha was living in the same small house near Minster Yard that the family had occupied for many years.


    January: An 'Alice McKenzie, tramp' is arrested for causing a disturbance in a butcher's shop in Long Causeway, Peterborough, very near the Minster Precincts. The woman claims to be from Scotland. Although it's tempting to assume that this was Alice Kinsey, there are several press reports of a drunken 'Alice McKenzie, tramp' falling foul of the law in various parts of the country, some of which concern incidents occurring after Alice Kinsey's death. That said, one small detail reported by the Boston Guardian - the tramp's 'hazel eyes' - matches Alice Kinsey.

    17th July: At 12.45 a.m. the body of a woman is found in Castle Alley, Whitechapel by police constable Walter Andrew’s (272 H).

    17th/18th July and 14th August: The inquest into the death of Alice ‘McKenzie’ is held at the Working Lads’ Institute in Whitechapel High Street. The presiding coroner is Wynne Edwin Baxter. A verdict of "Wilful murder against some person or persons unknown” is returned.

    24th July: Alice McKenzie is laid to rest at Plaistow cemetery. The funeral cortage leaves from the artillery public house in Artillery Street, Spitalfields.