Person:Winifred May (2)

Winifred Kate May
m. 24 Jun 1884
  1. William May1884 - 1884
  2. Winifred Kate May1885 - 1950
  3. Louisa May1887 - 1963
  4. Alice Maud Mary May1888 - 1938
  5. Frank May1889 - 1947
  6. Harry Hutchings May1890 - 1956
  7. William Richard May1891 - 1960
  8. Bertram Stanley May1895 - 1975
m. 5 Jun 1909
Facts and Events
Name Winifred Kate May
Gender Female
Birth[1] 26 May 1885 Plymouth, Devon, England46 Claremont Street
Census[2] 5 Apr 1891 Plymouth, Devon, England11 John Street
Census[3] 31 Mar 1901 Plymouth, Devon, EnglandPear Tree Cottage, 21 John Street
Christening[4] 30 Sep 1902 Plymouth, Devon, EnglandSt Simon
Marriage 5 Jun 1909 Plymouth, Devon, EnglandThe Register Office
to Patrick Albert Kelly
Census[5] 2 Apr 1911 Plymouth, Devon, England21 John Street
Census[7] 29 Sep 1939 Reading, Berkshire, England5 Gosbrook Street, Caversham
Death[6] 27 Jan 1950 Reading, Berkshire, England5 Gosbrook Street, Caversham


Winifred Kate May was born on 26th May 1885 at 46 Claremont Street in Plymouth. She was the second of eight children of a compositor printer named William May and his wife Louisa Kate Harry. Their first child, a boy called William, had died as a baby before Winifred was born, making her effectively the eldest of seven children. Although at the time of Winifred's birth the family was living at 46 Claremont Street, they soon moved to 11 John Street, which appears to have been a fairly large property known as Pear Tree Cottage, which also had a row of cottages directly behind it known as Pear Tree Cottages. At any one time there appear to have been several families living at Pear Tree Cottage. The family already had connections to John Street: William May had spent much of his childhood living next door to Pear Tree Cottage at his father's grocery and beer shop, 10 John Street. The 1891 census finds Winifred living with her parents and siblings at 11 John Street, next door to her paternal grandparents and a great grandfather (Edmund Hutchings) at 10 John Street. Winifred was described in 1891 as a scholar. Some time between 1891 and 1901 John Street was renumbered, with the beer shop at No.10 becoming No.19 and Pear Tree Cottage at No.11 becoming No.21. The 1901 census finds Winifred aged 15 and working as a general domestic servant, but still living at home with her parents and siblings at Pear Tree Cottage.

It appears that Winifred was not baptised as a baby, nor have infant baptisms for any of her siblings yet been found. Instead, Winifred was baptised on 30th September 1902, when she was 17 years old. Her sister Louisa was baptised on the same day. Winifred and Louisa's baptisms are recorded in the registers of the Anglican church of St Simon, which lies to the north-east of Plymouth city centre. In fact, St Simon's was a very new parish at that point and the church had yet to be built in 1902 - the church hall next door had been built first and was being used as the church temporarily at the time of Winifred and Louisa's baptisms.


Winifred, Albert and their four children in about 1920.
Winifred, Albert and their four children in about 1920.

Winifred was married on 5th June 1909 at Plymouth Registry Office to Patrick Albert Kelly, a stoker in the Royal Navy (who was generally known by his middle name). He was originally from Birkenhead in Cheshire and had previously served as a Royal Marine. As a professional sailor he was away for long periods, and Winifred took lodgings at 21 John Street, effectively in the same building as her parents. Winifred's first child, a boy, was born in January 1911. The census later that year finds Winifred living in two rooms at 21 John Street with her son.

Winifred and Albert had four children together (three boys and a girl) between 1911 and 1918, all of whom were born at 21 John Street. Albert served in the Navy through the First World War and beyond, retiring from the Navy in 1922, by which time he was a Mechanic and Petty Officer. After retiring from the Navy, Albert moved the family to Caversham, a suburb of Reading. Given that neither Albert nor Winifred had any apparent connections to Reading this seems an unusual step. The family bought 5 Washington Road, Caversham for £295 in 1923.

Winifred, Albert and their youngest two boys in about 1924 outside 5 Washington Road.  The older lady could be either Albert or Winifred's mothers.
Winifred, Albert and their youngest two boys in about 1924 outside 5 Washington Road. The older lady could be either Albert or Winifred's mothers.

Winifred and Albert's eldest son died tragically in an accident on the Thames in 1929, aged 18. After this, they sold 5 Washington Road and moved to a larger house around the corner, Oak Villa, 5 Gosbrook Street (now called 5 Gosbrook Road), which they rented.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, the 1939 Register finds Winifred and Albert living at 5 Gosbrook Street with their daughter, youngest son. There were also two brothers aged fourteen and twelve living with the family who were presumably evacuees (the younger brother had been born in London). Albert served as a special constable as part of the war effort.

Winifred's daughter married in 1940 and had a son the following year, making Winifred a grandmother at the age of 55. Her daughter had another son in 1942. Sadly her daughter died in 1946, aged just 33. The following year the elder of Winifred's two surviving sons emigrated to New Zealand.

Winifred died at 5 Gosbrook Street on 27th January 1950, aged 64. After Winifred's death, Albert left Caversham altogether, returning to his native Birkenhead. When he died in 1962, he was buried back at Caversham, alongside Winifred.

  1. Birth certificate, in General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration. (London: General Register Office), Primary quality.

    Registration District Plymouth
    1885. BIRTH in the Sub-district of Saint Andrew in the County of Devon
    No. 214
    When and where born: Twenty sixth May 1885, 46 Claremont Street U.S.D.
    Name: Winifred Kate
    Sex: Girl
    Father: William May, Compositor
    Mother: Louisa Kate May, formerly Harry
    Signature, description and residence of informant: William May, Father, 46 Claremont Street Plymouth
    When registered: Second July 1885
    Registrar: H.J. Barter, Registrar

  2. General Register Office. The National Archives (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO) RG 12 General Register Office: 1891 Census Schedules, Class RG12; Piece 1726; Folio 14; Page 21, 5 Apr 1891, Primary quality.
    Address11 John Street, Plymouth (Charles), Devon
    Rooms occupied3
    NameRelation to headMarital statusSexAgeImplied birthdateOccupationStatusBirthplace
    William Mayheadmarriedmale301860/1Printers CompositoremployedDevonport, Devon
    Louisa Maywifemarriedfemale331857/8Dartmouth, Devon
    Winnifred Maydaughtersinglefemale61884/5ScholarPlymouth, Devon
    Louisa Maydaughtersinglefemale41886/7ScholarPlymouth, Devon
    Alice Maydaughtersinglefemale31887/8ScholarPlymouth, Devon
    Frank Maysonsinglemale21888/9Plymouth, Devon
    Harry Maysonsinglemale11889/90Plymouth, Devon
  3. General Register Office. The National Archives (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO) RG 13 General Register Office: 1901 Census Schedules, Class RG13; Piece 2103; Folio 11; Page 13, 31 Mar 1901, Primary quality.
    AddressPear Tree Cott[age], 21 John Street, Plymouth, Devon
    Rooms occupied4
    NameRelation to headMarital statusSexAgeImplied birthdateOccupationStatusBirthplace
    William Mayheadmarriedmale401860/1Letterpress PrinterworkerDevonport, Devon
    Louisa Maywifemarriedfemale431857/8Dartmouth, Devon
    Winifred Maydaughterfemale151885/6General Servant (Domestic)workerPlymouth, Devon
    Louisa Maydaughterfemale141886/7General Servant DomesticworkerPlymouth, Devon
    Frank Maysonmale111889/90Plymouth, Devon
    Alice Maydaughterfemale131887/8Plymouth, Devon
    Harry Maysonmale101890/1Plymouth, Devon
    William Maysonmale91891/2Plymouth, Devon
    Bertram Maysonmale61894/5Plymouth, Devon
  4. Baptisms register, in Church of England. Parish Registers of St Simon's Church, Plymouth. (Plymouth: Plymouth and West Devon Record Office), Primary quality.

    BAPTISMS solemnized in the Parish of S. Simon's in the County of Devon in the Year One Thousand nine Hundred & two
    No. 43
    When Baptized: Sept. 30 - Adult
    Child's Christian Name: Winifred Kate
    Parents' Names - Christian: William & Louisa Kate
    Parents' Names - Surname: May
    Abode: 21 John St.
    Quality, Trade, or Profession: Compositor
    By whom the Ceremony was performed: F. Wiltshire

    Baptised same time as sister Louisa.

  5. General Register Office. The National Archives (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO) RG 14 General Register Office: 1911 Census Schedules, RG14PN13001 RG78PN749 RD276 SD3 ED25 SN453, 2 Apr 1911, Primary quality.

    Address: 21 John Street, Plymouth, Devon
    2 rooms occupied
    Winifred Kate Kelly, wife, female, 25 [1885/6], married 1 year, 1 child born to this marriage, 1 child still living, b. Plymouth, Devon
    Frank Kelly, son, male, 3 months [1910/11], b. Plymouth, Devon

  6. Death certificate, in General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration. (London: General Register Office), Primary quality.

    1950 DEATH in the Sub-district of Caversham in the County of Reading
    No. 345
    When and where died: Twenty seventh January 1950, 5 Gosbrook Street U.D.
    Name and surname: Winifred Kate KELLY
    Sex: Female
    Age: 64 years
    Occupation: Wife of Patrick Albert Kelly, Motor Engineer Retired
    Cause of death: I(a) Chronic Fibro-Gaseous Pulmonary Tuberculosis
    Signature, description and residence of informant: Ronald E. Hill, son-in-law, 13 Anglefield Road, Caversham, Reading
    When registered: Twenty-eighth January 1950
    Signature of Registrar: J.L. Parker, Interim Registrar

  7. General Register Office. 1939 Register, Primary quality.

    Address: 5 Gosbrook Street, Reading, Berkshire
    KELLY Patrick A., male, b. 10 Mar 1884, married, Police War Reserve Reading, R.N. Pensioner Mechanisian
    KELLY Winifred K., female, b. 26 May 1885, married, Unpaid domestic duties
    KELLY [crossed out and replaced: HILL] Kathleen, female, b. 4 Jun 1913, single, Fabric worker Woodley Aerodrome
    KELLY Laurence, male, b. 14 Aug 1918, single, Draughtsman Fairey Aviation [one other word illegible]
    GRANT Herbert A.R., male, b. 16 Feb 1925, single, at school
    GRANT Alan E.C., male, b. 29 May 1927, single, at school