Person:George Nicholls (2)

m. 24 Dec 1871
  1. Clara Nicholls1872 - 1935
  2. George Nicholls1874 - 1931
  3. James Nicholls1876 - 1878
m. 8 Apr 1899
  1. James Nicholls1899 - 1904
  2. Rose Nicholls1901 - 1985
  3. Minnie Nicholls1903 - 2005
  4. Lily Nicholls1905 - 1998
  5. Daisy Nicholls1907 - 1907
  6. Arthur Nicholls1909 - 1973
  7. George Nicholls1911 - 1946
Facts and Events
Name George Nicholls
Gender Male
Birth[1] 9 Aug 1874 Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, EnglandAmwell Lane, Nomansland
Christening[2] 27 Sep 1874 Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, England
Census[3] 3 Apr 1881 Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, EnglandBrewhouse Hill
Census[4] 5 Apr 1891 Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, EnglandHamwell Cottage, Nomansland
Marriage 8 Apr 1899 Harpenden, Hertfordshire, Englandto Annie Maria Moles
Census[5] 31 Mar 1901 Harpenden, Hertfordshire, EnglandWheathampstead Road
Census[6] 2 Apr 1911 Harpenden, Hertfordshire, EnglandWheathampstead Road
Death[7] 16 Oct 1931 Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, EnglandLondon Midland and Scottish Railway


George Nicholls was born on 9th August 1874 at Amwell Lane, near the hamlet of Nomansland in the parish of Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire. He was the son of a straw plaiter named Maria Nicholls, formerly Hornet, and her husband Daniel William Nicholls, an agricultural labourer. George was one of three children that his parents had together, although his younger brother James died as a baby. Both George's parents had children from previous relationships, with George having several half-siblings.

The 1881 census finds George living with his parents and siblings at Brewhouse Hill in Wheathampstead village. By 1891 they had moved back out of the village to the Nomansland area. George at this time was 16 and working as an agricultural labourer.

Many of George's half-siblings on his father's side emigrated to Australia in the 1880s and 1890s.


On 8th April 1899, aged 24, George was married to Annie Maria Moles. She was three years older than him. They would have seven children together between 1899 and 1911, although their first child, James, died as a boy of four years old, and their fifth child, Daisy, died as a young baby.
George, Annie and their five surviving children, circa 1918
George, Annie and their five surviving children, circa 1918

George and Annie married at the parish church of St Nicholas in Harpenden, the neighbouring parish to Wheathampstead. At the time of their marriage, George gave his address as Wheathampstead Road, Harpenden, whilst Annie was in domestic service at Hammonds End in Harpenden. She was originally from Hitchin, about twelve miles north-east of Harpenden. After their marriage they initially lived on Wheathampstead Road (which was renamed Southdown Road in 1923). Contemporary directories list them a few doors down from the Southdown Methodist Church at the house that is now called 109 Southdown Road. Their daughter Rose recalled that the family actually lived at two different houses on Wheathampstead Road - first 109 Southdown Road, then opposite Skew Bridge at a house which was demolished in the 1960s to make way for Heath Close.

George's parents also moved from Wheathampstead to Harpenden some time between 1891 and 1901. They appear in the 1901 census living at Soapsud Alley on West Common. George's father Daniel died a few days after the 1901 census. George's mother Maria then moved to Wheathampstead Road - presumably living with George and Annie, although not necessarily. She died in the infirmary of the St Albans Union Workhouse in 1906.

During the First World War, George appears to have served in the Army Service Corps, although his service records have not been found.[10] The Army Service Corps was responsible for the logistics of supporting the troops in the field, transporting food and other supplies. The family group portrait appears to have been taken in about 1918, and shows George in his uniform.

Some time between 1911 and 1925 the family moved from Wheathampstead Road to 68 Cravells Road, which was to be George and Annie's home for the rest of their lives. George's sister Clara and her family also lived on Cravells Road. George and Annie held the reception for their daughter Rose's wedding at 68 Cravells Road in 1925. George worked as a bricklayer's labourer, whilst Annie was a straw hat machinist. They also kept pigs and made homemade wine. George lived to see four grandchildren by his daughters Rose, Minnie and Lily (another three grandchildren followed after his death).

George died on 16th October 1931, aged 57. He died tragically, after being struck by a train on the Midland Railway between Harpenden and St Albans, near the Cross Lane bridge. Whilst only a short distance from his home in Cravells Road, the railway there briefly skirts the edge of the parish of Wheathampstead. He therefore died in the same parish in which he had been born. An inquest was held into his death, which heard that he went out on the evening of Wednesday 14th October and got drunk. He then spent all day on Thursday drinking home-made wine and was described as "rambling" and "terribly drunk at night". Annie reported that she'd heard him leave the house at 5.45 on the morning of 16th October. He was found dead later that morning. The inquest jury returned a verdict of "suicide whilst insane". He was buried at the Westfield Road Cemetery in Harpenden. The grave inscription says "Beautiful memories shadowed by grief".

Annie survived him by nearly thirteen years, dying at home at 68 Cravells Road on 6th September 1944, aged 73.
"Beautiful memories / Shadowed by grief"
"Beautiful memories / Shadowed by grief"
  1. Birth certificate, in General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration. (London: General Register Office).

    1874 BIRTH in the Sub-district of Harpenden in the County of Hertford
    No. 360
    When and where born: Ninth August 1874, Hamwell Lane, Wheathamstead
    Name, if any: George
    Sex: Boy
    Name and surname of father: Daniel Nickels
    Name, surname and maiden surname of mother: Maria Nickels formerly Hornett
    Occupation of father: Farm Labourer
    Signature, description and residence of informant: X The Mark of Maria Nickels, Mother, Hamwell Lane, Wheathamstead
    When registered: Twelfth September 1874
    Signature of registrar: G. Gilpins, Registrar

  2. Baptisms register, in Church of England. Wheathampstead Parish Registers. (Hertford: Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies).
    BAPTISMS solemnized in the Parish of Wheathampstead in the County of Hertford in the Year 1874
    No.When BaptizedChild's Christian NameParent's NameAbodeQuality, Trade, or ProfessionBy whom the Ceremony was performed
    8311874 September 27thGeorgeDaniel & MariaNichollsNomans Land, WheathampsteadLaborerOwen W. Davys, Rector
  3. General Register Office. The National Archives (abbreviated TNA). 1881 Census Schedules for England and Wales, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands: . (Kew, Richmond, Greater London TW9 4DU, United Kingdom)
    Class RG11; Piece 1429; Folio 48; Page 7, 3 Apr 1881.

    Address: Brewhouse Hill, Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire
    Daniel Nichols, head, married, male, 47 [1833/4], Farm labourer, b. Gustard Wood, Hertfordshire
    Maria Nichols, wife, married, female, 48 [1832/3], Straw plaiter, b. Batford Mills, Hertfordshire
    Frederick Nichols, son, unmarried, male, 19 [1861/2], Farm labourer, b. Nomansland, Hertfordshire
    Mary Ann Nichols, daughter, unmarried, female, 17 [1863/4], Straw plaiter, b. Nomansland, Hertfordshire
    Sarah Nichols, daughter, unmarried, female, 12 [1868/9], Scholar, b. Nomansland, Hertfordshire
    Arthur Nichols, son, male, 9 [1871/2], Scholar, b. Nomansland, Hertfordshire
    Clara Nichols, daughter, female, 8 [1872/3], Scholar, b. Nomansland, Hertfordshire
    George Nichols, son, male, 6 [1874/5], Scholar, b. Nomansland, Hertfordshire
    Sarah Wright, daughter, female, 13 [1867/8], Scholar (2nd family), b. Folly, Hertfordshire

  4. General Register Office. The National Archives (abbreviated TNA). 1891 Census Schedules for England and Wales, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. (Kew, Richmond, Greater London TW9 4DU, United Kingdom)
    Class RG12; Piece 1114; Folio 47; Page 15, 5 Apr 1891.

    Address: Hamwell Cottage, Nomansland, Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire
    4 rooms occupied
    Daniel Nicholls, head, married, male, 57 [1833/4], Agric[ultura]l Labourer, employed, b. Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire
    Maria Nicholls, wife, married, female, 58 [1832/3], b. Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire
    Charlotte Nicholls, daughter, single, female, 18 [1872/3], b. Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire
    George Nicholls, son, single, male, 16 [1874/5], Agric[ultura]l Labourer, b. Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire

  5. General Register Office. The National Archives (abbreviated TNA). England and Wales. 1901 Census Schedules: also for the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. (Kew, Richmond, Greater London TW9 4DU, United Kingdom)
    Class RG13; Piece 1310; Folio 13; Page 17, 31 Mar 1901.

    Address: Wheathampstead Road, Harpenden, Hertfordshire
    4 rooms occupied
    George Nicholls, head, married, male, 26 [1874/5], General Labourer, worker, b. Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire
    Annie M. Nicholls, wife, married, female, 29 [1871/2], b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    James Nicholls, son, male, 1 [1899/1900], b. Harpenden, Hertfordshire

  6. General Register Office. The National Archives (abbreviated TNA). 1911 Census Schedules for England and Wales, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. (Kew, Richmond, Greater London TW9 4DU, United Kingdom)
    Class RG14; Piece 7656; Schedule 170, 2 Apr 1911.

    Address: Wheathampstead Road, Harpenden, Hertfordshire
    4 rooms occupied
    George Nicholls, head, male, 36 [1874/5], married, General Labourer, worker, b. Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire
    Annie Maria Nicholls, wife, female, 38 [1872/3], married 12 years, 7 children born, 5 children still living, Straw Hat Machinist, worker, working at home, b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    Rose Nicholls, daughter, female, 9 [1901/2], b. Harpenden, Hertfordshire
    Minnie Nicholls, daughter, female, 7 [1903/4], b. Harpenden, Hertfordshire
    Lily Nicholls, daughter, female, 6 [1904/5], b. Harpenden, Hertfordshire
    Arthur Nicholls, son, male, 2 [1908/9], b. Harpenden, Hertfordshire
    George Nicholls, son, male, 1 month [1911], b. Harpenden, Hertfordshire

  7. Death certificate, in General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration. (London: General Register Office).
    Registration District St Albans
    1931 DEATH in the Sub-District of Harpenden in the County of Hertford
    No.When and where diedName and surnameSexAgeOccupationCause of deathSignature, description and residence of informantWhen registeredSignature of registrar
    431Dead Body Found Sixteenth October 1931 LM&S Railway Wheathampstead RDGeorge NichollsMale57 yearsOf 68 Cravells R[oa]d Harpenden UD
    Builders Labourer
    Bodily injuries caused the 16th day of Oct[o]b[e]r 1931 by being run over by a train in the LM&S Railway near Cross Lane Bridge in the parish of Wheathampstead Suicide whilst insane No PMCertificate received from Tho[ma]s Ottaway Coroner for Hertfordshire (St. Albans District)
    Inquest held Nineteenth October 1931
    Nineteenth October 1931R.N. Maff
  8.   Luton News and Bedfordshire Advertiser (Luton)
    Thursday 22 Oct 1931.

    A TRAGIC END - The District Coroner, Mr. T. Ottoway, held an inquest at the mortuary on Monday, concerning George Nicholls, 57, bricklayer's labourer, of 68, Cravell's-road, who was found on the L.M.S.R. near Cross-lane Bridge on Friday morning with the top part of his head severed. Mrs. Nicholls, the widow, giving evidence, said her husband went out after supper on Wednesday night, and got drunk. On Thursday he was rambling. He was drinking home-made wine all day, and was terribly drunk at night. She heard him get up, and go out at 5.45 the next morning, and later identified his dead body. Albert George Franklin, a porter, described how the body was found, and other witnesses were P.C. Miles, who conveyed the remains to the mortuary, and Dr. Donald Maclean. The jury returned a verdict of "Suicide while temporarily insane."

  9.   Herts Advertiser, Saturday 18 April 1925
    "For Better or Worse."
    The Rev. E. Michell officiated at the wedding of Miss Rose Nicholls, eldest daughter of Mr. George Nicholls, of 68, Cravells-road, Harpenden, and Mr. Stewart John Marshall, third son of Mr. John Marshall, of 44, Cambridge-street, Luton, which took place at the Parish Church, on Saturday. The bride, who was given away by her father, wore a dress of white crepe-de-chene, with lace sleeves and white panels ornamented with silver beads. Her bouquet was composed of white lilies and roses. The bridegroom's gift to her was a silver bracelet. There were three bridesmaids the Misses Minnie and Lily Nicholls (sisters of the bride) and Miss Vera Marshall (niece of the bridegroom). Their dresses were of cornflower-blue crepe-de-chene, beautifully embroidered, while their hats were of silver-grey crinoline with cornflower-blue trimmings to match the dresses. They carried bouquets of pink carnations and tulips. The best man was Mr. George Marshall (brother of the bridegroom). A reception was afterwards held at the home of the bride.
  10. The badge on the hat he is wearing in the 1918 family group photograph appears to be from the Army Service Corps. RootsChat