Home. Name index. London.  Northamptonshire . Elsewhere. News. Contact.

Newbon Family History
Walter Thomas Newbon (1876-1940)
Walter Thomas Newbon was the 4th of 7 children born to John Joseph and Elizabeth Eliza Newbon. 2 of the children (a son named John Joseph after his father, and a daughter Louisa) died in infancy, and Walter grew up with his 4 surviving sisters: Elizabeth Ellen, Ann, Emma and Jane Charlotte (Jennie). Because he and his wife Rhoda had 13 children, they had the status of ‘patriarch and matriarch’ for many members of the family during the early- and mid-20th century. Their lives were not in themselves remarkable: they were ordinary hard-working people who survived on precious little money; but as parents to a whole family of Newbon descendants their importance cannot be over-estimated. It is their commitment to their family that has made my research into the lives of my great-grandfather’s ancestors so worth while.

Early years
Walter was born on February 16th 1876 at 57 Cardigan Street, Lambeth, where he most likely lived until he was about 7 or 8, at which point the family moved to Earlsfield. It was in this part of London that Walter lived the rest of his life. In 1891 the Newbon family can be found on the census returns at 5 Boyce’s Cottages, Garratt Lane, Earlsfield.

Although Garratt Lane itself is an ancient right of way (possibly dating back to Roman or even prehistoric times), the surrounding area of Earlsfield in the 19th century was significantly less populated than it is now. Indeed, Earlsfield itself came into being only in the 1870s – it is thought that the name is derived from the family name of the wife of the lord of the manor in the second half of the 19th century – and by 1893, when an Ordnance Survey map of the area was drawn up, only a handful of the roads which now lead off Garratt Lane were in existence. The area started to become more built up only with the opening of Earlsfield railway station on April 1st 1884, but it was not until the first decade of the 20th century that Earlsfield experienced extensive housing development. The Newbons’ home at Earlsfield was close to the River Wandle, which was very important for local industry – the nearby Garratt Mills (at the end of Trewint Street) were copper mills. In its industrial heyday in the 1830s there were over 90 water-mills in operation along the river’s course, although this number diminished throughout the 19th century – from its source at Carshalton to the point where it meets the Thames, the Wandle drops by about 125 feet, which made it a powerful water-source for milling. In the 19th century (if not today!) the river’s water was prized particularly for its cleanness.

Walter Thomas Newbon and Rhoda Matilda Marshall were married on Christmas Day 1896 at St Andrew’s Church, Earlsfield, South West London and it was in that area that they spent the whole of their married lives. Their address at the time of their marriage was 5 Boyce’s Cottages, Garratt Lane, but from the early years of the 20th century they lived at 2 Turtle Road, a small cul-de-sac leading from Garratt Lane (the main thoroughfare from Wandsworth to Tooting). It was in that small 3-bedroom house that their 13 children grew up, and there that Walter and Rhoda lived until their deaths (in 1940 and 1963 respectively). All of their 13 children married, with 10 having children of their own. However, the fact that only 3 of their 6 sons had male offspring means that Walter and Rhoda only actually have a small handful of descendants alive today whose surname is now Newbon. At the time of his marriage, Walter Newbon’s profession was the same as his father’s: a ‘carman’ (i.e. someone who transports goods for other people). He spent most of his working life as an omnibus driver, however, and there are a number of photographs showing him in his driver’s uniform. He was never well off but brought up his large family in modest comfort. The family remained close, even after the children married, and Christmas gatherings at Turtle Road were large family occasions.

The Children of Walter and Rhoda Newbon


February 16th 1876 (Lambeth)


October 10th 1940 (Lower Tooting, London SW17)


John Joseph Newbon (1842-1915)


Elizabeth Eliza Newbon, formerly Holloway (c.1845-1908)


Rhoda Matilda Marshall (1874-1963)


Omnibus driver


George Thomas Newbon (1892-1949), Walter Francis (Joe) Newbon (1897-1942), Emily Elizabeth Newbon (1899-1971), Ethel Victoria Newbon (1901-1986), Elizabeth Jane Newbon (1902-1957), Rhoda Matilda Newbon (1904-1974),

John Henry Newbon (1906-1978), Francis William Newbon (1908-1966), William Charles Newbon (1909-1966),

Louisa Violet (Sadie) Newbon (1912- ), Irene Hilda May Newbon (1914-1985), Arthur Edward Newbon (1918-2006), Doreen Elsie Newbon (1921-1996)

George Thomas Newbon (the eldest of the 13 children) married Margaret (sometimes spelt Marguerite) Harper in 1918 at Brentford and shortly after their marriage the couple moved to Hull, where they lived until George’s death in 1949. Maggie outlived her husband by 24 years. Several of their 6 surviving children and their families still live in the Hull area today. Their eldest child Betty emigrated to Australia in 1946. She died at Scone, Australia in 2002, aged 82, and her family still lives in New South Wales and Queensland today. A certain amount of mystery surrounds the birth of George Thomas Newbon: he was in fact born in 1892, 4 years before Rhoda and Walter married, in the Wandsworth Union Workhouse, his name listed as George Thomas Marshall, with no father’s name given. His mother Rhoda was 18 at the time and was a laundry maid. Whatever the circumstances of George’s birth, it is clear that he was brought up by Walter as one of his own children.

Walter Francis Newbon (known as Joe), who was born in 1897, the year after his parents’ marriage, married Ellen Green (known as Cissie) in 1926. They lived in Carshalton with their 3 children until Joe’s early death in 1942, at the age of 45: an accident while chopping wood in which he cut his finger resulted in him contracting lockjaw. Cissie then married Henry Chapman in 1961; she died 3 years later.

Emily Elizabeth Newbon married Frederick Botting in 1924; they lived in Thornton Heath with their 2 children. Emmie died in 1971, aged 71, 9 years after her husband.

Ethel Victoria Newbon married James Champion in 1926; they lived with their 2 sons in Croydon. Ethel lived to be 85 (she died in 1986); Jimmy outlived her by just under 2 years.

Elizabeth Jane Newbon married Ernest Buchan (known as ‘Son’) in 1928 and lived in Balham. Liz died in 1957 at the age of 55, and Son died 11 years later.

Rhoda Matilda Newbon married Ernest Hutchison in 1936 and lived in Earlsfield. Rhoda died in 1974 at the age of 69; Ernie died in 1979, aged 73.

John Henry Newbon married Florrie Ford in 1940 and the couple then moved to Worcester, where John died in 1978, aged 72. Florrie lived until 1996.
Neither Liz, Rhoda nor John had children.

Francis William Newbon married Lilian Goldsmith in 1939. The couple lived in Summerstown, Lower Tooting, and adopted a daughter. Frank died in 1966, aged 58, 11 years after Lil, who died aged only 48.

William Charles Newbon married Emily Hookway in 1935 and soon afterwards they moved to Southampton; they had 3 daughters. Bill died in 1966, aged 57; Emmie lived until 1997.

Louisa Violet Newbon (known as Sadie, after the stage name of a maternal aunt with whom she shared her original Christian name) married George Hopkins in 1938. They moved to Australia for several years in 1955 with their son and returned to England 10 years later; they then moved back to Australia for a further 9 years in 1975. George died in 1987, aged 72; Sadie then lived in Tonbridge, Kent until 2003, when she emigrated once again to be closer to her only son. Sadie died in Tasmania in June 2008 at the age of 95, the last surviving and the longest-lived of the children of Walter and Rhoda Newbon.

Irene Hilda May Newbon married Francis Shead in 1934. They lived at Carshalton and had 3 children. Frank died aged only 35 in 1948; Rene died in 1985, aged 71.

Arthur Edward Newbon married Lilla Elkins in 1946. The couple had 3 children and celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1996; the only other one of Walter and Rhoda’s children to have done so was Ethel. Lilla died in 2003, aged 87. Art (known to some members of the family as ‘Chill’) was the last member of the Newbon family to live in Earlsfield. He died in 2006, also aged 87.

Doreen Elsie Newbon married James Smith Brown (a native of Fife, Scotland) in 1942. They and their 2 children lived with Mrs Rhoda Newbon until her death, leaving Turtle Road (which had been the family’s home for over 50 years) in 1968, shortly before the nearby River Wandle burst its banks, causing the road to be demolished soon afterwards. They thereafter lived as next-door neighbours to Doreen’s sister and brother-in-law Rhoda and Ernie Hutchison. Jim died in 1983, aged 65; Doreen died in 1996, aged 74.
This wonderful photograph must date from around 1920. The youngest child present is Arthur Edward Newbon - presumably the photograph was taken shortly before their youngest child (Doreen Elsie Newbon) was born in May 1921.
Back row: Ethel Victoria Newbon (b.1901), Elizabeth Jane Newbon (b.1902), Walter Francis (Joe) Newbon (b.1897),
Emily Elizabeth Newbon (b.1899), John Henry Newbon (b. 1906)
Front row: William Charles Newbon (b.1909), Irene Hilda May Newbon (b.1914), Mrs Rhoda Matilda Newbon with Arthur Edward Newbon (b.1918),
Mr Walter Thomas Newbon, Louisa Violet Newbon (b.1912), Francis William Newbon (b.1908)
George Thomas Newbon (b.1892) was already married by the time this photograph was taken.
It is thought that Rhoda Matilda Newbon (b.1904) would have been working when the photograph was taken.
Walter and Rhoda Newbon with their youngest son and daughter Arthur and Doreen during the Second World War
Walter and Rhoda Newbon’s 3 eldest daughters -
standing: Ethel and Emily; seated: Elizabeth

To Top of Page

All contents of this website © 2008 Stephen Willis