Robert Octavius Carpenter (1851-1915)

Son of William Carpenter and Emily Carpenter (née Cox)


Robert Octavius was born at 1.45pm on 26th June 1851[1].


Christened on 26th September 1858 at St. Pancras New Church, London[2].


1861: 11 Grove Street, St Pancras, London - Scholar[3].

On the night of 7th April 1861 Robert was living at/visiting 11 Grove Street with his father William Carpenter (51) and brothers/sisters: Alfred Carpenter, Ernest Carpenter, Francis Colin Carpenter and Jess[i]e Sarah Carpenter. William's wife Emily was not recorded at this address. The neighbouring household was home to Robert's uncle James Carpenter and his family.


1871: 95 Weedington Road, Kentish Town, St Pancras, London - Porter[4].

On the night of 2nd April 1871 Robert Carpenter (19) was a lodger at 95 Weedington Road with his widowed mother Emily Carpenter (54) who was working as a needlewoman.


1881: 24 Oakley Square, London, Middlesex - Domestic Servant (Footman)

On the night of the 1881 census Robert was a footman in a boarding house run by Elizabeth F. de Barquet. Robert was one of three domestic servants at the house. The boarding house had 15 occupants - Elizabeth F. de Barquet (boarding house keeper), Eliza Mary de Barquet (Elizabeth's mother), three domestic servants and 10 boarders.


1891: 11 Liverpool Street, Islington, London - Porter[5]

On the night of 5th of April 1891 Robert Carpenter (38) was living in the household of his widowed cousin Mary Oakley (51), a dress mantle maker. The address was also home to Mary's children: Mary Oakley (15), a dress machinist; and Francis Oakley (12), a scholar.


1901: 122 Guinness Buildings[6], Wood Quay, Dublin, Ireland[7] - Kitchen Porter (unemployed)[8].

On the night of the 1901 census Robert Carpenter (50) was living in the household of his cousin Mary Oakley (61, widow). Mary's daughter Mary Oakley (25, dressmaker), her cousin and her niece Amelia Carpenter (1) were also living in the property. The three adults were born in London and belonged to the Church of Ireland (St Werburgh). Amelia Carpenter was the daughter of Walter Carpenter and she is shown as being a Roman Catholic (St Michael).


1911: 27 Kingsland Parade (East Side), Fitzwillliam Ward, Dublin - Chef

On the night of the 1911 census Robert (59) was living in the household of Mary Oakley (71, widow) who is named as his sister (but is actually his cousin). The household also included Mary's daughter, Mary Flynn (35, a maker of underclothing), and son-in-law, John Flynn (27, a chauffeur mechanic)[9].


Kingsland Parade seen from across the Grand Canal, Dublin in July 2008.


27 Kingsland Parade in July 2008.


Robert was admitted to the Dublin South Union workhouse on March 30th 1915[10] and remained there until his death. Robert is shown in the register as entry number 2746, admitted from 7 Lr Camden Street, male, 62 years old, single, a cook by occupation and a protestant[11]. In column 11 the entry appears to record Robert's disability as ‘note from meath stoop’ but it’s just not possible to be sure as the writing is difficult to read[12]. A further column for ‘Observations on condition of Inmate when admitted’ includes a note which we think reads ‘St Catherine Society Ireland agrees to pay 1.50’ or ‘St Catherine Society Adelaide Rd agrees to pay’ and ‘ arm’[13].


7 Lower Camden Street, Dublin in 2003


Robert Carpenter (62, a bachelor) died at the South Dublin Union workhouse on 13th September 1915. The cause of death was given as paralysis. The death certificate gave his occupation as cook and indicated that he had come from 7 L[owe]r Camden Street before entering the workhouse[14].


We do not know where Robert was buried and whether the family arranged and paid for this.



  1. Carpenter Family Record Book. The book records the time as 'quarter before two aftnoon'. The birth was registered on 5th August 1851.
  2. Carpenter Family Record Book
  3. 1861 Census - RG 9/94 33 07.
  4. 1871 Census - RG 10/244 Folio ? Page 201
  5. 1891 Census - RG 12/151 Folio ? Page 28.
  6. The Guinness Trust was founded in 1890 by Edward Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh, to help provide improved housing for the working classes. At this time Dublin had extensive slums and the poorest living conditions of any city in the UK.
  7. The address given on the Household Return (Form A) was given as '122 Guinness Buildings, Wood Quay, Dublin' but the House and Building Return (Form B1) gives the fuller address of '122 Guinness Trust Buildings, New Bride Street, Wood Quay, Dublin'. Form B1 shows that the property was classed as a third class property and had 2 rooms.
  8. 1901 Census, National Archives of Ireland -
  9. 1911 Census, National Archives of Ireland - All members of the household were shown as belonging to the Church of Ireland. John Flynn was born in Dublin City but Mary Oakley, Mary Flynn and Robert Carpenter were all shown as having been born in England. John and Mary Flynn had been married 5 years at the time of the census.
  10. BG 79 G/139 (National Archives of Ireland) - DSU workhouse register for the period 26th January 1915 to 30th May 1915. It seems likely that the entry for Robert in this register was used to supply the details seen on the death certificate. The register itself is a large and heavy bound volume, but the entries themselves are written in the tiniest writing and as a consequence it is difficult to read Robert Carpenter's entry in the register.
  11. On the page that Robert's entry appears there are 40 admissions listed, of which 35 were roman catholic and just 5 were protestant. In spite of his religion, the professional genealogists suggested that many protestant paupers were buried at the large roman catholic cemetery at Glasnevin - however, the staff at the cemetery checked both registers and Robert was not buried here.
  12. Interestingly, the entry below Robert's is paralysis certified by a doctor - is there a chance that the register was misread when the death certificate was being prepared - or is this just a coincidence?
  13. I discussed the entry with professional genealogists working at the National Archives of Ireland on a visit in 2003 and they suggested that this could be a Protestant relief society of some description, although it was not a name they were familiar with and there is no record of it in the society records held in the National Archives. A search of Thom's directory for 1915 at Dublin City Archives showed no society by this name either in Adelaide Road or Dublin (although it is worth noting that there were 3 churches - one presbyterian, one catholic apostolic and St Matthias). In spite of this, the society could have been a much smaller organisation than those advertising in the main city directory. Presumably the society alerted the Carpenter family in London to Robert's death since the date was recorded in the family record book.
  14. Death Certificate, obtained on a visit to the General Register Office, Dublin in October 2003. The death was registered on the same day by an official at the workhouse.