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Iris Margaret May Allen, 1903

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ArgyllGran Report 18 Apr 2022 18:01

I wonder if someone can help me find out what happened to Iris after 1931, please?

PLEASE NOTE: I know all about her parents and siblings, so please don't waste your time on them.
It's only Iris I need to know about.

This is all I can find:

GRO Reference: 1903 J Quarter in BRACKLEY Volume 03B Page 7

Iris Margaret May Allen
in the England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975
Name: Iris Margaret May Allen
Gender: Female
Baptism Date: 5 Jul 1903
Baptism Place: Brackley, Northampton, England
Father: Walter Allen
Mother: Kate
FHL Film Number: 6126776
Reference ID: yr 1884-1915 p 140

Iris Margaret May Allen
in the 1911 England Census
Name: Iris Margaret May Allen
Age in 1911: 7
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1904
Relation to Head: Daughter
Gender: Female
Birth Place: Brackley, Northamptonshire
Civil Parish: Hethe, Hardwick, Tusmore and Cottisford
Country: England
Street Address: Tusmore Bicester Oxon
Registration District Number: 154
Sub-registration District: Bicester
ED, institution, or vessel: 10
Piece: 8177
Household Members:
Name Age
Walter Allen 34
Kate Allen 32
Iris Margaret May Allen 7
Edith Mabel Allen 6
Vera Kate Allen 4
Reginald Walter Allen 2
Edith Butler 25 - cousin

(There are other siblings born after 1911).

Her parents and four of her siblings are in Stratton Audley in 1921, but she's not with them.
There's an Iris Margaret Allen 1902 in Wantage, Berks, in 1921 - but born in Hampshire, unless that 's a mistranscription.

In 1929, 1930 and 1931 she's living in some sort of women's hostel or similar , in Reading (Possibly nurses' home, as the old Battle Hospital was at 344 Oxford Road - or maybe live-in accommodation for other hospital staff):

Iris Margaret May Allen
in the Berkshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1840-1965
Name: Iris Margaret May Allen
Residence Date: 1931
Street Address: 344 Oxford Road
Residence Place: Berkshire, England
Parliamentary Division: Reading Borough

After 1931 she seems to disappear. At least, she doesn't show up with both her middle names or initials, which would help. There are lots of Iris M or Iris Margaret Allens.

I may have to buy her birth cert, for her exact DOB.

An Iris M Allen married in Reading in 1946, but her middle name was Maud.

Iris Margaret May is on two public trees on Ancestry. One has nothing for her after 1911. The other wrongly claims her death is that of an Iris Jessie May Allen in 1918.


nameslessone Report 18 Apr 2022 19:48

If she was a nurse you may find her on the nurses register - try ancestry.


ArgyllGran Report 18 Apr 2022 21:09

No, I've tried that already. No sign of her.
Thanks for the suggestion, though.

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it Report 19 Apr 2022 09:12

1921 census as a domestic servant

name(s) Iris Margaret
Institution description St Mary's Home, House For Penitents, Wantage
Last name Allen
Parish Wantage
Sex Female
Registration district Wantage
Birth year 1902
Registration district number 118
Census date 19 June 1921
Sub-district Wantage
Age in years 19
Sub-district number 1
Age in months 1
Enumeration district number 15
Age as transcribed 19 y 1 m
County Berkshire
Relationship to head Inmate
Country England
Marital status Single
Borough, urban or rural district Wantage UD
Birth place Hampshire, England
Parliamentary borough or division Berkshire PC, Abingdon Div.
Birth county Hampshire
Archive The National Archives
Birth country England
Archive series RG 15
Transcribed birth place Brackley , NortHampshire >>>>>>>>
Piece number 05923
Nationality English
Page 11
Occupation Laundry & Domestic Service
Schedule type code III
Occupation code 900
Schedule type Institution, multiple page, 70+ entries
Occupation code with suffix 900/7
District reference RD 118 RS 1 ED 14, 15
Employer code 760
Other household member's first name(s) -
Place of work At Institution
Other household member's last name -
Language used to complete form English
Record set 1921 Census Of England & Wales
Person making return Louisa Frances Erskine Sister Superior
Category Census, land & surveys
House name St Marys Home
Subcategory Census
Street House For Penitents
Collections from Great Britain, England
Address St Marys Home House For Penitents


ArgyllGran Report 19 Apr 2022 10:02

Thanks, Shirley.

That's the woman I mentioned in 1921, so I'm grateful for the full transcription.
The somewhat mangled POB seems to confirm that she's "my" Iris.

Although she's listed as a "laundry and domestic service" employee , she's also an "inmate".
This fits with info about St Mary's Home for Penitents, which was for "fallen" women. They were expected to stay there for two years, and were "occupied in laundry work and needlework."

So I assume she had had an illegitimate child. Maybe she wasn't penitent enough and had two.


GRO Reference: 1921 J Quarter in WANTAGE Volume 02C Page 592

GRO Reference: 1922 S Quarter in WANTAGE Volume 02C Page 549

As a pure guess, I imagine she wasn't a nurse in 1929-31, but more likely a domestic employee at Battle Hospital


ArgyllGran Report 19 Apr 2022 10:20

Another ???

GRO Reference: 1923 D Quarter in WANTAGE Volume 02C Page 511 Occasional Copy: A

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it Report 19 Apr 2022 10:31

I wonder !

Name: Cyril J Allen
Death Age: 35
Birth Date: abt 1922
Registration Date: Apr 1957
[May 1957]
[Jun 1957]
Registration Quarter: Apr-May-Jun
Registration District: Newbury
Inferred County: Berkshire
Volume: 6a
Page: 45

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it Report 19 Apr 2022 10:33

Still in wantage

Beedon Hill, Wantage, Wantage R.D., Berkshire, England
First name(s) Last name(s) Birth date Sex Occupation Marital status Schedule Schedule sub number
Cyril J Allen 29 May 1921 Male Coal Merchants Labou Single 53 1
Henry Read 23 Feb 1868 Male Gardener Retired Single 53 2
Albert Becket 09 Feb 1883 Male - Single 53 3


ArgyllGran Report 19 Apr 2022 11:12

Sadly, no, that 1939 from FMP is mistranscribed.

That Cyril J is in the household above that of Henry and Albert:

Cecil J Allen [ Cyril J Allen on image ]
in the 1939 England and Wales Register
Name: Cecil J Allen [Cyril J Allen]
Gender: Male
Marital Status: Single
Birth Date: 29 May 1921
Residence Date: 1939
Address: Beedor Hill
Residence Place: Wantage, Berkshire, England
Occupation: Coal Merchant Labor??
Line Number: 25
Schedule Number: 52
Sub Schedule Number: 4
Enumeration District: Durd
Borough: Wantage
Registration district: 118/2
Inferred Father:
James Allen
Inferred Mother:
Sarah Allen
Household Members Age
James Allen 76
Sarah Allen 74
Annie Allen 37 - single
Cecil J Allen 18

And if Annie is his mother, then that accounts for the 1921 birth - illegitimate, but not a child of Iris.


ArgyllGran Report 19 Apr 2022 12:08

If Iris was indeed an "inmate" of the home in 1921, she must have either had her child in 1919-21, or else at least have been pregnant by 19th June, the census date.

Gladys's birth therefore looks too late to be the reason for Iris being in the home - but doesn't necessarily rule her out as being a later child of Iris.

I don't see any Allen/Allen birth in Wantage in 1919-21 (other than Cyril).

Maybe Iris wasn't actually an inmate in 1921, but only working and living there.


alviegal Report 19 Apr 2022 13:48

No help in finding her later on AG but this seems to be her in 1920.

Bound Over. Iris Margaret May Allen (17) of Wendover, who was remanded at the last Court for offences under the Vagrancy Act, was again brought before the Magistrates. Defendant stated that she was willing to be sent to a home and Mrs Blanche Moline of the Oxford Diocesan Prevention and Rescue Mission, intimated that she would undertake responsibility in that direction. Defendant was therefore bound over in the sum of £10, and placed under the supervision of Miss Moline for two years.

22 May 1920 - Bucks Herald - Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England


nameslessone Report 19 Apr 2022 14:00

According to Wiki Battle hospital had previously had a ‘vagrants’ ward. I wonder whether one was still in operation.


alviegal Report 19 Apr 2022 14:00

Vagrancy. -Iris Margaret May Allen, a young girl, was charged with offences under the Vagrancy Act, and after evidence had been given by Acting P.S. Taylor of Wendover, defendant was remanded for a week to enable arrangements for her welfare to be made. The girl's mother said that although well brought up, defendant got out of hand, and it was feared that if she were bound over and taken home she would not remain there. Supt. Wooton described the case as very painful and attributed the girl's downfall to insufficient arrangements having been made to safeguard her interests when she was dismissed from a situation as domestic servant. Before her arrest on the present charge, she had been cautioned by the police.

15 May 1920 - Bucks Herald - Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England


ArgyllGran Report 19 Apr 2022 14:29

Great find, Alviegal! Thank you!

Maybe after 1931 she returned to vagrancy and dropped off the official radar.
Very sad.

General info here about vagrancy after 1930:


alviegal Report 19 Apr 2022 14:47

What a truly horrifying read Argyll ... those poor, poor people, I really hope Iris managed to sort herself out and get out of that toxic way of life.


alviegal Report 19 Apr 2022 14:56

Quote from when I looked for 344 Oxford Rd.

London Road Cemetery has been closed to burials for a long time now. The records of the burials are at Reading Crematorium. They will search the burial registers for a fee.

There are a lot of burials with no grave marker. Our relatives were somewhere in an open grassy area with lots of others.

This seems to be where deaths from the workhouse ended up.


ArgyllGran Report 19 Apr 2022 17:10

Thanks for that, Alviegal.

I'll think about contacting them - though she could have ended up anywhere, poor girl.

Up-to-date link, just in case it's of use to anyone else:

Unfortunately, they want to know the year of death.

There's no obvious death record. Perhaps she's one of the "Unknown Unknown" deaths registered.


ArgyllGran Report 19 Apr 2022 19:18

Looking at some of the other women listed with Iris at 344 Oxford Road in 1931 -

Lena [Helena] Victoria Macbeth was registered as a midwife at Battle Infirmary in 1928.
Reca Conny Ford was registered as a nurse in 1931, having trained at Battle Infirmary 1928-31.
Gladys Devonald was a nurse at various hospitals in Wales in the 1940s.
Edith Sarah Frankum was at 344 from 1922 until at least 1939 - she's Matron of Battle Hospital in 1939.
Lesley Bangham was a nursing sister when she went to Kenya in 1946.
Sarah Lilian Bevan was registered as a nurse in 1932, having trained at Battle Hospital 1929-32.
Emily Booth Slack was there from 1922 until at least 1937, having registered as a midwife in 1905, and as a nurse in 1923.
Ivy Constance Lewis was registered as a nurse in 1933, having trained at Battle Hospital 1929-32.
Nora Ellen Batts was registered as a nurse in 1934, having trained at Battle Hospital 1930-33.

and so on . . . .

So Iris does seem to have been in a nurses' home, presumably training as a nurse.

However, there's no sign of her on the nursing register, as already said, so it looks as if she didn't finish her training.


ErikaH Report 21 Apr 2022 10:03

An address search for 344 Oxford Road in 1939 produces only 344a as a result


ArgyllGran Report 21 Apr 2022 10:23

In 1939 the hospital is listed as Battle Hospital, with no address given, and is in a separate part of the census records, containing only hospitals and other institutions, so not listed with other addresses on Oxford Road:

Edith S Frankum
in the 1939 England and Wales Register
Name: Edith S Frankum
Gender: Female
Marital Status: Single
Birth Date: 23 Dec 1878
Residence Date: 1939
Address: Battle Hospital
Residence Place: Reading, Berkshire, England
Occupation: Matron (Hospital)
Line Number: 25
Schedule Number: 5
Sub Schedule Number: 3
OVSPI: Officer
Enumeration District: Dsbq
Borough: Reading
Registration district: Special
Household Members Age
David C Thomas 40
David F Rees 26
Edith S Frankum 61
Dorothy E Brace 35
Ivy Winifred Morris 33
Rosalind M Archer 37
Edith A Richards 34
Catherine McCarthy 33
Ida Cox 81
Dores O Waight 25
(and many others)