William George Elliott was born in the parish of Poplar, London on Saturday 18 Dec 1852 , the son of George Thompson Elliott, a ship's caulker from Poplar, East London and Hannah Hope from Stratford, Essex. At the time of Williams birth the Elliott family were living at 13 Castor Street, Poplar, which is located in the district known as Limehouse, between the East India Dock raod and the West India Dock road (see map, below).
Initial development around Castor Street began in 1812, with leases granted to two carpenters, a bricklayer, a builder and a number of residential houses . The development was typical of the those taking place in Poplar in the early nineteenth century, in that he duration of the lease (just 31 years) led to a poor-standard of building. In 1840 the occupiers of adjacent properties complained of the standard of the housing and it was said that no respectable person would use Castor Street as a short-cut to Limehouse. Further development in the 1850s saw the establishment of a cooperage in Castor Street and in the 1880 an iron tank manufacturers took over the premises on the south side of the street.
Little is known about William George's early life. There is no record of any baptism for either William or any of his siblings, and it is not known where he went to school. William was the second of four siblings born to George and Hannah Elliott, with sisters Georgiana, Isabella and Louisa. Note that William's mother, Hannah was his father George's second wife. Previously, George had been married to Hannah's younger sister Mary Ann, who died in 1844. William had six step-sisters from his father's previous marriage, see family tree below.
(Click on image below to see a larger version)
The 1861 census  shows William, aged eight, living with his parents, George and Hannah, at 13 Castor Street, Poplar, together with his step-sister Emma and sisters Georgiana, Isabella and Louisa.
By the time of the 1871 census  William was living at the same address, together with his parents, George and Hannah, his step-sister Hannah and his sisters, Georgiana, Isabella and Louisa. William was following in the footsteps of generations of his family, employed as a ships' caulker, someone who makes watertight the hull of wooden ships. On wooden-hulled ships, oakum (hemp fibre soaked in pine tar) was driven into wedge-shaped seams between planks with a caulking mallet and a broad chisel-like tool called a caulking iron. The caulking was then covered over with a putty, in the case of hull seams, or else in deck seams with melted pine pitch. William started his career, at the end of the 1860s, at the time that wrought iron was being introduced in the construction of ships' hulls, although wooden-hulled sailing vessels would still be around for another fifty-odd years.
On Sunday 09 January 1876, William married Catherine Wilhelmina Beetham at St Thomas, Stepney . Witnesses to the wedding were Arthur Gayley and Mary Ann Craddock, and their relationship to the bride and groom is not known.
By the time of the 1881 census  William, together with his wife Catherine and three children, Catherine aged five, William aged three and Amy aged one were living at number 89 Hind Street, Poplar. Hind Street was a turning off Upper North Street located approximately three-hundred metres north of the East India Dock Road. The 1891 census  saw the Elliott family living in Hanbury Buildings. William, a ship's caulker, and Catherine had seven children by this time: Catherine aged fourteen, William aged thirteen, Amy aged eleven, Georgina aged eight, Charles aged six, Ribina (sic) aged four, all of which were scholars and Jane aged 2.
The 1901 census  for Poplar shows six members of the Elliott household in employment. William was employed as a ship's caulker and of his daughters, Catherine 'Kate' was employed making artificial flowers, Georgina 'Dot' was working in a sweet factory, Robina 'Rob' was employed as a general servant. Amy (not shown on the census) was in service as a general servant with her aunt Georgiana in St Leonard's Road and Jenny presumably was at school. Of his sons, William was employed as a general labourer, Charles 'Wag' worked at the local Wire Rope Works, Arthur James and Frederick 'Tim' were both at school. Not long afterwards in 1905 the family were able to move out of Hanbury Buildings and into a house at no 43 Augusta Street, Poplar.
On 02 April 1911, the night of the 1911 census  William was living with five of his children at 43 Augusta Street. Within four years all five of them were married - one suspects that the outbreak of world war one may have influenced their decisions somewhat. One mystery, however, is the absence of William at his son Arthur James's wedding, which took place during February 1918. The wedding photo shows Catherine (William's wife) seated next to the groom, but William is absent. The wedding did take place during the war, but William would have been too old to have been on active service: he was sixty-six at the time. One theory is that in later life he suffered from nervous debility or clinical depression as it is known nowadays, which prevented him leaving the house.
William George Elliott died at 43 Augusta Street, Poplar on 18 February 1922 form carcinoma of the colon (bowel cancer) . It is not known where William is buried.
 William G Elliott, Birth Certificate, 1852
 'Survey of London - Poplar, Blackwall and Isle of Dogs: the Parish of All Saints' (1994) vol. 43 and 44, pub. Athlone, London, ed. Porter, S.
 National Archives, 1861 Census for England and Wales, Ref. RG9/307 f50v
 National Archives, 1871 Census for England and Wales, Ref. RG10/583 f36v
 Marriage Register, St Thomas Stepney, 1876, William George Elliott and Catherine Wilhelmina Beetham
 National Archives, 1881 Census for England and Wales, Ref. RG11/507 f66v
 National Archives, 1891 Census for England and Wales, Ref. RG12/333 f65r
 National Archives, 1901 Census for England and Wales, Ref. RG13/355 f42v
 National Archives, 1911 Census for England and Wales, Chatham (HMS Pembroke)
 William George Elliott, Death Certificate, 1922