Elliott Family History, Ancestral Trees, Biographies, Photographs and Records.
Jane Bruce Elliott (1888 - 1969)
1888 in Limehouse
William G Elliott
Catherine W Beetham
William J Saunders in 1911
Catherine Wilhelmina b. 1876
William George b. 1878
Amy Maud Mary b. 1880
Georgina Louisa b. 1882
Charles Henry b. 1884
Robina Ostler b. 1886
Arthur James b. 1891
Frederick Victor b. 1894
Jenny Violet b. 1911
1969 in Poplar, London
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Jane Bruce Elliott

Jane Bruce, the youngest daughter of William George Elliott, a ships caulker from Limehouse and Catherine Wilhelmina Beetham of Mile End, known as 'Ginny', was born on Thursday 06 December 1888 in Limehouse, London. Jane Bruce was baptised four weeks later in the parish church of St Peter, Limehouse on Thursday 03 January 1889 on the same day as her elder sister, Robina Ostler [1]. The 1891 census [2] for Limehouse taken two years after Jane was born shows the Elliott family living at 20 Hanbury Place, Poplar, a tenement block located at the junction of Poplar High Street and Pennyfields, a district known locally as 'Chinatown'. The actual buildings in Hanbury Place, described as 'artisan's dwellings', have long ago been demolished,but can be seen here, (Photo of Hanbury Buildings) looking from the direction of Poplar High Street. At this time Jane had yet to start school and was living with her parents, William and Catherine and six siblings. It is not known where Jane Bruce went to school, as very few school records from the Limehouse area have survived. It is possible that she attended the school attached to St Peters Danish Church in Ming Street, which was very close to Hanbury Buildings.

The 1901 census [3] for Poplar shows six members of the Elliott household in employment whilst the three youngest members of the family are attending school (although this is not specifically stated on the census returns. Of Jane's sisters the eldest Catherine 'Kate' was employed making artificial flowers, Georgina 'Dot' was working in a sweet factory whilst 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 Leonards Road. Of her brothers, William was employed as a general labourer and Charles 'Wag' worked at the local Wire Rope Works. Jane, along with her younger brothers Arthur James and Frederick 'Tim' were attending school. Not long afterwards in 1905 the family fortunes appear to have taken a turn for the better when they were able to move out of Hanbury Buildings and into a house at no 43 Augusta Street, Poplar.

(Click on image below to see a larger version)

Jane Bruce Elliott (1888 - 1969)

Jane Bruce Elliott's Immediate Family

Not much is known of Jane Bruce's life in the 1900's, which covers the period from when she left school to when she got married. The 1911 census [4] shows that there were ten members of the family living in three rooms in Augusta Street. Jane Bruce was living at home just before she got married (she actually married less than two weeks after the census was taken). Her occupation is listed as a metal cutter at the Venesta Wood Ltd, located in Millwall. The company where she worked with her brother Frederick Victor, employed as a sawyer, still exists today, although they have relocated from Millwall to the north of England.

On 16 April 1911, Jane Bruce aged 22 years living at 65 Suffolk Street (the home of her soon-to-be in-laws), married William James Saunders aged 26, a boiler makers labourer at St Saviour's Church, Poplar [5]. The groom's father was Joseph Saunders, a porter by profession whilst the bride's father was William George Elliott, a ship's caulker. Witnesses to the ceremony were William's father Joseph Saunders and Jane's sister Georgina Louisa Elliott.

After they got married the Saunders family lived at 2 Upper North Street not far from Augusta Street and Suffolk Street. Towards the end of the First World War on 13 June 1917 their only daughter, Jenny Violet Saunders survived the tragic bombing at Upper North Street Infants school.

In 1918, Jane and her family moved back to Augusta Street where Jane had previously spent the six years prior to getting married. This time the Saunders family moved into number 42 Augusta Street, directly opposite Jane's parents. Preciously, Charles Elliott (Jane's brother) had lived at number 41 and Robina (Jane's sister) also took-up residence at number 67 Augusta Street.

Three years later in 1921 the Saunders family moved in with Jane's mum and dad, who by this time were getting on in years. William George (Jane's dad) died the following year, and Catherine (Jane's mum) died nine years later.

Around 1933 two of Jane's nieces, Dorothy and Joan Elliott, aged eight and five respectively, would occasionally dress-up in their Sunday best and go visit their aunt Jane in Augusta Street. Jane and her daughter Jenny would entertain them for an hour or so whilst cooking the Sunday lunch, during which they would all be in fits of laughter. This used to infuriate Jane's husband William, who would be sitting in the lounge attempting to read the Sunday newspaper, but apparently with little success.

The 1939 Register for England [6], taken at the start of World War II, shows Jane Bruce (employed as an office cleaner) living with her husband William Saunders (employed as a rivetter), daughter Jenny Violet and son-in-law James Mills (employed as a general labourer, shipping) at number 43 Augusta Street, Poplar.

During the second world war the houses on Augusta Street, Poplar where Jane Bruce lived were getting badly bombed. Jane Bruce's daughter Jenny had by this time left Poplar and took her family into the country some thirty miles north to St Albans, Hertfordshire. Jane Bruce and her husband William moved moved from Augusta Street to number 81 Cordelia Street, a distance of less than one hundred metres. One day, Jane Bruce's daughter Jenny came back to Poplar for a short visit, staying with her mother in Cordelia Street. Being an incredibly hot night, instead of being asleep in the upstairs bedroom, Jenny and her young daughter went out for a while to get some air. Whilst they were out, a German bomb in the form of a doodle-bug came through the roof of the house and passed right through the bedroom where Jenny usually slept coming to rest on the ground floor, where it failed to explode. When Jane Bruce returned to the house, instead of running away as most people would do, she rushed inside and started shovelling earth onto the bomb.

After the war, Jane and her husband William continued living in Cordelia Street until January 1952, when William aged 67 died from the effects of chronic bronchitis [7]. Jane continued to live in Cordelia Street until 1958  [8], after which it appears that most of the houses in Cordelia Street were pulled down. Jane then moved to number 56 Redbourne House, Southwater Close, Poplar, located about four-hundred metres due north of the church of St Annes, Limehouse.

Jane Bruce Elliott died in St Andrews Hospital, Bromley in November 1969 [9] from a heart attack.

Jane Bruce must have witnessed some dramatic changes during her lifetime having been born in Victorian London, she survived two world-wars and almost outlived the Beatles.


[1] Register of Baptisms, 1889 St Peter Limehouse Ref.
[2] National Archives, 1891 Census for England and Wales, Ref. RG12/333 f65r
[3] National Archives, 1901 Census for England and Wales, Ref. RG13/355 f42v
[4] National Archives, 1911 Census for England and Wales
[5] St Saviours Marriage Register 1911
[6] The 1939 Register for England
[7] William Saunders death certificate, 1952
[8] London Electoral Registers, London Metropolitan Archives
[9] Jane Bruce Elliott death certificate, 1969