Lambden Family History

Bedford branch: Generation 4

This, the fourth generation back from myself, consists of my great-grandfather Albert and his siblings. For me as a curious child it was this generation's stories, as told by my grandfather to me, that incited my interest in family history. From my grandad's recollections, he remembered having three of four uncles. One went to Australia - he was a boxer, another went to Canada when grandad was still a boy to start a haulier business and lived in Hamilton, Ontario. He also believed he had an uncle who worked at some time in the Bird of Prey section of London Zoo. Below are the details I have gathered to date; there are many gaps and, I am sure, more stories to emerge......

Rebecca Lambden 1860-?

Born 1860 (<1871 Census) at Hartismere in Suffolk
[Only marriage record is for 1884 in Reading - Married a James Kent yet this does not match as by 1901 her mother Elizabeth is living there (age 69). Cannot locate death record for a Rebecca Lambden.]

Arthur Lambden 1864 - 1951

Born 1864 in Pancras district of London (<birth index). 1881 Census shows him as a zoological receptor living with John and Susan his parents age 17. Travelled around world; there are records of three ship returns to England:
First: 2 September 1905 arriving on the Aragon from the River Plate
Second:1 September 1920 arriving on the Highland Laddie from La Plata, Argentina,
Shows him as clerk, with a Gladys Lambden age 13 and a Maria Lambden age 53 - whom
he married in 1889 in Buenos Aires.
A Maria Lambden died in 1932 age 65 in Kingston, London.
Third: 22 June 1925 arriving on the Highland Glen from La Plata, Argentina, shows him as an ex railway clerk, intended address in North Finchley, London.

There is a baptism record for a son - Arthur Grimshaw Lambden born in 1896 near Buenos Aires. Arthur senior died in 1951 age 87 in Ealing.

William Lambden 1867 - 1938

Born 1867 Pancras district, London. he was 14 years old, living with parents as of 1881 census and was an "assistant garden z " . 1889 record showing marrying Elizabeth Moss in Hampstead.
1891 Census shows him as married to Elizabeth with a son David age 7 months. William is working as a gardener. 1901 census shows him as married to Elizabeth (age37), with son David 10 and Louisa 8, living in Hammersmith. William was the second generation of Lambdens to work at London Zoo, a trend that his son and grandson went on to follow. Died in 1938.

George Lambden 1868 - ?

Age 12 at 1881 census - born 1868 (Oct-Dec index) in Pancras district of London. By 1891 census moved with parents to Shoreditch. Occupation coach painter. Marries Annie Gertrude Plant in 1894 in Wandsworth. By 1901 census he has set up his household, is a breadmaker married to Annie G (age 32 born Marylebone), with children:
Anny S age 6 born Battersea
Athur H age 4 born Battersea
Vera E age 3 born Battersea
John B age 9 months born Battersea

David Lambden 1870 - ?
Born 1870 Pancras District of London (birth index). Census 1881 living with parents in St Pancras district. Marriage record for 1896 marrying in Kentish Town to Harriet Emma Hobart. 1891 census sheds no light and by 1901 no sign of David Lambden. In 1898 he had a son baptised - named David Lambden also, followed by: Rose Catherine (Wandsworth, 1899), Lillian Jessie (Wandsworth, 1902) and Elsie Alice (Wandsworth 1 May 1904).

John Lambden 1872 - 1932
Born 1872 (July-August quarter) Pancras district, London. Scholar living with parents as at 1881 census. Marries Ellen Theobald in 1893 at Bethnal Green. 1891 Census shows her living in Shoreditch as a tea sealer/seller for a grocer's. She was born in ?Sudbury, Suffolk. 1901 census showing him as a carrier living in Camden Town, married to Ellen - same age, born in ?Long Melford, Suffolk. No children at this date on census return. A death entry for 1932 age 61 in Battersea.

Albert Lambden 1876-1936
Born in 1876 married Amelia Elizabeth Sillitoe in August 1896. Amelia Sillitoe was baptised in Glennsford, Suffolk on 31st August 1874. Her parents were William and Emma Elizabeth Sillitoe who lived in Wormingford, Essex. Her father William was a miller (source: copy of Baptism certificate). Died in Bedford in 1936.

Edward Lambden
Born 1879. 1891 census shows age 12, scholar living with parents in Shoreditch, London. No 1901 census record - possibly emigrated? Possibly died in 1916 in the First World War. The following is an entry from the Commonwealth Graves website:
Nationality: Canadian                                      Rank: Private
Regiment/Service: Canadian Pioneers           Unit Text: 2nd Bn.
Age: 37
Date of Death: 14/03/1916                             Service No: 166203

Additional information: Son of Mr. and Mrs. Lambden; husband of Alice May Holmes (formerly Lambden), of 14, Chalmer St., Galt, Ontario. Native
of London, England.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead. Grave/Memorial Reference: H. 31.

The cemetry is 4 kilometres south east of Iepres, Belgium.


 In the autumn of 2010 myself and my partner visited several First World War graves in Flanders, Belgium and France, including that of Edward Lambden.  As many testify, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission does a fantastic job in keeping these cemetries neat and tidy.

It was an hour before sunset that we visited the Dikebusch Cemetry where Edward is buried.  The cemetry lies on the edge of the village and, as light turned golden the only sounds were from a neighbouring sports field. 


For those considering visiting Flanders, the town of Ypres which is nearby is a must-see.

Rebuilt after its almost total destruction during the First World War, it is both an attractive place to visit and a memorial to the Great War and the people of Ypres.  At the end of the war there appears to have only been two buildings standing - part of the tower of the Cloth Hall and the nearby church.  Opinion was divided over the future of Ypres - several British figures such as Winston Churchill who was by then Lord of the Admiralty felt it should be left as a memorial to the fallen.  As months of discussions turned to years, the people of Ypres began to return and piece by piece, stone by stone, rebuilt their town.  The Cloth Hall is the largest medieval non-religious structure in Europe.  Walking around it we could see where stones had been replaced, repaired or left with the bullet and shell holes from the War.  The building now houses an excellent if sombering museum of the War.  Nearby is the Menin Gate.

Ypres is a walled town and the main road east - i.e. to the Western Front - left the town through the Menin Gate.  After the First World War it was decided to rebuild the gate as a lasting memorial to those of the British Armies who fell but had no known grave.  The list of the fallen extends over some 52 panels and totals more than 54,000 names.  Since its opening in 1927 the road through the Menin Gate is closed to traffic every night at eight o'clock at which point there is a short ceremony and the playing of the Last Post.  When I say every night, that is what happens - with the one exception of the period of occupation during World War Two.

When we visited the Menin Gate dusk had fallen and I expected to see but a few dozen people at the ceremony, it being midweek and out of the main tourist season.  Instead there were several hundred including at least two school parties.  Wreaths were laid, flags presented and a few words spoken.  Then the buglers sounded the Last Post.

Moving and definitely one of the most memorable moments of our trip.


?Albert and two of his brothers

Edward's grave. Dickebusch Cemetry, Belgium September 2010

Dickebusch Cemetry, Belgium September 2010

Dickebusch Cemetry, Belgium September 2010

Menin Gate before the Last Post - Ypres, Belgium September 2010

Cloth Hall, Ypres, Belgium September 2010

Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium September 2010