This is the gravestone of George Johns, located in the Rosary Cemetery in Norwich. George was born in Ludham in 1833, the son of John Johns, who was an innkeeper. George trained as a carpenter, but for reasons unknown, perhaps by necessity or in search of adventure, he decided to embark on a new career in the military.
George joined the Royal Regiment of the Horse Guards on 9 October 1862, at the age of 31. His army records show that he was 6 foot tall (well, 5 foot 11 and 3/8 inches which seems ridiculously precise to me) and had brown hair. His service record seems a bit patchy, and there’s an absence without leave in there.
George, who by now had retired from the army, married Lydia Bond, who was 12 years younger than him, on 22 October 1874. Eugene had already been born on 16 December 1870, which is perhaps the reason that George thought he’d better request to leave the army.
At the 1881 census, George was living with Lydia and his 10 year old son Eugene at 3 Chester Place in Norwich. This road still exists, it’s located off of Earlham Road, near to the Roman Catholic Cathedral. Indeed, when George and his family were living here, work would have been taking place to demolish the Norwich City Gaol which was on the site to replace it with the Cathedral.
The three family members were also living in the same location in 1891, with George still working as a starch maker and Eugene was now working as a shoe maker. I do wonder what someone like Eugene would have been doing today, perhaps a computer programmer or working in finance, there would be plenty of choice. For men in the late nineteenth century in Norwich, the choice was often limited to work in the shoe trade.
George died on 19 May 1892, at the age of 59 years old and Lydia, George’s wife, died on 25 May 1922.
Eugene married Kate and at the 1901 census, he was living with her at 12 Patteson Road, along with their children Harry, Hilda, George and Ivy. Eugene is listed on the 1939 register, by this time retired from the shoe industry, living with his wife Kate at 45 Midland Street in Norwich. Eugene’s home on Midland Street was only a two or three minute walk from where he had lived at Chester Place for many years. Eugene died in 1959, at the age of 89.