Joseph Brown 1853 -1924 the bricklayer

For clarity, because we have a number of Joseph Brown’s, we call this Joseph “The Bricklayer”.

When Joseph Brown was born in 1853 in Wick, Gloucestershire, his father, Joseph Brown, was 33 and his mother, Elizabeth Owen, was 28.
He married Charlotte Gay on September 9, 1876, in Gloucester, Gloucestershire. They had 15 children during their marriage. He died on August 26, 1924, at 140 Havelock Rd, Aston, Warwickshire, at the age of 71, and was buried in Birmingham, Warwickshire.


Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 13.33.18

Joseph Brown. The Bricklayer

Joseph Brown was baptised 28th August 1853  at St Mary’s Church, Berkeley, Gloucestershire. His birthplace was shown as Wick, Gloucestershire. His parents were  Elizabeth Owen, age 28, and Joseph Brown, age 33.

In the 1861 census, Joseph is living with his father Joseph and mother Elizabeth in an area of Alkington* called White Hall. We believe this to be White Hall Farm  just a half mile South South West of Lower Wick.

His father, another Joseph, is shown as a farm labourer. Later to become a Gamekeeper.

*Like Wick there is no actual hamlet called Alkington. The name defines an area ( still shown on OS Maps to this day) a handful of  miles South West of Berkeley.

In April 1870 his mother, Elizabeth Owen, died. She was 45. She is buried in Berkeley. Her place of residence is shown as Swanley.

In the 1871 census, we find Joseph living with his widowed father – shown as an ‘under gamekeeper’ on this census – and his brother Alfred. They have a boarder, a housekeeper, Sarah Watts living with them at Swanley. Joseph is shown as a farm labourer aged 18.

Joseph married Charlotte Gay at St James’ church in the district of St James, Gloucester on September the 29th 1876. On the church record for this event, Joseph is shown as 22 and a labourer. Charlotte is shown as being 19. His father is shown as being a gamekeeper.

It is on this document where Joseph’s father, Joseph 1821, is first shown as “gamekeeper”.
There is no father shown for Charlotte. She is using her mother’s surname. However, we believe the father to be William Perkins who leaves his mark as a witness on this document.
Joseph and Charlotte both sign their names so both are literate. They both show they are living in Tredworth, a district of Gloucester.

In the 1881 census Joseph, then aged 27 and married, is shown for the first time as  a bricklayer.


Bricklayers in early 1900's

Bricklayers in early 1900’s

There is no record of any apprenticeship as a bricklayer served by Joseph. We can see he was shown as a labourer on census records and at his marriage, and yet he became a bricklayer in Birmingham. Oral family history says that Joseph learned bricklaying “on the kitchen table”. Whether this means he was self-taught we cannot be sure. He was competent enough to hold down a job and support a large family using this trade. So, self-taught or not, he was successful.

He and his young family are living at 63 Melbourne St, Barton St Mary, Gloucester.

In the 1891 census, Joseph and his growing family are living at 17 Wellesley St, Barton St Mary, Gloucester. He remains a bricklayer.

1896-1900 It is during this period we believe Joseph and Charlotte moved to Birmingham with their family.  Their son William Charles was born in Gloucester in 1896 and their daughter Emily was born in Birmingham in 1900.

The 1901 census has Joseph and his family having up sticks and moved to Birmingham. They are living at 5 Harts Rd., Aston.


Much speculation ensued as to why he moved to Birmingham and how did he do so with such a large family. We have recently discovered a relative of Charlotte Gay, Joseph’s wife, had moved to Birmingham from Gloucester in the 1880’s making such a move a much simpler proposition.

The city was growing and required houses, and therefore bricklayers. Joseph was a bricklayer. And with a family ‘foot on the ground’ in Birmingham, as it were, the move was not as a radical a venture as would be first imagined.

By the time of the 1911 census the family had become more stable, having been in the city now for over 10 years. They had more children in Birmingham. They had moved to 140 Havelock Rd, Washwood Heath, which was to remain their home. Joseph remained a bricklayer, In 1911 he was shown as being 50.

In the 1912 register of electors, Joseph appears in 140 Havelock Rd., Washwood Heath, Birmingham.

There are no others registered. Women were not able to vote at that time and, the minimum age for voting was 21.

Josephs eldest surviving sons Frank, Joseph and Frederick would have all been of age to vote but are not shown on the electoral list.

Frank may have died. We haven’t found any record of his death. Frank is not shown in the house on the 1901 census. Perhaps he remained in Gloucester.
Unresolved at the time of writing.

Joseph Jnr, on the other hand, was shown as living in the house on the 1901 census. He was 21. On the 1911 census, Joseph Jnr was not living at Havelock Rd.

So it follows Joseph Snr was the only Male able to vote, as the 1912 electoral register shows.

On the 1920 register of electors, we discovered a Joseph Brown living at 140 Havelock Rd.
Charlotte Brown now has the vote so is shown on the electoral register ( she would only have been able to do that at that time if she satisfied the requirements as regard property and being over 30.

William Meredith was now living at 140 Havelock Rd; he had the family nickname of the “cock lodger” suggesting he had a relationship with Charlotte. Just hearsay. As is the story of Walter Brown fist fighting with this lodger at some later date.

Joseph Brown died on August 26, 1924, in Aston, Warwickshire, when he was 71 years old. The informant  was E. Biddell (she was his daughter – Emily Brown).
Joseph Brown was buried 30th August 1924, aged 72. Grave number 28058. Section Lawn 5. Common grave area of Yardley Cemetery.

Known Children of Joseph Brown and Charlotte Brown:-

Reference material:-

Electoral roles for 140 Havelock Rd
Eligible Voters list 1918 1919 1920 1922 1925 1927 1930 1935 1939 1945 1950
Joseph Brown Snr* x x x?
Charlotte Brown** x x x x x
Charles (WC) Brown x x x x x
Walter Brown x x
Fredrick Brown
William Biddell x x x x x
Emily (Brown) Biddell x x
William Meredith


x x x x x x
Absent voters list
Frederick brown x x
W.C. brown x x
* Died Aug 1924
** Died June 1932
? Is this Joseph Jnr
This is a work in progress. If you have additional information on the person detailed on this page, or, for that matter, corrections to what is written then please make contact here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s