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Walton Street Methodist Chapel: Joseph Francis HARRIS (1898–1916)

Joseph Francis Harris was born at Vauxhall, Surrey near the end of 1898. He was the eldest child of the gas fitter Charles Harris (born at Radcliffe Row, Oxford in 1874 and baptised at St Giles' Church on 2 August) and his wife Alice Emma Jones (born in Holywell, Oxford in 1875 and baptised at St Cross Church on 28 November).

At the time of the 1891 census Joseph's father Charles (17) was an apprentice, living at 10 Gloucester Green with his father Charles Harris, who was a gardener, his mother Anne, who was a charwoman, and his two younger brothers. Joseph's mother Alice (15) was a printer's machine girl (doubtless at Oxford University Press), living at 51 Great Clarendon Street, Oxford with her parents Thomas Jones (who was a general labourer), her mother Lucy, and six siblings; her brother George (13) was a printer's machine boy.

Joseph's parents were married in London at St George's, Hanover Square near the beginning of 1897 and had five children, of whom the following were still alive in 1911):

  • Joseph Francis Harris (born at 31 Tate Street, Vauxhall, Surrey (Kennington) near the end of 1898 and baptised at St Peter's Church, Vauxhall, on 22 January 1899)
  • Kate Elizabeth Harris (born at 31 Tate Street, Vauxhall, Surrey (Kennington) in 1901 and baptised as St Peter's Church, Vauxhall on 31 July)
  • Frederick Harris (born at 22 Cardigan Street, Oxford in 1903 and baptised at St Barnabas' Church on 24 September)
  • Hubert Charles Harris (born at 22 Cardigan Street, Oxford on 27 November 1906 and baptised at St Barnabas' Church on 7 March 1907).

Joseph's parents began their married life in Vauxhall, London. At the time of the 1901 census Joseph (2) was living at 31 Tate Street there with his father Charles (26), who was a gas fitter, and his mother Alice (25).

The family moved to Oxford in about 1903, and settled at 22 Cardigan Street in the Jericho area. Joseph's father was still described as a gas fitter at his youngest son's baptism in 1906.

At the time of the 1911 census Joseph (12) was still at school and living at 22 Cardigan Street in Jericho with his father Charles (37), who was now a bookcase enameller in an iron foundry, his mother Alice (36), and his three surviving siblings Kate (9), Frederick (7), and Hubert (4).

By 1915 the family had moved, possibly to 12 Walton Street, where a Charles Harris is listed.

Poppy In the First World War Joseph Francis Harris enlisted at Oxford and served as a Private in the 1st/4th Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 200455). He was killed in action in France at the age of 17 on 23 July 1916.

He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial (Pier and Face 10A and 10D), and in Oxford as well as being listed on the Walton Street Methodist Chapel memorial, he is on the one in St Barnabas' Church.

After the war

Joseph's mother Alice Emma Harris died at 50 Wellington Street, Oxford at the age of 58 in 1934 and was buried on 23 March (recorded in the burial register of St Barnabas' Church).

Joseph's brother Hubert Charles Harris was living at 37 Lake Street, Oxford in 1976. He died in Oxford in 1980.

See also

© Stephanie Jenkins

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