Esther Duff 1879 - 1898

Parents: Robert James Duff and Phoebe Plumbridge
Siblings: Phoebe Sarah Anne, Robert James, James, Elizabeth, Mary, Ruth, Andrew, Rachel, Rebecca, Catherine Carr, William Charles and Elizabeth


Esther was born on 24 th September 1879, assumed at Kingston-upon-Thames.

After her mother Phoebe's death in 1884, her father Robert James could not cope with nor support his family. The Union Workhouse Kingston did not accommodate children and placed paupers' children to other institutions, mostly to Cowley Oxford but lesser numbers also to Brentwood and Grays in Essex, and Margate and Ramsgate in Kent. The Duff children, Rebecca, Rachel, Esther, William, Catherine and Elizabeth were sent to the Cowley Industrial School, an austere institution run on strict and harsh disciplinary lines on the outskirts of Oxford. The site is now the BMW factory. However, the children benefited from a basic education of the four "R"s - r eading, w r iting, a r ithmetic and r eligion. It is believed that this stood them in good stead when it came to employment. Upon leaving Cowley Industrial School they were found employment in the Kingston area by the "Guardians".

Following Cowley Industrial School we have not yet been able to trace any further information about Esther other than she died on 25 th August 1898 aged 18 years, we think in Charing Cross Hospital. She was buried in Kingston Cemetary on August 30 th 1898.


This page was last updated on 17th October 2010.