Alfred Chester (1863-1944)

Alfred was born in 1863 in Loughborough and by the age of 18, still living at home, he was a joiner’s apprentice, possibly with Messenger & Co., possible for the same firm as his father. Ten years later, still single, still living at home he had completed his apprenticeship and was also working as a carpenter and joiner, the same as his father.

Whilst he almost certainly worked for the firm prior to 1889, the first known installation that Alfred Chester worked on was a new peach house for Viscount Galway, at Serlby Hall, between Worksop and Doncaster, Nottinghamshire[1]. The next known installation was in May the following year when he was involved in erecting a ¾-span heated range consisting of an orchid and plant house for the Reverend F.C. Dillon at Bow Brook House, Peopleton, Worcestershire.

He married Emma Cramp in Brighton, Sussex, in 1900 and they had at least two children, Margaret Elizabeth, born 1901 in Loughborough, and Alfred James in Brighton born on 4th February 1903. Emma, the daughter of Alfred and Ann, was born in Loughborough in 1879 and 15 years younger than Alfred. Two years after her birth[2], the family were living in Charnwood Road, Leicester where her father, aged 33, was described as a retired farmer; having been brought up on a 340-acre farm in Long Whatton. In 1871[3] Alfred Cramp was working as a draper’s assistant in Nottingham, where his younger brother, Charles, was an apprentice. By 1891[4], the family had relocated to Sussex, living in Butts Road, Southwick, between Brighton and Shoreham-on-Sea, where Alfred Cramp was working as a foreman on the tramways.


No. 39 (centre), George Street, Loughborough

Following their married, Alfred and Emma lived very briefly at No. 36, George Street[5], eight doors away from his parents. Emma returned to Brighton to have Alfred James, presumably moving back in with her parents who by 1901[6] had moved to Gladstone Place, Brighton, where her father was working as a groom. Whether Alfred also moved to Brighton is unknown. In 1911[7], he was living with his parents, at No. 30, George Street, along with his son, James, aged 8 and sister, Elizabeth, aged 42. Emma, his wife, was living at No. 126, Camden Road, Camden Town, London[8], with her parents and daughter, Margaret.


Nos. 28-38, George Street, Loughborough

Alfred died in Loughborough on 1st December 1944, aged 81 and Emma in London in 1956, aged 77.



  1. Privately held records.
  2. 1881 Census Return.
  3. Census Return.
  4. Ibid.
  5. 1901 Census Return.
  6. Census Return.
  7. Ibid.
  8. 1911 Census Return.