The Humberstone Family

And the Beach House Connection

Early postcard of the Beach House

Henry Humberstone was born in Stepney in 1857, the son of George and Sarah. Henry followed his father’s occupation as a Cooper later to be a Manager to a Wine Merchant. He married his wife Jane Beach in 1880 and they had at least seven children, Rose, George, Lillian, Sydney, May, Arthur and Harold. His first connection to Canvey comes in the 1900s with records deposited with Essex Record Office.

1908 Building Plans for a stable and Coal House in Main Road, Canvey Owner Henry Humberstone of 121 High Street, Shadwell.

1909 Building Plans for a Villa – London road/Kaamp Road. Owner Henry of 121 High Street, Shadwell.

1910 Memorandum regarding the building of a boat house to Henry then of 184 Brookscroft Road, Walthamstow cork cutter.

1910 Building Plans for a shop in Leigh Beck owner Henry of 184 Brookscroft Road, W.

1911 Building Plan for addition to house, owner Henry. Seawall, Leigh Beck

1920 Memorandum of agreement between Henry Humberstone of Beach House, Leigh Beck, Canvey Island,esq., and James Mitchell of Sansie, Winter Gardens, Canvey Island, esq., relating to plots of building land in Church Parade and Central Avenue, Canvey Island.

Map showing the location of the Beach House in the early 1900s

So Henry was living in London until at least 1910 but already delving into the building boom happening on Canvey. He was still in Walthamstow for the 1911 census.

Perhaps it was the death of his wife in 1909 that made Henry decide to move to Canvey for good.

By 1918 the family were living on Canvey. In the 1918 Electoral Roll Henry was living at Rosemia/Roserna, Winter Gardens along with his son Sydney, his eldest son and daughter, Rose and George were living in the Beach House.

Does anyone know when Beach House was built? I suspect it might have been one of Hester’s creations or was it built by Henry? Could the house where Henry in 1911 was building an addition to his house at seawall, Leigh Beck be the Beach House? When researching the family and noting the maiden name of Henry’s wife (Beach) and the fact that she died in 1909 I wondered was the place called Beach House not because of its location but in memory of Henry’s wife! Just a thought.

Henry died in 1920 whilst living at the Beach House, probate was granted to his daughter Rose Annie. He is buried in St Katherine’s Churchyard.

His daughter Rose Annie Humberstone was a well know figure on Canvey in those early years. She is mentioned by Dowd in the Canvey Cyclopaedia as being associated with the Beach House from 1908 but I have not located where he found this information. She was definitely at the Beach House in 1918. She is mention in Kelly’s directories from 1929 -1933

Humberstone Rose Annie (Miss), boarding house. Beach house.

In 1922 Rose applied for a licence ‘ to erect and maintain timber refreshment house on beach’. We are fortunate to have a picture of the cafe.

1939 register shows her as Beach House, boarding house keeper.

Rose’s tearoom on the beach

In 1946 and 47 she was also one of the members of the group who helped to raise the money for the War Memorial Hall. Her name appears in the program from the opening of the hall in 1953. By the time the hall opened she had retired and moved to Prittlewell. In the same year she took a trip to New York on the “SS Ryndam”. This was not the first time she had been on an ocean cruise in 1928 she went for a trip to New Zealand to visit two of her brothers, Harold and George who had emigrated out there with their families a couple of years before. Rose died in 1962 aged 80.

George Henry Humberstone moved to Canvey around 1910/11. In the 1911 census he is shown living on Canvey with his wife Sarah who he married in 1908 and their young daughter Kathleen who was born in Walthamstow in 1910. His sister May also lived with them. His occupation is stated as shopkeeper but there is no address other than Canvey Island on his census return. Where was this shop??? According to the 1918 Electoral Roll he was in the military and gave his address as the Beach House, was the shop on the premises? The family emigrated to Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ‘Ionia’ in 1923 by which time there were two more children, Joan and George. He stated his occupation to be carpenter on the travel documents.

Sydney Thomas Humberstone

Sydney Thomas Humberstone emigrated to Canada on the “SS Parisian” in 1906 returning to England in 1915 where he lived on Canvey until he signed up in 1916 to the 13th Queens Lab. Battalion, transferring to the RE, Dock Troops in 1916. He spent most of the war in France with the Royal Engineers being demobbed in 1919.

During that time he married May Bennett and their daughter Peggy Mary was born in 1918 and Christened in St Katherine’s Church. On his army documents two addresses are listed for his wife, one is Roserna, Wintergardens, Canvey and the other 50 Weltze Road, Hammersmith. So she must have travelled between the two.

After his demob he was back on Canvey and with his family lived at the Beach House and it is from here that he wrote several letters about repatriation and assisted passage to Canada for himself and his wife and child. On one of the forms he had to fill out for this he used the names Mr Cox of the PO, Canvey and Mr Smith of Brooklyn, Canvey as referees. The family eventually arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia late in 1919 and can be found in Mackenzie, Saskatchewan in 1923.

May with her daughter Christine in 1970 on Canvey

Their daughter May Ethel who was born in 1891 and was living with her brother George Henry in the 1911 census went on to marry Charles Brigstoke Jones on 2nd April 1915. They had three children, Henry Charles, Sylvia Pauline (both born in the UK) and Christine Betty who was born in Takapuna, New Zealand in 1930. They were living in Manly, Sydney, Australia by 1937. She travelled back and forth to the UK and was living in a property on Canvey for a while. She also stayed at the People’s Palace (The Palace Hotel) in Southend-on-Sea for a while. She died in 1973 at the General Hospital, Southend-on-Sea and her final address was 171 Palace Court, Pier Hill. (The above information has just come to us from her granddaughter, Yvonne.)

The youngest son Harold Bertram was also on Canvey.  He is not on the 1918 electoral roll probably because he was not quite 21. It is very likely he was there either with his father or in Beach House. He married his wife Nadine in 1923 and their daughter Rose Mary arrived soon after. She was Christened in St Katherines in Sept 1923 the family’s address was Beach House and Harold’s occupation was stated as Tradesman. In 1925 Harold followed his brother to New Zealand, the family travelling to Auckland, New Zealand aboard the “SS Tuini”.

Of the other three children, Arthur died as a toddler, Lillian we think married and lived on the mainland and of May new information has come in see above.

If you can add anything please comment below.

Comments about this page

  • Could the shop mentioned be the old Cox’s Stores which was only a couple of minutes away from Beach House. When Sydney Humberstone emigrated he mentioned a Mr Cox as a reference.

    By Maureen Buckmaster (11/01/2014)
  • Could be Maureen but we have no way of knowing. George could have been living anywhere on the island. The census where it is stated he was a shop keeper just had Canvey Island for his address. Plus when his father did come to Canvey he was living in Winter Gardens.

    By Janet Penn (11/01/2014)
  • Sydney Thomas Humberstone was my grandfather. They moved from Mackenzie to Pincher Creek, Alberta ,on to Edmonton, Alberta and then went into northern Alberta to Boyle, Alberta where his daughter Peggy lived and had married to a Stan Raaflaub. He passed away on November 22,1950 in the Col. Mewburn Hospital in Edmonton and is buried in the Boyle Cemetary.

    By Arthur Raaflaub (28/01/2014)
  • Nice to hear from you Arthur. I found Syndey’s photo on Ancestry and asked the person whose tree it was for permission to use. I hope it is ok with the family for us to publish it here.

    By Janet Penn (28/01/2014)
  • Humberstone Rose Annie also went across Canada Via rail to Boyle, Alberta Canada to visit her brother Sydney and May in the summer of1947

    By Arthur Raaflaub (29/01/2014)
  • Henry Humberstone and Jane Charlotte (nee Beach) were my great, great grandparents. I have more information about them if you would like it. I am so pleased to have come across this site.

    By Mrs Yvonne Parkes (09/06/2020)
  • Hi Yvonne. The archive would love any info re the Humberstone family you can provide. You can contact me direct on
    Look forward to hearing from you.

    By Janet Penn (09/06/2020)
  • Janet do you know where Kaamp Road was?

    By Maureen Buckmaster (10/06/2020)
  • No Maureen but several Roads have changed names. I would have to search the old maps. But obviously at the Point.

    By Janet Penn (10/06/2020)

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