William Joseph Singleton born Rogers (Bill)

1877-05-06 b. 17 Townsend Street, Southwark, Surrey; as "William Joseph Rogers" birth certificate; London Metropolitan Archives CaBG X20 416; information from, and interview with, Brenda Newnham
1879-07-09 of 96 Blue Anchor Lane[, Bermondsey]; bapt. St James, Bermondsey, London parish register
1881 living with family at 37 Lucey Road, St Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey TNA: RG 11/569 f19 p31
1883-04-10 admitted to Brighton Road poor law school Brighton Road School Admission and Discharge Register
  brought up with people called Nurse, who were greengrocers and florists in Peckham Rye—in lodgings there, or something—on his own from a very early age interview with Brenda Newnham
1889-01-01 admitted at Havil St workhouse, Camberwell, to be maintained at Sutton; as "William Singleton"; admitted from Camberwell at Brighton Rd school, Sutton; CofE; diet class I; as "William Singleton or Rogers" LMA CaBG/175/1 & SMSD/162, X20/414, /415
1891 scholar, S.M.D. School, Brighton Rd, Sutton RG 12/545 f133 p6
  served an apprenticeship as a shoemaker (probably) interview with Brenda Newnham
1892-07-09 by order of Clerk to the Guardians, sent on trial to Mr C.R. Farnell, shoemaker, of 2 St John's Terrace, Bell Green, Lower Sydenham; apprenticed to him CaBG X20/416, & SMSD/164
1893-12-17 discharged from school CaBG/175/1
c. 1900 m.1. ____ ____ interview with Brenda Newnham; RG 14/21056
1901 not found in census  
Child: Mary (1902 or 1904 – ?) interview with Brenda Newnham
1911 bootmaker, worker, boarding with James Herbert Nelson, bootmaker, and family, in five rooms at 31 Marlboro St, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire; as William Joseph Rogers RG 14/21056 RD425 ED13 SN208
1914/15 stationed in Cheadle, Staffordshire information from, and interview with, Brenda Newnham
1914-04-29 m.2. Maud Collier 29 Apr 1914, parish church, Cheadle; as William Joseph Singleton marriage certificate
c. 1916 moved to Herne Bay, Kent interview with Brenda Newnham
Children: Phyllis (1915–1994) and Brenda Ruby (1917–2007) interview with Brenda Newnham; daughter's birth certificate; GRO index
1917 Private in 15th Devon Regiment, Master Bootmaker, of 22 High St, Herne Bay daughter's birth certificate
  believed to have been a vigilante, doing coastal patrols, coastal service interview with Brenda Newnham
  military service record believed destroyed by enemy action in 1940 letter from Army Records Office
  told daughter Brenda that his aunt owned Singleton's Golden Eye Ointment interview with Brenda Newnham; the claim was almost certainly untrue
  had a very tiny shop at Broomfield, Herne Bay, attached to Broomfield Post Office letter to D.F. Wells from Mrs Creighton
  the name over the shop in Herne Bay was "W.J. Singleton"; his wife called him "Bill" information from Brenda Newnham
1919-10-19 had subscribed 20s. to the Herne Bay Philanthropic Society Herne Bay Press
1920 living with his wife at 31 High Street, Herne Bay electoral registers

Moccasins     Moccasins

Boots.             Shoes.


Moccasins     Moccasins

Shoes.             Boots.


W.J. SINGLETON, 31, High St.

Who has a large Stock to select from.

_____ Prices stamped on every Pair. _____


Herne Bay Press

W.J. Singleton


_____ IN _____









Herne Bay Press

W.J. SINGLETON, Bootmaker,

31, HIGH ST., HERNE Bay,


BEGS to thank his numerous customers for their support during his absence from business, owing to illness and with returning health hopes to merit their continued support.




Herne Bay Press
1921 boot & shoe maker, dealer, employer, working at home, living with his family in 7 rooms at 31 High Street, Herne Bay, Kent; a young woman boarder, Emily Marion Harvey, "bigamously married", and her baby son, also included in the household RG 15/4348 RD59 SD2 ED3



Forwards, come Forward! Score 3 goals, and win my Boots or Ball for your Club.

Herne and Herne Bay are going in for Leagues and Cups, this season, going in also for SINGLETON's Football Boots and Balls, which are the best makes.

Match Balls from 9/6 to 26/-.

NOTICE.—Ever scorer of 3 goals in a League Match or Cup Match is entitled to one Pair of Boots or a Ball, to be given to the Club.

Only Customers Eligible.                 31, HIGH STREET.

Herne Bay Press




Members of the Herne Bay Thursday Football Club endeavoured to do what they could towards helping the work of the Herne Bay Philanthropic Society by arranging a match with Faversham Co-Operative on Thursday afternoon. [ . . . ]

Mr. J.P. Galpin, chairman of the Philanthropic Society, kicked off with a new ball presented by Mr. W.J. Singleton, of High Street, and this was sold by auction at the conclusion of the game. [ . . . ]

Herne Bay Press, 1922-03-18


Football Club.—At a meeting held at Broomfield on Thursday evening last, it was decided to form a football club, to be called Broomfield United. Considerable interest was taken in the meeting, over which Mr. W. Singleton presided. White shirts with blue shorts are to be the colours of the club. Mr. C. Francis was elected hon. club secretary; Mr W. Singleton, hon. match secretary [ . . . ]

Herne Bay Press, 1925-09-19
1927 "Singleton, William Joseph boot maker 31 High st", Herne Bay Kelly's Directory, Kent

Case Adjourned.

At the St. Augustine's Petty Sessions held at the Sessions House, Longport, Canterbury, on Saturday, before Mr. G.K. Anderson (Chairman) and other magistrates, Mollie Wells, a young woman, whose address was given as High Street, Herne Bay, was charged with stealing £4 10s. in Treasury notes, the property of W.J. Singleton, High Street, Herne Bay. P.C. Jestico, stationed at Canterbury County Police Station, gave evidence as to seeing prisoner at Bradford City Police Station on the previous day, and to taking her to Canterbury Police Station. When cautioned and charged she replied "I was fed up and took the money to get out of Herne Bay." On the application of Supt. Ford, prisoner was remanded for a week, bail being allowed.

Herne Bay Press, 1927-02-19
week prior to 1928-12-15 at the annual meeting of the Herne Bay Section of the Brotherhood of Cheerful Sparrows, "Bro. W. Singleton" proposed the re-election of the existing Council en bloc Herne Bay Press, 1928-12-15
  an absolute artist as a shoemaker; had a contract to make special boots for crippled children at Sturry convent school in Kent information from, and interview with, Brenda Newnham
  his daughter described his work: he would take great care soaking leather—would hammer it out, and if it wasn't ready would re-soak it; would work the wax for his thread into a sticky black ball in his hand, wax the thread, and sow with a boar's hair down the end of the thread; he would turn over the edge so the sewing didn't show, and hammer the edge down—the sewing was set in a groove so it didn't stick out; he would take nails from his mouth—she never saw him put them in, and used to speculate whether he had a pouch down his throat or something; he took pleasure in challenging repairs—e.g. took hours over a pair of lizard-skin shoes that a rat had eaten a hole in; he would sometimes bring his work up from his work room in the evenings and work in the parlour with the family information from Brenda Newnham
  Looked younger than his age; short (5'2", shoe size 5), fair, dapper, smart—a lot to say for himself—stammered a bit if he got excited. A bit of a lad. Very good at dancing, tap dancing; very good at sports. Spoke very well, and had marvellous handwriting. A "handsome little man", with a moustache.
  played the musical saw
  used to visit France from time to time—either on business, or because possibly had French forebears
  used to go to France to buy samples of shoes interview with Brenda Newnham, 1991
  Always a one for tall stories.

Well he used to have a postcard every now and again from someone signed "Dearest". My mother used to be absolutely livid about it. She used to say "If I get this "Dearest" I' ll crown her!" Every now and again he used to have a little flit up to London, or to the racecourse somewhere, and he'd send a telegram to my mother and say "Send me five pound, I've a cert for the last race" and my mother used to send him his train fare home.

interview with Brenda Newnham
  was chair (or steward or something) of Herne Bay football club, on committee of Herne Bay Cricket Club (perhaps chair), a founder member of the Cheerful Sparrows philanthropic society (a charity for the poor), and a Buffalo or Oddfellow information from, and interview with, Brenda Newnham
  the first man in Herne Bay to own a car—a Singer information from Brenda Newnham
  when a new Woolworth's opened in Herne Bay, he couldn't compete with them in the polish/laces trade, and eventually went broke
  bankruptcy precipitated by embezzlement by an employee, Molly Wells interview with Brenda Newnham, 1991
1929-01-03 at a public inquiry into a proposed approach road to King's Hall: "Mr. W.J. Singleton thought the Pier Entrances should first be improved." Herne Bay Press, 1929-01-05

The newly-formed Herne Bay Ratepayers Association would appear to have aroused tremendous interest in the town, to judge by the number who attended the public meeting at the Oddfellows' Hall, Mortimer Street, on Monday evening.

[ . . . ]

Mr. W.J. Singleton thought a Ratepayers' Association had been needed for years past. He took it that their objects were progressive and their aims to study all sections of the ratepayers; to put a stop to waste and extravagances, to aid the Council to accomplish the needs of the ratepayers, at the same time keeping an eye on all the schemes proposed by the Council and opposing all those which were not in the best interests of the town. Economy was their watchword and the interest of all ratepayers their main objective. Their aims were progress with economy, not obstruction and wastefulness, hereby assisting the Council to a brighter and better Herne Bay (applause).

Herne Bay Press, 1929-01-19
1929-02-19 at a meeting to discuss an appeal on behalf of distressed miners, was appointed to take charge of the collection in West Central ward. Herne Bay Press, 1929-02-23
1929-05-27 at a Labour meeting at the Lecture Hall, a persistent heckler said that he was for British Labour:

Mr. W.J. Singleton: You are a fool (laughter).

Herne Bay Press, 1929-06-01
1929-08-29 assisted with the side-shows at the Herne Bay Section of the Brotherhood of Cheerful Sparrows' third Hospital Fete and Children's Fair. Herne Bay Press, 1929-08-31




A "breeze" sprang up towards the end of the meeting of the Ratepayers' Association at the Parochial Institute, Underdown Road, on Wednesday evening, when a member wished to raise a question which the Chairman ruled out of order. A certain amount of feeling was shown, the suggestion that the particular matter should be brought forward being received unsympathetically by the meeting, which gave unanimous support to the Chairman's decision.

Mr. W.J. Singleton said he wished to bring to the notice of the meeting a very urgent matter. He had been asked by several members of the Association to refer to the Foreign Students' Association.

Mr. W. Smart, the hon. secretary, (interposing): On a point of order—an emphatic point of order—this is the Ratepayers' Association. We have no right whatever to interfere with any other association.

Mr. Singleton said he was speaking on behalf of ratepayers.

The Chairman (Mr. C.T. Barnes), said he was going to rule Mr. Singleton out of order in bring up the question. "Those people who joined that society and paid their money—it is for them to call a meeting of that society and have it out amongst themselves," he remarked, and went on to say it was not for the Ratepayers' Association to interfere with the domestic affairs of any other society (applause).

Out of Order.

He must, he said, rule the matter out of order, and addressing Mr. Singleton, remarked, "I cannot accept any proposition from you of any kind, and I don't see why you should come here and air the grievances of members of another society.

Mr. Singleton: I am airing the grievances of members of this society as a committee man of this society.

The Chairman: Then if you won't sit down I will rule you out of order. I cannot take a proposition on it.

Mr. Singleton: I think you are very unfair.

The Hon. Secretary (to the members): I suggest you put it to the vote whether you support the Chairman's ruling or not.

The Chairman: I will have a vote of the meeting—shall we listen to Mr Singleton or otherwise?

A member asked what was the Chairman for but to govern the meeting.

The Chairman: I will put it to the vote so as to be fair to Mr. Singleton and myself. All those in favour of Mr. Singleton not being heard?

There was unanimous assent.

Mr. D. Spence Whyte then told the meeting that he was secretary of the association Mr. Singleton had referred to. "If he has any complaints at all, I think you will agree I am the proper person to bring them to," said Mr. Spence Whyte, who added that he had had no complaint from Mr Singleton. "I am always available at my business address," he remarked.

The Chairman suggested that Mr. Singleton should call on Mr. D. Spence Whyte, and the incident closed.

Herne Bay Press, 1929-12-14
at the same meeting:

Mr. W.J. Singleton, who had interposed with a question: "Who paid for the gas?" when the use of "Belle Vue" on Carnival Night was mentioned, was told by the Hon. Secretary that the information could not be given. If Mr. Singleton or anybody else required further information, he said, they had only to pass a resolution to this effect and it would be asked for.

Herne Bay Press, 1929-12-14
1930-03-20 seconded John Turner, a retired wallpaper merchant, as a candidate for West Central Ward in the Urban District Council election Herne Bay Press, 1930-03-22


Goods that were "On Sale or Return."


His Honour Judge Clements heard a claim at Canterbury County Court on Tuesday by F.T. Cockett, of Herne, against W.J. Singleton, of Herne Bay. Plaintiff claimed £11 4s. 6d., balance of furniture alleged to have been sold by defendant at his second-hand shop in High Street, Herne Bay, on behalf of plaintiff.

Mr. A.E. Scott, solicitor, of Herne Bay, appeared for plaintiff.

Plaintiff said he was a furniture dealer and gardening contractor at Herne. In October last he purchased a violin at defendant's shop, and subsequently defendant suggested to witness that he might have a better chance of selling his (plaintiff's) stuff for him in his shop than plaintiff would have in his own store in a village.

His Honour: On sale or return?

Plaintiff: Yes, sir.

Plaintiff enumerated various articles which went to defendant's shop, and which he alleged had been sold by defendant on his behalf.

In reply to defendant, plaintiff denied that a temporary agreement was drawn up in regard to a partnership between them, or that he partly removed his (defendant's) name from the shop window. He did not have a new lock and key placed on the front door; defendant did that himself because he let the flat above the shop.

Adjournment Asked for.

Defendant (to his Honour): I should like this case adjourned, as I have been in the hospital nine weeks, and I only came out of a convalescent home on Saturday night.

His Honour pointed out to defendant that the action was pending long before he went to hospital.

Defendant suggested plaintiff was in his shop at night when he had closed up, and plaintiff denied this was so, or that he had taken away any articles while defendant had been absent from the shop.

His Honour: How much do you say he has had?

Defendant: As much as I owe him.

His Honour: Then why have you not put in a counter-claim?

Defendant: I only came back from Bournemouth on Saturday.

His Honour: But you put in a defence to this claim as long ago as August 13th. Why didn't you enter a counter-claim then?

Defendant: I was not in a fit state of health.

His Honour: But you were able to put in a defence.

Identification by Noise?

Defendant read to his Honour a copy of a long letter he had sent to plaintiff's solicitor complaining of various acts of the plaintiff, and his Honour asked him why he stated in the letter that the plaintiff had come into his shop late at night and that the people overhead had heard him. "Did they see him?" asked his Honour.

Defendant: No, they heard him.

His Honour: Does he make a particular noise that they would know? (laughter).

Defendant: No, sir, but there are only two keys to the house.

His Honour gave judgment for the plaintiff for the amount claimed. (To defendant): How can you pay this?

Defendant: I can't pay.

His Honour: I thought you could not. What are you doing?

Defendant: Nothing at all.

His Honour: You have the shop?—I haven't got the shop.

How do you make a living?—I have taken a store, but I have been in hospital, and absolutely can't do anything.

Mr. Scott suggested defendant had his own house, but defendant said that belonged to his wife and was heavily mortgaged.

His Honour (to Mr. Scott): You had better take an order for £1 a month.

Defendant: I can't pay.

His Honour: Then it won't hurt you if you can't pay.

Herne Bay Press, 1930-10-18
c. 1928/1931 moved to London—first to a room in Kilmorie Rd, SE23, let by a Mrs Quigley, then later to a downstairs flat in Stanstead Rd information from, and interview with, Brenda Newnham
c. 1935 had a shop in Shipman Road, Forest Hill, and was living at 121/1 Perry Vale; he took a boy (named Alfred?) from an orphanage as an apprentice, giving him board and lodging; he said it was "coz I know what it's like"; Alfred later lived in Forest Hill and was manager of a boot repairers' information from Brenda Newnham
1936 living at 9a Mayow Road, Sydenham, London, SE23, with his wife and elder daughter, and an Amelia Maud Holland electoral register


Furnished Houses or Flats, Board-Residence or Apartments. Have you this accommodation to offer?

If so, send details to



(late of 31 High Street, Herne Bay)


Herne Bay Press
1939-09-29 bootmaker & repairer, living with his wife and elder daughter at 156 Perry Vale, Lewisham, London 1939 England and Wales Register (TNA: RG 101)
  found a job doing piece-work shoe-repairing, as in modern heel-bars, which for him was an absolutely devastating come-down, he was such a professional information from, and interview with, Brenda Newnham
shortly before 1949-11-11

SINGLETON. — At Forest Hill, S.E., after a serious illness, W.J. Singleton, formerly of High Street, Herne Bay, aged 74.

Herne Bay Press, 1949-11-11; GRO index



Mr. W.J. Singleton

The death occurred at Forest Hill, S.E., of Mr. W.J. Singleton, who many years ago was in business as a boot retailer at 31 High Street, Herne Bay.

Mr. Singleton, who had been ill for some time, was aged 74.

Sympathy in her great loss will be felt for the widow, who resides at 44 Dacres Road, Forest Hill, S.E.23.

  d. Lambeth hospital; his daughter Brenda was with him at his death, which was registered by both his daughters information from Brenda Newnham
  bur. Hither Green Cemetery, no stone
  son of George Callaway and Sophia Rogers birth certificate; marriage certificate gives father's name as "George Charles Singleton"

George Callaway Rogers

1843-09-16 b. No. 9 Pump Court, St Saviour, Surrey birth certificate
1851 living with family in Morton Court, St George's, Southwark, Surrey TNA: HO 107/1565 f112 p40
1861 turner, living with family at 8 Bedford St, St Mary Newington TNA: RG 9/343 f97 p7
1870 a George Rogers listed as occupier of 3 Bedford St—a house—gross estimated rental £11, rateable value £9, rate 12/-; 12/- in arrears, 12/- not recoverable; "Gone." St Mary Newington Rate Book
1871 not found in census for Townsend St, Walworth, or Bedford St RG 10
1871-12-24 bachelor; steward, of 8 Bedford St, Walworth; m. Sophia Shingleton, St John's pc, Waterloo, Surrey, after banns; signed his name marriage certificate; parish register
Children: Elizabeth Charlotte Ellen (1872–1951), George Callaway Shingleton (1874–1874), William Joseph (1877–1949), Sophia (1879 – after 1911), and Mary (1885 – after 1911); all surnamed Singleton or Rogers birth certificates; GRO index; London Metropolitan Archives, CaBG & SMSD; RG 11/569 f19 p31; 1911 census; Henry Roberts gedcom
1872 corn porter, living with family at 7 Deans Buildings, Bermondsey, Walworth, St Saviour, Surrey child's birth certificate
1874 ship steward child's death certificate
1874 of 145 Stocks Rd, St James, Southwark, Surrey source misplaced
  lived in the Midlands—Leicester or Lincoln or somewhere like that—originally interview with Brenda Newnham
  a sea-captain, or something to do with the sea; away at sea, didn't often come home; possibly deserted his wife information from, and interview with, Brenda Newnham
1877 ship's steward son's birth certificate
1877 of 17 Townsend Street, Southwark source misplaced
1879 ship's steward daughter's birth certificate
1879-07-09 mariner, of 96 Blue Anchor Land, Bermondsey St James Bermondsey parish register, entries for children
1880 a George Rogers listed as occupier of 270 Palatinate, Munton Road—a house—rateable value £9, rate 4/6 St Mary Newington Rate Book
1881 ship's cook and steward, living with family at 37 Lucey Road, St Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey RG 11/569 f19 p31
1883-04-10 in infirmary Brighton Road School Admission and Discharge Register
1884 Q1 d. Camberwell RD GRO index
  occupation given as ship carter, on daughter's marriage certificate, 1899  
  named as "George Charles Singleton", and described as "mariner", on son's marriage certificate, 1914  
  son of James Thomas and Mary Ann Rogers birth certificate

James Thomas Rogers

cal 1817/1818 b. St Margaret's, Westminster, Middlesex censuses
1838-04-16 turner, of 6 Mitre Place, Lambeth, Surrey; m. Mary Ann Skipp, of 6 Mitre Place, at St John the Evangelist pc, Lambeth, after banns; marked his name marriage certificate; parish register
Children: John (cal 1838 – 1885), Emma (1839 – after 1883), Mary Ann (1841 – after 1870), Henry (c. 1843 – ?), George Callaway (1843–1884), Sarah (1845–1886), Elizabeth (1848 – after 1871), Jane (1849–1915), James Thomas (1851–1921), and Henry (cal 1855 – 1891) sons' birth certificates; TNA: RG 10/620 f118 p9; RG 11/550 f30 p8; The Roberts Family 001
1841 turner j., of James Street, St Mary, Lambeth, living with his family TNA: HO 107/1061/6 f7 p10
1843 turner; family at 9 Pump Court, St Saviour, Surrey son's birth certificate
1851 turner, living with his family in Morton Court, St George's, Southwark, Surrey HO 107/1565 f112 p40
1861 inside turner, living with his family at 8 Bedford St, St Mary Newington RG 9/343 f97 p7
1868-01-25 turner St Mary Lambeth parish register
1870 occupier of 8 Bedford St, a house, gross rental £10, rateable value £8, rate 10/8, paid 10/8 St Mary Newington Rate Book
1871 living with his wife Jane in Bedford St, Walworth RG 10/620 f118 p9
1871 turner son's marriage certificate
1881 toy turner, of 8A Bedford St; living with his wife, son and boarder RG 11/550 f30 p8
1891 wood turner, employed, living with his wife, a son, and a lodger, in 2 rooms at 125 Brandon St, St Mary Newington, London RG 12/363 f59 p34
1891-08-24 wood turner (master); d. 125 Brandon St, St Peter Walworth, St Saviour, London, of general senile decay death certificate
  eldest known child of James and Elizabeth Rogers censuses; marriage certificate

James Rogers

cal 1788/9 b., not Surrey TNA: HO 107/1088/8 f12 p16; Christ Church workhouse register
1809-02-06 of St Mary, Lambeth; m. Elizabeth Calloway, St Mary, Lambeth, Surrey, by banns; signed parish register
Children: James Thomas (cal 1818 – 1891) and William (cal 1825 – after 1841) HO 107/1088/8 f12 p16
1838-04-16 turner; witnessed his son's wedding; signed his name son's marriage certificate; parish register
1841 turner, of Pump Court, St Saviour, Southwark, Surrey, living with his wife and son HO 107/1088/8 f12 p16
1849-06-25 admitted to Christ Church workhouse, Southwark; from Mr Drouet's Brixton; chargeable to St Saviour Christ Church workhouse register
1850-04-11 admitted to Christ Church workhouse, Southwark, by order of the Board; chargeable to St Saviour
1851 not found in census  
1855 Q1 possibly d. St Saviour Southwark RD GRO index

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