Alfred Giles and Ann Oxton
  Liverpool, Lancashire, and Poulton-cum-Seacombe, Cheshire, England
 1860-1936

Alfred Giles was the second of four sons born to George Giles and Sarah Wright before his mother died of a miscarriage in the Army barracks in St. Domingo Road, Liverpool. Alfred was just six years old.

Alfred Giles: 
Born 1860 Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Ann Oxton: 
Born 1860 Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Children of
Alfred Giles and Ann Oxton

Alfred Clement Giles - Born 1884 Liverpool, England
William Francis Giles - Born 1887 Poulton, Cheshire
Frederick George Giles - Born 1889 Poulton, Cheshire
David Burn Oxton Giles - Born 1891 Poulton, Cheshire
Robert Giles - Born 1892 Poulton, Cheshire
Annie Victoria Giles - Born 1894 Poulton, Cheshire
Emma Lilian Giles - Born 1896 Liverpool, Lancashire
Stanley Glendenning Giles - Born 1899 Liverpool
Nellie Lilian Giles - Born 1901 Liverpool, Lancashire
Albert Edward Giles - Born 1902 Liverpool, Lancashire
Florence E. Katherine May Giles - Born 1905 Liverpool

What it was like for a child to grow up in a military barracks in the 1860s in Liverpool has to be imagined. But it is likely that from time to time the boy would have visited the docks or waterfront of Liverpool, just a few miles away. Did Alfred, like so many boys before him, look out over the mouth of the wide River Mersey toward the Irish Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and wonder about going to sea?


Nine months after his mother died, Alfred’s father married again. It must have been a crowded home. Henry, the son by George’s first wife in Ireland, worked as a shop boy but left home while Alfred was still young. His one older brother and two younger brothers were joined by his new step-mother’s daughter, Sarah, and then over the next few years by a crop of new brothers and sisters.


The family was not poor. George was an army staff sergeant, and comfortable enough to employ a domestic servant to help.

Some time before 1881, Alfred went to sea in the merchant service. If his records can be located in the National Archives, they will throw light on this early period of his life, but there is a painting of him - of unknown origin - as a handsome young man in his naval uniform, cap under his arm (above).


In the summer of 1883, at age 23 and when still in the navy, Alfred married a Liverpool girl, Ann Oxton, at St. Barnabas Church of England. Evidently, Alfred preferred married life on land to life at sea, because some time before the end of the decade he left the navy and worked as a pork butcher on the other side of the river Mersey from Liverpool. The villages of Poulton and Seacombe had been amalgamated to form the community of Poulton-cum-Seacombe - comprising perhaps 15,000 people by 1890. The Giles operated at first from 123 Victoria Road, but some time in 1890 or 1891 moved with their three sons a few doors along the street to No. 117.  Their street was a main arterial route that started close to the river’s passenger landing dock and stretched west to Poulton village. It became a busy and profitable commercial thoroughfare.  The Giles’ shop was next to a string of locally owned, small shopfronts very typical of English towns, in which houses often doubled as a shop window, with the residence upstairs. A fishmonger operated next door, and next to that, a tobacconist and a baker’s shop. A few doors down was another butcher’s shop, run by a German immigrant.  In the 1891 census, the Giles family also had a 14-year-old girl working as a domestic servant - she is recorded as Aidlade Vichomby. The first name is probably a census taker’s erroneous rendition of Adelaide. Neither the surname nor anything like it can not be found elsewhere in the census, however, so where she was from and who she belonged to is not known.


By the turn of the century, Alfred and Ann had moved back across the river and established their own restaurant business at 136 Vauxhall Road, Liverpool, not very far from where Alfred was born. It was a bustling area at the time, next to one of the busiest areas of the port of Liverpool - the industrial stretch along the north docks. Hundreds of workers walked daily to and fro along Vauxhall Road to the factories, to the gas works, the sugar refinery, timber yard, corn mill and tannery. The building at 136 Vauxhall Road still stands today, though the street is hardly recognizable other than its general shape and direction, having passed through major inner city demolition and redevelopment.


Alfred and Ann by now had five sons and a daughter - Alfred Clement, William, Frederick, Robert, Annie and Stanley. They had also begun to take in boarders, and both the restaurant and the business of providing lodging must have proved worthwhile, because their circumstances improved steadily over the next ten years.


As Alfred passed his 50th year, he and Ann could look back on their circumstances with some satisfaction. By 1911 they were occupying ten rooms at 2 Eldon Place, a mere hundred yards or so to the north along Vauxhall Road. It was a sizeable residence for anyone at the time, but the space accommodated five single working men ranging in age from their early twenties to mid-forties. Their own family had grown, too. Ann had borne 14 children, but five had died at birth or in infancy. The three eldest boys had by now left home to start out on their own, and Robert, 18, and Annie, 16, were helping with the restaurant business. Youngest son Stanley, with two additional daughters Nellie and Florence, were in school. Eight-year-old Albert was unhappily not at home on the night the census was taken. He was hospitalized at the Myrtle Street Infirmary for Children. Whatever his ailment, he survived it, but sadly died at the age of 26.


Alfred and Ann lived until the 1930s, Ann dying in 1931 at the age of 71, and Alfred surviving her by four years. They are both buried at Kirkdale Cemetery, Liverpool, and left a large posterity.

For more details of the family tree of Alfred Giles and Ann Oxton,  click on the WorldConnect icon below. This will open a window for these individuals in the Otterson-Berry family tree at RootsWeb.com, a free site.

Early portraits of Alfred Giles and Ann Oxton, probably when they were in their twenties.

Above: a stretch of Victoria Road, Poulton-cum-Seacombe, about 1910. For a website with more on the history of this street and the town, see here.

Below:  Map of Vauxhall Road and environs at the turn of the 19th century. The Giles business is marked by the red dot, just south of Ford Street. By 1911 they had moved three streets further up Vauxhall Road to 2 Eldon Place (blue dot).

Left and above: The site of the Giles restaurant at 136 Vauxhall Road had long since disappeared in 2009 when this photograph was taken. The replacement nondescript building was then occupied by a Greek-named night club, and demolition along the once bustling street was still continuing.

Far left: Undated photograph of Alfred and Annie, probably taken when they lived in Eldon Place, after 1910.

Below: Alfred’s signature in a neat hand on the 1911 census, showing the address and size of the house at 2 Eldon Place.

Parents of
Alfred Giles
Father: George Giles - Born 1821 Bromsgrove, Worcester.
Mother: Sarah Wright - Born 1825 Callington, Cornwall
Ann Oxton
Father: William Oxton - Born 1832 Bidston, Cheshire
Mother: Ann Hackett - Born 1831 Liverpool, Englandgiles_george_and_sarah_1856.htmlgiles_george_and_sarah_1856.htmlshapeimage_9_link_0shapeimage_9_link_1

Alfred and Ann Giles with some of their family, circa 1925.  Left to right, Ann Oxton Giles and husband Alfred Giles, their youngest son, Stanley Giles, an unknown woman, Ethel Hyde Giles (wife of Stanley), William Giles, the second oldest son (behind Ethel). William’s wife Meena Schmidt (contracted from Hermena Pfannenschmidt) is seated second from right. The other women and the child are yet to be identified.