Francis Cable


The Cable Family – 1877 to 1811 

Towards the end of 1877, between October and December, Frank’s father, HENRY ISAAC CABLE marries for a third time (or technically possible the second time). On this occasion in Southwark, London, his bride is ESTHER HOWARD, although we have not located the wedding banns for this marriage.


St Marys PeckhamOn Tuesday 17th August 1880 Frank Cable, who 12 years later was to marry Polly Shellaker in Grantham, married CATHERINE SARAH FREDERICK FELTHAM at St. Mary Magdalene Church, Peckham, Surrey.

At the time of his wedding, Frank’s occupation was recorded ‘Dairyman’ and he was living at 25 Evelina Road. A copy of the wedding certificate of Frank Cable & Catherine Sarah Frederick Feltham is below

Evelina Road is located in Nunhead, near New Cross gate between Peckham and Camberwell. However the actual house, in which Frank Cable was living at the time of his first marriage in 1880, no longer remains.

Neither is the original parish church of St. Mary Magdalene, Peckham, still standing; it was built in 1841 but destroyed by German bombing during World War II on 21st September 1941, however a picture of this church is shown on the right.

Frank Cable & Catherine Sarah Frederick Feltham - Wedding Certificate 1880

Frank Cable & Catherine Sarah Frederick Feltham – Wedding Certificate 1880

On this wedding certificate Frank’s surname is recorded as ‘Cable’ and his age was given as 25 years old – this is a false declaration. Being born in July 1860 Frank’s correct age in August 1880 was 20 years (and about three weeks) and not 25 years. It is possible he falsified his age in order to reduce the age difference between himself and his bride. Catherine Feltham, whose age appears from this certificate as being 39 years is also incorrect – Catherine’s 40th birthday was two months prior to this wedding.

Catherine Sarah Frederick Feltham was born on 13th June 1840 as Catherine Sarah Frederick BATH. The birth is recorded at St John, Westminster, Middlesex. When she was born, her father was 39 years old, her mother 37 years. At the time of her marriage to Frank in 1880, nether of Catherine’s parents were alive; Catherine’s father was HENRY FREDERICK BATH, born around 1801 but he died at the age of 66 years on 25th April 1867 in South Norwood, Surrey. Her mother SARAH (née PAGE) was born around 1803 and died at the age of 49 years on 18th June 1852 at 7 Bury Street, Chelsea.

Her marriage to Frank Cable was Catherine’s second marriage. Her first marriage, 19 years previously, was on the 21st October 1861 when she married WILLIAM FELTHAM at Hampstead Parish Church when she was 21 years of age .

Her husband William Feltham was 24 years old, having been born of 5th November 1836. Catherine and William Feltham had at least four children together; WILLIAM HENRY born in September 1862, FREDERICK CHARLES born in 1865, EMILY ELLEN EMMA born in 1868 and JAMES S, born in 1872. Unsubstantiated records on the internet also indicate a FREDERICK ALBERT, date of birth unknown but possibly their first child, a JAMES D born in 1964, there may also have been an EDWARD, born in 1870. Catherine’s first husband, William Feltham died on 9th January 1878 at the age of 41 whilst residing at 7 North Hatcham*, London, leaving Catherine a widow. This was her status when she married Frank Cable around two and a half years later in August 1880.

In the 1861 Census a Catherine Bath is recorded as an unmarried servant, aged 21 years, at the home of a 43 year old widow, Mary Hutchinson at 14, Chester Villa, Thistle Grove, Kensington. Also residing in the house are Mary’s children; Stepney, a 19 year old Solicitors Clerk and a girl also named Mary aged 17 years old. This may be a record of Frank’s first wife.

[*Hatcham was the former name of New Cross in the London Borough of Lewisham, 4 miles south east of Charing Cross. New Cross is near St John’s, New Cross Gate, Telegraph Hill, Nunhead, Peckham, Brockley, Deptford and Greenwich.]

One additional and important fact – on her wedding day to Frank Cable in August 1880 – Catherine Feltham was around four months pregnant.

However less than 7 months after his wedding to Catherine, on the night of the 1881 Census on 3rd April, Frank is not in the same house as his wife Catherine.  She is living at 75 Culmore Road and is recorded as being 39 years old.

The house at 75 Culmore Road was split into four separate households one of which was a Mr. Cooke, a carpenter living with his wife, another household contained a Mrs. Skyern from Wales with her eleven year old son, and lastly Mr. Jackson, a widower from Bourne in Lincolnshire, with his two young daughters, both recorded as “scholars”.

With Catherine Cable are children – four of whom have the surname ‘Feltham’ and self-evidently are the product of Catherine’s first marriage to the late Mr. Feltham; William, aged 18 years a carpenter born in Hampstead Middlesex, Frederick aged 15 years who is a Venetian Blind fitter, born in Lewisham in Kent, a daughters Emily aged 12 and a son James 7 years old, the latter two children are both recorded as ‘scholars’ born in Battersea in Surrey.

Her fifth child, a three-month-old boy, is named as FRANCIS H CABLE Frank’s son, and was presumably the explanation for her marriage to Frank. As the Census was recorded at the beginning of April, the birth of young Francis H. Cable must have occurred around January of that year, the child being born around four/five months after the marriage of his parents.  He is recorded as being born in Peckham, Surrey.

[Culmore Road in Southwark/Peckham is re-developed but a Public House,  Asylum Tavern, contemporary to 1881, is still standing at the end of the street. This area of London is south of the river Thames, quite some distance from Frank’s residence in Islington – see below. Camberwell is the district in which Frank was originally born and is east of neighbouring Peckham where Frank & Catherine married in 1880.]

Also worth noting is Catherine’s son, William, being born in between April 3rd 1862 and April 4th 1863, was, at most, only two years and eight months older than his step-father, Frank. Frank’s age could have actually been within twenty months of his eldest stepson, William Feltham.

Census 1881 - Francis the son of Frank Cable

  1881 Census – Catherine Cable, her children including Francis H. Cable, the son of Frank Cable (‘Brown’)

Location Name Relationship Condition Sex Age Profession Where Born
75 Culmore Road Catherine SCable Wife Head Marr. F 39 Middlesex, Pimlico
William H Feltham Son Single M 18 Carpenter Middlesex, Hampstead
Frederick C Feltham Son M 15 Venetian Blind Maker Kent,Lewisham
Emily H Feltham Daug F 12 Scholar Surrey, Battersea
James D Feltham Son M 7 Scholar Surrey, Battersea
Francis H Cable Son M 3 months Surrey, Peckham

While Catherine is living in Culmore Road, Frank is recorded as being in Islington, North London at the home of Walter Odams, a 30 year old Carpenter at 15, Durham Road, Islington, also in the house are Walter Odam’s wife, Mary and their four young sons, Francis, Walter, Harry and Ernest. Frank is one of two ‘Boarders’ in the house, the other being George Malings, unmarried, a 28 years old Farmer’s Son. Frank Cable is recorded as being a married man, born in Camberwell, Surrey and aged 24 years – this is incorrect, as at this time Frank would be 20 years old. His 21st Birthday would be in July of that year.

Also the fact Frank is listed as a ‘Boarder’ would suggest a degree of permanency in this arrangement; people who, on the night of the Census, are only staying in a property a few days would probably be recorded as a ‘Visitor’.

[Durham Road, Islington is near Finsbury Park tube station but the road is now all new development]

Census 1881 Francis Cable 15 Durham Road

   1881 Census – Frank Cable is a Boarder in the home of Walter Odams, not with his wife and son

Location Name Relationship Condition Sex Age Profession Where Born
15 Durham Road Walter Odams Head Marr. M 30 Carpenter Hampshire, Shilton
Mary A Odams Wife Marr. M 30 Middlesex, Marylebone
FrancisOdams Son Single M 6 Middlesex, Islington
Walter WOdams Son Single M 2 Middlesex, Islington
Ernest Odams Son Single M 8 1/2 mths Middlesex, Islington
George Malings Boarder Single M 28 Farmer's Son unknown
Francis Cable Boarder Marr. M 24 Milk Carrier Surrey,Camberwell

Three and a half years after his marriage towards the end of 1877, Henry (Frank’s father) and his wife Esther (née Howard) are recorded on the 1881 Census. In this Census Henry is again described as a ‘Glass Cutter’ from Surrey. It states he is aged 66 years old and originates from Surrey. His wife Esther is 54 years old and from Middlesex. They are living together at 52 Camden Street, Walworth, the same address in which Henry was living with Sarah (née Collinson / Husband) in the Census 1871. No children are recorded as being with them in the house at this time.

[Camden Street, Walworth was renamed Morecambe Street and is in the Borough of Southwark, London]

Historical Footnote:

[‘The 19th century was a period of energetic marital non-conformity amongst couples of all social classes. In general, between 1760 and 1840 cohabitation seemed more widespread than in the mid-19th century and after 1880 attitudes towards sexual non-conformity became freer once again. Many men and women interpreted the law on marriage and divorce flexibly, fought to be able to define it using their terms, and definitions of unions remained ambiguous throughout this period and beyond. In general, more working-class rather than middle-class couples cohabited and more so did so if they lived in urban rather than rural areas.

Many couples were also willing to risk the law by living bigamously. Most bigamists were treated leniently by the courts. In the later 19th century a minority spent over a year in prison while many, 25 per cent in the 1860’s rising to 37 per cent in the 1890’s, served less than a month’s sentence. Women sometimes left their first husbands because they were violent or because they needed to find somebody to support them and their children. Many individuals traded legality for happiness without losing sight of the concept or ritual of marriage and while continuing to use the labels ‘husband’ and ‘wife’. Subsequent unions were sometimes, but not always, more successful and happier than the first.

Most cohabitees, however, did not participate in an illegal marriage ceremony in order to formalize their union. They merely rationalised it by arguing that they had to escape an unhappy first union, due to mental and physical illness, incompatibility, infidelity, domestic violence, incapacity to provide, along with a multiplicity of other reasons, in order to find happiness in a subsequent union – albeit one not recognised by the law. The legal implications of unions had significant economic, social and cultural ramifications for the individuals involved in them – men, women and children. This was particularly the case for the children born as a result of ‘illegitimate’ unions who were defined as filius nullius – the ‘children of nobody’ even if their parents went on to marry (until the passage of the Legitimacy Act 1959).

Despite the evidence of happy, successful as well as unsuccessful cohabitational unions, the attachment to marriage remained strong for most Victorians. Even if they were not married, many couples insisted that they were and called themselves ‘husband’ and ‘wife’. Some couples even performed the ritual of the wedding ceremony despite it being illegal in their circumstances.

Despite the unconventionality of these relationships it is clear that both men and women expected their roles to remain the same, as husbands and wives, despite the absence of vows and legal status’.]

Living in Sin’ by Ginger S. Frost

As mentioned, Frank’s parents are no longer together, Henry having has since married Esther Howard. However Frank’s mother Sarah (née Collinson / Husband) is now living in Hatcham, Greenwich with her unmarried son Harry Cable (Frank’s full brother) who is now aged 18 years – his occupation is indistinct but some of it appears to be ‘tester’. His mother Sarah is an ‘upholsterer’.

Interesting Sara Cable’s status is recorded a ‘widow’. This may give credence to the belief that she and Henry may not have been legally married and that she is, in 1881, officially the widow of John Collinson. But she still kept the surname ‘Cable’ possibly to give her son Henry a degree of legitimacy.

At this Census, Samuel J Cable, Frank’s half-Brother, now aged 30 is recorded as living at 143, Camden Grove N, Camberwell. His occupation is listed as a ‘Bootmaker’. He is living his wife Sarah, Aged 33 and 5 children; William aged 7, Lillian aged 6, Minnie aged 4, Beatrice aged 2 and one year old son, Samuel.

Also living in the house is a ‘George Cable’ aged 16, born c.1865, recorded as a ‘Bootmakers’ Apprentice’ and with a birth place of Bermondsey, Surrey. I believe this ‘George Cable’ maybe the son of George & Jane Cable of Buttress Gardens, Stepney as recorded on the 1871 Census but I’m unsure how George Cable senior (born 1838 in Essex) fits into this story.

Location Name Relationship Condition Sex Age Profession Where Born
143 Camden Grove N Edwin Cable Head Marr F 30 Bootmaker Bermondsey, Surrey
Sarah Cable Wife Marr F 33 Walworth, Surrey
William Cable Son Single M 7 Scholar Peckham, Surrey
Lilian Cable Daug Single F 6 Scholar Peckham, Surrey
Minnie Cable Daug Single F 4 Peckham, Surrey
Beatrice Cable Daug Single F 2 Peckham, Surrey
Samuel Cable Son Single M 1 Peckham, Surrey
George Cable Apprentice Single M 16 Bootmakers Apprentice Bermondsey, Surrey

Also record in this Census was EDWIN, Frank’s paternal half-brother. As in 1871 he still lives in the Corporation Buildings in the St James area of Clerkenwell but he has moved from number 79 and now resides at number 162. In 1871 he lived with his wife HARRIET and two children but ten years on, the number of their children has grown to five. Their sons EDWIN & WILLIAM who featured in the Census of 1871, now have three siblings, MINNIE, FREDERIC and SIDNEY who are 9, 5 and 2 years respectively

Location Name Relationship Condition Sex Age Profession Where Born
162Corporation Buildings Edwin Cable Head Marr. M 43 House Painter Surrey, Bermondsey
Harriet M A Wife Marr. M 44 Surrey, Bermondsey
Edwin Cable Son Single. M 15 Telegraph Messenger Surrey, Newington
William JCable Son Single. M 12 Errand Boy Surrey, Newington
Minnie C Cable Daug Single. F 9 Scholar Middlesex, Clerkenwell
Frederic T Cable Son Single. M 5 Scholar Middlesex, Clerkenwell
Sidney H Cable Son Single. M 2 Middlesex, Clerkenwell


During July to September of 1881, Henry Cable, the father of Frank Brown/Cable dies at the ages of 66 years, in the district of St Saviours, Southwark in London. His probable address at the time of his death was 52 Camden Street, Walworth. Sometime later his widow Esther marries a man called Charles Walker Soar, who himself had been previously married on two occasions.


Next Page: Frank Cable appears in court