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William Samuel Searle Murch

From photographer to dockyard labourer to music teacher and back to the docks

William Samuel Searle Murch was born in 1853 in the Devonport area of Devon, England, to Edward Murch (a tailor) and his wife Catherine.  In the 1871 census, he is 17 and still living with his parents, working as a photographer, but later that same year he married Hannah Hoskin Remfry, also from the Devonport area.

In the 1881 census, William and Hannah had four children.  It is possible that the photography did not pay enough to keep a family of six, so William has changed his career, and is now a "Skilled Labourer in HM Keyham Yd".  Keyham Yard, also known as the North Yard or Steam Yard, was officially opened in 1853 and is part of the extensive Devonport dockyards.  The Yard was extended in 1895 by 118 acres, a 10-acre tidal basin and a 35-acre closed basin, and three huge docks which could accept the larger (war)ships being built.  The extension was opened in 1907.



But the Arts called again, and in the 1891 census, William is a teacher of music.  He and Hannah have added three children to the family, and are living in Monument Street, Devonport, although maybe the 'teacher of music' was merely a filler, because on the 1901 census William is back in the dockyards, working as a machine driller - a job which he continues in and is listed as having as far forward as the 1911 census.

Linked toMURCH, William Samuel Searle

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