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Alexander CRYER (1831-1918) of the Bermondsey vinegar works

Alexander Robert Cryer at about 80

Possibly Alexander Robert Cryer at about 80

Alexander Robert Cryer was born to George William Cryer and his second wife, born Ann Bayford. We cannot be certain of Alexander's precise birth date because it was before central registration. We know from parish records that he was baptised on 13 March 1831 at Saint Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, but we do not know how old he was at the time. The various censuses - which of course involved self-reporting - are inconsistent about his age. For example, the 1841 census gave his age as 10 - and hence a birth date between 6 June 1830 and 7 June 1831. The 1851 census gave his age as 19 - and hence a birth date of a year later. The 1861, 1871 and 1881 censuses gave his age as 30; 40 and 50 respectively - and hence the earlier birth date. The 1891 census gave his age as 59 - and hence the later birth date. Alexander's age of 70 on the 1901 census is in agreement with a birth date of 1831.

While growing up, Alexander Robert lived at the family home, 42 Crucifix Lane, Bermondsey. (For a colour picture of the house, click the tab on the home page: 'Old photographs of the general area'.)

Union Chapel, 
Parish Street, Southwark

Union Chapel, Parish Street, Bermondsey, Southwark - from the unpublished diaries of John Daws

Alexander Robert married Emma Giles (Neil's great grandmother) on 2 July 1857 at the Union Chapel in Southwark. He was a brewer's foreman living at 14 Brook Street, Bermondsey, and both he and she were 26 years old. She was the daughter of John Giles, a leather finisher, and his wife Betty of 30 Neckinger Street, Bermondsey - see the Giles material. According to the 1871 census, she, like Alexander, was born in Bermondsey, so she was probably the Emma Giles registered in the IGI as having been baptised on 10 March 1834 at St Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey. Emma had a sister Martha Giles who was an witness at her wedding and whose descendants we would very much like to contact. We know little else about her, but there is a photograph of an Emma Giles, possibly a niece, on the unknown photographs page.

In 1860 Alexander Robert and Emma were at 43 Albert Street, Bermondsey, which we know from the birth certificate of their first child (see below). At the time of the birth of Neil's grandfather in 1864, they were at 10 Church Street, Bermondsey.By 1868 they were at 98 Russell Street Bermondsey. At the time of the 1891 census, Alexander was at 37 Tanner Street, Bermondsey, but Emma was not listed with him. This is surprising because she died at the same address only a few months later on 28 Aug 1891. According to her death certificate she had been ill for 18 months with cancer of the liver. She was 59, and Alexander was to survive her by many years.

Alexander Robert and Emma had the following children that we know of, but there may have been more who died young:

Alexander Robert's main employment was as a foreman/manager in the vinegar works in the Bermondsey area, which was later taken over by Sarsons. Throughout his time in Bermondsey he was a pillar of the Union Church; according to the diaries of his daughter's father-in-law, he became a deacon there.

Alexander Robert Cryer died on 10 February 1918 at the age of 90 at the home of his daughter, by then Emma Daws, at the family house, 79 Plains of Waterloo, Ramsgate. There are photos of his grave.

With the help of descendants of Emma Eliza and some old family albums inherited from Neil's father, the above photograph has been identified as Alexander Robert. The original is a small, faded group photo with Alexander Robert sitting in the shade. So I have had to computer enhance it considerably to bring out any detail. This version is the best quality that I can manage at the moment. Judging from the background to the original, it was probably taken in the Bermondsey area when Alexander was in his 80s. With luck, it will help to identify any other photographs of Alexander that may still be in existence. We are very much hoping that the descendants of Edward Cryer, Alice Cryer or Stanley Cryer - or indeed anyone else - may be able to provide other photographs. Either way, we would love to make contact with these descendants and with anyone with any further information on the Bermondsey vinegar works.

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