Winifred Ford

Author: Deirdre Duff
Date published: 01/01/2021

Winifred Ford

She was born in 1882 in Kingsclere.  She was one of 16 children born to David John and Ann (Sidery) Ford: she had 8 brothers and 7 sisters.  Her father farmed 275 acres and employed 15 labourers and 1 boy at Old Farm, Kingsclere.  In the 1885 Kelly’s Directory there is reference to the Brethen having built a room near Old Farm for holding their meetings.

Her parents married at St. Lawrence’s Church, Reading on 6 January 1877. Her mother Ann was the fourth daughter of Charles Sidery, who was a baker and grocer in Swan Street, Kingsclere. Previously he had set up a business as a watch and clockmaker. He was a prominent and well respected member of the local Wesleyan Methodist Chapel.  In 1892 a decision was made to add a new school and land was purchased from Charles Sidery at a cost of £100.   Her mother’s sister, Sarah, was married to James Edward Westcombe, brewer and malster at 11a Bartholomew Street,  Newbury.

Her father was active in politics (Liberal). He was a member of the Reading Branch of the Anti-Vaccinationist League.  Her mother and the family supported the campaign.  The League was formed in response to the mandatory laws. The Vaccination Act of 1853 ordered mandatory vaccination against smallpox for infants up to 3 months old and the Act of 1867 extended this age requirement to 14 years, adding penalties for vaccine refusal.  

None of his children were vaccinated. After the birth of his twin sons born in 1898, instead of availing himself of the recent Vaccination Act  of 1898 passed for the relief for those having conscientious objections he refused to pay the fines and his horse was seized under a distress warrant.  The auction took place in the Market Place, Kingsclere, led by Mr. A. W. Neate, the auctioneer from Newbury. The horse was knocked down to a Mr. Butler who was in fact acting for Mr. David Ford. (There is a full and extensive report in Newbury Weekly News dated 31 August 1899, page 3).    

Also, for many years, he was elected regularly as an Overseer for the Kingsclere Union.

Winifred died from diphtheria on 11 May 1886 at Old Farm, aged 4 years.  Her father was present at her death.  She was buried in an unconsecrated private grave: Arthur John Olde Lyle, Wesleyan Minister, officiated.

 For the record vaccination for diphtheria was introduced in 1942.


Mrs. P. Code LS58, Page 133


Sources:  Birth Index 1Q 1882; Death Index 2Q 1886; Death Certificate. Her parents marriage (Newbury Weekly News 18/1/1877); Her paternal grandfather, funeral (Hants & Berks Gazette 30/10/1897); her family 1881 to 1911 census; her father (Reading Mercury 21/11/1885 – politics), (Berkshire Chronicle 17/6/1871 and Hants & Berks Gazette 16/4/1892  -  Overseer) and Newbury Weekly News 31/8/1899 – Anti-Vaccinationist League).



Sources: as above

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