Death at Woodburn Junction (Shefield) - The Fate of Richard Undy January 1884

In April 2016 I received this information from a person who in the course of researching their family history came across an accident that resulted in the death of her great great grandfather RICHARD UNDY.  

"Richard was originally from Mattersey Thorpe and he had only been working on the railways for a short time, before his accident. He was married to Mary and they had two small children, one of whom was my great-grandmother, Sarah."

This is the family in 1881. They were living in Providence Road, Walkley, Sheffield - number 74. Richard and Mary had married in the September quarter of 1877 (Sheffield Volume 9C page 275) and had one daughter Sarah Elizabeth

This is the report that appears in the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated 29th January 1884. It refers to an accident that occurred in the evening of Saturday 26th January 1884

The verdict is certainly in line with the evidence but the one point of interest is that his wife Mary was not informed of his death until seven o' clock the next day.

Richard and Mary and their young family (they had a son William Henry who was born in 1883) must have moved to Dolphin Street as a result of Richard's new position with the Manchester Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Company. As you can see from the map Dolphin Street was adjacent to the railway line at Woodburn Junction. 


Dolphin Street Darnall - the street no longer exists

Dolphin Street, Sheffield circa 1955

Woodburn Road Junction Darnall as it is today

Richard is buried in the General Cemetery, grave DD128 (which is a communal grave).
His father, William, who lived on Pearl Street, is also buried in that cemetery. Richard died just two years after his father.

Ricahrd Undy's Probate Record 1884

"Richard's widow Mary later remarried, twice - her second husband appeared to just abandon her. I wonder whether his only interest in her, was the money Richard had left her, in his will!"

The man Mary married was a John Gubbins. They married in the March quarter of 1885 (Sheffield Volume 9C Page 534) and had two children John Alfred (born 1885) Mary Ellen (born 1888).  Jane Gubbins (born 1890) is listed as a six month old daughter but ten years later (1901) she is listed as Jane Smith. The 1891 Census shows the family living at 12 Stoke Street. The most noticeable part of the entry is that John Gubbins is not at that address. A 35 year old coal miner William Brelsford Smith is the lodger.

It is evident that Jane was the daughter of William and Mary and not John. And so from the scant information available it looks as though John Gubbins left his young family circa 1888-89.  

Mary married the coal miner William Brelsford Smith in 1897 and by the time of the 1901 Census they were living in William's home village of Hasland near Chesterfield. My supposition is that William and Mary had to wait seven years for her previous marriage to John Gubbins to be annulled on the grounds of his desertion.

Ten years later in 1911, the family were living at 23 Park Street Birdholme Derbyshire. It looks as though William has "totted" up the number of years they have been married as individuals, and also the number of children they have had from their respective marriages. William and Mary had only been married 14 years at the time of the census 

Mary's son from her first marriage to Richard WILLIAM HENRY, had enlisted in the Army and in 1911 he was serving in India


Name William Henry Undy
Age in 1911 26
Estimated Birth Year abt 1885
Gender Male
Birth Place Sheffield, Yorkshire, England
County/Island Military Country England
Military Unit 1st Bn The Sherwood Foresters Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment
Registration District Number 641 ED, institution, or vessel India Piece 34991

In January 1914 he married Rose Dudley in Chesterfield Derbyshire but their marriage was only a short one. William was killed in action on the Somme and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial

Name: William Henry Undy
Birth Place: Attercliffe, Yorkshire
Residence: Dinnington, Yorkshire
Death Date: 26 Sep 1916
Death Place: France and Flanders
Enlistment Place: Chesterfield, Derbyshire
Rank: Private Regiment: Notts and Derby (Sherwood Foresters) Regiment Battalion: 9th Battalion Regimental Number: 9719
Type of Casualty: Killed in action 

William Henry Undy is remembered on the war memorial at Dinninton, South Yorkshire

William's WW1 Medal Card

And so Mary lost both her husband and her eldest son in the most tragic of circumstances. I don't know what became of Mary after 1911 and so if anyone can help please contact me

As a postscript we learned in 2020 that Richard and Mary Undy had another child, a daughter called ADA. Ada had been brought up by Richard's aunt, and we hadn't been aware of her existence until that point. These are Ada's marriage entry details in 1900


and the baptism entry for her daughter, who was also called ADA


This is the family's entry in the 1911 UK Census

NAME: Ada Gaunt
AGE IN 1911: 8
GENDER: Female
BIRTH PLACE: Birdholme, Derbyshire, England CIVIL PARISH: Chesterfield COUNTY/ISLAND: Derbyshire COUNTRY: England
Name Age
Ada Gaunt 33
James Gaunt Junior 32
Alice Undy 15
Ada Gaunt 8
James Arthur Gaunt 7
Elsie Gaunt 3 


First name RICHARD Last name UNDY
Marriage quarter September
Marriage year 1877
MARY QUICK, District SHEFFIELD County Yorkshire Country England Volume 9C Page 575
Record set England & Wales marriages 1837-2008 Category Birth, Marriage, Death & Parish Records

Births Sep 1880 Undy Sarah Elizabeth Ecclesall B. Volume 9c Page 303

Marriage - September 12th 1900 Chesterfield Parish Chuech 

Births Dec 1888 Gubbins Mary Ellen Sheffield 9c 550 Deaths Dec 1922 Gubbins John A 36 Chesterfield Volume 7b Page747

The grave of Sarah Elizabeth Walker (nee Undy) is in Hasland cemetery, Chesterfield, Derbyshire 


Sheffield and Rotherham Independent dated Tuesday 29th January 1884 

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

UK Census

Soldiers of the Great War

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This page was last updated on 16/12/20 07:12