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For one family in Bewick Street, South Shields, in Durham England, Thursday October 16th 1924 would become a day of sadness and ongoing remembrance. William James Mabley, aged 58, a coal merchant, died of Lobar Pneumonia and Heart Failure (1). William was survived by his wife Florence Mary (nee Barnes), his newly married daughter Florence (now Mrs Thomas Wood), daughters Caroline, Olive, Dorothy, and Edna, and sons William (from his first wife Hannah), Sydney & William. He was pre-deceased by his first wife Hannah (nee Forester) and their second son Henry, by his parents William Mabley & Elizabeth (nee Hins), and two children from his marriage to Florence, George & Audrey.

Although recorded as a coal merchant at the time of his death, William had worked since a teenager as a Lath Render (2, 3, 4), and in later years as both a Lath Render & Builders Merchant (5). He is also recorded as being an Employer (4, 5), indicating he may have owned or managed a business. Probate records indicate that he left effects valued at over £4,000. (6)

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William James Mabley
born about 1866 Woburn Sands, Buckinghamshire, England
died 16 October 1924, South Shields, Durham, England
My Great Grandfather

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There are two definitions of a Lath Render, which is the more accurate for William’s line of work is unknown.
Lath Render: Someone who rends/rives (i.e splits) wood to form laths. (7)
Lath Render: Someone who worked in building industry, as a plaster’s assistant, applying the first layer of plaster to the lath. Laths were used mostly for interior walls and ceilings. They were strips of wood which were nailed to the wall studs, which allowed the plaster to be applied more effectively. (8)

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1) England and Wales, death certificate for William James Mabley, died 16 October 1924; citing 10a/773/444, December quarter 1924, South Shields registration district, South Shields Second sub-district; General Register Office, Southport.
2) 1881 census of England, Bedfordshire, Woburn, folio 16, page 26, William Mabley; PRO RG 11/1637
3) 1891 census of England, Durham, Westoe, South Shields, folio 142, page 43, William J Mabley; PRO RG 12/4160
4) 1901 census of England, Durham, South Shields, folio 70, page 25, William Mabley; PRO RG 13/4731.
5) 1911 census of England, Durham, RG 78 PN 1745B, RG 14 PN 30336, registration district (RD) 556, sub district (SD) 1, enumeration district (ED) 77, schedule number (SN) 345, 17 Bewick Street South Shields, William James Mabley.
6) Ancestry.com, England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966 (Ancestry.com Operations Inc)
7) Michael & Janet Wood, Obscure Old English Census Occupations (http://www.worldthroughthelens.com/family-history/old-occupations.php : accessed 27 Aug 2013), http://rmhh.co.uk/occup/l.html.
8) Family Tree Service, Family Tree Service Census Occupations (http://www.familytreeservice.co.uk/census%20occupations.html : accessed 12 Jul 2014), http://www.familytreeservice.co.uk/census-occupations-l-Lath-Render.html