Florence Helena Mead 1888-1959 Known as Topp or Topps.

1888. Born 25/10/1888. (from family bible). First child of Walter Mead & Ellen Annie Robinson. No doubt born in the Wheatsheaf Inn where her father was the publican. He is in the centre of the photo below, his name above the door.


1889. Sister Edith Constance Mead born

1891C. . Living at North St, Dunmow at Wheat Sheaf with her parents , younger sister, Edith Constance Mead, and Uncle Alfred Mead. . All born Gt. Dunmow except for her mother – Ongar.



The first photo must have been taken c.1891. Grandma Robinson must be Elizabeth Annie Rousell/Robinson,1838-1903, who would then have been 53, husband Francis Robinson 1834-1890 having just died. Re the photo with the dog - Nancy is sure this is not Topp: so, who? - someone on my mother's side, photo did not come from JK nor from Hazel

1895. Youngest sister Ellen Annie Mead - always known as Pett, born.

1901C. Living with her parents and 2 sisters at the Wheatsheaf Inn, Dunmow.



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38 North Street in 2008 - this was the Wheatsheaf, altered in 1901[ date visible up high] & its garden 2009.

1906. A postcard has survived in Canada, dated 25/7/1906, sent to her at Stokesay Court, Onibury, Salop from a friend?/Edie? in Dunmow. This must have been where she was working, aged almost 18, as a servant at that time. http://www.stokesaycourt.com/contact.asp gives the history of this grand house. A film was made there in 2006 of Atonement, from the novel by Ian McEwan


1908. In October, 7 months after the death of her father, Topp sent a postcard of herself below to her aunt, Ellen, wife of Charles Robinson, her mother's brother. This gives her address[ where she must have been employed] as The Solent Cottage, Fawley, Southampton, but also mentions Pont Street[ which must have been the London address of her employers] . Here Topp is aged 20..


1911C. Living, aged 22, 3 Farm Street, Berkley Square, St. George, London with John, 36, motor driver & Louise, 41, Walker and their 4 children,: she down as visitor, [servant]domestic: almost certainly to the Walkers.

1911 census Florence Mead

Another postcard, the one below on right that says Topps aged 24, exists from Topp from Biarritz c 1913?. Need to find who has this [but could not find at Hazel's in Aug.2009 - maybe JK] to record "not bad for a 24year old"!? Biarritz had become very fashionable during the reign of Edward 7 1901-1910 - he apending long periods of time there.

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toppbiar .toppbiarFlorence Mead


Photos of Topp in Biarritz, some from her granddaughter Nancy, showing left & centre her employer & her daughter[ was she called Odette?, as Topp called her daughter Dorothy Odette in 1917: could she have been Odette Dorothy Hennes, born 1909 in St. Pancras, Belgian father a tailor, a French mother and elder sister Elisa born in France This Odette Hennes was living 126 Albany Street St Pancras in 1939, with a William Hennes & wife living in the same street. She, clothing worker, emigrated from Cowley, Oxford to Brisbane, Australia in 1949. Then, as Odette Dorothy Catherine Hennes, tailoress, she is at 80 Gt Buckingham Street, Redfern, NSW in 1949 electoral roll. Above probably with fellow 'nannies'.

1916 25 Sept 1916 Florence H Mead (known in the family as Topp), 27, of Great Dunmow, married W G Turner (living as a 14 year old in the Star Inn in 1901C - no relation to the other W G Turner who was my grandfather), 29 , shell turner in Munitions Factory, of Ponders End.. Married in Great Dunmow Church by banns. Parents were Walter Mead [deceased] and William Turner, both licensed victuallers. Witnesses were Louis Einon Jones & Alice Beatrice Turner [his ~24yr old sister] . Have seen the entry in original register held in ERO.

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They had two children - Dorothy Odette Turner , born 22/9/1917 at the Wheatsheaf , and William[Billy] Turner, probably born in Canada circa 1927??.


Her husband was still working at the Enfield Gun Shell Factory up to 1918. Their address there was 59 Southfield Road, Ponders End, Enfield. I suspect Topp & baby stayed with her mum for somewhile : she was still there in November - as the above birth was registered by her in Dunmow on 4/11/1917. Dorothy was baptised on 29/12/1918 in G.D. Church at the same time as her one year younger cousin, Marjorie Davies.


A wonderful glimpse of 1919 life! - Enfield certificate for 'praiseworthy ability' in looking after her daughter.

They emigrated to Canada soon after WWI, in 1920 - see lower down - and were[ up to 2011!] last heard of at 96 Erskine Avenue, Toronto in 1939 and Dorothy had just married and was expecting a baby. From the letter , obviously written to her sister Edie, Topp & Will had separated but had then got back together. But he spent the summer away, with the family: think this must refer to his employees family. Dolly's husband was out of work and the baby was expected in Dec[1939]. Billy was still living at home. Money was very scarce. Topp was obviously homesick from her strong allegiance the King & Queen. John Kettle has the original of this letter, plus the above photos. Jill, Bob & Ron Turner[Michigan] remember visiting Topp in the 1950s in Yonge Street? &/ at a farm.

Mead-topp-1939?. .

Topp,~1939, at her 2 roomed cottage with Ernest, son-in-law. He was Ernest Kingdon

1920. There is a passenger list entry for the family departing from Liverpool on the Corsican on 2 Jul 1920 and arriving in Quebec on 12 Jul 1920. On the outgoing passenger list at Find My Past they are listed as W. Turner (30), Mrs. F. Turner (29) and Dorothy (2) while on the Canadian passenger list they are William Geo. Turner,31, machinist, intending to farm, Mrs. William George Turner and Dora. Here is a link to the passenger list at Library and Archives Canada:

Search for death of Topp 1953 on, Will 1940 on, marriage of Dorothy 1937-1939? birth of Dorothy's child, Dec1939, a marriage of William, deaths of Dorothy & William. Have put a 'post' on a Toronto message board ,Jan 2009. And there is a Canada website Libraries and Archives Canada http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/genealogy/022-902-e.html , where maybe I could find something. From above letter: William still belonged to the Irish Regiment & was on duty on the King & Queen's visit and was saluted. And I think Dorothy's husband could have been Ernest S Kingdon[ he was registered at 96 Erskine Avenue in 1939].

June 2009. I spent 6 hours in Toronto. From the Reference Library ,Genealogical Dept. , Yonge Street, I found: a William G Turner was living at 3431 Yonge Street 1941-1956 inclusive. In 1941 & 1942 he was listed as on active service. 1943" emp John Inglis"; 1944 no emp. listed; 1945 "emp De Havilland Aircraft"; 1946-8 no emp.listed; 1949 "pattern maker Std Pattern": 1950 1954 no emp. listed; 1955-6"photo Gestetner"; 1957 address is vacant . 1940 someone else was living at this address. I searched the 96 Erskine Avenue address but he was not listed as living there in 1938-40:1939 occupant was Ernest S Kingdon: [different occupants in 1938 & 1940] so maybe Ernest Kingdon was Dorothy's husband??, as above letter says she, Topp, still lives with Dorothy. I concluded that William George was retired from the Regiment on his 55th birthday, early 1942, and maybe died 1956-7 . I visited The Mount Pleasant Cemetery off Yonge Street and no record could be found of his burial in their group of 11 cemeteries: they also searched for a burial of Florence Mead, but with no success.

BUT, new info. since discovering Dorothy's daughter, Nancy Kingdon, b.1941, below, in Jan 2011 - through her sister Cynthia -ironically, since she has a horror of seeing her own name appear on Google!! - doing a Google search for Ernest Kingdon!. For more details on the life of Topp's children see Nancy's story.

1920. She,31, husband, 33, & daughter obtained an Embarkation permit for their departure to Canada on the 26/5/1920.


2/7/1920 They travelled on the Corsican from Liverpool to Quebec, a journey of 10 days

c1930. Topp wrote, from 226 Roselawn Avenue, N.Toronto to her sister Pett in Essex. Letter discovered in Pett's daughter house in 2011. She thought this house was very nice, and it was not far from the stables- where Will worked. It also had a garage for Lizzie - was she their dog at the time?. She used to work for extra dollars, money obviously being scarce, as she found it too expensive to send parcels home too often, although she seemed to be given things[clothes] that she could have sent. They seemd to have moved recently from another place in the same road.

Also, after Billy was born, Topp made Dorothy look after him almost all the time[ due to her working? & maybe also being depressed - Dorothy told her daughter that she had to look after Billy, there was no saying 'no'].

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Photos of Topp & her husband Will & children Dorothy & Billy [sent from Nancy] c.1930 & 1937?-where?

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Her Yonge Street lounge, with good friend Jack Cutler. Will & Topp on Yonge Street porch . Topp -Will's flowers

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A depressed looking Topp with Billy ? 1928?

1936 Her daughter, Dorothy Turner married Ernest Kingdon. At the time of the wedding she was living at 2419 1/2 Yonge Street. In 1939 Topp & Billy & Will? were living at 96 Erskine Avenue in Dorothy's & Ernest's appartment..

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Dorothy and her husband Ernest Kingdon

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With Billy & Roger.On Dorothy's back porch with grandchildren. Roger & Nancy.Topp on her porch Yonge Street

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. . Topp & Bingo . . .. .. . . . . . . . . . 2010 photo of her 1941-1956 appartment

1941-1956. She & Will lived at 3431 Yonge Street 1941-1956 inclusive. In 1941 & 1942 he was listed as on active service. 1943" emp John Inglis"; 1944 no emp. listed; 1945 "emp De Havilland Aircraft"; 1946-8 no emp.listed; 1949 "pattern maker Std Pattern": 1950 1954 no emp. listed; 1955-6"photo Gestetner". Her daughter Dorothy and family moved into an apartment over a drug store at 3439 Yonge Street around 1943 where they lived until ~1952.  This was 2 doors up from Topp's & Will's apartment (3431).  So Topp used to look after her 2 grandchildren, Roger & Nancy, a lot whilst their mother Dorothy worked in an IceCream parlour. Also at this time she used to clean house for a friend, Jack Cutler, who "always around seemed to be when grandad wasn't".


In her Toronto kitchen with Jack Cutler

Observations about Topp, from Nancy." She was very good at telling fortunes using tea leaves  She also read Tarot cards.  No kidding, she really seemed to hit the information on the nose.  A bit of a gypsy.". 

c1948. She had a visit from her nephew Lionel Turner and family from Detroit. Nancy remembers this: "I really can close my eyes and picture grandma's kitchen the day grandma called us over to meet the Turner family.  I didn't stay long I remember - maybe 1hr.  Mom and me went over and I can remember a well dressed couple (of course they seemed to me to be tall people) and I'm pretty sure there was a girl maybe a couple of years older than me.  I probably was any where from 5 to 7 years old.  I never saw them again but that doesn't mean they didn't visit another time...perhaps I was in school when they came the next time."

1957. They moved out to Orillia, presumably when her husband Will retired. At first they rented the upstairs flat of their son Bill and wife Doreen's home.  It was quite quaint.  Then Bill bought a house about 10 km away on the outskirts of Orillia and Topp & Will moved into that place: one could say that this looked like a little old farmhouse. Their address was 220 James Street. Topp was not happy away from Toronto.Orillia Population 1951 -12000, 1961 - 15000.

Did the Turners from Detroit visit again?. Ron Turner has vague memories: "we did visit relatives at a farm or old farm house. Some old man was in a wheel chair".

wgt&dorothy . .

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Her house at Orillia and in the garden there with ?

1959 .21/6/1959. Florence Helena Turner died, aged 70, of bowel cancer,{Pett of breast cancer, Edie of ?? must find out] in Orillia, 21/6/1959. d.c? Her daughter Dorothy sent a letter to England to tell Topp's sister Pett of Topp's death: this was actually written by Dorothy's ~ 18 year old daughter Nancy, and this letter3 was found in 2011 in Chelmsford at Pett's daughter's house!




1966. William George Turner died 12/3/1966. Both are buried out at Orillia, photo above, where they had moved around 1957, their son Billy living out there. Topp was apparently very unhappy away from Yonge Street. Her husband returned to Toronto for his last year, living in one room not far from his granddaughter, the by then married Nancy Kingdon. To his daughter's dismay, he auctioned all the family possessions on his return to Toronto.

dunmow-stortford road mead-dunmow .crouches Down .

Postcards of Dunmow handed down from Topp in Canada

Future Research : When you- Nancy - go to Toronto, you will have to go to the library and look up the Electoral Roll - yearly - books there. Starting with 226 Roselawn Avenue, find which years - say 1929 - 1935? - William George Turner was living there, & that will also give his employer. Then go back one year and see if he is at another number in Roselawn Ave, as the letter implies.
Ditto for 2419 1/2 Yonge Street 1934-1938??- there 1936 when your parents married.
Also look for old photos.

Same in Orillia Library if they have the year books for 1957 -~1963 say?

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