We have a collection of family papers, personal letters and postcards relating to the Stevens family. Amongst this collection is a postcard of Eversfield Chest Hospital. On the back of the postcard are simply the words “Edmund Stevens died here 1915”. I was intrigued to find out more. Fortunately, the collection itself has a number of items that help tell the story.
Edmund George Stevens was born on 24 September 1880 to parents John and Sarah Stevens (nee Brown) of 132 Coleman Street. His father was a key smith. He appears to have gone to school in London, as there are items among the collection that seem to suggest this, including a Regular Attendance card issued by the School Board for London. By the 1901 census, the now 20-year-old Edmund is a locksmith, living with his parents at 215 Hordern Road, together with his sister Sarah and his adopted sister Adeline Chitty.
As well as the postcard of Eversfield Hospital, there is also an earlier postcard, address to J. Stevens of Gladstone Villa, Hordern Road, which states the following:
I am glad to say I am still improving but the Doctor sead [sic] that I had better stop 4 weeks longer.
Although it is unsigned, I presumed that this postcard came from Edmund. This was backed up by the fact that it is postmarked St Leonards-on-Sea, in Sussex, which is where the Eversfield Chest Hospital was based. Unfortunately, Stevens apparently took a turn for the worse.
According to the material in the collection, Edmund Stevens died on 23 April 1915, although I have not been able to find a record of his death on the GRO index. I had assumed that Edmund’s death in 1915 was related to activities in the War, but I have not been able to find any military record for him, and he does not appear on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site. This indicates that there may not have been a link to the War after all. The patient admission records for Eversfield Hospital do not appear to have survived for this period, so we may never know exactly what happened to Edmund Stevens.