John Dyer was born on 25 January, 1842 in Nine Elms, Battersea, Surrey, to John Dyer (1809 – 1849) and Kezia Bedding (1816 – 1859). He survived the cholera outbreak caused by the Vauxhall Water Works in 1849, however his parents did not, and both died after contracting Cholera.
Following his parents death, John resided at the North Surrey Industrial School at Anerley, Upper Norwood, Surrey, which had opened in November 1850, following establishment of the North Surrey School District on 5 April 1849. An account of the school in the Illustrated London News reported:
NORTH SURREY INDUSTRIAL SCHOOLS, AT ANERLEY, SURREY.
This establishment will be strictly industrial, and no pauper officers or servants will be allowed on the premises. There are three large school and class-rooms, with apartments for school mistresses, school and trade masters, for steward, matron, other officers, and domestics; with dining-room, chapel, chaplain’s room (for examining and instructing the children), board-room, cutting-out, work and store-rooms; two receiving wards, with clothes-rooms and baths attached; two kitchens, scullery, servants’ hall, and private rooms; bakery, larders, six lavatories, two plunging and other baths; a separate laundry building, with drying, ironing, mangling, and mending rooms; likewise a detached infirmary-building, containing eight wards, nurses’ day and night-rooms, surgery, kitchen, washhouse, and laundry. There are also bailiff’s house and offices, dairy, cowhouses, and other farm buildings; likewise large gardens; so that the boys will be instructed in trades, farming, and gardening, and the girls in dairy-work. The buildings are to be heated thoroughly throughout by hot water, and thoroughly ventilated by flues and shafts. The boys’, girls’, and infants’ departments are quite distinct; and all the servants in the house are to be women, to allow the girls to be taught baking, cooking, and house-work, and the whole is considered a model for other districts.
The 1851 Census shows him as an inmate at the North Surrey Industrial School, Penge, Croydon, which is the school stated above.
By the time of the 1861 Census, John had left the school and had gained employment as an Engineer’s Labourer, and he was a Lodger living at 3 Southampton East, Lambeth.
John married Mary Ann Winton (1845 – 1915) at St Barnabas, South Lambeth on 28 October, 1868. At this time he was resident at Simpson Street, Lambeth and was employed as a Railway Fireman.
John and Mary Ann’s first son was born on 27 July 1869, in Lambeth, Surrey and John William George Dyer was baptised on 19 September, 1869 at St Barnabas, South Kennington. At the time of the baptism, the family was living at 2 Georges Cottages, Simpson Street, and John was employed as an Engine Driver.
By 1871, as shown in the 1871 Census, John was employed as a Railway Engine Driver, and was living with Mary Ann and his first son John William George in Simpson Street.
Between the Census’s of 1871 and 1881, John and Mary Ann had five more children, who lived to the 1881 Census:
Alice Maud Dyer 1871 – 1942
Edward Dyer 1873 – 1954
Frederick Joseph Dyer 1875 –
Emmanuel Dyer 1878 – 1951
Florence Dyer 1881 –
The 1881 Census shows the entire family to be living at 13 Hartington Street, South Lambeth, and John was employed as an Engineman on the Railway.
In 1883 John and Mary Ann had the last of their seven children, Martha.
On 12 July 1884, John died due to injuries he received when he was struck down and run over by an engine in transit. At the inquest held by William Carted, Coroner for Surrey on 15 July 1884, evidence was given such that;
The deceased left London by the Southampton train on Saturday. On the arrival of the Basingstoke train at Surbiton the driver saw the deceased enter one of the carriages. As the train approached Queen’s-road Station the driver was signalled to stop, to allow the Windsor up train to pass. Soon afterwards the deceased was observed walking along the 6ft. way. The engine was again started, and just as it reached the deceased he appeared to stumble, and immediately after he fell into the 4ft. way. The wheels of the whole train passed over him. The Jury returned a verdict of accidental death.
On 9 August 1884, following probate John’s estate of £282 17s 7d was granted at the Principal Registry to Mary Ann. (This would have included the house at 13 Hartington Street, South Lambeth).