Albert Arthur Toft was born on 3 June 1862 in Handsworth, Staffordshire, the fifth of the nine children of Charles Toft (1831-1909) and Rosina Toft née Reeves (1833-1878). His Wikipedia page gives his biography.
The 1871 census shows him as a scholar living at York Terrace, Lichfield Road, Erdington, Aston, Birmingham, with his parents and seven siblings: Florence Catherine Rosina Toft (1853-1926); Charles Lawrence Toft (1856-1937); Marion Blanche Toft (1858-1921); Ellen Elizabeth Toft (1860-1940); Edward Ernest Toft (1864-1902); Joseph Alfonso Toft (1866-1964) and Mary May Toft (1868-1944). His father's occupation was recorded as an artist (modeller).
In the 1881 census he is described as a potter's modeller, lodging at 46 Ashford Street, Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, the home of Thomas and Mary Potts. Mr Potts was also a potter's modeller.
Marriage registers in the 1st quarter of 1888 show that he married Alice Ellen Hockley (1861-1910) in Hammersmith and they had six children: Alice Constance Toft (1888-1960); Phyllis Eveline Toft (1889-1975); Albert Victor Vernon Toft (1892-1968); Edith Gladys Toft (1894-1975; Sybil Toft (1897-1982) and Phoebe Dorrit Toft (1905-1907).
When their eldest daughter was baptised on 23 January 1889 the baptismal register shows the family residing at 4 Park Villas, Ravenscourt, Hammersmith, but by the time of their second daughter's baptism on 9 April 1890 they were shown at 58 Ravenscourt Gardens, Hammersmith and this address is confirmed in the 1891 census that showed him as a sculptor residing there with his wife, their two elder daughters, together with a female domestic servant.
When their son was baptised on 7 September 1892 the baptismal register has their address as 41 Worfield Street, Battersea and when their third daughter was baptised on 27 June 1894 the address given was 64 Cromwell Road, Wimbledon. However the electoral registers for 1895 show the address to have been 30 Cromwell Road, South Wimbledon. Their fourth daughter's baptismal record of 14 October 1896 shows the family residing at 63 Coniger Road, Parsons Green.
London Directories from 1890 to 1902 show him as a sculptor and his brother Joseph as an artist at 11 Trafalgar Studios, Manresa Road, Chelsea.
Electoral register for 1900 and 1901 show him listed at 30 Charlwood Road, Putney and this address is confirmed in the 1901 census that shows him as a sculptor living there with his wife and their five children. His fifth daughter was baptised on 25 July 1905 and the baptismal register shows the family living at 87 Clifton Hill, St John's Wood. This daughter died, aged 1 year and was buried on 10 January 1907 in Camden. His wife died in early 1910 and was buried on 9 March 1910 in Camden.
Post Office London Directories from 1910 to 1915 show him at 87 Clifton Hill, St John's Wood and this is address confirmed in the 1911 census where he is shown as a widower and sculptor living in a nine roomed property with his five surviving children and a female general domestic servant. The census also confirms that he and his deceased wife had six children, only five of whom were still alive.
On 28 August 1916 he married Florence Elizabeth Emma Wicking (1880-1953) in the Lewisham Register Office. His wife had previously been married to a Reginald Williams.
Electoral registers for 1918 and 1919 show him and his wife listed at 47 Warwick Avenue, Maida Vale and local directories show he had a studio at 223a Portsdown Road, London W9 from 1920 to 1935. Electoral registers from 1935 to 1938 show him and his wife listed at 2 Randolph Court, Portsdown Road, London, W9. The 1939 England and Wales Register records him as a sculptor residing with his wife at 80 Marine Parade, Brighton, Sussex.
Electoral registers from 1945 to 1948 show him and his wife listed at 30 Abbey Road, St John's Wood, but the 1949 register shows their address as 30a Abbey Road.
Probate records confirm that his address had been 30a Abbey Road, St John's Wood, and that he had died, aged 87 years, on 18 December 1949 in a nursing home at 22 Downview Road, Worthing. Probate was granted on 4 March 1950 to Clarence Stanhope Harding, an artist, and to John Bryning Richardson, a consulting engineer. His effects totalled £16,367-18s-2d.
He is commemorated as 'Albert Toft Sc' on both the Royal Fusiliers (City of London) war memorial in Holborn, London, EC1 and the City and Midland Bank war memorials at 8 Canada Square, London, E14.
We are grateful to Carson Barnes who in 2023 pointed out our error when we had described Florence as Toft's daughter when in fact she was his second wife. Now corrected.
Credit for this entry to: Andrew Behan.