We don't know much about William's life, even his father is a bit of a mystery - was he James Hill the gingerbread baker I wrote about in Week 21 or another James Hill who was also a baker ? The jury is out.
What we do know is that he was a shoemaker by trade based in the town of Tynemouth on the east coast of Northumberland. He was almost 40 when he married Jane Smith at St Hilda’s Church, South Shields on 11th May 1844. Jane was born at Moor Houses, Tynemouth in 1818, so was somewhat younger than her husband.
On the 1851 census, the couple were living in Camden Lane, Tynemouth and William was described as a shoemaker. This is where the following year, William (junior), their only child, was born. Ten years later in 1861 they had moved to Church Way, Tynemouth and William was a boot and shoe maker. By 1871 William, now 66, and his family had moved to Sunderland as on the census they are living at Sheep Folds, Monkweramouth Shore.