Emigrants to England

1881 Census data. Click to enlarge. Details on Frequency & Distribution page

Migration from Scotland to England was not nearly such a big step as migrating overseas, especially through the 19th Century, when going overseas was an undertaking with no expectation of return. To England, the journey was relatively easy and one could always hope to return. One can even argue that since England and Scotland were part of the same United Kingdom after 1707, it was not really emigration, but Ah dinnae hink th’ Scots fa emigrated wid agree!

The records in Syd Lobban’s trees indicate that some 35 Lobban/Loban men and women emigrated to England before the First World War. Many went as young men or women and married English people, in contrast to emigrants going to the USA and Canada, who included many families.

There follows a look at the Lobban and Loban families who settled in England, with emphasis on those living there about the time of the 1881 Census. If your family’s story is not here and you think it should be, or if you want to correct or add to what is here, please contact me: lobban (at) one-name.org.

In 1881, most of the Lobbans in England were either in London or Tyneside. The attraction of London as a place to seek work is obvious. The attractions of Tyneside were its proximity to Scotland and a booming shipbuilding industry.  At that time the south side of the Tyne was in County Durham and the north side in Northumberland. (No-one appears in Durham in the 1881 Census map (above) because Alexander (1842) had temporarily gone back to Scotland, Alexander (1847) did not arrive until 1883, and Donald had temporarily gone to Northumberland.)


Alexander Lobban (1842–1918) from Loanend, Huntly, first went to England after he was accused of fathering a child with Ann Harper in 1867 (see NPE’s page). In Sunderland, Durham, he met and married Isabella Smith and they had two children there before moving to Scotland (they were in Inverkiethney at the 1881 Census with an 11-month old born in Sunderland). By 1892 they were back in Sunderland, and he and Isabella both died there. This Alex Lobban was a house joiner (i.e., making cabinetry for houses, not ships). His son, James Lobban, boiler driller, and family were living in Sunderland during the 1901 and 1911 Censuses. (Tree.)

Donald Loban (1840–1903), born in Knockbain, Black Isle, was working in Hebburn at the 1871 Census as a Ship’s Plater and married Mary Jane Whelan from Newcastle. Donald was a Highland Loban whose family name had not changed to Logan, but in Tyneside he took to spelling it Lobban. Their first child was born in Hebburn (Elizabeth, ca. 1873), and the next two nearby in Jarrow  (John W., ca. 1875 and Maria J, ca. 1880). At the 1881 Census the family was living in Cowpen, Northumberland, but in 1891 and 1901 they were back on Tyneside in South Shields. Donald died in 1903 in Ahoghill, Ballymena, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, aged 63, no indication of why he died there. Donald and Mary Jane had several boys but only John W. survived to adulthood and both his children also died in infancy, so that this line “daughtered out.”   (Tree)

Alexander Lobban (1847–1903) from Knabbygates, Rothiemay, first went to England as a freshly accepted Presbyterian missionary, where he served in Bermondsey, London. He was also a joiner. There he met and married a Scottish girl, Annie Talbert, from Drumblade. Their first son was born in Kingston-on-Thames (James Talbert Lobban, torpedoed in 1941, see WW2), then they moved to Glasgow. A second son, Alexander Lobban (1877–1949) and a daughter who died young were born there before Annie herself died in 1880, of TB. Alexander left the two boys temporarily with his mother-in-law in Insch, and went back to England to continue his mission work. In 1883 he was ordained and appointed minister of the Presbyterian church in Hebburn, Tyneside, Durham. He married a London girl,  Alice Mary Bean and they had six girls and two boys.  Some of the boys worked in the shipyard as joiners, boilermakers and plate layers. Many of Rev. Alex’s children stayed in Durham, but young Alexander moved to Southampton before 1911 and William Herbert Lobban (1893–1942), who had been a joiner in the shipyard before enlisting in the Army in 1912 and surviving WW1, emigrated to New Zealand in 1922. (Tree.)

Rev. Alexander Lobban ca. 1883. Photo was published in The Presbyterian but appears to have been supplied by the family.

The story of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Hebburn, gives some inkling into the community, which at the time was essentially a Scots-Irish colony sometimes referred to as “Little Aberdeen”:

Andrew Leslie’s father [a displaced Shetlands crofter] moved to Aberdeen, and his son was apprenticed to a boilermaker. When his employer died, Andrew took over the running of the business. Hearing tales of a booming Tyneside from collier ship crews, Andrew set off for the Tyneside town [of Hebburn] in 1853, aged 34. He set up a shipyard, and built hundreds of houses for his workers, many of whom had followed him from Aberdeen, bringing their Presbyterian religion with them. Andrew Leslie who, having established his shipyard, built his workers’ houses and provided rooms for a school, was approached for advice by a deputation as part of a movement to build a Presbyterian church. He proposed that if the congregation could raise £1,500, he would match the sum. Eventually, the church cost £10,000, with Andrew meeting most of the cost. Andrew Leslie opened the church on April 25, 1873. (source) (see also Lumsley’s book about the church history)

St Andrews Church, Hebburn, ca 1918 and 2018, courtesy of Norman Dunn, www.oldtyneside.co.uk.

These photos are also interesting in reflecting the conditions of the times: although made of tan sandstone, the buildings soon became black with grime.  They were cleaned by sandblasting in the 1970s.


James Lobban (1852–1930), born in Auchindoir & Kearn, Aberdeenshire, to John Lobban (1829–1891)=Margaret Gauld, was a tailor. He married Helen Simpson in Alford, Aberdeenshire on New Year’s Day 1878, and in the 1881 Census was working in Old Machar, Aberdeen. Between then and the 1891 Census he moved to Newcastle-on-Tyne. In 1901 they were in Elswick, Northumberland, but by 1911 were back in Newcastle, where he died in 1930. James and Helen had  two sons, who both gave them grandsons in Newcastle, and four daughters. (Tree.)


George  Lobban (1822–1861) was a draper, born in Keith, Banffshire.  He was still in Keith in 1841, but in the 1851 England Census was at 256–262 Regent Street, St James, Westminster, London.  He married Alice Mary Blyth of Birmingham in Kensington, London in 1855. His family continued through his son George Grant Lobban (1852–1909) and grandson George Alexander (1909–1986) but the latter’s children dispersed from London. We have not found George G. in the 1881 Census, but George’s other son, Alexander Harper Lobban (1855–1934) [not Alexander Harper Lobban (1867–1949)] was recorded in the 1881 Census living with his mother and stepfather and working in the H.M. Registration Patent Office. He married Elizabeth Grinslade in 1887; their only son died in infancy.  In 1895 he was promoted to Superintendent of the Patent Office Sale Branch (source). His probate record shows that he earned an O.B.E.  (tree) (external reference)

Robert Alexander Taylor Loban was born about 1853 in Kirktown of Skene, Aberdeenshire and married Christina Murray Forbes in 1853 in Inverbervie, Kincardineshire and their daughter Fanny Tevendale Taylor Loban was born there in 1873. However, in 1876 he married Grace McLean of Woolwich,  and was in London during the 1881 Census, listed as a General Exporter and Agent. We do not know what happened to Christina, but presumably she died. In 1881 Robert’s household included the following additional children: Gustavus Taylor Loban, Son & Scholar aged 3 from Middlesex (abt 1878), Eleanor Taylor Loban, aged 2, born St Pancras (abt 1879), and Grace Taylor Loban, aged 1yr from Islington (1880); as well as  Annie [Fowler] Loban, Robert’s mother & housekeeper.  One more daughter was born in 1883.  A Calendar of Prisoners tried at the Assizes of Middlesex Criminal Court, in December 1881, records that 3 men named Charles A. Noble, George Wood & Robert Loban, were charged with “Unlawfully Conspiring & Agreeing together to obtain by false pretences from John Evans, a clock with intent to defraud. Also obtaining by false pretences 1 bag from Joseph Underwood Morton, and from George Henry Clark £9-10s., and from John Bradbury £10, and from Charles Newbury £20-10s & 6d–in each case with intent to defraud.” Grace died in 1883. Robert married Charlotte Mary Dewbury in London in 1892 and she bore him a son, Robert Alexander (1901– ) and a daughter. Robert A. was the only son to marry and have children, as Gustavus was killed in a flying accident during World War I (see WW1). Gustavus attended the London School of Economics and at the 1911 Census was a Civil Servant – Valuation; he hyphenated his name to Taylor-Loban.  (Tree.)

Besides these two families, there were three Lobbans living in London at the 1881 Census: two unmarried women working as domestic servants (Barbara Lobban, age 41 from Huntly, Aberdeenshire [tree], and Sarah Lobban, age 25, from Udny, Aberdeenshire [tree]), plus Alexander Lobban (later Rev.; see Tyneside, above). Alexander was living in digs in Bermondsey, after the death of his first wife.  Barbara married a Londoner and stayed, but Sarah returned to Scotland.

David Lobban (b. 1857, Edinkillie, d. 1944), m. Sarah Donaldson (but not until 1902), emigrated to London about 1890. They had 5 children before they married. Of their four boys, only the first-born seems to have married. David John Donaldson Lobban (1889–1969) was born in Udny and seems to have grown up with his mother’s family in Wester Tearie, Dyke, Forres, Scotland, but joined his mother and father in London some time after 1911.  He married Edith M. Gordon in 1922 in Willesden, Middlesex (London), and died in Brent, Middlesex. We have not found records of any children born to them. (Tree.)

William Douglas Loban (1842–1917), born in Abernethy & Kincardine, Inverness, was a commercial clerk. He married Maud Mary Browne in Islington, London, in 1887 and continued to live there until his death. By that time his sons and one grandson were also dead. Of all their children (they had 5 girls and 2 boys), only Maude Mary Clara Loban (1885–1977; m. Henry Edwards) lived a long life. (Moray Lobbans; Tree.)

Beccles, Suffolk / Whittlesford, Cambridge

John Lobban (1857–1949), born in Huntly, joined the Royal Artillary in London in 1879, after spending several years in the merchant navy and sailing to the Far East. His enlistment papers described him as  5ft 7ins tall, 38inch chest, blue eyes, sandy hair, weighing 10 st 9 lbs,  Presbyterian. He was found medically fit for a posting to Ceylon, and served 6 years there before being posted on to Singapore. He was finally posted back home to the UK on 17 March 1888 after almost 9 years overseas (with no home leave). He then served a further 5 years in the UK. He was discharged in Greater Yarmouth. His intended residence on discharge, was c/o Mrs Elizabeth Grace Ellwood, Northgate Street, Beccles, Suffolk, whom he married in June 1893. In 1901 he was working as a boilermaker in Beccles, but his grandnephew told us that John often worked  on the herring trawlers when other work was scarce. They had three sons, of whom Clifford John Lobban was killed in WW1 in April 1918. Probably later that year, John and Grace moved to Swallow Farm at Whittlesford, Cambridge, where he took on the transport of gravel, etc. for the construction of Duxford Airfield, while Grace  took in NCO’s wives as lodgers in her home & navvies in their hay loft. [Duxford airfield dates to 1918 when many of the buildings were constructed by German prisoner-of-war labor.]  John and Elizabeth were still living in the South Cambridge Rural District at the time of the 1939 England & Wales Register, but their grandchildren had dispersed. One of his granddaughters was British physiologist Dr. Mary Constance Cecile Lobban (see Public Eye). (Tree — Marnoch Area Lobbans)

Preston, Lancashire

Archibald Lobban of Deskford, Banff. (1817–1866) enlisted in 92nd Gordon Highlanders on 27th July 1835 aged 18 years but soon transferred to the 3rd Royal Lancashire Militia, based in Preston. He was posted to West Indies 27th Jan 1842; to Aberdeen on 17th Feb 1844. In 1845 he had an illegitimate son John Lobban (bapt. 1850) by Elizabeth Mary Ann Gordon Munro. In 1846 he married Elizabeth Morrison in Edinburgh. He was posted to Killeshandra, Ireland 1847, to Corfu 20th March 1851, and to Gibraltar on 16th April 1853, and one child was born in each of these places, so evidently Elizabeth traveled with him. The RL Militia page notes that at the time of the Crimean War (1854-1855), “There was a requirement to replace the Regular battalions sent to the Crimea, and all Lancashire Militia Regiments volunteered for foreign service. In June 1855 the Preston-based 3rd Regiment sailed from Liverpool for Gibraltar where they carried out garrison duties for 12 months.”   Archie’s family returned to Aberdeen from Gibraltar on 27th August 1855. At the 1861 Census, the family was together again in Preston, residing at The Militia Stores, Newhall Lane, Fishwick, Archibald now a Staff Sergeant. The children were listed as:
    Dau Margaret Lobban, aged 12, Scholar from Ireland (abt 1849);
    Son James Leslie Lobban, aged 9, Scholar from Corfu (abt 1852);
    Dau Mary A Lobban, aged 7, Scholar from Gibralter (abt 1854);
    Son William Lobban, aged 4, Scholar from Preston, Lancs (abt 1857);
    Dau Elizabeth Lobban, aged 1, from Preston, Lancs (abt 1860).
Archibald died in Preston in 1866, aged 49, and by the 1881 Census, the family was in a private residence and the children all working in cotton spinning and weaving.  There were also two grandsons living with them, children of daughter Margaret and her uncle Robert. Unlike Archibald’s illegitimate son, who was given his father’s surname, these grandchildren were both named Lobban but the fatherline is Morrison. As far as we can tell, Archibald’s grandchildren were all girls, and Margaret’s two children did not have children, but we  know nothing about his son with Eliz Munro beyond 1861 when he was a 15-year old step son in the Munro family. (William & Bathia Tree; Rothiemay Area Lobbans)

The 1881  statistics from britishsurnames.com indicate two Lobans in Yorkshire, but one of these was clearly written as Logan in the Census (electronically transcribed as Loban), and I cannot find the other one. I have therefore revised my map to show no records for Yorkshire.

By the time of the 1939 England and Wales Register, there were 9 Lobans and about 110 Lobbans scattered around England. (Spreadsheet)


Page by Christopher S. Lobban, based on information in Syd Lobban’s Collection of Trees, posted 13 Jan. 2019, revised 23 Jan.