Male portrait placeholder image

Name: Frank Roberts

Burial Number: 1552

Gender: Male

Occupation: Articled Architect, Water Engineer, Borough Surveyor

Distinction: Borough Engineer

Born: 23/05/1859

Died: 23/12/1932

Buried: 27/12/1932


Heene Hallmark

Frank Roberts 1839-1932

Borough Engineer

Frank Roberts (Member of the Institute of Civil Engineers) was known as the man who created modern Worthing. As Borough Surveyor he pioneered the use of tarmac as a road surface in the town and brought fresh ideas to Council meetings. He was born in Chester, the son of Robert and Ellen and baptised at St John’s Church, Chester on 22nd April 1860. His father was a flour dealer and master baker. Frank was apprenticed to an architect and was qualified as a surveyor by 1891. In 1885, he married Mary Cowell Castle at St Paul’s Church, Chester. The couple lived in Tranmere and had a son Sydney. In 1897, Frank accepted the position of Borough Engineer in Worthing. The family moved to Madeira Avenue and then to Shakespeare Road. In 1914, Frank was a guest at the Lord Mayor of London’s luncheon to celebrate the re-opening of Worthing Pier. The council records show that in 1916, Frank earned £41 13s 4d with a cycle allowance of 8s 4d. Even when Frank retired, he still worked for the council as a consultant, such was their admiration for his work. Frank and Mary’s son became Master of Pembroke College in Cambridge. Frank died at his son’s home 37 Barton Road, Cambridge on 23rd December 1932. The local papers printed many tributes to him and his funeral at Heene was attended by many dignitaries. Probate was granted on 27th January 1933 to Mary Cowell Roberts widow. Effects £9184 16s 5d.

Researcher: Carol Sullivan

The Grave

Photograph of headstone for Frank Roberts

Location in Cemetery

Area: WB Row: 1 Plot: 45

Exact Location (what3words):

Ashes or Urn: Unknown



No description of the headstone has been added.


Frank Roberts M.I.C.E. born 23 May 1859 died 23 December 1932 and his wife Mary Cowell Roberts born 19 March 1861 died 13 October 1944 "Blessed are the pure in heart"

Further Information


Name: Frank Roberts

Gender: Male

Born: 23/05/1859

Town: Chester

County: Cheshire

Country: England


Maiden Name: Not applicable

Marriage Date: //1885

Spouse First Name: Mary

Spouse Second Name: Cowell

Spouse Last Name: Castle

Town of Marriage: Chester

County of Marriage: Cheshire

Country of Marriage: England

Information at Death

Date of Death: 23/12/1932

Cause of death: Unknown

Address line 2: 37

Address line 3: Barton Road

Town: Cambridge

County: Cambridgeshire

Country: England


DEATH OF MR FRANK ROBERTS Thirty five years Service to Town .



We deeply regret to announce that Mr Frank Roberts, M.I.C.E. water engineer to the Worthing Corporation and consulting borough surveyor, died at 3.15am on Friday morning at the house of his son in Cambridge.  Mr Roberts was 72 years of age. He was appointed Coal Controller to Worthing during the war, and also filled the office of Coal Emergency Officer in the coal strike in 1931. Mr Roberts, who lived at 23 Shakespeare Road leaves a widow. In 1897 he was appointed borough surveyor, a position which he held for 25 years. He relinquished this position in 1922. Owing to the rapid growth of the borough, and the immense amount of work which was involved in the two offices of water engineer and surveyor, Mr Roberts requested that the offices should be severed from one another. The Council accepted his resignation with great regret, stating that he had “discharged his duties with conspicuous ability and with the utmost integrity.” On his retirement Mr Roberts agreed to accept the position of borough water engineer and consulting borough surveyor. The present borough surveyor, Mr P. E. Harvey, O.B.E., was then appointed assistant water engineer and borough surveyor. The funeral will be held on Tuesday December 27th at St Paul’s Church at 2.15pm  and the interment at Heene  Cemetery will follow at 2.45pm. Mr Roberts was probably the best known man in Worthing. His long record of service to the town brought him into contact with all classes of  people, and in every quarter he was liked and admired for his courtesy, his friendliness and his ability.  No one has had a larger share in the development of modern Worthing than Mr Roberts. He was man of vision and a man who, what was more, had the ability to create the practical out of his visions. On every hand in Worthing there is evidence of his careful planning and his shrewd judgment of what a growing town like Worthing would require to best enable her to take her rightful place amongst rival south coast resorts. Mr Roberts loved Worthing; he gave her. through long years, the best that was in him, and his death will be mourned by every section of the community. The deepest sympathy will go out to his widow who. with her husband, took such deep interest in charitable causes in Worthing. It is unnecessary to enumerate all the organisations which Mrs Roberts and her husband have served, for indeed, there can hardly be one which has not had the advantage of their kindly support. “He had proved an invaluable officer to the Corporation,” said the Town Clerk. J. Kennedy Allerton, on Friday morning, “and it was hoped that his long experience would not have been lost to the town for many years”.

Personal Effects

Money left to others: £9184 16 s 5 d

Current value of effects: £420493.00

Census Information


No Trace of family


75 Brook Street, Chester.
Robert aged 47, flour dealer. Ellen aged 45. Louisa aged 21, shop assistant. Charles aged 17, baker. Frank aged 11. Plus 1 lodger.


8 Bold Terrace, Chester.
Robert aged 58, master baker. Ellen aged 55. Frank aged 21, articled architect. Louisa aged 31, wife of George Avery. George Avery aged 31, son-in-law, school officer.


48 Dingle Road, Tranmere.
Frank aged 31, civil engineer. Mary aged 30. Sydney C aged 4.


“Kilmorey”, Madeira Avenue, Worthing.
Frank aged 41, civil engineer. Mary aged 40. Sydney aged 13. Plus 1 servant


The Hamlet, Shakespeare Road, Worthing.
Frank aged 51, borough engineer and surveyor. Mary C aged 50. Plus 1 servant.


28 Shakespeare Road, Worthing, Sussex

First name(s) Last name Relationship to head Sex Birth year Age Birth place Occupation Employer
Frank Roberts
Male 1859 62 Borough Engineer & Surveyor Corporation Of Worthing
Mary Cowell Roberts
Female 1871 50 Devon Home Duties

Miscellaneous Information