Rehsif, Ablett & Co., outfitters


Street View: 86 and 18 Suppl.
Address: 37 Cornhill and 27 King William Street

Wiliam Henry Ablett, hosier, was made free of the City of London on 26 October, 1824, as “the fourteenth of fifty”, in other words: he had not gone through the usual 7-year apprenticeship, but became a freeman via the Company of Fanmakers by paying a fine of 46s 8d. Sun Fire insurance entries place his shop from 1824-1829 at 37 Fish Street Hill, but at some point before 1832 he moved the shop to 37 Cornhill. When son William Henry junior was baptised in May 1830, the family still lived at the Fish Street Hill address, but when the next son, Charles Grey, was baptised on the 1st of April 1832, the family had already moved to Cornhill.(1) A case of attempted theft from Ablett’s shop helps us to narrow down the removal period. John Wheeler, shopman to Ablett, caught a thief trying to put a silk handkerchief under his apron in June 1831.(2) The shop was then still in Fish Street Hill. The move to Cornhill must therefore have taken place between June 1831 (the theft) and April 1832 (baptism Charles). In November 1832, Ablett was assisted by his nephew John Lee Ablett who apprehended another thief who had walked off with six handkerchiefs.(3) At the Old Bailey, John Lee stated that William Henry was an outfitter and an advertisement in The Spectator of 1840 tells us that Ablett sold ladies chemises, night gowns, collars, and all kinds of shirts: made from calico or Irish linen, with linen collars, with plaited fronts, etc., and all cheaper if bought per dozen.

N. Whittock published a book in 1840 On the Construction and Decoration of the Shop Fronts of London and for plate 5 he chose Ablett’s outfitting warehouse in Cornhill, which shows lots of drapery in the windows, two swords as window decoration and something indefinable hanging over the counter. No evidence of any of the shirts Ablett advertised, however.

An advertisement in The Morning Chronicle of 22 April, 1845, tells us that Ablett had removed his business from 37 Cornhill to 27 King William Street, where he was to be trading as Rehsif & Ablett. According to the earlier set of Tallis Street Views, those premises had been in the occupation of Carpenter & Co., also outfitters. The shirts Ablett was celebrated for could still be ordered from the new establishment as all the patterns of W.H. Ablett had been preserved. An advertisement in The Times later that year, on 4 August, lists the shirts that could be bought. The range of items was the same as in the earlier advertisement, and all, as before, cheaper if bought by the dozen. But it was not to last. In October 1846, one H. Hurst, a publisher, occupied 27 King William Street, with no indication where Rehsif and/or Ablett have gone, although they may have shared the building for a while as Tallis’s Supplement was published in 1847 and he only lists Rehsif Ablett & Co. Who Rehsif was, where he came from and where he went is unclear, nor is clear what happened to Ablett. There is a suggestion that he and his family moved to South Africa and that he died there in 1876.(4)

But is this the Cornhill and King Willam Street outfitter? A William Henry Ablett did indeed die in South Africa in 1876, but the record that I saw transcribed his age as 22, although the original document is so mangled that it is hard to make out. If it says 82 instead of 22, then it is possibly our outfitter as he was born in ±1793. But, other records help us out. In 1880, Sarah Ablett, relict of William Henry Ablett, 80 years old, died of kidney failure in Durban. The informant who reported her death to the registrar is her son William Henry. Other Abletts who died in South Africa were Charles Grey in 1874 and James Potter in 1917. The latter died of pneumonia when he was 82 years old, but Charles Grey was only 42 years old and died in Pietermaritzburg of “suffocation caused by his falling into the watercourse in Boom Street when in an epileptic fit”. It would be extremely unlikely that another Ablett family existed with the same first names, so I think we may conclude that is was indeed the outfitter who went to Natal.

More on Ablett’s family history can be found in the Campbell Collection of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. They hold four files of manuscripts, typescripts, printed material, and photographs on the Ablett family. The first file consists of two accounts by James Potter of trading trips made from Lourenco Marques to Port Natal in 1871-1872, and to the Gold Fields, Eastern Transvaal, in c.1873. The other files contain biographical data and photographs. The record description given by the university tells us a bit more about the family’s journey to South Africa and their life in the new country.(5)

“William Henry Ablett came to Natal on the ‘Amazon’ in 1850 with 3 of his sons, William, James and Auther [mistake for Arthur]. His wife, Sarah, and another child, Charles, followed in January 1854 on the ‘Lady of the Lake’. The family farmed in various parts of Natal. James Potter Ablett was born in England on 31 December 1835 and came to Natal with his father in 1850. He was married to Rosario Winn on 10 March 1863 at Verulam. In 1867 he went bankrupt and had to sell his sugar estate ‘Kirkly Vale’. In the early 1870s he went on trading trips up the east coast from Durban and appears to have been based at Lourenco Marques for a time from July 1870. Later he went to Kimberley and Johannesburg where he worked as an auditor for several gold-mining companies. He returned to Durban in 1916 and died on 19 May 1917, two days after the death of his wife Rosario.”

The sons that came with their father to Natal were obviously the four sons born to William Henry and Sarah between 1830 and 1836 (see footnote 1). No mention is made of eldest daughter Sarah Ann, so she may have stayed in England, or perhaps she had died young as her sisters had, but I found no record of her death.

(1) William Henry married Sarah Potter in 1827. Their children were: Sarah Ann (1828), William Henry (1830), Charles Grey (1832), Arthur Wilson (1835), James Potter (1836), Emily (1837, she died in 1838), Isabella (1839, she died that same year) and Eliza Emmeline (1842, she died in 1852 at Park House asylum, Highgate).
(2) Old Bailey case t18310630-146.
(3) Old Bailey case t18321129-14.
(4) Suffolk Roots, v.17, 1991 via Family History Library Catalog online.
(5) University of KwaZulu-Natal, Campbell Collection, Ablett Family Papers (record online here)


<– 36 Cornhill
<– 28 King William Street
38 Cornhill –>
26 King William Street –>

James Corss, tailor



Street Views: 59 and 60
Address: 16, 25 and 49 Shoreditch

The elevations at the top of this post show the three shops James Corss had at the time when Tallis produced his Street Views: number 16 is Corss’s boot and shoe warehouse and numbers 25 and 49 are the outlets for his clothing business. From various sources, we can work out when each shop was occupied by him. He was often listed as of Holywell Street, but that should not be read as another address, but as an older name for Shoreditch High Street.
It all seems – and I use ‘seems’ deliberately, see further on – to have started at number 49 where we find him paying the Sun Fire Office insurance premium from 1816 tot 1839. From 1829 onwards, number 16 is added with a last mention for that shop in an 1845 street directory. From 1839 till 1844, we also find number 25 in Corss’s occupation, but numbers 16 and 25 were superseded in 1844/5 by the larger shop at number 63.

Insurance records also place him at 48 Chiswell Street from 1826 onwards, but that may have been his home address. We also find him at 15 New Bond Street in early 1832 and at 348 Oxford Street in July 1839, but it is unclear how long he used those premises. They may just have been temporary outlets.

James Corss said in the 1847 advertisement in Lloyd’s Weekly London Newspaper we already saw in the post on Josiah Luntley, that he had removed his “Great Emporium” to 63 Shoreditch. In the same advertisement he claimed that his business had started in 1807 on the site of the present terminus of the Eastern Counties Railway”, so most likely at number 49 where he must have been some ten years before he paid his first insurance premium. Number 49 was situated on the corner of the alley that led to Webb Square, which disappeared completely to make way for the new railway line and terminus. Tallis probably only just caught Corss at number 49 before the demolishing began. The Shoreditch terminus of the Grand Eastern Counties Railway was opened on 1 July 1840 (see here).

Horwood’s 1799 map with Corss’s properties indicated

The Webb Square area was a notorious haunt of “pickpockets, house-breakers and prostitutes”, at least according to the reverend Timothy Gibson when he gave evidence to the Metropolitan Railway Commissioners in April 1846.(1) It is therefore perhaps no wonder that Corss had to suffer several attempted thefts from his shop. He is listed several time in Old Bailey cases as the victim of small thefts. The records do not specify his address exactly, so are no use in determining whether he had always been at number 49, but they indicate that his shop was in Shoreditch. For instance, in 1819, when a pair of shoes were stolen, and in 1820 when a pair of trousers were taken, he is said to be of Shoreditch.(2)
The 1845 notice in The London Gazette about James Corss and Stephen Roberts dissolving their partnership as tailors and drapers already mentioned no. 63 as their address, so the move from 16 and 25 to 63 Shoreditch must have been made well before the advertisement in Lloyd’s Weekly London Newspaper of 1847.

The vignette street view in Tallis’s booklet shows two of Corss’s shops. Number 16 on the right, that is, the boot and shoe department which he ran in partnership with Tuckett and number 25 on the left, the tailoring business. It is quite likely that the advertisement Corss had in The Times of 5 December 1828 had something to do with the opening of his business at number 16. In the advertisement he is asking for a “smart, active, single young man” for a retail shoe warehouse. Also wanted is a shop boy. The first official mention of number 16 as Corss’s shoe shop is in an insurance record of February 1829. The 1841 census shows Charles Tuckett and his family at number 16. Was he the – by then married – young man of the advertisement who got promoted to partnership? It is just a guess. But the partnership did not last much longer as it ended at the end of 1841.(3) In the 1843 Post Office Directory, James Corss is still listed at numbers 16 and 25, without any indication that he was at that time in partnership with anyone else. The 1845 Post Office Directory, however, finds him at number 16 on his own, but at number 63 in partnership with one Roberts. Number 25 seems to have been relinquished and as the 1844 electoral register still has James for numbers 25 & 63, the change must have taken place in late 1844 or early 1845. On the 19th of February 1846, James Corss and Stephen Roberts dissolve their partnership with Corss to continue on his own.(4) The premises at number 63 were a lot larger than the previous shops, so James’s business seemed to have flourished.


63 Shoreditch

Although the business flourished, Corss’s personal life was less rosy. We saw him in the 1841 census at number 25 with his wife Mary Ann and children Maria (17), James (15) and Eliza (13). Young James was to work in the business and most likely destined to take over after his father retired. But James junior suffered from depression, feeling himself whole inadequate to deal with life’s challenges and one summer night he killed himself. He had been spending that Tuesday on business, buying goods at a warehouse in Wood Street. His father said at the inquest that he had not seen his son afterwards. But young James somehow ended up at an inn in Greenwich where he engaged a bed and wrote a letter to his father to explain why he could not go on and he then committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. Corss senior said that the delusions of his son had no ground in reality and that he had good prospects, but that he had suffered at times from great depressions. He was know to have disappeared before and that time he ended up in America. The verdict was insanity.(5)

advertisement in The Star and National Trades’ Journal, 20 March 1852

Despite this tragedy, James Corss senior continued his Great Emporium business at 63 Shoreditch and in the 1861 census wife Mary Ann is given as the head of the family; she is listed without an occupation. James is not listed, but his daughter Eliza, an artist, and his son Clifford are at home. Clifford’s occupation is not easy to read, but it is [something] & tailor, so he is presumably working in his father’s business. Another son, Charles William, had chosen another career and was, in 1844, apprenticed to a Law Stationer, Alfred James Waterlow. On his marriage certificate (1863) Charles William called himself a lithographic artist. There was another link between the Corsses and Waterlows as Charles’s sister Maria married one of Alfred’s younger brothers, Albert Crakell Waterlow.

Father James Corss died in 1863(6) and brother Clifford in 1864(7); Charles then gave up his own career to take over the family business. Mother Mary Ann died in 1870(8), but it is unclear whether she had run the business after her husband’s death, or whether it were just the sons who had taken over. The 1871 census lists Charles William in Brighton, but with the occupation “master tailor employing 10 males at 63 Shoreditch”. The 1881 census saw him at Southbrook, Croyden, as “clothier” without any further information, and the 1891 census as “retired woollen draper”, still at Southbrook. He died there in 1902.(9) In the 1860s, the Corss firm seems to have specialised in boys’ school uniforms. I have not found any advertisements after 1868, but since Charles William still listed the business on the census papers in 1871, they must have continued for a bit longer.

advertisement in Reynold’s Newspaper, 9 April 1865

49 Shoreditch: 1807?-1839
16 Shoreditch: 1829-1845
25 Shoreditch: 1839-1844
63 Shoreditch: 1844?-1871 or later

(1) Minutes of Evidence Taken Before the Commissioners Appointed to Investigate the Various Projects for Establishing Railway Termini, within or in the Immediate Vicinity of the Metropolis, 1846.
(2) Old Bailey cases t18190217-94 and t18200517-130.
(3) The London Gazette, 31 December 1841.
(4) The London Gazette, 20 February 1846.
(5) The Morning Chronicle, 24 August 1848.
(6) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1863. The estate was valued at less than £5,000. The executor was Walter Blanford Waterlow, another brother of Alfred. See for the Waterlow family here.
(7) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1864. The estate was first valued at less than £5,000, but later resworn as £9,000. The executor was Charles William Corss.
(8) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1870. The estate was valued at less than £1,500. The executor was Walter Blanford Waterlow.
(9) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1902. The estate was valued at over £14,000. The executor was a solicitor.


<– 17 Shoreditch
<– 26 Shoreditch
<– 50 Shoreditch
<– 64 Shoreditch
15 Shoreditch –>
24 Shoreditch –>
48 Shoreditch –>
62 Shoreditch –>

Thomas Milroy & Sons, saddlers and harness makers


Street View: 86
Address: 72 Cornhill

The 1794 Directory for London, Westminster & the Borough of Southwark lists Thomas Milroy, patent saddler, at 12 Tottenham Court Road, which was an address that lay outside the City of London, so he need not have taken up the freedom of the City, but in 1795 he decided to do so anyway via the Company of Saddlers “by redemption”, paying 46s and 6d for the privilege. The – slightly mangled – document in the archives has a note in the margin telling us that Thomas was the son of William Milroy of Whithorn, Galloway. The membership of one of the Worshipful Companies allowed Milroy to trade within the City and we find that he had a good motive for joining as the 1796 tax records for Langbourn find him in George Yard, Lombard Street, that is, within the City. He was to remain there till 1827.

Horwood’s 1799 map of the Lombard Street area

Thomas had married Sarah Fry on 16 August 1788 at St. Mary’s, Marylebone Road. The marriage allegation gives him as 26 years old and of St. Giles in the Fields and Sarah as 21 years old and of St. Marylebone. They had at least three sons who went into the same business as their father: John (freedom of the City in 1812), Andrew Haigh (freedom 1816), and William Fry (freedom 1825). Another son, Alexander (freedom 1820), became an insurance broker, and later a (wine) merchant. When Thomas moved from George Yard to Cornhill in 1827, his new business premises were, according to the Land Tax records, a lot more expensive in rentals. As you can see from the elevation above this post, the Milroys occupied a very substantial building, which, in fact, consisted of numbers 71 and 72 together, and, as Horwood’s map shows, it ran a long way back, all the way to Merchant Taylors’ Hall. The rentals for the premises in George Yard had been 100, while the Cornhill premises were 191 of which 30 was to be paid by the Merchant Taylors, as they apparently still occupied part of number 72.

Horwood’s 1799 map showing 71 and 72 Cornhill

Thomas never saw Tallis come round to elicit information on the shop for his Street View as he died in January 1837, 79 years old according to the burial record, although that does not exactly corresponds with the age he gave at his marriage. Either he was not 26 years old in 1788, but only 22, or he was not yet 79 when he died, but 75 or thereabouts. Whatever his true age, he was buried in the old vault at St. Michael, Cornhill.

trade card for the Milroys which probably dates from the late 1810s or early 1820s (© The Trustees of the British Museum)

The 1835 Electoral Register lists the Milroys: Thomas was by then living at 4 Finsbury Square; John is given the address of 72 Cornhill; and Andrew Haigh, Alexander and William are all listed at Cornhill, without a house number. John died in September 1838 and was also buried in the old vault at St. Michael’s. The 1841 census shows William as the occupant of number 72, but the 1841 electoral register listed him at 7 Finsbury Square, where Alexander also lived. Andrew Haigh was listed at Highgate. The three men had a share in a copyhold house at Muswell Hill, most likely the house where Thomas lived the last couple of years of his life.

advertisement in the Morning Post, 3 Dec. 1842

The Rolt saddle in the advertisement above was invented by John Rolt, who described it as “a saddle, so constructed, as for the pommel to receive the handle of an umbrella, through which means an umbrella may be carried on horseback, without any fatigue to the rider”. Most convenient against the rain, but, according to Rolt, even better in hot climates as protection against the sun. The saddles were “for the present only to had only of Messrs. Milroy, saddlers, 72 Cornhill”. (1) And one Charles Barter wrote in his 1852 book, The Dorp and the Veld, or Six Months in Natal, that saddles sent out from England were often “trash” and “the ruin of many a fine animal”, but that his was made by the Milroys “and was one of the best in the colony”.

The Milroys all seem to have lived at 72 Cornhill for some time during their adult life, as Alexander’s burial record – he died in June 1846 – gives that address for him, although he described himself in his will, dated 6 May 1846, as a merchant of 45 King William Street. He left all his possessions to his sister Mary Penelope.(2) By then, the next generation of saddlers had joined the firm. In July 1847, Andrew Row McTaggart Milroy, the son of Andrew Haigh, was admitted into the Saddlers’ Company by patrimony. His address is then given as 22 Poultry and Kings Arms Yard, but in the 1851 census he is living with his uncle William in 4 Sun Court, Cornhill, which was just a few houses down from number 72. The 1855 electoral register still saw the saddlers at Sun Court and Andrew Haigh at Holly Terrace, Highgate.

advertisement in The London and China Telegraph, 1861

William died in June 1856 and Andrew Haigh in June 1877. By then he had already dissolved the partnership he had with his son Andrew Row (in 1874), but his probate record still mentions 4 Sun Court and 1 Holly Terrace, although the notice in The London Gazette about the end of the partnership just mentions business premises at 132 Leadenhall Street.(3) The trade magazine Saddlery and Harness of 1899 tells us that the Dublin firm of “Messrs. Box & Co. have purchased the business of Messrs. T. Milroy & Son, carried on for such a long period in Sun Court, Cornhill, and more recently in Leadenhall Street, and have removed the same to Pall Mall”. This takeover had probably all to do with the death of Andrew Row who died 1 August of that year.(4) In other words, the Milroy saddle business had lasted for more than a hundred years.

The Saddler from The book of English trades, 1818

(1) Rolt on moral command, 3rd ed., 1842.
(2) PROB 11/2037/342.
(3) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1877. The estate was valued at under £600.
(4) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1899. The estate was valued at just over £2360. Probate was granted to widow Eleanor Rainey Milroy.


<– 73 Cornhill 70 Cornhill –>

Hetley & Co., glass shade warehouse


Street View: 85
Address: 35 Soho Square

The 1841 census saw Richard Hetley, glass dealer, at 35, Soho Square, that is, on the west side of the Square. Living with him are James, Henry and Frederick, and although the census does not specify their relation to Richard, nor their occupations, we know that they were his sons. Pigot’s Directory of 1839 just gives him as glass shade manufacturer, but he also supplied plate glass and the 1843 Post Office Directory gives his business as “wholesale glass shade, sheet, crown & patent plate glass warehouse”, which must have been a standard formula used by Hetley, as the 1847 advertisement in a horticultural book (see below) uses exactly the same phrase, and so does the 1848 Post Office Directory. Richard had been at Soho Square since 1835, but before that, he could be found at 8 Tavistock Street, Covent Garden, where he had a short-lived partnership in 1828 with Antoine Claudet, whom we have come across before. Richard could not be found in the tax records of Tavistock Place before 1828, so I turned to the baptism records of his children to see if they elicited any relevant information.

His eldest son James Hicks Hetley, named after his mother Mary Hicks, was baptised in August 1817 at St. James Piccadilly. Richard’s address is given as Coventry Street and his occupation as fishmonger, which is certainly a surprise. The baptism in 1819 for the next child, Henry, gives the same information, but unfortunately, the next three children were baptised years later, in 1835, when the family was already living at Soho Square, so no more information can be gleaned there. Sun Fire Office insurance records tell us a bit more, namely that Richard was already working as a fishmonger in Coventry Street in 1810 and that he continued to do so until at least 1820. Richard must then have changed his occupation from fishmonger to glass merchant between 1820 and 1828 According to legend he started his glass business in 1823, but I have not found any evidence for that date. However, later censuses tell us that son Frederick was born in 1822 in France, and I wonder whether Richard’s connection with Claudet had anything to do with the move to France and the change in occupation. What came first one wonders? In May 1835, glass dealer Richard insured 8 Tavistock Street, but in September of that year he insured 35 Soho Square, which gives us a definite year for the start of the Soho Square business.

advertisement in George Glenny, The standard of perfection for the properties of flowers and plants, 1847

Sometime after 1843, Richard must have entered into a partnership with his sons, as, from then on, the firm is called Hetley & Co. Richard is listed as retired in the 1851 census and living at Beaufoy Terrace. Son James is living at 35 Soho Square and Henry at 13 Wigmore Street. Frederick is still living at home, but had chosen a different career; he is listed as a surgeon. Richard died in December 1853 and was buried at All Souls, Kensal Green. In his will, dated March 1852 [mistake for 1853], he said that he felt his “health declining very seriously”. He left one third of his possessions to his wife Mary and the rest was to be divided between the children.(1) He makes no mention of the business, so whatever provisions had been made must have been made before his retirement. Despite the fact that sons James and Henry were both glass manufacturers, they ran separate establishments.

Henry at 13 Wigmore Street

advertisement for Henry Hetley, 13 Wigmore Street, in The Lancet of 1856

In a previous post, we saw that the front of number 12 Wigmore Street was covered in scaffolding and that the date for the building work was given as 1820 in Walford’s Old and New London (vol. IV, p. 438). That date, however, could not be right. Number 13, the house next to number 12, is clearly showing the name of Hetley, glass shade manufacturer, but in the Tallis Street View of 1839, number 13 was occupied jointly by Hopper, a sculptor and Daniell, a dentist. They were still there when the census was taken in 1841. Daniell could be found in Wigmore Street till 1843, and Hopper till his death in 1844. Only in the 1851 census do we see Henry Hetley appearing as the occupant of the premises, so he must have moved in sometime after 1844. We can date his appearance in Wigmore Street more precisely to later that decade as the Post Office Directory of 1848 does not yet list him. And from an Old Bailey case we learn that in September 1846, Henry still described himself as a glass merchant of Soho Square.(2) Hetley and his family probably moved in between October 1848 and April 1850 as the address given in the baptism record of daughter Ellen May is 71 Great Portland Street, but for the next child, Elizabeth, it is 13 Wigmore Street.(3) The Hetleys were certainly still there when daughter Kate was born in 1857, but by 1861, they were living in Islington.(4)

13 Wigmore Street. Part of an 1852 drawing by T.H. Shepherd (© The Trustees of the British Museum)

advertisement in Edward Walford, County Families of the United Kingdom, 1860

Just because Henry Hetley moved to Islington does not necessarily mean he gave up his business – the 1861 census still lists him as glass dealer (employing 3 men) – but by the end of the year, he dissolved a partnership with James Meers of Gravesend as sand merchant.(5) And although sand and glass are certainly related, an advertisement in The Times of 18 May 1867 tells us that Henry’s business has been removed to Soho Square. What the exact circumstances were is unclear. Considering the remark at the end of an 1851 advertisement for James Hetley & Co, “their only establishment in London” (see below), it seemed unlikely that the brothers had some sort of partnership in the years that Henry traded from Wigmore Street. Did James gobble up his brother’s business in 1867, or had Henry wanted out anyway and found his brother willing to take over the content of his business? We may never know.

The next census (1871) tells us that Henry is living at Auckland Hill as a manufacturer of stationary. In October 1872, he collared the thief who tried to grab the two umbrellas he had with him when he went for a spot of lunch, and in the subsequent hearing of the case at Guildhall, Hetley described himself as a manufacturing stationer of 19, Finsbury Street.(6) In 1881, he is living at Versailles Road as a printer and in 1891 as a wholesale stationer. He died in 1899 and his probate record has him as wholesale stationer at Versailles Road and 63 St. John's Square, Clerkenwell.(7)

James at 35 Soho Square

advertisement for James at Soho Square in Adams’s Pocket London Guide Book of 1851

Meanwhile, James continued to run the 35 Soho Square business and also branched out into stained window glass (see here for his involvement with stained-glass designer Charles Eamer Kempe). James’s business had always been the bigger of the two, and, already in 1851, we see him employing 6 men and a boy, while Henry only had 4 employees at that time. The Great Exhibition was an excellent opportunity to bring in more customers and James entered an advertisement in The Times of 14 January, 1851, informing “manufacturers and others who intend showing works requiring BLOWN SHADES or CASES, in either plate, patent plate, or sheet glass, that they are prepared to furnish them, either on sale or hire, of all shapes and dimensions”. And as proof of their experience in these matters, James mentions that all glass shades needed for the Society of Arts exhibitions were made by Hetley & Co.

The Times, 9 Oct. 1965

Subsequent censuses no longer tell us anything about the size of James’s business, but it certainly lasted a lot longer than his brother’s business and, in fact, it still exists, albeit lately as part of Pearsons Glass, following the collapse of T&W Ide with whom Hetley was previously associated, and no longer in Soho Square, but at Glasshouse Fields, Stepney. Because of the traffic situation, Hetley’s had already left Soho Square in the early 1950’s for Wembley, that is, after well over a century.

advertisement in The Church Builder, 1869

In 1882, John Menzies Salmond, the manager, became a partner in the business. A later member of the Salmond family, Christopher, is reported in the Soho Clarion (nr. 69, late 1989/early 1990) as saying that “his great grandfather was a founder partner in Soho Square in 1823”. If that is the case, there must be a family link between the Salmonds and the Hetleys, but I do not know which one. I have not found a marriage to support this claim and there must be many more generations between the managing director of 1990, who was a child in WW2, and the founder of 1823. What he probably meant was that his great grandfather became a partner in a firm that had been established in 1823. Yale Center for British Art has the original vellum Deed of Partnership between James Hetley and John Menzies Salmond as part of a small collection of Hetley records. They have a scrapbook and an account book, dating from the second half of the 19th century (see here for a full description). I have not seen them, but they may tell us a lot about the everyday activities of the firm in the 19th century. The Soho Clarion, by the way, has a very nice picture of some of the Hetley employees posing in front of the shop windows at 35 Soho Square (see here for their archive, look for number 69).

(1) PROB 11/2184/15.
(2) Old Bailey proceedings t18460921-1837. Hetley had his watch and chain stolen in Holborn baths.
(3) Ellen Mary was baptised on 27 October 1848 and Elizabeth on 5 April 1850, both at St. Marylebone.
(4) Kate was baptised on 6 May 1857 at St. Marylebone.
(5) The London Gazette, 10 December 1861.
(6) ‘Police Intelligence’ in The Observer, 27 October 1872.
(7) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1900. Probate is granted to his widow Cornelia and the estate is valued at over £2600.


<– 34 Soho Square 36 Soho Square –>

Louis Ferdinand Colas, box maker



Street View: 13 Suppl.
Address: 55 Fleet Street

55 Fleet Street was a large building shared in 1848 by Colas, box maker, Alfred Page, bootmaker, and E. Burton, tobacconist. A small alley led through the building to Pleydell Court and hence to Lombard Lane (Lombard Street in Horwood’s 1799 map). The entrance to the Court seems to be situated more towards the left nowadays, but that may just be because the new buildings of numbers 55 and 56 have not been rebuilt along the exact boundary lines of the old ones that stood there in Tallis’s time. The land tax records show Burton and Page as the property holders who paid the tax; Colas must just have rented some space from one of them, probably from Page as he had the larger share of the house and paid three times as much tax as Burton. Colas is sometimes referred to as a paper box maker or, more often, as a mill-board box maker. According to The Dictionary of Trade, Products, Manufacturing, and Technical Terms (1898), a mill-board box maker was “a manufacturer of stout paper or card-board boxes”, including “hat and bonnet boxes, pill-boxes, snuff-boxes, match-boxes, fancy-boxes, muff-boxes, linen drapers-boxes, etc.”

Louis Ferdinand Colas was born in Rémalard, Normandy, France, in ±1821, and was listed in the 1841 census as Louis Colas, a 20-year old French box maker, living at Lower Marsh in the household of Francis Moque, cheesemonger. This Francis Mouqué was officially called Francis Augustus Mouqué (also spelled Mougue or Mouque without the accent) and came from Ostend, Belgium. His wife, whom he married in 1835, was Susanna Marian Reid; she is called Marian in the 1841 census, but Susanna in the 1851 census. The same confusion of names occurred with Louis Ferdinand Colas who was named Louis F. in the census and other records, but more often just Ferdinand Colas. In the 1845 and 1848 Post Office Directories, Colas can be found at 55 Fleet Street as a box manufacturer and Mouqué as an engraver at the same address. At some point before 1850, Colas and Mouqué entered into a partnership and moved to 105 Cheapside. The 1850 Post Office Directory confuses the two addresses and lists Colas at both 105 Fleet Street and 105 Cheapside. Here again, they rented the property, as the Land Tax records show other names; in 1852 Messrs Smith (Simpson) and in 1858 Wilson & Morgan.

advertisement in The Mechanics’ Magazine, 23 March, 1850

The move to Cheapside coincided with an additional line of business as they not only produced fancy boxes, but also daguerrotypes. In The London Gazette of 1 December 1854, Mouqué and Colas announce that they have dissolved their partnership with Colas to continue the business at Cheapside. Mouqué had another change of occupation and is listed in the 1861 census as warehouseman of a shirt maker. He died in 1868. Colas seems to have concentrated on his original work, the making of boxes, and in 1865 removes the business to 57 Cheapside. However, a year later he is to surrender himself in a charge of bankruptcy and is then listed with the addresses 9 Westmoreland-buildings, Aldersgate Street, and 28 Hildrop Crescent, Camden. Earlier that same year he had been elected to be a member of the Freemasons’ United Grand Lodge, but if he thought that network might be useful to him, he was mistaken, as in 1870 he is once again asked to surrender himself to the Registrar of the Bankruptcy Court. He is then listed as of 32 Norfolk Road, Dalston and of 40½ Monkwell Street, late of 232 Fore Street and before that of 112 Fore Street. Fancy box making was apparently not quite as profitable as it had been.

The 1871 census still lists him as millboard box maker at 32 Norfolk Road, so he must have been able to turn things round to continue his business. He died in 1876.

In 1850, our box maker L.F. Colas of 105 Cheapside had written a booklet on photography in which he explained the difference between the French and the American method of polishing the plates and the composition of the accelerant used. In his text he refers to Mr. Claudet whom we have come across in this blog as one of the partners in the firm of Claudet & Houghton, glass dealers (see here). Daguerrotypy, or the Daguerro process, had been invented by Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre in 1839 and became a readily available method of photography until ±1860 when easier and cheaper methods were developed (see here). In the 1840s, a lot of people jumped on the bandwagon and started a Daguerrotype studio in addition to their regular business. It seems that Mouqué and Colas did just that.

Sliding box camera with Colas lens (Source: With grateful thanks for allowing me to use the photograph)

The publishers of Colas’s text, Lerebours and Secretan, were well-known manufacturers of optical instruments and photographic supplies and at some point Colas may even have learned the art of grinding lenses from Lerebours, as lenses exist with the text “L.F. Colas élève de Lerebours Paris”, although it is not absolutely certain that the L.F. Colas who worked in London was the lens maker (information from; see also here). It is even possible that he just imported the lenses.

advertisement in the Liverpool and Manchester Photographic Journal, 15 April 1857. As it says that Mander is the sole agent in England, it would suggest that L.F. Colas did not reside in the country, and that would indicate that there were two people called L.F. Colas, one in London and one in France

1853 book by A. Claudet and Colas. This edition also published by Lerebours and Secretan

Whatever the true involvement of box maker Colas with the grinding of lenses will, for the moment, have to remain an unsolved puzzle for lack of evidence, but that the box maker from France was involved in early photography in London is certain.


<– 56 Fleet Street 54 Fleet Street –>

Peter Whelan, coin dealer


Street View: 8 Suppl.
Address: 46 Strand

Peter Whelan, or Timothy Peter Whelan as he was officially called, announced his move from Holborn to 46 Strand in the issue of The Family Herald “for the week ending 31 January 1846”. He did not have this new place all to himself, as hatter John Holbrook was listed for the same address. Tallis listed a Mr. Read, trunkmaker’ at number 46, but the 1843 Post Office Directory gives D’Alembert & Morgan, hatters, although in a list of alterations too late to be included in the directory itself, their new address is given as 20 Regent Street. Whelan made a habit of moving. He probably had not been long at Holborn as he was not yet listed in the 1843 Post Office Directory, and he was not to stay at 46 Strand either. Already in the 1848 Post Office Directory he could be found at 36 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, but that quickly changed to 44 Great Russell Street (1851 Post Office Directory). In the 1856 directory he is listed at 42 Bedford Street, Covent Garden, but by 1859 he had moved once again, this time to 407 Strand. He shared these premises with Charles Goodman, a bookseller.

silver tetradrachm from the kingdom of Macedonia c.173-167BC, acquired from Peter Whelan (© The Trustees of the British Museum)

In 1847, Peter Whelan had married Eliza Norris and their son, Francis Edward, was born on 17 May 1848. In late December 1849, their daughter Alice was born. Peter died in early 1863 and was buried at Brompton Cemetery. His probate record gives his address as 18 Lisle Street, Leicester Square.(1) Eliza was named executor and she seemed to have sold the business. In an advertisement in The Athenaeum, W.S. Lincoln & Son of New Oxford Street annouce that they have acquired from the executor the copyright of Whelan’s The Historical Numismatic Atlas of the Roman Empire, a chart with coin faces, produced by Whelan in 1855. The business at 407 Strand was taken over by W.H. Johnson.

advertiseing coin for Whelan at Great Russell Street, Opposite the British Museum (Source: ABC Coins and Tokens)

Young Francis Edward was only 14 years old when his father died, so definitely too young to take over the business, but he later followed in his father’s footsteps as the agent for Rollin & Feuardent of Paris, dealers in coins, medals, gems, antiquities, and numismatic books. His name crops up in the collection of the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum concerning the Pitt-Rivers collection.(2) Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt-Rivers was an avid collector (see here) and was in regular contact with Francis Edward Whelan from 1886 onwards. Whelan not only supplied Pitt-Rivers with coins and antiquities from Paris, but also acted as a go-between for the making of a coin cabinet.

drawing of vase on back of letter (copyright S&SWM PR papers)

In 1892, Whelan supplied a sketch of a vase from Egypt he thought Pitt-Rivers might be interested in. In the early letters to Pitt-Rivers, Francis Edward’s address was 61 Great Russell Street, not far from his childhood home and still close to the British Museum. This is also his address in the 1881 census, but from 1891 his address is 19 Bloomsbury Street, although the British Museum give varying house numbers for Rollin & Feuerdent, see here. And the 1901 census lists Francis Edward and his wife Emma at 6 Bloomsbury Street. Whelan died in 1907 and William Talbot Ready took over the Feuardent agency.(3)


To conclude this post, a few reminiscences by William Carew Hazlitt about Whelan (1897). You can read all of them here.

Many have been the good turns, many the valuable hints and items of information, and many, again, the pleasant hours, which I have spent in Bloomsbury Street. There is a huge black cat there, which is very friendly with habitual visitors; it used to make a practice of squeezing itself into Sir John Evans’s bag, and remaining there, while he stayed.

At Bloomsbury Street is one of my numismatic libraries of reference, to which I have long enjoyed free access. The custodian is not only well versed in coins and other curiosities, but is a reader and a repository of much entertaining literary and theatrical anecdote. I know that I take more than I give; but Whelan now and again consults me about an old book or a continental coin, which he does not happen to have seen.

(1) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1863. The estate was valued at under £200..
(2) Reference: B448 S&SWM PR papers. The letters from Whelan to Pitt Rivers have been transcribed here.
(3) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1907. The estate was valued at over £1500.


<– 47 Strand 45 Strand –>

Deacon & Co., carriers


Street View: 87
Address: 6 Cripplegate Buildings

Deacon & Co. at 6 Cripplegate Buildings and the White Horse Inn at number 10 in the same street had a close link. The Deacons ran their carrier service from the yard behind the inn. As the elevation above shows, the entrance to the yard was below the neighbouring property at number 7. Cripplegate Buildings used to be called Cripplegate Street and was straddled by Cripplegate, the gate in the City Wall. The gate itself was demolished in 1760, but remains were still visible in the entrance to the inn yard, which used to be under the gate. The inn itself was just outside the gate and is already mentioned as the address for carriers in the 1637 Carriers Cosmographie. According to J.J. Baddeley’s Cripplegate, one of the Twenty-six Wards of the City of London (1922), the yard “ran along nearly the whole length of the north side of the City Wall (which was then standing), from Aldermanbury Postern to the site of the old gate, and had a considerable depth. It had a private entrance into Fore Street”. See for a picture of the gate and Horwood’s 1799 map of the area the post on number 1 (here). In 1770, William Deacon took over as carrier and the Deacon family ran the business till the 1840s.

J.W. Archer, Part of Cripplegate, with Deacon’s name on the green door (Source: British Museum)

The inn itself was listed for Elizabeth George at the time Tallis came round for his Street Views, but Daniel Deacon is frequently mentioned as an innholder, so he may have held the licence with others taking care of the day-to-day running of the inn. In 1830, for instance, he testified at the Old Bailey in a case of theft that he is “a carrier, and have two partners. I keep the White Horse Inn, Cripplegate”.(1) In that same case, John Scholes says that he is “clerk to Messrs Deacon and others”, so various carriers seem to have shared the administrative work and costs.

advertisement in the 1837 History, Gazetteer, and Directory, of the West-Riding of Yorkshire

In 1843, James Deacon testified in another Old Bailey case and he states that he is in partnership with his brother Daniel, but that they also have other – unnamed – partners.(2) And indeed, the Post Office Directories tell a complicated story of various partnerships. The 1843 directory, for instance, lists:
– Deacon & Archer, carriers, White Horse inn, Cripplegate
– Deacon, Dan. & Son, carriers, White Horse inn, Cripplegate Buildings
– Deacon, Mack & Co., carriers, White Horse inn, Cripplegate Buildings
But as we saw from Scholes’ testimony, more carriers used the inn yard, for instance in 1843, Joseph Bennell of Colchester.

advertisement in The Essex Standard, and Colchester, Chelmsford, Maldon, Harwich, and General County Advertiser, 9 March 1838

Scholes did rather well for himself as the 1848, 1851 and 1856 Post Office Directories list him as the proprietor of the business. He probably took over in 1845 or 1846 as the 1846 tax records still have Deacon at number 6, but Scholes’s name appears in 1847. Tax lists were usually slightly behind reality, so 1846 is a reasonable guess for the take over. By then, Deacon had already added number 7 to his business, as the two properties are bracketed together for him in the tax records. According to Baddeley, Deacon had carried goods all over the country, but with the advance of the railways, Scholes had to be content with the transport within London itself. That was not quite true as we shall see.

Two horses and a wagon from A new book of horses and carriages | The Rhedarium, c. 1784 (© The Trustees of the British Museum)

The 1861 census calls the White Horse Inn yard ‘Scholes Yard’ and lists Eliza Ann Scholes, head, as railway agent. John had died in 1859 and had left her the sole executrix of his estate.(3) In Mathew’s Directory of 1863, one Everard, carrier of Bristol and Bath, explicitly states that he forwards “goods and luggage daily by railway to all parts of the Kingdom; in connection with Mr. John Scholes, White Horse, Cripplegate, London Wall”. So, Scholes did not give up on the carriage outside London as Baddeley would have it; he just used the railways rather than horses and carts.

Baddeley says that Scholes lived in the house that had been Deacon’s in the yard and that they ceased trading in 1884. Not really, but the property in Cripplegate Buildings had to be vacated in 1878 and the tax records for 1879 clearly state that the houses numbered 6 to 10 had been pulled down and in 1880 they are given as “rebuilt”. After that, they were just listed as ‘warehouses’, so it is unlikely that the Scholes’ firm still used 6 Cripplegate Buildings, although they may of course have continued trading from the yard. When the 1881 census was taken, Eliza Ann was living at 228 Hoxton Street with three of her children. Her occupation is given as ‘carman’, but somebody did not believe that could be the occupation of a widow and ‘corrected’ it to ‘charwoman’. She died in December 1890 and her probate record still gives her as of 228 Hoxton Street, but also of Whitecross Street.(4)

The Whitecross address in Eliza Ann’s probate record tells us where the firm went after the Cripplegate Buildings were demolished. They certainly did not cease trading as Baddeley would have it and the 1902 Post Office Directory lists them as “Scholes John Lim. carmen, 5 Whitecross Street E.C.; Pavilion Yard 187 Whitechapel Road E & 228 Hoxton Street N”. Hughes’ Business Directory of 1921 has them as “Scholes John Lim 4 Whitecross St EC 1, & 75 Royal Mint st & 92A Cannon st rd E”. They can no longer be found in the 1934 Post Office Directory and the Whitecross address had then been taken over by Pope & Sons, cartage contractors. The London Gazette of 17 July, 1922, published a notice about a meeting of shareholders of John Scholes Ltd, instigated by the Chancery Division of the High Court, which did not bode well and, although I did not find definite proof, I think the firm was liquidated sometime after that. And that was the end of the carriers from Cripplegate Buidings.

(1) Old Bailey case t18300708-177.
(2) Old Bailey case t18430227-912.
(3) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1861. The estate was valued at under £2,000.
(4) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1891. The estate was valued at just over £5,500.


<– 7 Cripplegate Buildings 5 Cripplegate Buildings –>

Joseph Eglese, jeweller and watch maker



Street View: 7 Suppl.
Address: 30 Cornhill

In February 1842, Joseph Eglese of 13 High Street Aldgate, jeweller, bought the freedom of the City (by redemption) by paying £13.10.- and £5.3.6. The record states that he was the son of Edward Eglese of Southwark, deceased. Edward had died in November 1831 and was buried at Deadman’s Place, Union Street, a sure sign that he was a member of an independent chapel, although he had his son Joseph baptised at St. Saviour, Southwark, on 3 January 1819 (Joseph was born on 18 August 1818). In the 1841 census, Joseph is listed at Cheapside as a jeweller, living with one assistant, one William Middleton, at number 123 or thereabout. The census doe not give any house numbers and I am guessing the house number somewhat from the neighbouring occupants who, unfortunately, do not all appear in Tallis’s early Street View of 1839. Wherever he lived in Cheapside in 1841, it cannot have lasted long as the 1842 freedom record gives him at Aldgate High Street. He is certainly still in Aldgate in 1843 when he married Sophia Webster, but by 1844, he had moved to 30 Cornhill. The baptism of his son Joseph Henry on the 10th of November of that year lists the Cornhill address.

gold watch dated 1856 (Source: NAWCC discussion thread)

And that is where Tallis finds him when he collected the information for his 1847 Supplement. But, again, it did not last long and an 1851 advertisement lists him at 43 Cornhill, corner of St. Michael’s Alley. By then, he no longer lived above the shop as in July 1848, when his son Charles Edward is baptised, he could be found at 6 Scrubland Road, Haggerston, and in the 1851 census at 3 Tyssen Cottages, Hackney. He confirms this in an Old Bailey case where he states “I am a jeweller of Cornhill—I do not live there—my housekeeper and two servants live on the premises”.(1) The occupation of number 43 did not last long either, as already in 1852 Messrs Benson, late Eglese, are listed for that property in the Land Tax records. It was pulled down in 1855 and, according to the tax record, “was not to be rebuilt upon to be left as vacant ground to improve the entrance of St. Michaels Alley”. Around 1856, Eglese occupied 28 Cornhill.

1865 advertisement

Eglese also formed a – probably short-lived partnership – with William James Thomas in the 1860s at 136 Oxford Street. The partnership with James was dissolved in 1865 and Eglese moved to 28 Bishopsgate where he, and his son Charles Edward, continued to trade till 1880 when they went bankrupt. So far, a normal career with its ups and downs; even bankruptcy was nothing out of the ordinary – there were many cases heard each week at the Bankruptcy Court, but this time, something happened. A notice in The Police Gazette of 21 June 1880, tells us that Charles Edward had absconded and was suspected of stealing jewellery. That cannot be a coincidence. Did Charles Edward make off with the jewellery to avoid having to hand it over to the creditors? And did his father know beforehand what he was planning to do? Maybe not. They dissolve their partnership in 17 November 1880.(2)

The London Gazette, 4 June 1880

The Police Gazette, 21 June 1880

Jewel presented to Joseph Eglese as one of the 127 who brethren served as stewards at the inauguration ceremony of the second Freemasons’ Hall in 1869 (see here)

Charles Edward is next heard of in Australia, where he marries Emilia Wayland in 1887. But Charles was a wrong one and embezzled some funds from the Wollongong Harbour Trust where he had been the secretary. He admitted to falsifying the books and said he had expected a legacy and only ‘borrowed’ the money, fully intending to return it. In 1904, he divorced Emilia on the ground of desertion. You wonder why she left him, don’t you? The legacy he was allegedly expecting could have been from his mother. Joseph Eglese had died in 1883 and left his widow £925.(3) She died on Christmas Day 1886, but probate was not granted until 1893. Her estate only amounted to a little under £100 and the executor was daughter Sophia Elizabeth Bedborough.(4) There is, however, no indication that Charles Edward was to receive any of it.

The Standard, 15 September 1891. The Bedborough in the High Court of Justice case was no doubt daughter Sophie Elisabeth, but I do not know who Mackerell is.

And the shop at 30 Cornhill? The Submarine Telegraph Company had their offices there after Eglese left. Their history has been extensively researched and can be seen here. The STC just rented the space and the Land Tax records continued to list number 30 for Currie & Co, bankers, who also owned other property in the area.

(1) Old Bailey case t18640606-591.
(2) The London Gazette, 19 December 1880.
(3) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1884,
(4) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1893.


<– 31 Cornhill 29 Cornhill –>

John Wright, wine and spirit merchant at the Turks Head


Street View: 19
Address: 142 Strand

The Turk’s Head (with or without the apostrophe), opposite Catherine Street, had existed for at least eighty years before Tallis produced his Street View in 1839, and possibly even longer. Samuel Johnson and his friend James Boswell frequented the Turk’s Head as, for instance, on 22 July, 1763, when Boswell wrote, “at night Mr. Johnson and I had a room at the Turk’s Head Coffee-house, which he encouraged because the mistress of the house is a good civil woman and wants business”.(1) In 1797, the then proprietor, Anne Munday, went bankrupt, but not much else is known about her.(2) In 1832, an advertisement mentions the sale of the goods and stock from the coffee house and hotel. Mr. Bailey, the auctioneer announced the sale of more or less everything that was in the building because of the “very extensive improvements” that were to take place.

advertisement in The Times, 17 May 1832

Six years later, J. Wright announced in the newspapers that the premises had been “rebuilt and furnished at a very considerable expense” and were “now complete and ready for the reception of gentlemen and families”. Wright did not just expect customers from London; he also advertised in the Ipswich, Bristol and Liverpool papers with his coffee room, stock of wines, private sitting rooms and hot and cold baths.(3) The alterations had been many years in the making and the RIBA collection contains drawings of designs by the architect John Buonarotti Papworth, which, although certainly on the scale of the later building, do not quite match the depiction by Tallis, so either the design was changed, or Tallis made a mistake (see here for more pictures). Whatever the reason for the difference, it was a grand building and Wright must have forked out a substantial sum of money; according to John Timbs in his Club Life of London (1866) it had cost £8,000.

Designs for alterations to premises for the 142 Strand (Source: RIBA20732)

advertisement in The London Dispatch and People’s Political and Social Reformer 17 June 1838

The 1841 census tells us that J. Wright was John Wright, 50 years old, and living with him was Matthew Wright, 25 years old, as well as several servants, one of whom was George Blackstone who, in 1843, started his own business in Hull, the Tiger Inn and Hotel, calling himself “late manager of Wright’s Hotel, 143 Strand”.(4) Matthew was probably the Matthew James who was baptised on 29 August, 1815, at St. George in the East, as the son of John Wright, victualler of Radcliffe Highway, and his wife Hannah Colls.(5) The marriage of John and Hannah was not without problems and she seemed more than willing to carry on with one of Wright’s relatives who sometimes came up to town from Norwich. It all ended at the Court of King’s Bench with damages of a hundred pounds awarded to John (see here).(6)

advertisement in The Morning Chronicle, 1 August 1844

Robson’s Directory of 1842 and the Post Office Directory of 1843 suddenly changed the name of the Turk’s Head to Old Turks Head, suggesting that there was also a New one somewhere. Perhaps to end the confusion, from 1843, advertisements for Wright’s Hotel and Coffee-House started to appear. Another of Wright’s employees, William Fisher, turned out to have other ambitions than those of a mere wine-cooper. Wright had fired him in September 1843, although it remains unclear why. In December of that year, Fisher returned to Wright’s wine cellar in Hungerford market to force open the door and steal a pipe of wine (a cask of about 500 litres). He was found out and sentenced to fifteen years’ transportation.(7)

advertisement in The Daily News, 8 July 1847

John Wright died in early 1847, aged just 60,(8) and very soon afterwards advertisements started to appear for the sale of the content of the hotel. Messrs Warlters, Lovejoy and Son were to sell by auction the furniture, bedsteads, hangings, mattresses, etc. Although the advertisements for the sale in the newspapers do not mention it, The London Gazette tells us that the auction was “under an order in bankruptcy” and it is said that Wright had killed himself out of despair. He had become implicated in the Reay & Reay bankruptcy case as a bad debtor and had owed the Reays £31,000. Reays’ had allowed him the credit, because they thought that the 60,000 bottles of wine in Wright’s cellar could be used as collateral against the debt, but it turned out that the wine had also been pledged to other people.(9) In other words, Wright was filling one hole with another and was in deep trouble indeed when he died. The hotel building with the cellars were advertised as ‘to be let’. The place was quickly taken over by John Chapman, a bookseller and publisher from Newgate Street; his fate will be reported in a forthcoming post.

advertisement in The Daily News, 24 July 1847

Watercolour by John Wykeham Archer of the cellar under the George and Dragon Inn, Rochester, 1849 (© The Trustees of the British Museum). Did Wright’s cellar look like this?

(1) Boswell’s London Journal 1762-1763, ed. by F.A. Pottle (1950), p.318.
(2) The London Gazette, 4 March, 1797.
(3) The Ipswich Journal, 2 June 1838, The Liverpool Mercury, 8 June 1838, and The Bristol Mercury, 9 June 1838.
(4) The Hull Packet and East Riding Times, 30 June 1843.
(5) Matthew died in 1883, apparently a bachelor, and probate was granted to his niece Jane Cubitt Christall. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1883.
(6) ‘The Cuckold’s Chronicle’ in Rambler’s Magazine, 1 January 1822, p. 8-12 online here.
(7) Old Bailey case t18440819-2130.
(8) He was buried at Norwood Cemetery on 8 January 1847.
(9) The Times, 27 November 1845.


<– 143 Strand 141 Strand –>

George Biggs, Hope Coffee House


Street Views: 22 and 6 Suppl.
Address: 41 Haymarket

At some point in time, the Hope Coffee House must have moved, as an 1813 notice in The London Gazette situates it at the corner of Haymarket and Coventry Street, which was most likely number 38. Number 41, where an 1835 advertisement in The Examiner places it and where Tallis was to find it a few years later, is across the street and a few houses southwards. The 1813 notice names a Mr. Maddock as the proprietor of the coffee house, but the 1835 advertisement is silent as to who ran the business at the time.

advertisement in The Examiner, 1 March 1835

Pigot’s Directory of 1839, however, lists George Biggs, the one Tallis also names, as coffee house keeper at 41 Coventry Street. That seems too much of a coincidence, and I think 41 Haymarket must be meant. 1839 is also the year in which one Thomas Kraskowski assaulted Elizabeth Savage, one of the waitresses at the coffee house. He threw a cup of scalding hot coffee in her face, “nearly depriving her of her eyesight” as the papers would have it. It transpired that Kraskowski had come in on Saturday night 2 November, asking for a cup of tea. He had been a regular customer of the coffee house, and Elizabeth brought him his usual tea. When he paid for it with sixpence, she returned him three pence of which he pushed one towards her, saying “that is for you”, but as soon as she wanted to pick up the coin, he threw the tea in her face. When she screamed, other customers rushed to help and held on to Kraskowski, but not before he had thrown the tea pot through the window. Thomas said that he thought the waitress had brought him poison instead of tea. He had previously complained to his landlady that he felt ill because they had poisoned him in a coffee house in the Haymarket. His employer – Thomas worked as a wood engraver – would not bail him and he was committed to trial at the Westminster Sessions.(1) He was sentenced to 10 days in prison.

George Biggs did not stay for very long at 41 Haymarket and in the 1841 census we find Edward Payne and his wife Sarah there. Also living on the premises are one servant boy and five female servants, one of whom is Charlotte Savage, perhaps a relation of Elizabeth Savage who was maltreated by Kraskowski. Edward’s full name was Edward Wood Payne and he is listed as such in the 1843 and 1848 Post Office Directories The 1851 census just shows Sarah at number 41 with her daughter from a previous marriage and two servants. Edward is nowhere to be found.

Gliddon’s cigar divan in W. Hone, The table book: or, Daily recreation and information concerning remarkable men, manners, times, seasons, solemnities, merry-makings, antiquities and novelties, 1827

A notice in The London Gazette of 30 July, 1861, announces that the partnership between Hagop Manuk and John Tucker is dissolved. They had been running a “cigar and coffee divan” at 41 Haymarket, but it unclear when they started it. Tucker also ran a cigar and coffee house at 53 Haymarket in partnership with various people, at least since 1859, but he withdrew from that in 1862 (more on that establishment in the post on number 53). To give you some idea of what a cigar divan looked like, above a picture of Gliddon’s cigar divan in King Street Covent Garden, as there does not seem to be one available for the Haymarket divans of Mr. Tucker.

In the 1861 census, number 41 was occupied by one Henry with an undecipherable last name who originally came from France and described his occupation as “Café Grec”. Also living there were a barmaid and a female servant. In 1868, one Edward Jacob Anthony Mayer is declared a bankrupt and he is listed as “prior thereto of no. 41, Haymarket, keeper of a café and a restaurant”, but unfortunately the notice does not reveal when Mayer was working in the Haymarket.(2) In 1871, the premises were occupied by an unemployed clerk and his wife. No indication is given whether the coffee house/cigar divan still existed and whether the clerk just lived upstairs, so the divan story ends here.

Thomas Rowlandson, A mad dog in a coffee house, 1809 (Source: Royal Collection Trust, RCIN 810760)

But what happened to Edward Wood Payne and his wife Sarah? As we saw, Sarah was still at 41 Haymarket when the 1851 census was taken, but she disappeared from the records very quickly after that. The 1851 Post Office Directory skips from 40A to 42, suggesting a vacancy at number 41, nor can the Paynes be found in the alphabetical section. The 1856 Post Office Directory lists John Scott, coffee and dining rooms at number 41. What happened to Sarah and her daughter after 1851 is unclear. Edward was admitted as a private patient to Grove Hall, Bow, in late 1863 and he died there in April 1864 (more on the history of Grove Hall here). He was buried in Victoria Park Cemetery, Hackney, on the 3rd of May. Grove Hall was a lunatic asylum, but what ailed Edward exactly is unclear, nor have I worked out where he was at the time of the 1851 and 1861 censuses.

So, we have as proprietors at number 41:
< 1841 George Biggs
1841-1851 Edward and Sarah Payne
1856 John Scott
< 1861 Manuk & Tucker
1861 Henry ?
< 1868 EJA Mayer

(1) The Era, 10 November 1839.
(2) The London Gazette, 22 December 1868.


<– 42 Haymarket 40 Haymarket –>