William Witcomb, tailor


Street View: 88
Address: 54 Moorgate Street

William Witcomb started his career in the City of London in 1828 when he was made free of the Feltmakers’ Company by redemption, that is, by paying a fine of 46s 8d for not having gone through the usual 7-year period of an apprentice. He originally came from Frome in Somerset and may already have been working as a tailor before he moved to London. According to the information he gave in the 1841-1871 censuses, he was born in ±1800 and could easily have worked somewhere else for a number of years before coming to London. As the freedom document shows, he began his career in Little Bell Alley in the parish of St. Stephen Coleman Street. In the same year that he acquired the City’s freedom, 1828, he married Sophia Mary Macarthur, and the baptism records of his eldest children tell us that he worked as a tailor and glover at no. 4 Little Bell Alley.(1)

Little Bell Alley, not necessarily showing Witcomb’s property

Little Bell Alley was a very narrow street running from London Wall to Great Bell Alley; later in the nineteenth century it was widened and renamed Copthall Avenue. Moorgate Street (it later lost the ‘Street’ part of its name) was a new street of the 1830s, constructed as one of the roads to connect London Bridge with the north. Although Wikipedia says Moorgate was constructed in 1846, it must have been earlier as it is not only depicted in the Tallis Street View, but the inhabitants are listed in Moorgate Street from 1840 onwards in the tax records of the Coleman Street ward. The tax records show Witcomb for the first time in 1829 in Little Bell Alley, having taken over from one Savory. Witcomb is still listed in the 1837 poll book at 4 Little Bell Alley, but he must have moved to Moorgate between June 1837 – when three of his children are baptised at St. Stephen’s and his address is still listed as 4 Little Bell Alley – and June 1840 when his eldest son William is buried from Moorgate Street. The 1840 tax record for Little Bell Alley does indeed show a different name.

An insurance record of the Sun Fire Office, dated 21 October 1839, shows one John Joseph Tanner, solicitor of 53-54 Moorgate Street, paying the premiums for 47, 48 and 49 Moorgate. Tanner either acted for other proprietors, or he had invested in property himself and only used the address in Moorgate Street temporarily as he does not appear in any of these properties in the 1841 census. Proof that the Witcomb family moved to Moorgate around that time is given in the 1841 census where William, Sophia, and five children are listed, next to Thomas Johnston, the bookseller at number 53. Witcomb’s new property was next to White’s Alley and is nowadays known as 20, Moorgate. The 1887 insurance map below shows Witcomb’s property at no. 20 (was 54), with the entrance to White’s Alley on the south side of the building, leading to Moorgate Street Buildings. On the right-hand side of the map the southern section of Little Bell Street can be seen.

Goad’s insurance map of 1887

Things were, however, not going very well and in November 1842, William Witcomb, “late of no. 54, Moorgate-street, London, Tailor, Draper, and Glover” was in the Debtor’s Prison for London and Middlesex on his own petition. The 1843 Post Office Directory still lists him at no. 54, but that may have been because their information had been gathered in late 1842, that is, before Witcomb was imprisoned. In 1845, number 54 is occupied by L.J. Gaskill and Co., General advertising agents for the United Kingdom, France, America, and the Colonies.

top part of an advertisement in The British and Foreign Railway Review, vol. 1, 1845

And Witcomb? Well, he managed to be released from prison and in the 1851 census could be found as an accountant at 10 New Road, Stepney. An aptitude for administrative work apparently ran in the family as son Charles John is listed as a bookkeeper and son James Robert as a solicitor’s clerk. Ten years later, the youngest son Walter is listed as a clerk to a brandy merchant, George is a barrister’s clerk, and daughter Fanny has become a teacher. William himself is listed in 1861 as a clerk to a colonial broker. In 1871, William and his sons George and Walter are all listed as ‘clerk’ without any further specification. William died in 1874 and was buried at Abney Park Cemetery.

Bombing raids in World War II did a lot of damage to the buildings on Moorgate and in White’s Alley and Witcomb’s shop no longer exists (see here). The whole block of houses between Great Bell Alley (renamed Telegraph Street) and Great Swan Alley is now designated as 20 Moorgate and houses the Prudential Regulation Authority.

(1) The five eldest children were all baptised at St. Stephen Coleman: William (1829-1840); Sophia Maria (1834-1834, she died when she was just 4 months old); Charles John (1830-1912), James Robert (1831-1859) and Alexander (1836-?). I have not found a baptism record for George (1839-1871), but the two youngest children, Fanny Sophia (1841-1875) and Walter (1846-1921) were baptised in 1867 at Dalston Presbyterian Church.


<– 53 Moorgate Street 54 Moorgate Street –>

John Newton & Son, cork cutters


Street View: 37
Address: 50 St. John Street

It looks as if the property of John Newton, cork cutter, was wrongly numbered as 51 by Tallis on his street plan, as it makes no sense that the next-door neighbour is no. 49. Newton’s house should be no. 50 as the numbering was still consecutive in those days. On the other side of the alley were three houses combined, incorrectly numbered on the street plan as nos. 52-54, but correctly labelled 51-53 in the Tallis index, and listed for Field, the straw hat maker. An 1821 plan of the parish of St. Sepulchre also shows 50 between the alley and no. 49, so that was the correct number for Newton’s cork cutting business.

detail of a 1821 plan of the parish of St. Sepulchre by B.H. Gardner

16th-century houses before their demolition in c. 1814 (Source: Survey of London via British History Online)

To make life complicated, the house numbering changed dramatically somewhere between 1861 and 1871 with the odd numbers on one side of the street and the even numbers on the other and what was number 50 became 73. The house is still there, but the alley has been built in and, together with number 69 (which used to be number 51) looks rather squashed between the larger buildings on either side. According to volume 46 of the Survey of London the houses were built in 1817-18 to replace the sixteenth-century ones that are thought to have been part of the mansion of Sir Thomas Forster in St John’s Lane. Holden’s 1811 London and Country Directory lists John Newton jun, cork cutter, at 54 St. John Street and there is also an 1810 insurance record for John Newton at number 54. The fact that the directory lists him as junior, certainly suggests that there should also be a John senior and we do find another John at number 56 in 1811 as a brass founder.

Google Street View July 2016

However, the cork business had existed for longer than that, as in 1791, the newspapers reported on a fire that started at Mr. Labrow’s chemist shop and spread to several businesses, among them that of Mr. Blower, a tallow chandler and Mr. Newton, cork cutter. This must, however, been on the other side of the street as Labrow had his shop at no. 128 and Blower at no. 135. Unfortunately, two directories from around the time do not list cork cutter Newton. We can follow John Newton’s business from 1810 onwards through the insurance records of the Sun Fire Office. In that year he insured his “household goods, wearing apparel, printed books and plate in his dwelling house” at 54 St. John Street for £150 on the proviso that no cork was burnt on the premises. His stock and utensils at that same address were insured for £50 and his stock and utensils in his warehouse in the Skin Market, Islington, for £300. In 1813 he insured 55 St. John Street: his household goods for £200, his stock and utensils for £100 and his stock and utensils in the Skin Market again for £300. The total of his insured possessions had gone up from £500 to £600, and went up again in 1814 to £700.

The Sheep Skin Market had been situated near Northampton Square, where now the Brunswick Estate can be found, but the area was redeveloped in the years following 1815, so it is no surprise that the next insurance record finds Newton with a warehouse in East Street near Globe Road, Mile End (also designated as East Street, Globe Fields). From 1819, we find Newton at 50 St. John Street, still with the additional warehouse in East Street, and the total value insured has now gone up to £1000. He was obviously doing alright for himself and in 1820 the Sun Fire Office record shows him adding china and glass, worth £50, to his insurance policy and in 1823 even musical instruments for £25 and pictures and prints for another £25. Newton must have been the first occupant of the new building at number 50, as we saw in the Survey that it had been built in 1817-1818. From then on, we always find our cork cutter at 50 St. John Street, that is, until 1848 (or perhaps a few years earlier) when, according to the Post Office Directory number 51 was added to the Newton business.

In 1841, one of the errand boys of Newton stole some 20l in copper coins from his master. James, the son of John (although the Old Bailey report mistakenly calls the father James) Newton, gave evidence and described that “there is an area-gate in the front of the premises, the key of which hung on a hook over the desk in the front shop”. Morley, the errand boy, had tried to get Fisher, an apprentice, to help him, but Fisher was reluctant to participate in the robbery, although he did help Morley with opening the padlock on the gate. Morley left some of the stolen money for Fisher, but he would not touch it. Everything came out and Morley was sentenced to transportation for fifteen years. The whole transcript of the Old Bailey case can be found here.

stack of cork beneath a cork tree (source: hideawayinspain.com)

In 1842, son James Newton married his neighbour Eliza, the daughter of James Field, straw hat manufacturer, and no. 51 was apparently signed over from the Fields to the Newtons sometime after that date, as in the 1851 census we see widow Frances Elizabeth Newton (John had died in 1845) living at no. 50 and James and Eliza at no. 51. The 1843 Post Office Directory still only lists no. 50 for the cork business, so presumably James took over no. 51 after that. Frances died in 1854 and was then living at 71 Euston Square. She left her share of the business to her daughter Elizabeth and her son James. Her other son George received a hundred pounds.(1)

James and his growing family did not remain at number 51, but could in the 1861 census be found at Paradise Cottages, Green Lane, Islington. His son James Field Newton, 17 years old, was also listed as a cork manufacturer. The census listed a packer, a housekeeper, and a shopman at no. 50 St. John Street; no one was living at no. 51. And in the 1871 and 1881 censuses, that is, after the numbering had changed, no one was living at either no. 69, 71 or 73. James died in 1867 and James Field in 1873. James Field had left his father’s estate unadministered and his brother Frederick George arranged probate for both estates in 1873 and 1874.(3) The business was continued in St. John Street by widow Eliza and in 1871 the census lists her as employing 18 men and 5 boys. In 1881, Frederick, his sister Elizabeth, and his younger brother Sidney, all unmarried, were living together at 27, Stapleton Hall Road.

In March 1882, there was a fire in the cork warehouse which, according to the newspaper report, raged for several hours and only left the walls standing.(3) According to the London Historic Asset Assessment the property was rebuilt after the fire with the extension over the alley, but judging by the numbering in the 1871 census, the building-over of the alley probably took place quite a number of years earlier. Why else would numbers 50 and 51 suddenly get 3 house numbers: 69, 71 and 73?

The cork business at 69-73 St. John Street continued at least till 1912 when the telephone directory lists them there, but I found no evidence for them after that date. They are certainly not listed in Hughes’ Business Directory of 1821.

advertisement (Source: Grace’s Guide)

(1) PROB 11/2201/86.
(2) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1873. The effects of James Field were valued at were valued at under £100. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1868 and 1874. The effects of James were valued at under £3,000.
(3) Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper, 12 March 1882.


<– 51-53 St. John Street 49 St. John Street –>

Henry Richards, chemist


Street View: 14
Address: 55 St. James’s Street

The chemist’s shop Tallis lists at 55, St. James’s Street had been there since 1829 when Henry Richards took over the property from John Lanman, a tailor. Richards had moved to number 55 from number 11, on the opposite side and further down the street. The move had all to do with the widening of Little King Street, the small passage that linked King Street to St. James’s Street (see Horwood’s map below). The widening had been set in motion by Statute 7 George IV C. 77 of 1826 (see here). Number 11 disappeared altogether and numbers 10 and 12 can now be found on either side of King Street. Number 10 was rebuilt as the grand, but unsuccessful St. James’s Bazaar. Richard’s new shop at number 55 was situated on the corner of Bennet(t) Street and was frequently referred to as 1 Bennet Street. In later years, the chemist’s shop was run by Daniel Rokely Harris and his name is still attached to the business, although it has since moved to 29 St. James’s Street via 30 King Street and 27 St. James’s Street. The accepted history of D.R. Harris & Co. (see their website) states that the business started in 1790, but as we shall see, not with a Harris in charge.

The Morning Chronicle, 24 April 1829

If we try to work backwards in time to get to the 1790 beginnings of the firm, we find a listing in Kent’s Directory of 1803 for Henry Richards, chemist & druggist at number 11. Although the Land Tax records at that time did not include house numbers, Richards was listed in the record for 1803 as occupying the 2nd property from Gloucester Court, which is number 11 St. James’s Street. Before Richards came on the scene in 1803, the tax records list a James Gent for the property. Where Richards himself had come from is as yet a bit of a mystery. We know he was born in Arminghall, Norfolk, but what he did before he took over from Gent is unclear. James Gent was, according to The General London Guide; or, Tradesman’s Directory of 1794 a ‘chymist and druggist’ at 11 St. James’s Street, so we are getting closer to the origins of D.R. Harris & Co., and we can take it back even further as Gent is also listed as a ‘chymist’ at number 11 in The Universal British Directory of 1791, close enough to substantiate the 1790 claim.(1)

Entry in the 1791 Universal British Directory

Although the takeover from James Gent to Henry Richards appears to have taken place in 1803, it must have been the year before as James Gent died in early 1802. He wrote his will on 25 December 1801 and probate was granted to his executors on 2 March 1802. Gent bequeathed to “James Eades my nephew now living with me as an apprentice all the beneficial interest in the lease of the house which I at present occupy and in which my trade is at present carried on in St. James’s Street … together with all the stock in trade”. But, as James Eades was still an apprentice, Gent asked his executors to enlist the help of a “proper assistant” who could help run the business until Eades had attained the age of 21 or was “more fully and sufficiently competent to carry on the same”.(2) There is, however, no mention of Eades in the tax records, so it is uncertain what happened. Did the executors make other arrangements? Was Eades reluctant to continue the business? Or was Henry Richards perhaps the “proper assistant” who carried on by himself when Eades for whatever reason bowed out? We may never know, but fact is that Richards continued the chemist’s shop.

Henry Richards was the proprietor when Tallis produced his Street View of St. James’s Street. In 1841, he is listed in the census as unmarried, 65 years old, and not born in the county. Living with him is Rotely Harris, 25 years old, a chemist’s shopman, and Eliza Mily (or Miles), a servant of the same age. The 1841 census was notoriously imprecise as regards ages, so we must not be too dependant on them to trace back the lives of these people. We will come back to Rotely Harris in a minute, but first the 1851 census in which Richards is listed as a 79 year old, so he was probably born in 1772. Also on the premises in 1851 is Henry Harris, a 34-year old surgeon, and servant Jane Miley (or Miles, probably a relation of the Eliza who was listed in the 1841 census). We will also come back to Henry Harris in a moment, but first the death of Henry Richards. He died somewhere in mid-1853 and probate was granted on 9 July, 1853, to solicitor Charles Steward, his nephew from Ipswich whom he had named sole executor and heir.(3)

From 1855 onwards until the end of the century, the Land Tax of 1 Bennet Street is listed for Henry Harris, the surgeon we saw on the premises in the 1851 census. Henry Harris was the son of Daniel Harris and Juliet Susanna Rotely of Swansea, Glamorgan. He was baptised on 4 October 1815 at St. Mary’s, Swansea. His older brother Daniel Rotely Harris was baptised in the same church on 22 April 1814. The Rotely Harris in the 1841 census of 55 St. James’s Street was most likely this Daniel Rotely. He is, by the way, the one whose initials still grace the firm’s name: D.R. Harris & Co. The two brothers were both involved in the medical world: Henry as a surgeon – he became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1842 – and Daniel Rotely as a pharmaceutical chemist. While Henry seems to have stayed in London – the 1861 census still finds him at 55 St. James’s Street -, Daniel could be found as a chemist in Ware, Hertfordshire in the 1851 and 1861 censuses. He lived at 1 Baldock Street with his wife Susan, daughters Susan Powell, Mary Elizabeth, Julia Jane and son Daniel Rotely Philemon.(4) In 1862, however, Kelly’s Directory finds him at Laurie (or Lawrie) Place, Sydenham.

Letter in The Morning Chronicle, 2 March 1861. Holroyd was most likely the 28-year old chemist William H. Holroyd who, according to the 1861 census, lived with his mother and younger brother at 22 Alexander Square, Kensington

The 1871 census still finds Daniel R., by then a widower, and two of his children, at Sydenham, but the electoral register of 1871 lists him for 55 St. James’s Street. From 1878 onwards, the rate books of Westminster also list him at number 55, and so does the 1881 census. But that does not mean that he had moved to London completely as Kelly’s Directory of 1882 lists him at 11 Kirkdale, Sydenham. And his probate record – he died in November 1888 – lists him as late of 55 St. James-street and of Kirkdale, Sydenham.(5) He was buried on 4 December 1888 at Lewisham.

Goad’s 1889 insurance map overlaid on a Google map, showing in brown the porch that juts out; in the elevation at the top of this post it can be seen to extend to the first floor; the perfect place to watch the jubilee procession of 1897 and the coronation in 1902

The Times, 24 April 1897

The Times, 11 June 1902

And Daniel Rotely’s brother Henry? Well, there is a bit of an open end to his story, as I have not been able to find out exactly when he died. His name is still listed in the tax records for 1892 and in the Medical Register for 1899, but that is as far as I got. Henry Harris is not the easiest name to research as there were quite a number of them around at the time. The Post Office Directory of 1902 shows that D.R. Harris & Co. had moved to 30 King Street and at some point in the early 1920s D.R. Harris took over Hairsine’s, another chemist, who had been trading from the Haymarket.(6) And due to an air raid in 1944 the firm had to abandon the King Street address and move back to St. James’s Street, first at number 27 and from 1963 onwards at number 29 where you can hopefully find them for a very long time to come.

Horwood’s 1799 map showing the five locations of the chemist’s shop. Red arrow 11 St. J’s; green 55 St. J’s; yellow 30 King St.; light blue 27 St. J’s; dark blue 29 St. J’s. Click to enlarge.

To sum up, the addresses and proprietors of the business were:
11, St. James’s Street
1791 – 1802 James Gent
1802 – 1829 Henry Richards

55, St. James’s Street / 1 Bennet Street
1829 – 1853 Henry Richards
1853 – c. 1900 Henry Harris
c. 1871 – 1888 Daniel Rokely Harris

30, King Street
c. 1900-1944 D.R. Harris & Co.

– in 1821 or thereabouts, Hairsine & Co. of 47 Haymarket were taken over by Harris’s

– in 1944, the so-called ‘Little Blitz’ caused heavy damage in the area, see here and here.

27, St. James’s Street
1944-1963 D.R. Harris & Co.

29, St. James’s Street
1963 – present D.R. Harris & Co.

(1) I am very grateful to Julian Moore of D.R. Harris & Co. for alerting me to the long history of the chemist’s and for providing the scans of some of the pictures that illustrate this post, and to both Julian and Alison Moore for generously making available the information they have on the history of the shop (their website: www.drharris.co.uk).
(2) PROB 11/1371/24.
(3) PROB 11/2176/72.
(4) The children were all baptised at Ware, Hertfordshire: Susan Powell, 29 August 1844; Daniel Rotely Philemon, 2 December 1846; Julia Jane and Mary Elisabeth, 26 March 1858.
(5) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1889. His effects are valued at just over £3,650, later resworn at just over £3,885.
(6) Hairsine and Co, 47 Haymarket, is listed in the telephone directory up till 1921. As an interesting aside, I noticed that from 1922 a W. Hairsine is listed at 52 Wardour Street. We have come across another W. Hairsine, chemist, in the post for John Christopher Addison, although this original W. Hairsine had died in 1916 and cannot have moved to Haymarket and back again to Wardour Street, so a bit of a mystery there.

two pictures of an 1825 Hairsine ledger in the Harris archive

20thC-recipe for Lettuce Shaving Cream from one of the books in the Harris archive. No lettuce involved I am happy to say, as I doubt anyone would have wanted to use it on his chin if it had.


<– 56 St. James’s Street 54 St. James’s Street –>

Samuel Hunt, billiard rooms and cigar divan



Street Views: 19 and 9 Suppl.
Address: 370-371 Strand

In the post for Edward Cahan, tailor, we saw that he occupied 371 Strand from ±1845 onwards and that he was listed by Tallis in the 1847 Street View Supplement. But in the main collection of Street Views (±1839-1840), Tallis listed S. Hunt & Co, tobacconists, at number 371. The elevation at the top of this post shows Hunt as a billiard table maker. Samuel Hunt combined both jobs, after all, what better place to sell your cigars than in a billiard room full of gentlemen? Although Cahan moved into number 371 at some point, Hunt continued to use most of the premises as his “billiard rooms and cigar divan”. According to London as it is today, cigar divans were “essentially coffee houses, but of a distingué character, expensive in their charges, and more studied, elegant, and luxurious in their appointments and conveniences”. Cahan probably just had the ground floor of number 371 and perhaps a few bedrooms upstairs. Various illustrations of the property before and after Cahan’s occupancy show the cigar divan on the ground floor of number 371 with the billiard rooms above. It looks as if Hunt rented out some space at number 371 to Cahan, while keeping the rest of the property for himself.

Illustrated London News, 1843, showing the Exeter Hall divan on the right and the billiard maker above.

The neighbouring property at 370 Strand had been in the occupation of one Bennett, pastry cook and confectioner in the early Street View; we will find out what happened to him in a later post, but for now we are concentrating on Hunt & Co. They, that is S. and C.J. Hunt [Samuel and ??], entered an advertisement in The Athenaeum of 1834 in which they warned their customers against inferior billiard tables that were advertised under “names of the most ridiculous nature – such as ‘Imperial Marmorean Stratification’ and ‘Petrosian Stratification Tables’ – made use of only to mislead the unwary, and to disguise the fact that they are made of COMMON WELSH SLATE”. As you can guess, the tables Hunt provided were anything but common, but made according to an improved principle, which needed no trumped-up names; the use of the word ‘slate’ was enough. The only thing to surpass the slate tables of Hunt were their metal tables. In the same advertisement, Hunt also advertised “A Scientific Treatise on Billards”. No author or proper title mentioned, but it was probably François Mingaud‘s The Noble Game of Billiards, a translation by John Thurston, rival billiard table maker, of the Noble Jeu de Billiard. Thurston, by the way, had an advertisement just above Hunt’s in The Athenaeum in which he advertised his ‘Imperial Petrosian Tables’ and also Migaud’s book. No love lost between the two rivals apparently.

advertisement in The Athenaeum, 1834

Hunt & Co. had probably taken over from David Farrow, who was described in The London Gazette of 1834 as “formerly of no. 370 Strand, Middlesex, gun-maker and gun-dealer, and also a billiard-table-keeper, … out of business”. From an 1836 Old Bailey case, we learn a little bit more about Hunt. One Henry Bell was indicted for stealing 3 ivory balls, the property of Samuel Hunt. Hunt’s son, Horatio, gave evidence and said, “I live with my father, Samuel Hunt, in the Quadrant; he has another house in the Strand; he is a billiard-table-keeper”. While Horatio was cleaning the billard room in the Strand, “which is on the first floor”, the accused came in and started to “knock the balls about on the table”. The minute Horatio turned his back, the accused left, taking the balls with him; they were later found at a pawnbroker’s.(1) The 1841 census shows Horatio, with occupation tobacconist, living at 370 Strand and Samuel Hunt, billiard-table-keeper, at 371 Strand. Also living at 370 Strand is William Preist, trunk maker, who was in the debtor’s prison later that year.(2) In the bankruptcy notice, Preist is described as a foreman to a trunk maker and it is entirely possible that he was employed by Hunt in the making of the billiard tables. In Robson’s London Directory for 1842, Samuel Hunt & Co. are described as “trunk and camp equipage manfrs, tobacconists & billiard table makrs” and in the 1843 Post Office Directory as “metal & slate billiard table ma. tobacconists, & trunk makers, 370 & 371 Strand, & 105 Quadrant”. That same year, 1843, Samuel and Horatio Nelson, as he is officially named, dissolve the partnership they have at 370 Strand. No mention is made of the other addresses.(3)

c.1825 Hand-coloured etching and aquatint “Drawn by W.H.Pyne / Engraved by G.Hunt / Etched by Williams” and “Pubd by Pyall & Hunt, 18, Tavistock Strt, Covent Garden” (© The Trustees of the British Museum)

Samuel Hunt died in July 1845 of “disease of the lungs and debility”, just 48 years old. Horatio Nelson continued the business, at one point assisted by one John Drucquer, who had at one time had had his own tobacconist and billiard establishment at 334A Strand, but had fallen on hard times.(4) By 1850, Horatio must have left the tobacco side of the business to William Henry and Charles Russell who dissolve their partnership as tobacco and snuff dealers at 370 Strand in February 1850.(5) The billiard business was, however, still in Hunt’s hands and he is listed as billiard table keeper at number 370 in the 1851 census. At number 371, the census lists George Beckingham, also a billiard table keeper. What exactly the relationship was between Hunt and Beckingham is not clear, but it seems that Beckingham took over part of Hunt’s business as in 1859, The Building News of 15 July reported that 371 Strand, known as Beckenham’s Billiard-rooms, was sold for £1230. The Land Tax records still show Hunt at number 370 and Cahan at 371. The 1861 census shows Horatio and his family at number 370, but 371 is just occupied by a single lodger, so no great help in determining what happened. In the 1871 census, Horatio has moved to 2, Montague Place, and is described as billiard table maker, employing 5 men. He went bankrupt in 1878 and was then living at 11 Finborough Road, South Kensington.(6) He got himself out of trouble and continued to work as a billiard table maker/keeper, in 1881 at 6 Tavistock Street. He retired sometime between 1881 and 1891 as the 1891 census finds him living on his own means. He died in 1898.

It is unclear what happened to 370 Strand just after Hunt left, but it came on the market in 1872 with an unexpired lease of 56 years.(7) It became part of the Exeter Hall Hotel, often referred to as Haxell’s Hotel after its proprietor Edward Nelson Haxell, but at some point it also housed George Hammer & Co’s, school furnishers. In the 1920s Haxell’s Hotel became part of the very grand Strand Palace Hotel, but that is another story.

(1) Old Bailey case t18360919-2121.
(2) The London Gazette, 16 November 1841.
(3) The London Gazette, 29 September 1843.
(4) The London Gazette, 6 February 1846.
(5) The London Gazette, 5 February 1850.
(6) The London Gazette, 19 February 1878.
(7) The London Gazette, 3 September 1872.


<– 372 Strand 370 Strand –>
369 Strand –>

Elden, pastry cook


Street View: 29
Address: 40 Red Lion Street

John David Lovett, pastry cook of 40 Red Lion Street, died in late 1807 or early 1808 and his will, which was dated the 22nd of November 1807, was proved on 16 January 1808.(1) Lovett expected his executors to sell his property and stock in trade in Red Lion Street for the benefit of his heirs and the executors quickly enlisted the help of Messrs. Winstanley who put an advertisement in the papers to announce the sale of the property.

The Morning Chronicle, 21 January 1808

The Winstanleys described the property as having five bedrooms and as it had been an established cook’s shop, it had a kitchen, bakehouse, oven and cellars. The lease was to run until 1843 at ‘only’ 35 guineas a year. The shop itself had a bow-front at that time, but as the elevation above this post shows, that was no longer the case in 1840 when Tallis produced his booklet. Winstanley claimed that the cook’s shop had been in existence for a long time, although he does not say for how long, nor whether it had always been a Lovett who baked the pies. The next occupant of the shop was Francis Hoggray who had received the freedom of the City of London by patrimony through the Vintners’ Company in 1806. One of his trade cards has been preserved in The British Museum and on it we can see that he did not just bake pies, but also soups, among them turtle soup, curries, potted meats, cakes, jellies, etc.

Hoggray, who made sure his customers were aware of the fact that he had taken over from Lovett by bracketing “late J.D. Lovett” after his own name on the trade card, insured the property on 3 March 1808 with the Sun Fire Office and was then all set up to run his pastry cook’s shop. However, his fortune was not to last as he died at the end of December 1809 and was buried on 2 January 1810 at St. Mary’s, Paddington Green. He left his worldly goods to his father, Henry Hoggray of Bridge Street in the parish of St. Paul Covent Garden.(2) The next cook at 40 Red Lion Street is Charles Elden, who, according to the tax records, took over straight after the death of Hoggray. A Sun Fire insurance record of 1807 tells us that Charles Elden had been a pastry cook at Wapping and the City Admission Papers show that he had obtained the freedom of the City by redemption through the Cooks’ Company in April 1804. The admission papers state that he was the son of James Elden of Russell Street, Covent Garden, also a pastry cook. James Elden had been in Russell Street since at least 1774 when the poll book and electoral register mention him there. In 1799, Mary Elden, pastry cook, probably James’s widow, had insured property at 4 Russell Street.

Charles died in early 1831 and left his property for the sole use of his widow Elizabeth during her lifetime.(3) Charles had married Elizabeth Barefoot in 1790 and the couple were to have at least seven children.(4) Pigot’s Directory of 1839 lists 40 Red Lion Street for Elizabeth Elden and we duly find her in the 1841 census as a confectioner with three of her children also employed in the family business, that is: Harriet, Charles James and George. When Elizabeth died in 1842, she left her estate to these same three children(5) and we do find the business listed for “Elden Chas. Geo. & Harriet, confectners” in the 1843 Post Office Directory.
Embed from Getty Images
– Confectioner’s shop from The Book of English Trades, 1818

In November 1843, Charles James married Matilda Lewis and he seemed to have taken over the business completely as later directories only mention his name. The 1851 census shows Charles James and his family living above the shop. His brother George was listed in the census at 1 Acre Lane as a retail grocer. Not sure where Harriet went, but she could be found living with her widowed sister Sarah in Cheltenham in the 1871 census. Charles James died in late November 1858 and was buried on 2 December at All Souls, Kensal Green.(6) His widow Matilda continued the confectioners’ business and could be found at number 40 in the 1861 census, along with two daughters and a son. She must have relinquished the shop somewhere between 1861 and 1871 as the next census shows a Joseph Lomas, fruiterer and greengrocer, on the premises.

In 1876, Lomas was awarded £950 in compensation for the loss of his house when Theobalds Road was widened and extended in the ‘Oxford Street to Old Street Improvement’ scheme of the Metropolitan Board of Works. The sum received consisted of £250 purchase of the leasehold and £700 compensation for the trade. Lomas had originally claimed just over £1700, but the committee apparently found that too high a price to pay. Lomas was not the only one who received less than claimed and the proprietors may very well have claimed a higher sum than realistic as they were expecting to be awarded less than claimed, hoping the sum awarded came somewhere near the amount they had wanted in the first place.(7) The corner house, 23 Theobalds Road, now abuts The Enterprise at number 38 where before numbers 39 and 40 stood between the pub and number 23.

new situation from Goad’s insurance map of 1888. The properties at 39 and 40 Red Lion Street have disappeared.

(1) PROB 11/1472/153.
(2) PROB 11/1507/427.
(3) PROB 11/1782/395.
(4) Mentioned in Charles’s will: Charles James, Elizabeth, Eleanor, Sarah, Joseph, Harriet, and George.
(5) PROB 11/1963/380.
(6) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1859. His effects were valued at £1,500.
(7) Minutes of Proceedings of the Metropolitan Board of Works, 1876.


<– 1 Lamb’s Conduit Street 39 Red Lion Street –>

Edward Cahan, tailor


Street View: 9 Suppl.
Address: 371 Strand

London as it is today: where to go and what to see during the Great Exhibition (1851) described all there was to see in London for “the visitors to the metropolis in this eventful year” and one of the attractions described and depicted was Exeter Hall in the Strand. For this blog post, we are very pleased to see that the neighbouring tailor’s shop of Edward Cahan at 371 Strand made it into the illustration, as it is always a good thing to have corroboration of Tallis’s information. Although there are a few differences, the overall picture of Cahan’s property is much the same in the elevation shown in Tallis (top of this post) and in the illustration for London as it is today, especially the large glass shop window in three sections can clearly be seen in both pictures.

Edward Cahan had only had his shop in the Strand for a few years before the book on London as a tourist attraction was published, as in the last quarter of 1838, when his daughter was born, he was still registered in the Bloomsbury district. In January 1837, Cahan testified in a case of theft from his shop that he was ‘a tailor, and live[d] in Little King Street’.(1) In April 1835, he had enrolled in one of the lodges of the Freemasons and was then recorded as living in Upper King Street. More moves followed as Pigot’s Directory of 1839 saw him at 3 Little Queen Street, Holborn, and the 1841 census and the 1843 Post Office Directory found him at 389 Strand. But then, in the 1845 Post Office Directory, he is listed at 371 Strand where Tallis’s 1847 Street View Supplement found him.

Patent Journal, 1846, p. 52

In January 1846, Cahan had registered a design for ‘The Omnium’ coat or cape. It was something of a hybrid affair that could be worn with the arms inside or out. Cahan seems to have been a bit of a clothing designer as in 1851 he marketed his ‘Anaxyridian trousers’, apparently meant to be worn when riding a horse, in which posture it was to “remain as a fixture to the heel without straps, produc[ing] a handsome fall over the instep’(2), or, as The Official Descriptive and Illustrated Catalogue to the Great Exhibition phrased it, “the peculiarity consist in the cut, which is so arranged that they remain a fixture to the heel without straps; and dispense with braces”. Well, if that is not useful, what is?

advert in The Daily News, 12 July 1852

If all this suggests that Edward Cahan was doing rather well for himself, you would be mistaken, as in May 1848 he was ordered to surrender his effects to the Commissioners of the Court of Bankruptcy.(3) He somehow got himself out of that mess and dividends were paid to his creditors from December 1848 onwards.(4) But, in 1854, he, and his partner James Vicat the younger, were in trouble again.(5) No more is heard of the financial problems for a while, but in 1858, Edward, “late of no. 371 Strand”, is residing in the Debtor’s Prison. He is described as formerly of no. 371 Strand, residing at no. 15 York Street, Covent Garden, then at 9 Wellington Street, Strand, and then of 24 Leicester Square, part of the time letting lodgings.(6) Once again, he manages to stave off his creditors, but in 1861, things go wrong yet again and he is ordered to surrender himself to the Bankruptcy Court. He is then described as of 371 Strand and 2 Golden Square, tailor and dealer in jewellery.(7)

The 1861 bankruptcy notice in The London Gazette was the last mention of Edward Cahan that I found; he seemed to have disappeared into thin air. His eldest son Nicholas can be found at various addresses in the subsequent censuses until his death in 1922, but Edward is gone. There is, however, more to be told about his origins. The 1841 census is not very informative about people’s origins, it just lists a Yes or No for the question whether one was born in the county and if not, whether in Scotland, Ireland or abroad. The children of Edward and his wife Esther were all given a ‘Yes’, so born in London (their eldest son Nicholas was missing from the 1841 census), but Edward and Esther had a hard-to-interpret squiggle in the space for non-Londoner. The 1851 census fortunately gives more detail. The family is then living at 15 York Street and Edward is listed as born in Poland (place name looks like Sloncia) and Esther and Nicholas in Riga, Russia. Riga, on the Baltic Sea coast, is now the capital of Latvia, but in the 19th century, Latvia was part of Russia.

Google map showing present-day borders. In the 19th century, this whole area was part of the Russian empire.

In 1852, despite the bankruptcy threats, Cahan petitioned for naturalisation and from the documents, we learn that what appeared as Sloncia in the census was in fact Slonem, now usually spelled Slonim, in the province of Grodna, now in Belarus, but then – as Cahan described it – “in that part of Poland now subject to the Emperor of Russia”. He asked for naturalisation as he has been in England for 18 years and had always worked and paid his taxes, and might in the future be investing his property in land. As an “alien” he cannot buy freehold, so he would like to become a British citizen. He is assisted by four people who confirm that he is who he says he is and that they believe that he is “a respectable and loyal person”: Thomas Robertson of 17 Holles Street, tailor, Edward Allport of 2 Dalston Lane, trimming warehouseman, Robert Mason of 8 Mason’s Row Dalston, gentleman, and James Vicat of 15 Gresham Street, woollen manufacturer. The latter no doubt related to Cahan’s partner in the 1854 bankruptcy case.(8)

part of Edward Cahan’s request for naturalisation

Slonim and Grodno had a large Jewish population and judging by Edward’s last name and the first names of his wife – Esther – and daughters – Polina Yetta and Rachel, coupled with the fact that I cannot find any baptism or burial records in parish records, might suggest that the family was of Jewish origin, although they may no longer have been actively practising their faith. The membership list of the Freemasons’ Lodge of Joppa to which he belonged also showed a lot of Jewish names.(9) I am afraid that the Cahan trail runs cold after the 1861 bankruptcy notice, and I will have to leave it at this. If anyone has access to Jewish records and can find the Cahans, I would certainly be interested in hearing the results. Please leave a comment if you can add to this post.

(1) Old Bailey case t1837010-535.
(2) The Daily News, 3 February 1851.
(3) The London Gazette, 9 May 1848.
(4) The London Gazette, 19 December 1848.
(5) The London Gazette, 10 October 1854.
(6) The London Gazette, 19 and 22 October 1858.
(7) The London Gazette, 17 December 1861.
(8) National Archives, Kew, Naturalisation Papers, Certificate 1351 issued 28 February 1852, HO 1/43/1351.
(9) According to a footnote in The Freemasons’ Monthly Magazine of December 1845, ‘the Lodge of Joppa (London) consisted of nearly all Jews’.


<– 372 Strand 370 Strand –>

Charles Baddeley, boot and shoe maker


Street View: 15
Address: 102 Fleet Street

Charles Baddeley was the son of another Charles and to distinguish himself from his father he usually added ‘junior’ to his name as, for instance, in his signature on his indenture document. He was apprenticed in 1814 to Cordwainer William Howse for the regular seven years at a consideration of five shillings. If all went according to plan, he should have obtained his freedom in 1821 and was then ready to set up his own business, but there is no evidence that he actually did so. He may have worked in his father’s shop for a while, or as a journeyman somewhere else. In 1834, however, he appears in the Land Tax record for 102 Fleet Street.

In 1833, the property was still listed for the widow Read, that is Sarah Elizabeth Read, who had continued the coffee rooms of her husband Thomas Read who had died in 1813.(1) Read’s Coffee House was also – and perhaps foremost – known for serving saloop, a coffee substitute. Charles Lamb referred to Read’s ‘Salopian House’ in his essay “The Praise of Chimney-Sweepers”, in which he wrote that he understood the beverage was made from “the sweet wood ‘yclept sassafras”, boiled down and served like tea with milk and sugar.(2) More on the making and selling of saloop, or salop, can be found in a blog post on Jane Austen’s World (here). J.C. Hotton in his History of Signboards (1867) says that a signboard that used to hang outside the coffee house when it had opened in 1719 as ‘Mount Pleasant’ by Lockyer contained a poem beginning with the lines: Come all degrees now passing by, / My charming liquor taste and try; / To Lockyer come and drink your fill, / Mount Pleasant has no kind of ill. In later years the sign could be found in the coffee room until the establishment closed in 1833 and Baddeley took over.

In 1836, Baddeley married Ann Mart, the daughter of Samuel Mart senior and the sister of Samuel Mart junior, fruiterers at 130 Oxford Street. It is very likely that Charles had met Ann in Oxford Street as his uncle John had a shoe shop at number 48 and was a friend of Samuel Mart senior. Whether the couple wanted to be closer to their family in Oxford Street, or whether it was for economic reasons, in 1842 or early 1843 they moved the business from Fleet Street to 119 Oxford Street. The Fleet Street shop was taken over by Simpson, a hatter; we will come across Simpson again in a later blog post as he was listed in the Tallis Supplement booklet 14. The Tallis Supplements do not list Oxford Street, so Baddeley does not have a later entry in Tallis, but he was certainly at 119 Oxford Street in September 1843 when one Thomas Collins attempted to steal a boot. Shopman Thomas Hinde testified that he saw the accused unhook a boot from inside the doorway and make off with it. Why Collins stole just one boot and not a pair is not made clear, but he was caught and sentenced to three months in prison.(3)

To make life easy (ahum) for us historians, there were two properties on either side of Princes Street with the number 119, so it needed a bit of work to determine which one Baddeley moved into. The Index to Tallis’s booket 36 lists Ann Blanchard, depot for mourning bonnets, at number 118, which is at the corner of Regent Circus; then Charles Evans, a linen draper, at number 119; then the indication for Princes Street; then George Hobbs, a boot and shoe maker, also at number 119; then an empty space, also at number 119; and then one Skrymsher, a watch and clock maker, at number 120. Most likely, Baddeley took over from Hobbs as they were in the same line of business, and additional confirmation can be found in the 1841 census where Charles Evans and his partner Richard Sherriff can be found next to Ann Blanchard. Across the road, at the other number 119, we find two female servants and one 26-year old male. Unfortunately, the census entry is so vague that I cannot decipher the names, but it is not George Hobbs. The 1851 census makes it even more difficult by putting number 118 between the two 119s. The Post Office Directories of 1851 and 1856, however, help us out as they not only list the entries alphabetically, but also per street. Although some of the names have changed, we can clearly see that Baddeley occupied the property on the western corner of Princes Street and that he shared it with someone else; in 1851 with Owen Bailey, publisher, and in 1856 with William Gardner, jeweller, who used to be at number 121.

So, Baddeley was certainly still trading from 119 Oxford Street in 1856, but no longer so when the next census enumerator came round in 1861 as he is then found at 290 Regent Street as “gentleman”. By 1871 he has moved to 311A Regent Street and shortly before his death he must have moved once again as his probate entry lists him as “formerly of 311 but late of 286 Regent Street”. His widow Ann is one of the executors and Caleb Porter, the nephew of Ann and Samuel Mart is another.(4) Ann was still living at 286 Regent Street when she died in March 1879.(5) Her executors are two nephews, one of them John Teede, the son of her sister Mary and grocer John Pearson Teede.

119 Oxford Street remained the property of William Gardner and he could be found there in the 1861 census. At some point he joined forces with Lawrence van Praagh as jewellers, watch makers, and picture dealers until 1868 when they go bankrupt. The Van Praaghs remained at number 119 and in the 1871 census another(?) Lawrence, who described himself as “son” could be found there as a diamond merchant. Number 119 was to be renumbered to 242 in the early 1880s.

(1) PROB 11/1542/242.
(2) Charles Lamb, <The Essays of Elia. Edition used: Paris, Baudry’s European Library, 1835.
(3) Old Bailey case t18430918-2692.
(4) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1878. His effects are valued at under £6,000.
(5) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1878. Her effects are valued at under £1,500.


<– 103-104 Fleet Street 101 Fleet Street –>

Charles Baddeley, boot and shoe maker


Street Views: 19 and 10 Suppl.
Address: 130 Strand

The Baddeley family worked from various addresses in London and to avoid mixing them up when writing the blog posts, I started with an overview of the addresses Tallis listed for the Baddeleys involved in the shoe and boot making industry:
102 Fleet Street
48 Oxford Street
130 Strand
From other records could be added: 119 Oxford Street, and 86 and 95 Strand. There were a few other addresses mentioned in the records for other Baddeleys, but as those are not in Tallis, I am ignoring them for the moment.

The next step was to see who lived/worked at the above addresses. It looks as if they can be grouped nicely: Charles senior and heirs at the Strand; John at 48 Oxford Street (he was Charles’s brother); and Charles junior in Fleet Street and 119 Oxford Street (he was Charles’s son). I will give Charles junior and John their own blog posts and concentrate on Charles senior, Ann and William here.

86 Strand:
– 1798?-1806 Charles

95 Strand:
– 1806-1818 Charles

130 Strand:
– 1819-1836 Charles
– 1837-1839? Ann
– 1843?-1848 William

48 Oxford Street:
– 1805-1848 John

102 Fleet Street:
– 1839-1841 Charles jr

119 Oxford Street:
– 1843-1851 Charles jr

130 Strand in 1799

130 Strand in 1888

130 Strand was situated on the southern side of the Strand, on the corner of Wellington Street (now Lancaster Place), that is, from 1817 onwards. Before that, Wellington Street did not exist and 130 was neatly tucked between 129 and 131, but when Wellington Street was constructed to become the approach road to Waterloo Bridge, numbers 131 to 134 were completely demolished. The 1815 Land Tax records list George Cross, Durs Egg, a Mr Ottridge and G. Yonge in those four houses, but in the 1817 record, the description is four times “pull’d down”. We have came across Durs Egg, the gunsmith, in another blog post and it is no wonder that he moved to Pall Mall. The demolishing of the houses had everything to do with the Strand Bridge Company who had been granted the right to build Waterloo Bridge and to levy toll on it. The 1818 tax records still show Thomas Alexander, a baker, at number 130, although he had died in 1817. The 1819 records lists Charles Baddeley who had moved from number 95 where he had been working from 1806 onwards (before 1806 he had been at 86 Strand). Because the neighbouring property was pulled down, number 130 needed a new side wall and when Baddeley moved in, he not only had more space than in his old premises, but also additional shop windows on the Wellington Street side.

elevation in the 1847 Supplement. Notice the change in the position of the doors as compared to the elevation shown at the top of this post which dates from 1839 or 1840.

The whole area must have been a hive of activity between – roughly – 1810 and 1835, and not just with the Waterloo Bridge construction. In the Strand, just around the corner from Wellington Street, the Exeter (Ex)Change could be found, a building that had served various purposes over the years, the most interesting perhaps as a small zoo or menagerie (see for a poster of Pidcock’s menagerie here). As you can see in Horwood’s 1799 map above, the building jutted out into the street, hampering the flow of traffic and it was finally demolished in 1829. The building has been depicted several times from the same viewpoint, but the illustration below by George Cooke included just a tiny bit more of Baddeley’s shop than the other pictures did. On the left-hand side, you can just about see the number 130 and the last letters of Baddeley’s name.

engraving by George Cooke (Source: rareoldprints.com)

On the other side of the street, the Cooke print also shows the old Lyceum Theatre, which burnt down in 1830, creating a convenient opportunity to extend Wellington Street northwards in order to connect it to Charles Street.(1) The new Lyceum Theatre was erected in this new section of Wellington Street, so just around the corner from its old spot. And Mr. Baddeley who saw all these building works from his window? He died in late 1836 and left his “beloved wife everything I possess” and “the choice to carry on the business or to dispose of it or lett the house no. 130 Strand on lease or otherwise as she may think best”.(2) He had married his wife, Ann Cordell, in February 1792 at St. Marylebone and they had at least twelve children.(3) Ann choose to continue the business after the death of her husband as Pigot’s Directory of 1839 lists her as boot & shoemaker at 130 Strand, but by 1843, she had relinquished the business to William Baddeley, her son. He was still there in 1848, but by 1851 he had disappeared and R.S. Newell & Co, wire rope makers, had taken over (Post Office Directories).

Ann died in early 1858, 84 years old, and was buried at All Souls, Kensal Green. Her address is given as King Street, St. Paul Covent Garden, which was where her daughter Caroline lived with husband Alexander Moffatt. More on the double link between the Cordell and Baddeley families in the forthcoming post on John Baddeley.

advert Newell & Co (Source: Graces Guide)

Nothing is now left of 130 Strand as Baddeley knew it. These days, the whole block is covered by Wellington House which was built in the 1930s.

Google Street View

(1) Act 1 and 2 William IV, c. 29, public. See also Survey of London, vol. 6 and the article on the Arthur Lloyd website (here).
(2) PROB 11/181/21.
(3) They were all baptised at the Baptist chapel in Keppell Street, Russell Square: Thomas 1793, Emily 1795, Mary Ann 1797, Ann 1798, Charles 1800, Caroline 1802, Elizabeth 1804, Eliza 1807, Frederick 1808, Henry 1810, William 1812, Edward 1815.


<– 135 Strand 129 Strand –>

Hewetson Brothers, upholsterers & warehousemen



Street views 48 and 52
Addresses: 185 Oxford Street and 204 Tottenham Court Road

The Hewetson brothers, John William and Thomas, had two very similar shops, at least from the outside. They were listed in two of Tallis’s Street Views and in each of them they had a vignette of their property; in booklet 48 one for 185 Oxford Street and in booklet 52 one their shop at 204 Tottenham Court Road. The various descriptions they get in the indexes of the Street View booklets and the lettering on the elevations show that they dealt in a large variety of goods, all to do with furniture, bedding, carpets and even interior decorating. And if two vignettes and their names and occupations on the elevations were not enough, they also included an advertisement in the booklet for Tottenham Court Road.

advertisement in Street View 52

In 1840 they take out insurances with the Sun Fire Office, the one for the Oxford Street premises fairly simple with the property described as John’s dwelling house with offices, stables and loft, all communicating, of brick and timber, with no cabinet work done on the premises and with no pipe stove therein. It is insured for £1350 with an additional entry for the plate glass in the shop front, valued at £50. The total premium came to 2l. 3s. The Tottenham Court Road property is listed for Thomas and insured for £1100 (premium £1/8/6). However, a separate entry in the name of both brothers explains that the house is connected northwards via a covered walkway with a (ware)house and stables at the back in Alfred Mews, which is partly rented out to a shoemaker. They insure household fixtures in the house and in the house behind for £50; household goods, wearing apparel, printed books and plate for £200; stock, utensils and business fixtures for £1800; china, glass & lace for £150; and stock and utensils for £200, which included livestock in the stables and the cart house plus loft in Alfred Mews, for a total premium of 3l. 3s.(1)

furniture label (Source: Grosvenor Prints)

But one property in Alfred Mews was not enough for the brothers and they gradually acquired more and more houses until they occupied almost the whole south side of the street. They also acquired more properties in Tottenham Court Road. Thomas Hewetson had partnered with Robert Thexton and the address given for them in 1871 is 200, 203 and 204 Tottenham Court Road.(2) By then, the premises in Oxford Street had probably been given up and although the census finds an upholsterer there, Herbert J. Boutor, he is listed as employing 9 men and 2 boys, so probably working for himself rather than for the Hewetsons. The Hewetsons are slightly difficult to pin down as half the family was called John, John William, William John, or William, with none of these names used consistently. The 1861 census saw a William Hewetson at Oxford Street, but whether he was the John William of the 1840 insurance is not clear. When he died in 1864, probate was registered for his son John Hewetson, also an upholsterer.(3) John Hewetson, the son of William or another John?, died in 1876 and Thomas of Tottenham Court Road in 1881(4), but Thomas Hewetson junior carried on the business with Robert Thexton and later also with William Peart, who dropped out as partner in 1884.(5) A year after that, Thomas Hewetson also left the partnership and it was just Robert Thexton who continued the furniture business until his death in 1889.(6) In or just before 1889, one Milner must have joined the firm as partner as Goad’s insurance map of 1889 shows the name of the firm splashed across the crescent-shaped row of houses as Hewetson, Milner & Thexton.

The leases in the area were to expire in 1902 and the City of London Corporation Estate decided to do something about the crescents in Chenies and Store Street as they were considered “quite out of date”. Alfred Place was to be extended to Alfred Mews, going straight through the premises of Hewetson & Co. Hewetson, Milner & Thexton, by then a Limited Company, resisted the Estate’s attempts, but were eventually forced to move to premises at 209–212 Tottenham Court Road, going bankrupt a few years later. Not surprising if the notice of 1901 in The British Architect is correct; it said that Hewetson & Co were granted a new 80-years’ lease by the Court of Common Council at an annual rent of £3,000, which was an increase on their old rent of £2,300. A notice in The London Gazette of 19 March 1907 about the forced sale of their premises after the bankruptcy gives an indication of the extent of their business:

Leasehold premises, comprising shops and showrooms, numbers 209, 210, 211, and 212 Tottenham Court Road, numbers 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10, Chenies Street, numbers 15, 16, 17, and 18 Alfred Place, covering a ground area of upwards of eleven thousand square feet, and two dwelling houses and engineering works in the rear thereof, known as number 44, 46, and 44A, Whitfield Street, with a ground area of about three thousand four hundred square feet.

In November 1911, the Liquidators’ Report was ready to be shown to the members of the Company and that was, after some eighty years, the end of the flourishing furniture business started by two brothers. It is ironic, and rather sad really, that the so-called improvement of the extension of Alfred Place never took place and the crescents that were considered so out of date are still there. The Hewetson buildings in Alfred Mews have all been replaced and the street no longer shows the rounded front it had when the Hewetsons traded from there.

The Times, 20 December 1900

(1) London Metropolitan Archives, CLC/B/192/F/001/MS11936/575/1328805, CLC/B/192/F/001/MS11936/574/1328756 and 1328757.
(2) The London Gazette, 7 March 1871. They issued a debtor’s summons against a Miss Neville of Percy Villas, Teddington, who apparently failed to pay her bills.
(3) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1864. He left an estate worth £10,000, later resworn at £8,000.
(4) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1876, John left an estate worth £40,000; England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1881. Thomas left an estate worth £25,000, later resworn at £16,000.
(5) The London Gazette, 15 January 1884.
(6) The London Gazette, 24 February 1885. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1889. His estate was valued at over £20,000.


<– 186 Oxford Street
<– 203 Tottenham Court Road
184 Oxford Street –>
205 Tottenham Court Road –>

Solomon Barraclough, tobacconist


Street Views: 6, Suppl. 14, and Suppl. 17
Addresses: 46 Ludgate Hill and 70 Cheapside

Solomon Barraclough was, according to Tallis, an importer of Cuban cigars. He no doubt imported cigars from Cuba, but he was in fact a general tobacconist where you could also get your daily dose of snuff, if you so wished. The first record I found of Solomon was his birth registration at Dr. Williams’s Library on 21 July 1807. Solomon’s parents were Samuel Barraclough of Postern Row, Liberty of the Tower, and his wife Anna Bere, the daughter of Barnaby Bere. Solomon’s date of birth was given as 30 March, 1796. His birth was registered at the same time as those of his brother Timothy (1792) and of his two sisters, Anna (1793) and Jemima (1798). Registering the birth at Dr. Williams’s Library showed a definite non-conformist tendency by Solomon’s parents, but he does not seem to have been too worried himself as his marriage to Mary Preston took place at Christ Church and the baptism of his son William Preston at St. Bride’s. According to the Land Tax records, Barraclough could be found at 46 Ludgate Hill from 1827 onwards.

In 1844, Thomas Prout of 229 Strand, a bush and comb maker, who also ran a patent medicine warehouse, advertised almost weekly in provincial newspapers, such as The Belfast News-Letter, with his pills against gout and rheumatism. As one of the satisfied customers appeared G.E. Smith, “Assistant to Mr. Barraclough, Snuff Manufacturer to the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor”. My first instinct was to dismiss it as an advertising gimmick, but G.E. Smith most likely actually existed and is the same as the male servant listed in the 1841 census as living with the Barracloughs in Ludgate Hill (Geo. Smith, 30 years old). And in 1843, George Edward Smith testified in an Old Bailey case, where he said “I am in the employ of Solomon Barraclough, a tobacconist, in Ludgate Hill”.(1) Pigot’s Directory of 1839 still lists Barraclough at 46 Ludgate Hill, but by 1843 (Post Office Directory) he had extended his business to include the premises at 70 Cheapside, on the corner of Queen Street. He shared this latter address with William Garratt, an umbrella maker, who, at the time of the first series of Street Views (± 1839), had shared 70 Cheapside with Sanders & Co, hatters.

70 Cheapside

But, things did not go well for Solomon. Despite his apparent success in business, his personal life took a turn for the worse. His wife Mary died in August 1849 of cholera and this affected him so much that he committed suicide on the 1st of December. The inquest heard that on the morning of that fatal day, his son William heard strange noises coming from his father’s bedroom and when he went to investigate, his father was screaming and apparently trying to take hold of something in the air. His father got out of bed, but fell over and hurt his head. He was persuaded to go back to bed and his son left him to attend to the shop. His father said he would not go to the Cheapside shop as he normally did, but would stay in bed as he was not feeling well. Early in the afternoon, the bedroom door was found locked and when it was forced, they found Barraclough hanging from the bedstead rail. It was testified that Barraclough had not been himself after the death of his wife and would sit and cry for hours. A verdict of temporary insanity was returned.(2) Barraclough was buried on the 7th at St. Bride’s, as his wife had been, at, as vicar Charles Marshall noted in the register, the “Coroner’s order / temporary insanity”, thereby avoiding the refusal to the suicide of a Christian burial.

In the 1851 census, we find William Preston Barraclough, tobacconist, at 46 Ludgate Hill and George Botterill, importer of cigars, at 70 Cheapside. Botterill was later to move to 33 Cheapside and in the 1861 census the property is listed as empty. William Preston is still at 46 Ludgate Hill in the 1856 Post Office Directory, and also in the 1861 census, but at some point he entered into a partnership with Henry Wilson Preedy at 129 Strand. That partnership was dissolved at the end of 1864 with Barraclough to continue on his own.(3) The 1871 and 1881 censuses for Ludgate Hill no longer show number 46; they jump from 45 to 47 without any mention of 46. As we saw in the post on Thomas Treloar‘s carpet business, the area changed considerably because of the construction of the viaduct for the London, Chatham and Dover Railway Company, with houses set back, pulled down and rebuilt. The numbering was also changed and what were numbers 46 and 48 became one new property with number 78. The old Barraclough shop was probably pulled down in 1871 or 1872 as the Land Tax records for 1870 still record it for Solomon Barraclough – they apparently never updated it to his son’s name – but in the 1871 record his name has disappeared. The 1886 insurance map below shows were Barraclough’s shop used to be in relation to the new situation.

And William Preston Barraclough himself? No idea; he seems to have disappeared from London as I cannot find him in any of the usual places. Did he emigrate? If you have a suggestion, let me know.

(1) Old Bailey case t18430508-1408.
(2) Story amalgamated from various newspaper reports.
(3) The London Gazette, 10 January 1865.

advert in Street View booklet 6


<– 47 Ludgate Hill
<– 71 Cheapside
45 Ludgate Hill –>
69 Cheapside –>