Edward Mountcastle, hatter


Street View: 1 and 18 Suppl.
Address: 41 King William Street

In 1825, Edward Mountcastle, the son of Montague Mountcastle of Bedford Court, Covent Garden, was apprenticed to William White of Cheapside, Citizen and Feltmaker. Edward obtained his freedom from the Feltmakers’ Company after the regular term of seven years in August 1832. His address is then given as 23 Gracechurch Street which was the address of his cousin Sidney Harman Mountcastle, also a hatter.(1) Only a couple of months later, Edward married Frances Harris Weeks, who was probably a relation of William White’s wife Susannah Weeks. We can follow the subsequent addresses of the couple from the baptism records of their children, although the story is not as straightforward as at first may appear:
1833, September – Gracechurch Street: Montague Edward baptised at All Hallows Lombard Street
1834, July – King William Street: Fanny baptised at St. Magnus the Martyr
1839, July – King William Street: Emma baptised at St. Magnus the Martyr
1845, October – St. George’s Street: Charles Edward, Alfred, Walter baptised at St. George, Camberwell
1848, June – Albany Road: Mary Ann baptised at St. George, Camberwell
1851, June – London Street, Greenwich: Frank baptised at St. Alphage, Greenwich

1831 plan for King William Street

For the purposes of this blog, the King William Street entries are the most relevant. A whole neighbourhood had been razed to the ground for the construction of the new approach road to London Bridge, named after King William IV. The plan above shows what happened. The darker area is the outline for the new King William Street and outlined in red is the property that became Mountcastle’s hat shop. If we look at the Land Tax records for 1833, the houses in the area are bracketed together and listed for the New London Bridge Committee. In 1836, however, Mountcastle’s name appears as one of the occupants of the “redeemed” properties. In one of their advertisements, Mountcastle’s neighbours, George and John Deane, ironmongers at number 46, display their new shop and say that their “present premises” were erected in 1833, so presumably that was also the year in which number 41 was erected as it is situated in the same block of houses.

In 1841, Edward and Frances are listed in the census with their 3-week-old baby Charles. Although the three children who were born after the 1841 census were all baptised together in 1845 in Camberwell, it does not necessarily mean that Mountcastle gave up his shop in King William Street. In the 1843, 1848 and 1851 Post Office Directories, 41 King William Street is still the address for the hat shop. And Tallis in his 1847 Supplement also still listed Mountcastle at number 41. Only in the 1856 Post Office Directory was he listed at 22 Cannon Street. And at some point, he even had a shop at 10 London Street, Greenwich. The census returns for 1851 shows the family living in Greenwich, while at King William Street we find William Haldin(?), a carpenter, which seems conclusive, but the tax records tell a different story. There, Mountcastle is only listed for King William Street till 1844. There is a gap in the records, so the next year available is 1847 and Mountcastle is no longer there, but one Robert Wass is paying the tax. However, in 1852, bankruptcy proceedings are started against Mountcastle and he is still described as of 41 King William Street and London Street, Greenwich. At some point in 1852, he signs over his leasehold properties for the benefit of his creditors. I am guessing that Mountcastle rented out (part of?) his 41 King William Street property and tried to raise money that way when things got tough in the 1840s.

The London Gazette, 21 May 1852

As we saw in the 1856 Post Office Directory, Edward could next be found in Cannon Street where, at the end of 1856, he dissolves a partnership with one William John Rushby. The gentlemen had been trading as hatters under the name of J. Jenkinson and Co.(2) In the 1861 census, Edward, Frances and four of their children are found at 276 Albany Road. This may have been the same property as the one listed in the baptism record of Mary Ann, but as that does not give a house number, it may be a different house in the same street. At some point Mountcastle must have had a shop on the corner of King Street and Bedford Street, Covent Garden. It is, however, unclear when and for how long that was, but it was certainly after he had been at King William Street. Edward died in 1867 and the registration district is given as Strand, so he was possibly still living in Soho.

Source: fotolibra.com

I tried to find out what happened at 41 King William Street after Mountcastle left, but as the tax records do not provide house numbers, that it is not so easy. We saw that the 1851 census for the parish of St. Magnus the Martyr listed Harlin the carpenter, and in 1861, it is one Edward Hart, a hosier, who occupies the premises. Ten years later it is Alfred Hayward, a customs officer, who lives at number 41, and in 1881 one William Taylor, a tobacconist’s manager, but none of these people seem to appear in the Land Tax records, so presumably they were all renting. Goad’s insurance map of 1887 lists the property as a ‘studio’, and it still looks as small as when Mountcastle lived there. The northern end of the block, that is, number 46, was taken over in 1890 by the City and South London Railway Company for their King William Street Station, but it was not to last. The station was closed in 1900 (see here for more information) and Regis House was built on top of the station, not just obliterating the station entrance, but the whole block of houses from numbers 40 to 46. The Regis House you see today is a modern replacement from the 1990s, but they have retained the access to the platforms of the station which was used as an air-raid shelter in the war (more information and photos here).

Goad’s insurance map of 1887

(1) Sidney’s father William was the brother of Edward’s father Montague.
(2) The London Gazette, 2 January 1857.


<– 42 King William Street 40 King William Street –>

Wedgwood & Co., manifold writers



Street View: 64
Address: 4 Rathbone Place

The index to the Tallis Street View booklet simply says that Wedgwood & Co produced manifold writers, but the vignette that they had in the booklet proudly has the lettering “R. Wedgwood’s improved manifold writers & machines for the blind” on the facade, but just in case you did not realise how important they were, the caption to the vignette tells you that Wedgwood & Co. were the “sole inventors & patentees of the improved manifold writer for copying letters, invoices, &c.” Ralph Wedgewood, of Charles Street, Hampstead Road, had received the patent for his “apparatus for producing duplicates of writing” on 7 October 1806. A specification of the invention can be read in the Repertory of Arts, Manufactures, and Agriculture of September 1807 (online here). It was an early form of carbon copying, a technique that would really only take off in the 1870s when typewriters and an easier way to produce the carbon paper became available. To make the invention usable for the blind, Wedgwood also invented the ‘nocto polograph’ or ‘nocto-graph’ which consisted of a frame to be placed over the paper with guidelines to make sure one kept one’s writing straight.

advertisement in Tallis's Street View booklet

advertisement in Tallis’s Street View booklet

Wedgwood was not the only one to lay claim to the invention of carbon copying. Several competitors alleged that their system was much improved upon the design of Wedgwood, for instance Frederick Bartholomew Folsch, whose system included an ink pen rather than the metal stylus Wedgwood promoted. A specification of his invention can be read in the Repertory of Arts, Manufactures, and Agriculture of September 1809 (online here). Folsch and Wedgwood had some sort of economic relationship that is not yet entirely clear. They had neighbouring shops in Oxford Street until 1821 and in some years, the Land Tax records bracketed the properties together despite having different occupants.

1812 Land Tax record

1812 Land Tax record for 327 and 328 Oxford Street

According to the land tax records, Wedgwood moved to a property further up the street in 1821, but they were slightly behind with their administration, as already in 1819, Wedgwood advertised his manifold writer from 345 Oxford Street. Number 327 was henceforth occupied by a Richard Spratson. These changed were no doubt related to the fact that a block of houses around Folsch’s property (numbers 324-329) had been redeemed for the construction of Regent Circus (now called Oxford Circus) and Folsch received compensation for the loss of his premises at both 327 and 328 Oxford Street.(1) The question is, why would he receive compensation in 1816 for both properties? He is never mentioned as having two houses in the Land Tax records. The same question has been asked in the Bodleian Library blog post ‘Copycat Copiers? Frederick Folsch, Ralph Wedgwood, and the “Improved Manifold Writer”‘ (see here), but so far, there does not seem to be a logical answer, although the most likely is that Folsch held the lease and Wedgwood rented from him. I recommend you read the Bodleian blog post for all the additional information it gives on the carbon copying invention and the apparent competition between Wedgwood and Folsch. What is clear from the tax records, is that Folsch’s name continued to be listed for number 327, at least till 1850, which is strange, as the houses disappeared and Tallis does not list Folsch or his immediate neighbours; he jumps from house number 325 to 332.

From 1827 onwards, Wedgwood was trading from 4 Portland Place, although he seems to have hung onto 345 Oxford Street, at least till 1845, but he does not mention that address in his advertisements. Another confusing thing is that the inventor Ralph had a son Ralph who went into the business. The son was usually distinguished from his father by the addition of ‘junior’ to his name, for instance in the advertisement in The Examiner shown below, but the Land Tax records are silent on this point, so it is unclear whether the son or the father is the occupants of the Oxford Street properties. Ralph senior died in 1837 and after that year, the Land Tax records no longer mention a first name or initial for Wedgwood at Oxford Street, so it is possible that another family member took over the premises. It is, however, clear that it was Ralph junior who occupied 4 Rathbone Place and Ralph junior who was listed in Tallis’s Street View.

Manifold writer from Bonham’s auction website, online here

In 1840, an advertisement for Wedgwood’s manifold writers casually mentions the fact that the partnership between Wedgwood and one Mr. Squire has been dissolved by mutual consent.(3) An ordinary notice, officially recognised by a similar entry in The London Gazette of 1 September 1840, but all was not what it seemed, as there had been trouble between the partners. The London Metropolitan Archives list a record, dated September 1840, of the Middlesex Sessions of the Peace in which William Squire, of 18 Furtess Terrace, Kentish Town, and Ralph Wedgwood, of 4 Rathbone Place, are bound over to keep the peace towards each other. I have not seen the documents, so no idea what the argument between the gentlemen was, but it does put a slightly different slant on the phrase ‘by mutual consent’. On 13 January 1841, an advertisement appeared in The Morning Chronicle in which Squire offered “Squire’s manifold writers” from 9 City Road and in which he lists himself as “Squire (late Wedgwood and Squire)”. Apparently he still found it necessary to use the Wedgwood name to underline the quality of ‘his’ product despite the acrimonious parting with his former partner.

vignette from Tallis's Street View booklet

vignette from Tallis’s Street View booklet 64

advertisement from The Examiner, 20 October 1833

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

In 1851, Wedgwood junior obtained the freedom of the City through the Company of Loriners by redemption on paying the fine of 46s 6d. The document with the oath he swore at the Guildhall on the occasion has been preserved. Another document in the file tells us that he was the son of Ralph, late of Chelsea, Gent., deceased, and that he was living at 84 Lombard Street. An advertisement in The Times of 2 November 1849 gives the Lombard Street address with the addition “late of Rathbone Place”, so presumably a recent move. The blue advertorial sheet above from the Science Museum also has the Lombard Street address. Wedgwood died in October 1866 and was then living at Castlenau Villas, Barnes.(4)

And in case you are wondering: yes, Josiah Wedgwood, the potter, and Ralph Wedgwood were related. Ralph senior, the inventor, was the son of Thomas Wedgwood who was the cousin and business partner of Josiah I Wedgwood, the potter. John Raphael Wedgwood, the son of the Ralph Wedgwood who is listed in Tallis and the grandson of Ralph, the inventor, died in November 1902 and was then living at Etruria House, Lonsdale Road, Barnes, the name of the house a reference to the Wedgwood factory in Etruria, Staffordshire.(5)

(1) The Morning Chronicle, 14 September 1816.
(2) London Metropolitan Archives, COL/CHD/FR/02/.
(3) The Morning Chronicle, 31 August 1840.
(4) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1867. One of the executors was his son John Raphael of 9 Cornhill who is described as Manufacturer of Patent Manifold Writers and Writing and Dressing Case Maker. The effects were valued at under £10,000.
(5) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1903. His estate was valued at over £110,000.


<– 5 Rathbone Place 3 Rathbone Place –>

Whisson & Collis, wine merchants


Street Views: 63 and 70
Addresses: 27 Old Compton Street / 27 Princes Street

The establishment of Whisson and Collis(s), the Two Ships, was situated on the corner of Princes Street and Old Compton Street and as both streets were depicted by Tallis, the pub was favoured by an appearance in two of Tallis’s booklets. The elevation on the left is the one in Princes Street and the one on the right in Compton Street. The property was later known as 54 Wardour Street. John Colliss had been running the Old George at 29 Oxford Street together with James Whisson, at least since 1834 when that address is mentioned on the baptism record of his daughter Susan (All Soul’s, Langham, Westminster). Before that, the Colliss family had lived at South Bersted, Sussex and it was there that John Colliss was married in 1822 to Martha Catchlove. One of the witnesses of that marriage was James Whisson, presumably the same James Whisson who later became Colliss’s partner in London. At least six Colliss children were baptised at South Bersted, two were to follow at Langham, two at St. Anne Soho when John ran the pub in Princes/Compton Street and two more afterwards when he had moved to Newington Causeway.(1)

Pigot’s Directory for 1839 lists Colliss with James Whisson at the Old George in Oxford Street, but also with Whisson (no first name given) at the Two Ships. Colliss had, however, already moved from Oxford Street to Old Compton Street sometime between July 1836, when Charlotte was baptised at All Souls, and early 1838 when his daughter Mary was baptised at St. Anne Soho. The 1841 census found John and Martha Colliss and three of their children at 27 Old Compton Street. In 1851, the couple, and eight of their children, are found at 59 Newington Causeway and this was the address of the World’s End, the pub we have already come across in Tallis’s Street View as ran by Marc Elphick who went bankrupt in 1841. A picture of the World’s End can be found in the post on Elphick. The 1843 Post Office Directory does not list Colliss, but as his youngest son was baptised at Holy Trinity, Newington Causeway in May 1844 (born August 1843), we can assume that Colliss was already running the World’s End by then. It certainly means that he did not stay very long at the Two Ships; he arrived there in ±1837 and left ±1842/3 (Colliss and Whisson are still mentioned as the proprietors of the Two Ships in Robson’s 1842 Directory). Whisson was likewise just passing through.

1886 Goad’s insurance map with 54 Wardour Street indicated by P.H. (public house)

Although it seems logical that the Whisson who ran the Two Ships with Colliss was James Whisson, as they had ran the Old George in Oxford Street together, it may just as well have been Nathaniel Whisson, who was probably a relation of James. Nathaniel is also listed as a victualler, and at more or less the same time as Colliss co-ran the Two Ships, James Whisson ran the One Tun in Goodge Street and Nathaniel the Crown & Anchor at Judd Place, so that does not help much. So far, I have unfortunately not found any records that mention the first name of the one who co-ran The Two Ships with Colliss.

In 1862, so well after Whisson and Colliss were there, The Two Ships figured in an Old Bailey case, because a wrestling match (or pub brawl if you prefer) that had started in the pub was continued outside with the result that one person died. The victim, John Radford, and the accused, William Davis, were fighting in the street and witnesses described the victim as at some point having fallen against the window of Peppin’s chemist shop. That fall did not kill him, but a later one against a kerb stone did. No one was sentenced for the death of the man; it was just a fight without intent to kill that went tragically wrong.(2) What surprised me, though, is that no mention is made of anyone from the chemist’s coming to the aid of the victim. A doctor from Dean Street testified that his assistant had seen to the victim and he himself had only seen the body two days after death, but apparently no immediate aid was given to the victim, or if it had, it did not make it into the statements of the witnesses.

After the Whisson/Colliss years, many more landlords ran the pub. From various resources,(3) I found the following:
1848 Edwin Dean, Post Office Directory
1851 Edwin Dean, Post Office Directory
1851 John Renshaw, census gives him as “manager of a public house”
1856 Edwin Dean, Post Office Directory
1861 William Dawson, census
1869 James Frederick Phillips, Post Office Directories
1871 Frederick Phillips, census
1881 John Wakely, census
1882 John Wakely, Post Office Directory
1884 John Wakely, Post Office Directory
1889 John Weston, bankrupt
1891 Michael Hart, census
1891 Michael Hart, The London 1891 Public House & Publican Directory
1894 Michael Hart, bankrupt
1895 Arthur Lee, Post Office Directory
1899 Jon Jas Wm Wood, Post Office Directory and The London 1899 Public House & Publican Directory
1901 Albert Kagi, census
1911 Albert Kagi, census (he died in 1914, but was probably retired by then)
1915 Louis Cantor, Post Office Directory
1921 Louis Cantor, Post Office Directory

May 2014, Google Street View

If you look at Google Street View (their latest picture is from July 2016) for 27 Princes/Compton (which is now 54 Wardour Street) you can see a lot of scaffolding, but if you went back, for instance to May 2014, you can see how small 54 Wardour Street had become after 1913 when the building had been diminished by the widening of the street at the corner. The number 76 you see next door used to be 28 Old Compton Street and another property altogether. But big plans are afoot and Westminster Council has published documents to go with an application to enlarge the ground floor space at number 54 from 24 to 38 square metres by combining number 54 with 76 Old Compton Street. The whole plan is more complicated than this, but the picture below will explain what will happen at ground floor level. Wonder how it will look when the scaffolding is taken down again.

plan taken from the website of Westminster Council (see all the documents online here)

(1) South Bersted: Sarah (1823), Elizabeth (1825), William (1827), John (1829), Martha (1830), Ann (1832); Oxford Street: Susan (1834), Charlotte (1836); Old Compton Street: Mary (1838), James (1841); Newington Causeway: George (1844), and Hannah (1845).
(2) Old Bailey case t18620922-956.
(3) Among them the website of pubshistory.com.


<– 26 Princes Street 25 Princes Street –>
28 Old Compton Street –>

Swaine and Isaac, whipmakers


Street View: 23
Address: 185 Piccadilly

On 13 June 1887, Swaine & Adeney wrote a request to J.E. Wakefield, the clerk to the Metropolitan Board of Works, requesting permission to erect temporary seating in front of their shop windows, in order to enable their guests to see the “reception” of 21 June. What they meant was the Jubilee procession to mark the 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s reign. An eyewitness report of the event can be found here. The Metropolitan Board quickly responded after receiving drawings of the intended structure and the licence was granted “upon condition that the whole of the works be executed to your [that is the district Surveyor, R. Kerr’s] satisfaction and that the erection be taken down and removed by the owner at his own expense within a period of one month from the 20th day of June 1887”. Swaine & Adeney were not the only ones to put up jubilee seating. A similar, but much bigger structure was put up by the Raleigh Club at 16 Regent Street, and no doubt many more shops applied for similar licences.

vignette in the Tallis Street View booklet with Swaine & Isaac’s shop on the right-hand side

More on the later history of the firm and the various business they took over, such as J. Köhler & Son and Zair Ltd, can be found in Katherine Prior’s In Good Hands: 250 years of craftsmanship at Swaine Adeney Brigg (2012), but here we will mostly concentrate on the earlier history of the firm.

An early trade card with the 238 Piccadilly address (© Trustees of the British Museum)

The Courier and Evening Gazette 19 January 1799

As an early trade card states, Swaine & Co. took over from Mr. Ross, that is John Ross who had had a whipmaker’s business at 238 Piccadilly since 1770. He had moved there after a devastating fire at his old premises in Marylebone Street. Although he became “whipmaker to the Royal family” in 1797, the surveyors for the Crown deemed his shop dilapidated and unhygienic and ordered £120 worth of repairs. In 1798 Ross sold out to whipmaker James Swaine and brewer Benjamin Slocock, the latter the financial partner and possibly a relation of James’s wife. Edward Swaine, James’s son, was later to be apprenticed to Slocock.(1) James himself had been apprenticed in 1782 to Benjamin Griffith, a whipmaker of High Holborn. The Griffiths and Swaines remained in contact after Swaine set up on his own and Charles Griffith was at one point licensed by Swaine to produce some of his whips.

By 1822, the whipmakers had moved from 238 to 224 Piccadilly and were to move again in 1835 to number 185 where Tallis was to find them. Benjamin Slocock had retired from the partnership by then (in 1825 or thereabouts) and was followed by a new partner, William Isaac. James Swaine died in September 1837, but the year before, son Edward had taken up the freedom of the City via the Brewers’ Company, which he could do because of his apprenticeship at Slocock’s. In theory, he need not have done so as Piccadilly does not fall under the jurisdiction of the City, but he probably found it advantageous for other reasons, such as the contacts with other freemen; never a bad thing for a businessman. Also in 1836, James Adeney, the son of Mary Ann Swaine, was apprenticed into the business and he was to become an important part of the whipmakers’ firm. In September 1848, William Isaac pulled out of the partnership(2) and Swaine and Adeney continued the business together. As you can see from the family tree below, the Swaines and Adeneys were twice connected by marriage; first of all by the marriage of James Swaine’s daughter Mary Ann to William Adeney and a generation later by the marriage of the two cousins James and Caroline, thereby consolidating the ownership of the business. In 1851 (and indeed in 1861), the census found the whole family, that is: Edward and his second wife Sarah, daughter Caroline and her husband James Adeney and their two young children Edward S. and James W., all living together at 185 Piccadilly.

1851 was also the year in which Swaine & Adeney entered a numbers of whips in the Great Exhibition and they were favoured with a prize medal and an illustration in The Illustrated Exhibitor. The catalogue compared the entries of whips from many countries and said that “perhaps the best show of them all is that made by the firm in Piccadilly, from whose trophy the whip-heads in our engraving have been chosen”. And in 1862, the whipmakers repeated their performance at the International Exhibition at South Kensington. Their entry in the catalogue also listed the address of their depot in Paris, where Messrs Darré & Texier were apparently acting as their agents. The company received many more prizes in other exhibitions and shows, but the 1851 and 1862 were the two most important ones and gained them an influential and international clientèle. The situation of their shop in Piccadilly was a good one, as they were close to all the grand houses in the vicinity and the gentlemen’s clubs, such as Boodle’s and White’s, both in St. James’s Street. They also secured the patronage of various Royals and were not shy in advertising such whenever they found an opportunity.

The Illustrated Exhibitor, 1851

Swaine & Adeney’s entry in Volume 2 of The Illustrated Catalogue of the International Exhibition of 1862

In 1889, the lease on their premises came up for renewal and Katherine Prior tells us that the new lease from the Governors of Bethlehem Hospital was to run for 80 years at an annual rent of £340; not a bad price for such an advantageous spot. The new lease came with a floor plan (Prior’s book, p. 38), but I have drawn the plot in red on Goad’s 1886 insurance map. By the time of this new lease, a new generation was in charge. Edward Swaine had died in 1862 and the sons of James Adeney, Edward Swaine Adeney and James William Adeney, had joined their father in the business. James Adeney died in 1898, which was only a couple of years after the first motor cars appeared on English roads. Cars were to change the business from one that could, throughout the nineteenth century, rely more or less completely on the manufacturing of whips, to one that had to diversify and adept to a changing world and it was not long before they manufactured luggage sets for motor cars, polo sticks, balls and helmets, hunting horns, and, with the amalgamation of Swaine and Adeney with Thomas Brigg & Sons, also umbrellas. More companies were taken over, subsumed, or bought, but if you want more details on all those later changes, I refer you to Prior’s book which does a much better job of telling the later history of Swaine & Adeney than I can do in the limited space of this blog post. I’ll just leave you with a few more pictures and a link to the Swaine Adeney Brigg website (here).

Goad’s insurance map with the premises of Swaine & Adeney outlined in red

trade card which must date from between 1835 when the firm moved to number 185 and 1848 when Isaac retired

advertisement for Swaine & Isaac in the Tallis Street View booklet

advertisement in The Spur of 15 July 1922 where Tallis’s vignette has been carefully copied.

advertisement for mess boxes (Source: Swaine Adeney Brigg website)

(1) His indenture dates from 8 February 1810 and mentions that the contract was taken out for seven years – the normal term for an apprenticeship – and for “no consideration” which is more unusual, but no doubt explained by the partnership between Edward’s master and father. Edward was to obtain his freedom of the Brewers’ Company in 1836, although he could have done so in 1817.
(2) The London Gazette, 9 March 1849.


<– 186 Piccadilly 184 Piccadilly –>

George Albert Chapman, linen draper


Street View: 53
Address: 263 Tottenham Court Road

As Chapman’s shop was on the corner of Tottenham Court Road and Great Russell Street, it was know by both addresses: 263 Tottenham Court Road and 1 Great Russell Street. The shop had had various occupants and the Sun Fire Office, lists the following:
1810 Jonathan Grove, fishmonger
1826 John Bradford, grocer
1828 Charles Ward, tobacconist
1831 George Blakeway, grocer
1834 Isaac Marsh, grocer
1835 Richard Taylor, esquire of Edgware Road, so presumably renting it out
1836 Lavell and Chapman, silk mercers and linen drapers

In an advertisement in The Morning Chronicle of 9 November 1835, James Alexander Lavell and George Albert Chapman announce a partnership at 1 Great Russell Street. They explain that Lavell had been a partner with Harvey & Co. of Ludgate Hill and Chapman was “from the same house”. The way they phrase this suggests that Chapman had not been a partner, but just worked there. They called their new business premises ‘Victoria House’ and sold “a choice and superior assortment of drapery goods, of every description, which, for fashion, variety, and extent, is not usually met with in one establishment”. The partnership only lasted a few years and in February 1838, they dissolved it with Chapman to continue on his own.(1)

In 1841, the census lists George Albert at 1 Great Russell Street, apparently single, living with five male journeymen/servants and one female servant. Chapman’s shop was frequently visited by shoplifters and 1840 was a particularly bad year for him. It started in March 1840 with Isaac Eggenton who stole 22 yards of printed cotton. The Old Bailey record is unfortunately rather short and does not tell us much more than that Isaac was 19 years old [which was in fact, 13 years old], pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven years transportation. We know that he was sent to the Isle of Wight, to Parkhurst Prison from where he, and many other “apprentices”, as they were called, were sent to Australia or New Zealand. Isaac ended up in Auckland, New Zealand, where he died in 1897 (see here).(2)

Some of Chapman’s shopmen had to give evidence in Old Bailey trials. Edward Griffith testifies that he is a shopman to Chapman in the trial of Catherine Broderick who had stolen several yards of cloth in March 1840.(3) A month later, Margaret Callaghan is apprehended for stealing some printed cotton. In this case, William Harris, “in the service of” Chapman, gives evidence.(4) Chapman’s shop must have been an attractive place for shoplifters, as a few month later, another female, Catherine Williams, attempted to steal a piece of mouseline-de-laine, but was caught hiding it in her shawl by Griffith. One Thomas Howes, a Manchester warehouseman of King-street, Cheapside, said he had known the prisoner for thirty years, and that “she had the best of character for honesty — she is of an absent character of mind — she scarcely knows what she is about”. She was found not guilty.(5) Small cases of theft did not usually make it into the newspapers, but in this case, a journalist must have been short of copy and decided to do a write-up about the Williams case. Unfortunately, he got it all wrong and instead of Howes giving Ms Williams a good character, the newspaper wrote that it was a Mr. Williams who did so. He was reported to be a bookseller of 1 Great Russell Street, but that is hardly likely as that was Chapman’s address and the last name of the bookseller is the same as that of the alleged thief. And in the newspaper, Catherine Williams was not discharged after having been found not guilty, but was locked up and only released after two days when bail was granted. It looks as if the journalist combined the notes on two cases and came up with a muddle.(6)

Linen draper from The Book of English Trades 1818

Linen draper from The Book of English Trades (1818)

But Chapman’s woes were not over yet and the month after the Williams case, Martha Jones tried to nick a shawl, but Edward Griffith was on to her(7) and in 1842, it was yet another shopman, Charles Hewitt, who stopped Peter Collins from wandering off with a pair of gloves.(8) And in May 1844, it was Chapman himself who apprehended Mary Ann Watson for stealing 11 yards of mouseline-de-laine.(9) Whether it was the frequent thefts or the less than perfect business acumen of Chapman himself, the drapery in Tottenham Court Road only lasted until 1845 when Chapman assigned his estate and effects onto John Bradury and Henry Sturt, both warehousemen, for the benefit of his creditors.(10) What happened next to Chapman is unclear, so we will continue with the businesses who occupied the corner shop after him.

One William Hardwick, laceman, is next found on the premises, but he went bankrupt in 1849, so that business did not last very long either.(11) The 1851 Post Office Directory lists Henry Tautz & Co., silk mercers, on the premises; all still in the drapery line of business, but the 1856 Post Office Directory lists William Davies, hairdresser for 1 Great Russell Street, so a complete change. The 1871 census shows Joseph H. Starie, bookseller, on the premises, and in 1882, an advertisement appears in the Daily News for Benson’s, a company selling rubber hoses at number 263. They had another shop at 4 Tottenham Court Road, which was just across the road. We will sort their history out when we write the post on number 4, but for now, the story of 263 Tottenham Court Road / 1 Great Russell Street has come to an end.

Daily News, 29 May 1882

(1) The London Gazette, 16 February 1838.
(2) Old Bailey case t18400406-1078. Thanks go to Lyn Olds who is a descendent of Isaac.
(3) Old Bailey case t18400406-1161.
(4) Old Bailey case t18400511-1431.
(5) Old Bailey case t18400706-1862.
(6) The Southern Star and London and Brighton Patriot, 12 July 1840.
(7) Old Bailey case t18400817-2011.
(8) Old Bailey case t18420131-772.
(9) Old Bailey case t18440506-1501.
(10) The London Gazette, 13 June 1845.
(11) The London Gazette, 28 July 1849.


<– 262 Tottenham Court Road 264 Tottenham Court Road –>

Crosse and Blackwell, Fish Sauce Warehouse


Street View: 85
Address: 21 Soho Square

Thanks to the archaeological excavations that have taken place in areas where the gigantic undertaking of the Crossrail tunnel made it possible, that is, mainly where the bore holes for the stations were made, we now know at lot more about Crosse and Blackwell than we knew before. The archaeological dig at the Crossrail Tottenham Court area brought an unexpected hoard of pots, glasses and jars to light. They appear to have been used to infill a disused kiln or cistern and provide a rare glimpse into the range of packing material used for the great variety of wares produced by Crosse and Blackwell, and no, they did not just produce fish sauce, although that is how it all started. The photographs of the Crosse and Blackwell ‘hoard’, if I may use that term (bottom of this post), were taken at the exhibition on Crossrail at the Docklands Museum of London, and I am indebted to the MOLA book on the Crossrail excavation for some of the information below, especially that relating to the dig. But before we go into the various pots and glasses and the goods they contained, first something about the two gentleman, Edmund Crosse and Thomas Blackwell, who started the company in 1830 by taking over the firm of West and Wyatt at 11 King Street. Crosse and Blackwell had both been apprenticed in 1819 to William Wyatt, Salter, working as an ‘oilman’, and when he retired in 1830 (Richard West had died in 1824), the two friends took over the business and moved to 21 Soho Square in 1839, so not long before Tallis produced his booklet.

an early Crosse and Blackwell jar (Source: the-saleroom.com)

watercolour by Thomas Hosmer Shepherd, 1854

watercolour by Thomas Hosmer Shepherd, 1854, showing 20 and 21 Soho Square (© Trustees of the British Museum)

advertising plaque 1850 showing the corner of Soho Square and Sutton Street (Source: The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke on Trent )

Edmund Crosse was the son of William Crosse of York Place, Chelsea, deceased, and five pounds of his apprentice fee of £210 was put up by Christ’s Hospital and the rest by “the friends of the said apprentice”. Thomas Blackwell ‘only’ had to pay £150 but no indication is given on his indenture who paid it, presumably his father Charles Blackwell of Harrow Weald Common. The 1841 census saw Thomas living in Harrow on the Hill with his wife Ann and two young children. Edmund was living above the business at 21 Soho Square. The 1851 census for Edmund, still at 21 Soho Square, tells us that it is a firm of 2 men, employing 50 men, 56 women and 14 boys. Ten years later, the census for Thomas, still at Harrow, gives us a sense of the expansion, as he is given as employing 102 men, 10 boys and 84 women. By 1861, Edmund had moved to Cambridge Terrace, Paddington, where he was to die a year later.(1) Thomas was not going anywhere and could be found at Harrow till his death in 1879.(2) Various Crosses and Blackwells continued to run the family business until it became a limited company in 1892.

memorials on the graves of Edmund Crosse (on the left) and Thomas Blackwell (on the right) at All Saints Churchyard, Harrow Weald (Source: findagrave.com)

The advertisement Crosse and Blackwell had in several of Tallis’s booklets still puts the emphasis on their fish sauce, but over the years, they expanded the range of food preserves produced into all kinds of pickles, sauces, jams, potted meats, candied fruits, chutneys, soups and bottled fruit. For some products Crosse and Blackwell acted as distributors, such as for Lea & Perrin’s Worchester Sauce, but others were made by licence for other companies, such as Keiler’s marmalade, until Crosse and Blackwell bought that firm in 1919 (see here). Their business premises in Soho expanded accordingly. 20 Soho Square, which had been the premises of D’Almaine, pianoforte makers, was added to number 21 in 1858, and by then, they had also established stables in Dean Street, which were later removed to 111 Charing Cross Road. A building at the back of 20-22 Soho Square, in Sutton Place, was acquired which was to be connected to yet another building in Falconberg Place by an iron footbridge. In a second phase of expansion, 18 Soho Square was added to the complex and also buildings on the corner of Sutton Street (111-155 Charing Cross Road), which were redeveloped between 1877 and 1885. On the vacant plot that can be seen on Goad’s insurance map below, another warehouse, known as 157 Charing Cross Road, completely covering the block, was built in 1893. However, London became busier and busier and the smells from the various manufacturing processes cannot have been too pleasant, and by 1921, Crosse and Blackwell had moved their production line away from London to Branston in Staffordshire. And yes, that is why we now have Branston pickle. Most London buildings were sold off, except for some office space in Soho Square. This is a potted history of the expansion of the Crosse and Blackwell business, leaving out numerous details, such as buildings in other London locations. Much more detailed information can be read in chapter 2 of the Mola book.

Goad’s 1889 insurance map with the Cross and Blackwell properties outlined in red

The excavations at the Crossrail site found a surprising amount (13,000! items) of pottery and glass that could all be linked to Crosse and Blackwell (see here). The pots and jars had apparently been used as waste material to backfill a cistern, which had once provided clean water. The James Keiler marmelade jars found mention the prizes that company received in 1862, 1869 and 1872, so the infill can be dated to after 1872. The cistern had probably been closed off prior to the work at 151-155 Charing Cross Road in 1877. The Museum of London Docklands has exhibited some of the finds, and below you will find some photographs that I took of the display.

If you want more information on the excavation or on the history of Crosse and Blackwell, I suggest you get hold of a copy of the Mola book by N. Jeffries, L. Blackmore and D. Sorapure, Crosse and Blackwell 1830-1921: A British Food Manufacturer in London’s West End, 2016.

(1) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 186279. Estate valued at under £140,000.
(2) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1879. Estate valued at under £160,000.


<– 20 Soho Square 20 (21a) Soho Square –>

Borradaile, Son & Ravenhill, merchants



Street View: 74
Address: 34 Fenchurch Street

Tallis mistakenly lists the firm as Borradaili, but it should be Borradaile, nor does he give any indication what trade they were in. Admittedly, their profession is somewhat confusing as they were involved in all kinds of activities, but to keep it simple, I have given them the occupation of ‘merchants’. They were involved, however, in (fur) hatmaking, shipping, insurance, cotton mills, and probably much more that has not made it into easily accessible records.

top part of William’s indenture

William Borradaile (born 16 Dec. 1750, baptised 5 Jan. 1751), son of John Borradaile, a tanner of Wigdon, Cumberland, was apprenticed in 1765 to London Founder Edward Watson. In 1778, William’s younger brother Richardson followed him to London to be apprenticed to Draper Henry Wright. In Bailey’s Northern Directory for the year 1781, Edward Watson was listed as a merchant at 31 Cannon Street and in his will of 1788, Watson leaves “to the said William Borradaile all the rest residue and remainder of my personal estate”, in other words: everything that had not been left to others was to go to William.(1) By that time, William had already set up on his own and his name appears in the tax records for Fenchurch Street. That the relationship between his master Edward Watson and William Borradaile was close, can be seen in the name of Borradaile’s son, who was baptised on 2 April 1785 as John Watson Borradaile. In 1799, this son was apprenticed to his uncle Richardson, and so was his younger brother Abraham in 1803. Another brother, William, was apprenticed in 1807 to a Merchant Taylor, John Clark, but later became a man of the church.(2)

Pelts of beaver, fox, and other animals

Pelts of beaver, fox, and other animals (Source: uniquelyminnesota.com)

To complicate matters, Richardson, who had entered into a partnership with his brother, also had a son William who was taken on as an apprentice in the Fenchurch business of furriers, hatters and merchants. In those days, the Borradailes were certainly involved in the fur trade and the Hudson Bay Company archive shows them supplying hats to the North West Company at Grand Portage, Minnesota.(3) See here and here for more information on the fur trade from Grand Portage. In the summer of 2017, the Grand Portage National Park Service plans to open a reconstruction of the inside of a 1799 hatters’ shop, which they will name ‘Borradaile and Atkinson’.

The Borradailes formed all sorts of – temporary – partnerships, sometimes more than one at any given time, and a particular example is given in The London Gazette of 1811 where several partnerships were dissolved.(4) The first one mentioned was between William Borradaile, Richardson Borradaile and John Atkinson of Salford, Manchester, as merchants and manufacturers. They had been trading under the name of William and Richardson Borradaile and Co. in London and under the name of Borradailes, Atkinson and Co. in Salford. Another partnership between the Borradailes, Atkinson and John Clark was dissolved that same day. These partners had been trading under the name of Borradaile and Clark. Both partnerships were dissolved because Atkinson pulled out. Two more partnerships were dissolved that had involved Atkinson, although the entry in The London Gazette does not state whether they were dissolved because he withdrew. One of these partnerships was between the Borradaile brothers of Fenchurch Street, John Atkinson of Salford, Robert Owen(5) of Manchester and Thomas Atkinson of Manchester, as cotton spinners under the name of the Chorlton Twist Company. And the last partnership had been between all of the above mentioned partners together with Henry and John Barton of Manchester as cotton spinners under the name of the New Lanark Cotton Mills. The Johnstone’s 1818 Directory shows that matters in London were also not quite as straightforward as one might think, especially not when the next generation got involved. Johnstone lists under the name Borradaile:
R. & C. & Co. , furriers, Great Suffolk Street, Borough
R. and Wm. jun. & Co., merchants, 14 St. Helen’s Place
W. & R. & Co., merchants, 14 St. Helen’s Place
W., Sons & Ravenhill, hat makers, 34 Fenchurch Street, manufactury Hatfield Street, Blackfriars Rd.

fur shop from Diderot’s Encyclopédie (Source: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)

We will concentrate on the Fenchurch Street business here, which was run by the Borradaile brothers and George Ravenshill after Atkinson withdrew from the partnership. More on the business in a moment, but first a glimpse into the private life of William Borradaile. On the 4th of July, 1812, he wrote a letter to the churchwardens of St. Laurence Pountney,

From the parents of my wife (who is just deceased) having been many years inhabitants of the parish of St. Laurence Pountney, and being, as well as my own mother and several others of our family, interred in the burial ground of that parish, I feel desirous to possess a vault there. I therefore request the favour of you to call a vestry, in order to consider of a grant to be made me of ground for the purpose of building such vault near the foot of my late mother’s grave stone, of the following dimensions, viz.: 7 feet long by 4 feet 10 inches wide in the clear, and of such depths as you may judge proper.(6)

His request was granted and presumably the vault was built, but surprisingly, he does not mention it in his will.(7) He was, however, buried at St. Mary Abchurch, which was the parish to which St. Laurence Pountney had been united after the Fire of London in 1666 as St Laurence’s was not rebuilt, although their graveyard continued in use until 1850. William’s gravestone, and those of other Borradailes, is listed for St. Laurence Pountney in The Churchyard Inscriptions of the City of London. But to return to the business: sons John Watson and Abraham continued the business under the name of Wm. Borradaile & Co., although the property at 34 Fenchurch Street was now listed in the tax records for John Watson alone as he had inherited the building itself. In 1832, these second-generation brothers, George Ravenhill and one William Thornborrow dissolve a partnership as insurance brokers; apparently a new sideline of the hatters.(8) The 1841 census found John Watson, his wife Ann, their children and brother Abraham at 34 Fenchurch Street, but soon afterwards the business premises were shared with various other companies.

From 1843 onwards, various other businesses could be found trading from 34 Fenchurch Street, among them Ludd and William Fenner, who went bankrupt in late 1843.(9), William Grant, tobacco broker who died in March 1853, and Marshall and Edridge, who ran the Australian line of packet ships. In 1851, John Watson and Abraham dissolved the partnership they had as “merchants and general commission agents”, because John Watson was retiring.(10) He died in 1859. Abraham continued the business until his own death in June 1857. While sitting in his counting house “he was suddenly attacked by mortal sickness, and, although medical aid was promptly at hand, expired in a few minutes of the seizure”.(11) The notice about Abraham’s death listed the company as “Cape merchants” and said that he had married his cousin, the daughter of Richardson Borradaile, many years M.P. for Newcastle-under-Lyne. The entry for Richardson on the website of the Parliamentary history gives more information on the various merchant activities of the Borradailes (see here). The Borradaile name continued to be used by various family members and could be found as far away as Calcutta where Messrs Borradaile owned a steam boat, the “Pioneer” which did service on the Ganges; they were also heavily involved in the Indian railways. The Borradailes even acquired eternal fame by having an – albeit small – island near Antarctica named after them, Borradaile Island.

Strakers’ Annual Mercantile, Ship & Insurance Register of 1863, lists numerous businesses trading from 34 Fenchurch Street:
Merchants: Bartholomew Calway; Alexander L. Georgacopulo; Demetrio Georgiades; V.A. Van Hüffel & Co.; Charles Maltby; Michaelis, Boyd & Co; Henry William F. Niemann; W. Potter; Henry A. Preeston & Co.; W.S. Shuttleworth & Co.; John Hammond Winch; East India and Colonial Merchants: Lerosche and Co.; James Macdonald and Co.; Tea and Coffee Brokers: Charles Maltby; Timber Brokers: Grant, Hodgson & Co.
Many more names could be added to these over the years, but I will leave it at this and end with the note that the building as the Borradailes knew it no longer exists. The building as Tallis depicted it with the gate in front had already disappeared when Goad produced his insurance maps. In 1936 a much larger Plantation House was erected and even that has now been superseded by Plantation Place, an enormous glass and steel office development.

1887 Goad insurance map

Goad’s insurance map, 1887

(1) PROB 11/1170/126.
(2) He became rector of Wandsworth, but killed himself in 1836 ‘in a fit of temporary derangement’ by jumping off Vauxhall Bridge.
(3) Public Archives of Canada Reel 5M5, Part F4/20, Invoice of sundries shipped by McTavish Fraser and Co. for the NWcCo. Reference kindly supplied by Karl Koster for which my thanks.
(4) The London Gazette, 28 September and 15 October 1811.
(5) A biographical sketch of Robert Owen appeared in The Poor Man’s Guardian, 28 November 1834.
(6) H.B. Wilson, A History of the Parish of St. Laurence Pountney, 1831, p. 177. William Borradaile had married Ann Delapierre in 1784; she was the daughter of Abraham and Mary Delapierre.
(7) PROB 11/1790/29.
(8) The London Gazette, 4 January 1833.
(9) The London Gazette, 22 December 1843.
(10) The London Gazette, 17 January 1851.
(11) The Morning Chronicle, 17 June 1857.


<– 35 Fenchurch Street 33 Fenchurch Street –>

J.W. Norie & Co., navigation warehouse


, ,

Street View: 2
Address: 157 Leadenhall Street


It is sometimes a good thing that the process of OCR is not perfect, especially not for older text material, as I might not so easily have worked out that Tallis made a mistake by listing J.W. Norie as Morie, with the modern facsimile edition making it even worse by transcribing Tallis’s mistake as Moria. My first Google search for ‘moria leadenhall’ immediately gave me as a matching result a book available at archive.org that contained an advertisement for Norie and Wilson at 157 Leadenhall Street, and that put me on the right track for John William Norie who obtained his freedom of the City of London by redemption through the Company of Coopers. The notice from the Coopers’ Company about his registration already has 157 Leadenhall Street as his address. The 1834 electoral registers tell us that besides his shop, he also had property in Albany Street, Regent’s Park.

Norie did not start the navigation warehouse in Leadenhall; it was William Heather who had taken over the chart publishers Mount and Page and who ran the Naval Warehouse and Academy from 1795. When Heather retired in 1813, Norie took over and hence needed the freedom of one of the Worshipful Companies to be able to trade in the City. He had already been busy before 1813, not just as an assistant to Heather, but also as an author, or perhaps more correctly compiler, of A New and Complete Epitome of Practical Navigation (1805). On the title-page he is referred to as ‘teacher of navigation and nautical astronomy’ and in his preface he sets out his reasons for writing the book, namely the inadequacy of existing works on practical navigation. He dedicated the book to the Court of directors of the United Company of Merchants of England trading to the East Indies, which was of course a sensible move as most of the customers of the Navigation Warehouse had links with the East India Company and their headquarters were situated just a bit further up the street.

The shop is depicted in Robert Wilkinson’s Londina Illustrata (1825) as the second building from the left in the first section on the north side of Leadenhall Street, that is, on the left if you were coming from Cornhill and had just crossed Bishopsgate and Gracechurch Street. The caption explains that these houses were erected after a fire in 1765. A map of that fire, with the individual houses can be seen here. From the map, we learn that number 157 was then occupied by a linen draper, but none of the names correspond to the ones in the 1825 picture and in turn, most names of the 1825 occupants had disappeared by the time Tallis produced his booklet on the street some 15 years later, with the exception of Norie at no. 157, Robinson at no. 153 and Corser at no. 152.

There is nothing left now of the shop as street widening has taken its toll. There is, however, a tangible reminder of the shop in the Charles Dickens Museum. They have on display the figure of a midshipman who used to adorn the Norie premises as a shop sign.(1) The poor man is squashed a bit against the ceiling in the museum and not so easy to photograph (no flash allowed), but it is great that he has not been thrown in a skip when the shop was demolished. Dickens used the navigation warehouse in Dombey & Son as the model for Sol Gills’ shop with one of the “little timber midshipmen in obsolete naval uniforms, eternally employed outside the shopdoors of nautical instrument-makers in taking observations of the hackney coaches”. The little midshipman appears throughout Dickens’s story, following the ups and downs of Gills’ shop, and ending with a new coat of paint, still gleefully taking the measure of the hackney coaches.

Illustration by Hablot Browne (‘Phiz’) from the 1848 edition of Dombey and Son

portrait of Norie by Adam Buck, after Williams (Solomon Williams?), watercolour, circa 1803 (© National Portrait Gallery, London

portrait of Norie by Adam Buck, after Williams (Solomon Williams?), watercolour, circa 1803 (© National Portrait Gallery, London)

John William Norie was born in 1772 and died in 1843. He probably retired in 1840, as that is when the partnership between the executors of George Wilson and Norie came to an end.(2) Norie’s will provides a number of clues. For starters, it was drawn up in Edinburgh, because he was at that time “residing in Princes Street Edinburgh in order to settle my affairs and to prevent all disputes that might otherwise arise in regard to my means and estate after my death”.(3) In fact, he was to die there at the end of 1843. He names William Nash of St. Thomas’s Hospital, his brother-in-law John Hodgson Anderson, and his son William Heather Norie as executors. Besides a few named bequests, he leaves his three daughters £5,500 each and the rest of his estate is to go to his son William Heather.(4) From the bequests he lists, we can work out that he had a brother Evelyn Thomas Francis, a nephew John William, and five sisters. All this information makes it fairly easy to work out that John William was the eldest son of James Norie of Moray and Dorothy Mary Fletcher of London. James had been trained for the Presbyterian ministry and ran a school at Burr Street, London. You can see a portrait of him here.

After John William’s retirement, the business was continued by Charles Wilson, the son of George Wilson who had been Norie’s partner in the past. The Land tax for 1840 is still in Norie’s name, but in 1841 it is Wilson who is paying the tax. His name continued in the tax records till 1882 when his name is given as “late Charles Wilson” and an annotation indicates that a new building is being put up: “Premises in course of erection” as the tax man phrased it. The business relocated to 156 Minories, and in time amalgamated with various other firms to become Imray, Laurie, Norie & Wilson, but it is nowadays just plain Imray of St. Ives, Cambridgeshire (more on them here).

title-page of J.W. Norie’s A New and Complete Epitome of Practical Navigation, 1805

part of a nautical chart by Norie, 1837 (Source: Library of Congress, online here)

octant, c. 1795 (Source: Land and Sea Collection, see here)

imprint of J.W. Norie’s New sailing directions for the Adriatic sea, or Gulf of Venice, 1843

advertisement for The Corinthian Yachtsman. Note the new address

(1) On loan since 1946 from Laurie, Norie, Imray & Wilson, see here.
(2) The London Gazette, 22 September 1840.
(3) PROB 11/1991/402.
(4) Evelina Harriet, Frances Charlotte, and Ann Isabella.


<– 158 Leadenhall Street 156 Leadenhall Street –>

Harry Phillips, auctioneer


Street View: 9
Address: 73 New Bond Street

The first we hear of Harry (or Henry) Phillips is in 1789 when he married Sarah Mitchell at St Martin’s in the Field, but the first auction under his own name took place only in 1796. The Getty Provenance Index suggests he did not yet have his own auction room at the beginning of his career, as they list an auction in June 1796 for Harry that was conducted at the Great Room, Saville Row. This auction room belonged to a Mr. Squibb and was used by several other auctioneers as well, so definitely not Phillips’s property. There is a suggestion that he worked for James Christie before setting out on his own, and although the records of Christies for that period are no longer extant, circumstantial evidence is available. On 24 May 1796, an advertisement in the True Briton is headed “No. 67, New Bond Street”, with the actual auction to be held “by Mr. Christie, at his Great Room in Pall Mall”. On 12 January 1797, so half a year later, an auction is held by “Mr. H. Phillips, at his Great Room, 67 New Bond Street”. Neither Christie nor Phillips appears in the tax records for the late 1790s, so they must have rented, rather than owned, the property. It is only in 1804 that Phillips’s name appears in the tax records for New Bond Street. Did Christie hand over one of his sale rooms to his former servant? Possibly, but difficult to prove, unless someone can dig up more evidence.

But the New Bond Street address is not mentioned in every advertisement. One in the True Briton of 5 January of 1797 announces the sale of a lease and elegant furniture of a property on the west side of St. James’s Street. Catalogues were to be had on the premises and at Phillips’s, 22 Bury Street, St. James’s. No mention of New Bond Street. But in June that same year, Phillips announces no less than three sales at his “Great Room”, 67 New Bond Street: one for ancient and modern drawings, the second for plate, jewels, wine, and liqueurs, and the third for the library of a gentleman.(1) Although he is now definitely dealing from New Bond Street, the Bury Street premises are still listed, so not a complete move, but rather an expansion. It is not clear how long he had been at Bury Street, as no advertisements have come to light for Phillips prior to 1797.

Title-page of the 1797 sale catalogue (Source: Getty.edu)

The first of these June 1797 auctions, the one for drawings, was part of a large sale over several days of the collection of Count de Carriere, which was “likely a pseudonym for exiled French count Etienne Bourgevin Vialart”, according to the Getty blog post “British Art Auctions at the End of the 18th Century” (see here). They also show a page of a 1798 annotated sale catalogue of Phillips.

The house numbering in New Bond Street changed around the year 1805 and up to 1808 some advertisements for Phillips’s business described his address as “68 or 73 New Bond Street”. By then, he not only auctioned paintings and drawings, but also sold houses, as can, for instance, be seen in an advertisement in The Morning Chronicle of 22 October 1807 where he announces the sale of a leasehold property in Russell Place, which was to be sold “by private contract” and particulars could be seen at Mr. Phillips’s Estate and Auction Office. In this advertisement he already called himself Mr., which was to be his usual designation throughout the rest of his career and long after, as his son continued to name the business Mr. Phillips’s.

In 1806 Harry married a second time, to Frances Mary Goldicutt at St. Mary’s, Whitechapel, but he also had a mistress, Elizabeth Cauty, with whom he had several children. After Harry’s death, she married Henry Artaria, a former employee of Phillips, and after Artaria’s death, she became the wife of John Smith, the art dealer and historian.

In 1817, Harry Phillips took out an insurance with the Sun Fire Office for a total of £14,500 for which he paid 22.16.-. The house, sale rooms and offices at 73 New Bond Street were listed as made of brick and timber and valued at £9,600; “a stove therein allowed”. “Household goods, wearing apparel, printed books and plate therein only and in trust” were valued at £3,600, china and glass at £1040 and prints at £260. Note the “in trust” to cover not just his own property, but also what he may have had on the premises as goods to go in his auction sales.(2)

Title-page of the 1822 sale (Source: Fulham & Hammersmith Archives)

The commodities auctioned at Phillips’s were of a great variety, ranging from houses to paintings, from lace work to wine, and from furniture to building material. In 1822, Phillips announced the sale of the building materials of Brandenburgh House, and also its theatre and pavilion, which included “a magnificent-statuary chimney piece”, “the marble paving of the dining hall”, and “the scenery & machinery of the theatre”. See for more information on Brandenburg House, the blog posts by Fiona Fowler (here) and her previous one on Queen Caroline who lived at Brandenburg House towards the end of her life (here). Harry died in 1839 and in his will, he gives the address for Elizabeth Cauty as Brandenburgh Cottage and he bequeathed her all his freehold and copyhold estate known as the Brandenburgh House Estate in Hammersmith.(3)

Goad’s insurance map

1893-95 Ordnance Survey map

Although the official address for the auction rooms was 73 New Bond Street (formerly number 68), number 72 (67) was also occupied by Phillips. It is not always clear from the tax records how the division between 72 and 73 was administered, as we frequently find another name as the occupant of number 72 in the records. Tallis has G. Perry & Co, lustre makers at number 72. It is likely that Phillips used the building at the back of the house and rented out the front part of number 72. Or alternatively, that he rented space from whoever owned number 72. Goad’s insurance map certainly indicates that the auction rooms were situated at number 73 and in the buildings behind numbers 72 and 73. And the Ordinance Survey map of 1895 shows one large building which even included the corner property at the back in Dering Street.

A random advertisement of the many to be found in newspapers, this one from The Daily News, 25 March 1871

Harry bequeathed the house and auction business in New Bond Street to his son William Augustus (baptised 22 June 1800). William continued the auction rooms and could be found at number 73 in the 1851 census. Helping him in the business was George Phillips, described as nephew. The New Monthly Magazine and Humourist for 1841 (Part 2) commented on the Phillips business and said that “The present Mr. Phillips inherits with his father’s business a fair proportion of his talent, but it cannot be said that there are now as many important picture-sales at Phillips’s rooms as there used to be”.(4) Well, maybe not as many important picture sales, but important sales came his way nevertheless as in 1849, when Phillips managed to secure the auction of Gore House which had been the home of William Wilberforce till 1821, and afterwards of Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington, and Alfred, Count D’Orsay. The lavish lifestyle of these two socialites was not met by their income and in 1849, the house and its content had to be sold to cover their debts. The Count had already escaped to Paris and the Countess was to follow him, “retiring to the continent” as the sale catalogue euphemistically described it.(5)

Thomas Hosmer Shepherd, Gore House (Source: British Museum Collection)

At some point, probably in 1881, William entered into a partnership with Frederick Neale. After William died in May 1884, his probate entry listed his son William Charles and his business partner Frederick Neale as executors, both described as auctioneer and estate agent. The 1887 Goad insurance map above clearly shows 72-73 New Bond Street and the buildings in Dering Street at the back subscribed as “Philips, Son & Neale”. This was to remain the name of the firm till 1937 when their winding-up was announced in The London Gazette of 30 April. The address was then given as 72 New Bond Street. A new auction house was set up under the same name and is still in business, see their website. In 1972, this use of an old name for a new firm led to an acrimonious exchange of letters between a businessman who was owed £800 by the old firm and who thought he could claim the money on the new firm. But despite the fact that the new firm alleged to have started in 1796, the Advertising Standards Authority and the Department of Trade did not think that fact alone obliged the new firm to honour the debts of the old.(6)

The London Gazette, 25 May 1937, announcement of first meeting to settle winding-up the business

So much for the auction business, but if we return to Harry Phillips himself, there is a bit of a mystery. Where did he come from? According to his will, Harry had two sisters, Jane Phillips and Elizabeth Thompson. No conclusive evidence has been found of his birth or baptism, despite the efforts of Jeremy Lever and Robert Phillips who have been looking into the family history, and to whom I am most grateful for sending me lots of information on Phillips. There may be a link between Harry the auctioneer and Thomas Phillips, an artist, as at one point Harry stored some furniture at 8 George Street, where Thomas lived from 1804 till his death in 1845.(7) However, there are at least two other explanations besides a family relationship possible: the identical surnames of the gentlemen is just be a coincidence; or, the Old Bailey record did nor enter the house number correctly, as in 1818, Phillips takes out an insurance on 28 George Street, so was 8 perhaps a mistake for 28 and was there no link at all between Harry and Thomas? If you have any suggestions as to Harry’s origins, please leave a comment.

(1) Oracle and Public Advertiser, 14 June 1797.
(2) LMA CLC/B/192/F/001/MS11936/472/927359.
(3) PROB 11/1919/351.
(4) Thanks go to Robert Phillips for sending me this reference.
(5) See Chapter 24 in Nick Foulkes, Last of the Dandies: The Scandalous Life and Escapades of Count D’Orsay, 2014 here).
(6) ‘The 12-year-old auctioneers established 1796’ by David Blundy in The Sunday Times, 24 September 1972.
(7) Old Bailey case t18130602-5.


<– 74 New Bond Street 72 New Bond Street –>

Elizabeth Huntly, seal and copper-plate engraver



Street View: 9
Address: 74 New Bond Street

Thomas Day Huntly and his sister Mary, two of the five children of William Huntly and Elizabeth Lockyer, were baptised in Bath Abbey on the 21st of December 1783, the feast day of St. Thomas, hence young Thomas’s name.(1) In 1796, he was apprenticed to a well-known engraver of Bath, William Hibbart (also spelled Hibbert) and his son John. Hibbart was a printmaker, engraver, and copper-plate printer, who advertised as a teacher of the trade. William paid Hibbart the premium of £26 6s for the privilege, which was quite a substantial sum of money to lay out on the vocational education of a younger son (Thomas was the 5th child and the 3rd son). If Thomas served the regular 7 years’ apprenticeship, he would have been ready to set up on his own in 1803, but there is no evidence that he had his own business that early in his career. He may have worked for his elder brother John Lockyer Huntly who worked as an engraver in Bath from Pulteney Street and later from Sydney Buildings. The first we hear of Thomas Day in London is on 15 October 1811 when he married Elizabeth Allen at St. James’s Piccadilly. The marriage record does not give Thomas’s profession or address, so it is unclear what he was doing and where he was living at that time.

The first record of him in the land tax records for 74 New Bond Street is in 1816. In 1815, the property appears to be empty as no name has been filled in, and in 1814 the name of the previous occupant, Michael Visterin, a corset or truss-maker, has been crossed out. Visterin’s name had been listed at number 74 from 1809. The tax records for New Bond Street are slightly confusing, as two numbering systems have been used. Sometimes the house number is given, sometimes some sort of administrative number, sometimes both, and sometimes neither, as for instance in 1816. Number 74 was administrative number 62, and therefore number 74 is in reality house number 86. The administrative numbers do not correspond – as I first thought – with the house numbers before the renumbering in c.1805 as number 74 was then number 69 (see Horwood’s map of 1799). Fortunately, the record for 1814 gives both house and administrative numbers and although Huntly is not yet listed, it clearly shows his later neighbours: Harry Phillips, the auctioneer, at number 73 (admin nos 59-61) and William Tarner at 75 (admin no 63). At the time Tallis produced his booklets, Phillips was still working from number 73 and number 75 was occupied by Thomas Tarner, bookseller and stationer. Huntly probably moved into number 74 earlier than the tax records suggest, as the Westminster Rate Books already have him paying for the property in 1813.

1814 Land Tax record with number 74 no longer occupied by Michael Visterin (click to enlarge)

Horwood 1799

Thomas Day probably shared the building with others as, for instance, an insurance record and advertisements show one John Ewer Poole, tobacconist, working from number 74 at the same time as when Huntly is paying the tax. Poole had rather an eclectic career. In the 1811 London Directory he is listed as a jeweller in Gough Square, he then became a tobacconist in Bond Street and when he went bankrupt in 1821 he was said to be an auctioneer and appraiser.(2) Below two advertisements for the gentlemen:

Morning Chronicle, 21 February 1818

Morning Chronicle, 16 October 1819

After Poole left, number 74 was also used by Wallis and Co, who sold The Recreative Review from the premises. But despite these other occupants, Thomas Day Huntly continued his engravers business and his name is listed for number 74 in all the relevant directories. He engraved seals, but also bookplates (ex-libris), and he supplemented his income by organising exhibitions of paintings and/or drawings (see for instance the 1818 advertisement above); the admission price for these events was 1s.

seal and box from c.1830 (Source: Puckering’s via rubylane.com)

In 1830, Thomas expanded the business to include 167 Regent Street, but he was not to reap the rewards of the expansion for very long as he died in late 1832 and was buried at St. George’s on the 13th of December. He left all his property, including the business, to his widow “for her personal use” and if she was to remarry, her new husband “shall not have it in his power to dispose of the aforementioned business or trade or any other property” that was part of the estate. After Elizabeth’s death, the estate was to be sold for the benefit of the children.(3) If either of the sons wanted to have the business, they were allowed to purchase it at a price determined by “persons competent to judge the same”. No new husband was in the picture and neither did the sons take over 74 Bond Street, so it was Elizabeth whom Tallis found on the premises when he compiled his Street Views.

advertisement in Street View booklet 9

The 1841 census found Elizabeth at number 74 with sons George and Samuel; daughter Selina used the address in 1843 when she dissolved a partnership with Amelia Liberty as milliners and dress makers.(4) In 1851, the census lists Elizabeth with her sons Thomas and Samuel at number 74, and in 1861 with her daughter Ann. She died in 1868 in Marylebone; probate was only granted in 1885 to daughter Ann as the residuary legatee.(5) Elizabeth must have relinquished the business sometime after the census of 1861, where she is still listed as engraver and printer, and before the end of 1865 as from then onwards, advertisements appear for Henry Turner and Co., homoeopathic chemists and medical publishers. The tax records still list Elizabeth in 1864, but no longer in 1865, so she probably left in 1863 or 1864 – tax records tended to be a bit slow in updating the names of property owners. In 1869, John Keene took over the shop in New Bond Street after his partnership with the Turners was dissolved. See for the rest of the story on the chemist’s here. It is not entirely clear what happened to 167 Regent Street. Pigot’s Directory of 1839, and the 1843 and 1851 Post Office Directories just show Elizabeth Huntly at 74 New Bond Street, although she apparently still paid tax and rates on the Regent Street property, at least until 1843. The Post Office Directories (and Tallis, by the way) give William Eyre, hosier, as the occupant of number 167, but he may just have rented (part of?) the shop. I will try to find out the exact circumstances when I write the post on Eyre.

1876 publication by Keene and his partner Ashwell

Source: thesaleroom.com

74 New Bond Street as the Huntleys knew it no longer exists. In c.1900, a new building, designed by Henry John Treadwell (1861-1910) replaced the old one. The Treadwell building is now Grade II listed; you can read the listing text here and see the building in Google Street View here.

(1) I am most grateful to Debra Lyons, a Huntly descendent, who sent me a lot of information on the family, which has been incorporated into my text.
(2) The London Gazette, 16 January 1821.
(3) PROB 11/1809/120. Children mentioned in his will: Thomas Johnson, William, Elizabeth, Mary Anne, Selina, John Lockyer (named after his uncle), George, Samuel Hazard, Anne, Elizabeth Selina.
(4) The London Gazette, 2 October 1846.
(5) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1885. Estate valued at £150.


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