William John Huggins, marine painter

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Street View: 2
Address: 105 Leadenhall Street

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Although at first sight, William John Huggins seems to have had a substantial house in Leadenhall Street, in fact, all he probably had was an entrance in the street, with a narrow alley leading to his house which was situated behind numbers 104 and 106. Horwood’s 1799 map and Goad’s 1886 insurance map show the actual situation. It is, however possible that Huggins used one of the front rooms of number 106 as his shop. Number 106 was listed in the Street View for F.S. Crawley, modeller, who will get a blog post of his own sometime in the future. Huggins did manage to have his name prominently depicted on the Street View elevation, suggesting number 106 was where his business was, but no evidence has come to light that he actually occupied that house in addition to number 105, so I assume it was rather an advertorial opportunity rather than a depiction of the actual situation.

The 1799 situation from Horwood's map on the left and the 1886 situation from Goad's insurance map on the right

The 1799 situation from Horwood’s map on the left and the 1886 situation from Goad’s insurance map on the right

In 1825, William John Huggins (sometimes given as John William), marine painter, acquired the freedom of the City by redemption. A note at the bottom of the document states that Huggins had been admitted as freeman of the Fanmakers’ Company in December 1823. And the 1829 Post Office Directory lists Higgins as marine painter & print seller at number 105, so it would appear that he started his career in the 1820s, but that is only half the story, as he used to be a ‘sailor’ in the service of the East India Company and had hence every opportunity to make numerous drawings of ships, coastlines and landscapes. The only documented voyage for him is one in 1812-1814 to Bombay and China when he served as steward to Captain James Buchanan on the Perseverance. Already in 1817, he exhibited a picture in the Royal Academy, “The honourable Company’s ship Lowther Castle off St. Helena”. His address is then gives as 36, Leadenhall Street, and only with his exhibit of 1823, “The James Watt steam packet towing the Royal George yacht”, is his later address of 105 Leadenhall Street mentioned. He may have rented that place first of all as the Land Tax record of 1828 lists the house for one Jane Davis and only in 1829 does Huggins’s name appear as “Huggins & others”. No indication, unfortunately, who the ‘others’ were, although in 1831, the house is listed for Young & Huggins.

SS 'James Wyatt' Towing the Royal Yacht, 'Royal George' on the Visit of George IV to Edinburgh, August 1824 by William John Huggins (© Fishing Heritage Centre / North East Lincolnshire Museum Service)

SS ‘James Wyatt’ Towing the Royal Yacht, ‘Royal George’ on the Visit of George IV to Edinburgh, August 1824 by William John Huggins (© Fishing Heritage Centre / North East Lincolnshire Museum Service)

A trade card in the British Museum collection gives 105 Leadenhall Street as the address for Huggins, but it also says “removed from Merles 36 opposite”. Number 36 at the time of Tallis’s Street View was occupied by E. Fisher, a carver and gilder, but the 1822 indenture for William John’s son, James Miller, tells us more. James Miller is described as the son of John Huggins of Leadenhall Street, artist, and his master as Thomas Robert Merle of the same place, carver and gilder. Only in 1841, did James Miller seek the freedom of the City and he does so by testifying that he had been bound to Merle in October 1822 and had served the full seven years of his apprenticeship. Merle had his frame maker’s business at 36 Leadenhall Street at least since 1811 when he is listed at that address in the London and Country Directory.

trade card (© Trustees of the British Museum)

trade card (© Trustees of the British Museum)

Huggins was assisted by Thomas Duncan, whose son, Edward Duncan married Huggins’ daughter Berthia, named after her mother. Huggins probably taught all his children to draw and a tantalising glimpse of daughter Berthia’s skills can be seen in a drawing of the figurehead of the ‘Druid’, now in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich (see here). Edward was responsible for many of the prints made after Huggins’s paintings, for instance the one below of the crowd watching ships coming into St. Katherine Docks on the opening day in 1828. On 20 September 1830, William John was appointed marine painter to William IV, who commissioned three large paintings of the battle of Trafalgar. The first two were shown at Exeter Hall in 1834.

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Exhibition entrance ticket and catalogue (Source: Peter Harrington)

Exhibition entrance ticket and catalogue (Source: Peter Harrington)

Huggins died in 1845, 63 or 64 years old, and, although the Dictionary of National Biography says that nothing is known about his parents, it is not so difficult to work out that William John Huggins and Berthia Miller were married 27 March 1804 at St. Clement’s, Oxford, and their eldest son William was registered at St. Clement’s with the note “born and baptised at Kidlington”. The couple must have moved to London before July 1807 as on the 5th of that month, their third child, James Miller, was baptised at St. Luke, Old Street. William sr. died on 19 May 1845, according to The Era “after one or two days’ illness” and was buried on the 24th at St. James’s, St. Pancras. The burial register lists his age as 63, but most other sources give 64. The reception of his painting was varied; E.C. Needham, who wrote about ‘Painters within the City Gates’ in the June 1885 issue of London Society: An Illustrated Magazine of Light and Amusing Literature said of his work “unluckily for his fame, his works are tame in design, his skies bad in colour, his seas poor and thin”, but his obituary in The Gentleman’s Magazine was a lot more positive, “his portraits of ships … were excellent, and the scenery displayed many a sunny spot of beautiful colouring, particularly in his delineations of Chinese landscape”. Huggins left his estate to his wife and his unmarried daughters, which suggests that the other children predeceased him or that he had already given them money on their marriage.(1)

The Morning Post, 23 October 1845

The Morning Post, 23 October 1845


The Opening of the St. Katherine Docks, engraved by E. Duncan after W.J. Huggins. (© Trustees of the British Museum)

The Opening of the St. Katherine Docks, engraved by E. Duncan after W.J. Huggins. (© Trustees of the British Museum)

The 1848 and 1851 Post Office Directories list Henry Edgerley of the Golden Anchor, public house, at number 105, but other businesses used the address as well. In 1849, for instance, J. Witham of number 105 sent out a 4-page booklet on Phillips’ patent fire annihilator, which has ended up in the collection of the International Institute of Social History. There is another copy of a few years later in the British Library collection. William Henry Phillips had a chequered career, but the fire annihilator was one of his more successful inventions. However, by 1853, he, for one reason or another, no longer wished to be associated with the Company and arrived one day at the office in Leadenhall Street where he started tearing up the leaflets. He was bound over to keep the peace.(2) And with this disruptive episode in the history of 105 Leadenhall Street, I will end this post.

Top part of leaflet on Fire Annihilator, 1852 (© British Library)

Top part of leaflet on Fire Annihilator, 1852 (© British Library)

(1) PROB 11/2022/341. Children: William (1804-?), John (1805-?), James Miller (1807-1870), Berthia (1809-1884), John (also known as John William, 1811-?), Elizabeth Mary (1813-?), Amelia (1817-?), and Sarah Christina (1821-?).
(2) Deborah Colville: ‘From Aerodiphros to Painless Dentistry: Bloomsbury’s Notable Inventors’ online here.

Neighbours:

<– 106 Leadenhall Street 104 Leadenhall Street –>

William Benson Whitfield, surgeon

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Street View: 32
Address: 64 Lamb’s Conduit Street

elevation

William Benson was the son of John Whitfield, cheesemonger at 16 Lamb’s Conduit Street, and Hannah Benson, from whom he derived his second name, Benson. He did not become a cheesemonger as his father and several of his relations had done, but he opted for a medical profession.(1) The 1841 census records him as a surgeon at 64 Lamb’s Conduit Street and the London Medical Directory for 1846 tells us that William Benson was a general practitioner with a Licence of the Society of Apothecaries since 25 August 1836, and a member of the Royal College of Surgeons since 28 July 1837. The Student’s Handbook for the Medical Department of King’s College, London for 1845 contains a list of students who had won prizes in the medical department and William Benson’s name is mentioned quite a few times:
Session 1831-1832: botany and medicine
Session 1832-1833: botany and midwifery
Session 1833-1834: midwifery and medicine
Session 1834-1835: general medical proficiency, surgery and forensic medicine
It would be nice to know why exactly he received these prizes. Perhaps the archives of King’s College can tell us more, but I gather from their online catalogue, that the file holding the examination results and prizes only starts in 1860.

The 1882 Goad insurance map with William Benson's house number 35 (was 64) circled and on the opposite side number 34 (was 16) his father's shop

The 1882 Goad insurance map with William Benson’s house number 35 (was 64) circled and on the opposite side number 34 (was 16), his father’s shop

In 1843, William Benson Whitfield married Margaret Benning and this is where it gets complicated: William Benson’s father John had a half-brother William, butterman at 44 Old Bond Street, who had married Jane Barbara Benning, the daughter of James Benning, surgeon of Barnard Castle. One of Jane’s brothers was William Benning, the law bookseller of 43 Fleet Street; another brother was Joseph Anthony, whose daughter Margaret became the wife of William Benson. In other words, William Benson Whitfield married the niece of his father’s sister-in-law.(2) And because he lived in London and would in normal circumstances require a license issued by the Vicar General of the archbishop of Canterbury, while she lived in Staindrop, County Durham, and would require a licence from the archbishop of York, he applied for a marriage licence from the Faculty Office, as one was supposed to do in the case of partners living in different ecclesiastical provinces. The license was issued on 21 September 1843 and was valid for three months. William Benson and Margaret do not seem to have had any children. The 1851 and 1861 censuses list William and Margaret at 64 Lamb’s Conduit Street, but by 1871 they had moved to Trimpley, Ellesmere, Shropshire. In the accounts for the years 1865 and 1866 of the Bedford Charity, 64 Lamb’s Conduit Street is listed for “J. Whitfield (per T. Robinson)”.(3) Thomas Robinson, M.R.C.S. London, M.D. St. Andrews, General practitioner, must have taken over the medical practice from Whitfield as he was listed at number 64 (then 35) in the 1871 census. William Benson died in Ellesmere in 1889 and his probate record gives his widow Margaret as the sole executor. His estate was first valued at £8,415, but later resworn at £7,870. Margaret died in 1900 and had named George Corpe Whitfield, the son of William Benson’s uncle, George Pinckney Whitfield, as her executor. Her estate was first valued at £11,533, but resworn at £10,654.

As can be expected of a surgeon or general practitioner, William Benson was regularly asked to give evidence at inquests or court cases, and he also performed autopsies. In 1865, John Cockle, physician to the Royal Free Hospital, wrote a book on intra-thoracic cancer, a collection of previously published papers on the subject. On pages 105-111 he included a paper published in 1854 in the Association Medical Journal on ‘encephaloid cancer of the lungs simulating laryngeal phthisis’. The patient with the disease died and William Benson performed the autopsy. I will spare you the gruesome detail, but if you want you read them here. Whitfield himself wrote about one of his cases in a learned journal, The Lancet from which The London and Edinburgh Monthly Journal of Medical Science (1842) abridged the following report, which clearly shows that the treatment of diseases had a long way to go before they even resembled the kind of treatment we now expect. Below is the first part of Whitfield’s description, but, if you want, you can read the whole article here.

1842-the-london-and-edinburgh-monthly-journal-of-medical-science

An example of evidence Whitfield had to give in a court case is that of the 1842 Old Bailey case against William Wells, accused of beating the child of his partner while she was out to do some shopping. Whitfield gave evidence as he had examined the child a few days later, stating that the injuries on the child’s head could have been caused by the bed rail as was alleged. The neighbours also testified against the accused and, although – fortunately – the injuries were not fatal, Wells was sentenced to one year in prison.(4) All in a days work for a doctor, one might say, but in 1849, things were very different. Whitfield was called to Bartholomew Peter Drouet’s establishment for pauper children in Tooting where a serious outbreak of cholera had occurred. The children were referred to Drouet’s by various London parishes and he housed as many children as he could cram into the available space. In 1848, he housed around 1400 children and as was almost inevitable, an outbreak of a contagious disease had catastrophic consequences. In the 1848-1849 cholera outbreak, some 180 children died. The inspector from the Board of Health who visited Tooting in early 1849 reported that the overcrowding and lack of ventilation had certainly contributed to the spreading of the disease. Many children were removed, but many were not and suffered unnecessarily because of that decision. The children came from various parishes and were hence dependent on the decisions of the parish to which they belonged.

The various inquests on the death of the children saw very different outcomes, but the one held on the children from Holborn tried to prove Drouet guilty of manslaughter. He was tried at the Old Bailey in April 1849 and Whitfield gave evidence as one of the medical officers of the Holborn Union. He stated that he had seen the establishment on the 4th of January and that 156 children, on his recommendation, were removed the following day. Despite overwhelming evidence that poor sanitation, inadequate food and cold had not done the children any good, Drouet was found not guilty as the children had died of cholera and it could not be proven that their individual deaths were due to neglect on Drouet’s part.(5) The verdict caused great outrage and Charles Dickens, who had already – anonymously – submitted several critical articles in The Examiner on Drouet’s establishment, wrote on 23 April in the same paper, “The peculiarity of this verdict is, that while it has released the accused from the penalties of the law, it has certainly not released him from the charge”. According to Dickens the prosecution had established that Drouets’ treatment of the children was appalling and he wished that the law had been enforced “with less tenderness for Drouet and more concern for his victims”. Drouet died a few months later in Margate. You can read more about Drouet, the court case and Dickens’s articles here.

 

But medical issues were not William Benson’s only worry. His father John’s will contained the following clause,

I give and devise unto my Son W[illia]m Benson Whitfield my brother George Pinckney Whitfield and William Todd of Barnsbury Park in Islington their heirs & ass[ign]s my messuages burgages or dwelling houses with the appurt[enance]s situate near the entrance into the church yard from the Market Place of Barnard Castle in the County of Durham and w[hi]ch were purchased by my said late Grandfather and also my part & share of the freehold messuages workshops warehouses yards & tenements at Barnard Castle afore said with the appurt[enance]s & of the mill & appurt[enance]s at or near Bowes in the Co[unt]y of York w[hi]ch are held by me in common with my partners in a Carpet Manufactory To hold the same unto the said W[illia]m Benson Whitfield Geo[rge] Pinckney Whitfield & W[illia]m Todd their heirs & ass[igns] Upon the Trusts hereinafter specified I give devise & bequeath unto the s[ai]d W[illia]m Benson Whitfield Geo[rge] Pinckney Whitfield & W[illia]m Todd then ex[ecute] & adm[inister] all my leasehold tenements & also all my money plate linen & household furniture stock in trade book debts & all of my Personal Estate & effects and also my part or share of the capital and stock of the s[ai]d carpet manufactury upon the trusts hereina[fter] specified …(6)

John Whitfield had been a partner in the carpet manufactury in Barnard Castle of Monkhouse, Whitfield & Dixon. In the early part of the 19th century, the workers of the town had their livelihoods threatened by a sharp decline in the demand for woollen cloth and an alternative source of income was provided by the opening in 1815 of the Monkhouse carpet factory. Whitfield joined Monkhouse and Dixon in the 1820s, possibly after the death of his father and uncle who both died in 1824 and left him substantial assets. In 1843, William Benson Whitfield, George Pinckney Whitfield, and William Todd, as executors of the will of John Whitfield, went into partnership with Joshua Monkhouse as Monkhouse & Company, but the partnership was already dissolved in 1845, and the carpet factory became known as Joshua Monkhouse & Sons and after Joshua’s retirement as Monkhouse Bros.(7)

64 Lamb's Conduit Street in 2016 (now no. 35)

64 Lamb’s Conduit Street in 2016 (now no. 35)

And, to come back to 64 (now 35) Lamb’s Conduit Street, which looks, from the outside, still very much as it had done at the time that Tallis produced his Street View (±1839). If we compare the elevation from Tallis at the top of this post with the Google Street View picture above, we can see that the house still has the same number of windows in the same place. The top floor seems to have been built with bricks of a lighter colour and the cornice between the second and third floor looks a bit odd, perhaps indicating that the top floor was not yet there when the houses were built and a later addition.

——————
(1) There was a Richard Gullett Whitfield, Apothecary and Secretary of the Medical School at St Thomas’s Hospital from 1833-1876, but there does not seem to be a close family link between him and William Benson.
(2) Thanks go to Catherine Ryan for helping me to sort out this web of relationships.
(3) Schools Inquiry Commission III (1866).
(4) Old Bailey case t18420103-582, online here.
(5) Old Bailey case t18490409-919, online here.
(6) PROB11/1985. Transcription copied from Will Transcription Website (see here).
(7) People and Patterns. The Carpet Weaving Industry in 19th century Barnard Castle, ed. Dennis Coggins, publ. The Friends of the Bowes Museum (1996), see also here. The London Gazette, 25 November 1845.

Neighbours:

<– 65 Lamb’s Conduit Street 63 Lamb’s Conduit Street –>

Thomas Treloar, cocoa nut fibre warehouse

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Street View: 14 Suppl.
Address: 42 Ludgate Hill

elevation

The picture above of the front of Treloar’s shop has suffered slightly from being depicted in the fold of the original Street View sheet, but it will have to do. Treloar’s coconut fibre warehouse only appeared in the 1847 Supplement; in the earlier edition of 1839 number 42 was still the Irish linen shop of Brown & Co. More on them some other time, but for now we will concentrate on the carpet shop. Thomas Treloar originally came from Portished, Somerset, but when he obtained his freedom of the City of London in April 1847, he listed his father as William Treloar, late of Bristol, gent., deceased. It is not entirely clear when Thomas came to London, but in the 1841 census he, his wife Elizabeth, their young son Thomas, and 60-year old Ann Treloar (Thomas’s mother?) could be found at Princes Road, Lambeth. Thomas is described as a clerk and when his second son, William Purdie Treloar, was baptised in 1843, Thomas is given the occupation of bookkeeper. From 1846, however, we find him at 42 Ludgate Hill, selling brass and iron bedsteads, mattresses and bed furniture. In a booklet he published in 1852, The Prince of Palms (online here), he claimed, however, to have been at Ludgate Hill from 1842 as he “respectfully presented” the booklet to his “numerous customers … with grateful acknowledgement for ten years of their patronage”. An 1846 advertisement for his shop lists the virtues of coconut fibre, not just for mattresses, but also for carpets and mats.(1)

1846-examiner-18-july

Illustration from The Prince of Palms

Illustration from The Prince of Palms

It is unclear whether Treloar ever lived above his shop in Ludgate Hill, as already in 1851, the census finds him and his growing family at 3 Dartmouth Terrace, Lewisham. When Elizabeth died in 1859, the address is given as Pitmain Lodge, Granville Park, Lewisham. In 1861, the family is still at Pitmain Lodge with Thomas senior as coconut fibre manufacturer and all three sons, Thomas junior, William Purdie and Robert, as commercial travellers. That same year, Thomas senior married Isabella Purdie, no doubt a relation of his or his first wife, judging by the fact that her last name was used as son William’s second name. In 1862, Treloar entered some of his fibre products in the International Exhibition and from the catalogue we learn that he had already won prize medals in other exhibitions.

1862-exhibition

At the beginning of that same year, on 2 January 1862, Treloar was mentioned in The Standard as having provided the matting that was laid in St. Paul’s Cathedral “by the kindness and liberality of the dean and chapter” and which would, according to the paper, “most assuredly contribute to the comfort of the numerous auditory”. For sure, one’s feet on matting in stead of on cold marble during evening service was no doubt more comfortable. But Treloar did not just stick to coconut fibres for his floor coverings; an advertisement of 26 August in The Standard also mentions kamptulicon, India rubber and Cork cloth. And a report on the Royal Agricultural Society’s International Show in June of that year mentions Treloar’s netting for sheepfolds, coir yarn for thatching, and kamptulicon of extra thickness for paving stables and padding stalls of kicking horses.

Advertisement in Frasers Magazine for Town and Country, 1865

Advertisement in Frasers Magazine for Town and Country, 1865

matting

Some pieces of Treloar’s floor coverings have been preserved and the Stockholm Nordiska museet (Nordic Museum) has uploaded some images of their collection onto DigitalMuseum. I have chosen the sample you see here because it includes a label, but you can see more items here.

In 1865, the Treloar warehouse is briefly listed at number 10, but later at 69 (which before the renumbering used to be the neighbouring property at number 9 and was occupied in 1847 by Harvey, a linen draper), which was across the road from the original shop at number 42. They also had premises at numbers 68 and 70, which was not the renumbered original shop at number 42 as that ended up under the new railway bridge, but the old numbers 38 and 39. The new building at nos 68/70 was designed in 1871 by J.R. Meakin for land investor Robert Pettit (information from Terence Hodgson). There was a lot of building going on at Ludgate Hill since 1864 when it was decided to allow the London, Chatham and Dover Railway Company to build a bridge across the street with the added ‘bonus’ of creating Ludgate Circus, all meant to improve traffic flow. In the twenty odd years following, property in Ludgate Hill itself was bought up to allow for the widening of the street. The houses were set back and the southern side was the first section (numbers 51-71) to be demolished. Terence Hodgson sent me an illustration from The Building News of 1873 showing Treloars new shop at number 69, for which my grateful thanks.

1873-building-news

1904-insurance-map

The improvement scheme of Ludgate Hill was more or less completed in 1889.(2) See for the involvement of William Purdie himself his Ludgate Hill, Past and Present (2nd ed. 1892; online here), esp. pp. 134-141. You may remember from a previous post that Hooper’s printing business moved to 69 Ludgate Hill in 1874 or 1875. There is no clash with Treloar as the gentlemen shared the building. Treloar used the ground floor, which, by the way, extended all the way back to Pilgrim Street, and Hooper used one (or more?) of the upper floors. Goad’s insurance map of 1886 just lists the occupants as “carpet warehouse & others”, but the 1904 insurance map says “carpet warehouse, stationers’ warehouse & offices over”. The colours on the 1904 map are not terribly bright, but if you click on it to enlarge, I think you will see what I mean. In an advertisement, Treloar’s made full use of the fact that their two shops were on opposite sides of the street by paving the street between his shops with one of their Turkish carpets. The same advertisement claims that Treloar’s were floor covering specialist for over 90 years, which would date the start of the business in 1833 or before (see bottom of this post). Well, possibly, but not at number 42 as that did not house a carpet manufacturing business before Treloar moved in.

Thomas senior died in June 1876, 58 years old. In the probate record he is still described as coconut fibre matting manufacturer, so he presumably had not yet retired.(3) In 1881, both William Purdie and Robert claim their Freedom of the City by patrimony and are described as of 69, Ludgate Hill, carpet factors. They continued the business under the name of Treloar & Sons until Robert died in 1898.(4). William Purdie, by then Sir William Purdie, died in 1923(5) and that is where my story ends. I will leave you with some advertisements for Treloar.

Advertisement in The Graphic, 23 April 1887

Advertisement in The Graphic, 23 April 1887

Advertisement in The Pall Mall Gazette, 14 April 1897

Advertisement in The Pall Mall Gazette, 14 April 1897

Advertisement in Punch, 1923

Advertisement in Punch, 3 October 1923

(1) The Examiner, 18 July 1846.
(2) The British Architect, vol. 32, 15 November 1889, p. 343.
(3) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1876. Estate valued at under £35,000. Sons Robert and William Purdie were the executors.
(4) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1898. Estate valued at roughly £16,500. Brother William Purdie is named as the executor.
(5) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1923. Estate valued at roughly £36,600.

Neighbours:

<– 43 Ludgate Hill 41 Ludgate Hill –>

Robert Faraday, brass founder

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Street View: 62
Address: 114 Wardour Street

elevation

We all know Michael Faraday and his pioneering work into electromagnetics, but he was not the only technically-minded member of his family. His elder brother Robert ran a gasfitter’s and lighting company in Wardour Street. The land Tax records tell us that he had his business there at least since 1823 and in Pigot’s Directory of 1825, Robert is duly listed as brass manufacturer and founder at number 114. But laying gas pipes was not all Robert did, he was also heavily involved in the development and installation of more efficient lamps. In 1841, for instance, he installed new lighting at Tichborne Street School for the Paddington Schools Committee, and in 1843 he reacted to a report in the newspaper on a comparison made between the Bude and the Faraday lights. Bude lights had been invented by Goldsworthy Gurney and worked by introducing oxygen into the interior of the flame.

Morning Post, 8 November 1843

Morning Post, 8 November 1843

Morning Post, 10 November 1843

Morning Post, 10 November 1843

Please note that The Morning Post tried to blame the original report on the evening paper from which they had copied the article. Robert’s brother Michael had struck on the idea of ventilation in lamps when he worked with lighthouses, but he gave the invention to his brother, “I am most happy to give freely all my rights in it over to you”.(1) Robert received the patent for the improvements in ventilating gas- and oil-burners on 25 March 1843.(2) Earlier that same year, Robert’s son James wrote a booklet about the issue, Description of a Mode of Obtaining the Perfect Ventilation of Lamp-burners, explaining the mechanics involved.

page from James's Description. You can read the whole booklet here

page from James’s Description. You can read the whole booklet here

A few years later, disaster struck when Robert drove his gig in Hampstead Road. The newspaper reports vary in the reason why he was thrown from the gig, hitting his head, and losing consciousness. One report said he hit a post, but another said the horse had bolted and one of the reins gave way when Faraday tried to regain control, overturning the gig. Whatever the cause, the unlucky man was taken to University College hospital, but the fracture in his skull was so severe that he died the next day. The verdict of the coroner was “accidental death” with no-one to blame, but the police were reprimanded for not acquainting the family of the injured man with his condition the moment he was brought to the hospital, despite the fact that a letter with his address had been found on him, but only thought to do so the next day.(3)

portrait of Robert Faraday by Ellen Sharples (Source: milesbartoncom)

portrait of Robert Faraday by Ellen Sharples (Source: milesbartoncom)

1890-edinburgh-exhibition

After his father’s death, James continued the business in Wardour and after his own death in 1875, it was run by his son Harold.(4) The firm became known as Messrs. Faraday & Sons and secured some prestigious commissions, for instance from John Campbell, Lord Breadalbane. In 1834, he inherited Breadalbane House in Park Lane from his father, the 1st marquess of Breadalbane, and renovated parts of the interior to be in keeping with his idea of what an ancestral home should look like. Furniture was supplied by a friend of Pugin, Edward Hull, who ran a warehouse of antique furniture in Wardour Street. For a ball given in 1854, with Queen Victoria and the King of Portugal as guests, Breadalbane had a temporary hall erected, which was kitted out as a ‘Baronial Hall’ by John Gregory Grace. Faraday & Son were responsible for the “admirable mode of lighting”.(5)
The firm’s entries for the Electric Light Fittings Exhibition in Edinburgh received a favourable review in The Art Journal of August 1890; their designs were qualified as “of a novel and artistic character”, and the design of a Cupid holding a lamp aloft was given as an example of “a good design”. The Colonies and India newspaper of 9 April 1892 reported on another exhibition and said that “the admirable, sometimes severe, taste of Mr. Harold Faraday in artistic design is proverbial, and had never had more effective demonstration than in the fine display made by his firm at this exhibition. Mr. Faraday’s object … appears to be to differentiate electric-light fittings as far as possible from gas fittings. … Mr. Faraday’s designs have a distinction of their own”. In 1919, another company, specialising in chandeliers and Faraday’s merged to become Osler and Faraday Ltd, working from Wardour Street until 1925. They also had a showroom in Berners Street and various other cities in the UK. More on the history of the Osler company and how they ended up as part of Wilkinson’s PLC can be found here.

Page from a 1913 brochure for Faraday & Son

Page from a 1913 brochure for Faraday & Son

Chandelier by Faraday (Source: Ebury Trading)

Chandelier by Faraday & Son c.1910 (© Ebury Trading Ltd 2009)

(1) The Life and Letters of Faraday, ed. Bence Jones, vol. 2 (1870), p. 166″>(1) Robert received the p.
(2) Newton’s London Journal of Arts and Sciences, 1843.
(3) The Morning Post, 13 August 1846, and Daily News, 15 August 1846.
(4) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1875. Estate valued at under £6,000.
(5) See for a description of Breadalbane House: ‘Park Lane’ in the Survey of London, Volume 40, the Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair, Part 2 – British History Online and for a picture of the ball room (fig. 68c) here.

Neighbours:

<– 113 Wardour Street 115 Wardour Street –>

Thomas Rawbone, wine vaults

Street View: 49
Address: 119 Tottenham Court Road

elevation

When writing this post, I quickly ran into trouble over a confusion as there are two Northumberland Arms in the Tottenham Court Road area, one in Goodge Street and one in Tottenham Court Road itself. The first one was often referred to as ‘in Goodge Street, Tottenham Court Road’, and just as frequently, neither was given a house number in the records, so it is perhaps understandable that confusion arose, not just with me, but with other researchers as well. Having said all this, this post is solely about the Northumberland Arms at 119 Tottenham Court Road, corner of Grafton Street (now Grafton Way). In 1840, Nathaniel Whittock produced his On the Construction and Decoration of the Shop Fronts of London and plate 10 depicted the wine and spirit warehouse on the corner of Tottenham Court Road and Grafton Street. The illustration helpfully displays the house number 119, so no confusion possible in this case.

1840-whittock

According to Whittock, the establishment

is distinguished by having two stories converted into one, for the purpose of introducing immense vats, and likewise giving loftiness to the shop, which was formerly much too low to cut a splendid figure among the rival establishments by which it was surrounded: the effect at the present time is grand (if such a term may be applied to an erection of this sort) without being gaudy.

The effect may have been grand, but Whittock made the place look a lot grander than it actually was; compare it with the Google Street View screenshot at the bottom of this post and you will see that the man entering the establishment in Whittock’s picture must have been very short indeed. The name on the front, ‘Astell’, does not match the one in Tallis, nor does Whittock make clear who was responsible for the renovation that made two stories into one, so we will have to do more research. A preliminary trawl through newspapers, old directories and archival records for roughly the years 1830-1860 elicited the following names:

1828-1833 George Humble
1839-1843 Thomas Rawbone
1848-1849 Thomas Loader
1849-1856 Jane Mary Loader, widow of Thomas Loader
1855-1857 James Sidney Griffith Evans
1857-1860 Frederick Butcher
1861-1862 Sarah Butcher, widow of Frederick Butcher

As Whittock published his book in 1840, Astell must have had the pub in or before that year, but unfortunately, I have not been able to find any evidence of him. There is a gap of a few years between what I could find for George Humble and Thomas Rawbone, but alas, no evidence that Astell filled that gap. We will have to leave this mystery as it is for the moment and concentrate on Rawbone who was mentioned by Tallis as managing the wine vaults in 1839 when the Street View was published. Pigot’s Directory of 1839 also lists Rawbone at number 119, so he was certainly there in that year. The 1841 census, however, finds one Hardwick Rawbone on the premises, together with an Ann Rawbone, two barmen, a porter and a female servant. But, the 1843 Post Office Directory has Thomas Rawbone as the proprietor. So what is going on? Well, Harwick and Ann turn out to be two of Thomas’s children. Ann Reeves Rawbone was born in 1816 as the daughter of Thomas Rawbone and his wife Mary. She was baptised at Chalgrove, Oxfordshire, where her father was a schoolmaster. A baptism record for Hardwick John Reeves Rawbone has not been found, but he later became a minister and changed his name to Rathbone.(1) In the will of his sister Elizabeth, then living at Brill, Buckinghamshire, Hardwick is mentioned as “the reverend Hardwick John Reeves Rawbone alias Rathbone”(2) and on Hardwick’s own marriage registration it is clear that his name is Rathbone and his father’s is still Rawbone. Whether father Thomas approved of the name change is debatable as in his will, he still calls his son Rawbone.(3)

1851-marriage-harwick

From the baptism record of his daughter Ann, we saw that Rawbone started his career in 1816 as a schoolmaster, but by 1829 when daughter Elizabeth is baptised at St. James, Clerkenwell, he is listed as a victualler. On the marriage registration for his daughter Ann in 1846 he is listed as a brewer and a notice in The London Gazette of 13 August 1847 tells us that, in December 1846, Thomas Rawbone and Edward Hawks had dissolved their partnership as brewers at the Hollywood Brewery, Fulham Road, Little Chelsea. In 1851, on the registration form of his son’s marriage, he is listed as a wine merchant. Rawbone retired to Brill, Buckinghamshire, close to the Oxfordshire border, where he died in late 1856. The fact that he came from Buckinghamshire and had property there helps us to narrow the gap in occupation of the Northumberland Arms between Humble and Rawbone as the 1837 poll books for Bierton with Broughton, Buckinghamshire, have his old address of Bath Place, New Road, London, crossed out and Grafton Street, Tottenham Court Road, handwritten above the original entry. The 1838 printed edition duly gives Grafton Street as his abode. This certainly suggests that Rawbone took over the Northumberland Arms somewhere in 1837, if not in 1836. In an 1834 list of members of the Licensed Victuallers Association he was still listed at the Adam and Eve, 20 Bath Place, so the uncertainty for the years 1834-1836 remains. Perhaps Astell was the proprietor of the pub in those years, but perhaps not, and was his name an invention by Nathaniel Whittock. Perhaps we will find out in the future, but for now it has to remain a question, just as the name of person responsible for the renovation of the Northumberland Arms that so impressed Whittock will have to remain a blank for the moment.

© Copyright Mike Quinn, reused under CC-licence. For original see here.

© Copyright Mike Quinn, reused under CC-licence. For original photo see here.

Google Street View, June 2016. The name of a former proprietor is still visible on the window sill: G.E. Aldwinkles

Google Street View, June 2016. The name of a former(?) proprietor is still visible on the window sill: G.E. Aldwinkles

For photos of the inside of the pub see their website here.

(1) He can be found in the records of Cambridge University as admitted at Peterhouse in 1842. He became a deacon in 1846, a priest in 1847, and first served at St. Botolph, Bishopsgate, before moving to various other places. He died in 1884.
(2) PROB 11/2218/284.
(3) PROB 11/2250/294.

Neighbours:

<– 118 Tottenham Court Road 120 Tottenham Court Road –>

Edward Brown, Oil & Italian Warehouse

Tags

Street View: 62
Address: 118 Wardour Street

elevation

In the 1810s, Francis Fourdin could be found at 11 Wardour Street. Although the 1822 Land Tax records for the parish of St. Anne, Westminster, do not give any house numbers, they list Fourdin three houses away from Noah Goetze, a stationer, listed by Tallis at number 8. The names of the other near neighbours of Fourdin cannot be found in the vicinity of number 11 in Tallis, so are no help in identifying the exact location of Fourdin’s shop. So far, so good, but an insurance record of the Sun Fire Office for 11 October 1821 has Fourdin as oilman of 11 Wardour Street with the remark “other property or occupiers: 118 Wardour Street”. It seems that Fourdin’s business was doing well and he went into property. Another insurance record, of May 1820, has him still at number 11, but with “other property or occupiers: 12 Wardour Street (printseller); 5 and 6 Junction Place Paddington”. Already in 1810 we see Fourdin paying insurance on number 12, although that particular record does not tell us who the occupant of that shop is. Never mind, we will sort number 12 out some other time. For now, back to number 118, the subject of this post. In the 1810s, one James White occupied number 118 as a cheesemonger. He is still there in September 1821 when his name and address are used as the correspondence address for an advertisement.(1) But, the land tax record for 1823 tells us that Fourdin had supplanted James White, and that the building is a new one and that Fourdin had to pay more tax than White.
1823-land-tax-fourdin

As we can see from the vignette in the Tallis booklet, the building was quite substantial and it is no wonder that Fourdin had to pay more in tax than White had done. We also see from the vignette that it is no longer Fourdin who had his business there, but Brown, late Fourdin. Already in April 1825, the insurance on the property is paid by Sprigg Homewood, oilman. If we look back at the insurance records, we see that in October 1822, Fourdin is described as “gent” and one can wonder whether he actually used the property himself, or whether he was just the landlord. Fourdin died in 1828 in Watford, Hertfordshire, and from his will we learn that he originally came from France where his two brothers and a sister still resided. He did not have any (surviving) children, but he leaves money to various relatives on his wife’s side, as agreed with his late wife. He also leaves various sums to friends and servants, among whom two shopkeepers we come across in Tallis: Charles Legg of Wardour Street, and Alexander Williams of Wigmore Street.(2) All very clear, except for the fact that Fourdin had bought property before he had acquired his letter of denization in May 1822 and had, as such, bought some if his properties illegally and the Crown objected to the property being sold to benefit the heirs abroad. The case came before the High Court of Chancery in the Easter term of 1834 and as far as I can understand the legalese, Fourdin was indeed entitled to bequeath the properties because the letter of denization implied that right. If I have misunderstood the juridical terms, please put me right. You can read the full report on the case here.

vignette

So now back to Mr. Homewood who paid the insurance in 1825. His business was not to last for very long and although the insurance records do not tell us what happened next, the Land tax records do. One Moses Brown, who, in 1821, had occupied 10 Wardour Street, so next door to Fourdin at no. 11, could be found at no. 118 in 1828. It appeared that he did not own the property, as his will of 1837 only mentions no. 122 as his freehold “let on lease to Mr. William Webb”. And indeed, in the 1828 tax record, we clearly see that Moses Brown occupies no. 118 which is owned by (the heirs of) F. Fourdin and no. 122 is occupied by Webb.(3) In an advertisement of 1834, the shop at no. 118 is described as “Brown and Son’s Oil and Italian Warehouse”.

1828-land-tax

After his father’s death Edward Brown takes sole responsibility for the shop and pays the insurance on the property on 17 May 1837. He died in 1844 without issue and he leaves his goods to his mother and sister.(4) As we saw in the 1834 advertisement, and indeed on the façade of number 118, the Browns ran an Oil and Italian warehouse. We have a description of an oilman from N. Wittock’s Complete Book of Trades (1837), where it is said that such a tradesman

deals in an infinite variety of articles for domestic use, as well as the main one where he derives his commercial cognomen. The oils sold by him are of several sorts, as, first, train oil for lamps, and soft soap; second, linseed oil, for house-painters and medical applications; and the “sweet oils”, as, third, Florence, salad or nut oil, for the table; fourth, rape oil, which obtains the term “droppings”, and is used for oiling the stones on which carpenters and other workers in wood sharpen their tools … . This, and a fifth kind, from the palm tree, for soap-making, as well as the first mentioned (derived from fish), are chiefly vended at wholesale to the cloth manufacturers, soap boilers, and lamp-contractors.

Judging by the advertisement Brown had in the Tallis Street View booklet, he specialized in the third kind of oil, the ‘sweet’ oil for the table: Florence and Lucca oil, presumably olive oil. That is not to say that he did not have the other kinds of oil available, he may very well have stocked those as well, but in the advertisement his shop very much appears to have been what we would now call a deli or delicatessen retailer.

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Fourdin had also been referred to as an Italian warehouseman, for instance in an 1826 advertisement for a butler who is looking for new employment. Letters could be directed to Mr. Fourdin’s Italian Warehouse.(5) A year earlier, a cook, who was also looking for a new place, intriguingly, has letters addressed to “the late Mrs. Vollam’s, Italian Warehouse, 118 Wardour-street”.(6) It turns out that Mrs. Fourdin’s last name before her marriage was Vollam (or Vollum) and that one Joseph Vollam, oilman, insured a building in Wardour Street, corner Hollen Street – so possibly number 118, although I would have said that was on the corner of Noel Street – with the Sun Fire Office in 1790 and 1792. The marriage registration (1810) for Francis Fourdin and Mary Vollum lists her as a widow. Was she Joseph’s widow? Yes, most likely. Joseph mentions his wife Mary in his will(7), and although there may of course have been two Mary Vollams, widows, it seems most probable that Joseph’s widow married Francis Fourdin. So in stead of going forward in time with this story after Edward Brown died in 1844, we have taken a U-turn and have come back to Fourdin again, and after this full circle, I will leave you with a shot of the property from Google Street View (July 2014).

google-street-view

(1) The Morning Post, 3 September 1821.
(2) PROB 11/1744/345. Charles Legg (17, 18 Wardour Street, oil and colour man) gets 15 pounds and Alexander Williams (35 Wigmore Street, fishmonger) 25 pounds.
(3) PROB 11/1882/361.
(4) PROB 11/1996/177.
(5) The Morning Post, 11 July 1826.
(6) The Morning Post, 15 August 1825.
(7) PROB 11/1367/126.

Neighbours:

<– 117 Wardour Street 119 Wardour Street –>

William Shaw, ironmonger

Tags

Street View: 57
Address: 253 Blackfriars Road

elevation

In 1826, William Shaw insured premises at 74 Blackfriars Road with the Sun Fire Office. His occupation is given as ironmonger, so that would match the information I had from Tallis, but the house number did not match, or did it? The policy register kindly informs us that the ironmonger’s business was situated on the corner of Holland Street and that does match the information in the Tallis Street View booklet. An 1829 insurance with the Sun Fire Office, and indeed many later ones, list Shaw’s business at number 174, so I assume that there was a transcription error in the 1827 registry, and the house number was in fact 174. In 1831, the numbering had not yet changed to 253, but the name of the street has changed and is now referred to as Great Surrey Street. The 1835 and 1836 insurance records were hedging their bets by naming it ‘Great Surrey Street Blackfriars’. According to The Survey of London “the road was known as Great Surrey Street until 1829 when its name was changed to Blackfriars Road.”(1) Well, not quite, but we get the picture. In 1836, the insurance records still number the house as 174, but Tallis has no. 253, so the numbering must have been altered somewhere around 1837 or 1838.

vignette

In 1823, the stock of a tea dealer who had his business at number 174 Great Surrey Street came on the market, certainly suggesting that the owner had either gone bankrupt or died.(2) Kent’s 1823 directory listed a Mr. Greenhill, grocer, on the premises, but whether Shaw took possession immediately after the tea dealer/grocer had left is not clear, as the earliest mention of him is 1826. The property was fairly substantial as we can see from the vignette in Tallis’s Street View. The street on the left with the covered wagon is Holland Street and the one on the right with the carriage is Blackfriars Road. Despite the size of the building, not many people actually lived there; the 1841 census only lists Robert Shaw, 24 years old, an ironmonger; Eliza Shaw, 17 years old, no occupation given; Charles Stephenson, 18 years old, an apprentice; and Mary Cook, 24 years old, a servant. Whether and how Robert and Eliza are related is not made clear. Ten years later, we find Frederick F. Shaw, 26 years old, an unmarried ironmonger, at number 253 with his sister Mary A. Staff, a 36-year old widow; and Frederick Bates, 18 years old, a servant porter. Frederick Francis was most likely the son of William and Mary Shaw who was baptised on 24 December 1824 at Christchurch, Southwark, but not much else is known about the family. The numerous entries in the various records for people with the name Shaw do not make it easy to search for a particular individual with that name, and the combination with William certainly does not make it any easier, so we will concentrate on the business itself.

The 1843, 1848 and 1851 Post Office Directories all list William Shaw senior as ironmonger at number 253. One William junior can be found at 39 Newington Causeway, but whether he was William senior’s son, or in any other way related is not yet clear. I will try to solve that puzzle when I get round to writing the post on 39 Newington Causeway. The 1853 Shopkeeper’s Guide and the 1856 Post Office Directory list Frederick Francis as the ironmonger at number 253, suggesting the demise or retirement of William senior. Although the directories keep it simple and just call the gentlemen ‘ironmongers’, they were much more than that. As you can see from the substantial advertisement of four times a third of an oblong page in the Street View (bottom of this post), Shaw was a wholesale ironmonger and stove and range maker. They supplied their customers, be they householders or farmers, with all kinds of metal goods, cutlery, kitchen furniture, garden and other tools, not to mention the ‘sundries’. In other words, whether you needed a teaspoon or a weather vane, a fruit basket or a Dutch oven, a screw or a sickle, Shaw was your man.

carriage-lifterBut Shaw also invented implements, such as this ‘carriage lifter’, which was praised by a William Baddeley in the Mechanics Magazine of 3 October 1840. Apparently another model had been described in an earlier instalment of the magazine and “a still more ingenious contrivance” had been rewarded by the Society of Arts, but Baddeley thought that “the simplicity and efficiency” of Shaw’s tool was recommendation enough and need not be given more explanation of its merits than a small drawing with a description of the handles and levers involved.(3)

Frederick Francis does not seem to have been as astute a businessman as his father was, and in 1857 he got into trouble. A bankruptcy claim was filed against him in February 1857, and if that was not enough in itself, it turned out that he had also involved himself in the London and Birmingham Iron and Hardware Company Ltd. who had bought the business at 253 Blackfriars Road and were trying to raise money by giving out shares. Shaw was “engaged to continue the active management of the concern”. This ruse did not work and a bankruptcy claim was filed against the Company in April of that same year.(4) Shaw had been promised £600 by the directors of the Company, but they failed to pay up. A legal wrangle in the Court of Exchequer ensued to work out whether the wording of the agreement had made the directors personally responsible for the sum of money, or whether the case was one of limited liability.(5)

The Era, 15 February 1857

The Era, 15 February 1857

The records of the London and Birmingham Iron Company seemed to have been a bit of a shambles and one Mr. Harrison who had given Shaw 50l. for 25 shares never received his certificate of shares, but, as he was a friend of Shaw, he saw it more as a loan than an investment. He had been told by Mr. Harris, one of the directors, that he did not have any shares, although his name later appeared in the list of shareholders. Harrison was not the only one slightly confused about the procedures of the Company; even George Shaw, the brother of Frederick Francis, was listed for more shares than he thought he had. Did the company deliberately fiddle the books, or were they just sloppy in their accounting? The meeting to sort it all out at the Court of Bankruptcy was adjourned, so the report in the newspaper(6) does not give us the final outcome, but the third and final dividend to the shareholders was only made payable in 1896! The shareholders certainly needed a lot of patience with the London and Birmingham Iron and Hardware Company. And Frederick Francis? Well, in 1871 he could be found as a coal merchant in St. Helier, Jersey, and there is a good chance that he was the Frederick Francis who died in the second quarter of 1878 at Lewisham. I cannot prove it, but, at that time, he may have been living with his daughter Emily who was certainly to be found in Lewisham in 1881.

sv57-1
sv57-2
sv57-3
sv57-4

(1) Survey of London: Volume 22, Bankside. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1950. Via British History Online.
(2) The Morning Chronicle, 5 May 1823.
(3) The Mechanic’s Magazine, Museum, Register, Journal and Gazette, Volume 33, no. 895, 3 October 140, p. 356 (online here).
(4) The Era, 15 February 1857; and The London Gazette, 24 February and 27 November 1857.
(5) The Jurist, July 1857.
(6) Daily News, 26 November 1858.

Neighbours:

<– 254 Blackfriars Road 252 Blackfriars Road –>

Henry Mills, silversmith

Tags

,

Street View: 48
Address: 172 Oxford Street

elevation

We saw in the post on Henry Fricker, shoemaker, at 171 Oxford Street, that at some point in time his neighbour at number 172, Henry Mills, extended his own property to include number 171. That is not to say that the two buildings very physically merged into one; they were not, but Mills apparently thought it advantageous to spread his shop over two properties. It appears from the 1841 census that the shops were already combined in or before that year as there is only one entry between the occupants of numbers 170 and 173, listing Mills and his family. The next census, of 1851, however, reverted to two entries with Benjamin Burchett, watchmaker, two shop assistants and a general servant at number 172 and John Finlayson, jeweller’s assistant at number 171. Also at number 171 could be found a house decorator with his wife and a lodger. It would appear that the decorator just rented part of the house as we still find Mills as “Mills, Henry, silversmith & goldsmith, watchmaker & jeweller, importer of foreign clocks & watches” at 171 & 172 Oxford Street in the 1856 Post Office Directory, without any mention of anyone else trading from either property. Mills himself, by the way, was by then living at Turnham Green, Chiswick.

advertisement in The Nottinghamshire Guardian, 3 January 1856

advertisement in The Nottinghamshire Guardian, 3 January 1856

Not surprisingly perhaps, over the years the jeweller’s shop fell victim to a number of thefts and swindles. In March 1843, for instance, a woman came into the shop who wanted to look at a gold watch. According to the newspaper article about the case, she indeed bought a watch, but could only pay with a 50l. bank note. She said that if Mills could change the note she would be happy to buy other items from him and she told Mills that she had been given the note by Mr. Wyatt of Oxford Street. Mills said he could not change the note, but would give her a cheque. After some hesitation she agreed. Mills did not quite trust her and sent one of his apprentices to follow her to see if she went to the address she had given. No, she did not. The apprentice was heard as a witness and he said that the lady had appeared “in the family way”, wore spectacles, a straw hat, a veil and a black silk dress. A lodger at the house the accused went to testified that she did indeed have a room there and had been wearing a black silk dress on the day in question. When a policeman searched the room of the accused, he found various items that were “apparently the result of habitual pilfering”. He also found a black dress and straw bonnet, but no trace of the watch or cheque. The woman declined to say anything in her defence and was committed to be tried at the Old Bailey.(1)

From the proceedings of the Old Bailey case a few months later, we learn that the woman’s name was Harriet Oakley and that she was accused of stealing the 50l. note from Edward Wyatt, a carver and gilder of 360 Oxford Street. When Mills sent his apprentice to follow the prisoner, he also sent his other apprentice to Mr. Wyatt to inquire about the woman and the bank note. It turned out that the accused had been employed as a seamstress and domestic servant by Mrs. Wyatt and that Mr. Wyatt had given his wife the 50l. note, which she kept in an unlocked drawer. Wyatt went to Oakley’s address after he heard from Mills, but went away again and only involved the police the next day, giving her every opportunity to hide or dispose of the goods acquired with the stolen money. During the hearing at the Old Bailey, the various witnesses were rather hesitant when it came to identifying the woman, the dress or the straw bonnet and frequently contradicted their own story. Mills, for instance, could not recollect exactly whether he had been shown the bonnet: “I think I saw a bonnet, since that time, at the police-office — I have been shown a bonnet since than by the police-officer — perhaps it might be twice — I do not think he showed it me at all — he might have shown me the bonnet in Court — it might be there — he did not show it to me — he did show it, I believe”. Although it seems most likely that Harriet Oakley had pilfered the note from the Wyatts, there was not enough conclusive evidence against her and she was found ‘not guilty’.(1)

advertisement in Greenwich Hospital. The Park and Picture Gallery. A Hand-Book for Visitors, 1860

advertisement in Greenwich Hospital. The Park and Picture Gallery. A Hand-Book for Visitors, 1860

By 1861, sons William James and Henry junior were living at 171 Oxford Street, although Henry senior was still involved. At least, the census for Turnham Green lists him as jeweller, not as retired jeweller. In 1864 a newspaper report saw William testifying in a case of “obtaining goods by false pretences”. William described himself as assistant to his father, certainly suggesting that Henry senior was still in charge. The case, by the way, revolved around a Thomas Godfrey, auctioneer and house agent, who bought silver tea spoons from Mills’s and paid with what turned out to be a bad cheque. Mills was not the only victim of Mr. Godfrey who seemed to have made a habit of shopping in this way.(3)

Henry senior died in April 1868 and the burial and probate records still gave Oxford Street as his abode, so he apparently never officially retired.(4) Son William James was to follow him to the grave two years later, just 31 years old.(5) Louisa, William’s widow, was listed as watchmaker and jeweller at 172 Oxford Street in the 1871 census, and Henry junior with the same profession at number 171. By 1881, however, Henry had disappeared from Oxford Street and numbers 170 & 171 are occupied by James Moore, upholsterer and carman. Louisa is still at number 172, though. A little after the census was taken, the house numbering in Oxford Street changed and 172 became 394.

1886 Goad's insurance map

1886 Goad’s insurance map with number 394 as the second house from Duke Street (click to enlarge)

It is not clear how long Louisa remained at number 172 after the 1881 census was taken, but in 1891 and 1901, number 394 was occupied by Frederick Dixon, a jeweller originally from Lincoln. In the 1911 census he is still described as a jeweller and his son Leslie Frederick as an assistant jeweller, although they were no longer living at Oxford Street, but at Gayton Road, Harrow. In 1909, Leslie had acquired the freedom of the City through the Company of Spectacle Makers by redemption. On the Company’s documents he was described as an optician. The Dixons may have continued trading as jewellers while sharing the premises with others, but it is clear that totally different things were available from number 172/394 in 1913 and 1919.

1895 pocket watch by Dixon (source: antiques-atlas.com)

1895 pocket watch by Dixon (source: antiques-atlas.com)

advertisement in The Bystander,  10 December 1913

advertisement in The Bystander, 10 December 1913

advertisement in The Tatler and Bystander, 27 August 1919

advertisement in The Tatler and Bystander, 27 August 1919

(1) The Morning Post, 22 March 1843.
(2) Old Bailey case t18430508-1499. Online here.
(3) Daily News, 15 September 1864.
(4) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1868. Estate valued at under £7,000.
(5) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1870. Estate valued at under £2,000

Neighbours:

<– 173 Oxford Street 171 Oxford Street –>

Henry Finch, victualler

Tags

,

Street View: 8
Address: 13 Middle Row, Holborn

elevation

Although Tallis shows The George, the pub on the corner of Middle Row, Holborn, in his Street View, he does not list the proprietor in the index of booklet 8. A mistake? Possibly, because there is also another shop with the number 13, occupied by William Blissett, a hatter. The house numbering in Middle Row was rather confusing at times, but at least the pub on the corner was always at number 13. We will come back to Blissett in another post, but first the pub.

Anonymous print showing the top of Middle Row with houses numbered 1 (on the left Marshall), 2 (centre, no name) and 13 on the right with the name of Joseph Frith, so dating from somewhere between 1800 and 1830 (© Trustees of the British Museum)

Anonymous print showing the top of Middle Row with houses numbered 1 (on the left Marshall), 2 (centre, no name) and 13 on the right with the name of Joseph Frith, so dating from somewhere between 1800 and 1830 (© Trustees of the British Museum)

Joseph Frith was the proprietor in 1806 (and possible before that) and after his death, his son William took over. Unfortunately, William died, just 29 years old, in 1838 and a year later, his widow Mary Ann married widower Henry Finch of Grays Inn Lane.(1) The 1841 census saw Henry living at number 13 with young daughter Sarah from his first marriage. Mary Ann is visiting her parents in Bedale, Yorkshire, with two children from her first marriage and a baby boy, Henry junior, from her marriage with Finch. Alas, Mary Ann died a year later and in 1851, Henry is assisted in the pub by Charles Smith of Bedale, most likely Mary Ann’s brother. Something has gone wrong in the census registration for that year as Henry is listed twice; not only at 13 Middle Row, but also as tavern keeper at 20-21 Albert Terrace where we also find his daughter Sarah, his stepdaughter Jane Firth and, as housekeeper, Elizabeth Smith from Bedale, most likely Mary Ann’s sister. Besides various servants for the pub, we also find another Henry Finch on the premises as cellarman. Judging by his age, 17, he cannot be Henry and Mary Ann’s son, as the son would only have been 10 or 11 years old. Perhaps another relative?

Ten years later, Henry has made another move and is now to be found as hotel keeper at the Holly Bush Hotel in Norwood. He died there in December 1862 and probate is granted to his son William, one of the executors.(2) William is described as wine dealer of 2 Middle Row Place, which was just to the west of Middle Row itself.

The Morning Chronicle, 30 October 1810

The Morning Chronicle, 30 October 1810

But back to The George at number 13. According to the Post Office Directory of 1851, Henry had extended the business to include number 12, which was not next to number 13, but on the south side of Holborn itself. An explanation may be found in an 1810 advertisement for the extensive vaults and cellars under number 12. Perhaps that was what attracted Finch? In the early 1850s, number 2, which is next door to Finch, was occupied by a carver and gilder, first by Alexander Marshall and then by James Piper. A drawing by Thomas Hosmer Shepherd in the British Museum shows Middle Row head on and, although it is not terribly clear, the names of Finch (green fascia) and J. Piper (yellow fascia) can be made out. The shop on the left of the Row is number 1, but I cannot make out the name of the shopkeeper [Postscript: His name was Robert Cole (see comment by David Wilson]. The drawing by Shepherd is dated 1857, but in a later picture of 1867, you can see that Finch had extended his pub to include number 2 with a matching front. Whether he held on to number 12 after he acquired number 2 is unclear. I only found evidence for number 12 in the 1851 and 1856 Post Office Directories.

T.H. Shepherd, Middle Row, 1857  (© Trustees of the British Museum)

T.H. Shepherd, Middle Row, 1857 (© Trustees of the British Museum)


– 1867 print by E.H. Dixon

In July 1862, that is half a year before his death, Henry requested that his licence as a victualler for number 13 be transferred to his son Henry junior.(3) Whether it was Henry senior who extended the business to include number 2, or whether it was his son is unclear, but the effort involved did not bring any long-term advantages, as in 1867, Middle Row disappeared completely. At various times in the nineteenth century, plans had been put forward to remove the Middle Row houses as they were impeding the flow of traffic in Holborn(4), but nothing had come of those plans until 1867 when the Board of Works made a start with the removal.(5) Henry, as did the other owners of properties in the Middle Row block that was to be demolished, received compensation from the City. The total plus interest for him came to well over £10.500. For unfathomable reasons, the Board of Works referred to The George as being at numbers 11 and 12. Perhaps there had been a recent renumbering of the houses? The pub certainly did not move.

Part of a picture from The Illustrated London News of 28 September 1867 showing numbers 1,2 and 13 with posters in the windows and on the facade to announce that the houses were to be demolished

Part of a picture from The Illustrated London News of 28 September 1867 showing numbers 1,2 and 13 with posters in the windows and on the facade to announce that the houses were to be demolished

After the demolition of Middle Row, Finch removed his pub to 333 High Holborn, which used to be 8 and 9 Middle Row, that is: on the south side of Holborn itself, so not in the part of Middle Row that was removed. Goad’s insurance map of 1886 shows number 333 between the alleys leading to Staple Inn Buildings and Tennis Court. It also shows that Finch had extended the business backwards into Staple Inn Buildings. In July 1867, he asked for his licence to be transferred to the new premises, which was granted.

1886-goad

finch-c1910
I have not found any decent pictures of the part of Middle Row that was hidden by the block of houses in the road and later became 328-336 High Holborn, but there is a photograph of a small part of Finch’s pub at number 333, which, after the move from Middle Row, he called ‘the Old Holborn Bars’. The photograph was taken in c. 1910 to show the rather grand Birckbeck (later Westminster) Bank next door and by chance the pub managed to get into the picture. I have cut off the bank as that is not what this post is about and although it is not a very good photograph, at least it shows that Finch’s still existed in those days and I think it even survived until World War II. For the original photograph with the bank see here.

bar jug (Source: invaluables.com)

bar jug (Source: invaluables.com)

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(1) William Firth and Mary Ann Smith were married on 4 August, 1834, at St. Luke’s Chelsea. Mary Ann was still a minor and her “natural and lawful father” George Smith had to give his consent. Mary Ann and Henry Finch were married on 15 August, 1839.
(2) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1863. Estate valued at under £14,000.
(3) The Era, 13 July 1862.
(4) For instance in 1846 when the commissioners for paving in the parishes of St. Andrew and St. George the Martyr unsuccessfully presented a petition to the House of Commons for such removal (see Daily News, 15 August 1846.
(5) Minutes of Proceedings of the Metropolitan Board of Works, 1867.

Neighbours:

<– 2 Middle Row 13 Middle Row –>

Henry Fricker, shoe maker

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Street View: 48
Address: 171 Oxford Street

elevation

There must have been thousands of shopkeepers such as Henry Fricker in 19th-century London. Nothing spectacular happened to them, they were not particularly successful and their name hardly ever appeared in the newspapers. Their lives may not have been as quiet as one may assume from the lack of records, but for the purpose of this blog, they are the difficult ones. What do you write about a 19th-century London shopkeeper if nothing seems to have been worth recording, either about the person or the shop they had, or indeed about the building where they had their business? Well, you make the most of what you have found and hope the unassuming story about an unassuming man does not bore your readers. If you like detective stories, you may appreciate the account given below of my research. No, nobody was murdered, so do not expect a sensational plot; it is just a description of the tortuous route to find snippets of information about Fricker.

19th-century ladies' shoes from the New York Public Library Collection see here

19th-century ladies’ shoes from the New York Public Library Digital Collections (see here)

Henry Fricker is not a very common name, so first of all, I gathered all the bits of information I could find about what I thought was him, and put them in chronological order. That sounds like an efficient way of starting your research, but it quite quickly became apparent that there were two Henry Frickers involved in the leather and shoe business in London at roughly the same time. So, the next step was to separate these two gentlemen. There is a will for one of of them, dated 1842, and this fortunately tells us his exact address, 171 Oxford Street, so he must be the one we are after for this blog post. He mentions his brothers John and Francis and his wife Harriet. The will was written in 1836 and witnessed by Griffith Humphreys of 169 Oxford Street, by Griffith Richards, also of 169 Oxford Street, and John Henry Hoskyns of Queen Street, Edgware Road. Probate was granted on 8 August 1842 to Harriet and John Fricker, the surviving executors.(1) The only snag is that no Henry Fricker is listed in the Registration of Deaths for 1842. But, a Henry Fricker, 54 years old, is buried at All Souls, Kensal Green, on 19 September 1841, which may be the shoe maker we are after. Perhaps it just took a long time to sort out the effects after Henry’s death. However, the address given in the burial register is not Oxford Street, but 6 Mortimer Terrace, Kentish Town, so more work to be done.

entry for Fricker in the 1829 Post Office Directory

entry for Fricker in the 1829 Post Office Directory

The other Henry Fricker could at one time be found at 182 Fleet Street and is consistently listed as a (Japanned) leather cutter or splitter, or as a cap peak maker, never as a shoe maker or seller. In about 1836, he moved to 2 Albion Terrace, Kingsland Road, so, as long as the addresses or occupations are mentioned, the two man can be distinguished from one another. This second Henry died in 1866, still at 2 Albion Terrace.(2) To work out more details of the life and/or career of Henry of 171 Oxford Street, we can safely ignore all references to Albion Terrace or peak makers. The most logical place to start for someone who was alive after June 1841 is the census for that year which was taken on 6 June. Sounds straightforward, but it was not.

A name search on Ancestry only gave me more Henry Frickers, but none matched the shoemaker and the 1841 census does not give any house numbers for Oxford Street, so we have to work it out by looking at the neighbours. William, Thomas and Henry Green are listed as dressing case makers next door to Griffith Humphreys whom we have already seen as a witness to Fricker’s will. Both are also listed by Tallis (published in ±1839, so a little bit before the census). It is therefore easy enough to work out that they must be living at numbers 168 and 169. At 170 Tallis has a Mr. Balls, auctioneer and upholsterer and the census has George Martin, upholsterer, so he probably took over from Balls. We will sort those two out when we get to write the post on number 170. If we follow the numbering, we would next expect number 171 with Fricker, and after him Henry Mills, a silversmith, who is listed by Tallis at 172. But, that is not the case. Mills follows Martin and number 171 seems to have disappeared from the list completely. Or has it? No, not really, an 1840 insurance record for the Sun Fire Office has both the names of Mills and Fricker for number 171 and later advertisements for silversmith Mills have him at 171 & 172. In other words, he took over number 171 and merged it with 172. So far, so good, but where is Fricker?

1840-insurance-both-mills-and-fricker

Perhaps already at 6 Mortimer Terrace? Yes, indeed, Mortimer Terrace, Kentish Town, no house numbers given, has Henry Fricker, 52 years old, “ind” as in independent/retired. His wife is 40 years old, her name unfortunately totally unreadable, or perhaps the squiggle says ‘Mrs’, and children Harriet, Emily, Eliza, Francis, Mary and John. As always, the 1841 census is completely unreliable as regards ages, and they have the eldest three daughters all at 15 years of age. Anything is possible, of course, but I doubt they were triplets. The children were all born in London, but Henry and his wife were not (see last column in the illustration below).

1841-census-mortimer-terrace-fricker

Although the bare fact that a Henry Fricker lived and died at 6 Mortimer Terrace, and that a person of the same name had his business at 171 Oxford Street, does not necessarily mean that these two people are one and the same, but the baptism records of the children help us out here. On 21 July 1837, Henry and Harriet of 171 Oxford Street register their children, as most non-conformists did, at Dr. Williams’s Library. The names and ages of the children roughly match those of the 1841 census and no, the girls were not triplets.(3)

signatures of Henry and Harriet under the children's baptism registration

signatures of Henry and Harriet under the children’s baptism registration

Where did Henry come from? Well, the electoral register for 1840 tells us that Henry Fricker who resided at the freehold of 171, Oxford Street, came originally from Meltham (this should probably be Melksham) in Wiltshire. And the baptism records for the children state that Harriet was the daughter of John Webb, a dyer, of Park Street, Borough, Southwark. This gives us enough information to search for a marriage. Harriet and Henry were married at St. Saviour’s, Southwark after putting up the banns on three successive Sundays: 24 May, 31 May and 7 June 1818. Henry was 54 years old when he died and 52 in June 1841 (census), so should have been born in 1788 or 1789. I have not found a record for the birth of Henry, but there were Frickers in Melksham around that time, so it is very possible that he came from there.

trade-card-farmilo-fricker

There is one intriguing trade card (© Trustees of the British Museum) left to discuss and that is the one above of Farmilo and Fricker at Bentinck Street. Was he “our” Fricker? Farmilo is certainly listed as a ‘lady’s shoe maker’ in various records, as Fricker was to be later on, but that is of course no guarantee. Francis Farmilo was buried on 1 April 1801 at St. George, Hanover Square, and that does seem a bit early for Henry to have been involved with him. The earliest possibility I found for shoemaker Henry is 1814 when he insured premises at 3 Tavistock Court, Covent Garden. And in 1822 he insured 171 Oxford Street and was found at that address in Pigot’s Directory. Was there an earlier generation of Frickers involved in the shoe business? Please leave a comment if you know the answer. For now, I think I have bored you enough with this account of my search for Henry Fricker of 171 Oxford Street.

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(1) PROB 11/1966/277
(2) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1866. Estate valued at under £450.
(3) Date of births: Harriet (1-9-1819), Emily (14-2-1822), Eliza (1-6-1824), Francis (16-1-1829), Mary (20-8-1830) and John (29-1-1833).

Neighbours:

<– 172 Oxford Street 170 Oxford Street–>