Street Views: 45 and 74
Addresses: 53 Borough High Street and 165 Fenchurch Street


In June 1792, the partnership between Josiah Monnery and his sons, Josiah junior and William, of the Borough of Southwark, was dissolved by mutual consent.(1) The Monnerys were leather-sellers and glovers and received their leather from all over the country. In 1804, a newspaper reported on a case tried at the assizes of York where one Mr. Smith had sued the Aire and Calder Navigation Company because his goods had not been delivered to Monnery. Apparently, Smith had delivered a bale of leather to the warehouse of the Navigation Company at Leeds from where it had duly been taken to Selby where it was transferred to another ship bound for London. Aire and Calder defended themselves by claiming to be carriers from Leeds to Selby and that they had only been paid for bringing the parcel to Selby. They did not think they could be held accountable for the actions of another carrier who took the goods further on its route. The judge agreed with the defendants and did not see why the first carrier should be accountable for a parcel that might be brought halfway round the globe by various carriers. The case was not brought before a jury but dismissed as “non-suited”.(2) What happened to the parcel and whether Monnery ever received the leather from Leeds remains untold.

In 1824, William’s son Edward Josiah is apprenticed to William Willmott, a painter-stainer. Why a painter-stainer? Possibly because the leather for the gloves needed to be dyed in various colours? Whatever the reason for this choice, Edward Josiah is taken into his father’s business after his apprenticeship. In February 1830, the insurance on the business is still in Josiah and William’s name, but by August 1832, it is listed under JW and EJ Monnery; that is: John William (born ±1802) and Edward Josiah (born ±1810), the two sons of William. William himself takes out an insurance on 9 Trinity Dover Road, but confusingly, another entry of the Sun Fire Office for the same date lists William, John William, Edward Josiah and one Francis Child as the occupants of 53 Borough High Street. The 1836 entry just lists them as Messrs. Monnery, so that is no help, but in 1837, the brothers have apparently branched out with John William still at Borough and Edward Josiah at 165 Fenchurch Street. Well …, not quite, as two other entries for 1837 give both JW and EJ at 53 Borough and at 165 Fenchurch Street. The apparent confusion is probably caused by separate insurance policies for the business and the living quarters, but unfortunately the online catalogue of the National Archives does not give such details. What is clear, is that JW and EJ are still in business together as in an 1838 advertisement where “J. and E. Monnery beg to call the attention of the public to their outfitting warehouses, 165, Fenchurch-street, and 53, High-street, Borough, where a large assortment of every article requisite for a voyage to … the Indies and Colonies is kept ready for immediate use”.(3) Please note the change from leather-sellers and glovers to outfitters. Not that they gave up their former occupation as they are still called “hosiers, glovers and out-fitters” by their shopman who gave evidence against a thief who stole some handkerchiefs from the Fenchurch shop.(4) EJ is also called to give evidence in that trial and from him we learn that he does indeed live above the shop and that he is in partnership with his brother who does, however, not live there.

1861 Queensland emigration to the new colony of Australia by Henry Jordan

In 1842, the partnership between the brothers is dissolved and each goes his own way.(5) John William at Borough High Street does not appear very often in the newspaper and dies 13 February 1874.(6) Edward Josiah, however, manages to get his business noticed with large advertisements in various papers, for instance in 1861 when he had a 2-page advert in Henry Jordan’s Queensland: Emigration to the New Colony of Australia with the shop front prominently depicted. As can be seen in the picture above, Monnery did not just supply clothing for the prospective emigrants, but everything else as well, from pots and pans to pillow cases and water bottles. And if necessary, they could also fit your cabin for you. The shop must have had a make-over since the Tallis Street Views were produced, as the entrance to 165 Fenchurch Street in the advertisement is in the middle of the shop while it used to be on the left (see the elevation at the top of this post). Nine years later, a similar advertisement appeared, this time for the emigrants to the other side of the world, in E. Graham Alston’s Handbook to British Columbia and Vancouver Island. This time Monnery has included his son in the company name. That will probably be Edward John (born 1839) who received his freedom of the City in 1862 by patrimony. Another son, Walter (born 1845) received his freedom in November 1870, although he had already been working in the shop since at least 1862 when he reported on the theft of his watch.(7)

1870 Handbook to British Columbia and Vancouver Island by E. Graham Alston

One of the Monnerys had a serious accident on Ben Nevis, but which one is unfortunately not revealed in the newspaper that reported on the accident. The party left Fort William early in the morning to climb the mountain which was successfully accomplished with the reward of breath-taking views on the top. But 400 yards into the descend, Monnery was walking a little behind the others and when the guide happened to be looking round, he saw Monnery fall and dash his head against a large stone. They brought him to a small stream where they washed the wound and dressed it with a handkerchief. They managed to carry him halfway down where a mountain pony could take over the rescue. He was brought to the Queens’s Hotel where the doctor stitched up the wound and pronounced his skull not fractured. Although Monnery had intended to go on to Inverness, that was not possible and he had to stay behind in Fort William.(8) What happened afterwards with the unfortunate Monnery did not get reported, but I assume he eventually made his way back to London.

In 1883 the business removed to 50 Fenchurch Street and in 1893 old Edward Josiah died. Edward John and Walter, with James Gibbs, a wholesale woollen draper, were the executors. From the probate record, we also learn why the firm never became Monnery & sons (plural); Walter has become an iron merchant, rather than join his brother in the outfitting firm.(9) Edward John died in 1904 with probate granted to the executors Emma Dower Monnery, the widow and – presumably the same – James Gibbs.(10) But that was not the end of the business. The Bedforshire and Luton Archives hold the papers of James E. Bridges, a naval officer and the second son of captain Sir Ernest Arthur Bridges and among them is a bill from Monnery Ltd of London and Liverpool for clothing.(11) How Monnery Ltd is related to the Monnerys of Fenchurch Church is unclear, but as it is not a very common name and they appear to be in the same business, I assume there must be a link.

(1) London Gazette, 5 February 1793.
(2) Hampshire Chronicle, 13 August 1804.
(3) the Morning Chronicle, 5 April 1838.
(4) Old Bailey, case against Robert Smith, 1 January 1838.
(5) London Gazette, 16 August 1842.
(6) Probate 13 March 1874. Executors are his brother Edward Josiah and Alfred George Roper, surgeon.
(7) Old Bailey, case against William Fisher, 22 September 1862.
(8) The Dundee Courier, 12 September 1864.
(9) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 22 August 1893.
(10) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations) , 29 April 1904.
(11) Z160/533.


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