Street View: 55
Address: 136 Aldersgate Street
On the 4th of January, 1835, three Collingridge children (Sophia Sarah, Thomas and Henry) were baptised at St. Andrew Holborn. The parents were Thomas and Phoebe Collingridge and the family lived on Regent Street, City Road (now Thoresby Street). But when, a little over a year later, their next child, Phoebe Eliza was baptised, their address was Aldersgate Street. At least four more children were to follow: William, Kate Mary, Elizabeth Ann and Clara Jane. Tallis (who mistakenly calls him Collinridge) tells us that Collingridge was a watch maker at 136 Aldersgate Street. In early 1840, Collingridge purchased the freedom of the City by redemption and at the time of the 1841 census, we see him listed with one apprentice, Charles Cross. That the life of an apprentice watchmaker could be dangerous, can be seen from an Old Bailey case in which someone tried to steal from the Collingridge shop.(1) Charles Cross gave the following evidence:
In the 1843 Post Office Directory something interesting is listed. We find Thomas Collingridge, as we would expect, as watchmaker at 136 Aldersgate Street, but also as the proprietor of the Yorkshire Coffee House of the same address. If we turn back to Tallis, we see one Hawkrigg listed as having coffee rooms at number 136. You can read about Mr. Hawkrigg in another post, but it seems clear that at some point Collingridge took over the coffee rooms and ran it besides his watch shop. He is still listed as having the coffee house in the 1848 Post Office Directory, but no longer in the 1851 Directory.
Clocks and watches produced by Collingridge do turn up from time to time at auction:
The census of 1851 tells us that son Thomas has taken up the profession of his father, but despite this help in the business, things did not go well. In 1852, Thomas senior is incarcerated in the Debtor’s Prison for London and Middlesex. He is said to be “formerly residing and carrying on business as a watch and clock maker, at no. 136, Aldersgate-street, London, then of the same place, watch and clock maker, and coffee-shop keeper, next of no. 2, Shacklewell-green, Middlesex, and of no. 136, Aldersgate-street aforesaid, watch and clock maker, and then of no. 12, Osnaburgh-place, New Road, Middlesex”.(2) He somehow manages to regain his freedom and at the time of the 1861 census we find him and his son at 36 Lower Street, Islington, still working as watch and clock makers. But – here we go again – in 1864, he is once again declared a bankrupt. In 1871, he and Phoebe can be found at 61 Warren Street, but the census record has a blank space for occupation, so we do not know whether he still worked as a watch maker, although an 1874 Old Bailey case mentions a Thomas Collingridge who is found guilty, but not punished, for fraudulently having a name engraved on a watch (see here), but as no address is given, I do not know whether it is the Thomas Collingridge who used to work from 136 Aldersgate.
The picture above shows Collingridge’s shop next to Half Moon Alley, the entrance of which can be seen in the centre of the picture behind the man with the dog, but that would mean the watchmaker moved next door and I have found no evidence for that. I think it was a mistake on Shephard’s part as Collingridge is consistently listed at number 136, which is the house on the very left, and the Land tax record always show one other name between Collingridge and the alley.
(1) Old Bailey case t18411025-2541.
(2) The London Gazette, 8 June and 22 June 1852.
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