Street View: 33
Address: 81 Hatton Garden


James Muston started his career in Gough Square. We find him there in the 1799 tax records, but he had probably moved to 81 Hatton Garden by 1804. He was to remain the rest of his career at the Hatton Garden address. The births of his children were all registered at the Dr. Williams Library, as was usual for non-anglicans, while the baptisms themselves had taken place at the Fetter Lane Independent Chapel.(1) The records for the first three children indicate the Gough Street address, but from late 1803, the Mustons are recorded as of the parish of St. Andrew, Holborn. Although this does not guarantee a Hatton Garden address, it was certainly in the neighbourhood. Only in 1812, when little Emily was buried at Bunhill Fields, is a Hatton Garden address specified. Directories for 1811 and 1819 give Muston at 80 Hatton Garden, but that seems to have been a result of renumbering, rather than a removal; the numbers in Horwood’s map of 1799 do not quite match those in Tallis’s Street View. In all later records, Muston is given as at number 81. At various times, Muston’s name appears in the documents regarding a lease for the Fetter Lane Chapel, indication that he was more than just attending the services in the chapel. In 1817, Muston’s name appears in the List of the Governors and Officers of the Asylum for the Support and Education of the Deaf and Dumb Children of the Poor.

portraits of James and his wife Mary Ann by Charles Foot Tayler

portraits of James and his wife Mary Ann by Charles Foot Tayler (Source: Wigs on the Green)

A more personal note than just a name in the list of a charity, appears in the Brief Memorials of Mrs Innes by John Boutet Innes (1829). The reverend John Boutet wrote a memorial for his late wife, something between a funeral sermon and a personal memorial (online here), and in it he mentions his friends the Mustons:

On the day preceding that on which she was taken ill two friends from London, whom we had long known and much esteemed, who are indeed well known to the friends of missions, and of evangelical religion in the metropolis, (Mr. and Mrs. Muston of Hatton Garden) being in Norwich, spent the day with us, and having engaged apartments at the inn, would comply with our request only on condition that we passed the evening with them. This we did.

Mary Innes died about a week after the visit from the Mustons on 20 May 1829, so the Mustons must have been in Norwich around half May and they were in Chelmsford a week later when they heard of the tragedy. Mrs Muston wrote “Oh! how grieved and shocked I was, when the melancholy tidings reached us at Chelmford. I wept for hours”. Later that year, a more mundane event disturbed the peace at the Independent congregation at Fetter Lane. One Thomas Hopkins managed to open a window in the vestry from the outside. He was, however, seen taking two hats. One of the parishioners ran round to catch him in Fetter Lane and when the accused saw he was being followed, he dropped the hats, but was overtaken and given into custody. One of the hats belonged to James Muston and when he gave evidence, he described himself as a deacon of the church. The perpetrator claimed to be under the influence of alcohol, but the witnesses denied that, and Hopkins was sentenced to transportation for seven years, which seems rather harsh since the hats were returned to their owners and the window had not been broken open, but just lifted up.

advertisement in The Morning Chronicle, 20 January 1845

advertisement in The Morning Chronicle, 20 January 1845

Muston continued his upholstery business at Hatton Garden without further mishaps and the 1841 census finds him there as a 70-year old. He prided himself on his long experience which gave him the edge over flightier competitors, or so he claimed in the advertisement shown above. His name has not appeared in The London Gazette as a bankrupt, so he must indeed have managed to do well enough. He died in 1849, 78 or 79 years old, depending on who you believe, and the notice about his death in The Baptist Reporter duly repeated the important facts about his life.

May 25, at his residence, 81, Hatton garden, Mr. James Muston, aged 78, deeply regretted by his family and friends, and beloved by all who knew him. He was for many years a deacon of the Independent church in Fetter-lane, London.

portraits of daughters Agnes and Matilda Lewis by Mary Millington

portraits of daughters Agnes and Matilda Lewis by Mary Millington (Source: Wigs on the Green)

James was buried at St Thomas Square Cemetery, Mare Street, Hackney, on the 31st of May. In his will, he described himself as ‘bedding and mattress manufacturer’, which accords with what he claimed in the 1845 advertisement. His estate is to go to his wife Mary Ann, or if she pre-deceases him, is to be converted into money to be invested for the benefit of his daughter Agnes. He also mentions a daughter Mary Ann who had married Thomas Cross of Islington, but I have not found much other evidence of her. Mary Ann is to get the income of the trust after her sister Agnes’s death.(2) According to the England and Wales Marriage Registration Index she and Thomas were married in the 2nd quarter of 1840 at West London, but that is as far as I got. Her mother, Mary Ann senior and Agnes were to be found in Gosport in the 1851 census, so did not continue the upholstery business, but it apparently remained in the family for a little while as the 1851 Post Office Directory lists 81 Hatton Garden for Thomas Cross, bed and mattress maker, presumably Mary Ann junior’s husband. But not long afterwards, James Bass, a chemist, could be found at number 81. Tallis had already listed a James Bass, chemist, at Hatton Garden, albeit not at number 81, but at number 78. Whether it was the same James Bass or not will be sorted out in a forthcoming post, but for now, the story of 81 Hatton Garden is at an end.

(1) James Hoskins, 6 March 1800; Frederik Waters, 6 Sept 1801; Marianne, 15 Aug 1802; Elizabeth Sarah, 2 Dec 1803; Agnes, 25 Oct 1807; Lucilla, 30 April 1809; Emily, 24 April 1811; Matilda Lewis, 1812. No baptism record has been found for daughter Mary Ann, but she can perhaps be identified with the Marianne who was born in 1802.
(2) PROB 11/2095/44.


<– 82 Hatton Garden 80 Hatton Garden –>