Street View: 8 Suppl.
Address: 46 Strand

Peter Whelan, or Timothy Peter Whelan as he was officially called, announced his move from Holborn to 46 Strand in the issue of The Family Herald “for the week ending 31 January 1846”. He did not have this new place all to himself, as hatter John Holbrook was listed for the same address. Tallis listed a Mr. Read, trunkmaker’ at number 46, but the 1843 Post Office Directory gives D’Alembert & Morgan, hatters, although in a list of alterations too late to be included in the directory itself, their new address is given as 20 Regent Street. Whelan made a habit of moving. He probably had not been long at Holborn as he was not yet listed in the 1843 Post Office Directory, and he was not to stay at 46 Strand either. Already in the 1848 Post Office Directory he could be found at 36 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, but that quickly changed to 44 Great Russell Street (1851 Post Office Directory). In the 1856 directory he is listed at 42 Bedford Street, Covent Garden, but by 1859 he had moved once again, this time to 407 Strand. He shared these premises with Charles Goodman, a bookseller.

silver tetradrachm from the kingdom of Macedonia c.173-167BC, acquired from Peter Whelan (© The Trustees of the British Museum)

In 1847, Peter Whelan had married Eliza Norris and their son, Francis Edward, was born on 17 May 1848. In late December 1849, their daughter Alice was born. Peter died in early 1863 and was buried at Brompton Cemetery. His probate record gives his address as 18 Lisle Street, Leicester Square.(1) Eliza was named executor and she seemed to have sold the business. In an advertisement in The Athenaeum, W.S. Lincoln & Son of New Oxford Street annouce that they have acquired from the executor the copyright of Whelan’s The Historical Numismatic Atlas of the Roman Empire, a chart with coin faces, produced by Whelan in 1855. The business at 407 Strand was taken over by W.H. Johnson.

advertiseing coin for Whelan at Great Russell Street, Opposite the British Museum (Source: ABC Coins and Tokens)

Young Francis Edward was only 14 years old when his father died, so definitely too young to take over the business, but he later followed in his father’s footsteps as the agent for Rollin & Feuardent of Paris, dealers in coins, medals, gems, antiquities, and numismatic books. His name crops up in the collection of the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum concerning the Pitt-Rivers collection.(2) Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt-Rivers was an avid collector (see here) and was in regular contact with Francis Edward Whelan from 1886 onwards. Whelan not only supplied Pitt-Rivers with coins and antiquities from Paris, but also acted as a go-between for the making of a coin cabinet.

drawing of vase on back of letter (copyright S&SWM PR papers)

In 1892, Whelan supplied a sketch of a vase from Egypt he thought Pitt-Rivers might be interested in. In the early letters to Pitt-Rivers, Francis Edward’s address was 61 Great Russell Street, not far from his childhood home and still close to the British Museum. This is also his address in the 1881 census, but from 1891 his address is 19 Bloomsbury Street, although the British Museum give varying house numbers for Rollin & Feuerdent, see here. And the 1901 census lists Francis Edward and his wife Emma at 6 Bloomsbury Street. Whelan died in 1907 and William Talbot Ready took over the Feuardent agency.(3)


To conclude this post, a few reminiscences by William Carew Hazlitt about Whelan (1897). You can read all of them here.

Many have been the good turns, many the valuable hints and items of information, and many, again, the pleasant hours, which I have spent in Bloomsbury Street. There is a huge black cat there, which is very friendly with habitual visitors; it used to make a practice of squeezing itself into Sir John Evans’s bag, and remaining there, while he stayed.

At Bloomsbury Street is one of my numismatic libraries of reference, to which I have long enjoyed free access. The custodian is not only well versed in coins and other curiosities, but is a reader and a repository of much entertaining literary and theatrical anecdote. I know that I take more than I give; but Whelan now and again consults me about an old book or a continental coin, which he does not happen to have seen.

(1) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1863. The estate was valued at under £200..
(2) Reference: B448 S&SWM PR papers. The letters from Whelan to Pitt Rivers have been transcribed here.
(3) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1907. The estate was valued at over £1500.


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