Street View: 36
Address: 91 Oxford Street

We already came across another hosier in Oxford Street named Churton in the previous post, but William Churton of number 91 Oxford Street stressed in his Street View advertisement that he had nothing to do with the other shop and would customers please note the house number and the fact that his property was NOT on a corner. True, it was not, there was one house between him and Market Court, although the Churtons later acquired that house as well. William originally came from Whitchurch in Shropshire, but by 1796 he had established himself as a hosier at the Golden Fleece in Oxford Street.(1). The year after the start of his business, William married Elizabeth Bray at St. Mary’s, Marylebone. In 1807, some years after the death of Elizabeth (she probably died in 1804), William married Eliza Fuller.

Things were going well for our hosier and in 1819 he insured property in Little Sutton, Chiswick. His name can be found in A List of the Names of the Members of the United Company of Merchants of England Trading to the East-Indies (1825) with both addresses: 91 Oxford Street and Sutton Court Lodge, Chiswick. The Lodge was a rather substantial building that was later used as a boarding school and temporary council offices (see here for more information on its history). It was demolished just after 1900. The London Metropolitan Archives have an 1844 engraving of the property by M.J. Starling, showing a family walking in the grounds. We can well imagine that the artist depicted William Churton and his family, and the picture may even have been commissioned by Churton himself.

Detail of Starling’s engraving, See Collage for the complete picture

Henry Churton of 140 Oxford Street was known for the elastic rollers for horses’ legs that he developed, but William also had a speciality up his sleeve, not for horses’ legs, but for human legs. He developed elastic cotton bandages which were “particularly adapted to the treatment of rheumatismal and oedematous swellings, and even to fractures and dislocations, when they are followed by much tumefaction” according to Thomas Cutler in his Surgeon’s Practical Guide in Dressing of 1838. According to Henry Thomas Chapman in his Brief Description of Surgical Apparatus of 1832 the rollers were sold as ‘Chorton’s Stocking Bandages’ and were “well adapted to cases of anasarca of the lower extremity, varicose veins and hydrops articuli”.

William retired at the end of 1837 and handed over the business to his son Edward George who had already been in partnership with his father.(2) William died in 1851 and his wife Eliza a year later. William left Sutton Lodge House to his son Charles, but the latter does not seem to have lived there as the 1861 census show a Frederick Wigan, hop merchant, as the occupant.

Edward George lived above the shop in Oxford Street, although the 1841 census only shows shop assistants and servants living there. It is unclear where Edward was at that time, but he is certainly found at home in the 1851 and 1861 censuses. Also living there was son William who was Edward’s main assistant. To distinguish him from his grandfather, I will refer to him as William II. Around 1850, Edward and William II expanded the business to include the property next door at number 92.(3) One of the shopman in 1861 was Joseph Day who was still there in 1871 when he and his wife were looking after the property. It is, however, unclear for whom they were minding the shop as William II Churton had died in January 1868. His widow Emma died a few months later and the effects were turned over to William’s sister Julia Churton of 51 Ventnor Villas, Hove, for the benefit of William and Emma’s children.(4) Edward George was listed as retired in the 1871 census and living at Ventnor Villas, Hove, with his three unmarried daughters, among whom Julia, and two grandchildren, the sons of William and Emma.

Catalogue of the British Section. Paris Universal Exhibition of 1867

Edward George died in 1874 and his probate entry lists him as late of 91 and 92 Oxford Street and of Ventnor Villas, certainly suggesting that by then he was no longer involved in the hosiery business.(5) Another family member may have stepped in after the death of William II as the probate entry for William II’s brother John Ashton of 41 Foley Street, who also died in 1874, lists his widow Martha Elizabeth Churton as of 92 Oxford Street. From 1877 onwards, the electoral register shows James Churton at 91 & 92 Oxford Street (most likely William II’s other brother) and he is still there at the time of the 1881 census, although number 92 is then occupied by an Oriental carpet merchant.

When James ran the business, the financial situation was far from ideal and bankruptcy proceedings were started in 1878, which perhaps explains the occupation of number 92 by the carpet merchant. In 1884, James had paid off enough of his debt to be able to terminate the bankruptcy(6), but the business that had existed for over a hundred years was not to last much longer. At some point between 1881 and 1891 the houses in Oxford Street were renumbered and 91 and 92 became 192 and 194. The 1891 census just has the remark that no one sleeps on the premises, so that is no help at all, but an 1889 insurance map shows the name of Chas Baker & Co., outfitters, written across the two premises, so the Golden Fleece must have met its end in the second half of the 1880s.

1889 insurance map

Burke’s Landed Gentry Advertizer, 1871

(1) The tax records for the previous year show an empty property at number 91. William may have been the brother of Edward Churton of 140 Oxford Street as the latter names his brother William as one of the executors of his will, but he does not specify an address, so it is not a hundred percent certain it is the same William.
(2) The London Gazette, 26 December 1837.
(3) The Post Office Directory of 1848 only lists number 91 for the Churtons, but the 1851 edition already has 91 & 92 after their name.
(4) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1868 and 1869.
(5) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1874.
(6) The London Gazette, 19 December 1884.


<– 92 Oxford Street 90 Oxford Street –>