Street View: 7
Address: 44 Old Bond Street
In 1810, the partnership between Stephen and George Cullum was dissolved. The notice about it in The London Gazette does not mention their trade, but it does give the address of Clare Market.(1) A newspaper advertisement of a few weeks later tells us the rest of the story. “George Cullum, from Clare-market, Butterman and Cheesemonger … informs [his customers] that he has removed to No. 44 Old Bond-street (late Mr. Hance)”(2)
The Cullums had already been buttermen in London for quite some time. In 1775, John Cullum obtained the freedom of the City by redemption, suggesting he came from outside the City of London and had not gone through the usual 7-year apprenticeship. In 1787 and 1789 respectively, he takes on his own sons Stephen and George as apprentices. Their address is then given as Clare Market where the family worked together, but in 1810, George decides to go it alone in Old Bond Street. Later that same year, he writes his will, leaving everything to his wife Mary Ann.(3) He died in early April 1814 and his burial record gives him as of Devonshire, late of Bond Street, although he was buried at Heston, Hounslow.
The next instalment in the Cullum occupation of the cheesemonger’s shop in Old Bond Street can be deduced from another trade card and the Land Tax records. The business was continued after the death of George by Samuel Cullum, most likely George and Stephen’s brother who – I think – may also have had a shop in Newgate Street, although there were more Samuels in the family. Please note that besides the butter and cheese George sold, Sam is also advertising eggs, bacon and ham. I think Samuel retired in the early 1830s, although there is a suggestion that he, with a Charles Whitfield, was involved in the Paxton & Whitfield business, now in Jermyn Street, but the information that firm gives on its website does not quite match the information I have, as they have Sam as the son of a Stephen (an earlier generation than John’s son Stephen). I will come back to that puzzle when I have worked it out. Sam Cullum is still mentioned for 44 Old Bond Street in Kent’s 1823 Directory, and is listed in the Land Tax records for 1830, but in 1831 William Whitfield is paying the tax. An 1834 insurance record also mentions William Whitfield, although Cullum and Whitfield probably traded together in the early 1830s, as their servant, William Holmes, described both Cullum and Whitfield as his employers when he gave evidence in 1831 in a case of stolen butter.(4). William had already been a cheesemonger before he took over from Cullum as he is mentioned as such in the baptism records for his children (the oldest was born in 1821). The Whitfield family lived in East Street while William worked in partnership with his half-brother John at 16 Lamb’s Conduit Street (Kent’s Directory of 1823), before moving to Old Bond Street to work for Cullum and then taking over the business.
William Whitfield was born in 1786 in Startforth, Teesdale as the son of John Whitfield and Elizabeth Pinckney. In April 1819, he married Jane Barbara Benning, daughter of Jane and James Benning, surgeon, at Staindrop, Durham.(5) Jane Barbara was the sister of William Benning the bookseller at 43 Fleet Street who married Alice Whitfield, William Whitfield’s sister and John Whitfield’s half-sister.(6) Two of William and Jane Barbara’s sons were given the additional first name Benning: William Benning Whitfield (1821-1841), and James Benning Whitfield (1825-1881). The couple were to have eight sons, six of whom survived into adulthood.(7) By 1831, when son Septimus was baptised, the Whitfields had moved to 44 Old Bond Street. Only three children are listed in the 1841 census: George, James and Octavius; perhaps the others were at school or visiting somewhere. The 1851 census also shows three children: James Benning, a solicitor, John, a clerk and Octavius who was still at school. The 1851 Post Office Directory, however, lists the business as William Whitfield & Son, so at least one of the absent sons must have been involved in the cheese and butter business.
William Whitfield died in 1859, 73 years old, and was buried at All Souls, Kensal Green, on 7 September 1859. In the probate entry his address is given as 18 Hereford Square, Brompton, and Old Bond Street, although he seems to have died in Drummond Street, Euston Square. His widow Jane Barbara was the sole executor.(8) Jane died in February 1861 and the executors of her estate were sons George of 167 New Bond Street, and James Benning of 1 Mitre Court Temple.(9) Two other sons, Septimus, silk merchant, and Octavius, solicitor, both unmarried, were living in Great Portland Street at the time of the 1861 census, but the cheese business at 44 Old Bond Street remained in the family, as in 1862, John Whitfield of Messrs. Whitfield gave evidence in a court case where the basket of Whitfield’s porter had been emptied of a roll of butter when the basket had been temporarily left on the railings of a house.(10) Who the other half of Messrs. Whitfield was, remained unsaid, but it was most likely George.
The returns of Westminster Polling District of 1862 and 1863, show that four sons, Charles, James Benning, Octavius and Septimus, had an interest in the freehold of 44 Old Bond Street. Contrary to the 1861 addresses, this time James Benning and Octavius are shown to be living at 1 Mitre Court, Charles is living at 8 Jermyn Street (strengthening the case for his Paxton involvement?) and Septimus can be found at New Bond Street. No house number is given for Septimus’ abode, but he was to die in 1868 and from his probate record we learn that he lived at number 142.(11) John and George are not mentioned as having an interest in the freehold, but we know that they lived and worked as buttermen and cheesemongers in Old Bond Street. Although I have not seen the will of father William, we can surmise that he left the business to John and George and the freehold of the building to the other four sons. John died in September 1865.(12)
On 2 February 1873, a small notice in Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper spoke of a “destructive fire” that had occurred on Sunday morning on the premises of W. Whitfield, 44 Old Bond Street. No more information is given, but at least it tells us that the Whitfield shop was still in business. A year later, the Westminster Polling District records show that it were just Charles and Octavius that were still having an interest in the freehold. James Benning’s name has been struck out and Septimus was dead by then. I am afraid that from now on, we will see the brothers dying one by one, resulting in a long list of probate records. In 1878, the probate records tell us that it was indeed George who had been the other partner in the business at number 44, as he is listed as having been a cheesemonger at that address, although he lived at 28 Nottingham Place.(13) The next brother to die was James Benning who lived at 97 London Road, St. Leonard’s, Sussex. He died in August 1881.(14) Probate was granted to his brother Charles, “the surviving executor”. Charles was then living at 18 Jermyn Street, the same address as the Paxton & Whitfield shop at that time, so I think we can conclude that it was indeed Charles who was involved in the Paxton & Whitfield business, although he cannot have been the Charles who entered the business in 1790 as he was not even born then. That, with the inconsistency in the Cullum partner, means there is more work to be done to solve the Paxton puzzle. Charles died in 1882 and turned out to have been the best businessman as he left the largest estate.(15) And to round off the list of probates, the last one is for Octavius who died in November 1885 in Italy.(16).
And the shop itself? George was the last of the Whitfield brothers to actually work in the cheese and butter business in Old Bond Street and I have not found any more cheesemongers there, so I think the shop was sold outside the family. In 1906 a new building was erected for Glyn & Co, hatters, and a recent owner decided to paint it a horrible pink and the Whitfields would certainly no longer recognise the building, so best to leave the story with the death of the last Whitfield brother and forget about the later history of the premises.
(1) The London Gazette, 24 April 1810.
(2) The Morning Chronicle, 4 May 1810.
(3) PROB 11/1554/335.
(4) Old Bailey case t18310908-211. Butter was stolen from the servant’s basket when he had left the basket when he went into a property to deliver goods.
(5) The will of James Benning is transcribed on the Will Transcriptions Website here.
(6) Information supplied by Catherine Ryan and Nicky Carter, for which grateful thanks.
(7) I found the following baptisms: William Benning 29 July 1821, died Jan 1841; George 12 Sep 1823; James Benning 9 Feb 1825; Charles 22 Sep 1826; John 18 Sep 1829; Henry 5 May 1830, died Sep 1833; Septimus Augustus 2 December 1831; Octavius 1838?
(8) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1859. The estate was valued at under £25,000.
(9) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1861. The estate was valued at under £16,000.
(10) The Daily News, 10 January 1862. In fact, a similar offence to that of 1831, see footnote 4.
(11) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1868. The estate was valued at under £20,000 and probate was granted to his brother Octavius.
(12) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1866. The estate was valued at under £3,000 and probate was granted to his widow Jane Rebecca.
(13) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1878. The estate was valued at under £16,000 and probate was granted to his widow Hester.
(14) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1881. The estate was valued at over £2,200.
(15) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1881. The estate was valued at over £155,000 (resworn in 1883 at £163,445) and probate was granted to his nephew William Henry, solicitor.
(16) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1885. The estate was valued at over £60,000 and probate was granted to his nephew William Henry as the sole executor.
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