George Albert Chapman, linen draper


Street View: 53
Address: 263 Tottenham Court Road

As Chapman’s shop was on the corner of Tottenham Court Road and Great Russell Street, it was know by both addresses: 263 Tottenham Court Road and 1 Great Russell Street. The shop had had various occupants and the Sun Fire Office, lists the following:
1810 Jonathan Grove, fishmonger
1826 John Bradford, grocer
1828 Charles Ward, tobacconist
1831 George Blakeway, grocer
1834 Isaac Marsh, grocer
1835 Richard Taylor, esquire of Edgware Road, so presumably renting it out
1836 Lavell and Chapman, silk mercers and linen drapers

In an advertisement in The Morning Chronicle of 9 November 1835, James Alexander Lavell and George Albert Chapman announce a partnership at 1 Great Russell Street. They explain that Lavell had been a partner with Harvey & Co. of Ludgate Hill and Chapman was “from the same house”. The way they phrase this suggests that Chapman had not been a partner, but just worked there. They called their new business premises ‘Victoria House’ and sold “a choice and superior assortment of drapery goods, of every description, which, for fashion, variety, and extent, is not usually met with in one establishment”. The partnership only lasted a few years and in February 1838, they dissolved it with Chapman to continue on his own.(1)

In 1841, the census lists George Albert at 1 Great Russell Street, apparently single, living with five male journeymen/servants and one female servant. Chapman’s shop was frequently visited by shoplifters and 1840 was a particularly bad year for him. It started in March 1840 with Isaac Eggenton who stole 22 yards of printed cotton. The Old Bailey record is unfortunately rather short and does not tell us much more than that Isaac was 19 years old [which was in fact, 13 years old], pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven years transportation. We know that he was sent to the Isle of Wight, to Parkhurst Prison from where he, and many other “apprentices”, as they were called, were sent to Australia or New Zealand. Isaac ended up in Auckland, New Zealand, where he died in 1897 (see here).(2)

Some of Chapman’s shopmen had to give evidence in Old Bailey trials. Edward Griffith testifies that he is a shopman to Chapman in the trial of Catherine Broderick who had stolen several yards of cloth in March 1840.(3) A month later, Margaret Callaghan is apprehended for stealing some printed cotton. In this case, William Harris, “in the service of” Chapman, gives evidence.(4) Chapman’s shop must have been an attractive place for shoplifters, as a few month later, another female, Catherine Williams, attempted to steal a piece of mouseline-de-laine, but was caught hiding it in her shawl by Griffith. One Thomas Howes, a Manchester warehouseman of King-street, Cheapside, said he had known the prisoner for thirty years, and that “she had the best of character for honesty — she is of an absent character of mind — she scarcely knows what she is about”. She was found not guilty.(5) Small cases of theft did not usually make it into the newspapers, but in this case, a journalist must have been short of copy and decided to do a write-up about the Williams case. Unfortunately, he got it all wrong and instead of Howes giving Ms Williams a good character, the newspaper wrote that it was a Mr. Williams who did so. He was reported to be a bookseller of 1 Great Russell Street, but that is hardly likely as that was Chapman’s address and the last name of the bookseller is the same as that of the alleged thief. And in the newspaper, Catherine Williams was not discharged after having been found not guilty, but was locked up and only released after two days when bail was granted. It looks as if the journalist combined the notes on two cases and came up with a muddle.(6)

Linen draper from The Book of English Trades 1818

Linen draper from The Book of English Trades (1818)

But Chapman’s woes were not over yet and the month after the Williams case, Martha Jones tried to nick a shawl, but Edward Griffith was on to her(7) and in 1842, it was yet another shopman, Charles Hewitt, who stopped Peter Collins from wandering off with a pair of gloves.(8) And in May 1844, it was Chapman himself who apprehended Mary Ann Watson for stealing 11 yards of mouseline-de-laine.(9) Whether it was the frequent thefts or the less than perfect business acumen of Chapman himself, the drapery in Tottenham Court Road only lasted until 1845 when Chapman assigned his estate and effects onto John Bradury and Henry Sturt, both warehousemen, for the benefit of his creditors.(10) What happened next to Chapman is unclear, so we will continue with the businesses who occupied the corner shop after him.

One William Hardwick, laceman, is next found on the premises, but he went bankrupt in 1849, so that business did not last very long either.(11) The 1851 Post Office Directory lists Henry Tautz & Co., silk mercers, on the premises; all still in the drapery line of business, but the 1856 Post Office Directory lists William Davies, hairdresser for 1 Great Russell Street, so a complete change. The 1871 census shows Joseph H. Starie, bookseller, on the premises, and in 1882, an advertisement appears in the Daily News for Benson’s, a company selling rubber hoses at number 263. They had another shop at 4 Tottenham Court Road, which was just across the road. We will sort their history out when we write the post on number 4, but for now, the story of 263 Tottenham Court Road / 1 Great Russell Street has come to an end.

Daily News, 29 May 1882

(1) The London Gazette, 16 February 1838.
(2) Old Bailey case t18400406-1078. Thanks go to Lyn Olds who is a descendent of Isaac.
(3) Old Bailey case t18400406-1161.
(4) Old Bailey case t18400511-1431.
(5) Old Bailey case t18400706-1862.
(6) The Southern Star and London and Brighton Patriot, 12 July 1840.
(7) Old Bailey case t18400817-2011.
(8) Old Bailey case t18420131-772.
(9) Old Bailey case t18440506-1501.
(10) The London Gazette, 13 June 1845.
(11) The London Gazette, 28 July 1849.


<– 262 Tottenham Court Road 264 Tottenham Court Road –>

Crosse and Blackwell, Fish Sauce Warehouse


Street View: 85
Address: 21 Soho Square

Thanks to the archaeological excavations that have taken place in areas where the gigantic undertaking of the Crossrail tunnel made it possible, that is, mainly where the bore holes for the stations were made, we now know at lot more about Crosse and Blackwell than we knew before. The archaeological dig at the Crossrail Tottenham Court area brought an unexpected hoard of pots, glasses and jars to light. They appear to have been used to infill a disused kiln or cistern and provide a rare glimpse into the range of packing material used for the great variety of wares produced by Crosse and Blackwell, and no, they did not just produce fish sauce, although that is how it all started. The photographs of the Crosse and Blackwell ‘hoard’, if I may use that term (bottom of this post), were taken at the exhibition on Crossrail at the Docklands Museum of London, and I am indebted to the MOLA book on the Crossrail excavation for some of the information below, especially that relating to the dig. But before we go into the various pots and glasses and the goods they contained, first something about the two gentleman, Edmund Crosse and Thomas Blackwell, who started the company in 1830 by taking over the firm of West and Wyatt at 11 King Street. Crosse and Blackwell had both been apprenticed in 1819 to William Wyatt, Salter, working as an ‘oilman’, and when he retired in 1830 (Richard West had died in 1824), the two friends took over the business and moved to 21 Soho Square in 1839, so not long before Tallis produced his booklet.

an early Crosse and Blackwell jar (Source:

watercolour by Thomas Hosmer Shepherd, 1854

watercolour by Thomas Hosmer Shepherd, 1854, showing 20 and 21 Soho Square (© Trustees of the British Museum)

advertising plaque 1850 showing the corner of Soho Square and Sutton Street (Source: The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke on Trent )

Edmund Crosse was the son of William Crosse of York Place, Chelsea, deceased, and five pounds of his apprentice fee of £210 was put up by Christ’s Hospital and the rest by “the friends of the said apprentice”. Thomas Blackwell ‘only’ had to pay £150 but no indication is given on his indenture who paid it, presumably his father Charles Blackwell of Harrow Weald Common. The 1841 census saw Thomas living in Harrow on the Hill with his wife Ann and two young children. Edmund was living above the business at 21 Soho Square. The 1851 census for Edmund, still at 21 Soho Square, tells us that it is a firm of 2 men, employing 50 men, 56 women and 14 boys. Ten years later, the census for Thomas, still at Harrow, gives us a sense of the expansion, as he is given as employing 102 men, 10 boys and 84 women. By 1861, Edmund had moved to Cambridge Terrace, Paddington, where he was to die a year later.(1) Thomas was not going anywhere and could be found at Harrow till his death in 1879.(2) Various Crosses and Blackwells continued to run the family business until it became a limited company in 1892.

memorials on the graves of Edmund Crosse (on the left) and Thomas Blackwell (on the right) at All Saints Churchyard, Harrow Weald (Source:

The advertisement Crosse and Blackwell had in several of Tallis’s booklets still puts the emphasis on their fish sauce, but over the years, they expanded the range of food preserves produced into all kinds of pickles, sauces, jams, potted meats, candied fruits, chutneys, soups and bottled fruit. For some products Crosse and Blackwell acted as distributors, such as for Lea & Perrin’s Worchester Sauce, but others were made by licence for other companies, such as Keiler’s marmalade, until Crosse and Blackwell bought that firm in 1919 (see here). Their business premises in Soho expanded accordingly. 20 Soho Square, which had been the premises of D’Almaine, pianoforte makers, was added to number 21 in 1858, and by then, they had also established stables in Dean Street, which were later removed to 111 Charing Cross Road. A building at the back of 20-22 Soho Square, in Sutton Place, was acquired which was to be connected to yet another building in Falconberg Place by an iron footbridge. In a second phase of expansion, 18 Soho Square was added to the complex and also buildings on the corner of Sutton Street (111-155 Charing Cross Road), which were redeveloped between 1877 and 1885. On the vacant plot that can be seen on Goad’s insurance map below, another warehouse, known as 157 Charing Cross Road, completely covering the block, was built in 1893. However, London became busier and busier and the smells from the various manufacturing processes cannot have been too pleasant, and by 1921, Crosse and Blackwell had moved their production line away from London to Branston in Staffordshire. And yes, that is why we now have Branston pickle. Most London buildings were sold off, except for some office space in Soho Square. This is a potted history of the expansion of the Crosse and Blackwell business, leaving out numerous details, such as buildings in other London locations. Much more detailed information can be read in chapter 2 of the Mola book.

Goad’s 1889 insurance map with the Cross and Blackwell properties outlined in red

The excavations at the Crossrail site found a surprising amount (13,000! items) of pottery and glass that could all be linked to Crosse and Blackwell (see here). The pots and jars had apparently been used as waste material to backfill a cistern, which had once provided clean water. The James Keiler marmelade jars found mention the prizes that company received in 1862, 1869 and 1872, so the infill can be dated to after 1872. The cistern had probably been closed off prior to the work at 151-155 Charing Cross Road in 1877. The Museum of London Docklands has exhibited some of the finds, and below you will find some photographs that I took of the display.

If you want more information on the excavation or on the history of Crosse and Blackwell, I suggest you get hold of a copy of the Mola book by N. Jeffries, L. Blackmore and D. Sorapure, Crosse and Blackwell 1830-1921: A British Food Manufacturer in London’s West End, 2016.

(1) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 186279. Estate valued at under £140,000.
(2) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1879. Estate valued at under £160,000.


<– 20 Soho Square 20 (21a) Soho Square –>

Borradaile, Son & Ravenhill, merchants



Street View: 74
Address: 34 Fenchurch Street

Tallis mistakenly lists the firm as Borradaili, but it should be Borradaile, nor does he give any indication what trade they were in. Admittedly, their profession is somewhat confusing as they were involved in all kinds of activities, but to keep it simple, I have given them the occupation of ‘merchants’. They were involved, however, in (fur) hatmaking, shipping, insurance, cotton mills, and probably much more that has not made it into easily accessible records.

top part of William’s indenture

William Borradaile (born 16 Dec. 1750, baptised 5 Jan. 1751), son of John Borradaile, a tanner of Wigdon, Cumberland, was apprenticed in 1765 to London Founder Edward Watson. In 1778, William’s younger brother Richardson followed him to London to be apprenticed to Draper Henry Wright. In Bailey’s Northern Directory for the year 1781, Edward Watson was listed as a merchant at 31 Cannon Street and in his will of 1788, Watson leaves “to the said William Borradaile all the rest residue and remainder of my personal estate”, in other words: everything that had not been left to others was to go to William.(1) By that time, William had already set up on his own and his name appears in the tax records for Fenchurch Street. That the relationship between his master Edward Watson and William Borradaile was close, can be seen in the name of Borradaile’s son, who was baptised on 2 April 1785 as John Watson Borradaile. In 1799, this son was apprenticed to his uncle Richardson, and so was his younger brother Abraham in 1803. Another brother, William, was apprenticed in 1807 to a Merchant Taylor, John Clark, but later became a man of the church.(2)

Pelts of beaver, fox, and other animals

Pelts of beaver, fox, and other animals (Source:

To complicate matters, Richardson, who had entered into a partnership with his brother, also had a son William who was taken on as an apprentice in the Fenchurch business of furriers, hatters and merchants. In those days, the Borradailes were certainly involved in the fur trade and the Hudson Bay Company archive shows them supplying hats to the North West Company at Grand Portage, Minnesota.(3) See here and here for more information on the fur trade from Grand Portage. In the summer of 2017, the Grand Portage National Park Service plans to open a reconstruction of the inside of a 1799 hatters’ shop, which they will name ‘Borradaile and Atkinson’.

The Borradailes formed all sorts of – temporary – partnerships, sometimes more than one at any given time, and a particular example is given in The London Gazette of 1811 where several partnerships were dissolved.(4) The first one mentioned was between William Borradaile, Richardson Borradaile and John Atkinson of Salford, Manchester, as merchants and manufacturers. They had been trading under the name of William and Richardson Borradaile and Co. in London and under the name of Borradailes, Atkinson and Co. in Salford. Another partnership between the Borradailes, Atkinson and John Clark was dissolved that same day. These partners had been trading under the name of Borradaile and Clark. Both partnerships were dissolved because Atkinson pulled out. Two more partnerships were dissolved that had involved Atkinson, although the entry in The London Gazette does not state whether they were dissolved because he withdrew. One of these partnerships was between the Borradaile brothers of Fenchurch Street, John Atkinson of Salford, Robert Owen(5) of Manchester and Thomas Atkinson of Manchester, as cotton spinners under the name of the Chorlton Twist Company. And the last partnership had been between all of the above mentioned partners together with Henry and John Barton of Manchester as cotton spinners under the name of the New Lanark Cotton Mills. The Johnstone’s 1818 Directory shows that matters in London were also not quite as straightforward as one might think, especially not when the next generation got involved. Johnstone lists under the name Borradaile:
R. & C. & Co. , furriers, Great Suffolk Street, Borough
R. and Wm. jun. & Co., merchants, 14 St. Helen’s Place
W. & R. & Co., merchants, 14 St. Helen’s Place
W., Sons & Ravenhill, hat makers, 34 Fenchurch Street, manufactury Hatfield Street, Blackfriars Rd.

fur shop from Diderot’s Encyclopédie (Source: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)

We will concentrate on the Fenchurch Street business here, which was run by the Borradaile brothers and George Ravenshill after Atkinson withdrew from the partnership. More on the business in a moment, but first a glimpse into the private life of William Borradaile. On the 4th of July, 1812, he wrote a letter to the churchwardens of St. Laurence Pountney,

From the parents of my wife (who is just deceased) having been many years inhabitants of the parish of St. Laurence Pountney, and being, as well as my own mother and several others of our family, interred in the burial ground of that parish, I feel desirous to possess a vault there. I therefore request the favour of you to call a vestry, in order to consider of a grant to be made me of ground for the purpose of building such vault near the foot of my late mother’s grave stone, of the following dimensions, viz.: 7 feet long by 4 feet 10 inches wide in the clear, and of such depths as you may judge proper.(6)

His request was granted and presumably the vault was built, but surprisingly, he does not mention it in his will.(7) He was, however, buried at St. Mary Abchurch, which was the parish to which St. Laurence Pountney had been united after the Fire of London in 1666 as St Laurence’s was not rebuilt, although their graveyard continued in use until 1850. William’s gravestone, and those of other Borradailes, is listed for St. Laurence Pountney in The Churchyard Inscriptions of the City of London. But to return to the business: sons John Watson and Abraham continued the business under the name of Wm. Borradaile & Co., although the property at 34 Fenchurch Street was now listed in the tax records for John Watson alone as he had inherited the building itself. In 1832, these second-generation brothers, George Ravenhill and one William Thornborrow dissolve a partnership as insurance brokers; apparently a new sideline of the hatters.(8) The 1841 census found John Watson, his wife Ann, their children and brother Abraham at 34 Fenchurch Street, but soon afterwards the business premises were shared with various other companies.

From 1843 onwards, various other businesses could be found trading from 34 Fenchurch Street, among them Ludd and William Fenner, who went bankrupt in late 1843.(9), William Grant, tobacco broker who died in March 1853, and Marshall and Edridge, who ran the Australian line of packet ships. In 1851, John Watson and Abraham dissolved the partnership they had as “merchants and general commission agents”, because John Watson was retiring.(10) He died in 1859. Abraham continued the business until his own death in June 1857. While sitting in his counting house “he was suddenly attacked by mortal sickness, and, although medical aid was promptly at hand, expired in a few minutes of the seizure”.(11) The notice about Abraham’s death listed the company as “Cape merchants” and said that he had married his cousin, the daughter of Richardson Borradaile, many years M.P. for Newcastle-under-Lyne. The entry for Richardson on the website of the Parliamentary history gives more information on the various merchant activities of the Borradailes (see here). The Borradaile name continued to be used by various family members and could be found as far away as Calcutta where Messrs Borradaile owned a steam boat, the “Pioneer” which did service on the Ganges; they were also heavily involved in the Indian railways. The Borradailes even acquired eternal fame by having an – albeit small – island near Antarctica named after them, Borradaile Island.

Strakers’ Annual Mercantile, Ship & Insurance Register of 1863, lists numerous businesses trading from 34 Fenchurch Street:
Merchants: Bartholomew Calway; Alexander L. Georgacopulo; Demetrio Georgiades; V.A. Van Hüffel & Co.; Charles Maltby; Michaelis, Boyd & Co; Henry William F. Niemann; W. Potter; Henry A. Preeston & Co.; W.S. Shuttleworth & Co.; John Hammond Winch; East India and Colonial Merchants: Lerosche and Co.; James Macdonald and Co.; Tea and Coffee Brokers: Charles Maltby; Timber Brokers: Grant, Hodgson & Co.
Many more names could be added to these over the years, but I will leave it at this and end with the note that the building as the Borradailes knew it no longer exists. The building as Tallis depicted it with the gate in front had already disappeared when Goad produced his insurance maps. In 1936 a much larger Plantation House was erected and even that has now been superseded by Plantation Place, an enormous glass and steel office development.

1887 Goad insurance map

Goad’s insurance map, 1887

(1) PROB 11/1170/126.
(2) He became rector of Wandsworth, but killed himself in 1836 ‘in a fit of temporary derangement’ by jumping off Vauxhall Bridge.
(3) Public Archives of Canada Reel 5M5, Part F4/20, Invoice of sundries shipped by McTavish Fraser and Co. for the NWcCo. Reference kindly supplied by Karl Koster for which my thanks.
(4) The London Gazette, 28 September and 15 October 1811.
(5) A biographical sketch of Robert Owen appeared in The Poor Man’s Guardian, 28 November 1834.
(6) H.B. Wilson, A History of the Parish of St. Laurence Pountney, 1831, p. 177. William Borradaile had married Ann Delapierre in 1784; she was the daughter of Abraham and Mary Delapierre.
(7) PROB 11/1790/29.
(8) The London Gazette, 4 January 1833.
(9) The London Gazette, 22 December 1843.
(10) The London Gazette, 17 January 1851.
(11) The Morning Chronicle, 17 June 1857.


<– 35 Fenchurch Street 33 Fenchurch Street –>

J.W. Norie & Co., navigation warehouse


, ,

Street View: 2
Address: 157 Leadenhall Street


It is sometimes a good thing that the process of OCR is not perfect, especially not for older text material, as I might not so easily have worked out that Tallis made a mistake by listing J.W. Norie as Morie, with the modern facsimile edition making it even worse by transcribing Tallis’s mistake as Moria. My first Google search for ‘moria leadenhall’ immediately gave me as a matching result a book available at that contained an advertisement for Norie and Wilson at 157 Leadenhall Street, and that put me on the right track for John William Norie who obtained his freedom of the City of London by redemption through the Company of Coopers. The notice from the Coopers’ Company about his registration already has 157 Leadenhall Street as his address. The 1834 electoral registers tell us that besides his shop, he also had property in Albany Street, Regent’s Park.

Norie did not start the navigation warehouse in Leadenhall; it was William Heather who had taken over the chart publishers Mount and Page and who ran the Naval Warehouse and Academy from 1795. When Heather retired in 1813, Norie took over and hence needed the freedom of one of the Worshipful Companies to be able to trade in the City. He had already been busy before 1813, not just as an assistant to Heather, but also as an author, or perhaps more correctly compiler, of A New and Complete Epitome of Practical Navigation (1805). On the title-page he is referred to as ‘teacher of navigation and nautical astronomy’ and in his preface he sets out his reasons for writing the book, namely the inadequacy of existing works on practical navigation. He dedicated the book to the Court of directors of the United Company of Merchants of England trading to the East Indies, which was of course a sensible move as most of the customers of the Navigation Warehouse had links with the East India Company and their headquarters were situated just a bit further up the street.

The shop is depicted in Robert Wilkinson’s Londina Illustrata (1825) as the second building from the left in the first section on the north side of Leadenhall Street, that is, on the left if you were coming from Cornhill and had just crossed Bishopsgate and Gracechurch Street. The caption explains that these houses were erected after a fire in 1765. A map of that fire, with the individual houses can be seen here. From the map, we learn that number 157 was then occupied by a linen draper, but none of the names correspond to the ones in the 1825 picture and in turn, most names of the 1825 occupants had disappeared by the time Tallis produced his booklet on the street some 15 years later, with the exception of Norie at no. 157, Robinson at no. 153 and Corser at no. 152.

There is nothing left now of the shop as street widening has taken its toll. There is, however, a tangible reminder of the shop in the Charles Dickens Museum. They have on display the figure of a midshipman who used to adorn the Norie premises as a shop sign.(1) The poor man is squashed a bit against the ceiling in the museum and not so easy to photograph (no flash allowed), but it is great that he has not been thrown in a skip when the shop was demolished. Dickens used the navigation warehouse in Dombey & Son as the model for Sol Gills’ shop with one of the “little timber midshipmen in obsolete naval uniforms, eternally employed outside the shopdoors of nautical instrument-makers in taking observations of the hackney coaches”. The little midshipman appears throughout Dickens’s story, following the ups and downs of Gills’ shop, and ending with a new coat of paint, still gleefully taking the measure of the hackney coaches.

Illustration by Hablot Browne (‘Phiz’) from the 1848 edition of Dombey and Son

portrait of Norie by Adam Buck, after Williams (Solomon Williams?), watercolour, circa 1803 (© National Portrait Gallery, London

portrait of Norie by Adam Buck, after Williams (Solomon Williams?), watercolour, circa 1803 (© National Portrait Gallery, London)

John William Norie was born in 1772 and died in 1843. He probably retired in 1840, as that is when the partnership between the executors of George Wilson and Norie came to an end.(2) Norie’s will provides a number of clues. For starters, it was drawn up in Edinburgh, because he was at that time “residing in Princes Street Edinburgh in order to settle my affairs and to prevent all disputes that might otherwise arise in regard to my means and estate after my death”.(3) In fact, he was to die there at the end of 1843. He names William Nash of St. Thomas’s Hospital, his brother-in-law John Hodgson Anderson, and his son William Heather Norie as executors. Besides a few named bequests, he leaves his three daughters £5,500 each and the rest of his estate is to go to his son William Heather.(4) From the bequests he lists, we can work out that he had a brother Evelyn Thomas Francis, a nephew John William, and five sisters. All this information makes it fairly easy to work out that John William was the eldest son of James Norie of Moray and Dorothy Mary Fletcher of London. James had been trained for the Presbyterian ministry and ran a school at Burr Street, London. You can see a portrait of him here.

After John William’s retirement, the business was continued by Charles Wilson, the son of George Wilson who had been Norie’s partner in the past. The Land tax for 1840 is still in Norie’s name, but in 1841 it is Wilson who is paying the tax. His name continued in the tax records till 1882 when his name is given as “late Charles Wilson” and an annotation indicates that a new building is being put up: “Premises in course of erection” as the tax man phrased it. The business relocated to 156 Minories, and in time amalgamated with various other firms to become Imray, Laurie, Norie & Wilson, but it is nowadays just plain Imray of St. Ives, Cambridgeshire (more on them here).

title-page of J.W. Norie’s A New and Complete Epitome of Practical Navigation, 1805

part of a nautical chart by Norie, 1837 (Source: Library of Congress, online here)

octant, c. 1795 (Source: Land and Sea Collection, see here)

imprint of J.W. Norie’s New sailing directions for the Adriatic sea, or Gulf of Venice, 1843

advertisement for The Corinthian Yachtsman. Note the new address

(1) On loan since 1946 from Laurie, Norie, Imray & Wilson, see here.
(2) The London Gazette, 22 September 1840.
(3) PROB 11/1991/402.
(4) Evelina Harriet, Frances Charlotte, and Ann Isabella.


<– 158 Leadenhall Street 156 Leadenhall Street –>

Harry Phillips, auctioneer


Street View: 9
Address: 73 New Bond Street

The first we hear of Harry (or Henry) Phillips is in 1789 when he married Sarah Mitchell at St Martin’s in the Field, but the first auction under his own name took place only in 1796. The Getty Provenance Index suggests he did not yet have his own auction room at the beginning of his career, as they list an auction in June 1796 for Harry that was conducted at the Great Room, Saville Row. This auction room belonged to a Mr. Squibb and was used by several other auctioneers as well, so definitely not Phillips’s property. There is a suggestion that he worked for James Christie before setting out on his own, and although the records of Christies for that period are no longer extant, circumstantial evidence is available. On 24 May 1796, an advertisement in the True Briton is headed “No. 67, New Bond Street”, with the actual auction to be held “by Mr. Christie, at his Great Room in Pall Mall”. On 12 January 1797, so half a year later, an auction is held by “Mr. H. Phillips, at his Great Room, 67 New Bond Street”. Neither Christie nor Phillips appears in the tax records for the late 1790s, so they must have rented, rather than owned, the property. It is only in 1804 that Phillips’s name appears in the tax records for New Bond Street. Did Christie hand over one of his sale rooms to his former servant? Possibly, but difficult to prove, unless someone can dig up more evidence.

But the New Bond Street address is not mentioned in every advertisement. One in the True Briton of 5 January of 1797 announces the sale of a lease and elegant furniture of a property on the west side of St. James’s Street. Catalogues were to be had on the premises and at Phillips’s, 22 Bury Street, St. James’s. No mention of New Bond Street. But in June that same year, Phillips announces no less than three sales at his “Great Room”, 67 New Bond Street: one for ancient and modern drawings, the second for plate, jewels, wine, and liqueurs, and the third for the library of a gentleman.(1) Although he is now definitely dealing from New Bond Street, the Bury Street premises are still listed, so not a complete move, but rather an expansion. It is not clear how long he had been at Bury Street, as no advertisements have come to light for Phillips prior to 1797.

Title-page of the 1797 sale catalogue (Source:

The first of these June 1797 auctions, the one for drawings, was part of a large sale over several days of the collection of Count de Carriere, which was “likely a pseudonym for exiled French count Etienne Bourgevin Vialart”, according to the Getty blog post “British Art Auctions at the End of the 18th Century” (see here). They also show a page of a 1798 annotated sale catalogue of Phillips.

The house numbering in New Bond Street changed around the year 1805 and up to 1808 some advertisements for Phillips’s business described his address as “68 or 73 New Bond Street”. By then, he not only auctioned paintings and drawings, but also sold houses, as can, for instance, be seen in an advertisement in The Morning Chronicle of 22 October 1807 where he announces the sale of a leasehold property in Russell Place, which was to be sold “by private contract” and particulars could be seen at Mr. Phillips’s Estate and Auction Office. In this advertisement he already called himself Mr., which was to be his usual designation throughout the rest of his career and long after, as his son continued to name the business Mr. Phillips’s.

In 1806 Harry married a second time, to Frances Mary Goldicutt at St. Mary’s, Whitechapel, but he also had a mistress, Elizabeth Cauty, with whom he had several children. After Harry’s death, she married Henry Artaria, a former employee of Phillips, and after Artaria’s death, she became the wife of John Smith, the art dealer and historian.

In 1817, Harry Phillips took out an insurance with the Sun Fire Office for a total of £14,500 for which he paid 22.16.-. The house, sale rooms and offices at 73 New Bond Street were listed as made of brick and timber and valued at £9,600; “a stove therein allowed”. “Household goods, wearing apparel, printed books and plate therein only and in trust” were valued at £3,600, china and glass at £1040 and prints at £260. Note the “in trust” to cover not just his own property, but also what he may have had on the premises as goods to go in his auction sales.(2)

Title-page of the 1822 sale (Source: Fulham & Hammersmith Archives)

The commodities auctioned at Phillips’s were of a great variety, ranging from houses to paintings, from lace work to wine, and from furniture to building material. In 1822, Phillips announced the sale of the building materials of Brandenburgh House, and also its theatre and pavilion, which included “a magnificent-statuary chimney piece”, “the marble paving of the dining hall”, and “the scenery & machinery of the theatre”. See for more information on Brandenburg House, the blog posts by Fiona Fowler (here) and her previous one on Queen Caroline who lived at Brandenburg House towards the end of her life (here). Harry died in 1839 and in his will, he gives the address for Elizabeth Cauty as Brandenburgh Cottage and he bequeathed her all his freehold and copyhold estate known as the Brandenburgh House Estate in Hammersmith.(3)

Goad’s insurance map

1893-95 Ordnance Survey map

Although the official address for the auction rooms was 73 New Bond Street (formerly number 68), number 72 (67) was also occupied by Phillips. It is not always clear from the tax records how the division between 72 and 73 was administered, as we frequently find another name as the occupant of number 72 in the records. Tallis has G. Perry & Co, lustre makers at number 72. It is likely that Phillips used the building at the back of the house and rented out the front part of number 72. Or alternatively, that he rented space from whoever owned number 72. Goad’s insurance map certainly indicates that the auction rooms were situated at number 73 and in the buildings behind numbers 72 and 73. And the Ordinance Survey map of 1895 shows one large building which even included the corner property at the back in Dering Street.

A random advertisement of the many to be found in newspapers, this one from The Daily News, 25 March 1871

Harry bequeathed the house and auction business in New Bond Street to his son William Augustus (baptised 22 June 1800). William continued the auction rooms and could be found at number 73 in the 1851 census. Helping him in the business was George Phillips, described as nephew. The New Monthly Magazine and Humourist for 1841 (Part 2) commented on the Phillips business and said that “The present Mr. Phillips inherits with his father’s business a fair proportion of his talent, but it cannot be said that there are now as many important picture-sales at Phillips’s rooms as there used to be”.(4) Well, maybe not as many important picture sales, but important sales came his way nevertheless as in 1849, when Phillips managed to secure the auction of Gore House which had been the home of William Wilberforce till 1821, and afterwards of Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington, and Alfred, Count D’Orsay. The lavish lifestyle of these two socialites was not met by their income and in 1849, the house and its content had to be sold to cover their debts. The Count had already escaped to Paris and the Countess was to follow him, “retiring to the continent” as the sale catalogue euphemistically described it.(5)

Thomas Hosmer Shepherd, Gore House (Source: British Museum Collection)

At some point, probably in 1881, William entered into a partnership with Frederick Neale. After William died in May 1884, his probate entry listed his son William Charles and his business partner Frederick Neale as executors, both described as auctioneer and estate agent. The 1887 Goad insurance map above clearly shows 72-73 New Bond Street and the buildings in Dering Street at the back subscribed as “Philips, Son & Neale”. This was to remain the name of the firm till 1937 when their winding-up was announced in The London Gazette of 30 April. The address was then given as 72 New Bond Street. A new auction house was set up under the same name and is still in business, see their website. In 1972, this use of an old name for a new firm led to an acrimonious exchange of letters between a businessman who was owed £800 by the old firm and who thought he could claim the money on the new firm. But despite the fact that the new firm alleged to have started in 1796, the Advertising Standards Authority and the Department of Trade did not think that fact alone obliged the new firm to honour the debts of the old.(6)

The London Gazette, 25 May 1937, announcement of first meeting to settle winding-up the business

So much for the auction business, but if we return to Harry Phillips himself, there is a bit of a mystery. Where did he come from? According to his will, Harry had two sisters, Jane Phillips and Elizabeth Thompson. No conclusive evidence has been found of his birth or baptism, despite the efforts of Jeremy Lever and Robert Phillips who have been looking into the family history, and to whom I am most grateful for sending me lots of information on Phillips. There may be a link between Harry the auctioneer and Thomas Phillips, an artist, as at one point Harry stored some furniture at 8 George Street, where Thomas lived from 1804 till his death in 1845.(7) However, there are at least two other explanations besides a family relationship possible: the identical surnames of the gentlemen is just be a coincidence; or, the Old Bailey record did nor enter the house number correctly, as in 1818, Phillips takes out an insurance on 28 George Street, so was 8 perhaps a mistake for 28 and was there no link at all between Harry and Thomas? If you have any suggestions as to Harry’s origins, please leave a comment.

(1) Oracle and Public Advertiser, 14 June 1797.
(2) LMA CLC/B/192/F/001/MS11936/472/927359.
(3) PROB 11/1919/351.
(4) Thanks go to Robert Phillips for sending me this reference.
(5) See Chapter 24 in Nick Foulkes, Last of the Dandies: The Scandalous Life and Escapades of Count D’Orsay, 2014 here).
(6) ‘The 12-year-old auctioneers established 1796’ by David Blundy in The Sunday Times, 24 September 1972.
(7) Old Bailey case t18130602-5.


<– 74 New Bond Street 72 New Bond Street –>

Elizabeth Huntly, seal and copper-plate engraver



Street View: 9
Address: 74 New Bond Street

Thomas Day Huntly and his sister Mary, two of the five children of William Huntly and Elizabeth Lockyer, were baptised in Bath Abbey on the 21st of December 1783, the feast day of St. Thomas, hence young Thomas’s name.(1) In 1796, he was apprenticed to a well-known engraver of Bath, William Hibbart (also spelled Hibbert) and his son John. Hibbart was a printmaker, engraver, and copper-plate printer, who advertised as a teacher of the trade. William paid Hibbart the premium of £26 6s for the privilege, which was quite a substantial sum of money to lay out on the vocational education of a younger son (Thomas was the 5th child and the 3rd son). If Thomas served the regular 7 years’ apprenticeship, he would have been ready to set up on his own in 1803, but there is no evidence that he had his own business that early in his career. He may have worked for his elder brother John Lockyer Huntly who worked as an engraver in Bath from Pulteney Street and later from Sydney Buildings. The first we hear of Thomas Day in London is on 15 October 1811 when he married Elizabeth Allen at St. James’s Piccadilly. The marriage record does not give Thomas’s profession or address, so it is unclear what he was doing and where he was living at that time.

The first record of him in the land tax records for 74 New Bond Street is in 1816. In 1815, the property appears to be empty as no name has been filled in, and in 1814 the name of the previous occupant, Michael Visterin, a corset or truss-maker, has been crossed out. Visterin’s name had been listed at number 74 from 1809. The tax records for New Bond Street are slightly confusing, as two numbering systems have been used. Sometimes the house number is given, sometimes some sort of administrative number, sometimes both, and sometimes neither, as for instance in 1816. Number 74 was administrative number 62, and therefore number 74 is in reality house number 86. The administrative numbers do not correspond – as I first thought – with the house numbers before the renumbering in c.1805 as number 74 was then number 69 (see Horwood’s map of 1799). Fortunately, the record for 1814 gives both house and administrative numbers and although Huntly is not yet listed, it clearly shows his later neighbours: Harry Phillips, the auctioneer, at number 73 (admin nos 59-61) and William Tarner at 75 (admin no 63). At the time Tallis produced his booklets, Phillips was still working from number 73 and number 75 was occupied by Thomas Tarner, bookseller and stationer. Huntly probably moved into number 74 earlier than the tax records suggest, as the Westminster Rate Books already have him paying for the property in 1813.

1814 Land Tax record with number 74 no longer occupied by Michael Visterin (click to enlarge)

Horwood 1799

Thomas Day probably shared the building with others as, for instance, an insurance record and advertisements show one John Ewer Poole, tobacconist, working from number 74 at the same time as when Huntly is paying the tax. Poole had rather an eclectic career. In the 1811 London Directory he is listed as a jeweller in Gough Square, he then became a tobacconist in Bond Street and when he went bankrupt in 1821 he was said to be an auctioneer and appraiser.(2) Below two advertisements for the gentlemen:

Morning Chronicle, 21 February 1818

Morning Chronicle, 16 October 1819

After Poole left, number 74 was also used by Wallis and Co, who sold The Recreative Review from the premises. But despite these other occupants, Thomas Day Huntly continued his engravers business and his name is listed for number 74 in all the relevant directories. He engraved seals, but also bookplates (ex-libris), and he supplemented his income by organising exhibitions of paintings and/or drawings (see for instance the 1818 advertisement above); the admission price for these events was 1s.

seal and box from c.1830 (Source: Puckering’s via

In 1830, Thomas expanded the business to include 167 Regent Street, but he was not to reap the rewards of the expansion for very long as he died in late 1832 and was buried at St. George’s on the 13th of December. He left all his property, including the business, to his widow “for her personal use” and if she was to remarry, her new husband “shall not have it in his power to dispose of the aforementioned business or trade or any other property” that was part of the estate. After Elizabeth’s death, the estate was to be sold for the benefit of the children.(3) If either of the sons wanted to have the business, they were allowed to purchase it at a price determined by “persons competent to judge the same”. No new husband was in the picture and neither did the sons take over 74 Bond Street, so it was Elizabeth whom Tallis found on the premises when he compiled his Street Views.

advertisement in Street View booklet 9

The 1841 census found Elizabeth at number 74 with sons George and Samuel; daughter Selina used the address in 1843 when she dissolved a partnership with Amelia Liberty as milliners and dress makers.(4) In 1851, the census lists Elizabeth with her sons Thomas and Samuel at number 74, and in 1861 with her daughter Ann. She died in 1868 in Marylebone; probate was only granted in 1885 to daughter Ann as the residuary legatee.(5) Elizabeth must have relinquished the business sometime after the census of 1861, where she is still listed as engraver and printer, and before the end of 1865 as from then onwards, advertisements appear for Henry Turner and Co., homoeopathic chemists and medical publishers. The tax records still list Elizabeth in 1864, but no longer in 1865, so she probably left in 1863 or 1864 – tax records tended to be a bit slow in updating the names of property owners. In 1869, John Keene took over the shop in New Bond Street after his partnership with the Turners was dissolved. See for the rest of the story on the chemist’s here. It is not entirely clear what happened to 167 Regent Street. Pigot’s Directory of 1839, and the 1843 and 1851 Post Office Directories just show Elizabeth Huntly at 74 New Bond Street, although she apparently still paid tax and rates on the Regent Street property, at least until 1843. The Post Office Directories (and Tallis, by the way) give William Eyre, hosier, as the occupant of number 167, but he may just have rented (part of?) the shop. I will try to find out the exact circumstances when I write the post on Eyre.

1876 publication by Keene and his partner Ashwell


74 New Bond Street as the Huntleys knew it no longer exists. In c.1900, a new building, designed by Henry John Treadwell (1861-1910) replaced the old one. The Treadwell building is now Grade II listed; you can read the listing text here and see the building in Google Street View here.

(1) I am most grateful to Debra Lyons, a Huntly descendent, who sent me a lot of information on the family, which has been incorporated into my text.
(2) The London Gazette, 16 January 1821.
(3) PROB 11/1809/120. Children mentioned in his will: Thomas Johnson, William, Elizabeth, Mary Anne, Selina, John Lockyer (named after his uncle), George, Samuel Hazard, Anne, Elizabeth Selina.
(4) The London Gazette, 2 October 1846.
(5) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1885. Estate valued at £150.


<– 75 New Bond Street 73 New Bond Street –>

Peart & Dossetor, hosiery warehouse


Street View: 38
Address: 12-13 Poultry


In 1788, Joseph Peart, son of John Peart of Stanhope, Durham, acquired the freedom of the City of London through the Needle-makers’ Company, and from 1790 onwards, we find his name in the Land Tax records for 13 Poultry and from 1792 onwards, also for number 12. In 1790, his younger brother Cuthbert is apprenticed to him and at some point, the brothers are in partnership as “hosiers, traders and dealers” in Friday Street, but that partnership was dissolved in April 1819.(1) The business with his brother seems to have been in addition to the shop in the Poultry, as that continues to be listed for him in the various records. In 1805, Joseph took on another apprentice, Thomas Dossetor (also Dosseter), the son of Daniel, a Dagenham farmer. This Thomas takes over the hosiery business in ±1820. The tax records for the Cheap Ward of 1820 still show Peart’s name for the two properties at 12 and 13 Poultry, but from 1821 onwards, it is Thomas Dossetor who pays the tax, although the business continued to be called ‘Peart & Dossetor’.

top part of the oath of the Needlemakers

top part of the oath of the Needlemakers

entry in the 1851 Exhibition

entry for Peart & Dossetor in the 1851 Exhibition

Thomas Dossetor and Harriet Richolls marry in December 1819 and their son Thomas Peart Dossetor is born in December 1821, or at least, he is baptised that month. The Bishop’s copy of the parish record does not give a date of birth. The 1841 census does not show the Dossetor family at the Poultry, just a number of shopmen, porters, apprentices and other servants, but in 1851, Thomas and his son Thomas Peart are to be found living above the shop. Ten years later, Thomas is still there, but Thomas Peart is lodging in Queens’ Road, Marylebone. He is still listed as a hosier, but without an indication where he is working. Still in the family business? Probably. He is certainly listed at the family address in 1863 in the probate record for his father(2), and also in 1864, when he takes out the freedom of the City.

advertisement in Tallis's Street View

advertisement in Tallis’s Street View

But Thomas Peart’s real interest did not lie in hosiery as we shall see in a moment and in 1869, a notice in The London Gazette states that Thomas has granted by indenture to Joseph Solly and Thomas Bayley all his copyhold and freehold estate, and all and every stock in trade for the benefit of his creditors.(3) Not that Solly and Bayley were to take over the business; they just dealt with the transfer to a new owner. The tax records for 1869 still show Dossetor’s name, but in 1870, the property is listed as “late T.P. Dossetor” and in 1871 its is Charles Sadler who pays the tax. Sadler was to remain at the Poultry until his death in 1888. More on him in a moment, but first the rest of the story for Thomas Peart Dossetor.

The 1871 census does not seem to list Dossetor, but in 1881, he can be found in Norwich as a lodger with occupation entomologist & wood carver. Well, that is certainly different than hosiery, and far less profitable. When he died in 1886, he left an estate of only £25 15s, to be administered by Henry Ralph Nevill, archdeacon of Norfolk.(4) Thomas Peart had been a member of the Entomological Society since 1851 and in their Annuals his interests are listed as British Coleoptera and Lepidoptera (beetles and butterflies to you and me). In 1859, E.W. Janson, the secretary of the Society, wrote in the Entomologist’s Annual about newly reported insects and mentioned Thomas as having, “with his wonted liberality”, presented Janson with a specimen of Hydrochus, which he had found in Holme Fen.

illustration of the new building from The Building News,  4 February 1876

illustration of the new building from The Building News, 4 February 1876

In the mean time, Charles Sadler had grand plans with 12-13 Poultry and in 1876, The Building News of 4 February reported on a new building, designed by architect Frederick Chancellor, to replace the former which “had become much dilapidated”. The new premises were “erected in red brick, with mullioned windows on each floor, executed in red Dumfries stone, but the principal features are 4 large panels in terra-cotta between each floor, representing scenes which have been enacted in the street below”. The panels were sculpted by Joseph C. Kremer. The Art Journal also reported on the new building and called it a “lofty edifice of four storeys, and dormers”. They describe the bas-relief panels in some detail:

The lowermost panel shows the procession of Queen Victoria at the opening of the Royal Exchange; the next above it, represents a presumed incident which occurred on the site of the newly-erected house on the occasion of Charles II making his public entry into London on the 29th of May, 1662, when his majesty saluted the landlady of the house of that date, which was then an inn: the good woman, though suffering much from illness, insisted on welcoming the monarch. Looking still higher up, the next panel shows the procession of Queen Elizabeth entering London in state, on the 28th of November, 1551: and above this, is the uppermost panel, representing Edward VI passing from the Tower to Westminster to be crowned, on February, 1546.

Despite the Grade II listing, the 1875 Sadler building fell victim to the re-development plans for the Mappin and Webb building at 1 Poultry, which had stood on the corner of Poultry and Queen Victoria Street for more than a hundred years. There was a lot of opposition to the plan, but it happened anyway and yet another part of London’s history disappeared. The new development at 1 Poultry, designed by Stirling and Wilford, is in itself now a Grade II listed building and all that is left of the original Mappin and Webb building is the clock. And all that is left of 12-13 Poultry are the terracotta panels which have been incorporated in the new building above Bucklersbury Passage. You can read more about the panels on the websites of London Remembers (here) or Ornamental Passions (here)

panels above Bucklersbury Passage (Google Street View)

panels above Bucklersbury Passage (Google Street View)

The 1875 building is sometimes given as the property of Alfred Hawes, hosier, but that is not correct. According to the tax records, Charles Sadler occupied the building from ±1870 when Dossetor left to 1888 when Sadler died.(5) It is true that Hawes is listed at 12-13 in The London Gazette in an 1880 bankruptcy notice, but before that he was listed at 40-41 Poultry (1873) and at 33 Poultry (1872). Tallis lists Hawes & Ottley at Nos 40-41. Hawes may just have rented some space in the Sadler building near the time of his bankruptcy. I will see if I can find out when I do some more research on him for the post on 40-41 Poultry. Also notice that the name of Sadler is on the building in the illustration in The Building News.

Advertisement in >em>London: a Complete Guide to the Leading Hotels, 1872

Advertisement in London: a Complete Guide to the Leading Hotels, 1872

(1) The London Gazette, 27 April 1819.
(2) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1864. Estate valued at under £7,000.
(3) The London Gazette, 2 March 1869.
(4) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1887.
(5) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1888. Estate valued at over £7,600.


<– 14 Poultry 11 Poultry –>

Charles Alabaster, bonnet maker


Street View: 23
Address: 58 Piccadilly


The shop listed in Tallis’s Street View 23 for Charles Alabaster is an example of a business where the name of the original owner remained long after he had died. Charles Alabaster and his wife Mary had four children: Mary Ann Rebecca (born 1805), James Chaloner (1806), Henry (1811) and Katherine (1814), who were all still minors when Charles died in 1820.(1) In his will, written in 1817, he names his wife Mary sole executor and beneficiary, trusting her to do with his estate whatever will be best for “her own comfort and the bringing up of [his] dear children”.(2) Mary continued the business under the name of C. Alabaster, straw and fancy hat maker. It is listed as such in the 1841 Post Office Directory, although by then it was no longer Mary who ran the business. She had died in 1838 and after various named bequests, had left the residue of her estate to son James Chaloner on condition that he would make a will “that after providing an interest in the above residue after his decease to his wife and sister in law Frances Alabaster during their lives bequeaths the remainder of the above residue to his children in such proportions as he may think advisable”.(3)

Straw bonnet (© Colchester and Ipswich Museums)

Straw bonnet (© Colchester and Ipswich Museums)

But James did not survive his mother for very long and died in May 1840, a few months after his wife Harriet (née Woodman; she was the daughter of James Woodman, hairdresser at 46 Piccadilly). He made a new will, dated the 21st of May 1840, in which he left all his property for the use of his three children Charles, Henry, and Chaloner, for whom he appointed his sister Mary Ann guardian. She, her husband Harry Criddle, and their sister-in-law Frances, the widow of their brother Henry, were to be joint trustees. James mentions the business at 58 Piccadilly, which, as long as the trustees thought it profitable, was to be continued by the three of them, but one fourth of the profits thereof was to go to Frances “as a repayment and compensation for her time and labor”. Another fourth part is to go to Mary Ann and her husband and the remaining two fourths are to go to the guardians in trust for the children. He would like one of his children to take over the business with the other two to receive their portions of the estate.(4) James was buried in All Souls Cemetery, Kensal Green (more on the family grave here).

photograph of Mary Ann Criddle (Source: National Portrait Gallery)

photograph of Mary Ann Criddle (Source: National Portrait Gallery)

(© Trustees of the British Museum)

(© Trustees of the British Museum)

Mary Ann’s husband, Harry Criddle, was the son of Harry Holman Criddle, a hatter who had been in partnership with John Breach at 46 New Bond Street until February 1810 when they dissolved the partnership. Harry Holman continued the business on his own, later at 148 New Bond Street.
Mary Ann and Harry Criddle took the responsibility entrusted upon them by her brother seriously and, according to the 1841 census, Charles and Chaloner Alabaster are living with them in Sloane Street. Little Henry was not listed with them that year, but he is ten years later in the 1851 census. The 1841 census found sister-in-law Frances at 58 Piccadilly as straw bonnet maker, but two years later, she also died. She left her property to her father Charles Poppy and named Harry Criddle the executor of her will. The probate record states that, although Frances’ address was 58 Piccadilly, she had lately been staying at 64 Sloane Street, so with Mary Ann and Harry.(5) The business continued to exist, but had a setback in 1847 when the shop caught fire. The fire had started in the bakery of David Simpson next door, but the fire crew could not prevent it spreading to the Alabaster premises. According to the newspaper report, the damage to the Alabaster shop from fire and water was very extensive, but no more details were given.(6)

photograph of Harry Criddle ±1855 (Source::

photograph of Harry Criddle ±1855 (Source:

The tax records show the names of Alabaster and Criddle for number 58 till 1850; the following year, the tax for the property is paid by Emma Gill and Ann Jeffries, fancy stationers, whom we also find at number 58 in the 1851 census. Harry and Mary Ann Criddle, with their son Percy and nephews Charles and Henry Alabaster are found at 115 Piccadilly. Harry is listed as ‘proprietor of houses and superintendent of trade in Leghorn bonnets’. Charles is listed as student of King’s College, London, and he was later to study at Lincoln College, Oxford. He became a priest, from 1859 onwards in Christchurch, New Zealand, and died there in 1865 of tuberculosis. His brothers Henry and Chaloner were both diplomatically involved in the Far East; more on them here and here. So none of the Alabaster children seemed to have had the inclination to continue their father’s straw bonnet shop, but that does not mean that the business was terminated when they went off to their various careers in foreign parts. The 1851 Post Office Directory still lists the business of Charles Alabaster, straw and fancy hat maker at number 58, but in the 1856 Post Office Directory number 58 is no longer mentioned, which accords well with the tax records. However, at number 115, the Post Office Directory lists the firm of Alabaster and Toovey, straw hat makers, certainly suggesting that Criddle continued to work in the straw hat industry. He died in 1857.(7) Mary Ann retired to Addlestone, Chertsey, Surrey, where she died in late 1880.

The Artist’s Painting-Room by Mary Ann Criddle (© Art Gallery of Ontario)

The Artist’s Painting-Room by Mary Ann Criddle (© Art Gallery of Ontario)

No more is to be said about the straw bonnet business, but if we go back in time, another aspect of the Alabaster/Criddle family comes to light. The Transactions of the Society Instituted at London for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce (1826) listed a prize, a silver palette, for a Miss Alabaster of 38 Piccadilly for a drawing in chalk from a bust. 38 was a mistake for 58 and Miss Alabaster was Mary Ann who continued to receive prizes for her art work, for instance in 1832 a gold medal from the same Society for a historical composition painted in oil. More on her artistic life here. From 1841 onwards, the census entries list her as ‘artist’, and this artistic talent was inherited by her grandson Norman (Percy’s son) who excelled in flower paintings. Percy emigrated to Canada in 1882 and the story of the Criddle family is depicted on the website of the Sipiweske Museum, Wawanesa, Manitoba (see here) Click the ‘thumbnail gallery’ to find more examples of Mary Ann’s and Norman’s art. The Canadian Criddle household was decidedly unusual as Percy not only shipped his wife and children there, but also his mistress and the children he had with her, supposedly as ‘help’ for his wife, later usually referred to as ‘family friend’. You can read more about that side of the story here and here.

flower painting by Norman Criddle (Source: )

flower painting by Norman Criddle (Source:

(1) A lot of research has already been done by others on the Alabaster family and I have made grateful use of the information provided on the Alabaster Society website.
(2) PROB 11/1626/227.
(3) PROB 11/1896/183.
(4) PROB 11/1928/288.
(5) London Metropolitan Archives DL/C/518/143.
(6) The Northern Star, 10 April 1847.
(7) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858. Effects valued at under £3,000.


<– 59 Piccadilly 57 Piccadilly –>

Thomas Bowtell, Tottenham Shoe Mart


Street View: 49
Address: 152 Tottenham Court Road


In two previous post, here and here, we saw that the Bowtells ran various boot and shoe shops, both in and outside London, and we also found out that it is not always easy to tell which Bowtell ran which shop when. Father and eldest son were both named Thomas and were listed without the handy distinction of ‘senior’, ‘junior’, ‘the elder’, ‘the younger’ or somesuch. Or the shop was just listed for Bowtell & Co., which does not help. Anyway, I have tried to give an overview of all the shops in the post for 49 Skinner Street and that will have to do. This post is about the Tottenham Court Road shop at number 152, which is first listed in March 1837 for Thomas Bowtell in a Sun Fire Office record.

But an earlier Old Bailey case of theft shows that Thomas had a shop in Tottenham Court Road a number of years before he took out the insurance, although it may not have been at number 152. In July 1832, one John Rae is indicted for stealing a pair of boots from Thomas Bowtell “and another”. Rae apparently grabbed the boots through the open door of the shop, but the shopboy saw him do it and ran after him. Rae was caught with the boots in his possession, found guilty and transported for seven years.(1) This was, however, not the first time that Rae had attempted to steel boots from Bowtell. A very short transcription of another Old Bailey case saw Rae accused of stealing boots a few weeks before the other attempt, but this time he was found ‘not guilty’.(2) No indication is given what happened exactly, but Thomas Bowtell is recorded as saying “these boots were the property of myself and brother”, so we can deduce that it was Thomas junior who ran the Tottenham Court Road shop. Yet another Old Bailey case helps to identify the brother as William, as in 1837 more boots were allegedly stolen and Thomas testifies that he is “a bootmaker, and in partnership with my brother William, at No. 19, Strand”.(3) In Robson’s 1842 Directory and in the 1843 Post Office Directory, the shops in both Strand and Tottenham Court Road are listed for T. & W., which must be Thomas and William.

1886 map showing both nos 117 and 152

1886 map showing both nos 117 and 152, by that time neither premises were occupied by the Bowtells. Number 152 had been incorporated into the Shoolbred department store and 117 had been turned into a restaurant

And at some point in time, the brothers ran a third shop at 42 Crawford Street, but on the 7th of January 1851, they dissolved their partnership.(4). The Tottenham Court Road shop is by then listed at number 117 and no longer at no. 152. The 1851 census shows William living at number 117 with his assistant Martha Wardley. Thomas is then living at Portland Terrace and is described as master bootmaker, employing 6 men. But things did not go as well as the census appears to indicate, as in 1855, Thomas’s name is found in a list of bankrupts in the Debtor’s Prison and he is described as “formerly of no. 19 Strand, boot and shoe maker, having a private residence, first at no. 51, Saint John’s Wood, then at no. 4, Elm Tree-road, Saint John’s Wood, then again of some place, and next and late of no. 117, Tottenham Court Road, assistant to a boot and shoe maker”.(5) The 1856 Post Office Directory lists both 19 Strand and 117 Tottenham Court Road for William, so he seems to have come to the rescue of Thomas.

But, things were not well at William’s either. In 1860, he appeared to have a debt of 1,600l at Lutwych and George, leather merchants, but what was worse, he had become involved in giving out dodgy bills which also involved his brother John and a John Baker, publican in Hertfordshire. This John Baker was the brother of Thomas Bowtell senior’s second wife Susannah, and a shoe shop had been opened in Baker’s name across the street from William, although Baker had never been in the shoe trade. William ended up in the Queen’s Prison.(6)

The Morning Chronicle, 12 December 1860

The Morning Chronicle, 12 December 1860

But all these bankruptcies did not mean the immediate end of the business in Tottenham Court Road, as in the 1861 census, Thomas could still be found at number 117 as a bootmaker. Also living there as housekeeper is Martha Wardley, sister-in-law. It turns out that Thomas had married Mary Ann Wardley, Martha’s sister, but that was not the end of the family link as sometime between 1861 and 1871, William and Martha marry as well – a double family knot so to speak. Where William is in 1861 is unclear; perhaps still in prison? But by 1871, he could be found as a “shopman in the shoe trade” in Bristol. Living with William and his wife Martha are two daughters of Thomas, Ellen and Alice. Thomas, his wife Mary Ann, and some of their older children are living in Grange Road, Hackney. Fast forward twenty years to 1891 when William is retired, but still in Bristol. Thomas is also retired, but living at Mortlake Surrey at the Bootmaker Institute, also known as the Bootmakers Asylum. mortlake-asylumThese almshouses were founded in 1836 and run by the Master Boot and Shoe Makers’ Association for the Relief of Aged and Decayed members, their Widows and Orphans, which later became the Boot Trade Benevolent Society (see here).

The Bowtell emporium that father Thomas had so carefully built up, did not survive the next generation. John and Thomas went bankrupt in 1855, William in 1860, and Joseph thoroughly disgraced himself in 1857.

shoemaker at work from Tabart's Book of Trades, vol. 2 (1806)

shoemaker at work from Tabart’s Book of Trades, vol. 2 (1806)


(1) Old Bailey case t18320705-86.
(2) Old Bailey case t18320517-141.
(3) Old Bailey case t18370130-557.
(4) The London Gazette, 10 January 1851.
(5) The London Gazette, 12 June and 10 July 1855.
(6) The London Gazette, 6 November 1860.


<– 151 Tottenham Court Road 153 Tottenham Court Road –>

Thomas Bowtell, boot and shoe maker


Street Views: 42 and 17 Suppl.
Address: 58 Cheapside


As we saw in the post on the 49 Skinner Street shop, Thomas Bowtell had quite a number of shops in various places and 58 Cheapside was one of them. The earliest we find him in Cheapside is in Kent’s Directory of 1823, albeit still at number 51. There is not a lot of evidence for the occupation of number 51, as Bowtell’s name does not appear in the tax records for that property which is continuously listed for a Benjamin Johnson. We know that in 1835 George and Alfred Pill had their confectioners’ business there, sharing it with other occupants. Only in 1841 does their name appear in the tax records, so it is likely that in their early years, as Bowtell had before them, they just rented the property from Johnson. What is certain, is that by 1835, Bowtell had moved to number 58, the house on the corner of Bow Lane as the tax records find him there in that year. He shared the property, at least at the time of the Tallis Street View, with Green & Chubb, hair cutters and wig makers. In the 1847 Tallis Supplement, the depiction of the shop is without any names, so no help in establishing whether Bowtell continued to share the shop, but the index tells us that James Green, hairdresser & wigmaker, was still there. In a forthcoming post, we will try and find out what happened to Chubb.

Goad's insurance map of 1886, showing numbers 51 and 58

Goad’s insurance map of 1886, showing numbers 51 and 58

(© The Trustees of the British Museum)

(© The Trustees of the British Museum)

The British Museum has the year 1832 pencilled in for the above advertorial poem which lists four addresses for Thomas, but there is a bit of a problem with that: 1835 is the year in which Bowtell is first recorded in the tax records for 58 Cheapside, but the printers of the advertisement, the Soulby brothers, dissolve their partnership and change addresses in April 1834.(1) It is very likely that Bowtell moved from no. 51 to no. 58 in 1834, as the tax data were only recorded once a year in August. We still have a discrepancy as in August 1834, Bowtell was not yet listed at number 58, and in April 1834, the Soulby brothers dissolved their partnership. The other addresses do not help much either; 49 Skinner Street was Bowtell’s address from 1813 to 1852; the Brighton address changed from number 106 to 116 somewhere between 1832 and 1838; and the Norwich address changed at some point from number 1 to numbers 20 & 21, but that address is frequently just described as Davey Place without a number, so that does not help much either. Anyway, somewhere in the early 1830s, Bowtell moved his shop a few houses, and he continued to trade from Cheapside till he died (1852). Until 1855, the shop was subsequently listed in the tax records for son William, but in the 1856 Post Office Directory and in the tax records for that year, the property is listed for John Edwin Shaw, a tailor.

advertisement in The Brighton Patriot and South of England Free Press,  23 Oct. 1838

advertisement in The Brighton Patriot and South of England Free Press, 23 Oct. 1838

We will come across William again in the post on the Tottenham Court Road shop, but first a bit more about the Brighton shop. In December 1856, Joseph, William’s brother, had trouble with one of his customers. One Sarah Cooper was charged with obtaining a pair of shoes under false pretences. She had come to the Bowtell shop, pretending to be a servant of a lady residing for the winter at 4 Brunswick Square, Brighton, who asked for a pair of overshoes on credit. She was to bring him the money next day. She did so and then asked for a pair of boots which were to be paid the following Monday. But she did not return with the money and Bowtell had her charged. The newspaper article was not so much about the theft itself as about the shambles the Grand Jury had made in going against the prosecutor’s case by claiming regret for the fact that Sarah had been held in custody and for the damage done to her reputation. The judge examining the case afterwards said that “he considered it a gross neglect of duty on the part of the grand jury, through which a prisoner had escaped punishment”.(2) The newspaper reporting on the case, by the way, starts out by – erroneously(?) – naming the shoemaker James, in stead of Joseph, but in the rest of the article, they call him Joseph. As far as I know, Thomas Bowtell did not have a son James, so Joseph should be the correct name, but the confusion occurs again in a book on crime in Brighton.

In 1857, a young workhouse girl was raped by James Bowtell, her master, who is described as a married shoemaker with four children. The magistrates decided to release him on paying a fine of £10, because of his position and the feelings of his wife. Excuse me for using an expletive when I read this. The poor girl was sent back into the ‘care’ of the workhouse guardians.(3) When I tried to check up on this story, I found another mention of the case in the CMPCANews, but here the man is named as Joseph Bowtell.(4). So, what was going on? I contacted the author of the Church Hill Workhouse article, James Gardner, and he was certain the name was Joseph, although the local newspaper report he sent me also mentioned the name James.(5) As we have seen in the post on the Skinner Street shop, the newspaper reports on the drowning of Henry Bowtell were very imprecise in the naming of the characters in the disaster, so I do not suppose this case was any different and James and Joseph are one and the same person.

116 St. James's Street, corner of Charles Street, Brighton

116 St. James’s Street, corner of Charles Street, Brighton

The 1861 census, in listing Joseph’s family, who was by then back in London, corroborates that Joseph and his wife Kezia had four children at the time of his crime. Three of the children had been born in Brighton (Kezia, 11, Margaret, 10, and Charles, 5) and one (Emma, 6) in London. By 1861, one more child had been born in London (Susannah, 2). No evidence has been found in the census for a James Bowtell. That the third child was born in London can perhaps be explained by two notices in The London Gazette of that year in which we read that Joseph’s brothers Thomas and John were – at different times – declared bankrupts and in prison. John and Joseph had been trading as Bowtell Brothers in Piccadilly since 1842, first at number 181, but from 1848 at number 170. John’s bankruptcy may very well have necessitated a spell in London for Joseph, but he apparently went back to Brighton until his disgrace in 1857. Joseph does not seem to have had a shop again, but worked as an assistant. The 1871 census gives his occupation as ‘boot clicker’, which was someone who cut out the leather for making the uppers. I am afraid that his brother William did not fare much better, but he will be discussed in the next post on the shop at 152 Tottenham Court Road.


(1) The London Gazette, 22 April and 25 November 1834.
(2) Daily News, 30 December 1856.
(3) D. d’Enno, Brighton Crime and Vice, 1800-2000 (2007), pp. 167-168.
(4) J. Gardner, “Church Hill Workhouse, Part 2 Children and Vagrants” in Clifton Montpelier Powis Community Alliance News 12, 2008.
(5) The Brighton Observer, 9 January 1857. Thanks go to James Gardner for sending me this newspaper cutting.


<– 59 Cheapside 57 Cheapside –>