Joseph Eglese, jeweller and watch maker



Street View: 7 Suppl.
Address: 30 Cornhill

In February 1842, Joseph Eglese of 13 High Street Aldgate, jeweller, bought the freedom of the City (by redemption) by paying £13.10.- and £5.3.6. The record states that he was the son of Edward Eglese of Southwark, deceased. Edward had died in November 1831 and was buried at Deadman’s Place, Union Street, a sure sign that he was a member of an independent chapel, although he had his son Joseph baptised at St. Saviour, Southwark, on 3 January 1819 (Joseph was born on 18 August 1818). In the 1841 census, Joseph is listed at Cheapside as a jeweller, living with one assistant, one William Middleton, at number 123 or thereabout. The census doe not give any house numbers and I am guessing the house number somewhat from the neighbouring occupants who, unfortunately, do not all appear in Tallis’s early Street View of 1839. Wherever he lived in Cheapside in 1841, it cannot have lasted long as the 1842 freedom record gives him at Aldgate High Street. He is certainly still in Aldgate in 1843 when he married Sophia Webster, but by 1844, he had moved to 30 Cornhill. The baptism of his son Joseph Henry on the 10th of November of that year lists the Cornhill address.

gold watch dated 1856 (Source: NAWCC discussion thread)

And that is where Tallis finds him when he collected the information for his 1847 Supplement. But, again, it did not last long and an 1851 advertisement lists him at 43 Cornhill, corner of St. Michael’s Alley. By then, he no longer lived above the shop as in July 1848, when his son Charles Edward is baptised, he could be found at 6 Scrubland Road, Haggerston, and in the 1851 census at 3 Tyssen Cottages, Hackney. He confirms this in an Old Bailey case where he states “I am a jeweller of Cornhill—I do not live there—my housekeeper and two servants live on the premises”.(1) The occupation of number 43 did not last long either, as already in 1852 Messrs Benson, late Eglese, are listed for that property in the Land Tax records. It was pulled down in 1855 and, according to the tax record, “was not to be rebuilt upon to be left as vacant ground to improve the entrance of St. Michaels Alley”. Around 1856, Eglese occupied 28 Cornhill.

1865 advertisement

Eglese also formed a – probably short-lived partnership – with William James Thomas in the 1860s at 136 Oxford Street. The partnership with James was dissolved in 1865 and Eglese moved to 28 Bishopsgate where he, and his son Charles Edward, continued to trade till 1880 when they went bankrupt. So far, a normal career with its ups and downs; even bankruptcy was nothing out of the ordinary – there were many cases heard each week at the Bankruptcy Court, but this time, something happened. A notice in The Police Gazette of 21 June 1880, tells us that Charles Edward had absconded and was suspected of stealing jewellery. That cannot be a coincidence. Did Charles Edward make off with the jewellery to avoid having to hand it over to the creditors? And did his father know beforehand what he was planning to do? Maybe not. They dissolve their partnership in 17 November 1880.(2)

The London Gazette, 4 June 1880

The Police Gazette, 21 June 1880

Jewel presented to Joseph Eglese as one of the 127 who brethren served as stewards at the inauguration ceremony of the second Freemasons’ Hall in 1869 (see here)

Charles Edward is next heard of in Australia, where he marries Emilia Wayland in 1887. But Charles was a wrong one and embezzled some funds from the Wollongong Harbour Trust where he had been the secretary. He admitted to falsifying the books and said he had expected a legacy and only ‘borrowed’ the money, fully intending to return it. In 1904, he divorced Emilia on the ground of desertion. You wonder why she left him, don’t you? The legacy he was allegedly expecting could have been from his mother. Joseph Eglese had died in 1883 and left his widow £925.(3) She died on Christmas Day 1886, but probate was not granted until 1893. Her estate only amounted to a little under £100 and the executor was daughter Sophia Elizabeth Bedborough.(4) There is, however, no indication that Charles Edward was to receive any of it.

The Standard, 15 September 1891. The Bedborough in the High Court of Justice case was no doubt daughter Sophie Elisabeth, but I do not know who Mackerell is.

And the shop at 30 Cornhill? The Submarine Telegraph Company had their offices there after Eglese left. Their history has been extensively researched and can be seen here. The STC just rented the space and the Land Tax records continued to list number 30 for Currie & Co, bankers, who also owned other property in the area.

(1) Old Bailey case t18640606-591.
(2) The London Gazette, 19 December 1880.
(3) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1884,
(4) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1893.


<– 31 Cornhill 29 Cornhill –>

John Wright, wine and spirit merchant at the Turks Head


Street View: 19
Address: 142 Strand

The Turk’s Head (with or without the apostrophe), opposite Catherine Street, had existed for at least eighty years before Tallis produced his Street View in 1839, and possibly even longer. Samuel Johnson and his friend James Boswell frequented the Turk’s Head as, for instance, on 22 July, 1763, when Boswell wrote, “at night Mr. Johnson and I had a room at the Turk’s Head Coffee-house, which he encouraged because the mistress of the house is a good civil woman and wants business”.(1) In 1797, the then proprietor, Anne Munday, went bankrupt, but not much else is known about her.(2) In 1832, an advertisement mentions the sale of the goods and stock from the coffee house and hotel. Mr. Bailey, the auctioneer announced the sale of more or less everything that was in the building because of the “very extensive improvements” that were to take place.

advertisement in The Times, 17 May 1832

Six years later, J. Wright announced in the newspapers that the premises had been “rebuilt and furnished at a very considerable expense” and were “now complete and ready for the reception of gentlemen and families”. Wright did not just expect customers from London; he also advertised in the Ipswich, Bristol and Liverpool papers with his coffee room, stock of wines, private sitting rooms and hot and cold baths.(3) The alterations had been many years in the making and the RIBA collection contains drawings of designs by the architect John Buonarotti Papworth, which, although certainly on the scale of the later building, do not quite match the depiction by Tallis, so either the design was changed, or Tallis made a mistake (see here for more pictures). Whatever the reason for the difference, it was a grand building and Wright must have forked out a substantial sum of money; according to John Timbs in his Club Life of London (1866) it had cost £8,000.

Designs for alterations to premises for the 142 Strand (Source: RIBA20732)

advertisement in The London Dispatch and People’s Political and Social Reformer 17 June 1838

The 1841 census tells us that J. Wright was John Wright, 50 years old, and living with him was Matthew Wright, 25 years old, as well as several servants, one of whom was George Blackstone who, in 1843, started his own business in Hull, the Tiger Inn and Hotel, calling himself “late manager of Wright’s Hotel, 143 Strand”.(4) Matthew was probably the Matthew James who was baptised on 29 August, 1815, at St. George in the East, as the son of John Wright, victualler of Radcliffe Highway, and his wife Hannah Colls.(5) The marriage of John and Hannah was not without problems and she seemed more than willing to carry on with one of Wright’s relatives who sometimes came up to town from Norwich. It all ended at the Court of King’s Bench with damages of a hundred pounds awarded to John (see here).(6)

advertisement in The Morning Chronicle, 1 August 1844

Robson’s Directory of 1842 and the Post Office Directory of 1843 suddenly changed the name of the Turk’s Head to Old Turks Head, suggesting that there was also a New one somewhere. Perhaps to end the confusion, from 1843, advertisements for Wright’s Hotel and Coffee-House started to appear. Another of Wright’s employees, William Fisher, turned out to have other ambitions than those of a mere wine-cooper. Wright had fired him in September 1843, although it remains unclear why. In December of that year, Fisher returned to Wright’s wine cellar in Hungerford market to force open the door and steal a pipe of wine (a cask of about 500 litres). He was found out and sentenced to fifteen years’ transportation.(7)

advertisement in The Daily News, 8 July 1847

John Wright died in early 1847, aged just 60,(8) and very soon afterwards advertisements started to appear for the sale of the content of the hotel. Messrs Warlters, Lovejoy and Son were to sell by auction the furniture, bedsteads, hangings, mattresses, etc. Although the advertisements for the sale in the newspapers do not mention it, The London Gazette tells us that the auction was “under an order in bankruptcy” and it is said that Wright had killed himself out of despair. He had become implicated in the Reay & Reay bankruptcy case as a bad debtor and had owed the Reays £31,000. Reays’ had allowed him the credit, because they thought that the 60,000 bottles of wine in Wright’s cellar could be used as collateral against the debt, but it turned out that the wine had also been pledged to other people.(9) In other words, Wright was filling one hole with another and was in deep trouble indeed when he died. The hotel building with the cellars were advertised as ‘to be let’. The place was quickly taken over by John Chapman, a bookseller and publisher from Newgate Street; his fate will be reported in a forthcoming post.

advertisement in The Daily News, 24 July 1847

Watercolour by John Wykeham Archer of the cellar under the George and Dragon Inn, Rochester, 1849 (© The Trustees of the British Museum). Did Wright’s cellar look like this?

(1) Boswell’s London Journal 1762-1763, ed. by F.A. Pottle (1950), p.318.
(2) The London Gazette, 4 March, 1797.
(3) The Ipswich Journal, 2 June 1838, The Liverpool Mercury, 8 June 1838, and The Bristol Mercury, 9 June 1838.
(4) The Hull Packet and East Riding Times, 30 June 1843.
(5) Matthew died in 1883, apparently a bachelor, and probate was granted to his niece Jane Cubitt Christall. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1883.
(6) ‘The Cuckold’s Chronicle’ in Rambler’s Magazine, 1 January 1822, p. 8-12 online here.
(7) Old Bailey case t18440819-2130.
(8) He was buried at Norwood Cemetery on 8 January 1847.
(9) The Times, 27 November 1845.


<– 143 Strand 141 Strand –>

George Biggs, Hope Coffee House


Street Views: 22 and 6 Suppl.
Address: 41 Haymarket

At some point in time, the Hope Coffee House must have moved, as an 1813 notice in The London Gazette situates it at the corner of Haymarket and Coventry Street, which was most likely number 38. Number 41, where an 1835 advertisement in The Examiner places it and where Tallis was to find it a few years later, is across the street and a few houses southwards. The 1813 notice names a Mr. Maddock as the proprietor of the coffee house, but the 1835 advertisement is silent as to who ran the business at the time.

advertisement in The Examiner, 1 March 1835

Pigot’s Directory of 1839, however, lists George Biggs, the one Tallis also names, as coffee house keeper at 41 Coventry Street. That seems too much of a coincidence, and I think 41 Haymarket must be meant. 1839 is also the year in which one Thomas Kraskowski assaulted Elizabeth Savage, one of the waitresses at the coffee house. He threw a cup of scalding hot coffee in her face, “nearly depriving her of her eyesight” as the papers would have it. It transpired that Kraskowski had come in on Saturday night 2 November, asking for a cup of tea. He had been a regular customer of the coffee house, and Elizabeth brought him his usual tea. When he paid for it with sixpence, she returned him three pence of which he pushed one towards her, saying “that is for you”, but as soon as she wanted to pick up the coin, he threw the tea in her face. When she screamed, other customers rushed to help and held on to Kraskowski, but not before he had thrown the tea pot through the window. Thomas said that he thought the waitress had brought him poison instead of tea. He had previously complained to his landlady that he felt ill because they had poisoned him in a coffee house in the Haymarket. His employer – Thomas worked as a wood engraver – would not bail him and he was committed to trial at the Westminster Sessions.(1) He was sentenced to 10 days in prison.

George Biggs did not stay for very long at 41 Haymarket and in the 1841 census we find Edward Payne and his wife Sarah there. Also living on the premises are one servant boy and five female servants, one of whom is Charlotte Savage, perhaps a relation of Elizabeth Savage who was maltreated by Kraskowski. Edward’s full name was Edward Wood Payne and he is listed as such in the 1843 and 1848 Post Office Directories The 1851 census just shows Sarah at number 41 with her daughter from a previous marriage and two servants. Edward is nowhere to be found.

Gliddon’s cigar divan in W. Hone, The table book: or, Daily recreation and information concerning remarkable men, manners, times, seasons, solemnities, merry-makings, antiquities and novelties, 1827

A notice in The London Gazette of 30 July, 1861, announces that the partnership between Hagop Manuk and John Tucker is dissolved. They had been running a “cigar and coffee divan” at 41 Haymarket, but it unclear when they started it. Tucker also ran a cigar and coffee house at 53 Haymarket in partnership with various people, at least since 1859, but he withdrew from that in 1862 (more on that establishment in the post on number 53). To give you some idea of what a cigar divan looked like, above a picture of Gliddon’s cigar divan in King Street Covent Garden, as there does not seem to be one available for the Haymarket divans of Mr. Tucker.

In the 1861 census, number 41 was occupied by one Henry with an undecipherable last name who originally came from France and described his occupation as “Café Grec”. Also living there were a barmaid and a female servant. In 1868, one Edward Jacob Anthony Mayer is declared a bankrupt and he is listed as “prior thereto of no. 41, Haymarket, keeper of a café and a restaurant”, but unfortunately the notice does not reveal when Mayer was working in the Haymarket.(2) In 1871, the premises were occupied by an unemployed clerk and his wife. No indication is given whether the coffee house/cigar divan still existed and whether the clerk just lived upstairs, so the divan story ends here.

Thomas Rowlandson, A mad dog in a coffee house, 1809 (Source: Royal Collection Trust, RCIN 810760)

But what happened to Edward Wood Payne and his wife Sarah? As we saw, Sarah was still at 41 Haymarket when the 1851 census was taken, but she disappeared from the records very quickly after that. The 1851 Post Office Directory skips from 40A to 42, suggesting a vacancy at number 41, nor can the Paynes be found in the alphabetical section. The 1856 Post Office Directory lists John Scott, coffee and dining rooms at number 41. What happened to Sarah and her daughter after 1851 is unclear. Edward was admitted as a private patient to Grove Hall, Bow, in late 1863 and he died there in April 1864 (more on the history of Grove Hall here). He was buried in Victoria Park Cemetery, Hackney, on the 3rd of May. Grove Hall was a lunatic asylum, but what ailed Edward exactly is unclear, nor have I worked out where he was at the time of the 1851 and 1861 censuses.

So, we have as proprietors at number 41:
< 1841 George Biggs
1841-1851 Edward and Sarah Payne
1856 John Scott
< 1861 Manuk & Tucker
1861 Henry ?
< 1868 EJA Mayer

(1) The Era, 10 November 1839.
(2) The London Gazette, 22 December 1868.


<– 42 Haymarket 40 Haymarket –>

Charles Tilt, publisher and print seller


Street View: 15
Address: 86 Fleet Street

Charles Tilt was the son of William Tilt, a confectioner of St. Paul’s Churchyard. After the death of William in 1807, the confectioner’s business was continued by his widow and son William junior; young Charles was apprenticed to a bookseller in Hampshire. From 1817 till 1826 he worked for various booksellers, among them Hatchard’s and Longman’s, but in October 1826, he started his own business in Fleet Street. He had his shop just on the corner of St. Bride’s Avenue and Fleet Street, and specialised in illustrated books and lithographic prints. In 1827, he secured the assistance of George Cruikshank for one of his cheap (one shilling) illustrated publications, The Diverting History of John Gilpin in which a horse runs off with the hapless Gilpin.

John Gilpin being run off by the horse (Tilt, 1828)
And still, as fast as he drew near,
‘Twas wonderful to view,
How in a trice the turnpike men,
Their gates wide open threw.

Cruikshank had published his Scraps and Sketches with James Robins, but when he was no longer able to continue the project, or as Cruikshank put it, “poor Robins neglects my business sadly, as well as his own”, the publication was taken over by Tilt under the title My Sketch Book. Tilt reduced the size of the publication, and hence the price, hoping to attract a different public. The sketches were, according to the paper cover, “to be continued occasionally”, and when part 6 came out in late 1834, a collection of parts 1-6 was brought out, bound in cloth. Cruikshank continued to work with Tilt, see for instance the illustrations at the bottom of this post, but the volatile character of Cruikshank and the sharp business acumen of Tilt did not necessarily make for a harmonious relationship, as, for instance, when a dispute arose over money when Cruikshank tried to sell the leftover stock of the discontinued Omnibus to Henry Bohn. And on another occasion when, instead of asking Cruikshank to retouch the worn plates of the Almanack, as had been agreed, Tilt sent them off to a cheaper engraver. Tilt’s assistant David Bogue’s quieter and more tactful ways often saved the day.(1)

trade card (© The Trustees of the British Museum)

The shop in Fleet Street was eminently suitable for displaying prints and books in the large windows along the front in St. Bride’s Avenue and around the corner in Fleet Street. It is said that is was sometimes so busy with window gazers that railings had to be put up to keep the crowds at bay, although these railings are not visible in any of the depictions of the shop. The anonymous reviewer of The Angler’s Souvenir, published by Tilt in 1835, commented on Tilt’s shop windows and said “we are not given to stare and linger at any show shop in the vast metropolis of England, not even at Mr. Tilt’s, No. 86, Fleet Street, or any other eminent print-seller’s exhibition, although henceforward we shall take a glance, all round the corner, at the above-mentioned gentleman’s pictorial displays”. He was to do that because he hoped to find other books on his favourite pastime, angling.(2) The reviewer had to have had a bit of patience as it was only in 1844 that David Bogue and Henry Wix published Isaac Walton’s Complete Angler. Besides prints, Tilt published various series of cheap illustrated books, among them several of miniature books, such as Tilt’s Miniature Classics Library, Tilt’s Elegant Miniature Editions, and Tilt’s Hand-books for Children. These last could be collected in a wooden case with the words “My Own Library”.

The 1841 census saw Charles Tilt and his wife Jane at Clapham; he is listed as a publisher, but that same year he decided it was time to retire and, according to publisher and journalist Henry Vizetelly in his Glances Back Trough Seventy Years; Autobiographical and Other Reminiscences (1893), Tilt entered into a partnership with his assistant Bogue because of “his general shrewdness and steady application to business”. The idea was that Bogue would gradually pay back the money he owed Tilt for the partnership, between forty and fifty thousand pounds, and publications began to appear with both their names in the imprint. In 1843, the partnership between Tilt and Bogue was dissolved with Bogue to continue the business on his own. So, all was set for Tilt’s retirement and the 1851 census duly lists him as retired publisher at Bathwick, Somerset.

However, David Bogue died in November 1856 of heart disease, aged just 48. Charles Tilt was asked by the executors of Bogue’s estate to help with winding down the business. By 1859, most of Bogue’s copyrights and stock, as well as the shop, had been taken over by William Kent (more on the later history of the shop in the post on Bogue). The 1861 census lists Tilt at Kensington, once again as a retired publisher. He died later that same year and left the not inconsiderable sum of £180,000, although not quite the million he was said to have amassed by Malcolm Macleod, who tried to establish a link between the Tilts and Oliver Cromwell in Notes and Queries, 3rd series, vol. 1, Jan. 1862.(3) Macleod, by the way, said that the Tilt family had in their possession “a massive gold ring, with his arms, initials, and date, engraved on it”. These arms consisted of “a chevron between three roundels; crest, a dolphin”. No idea if the ring still exists somewhere; if you have information, please leave a comment.

vignette in the Tallis booklet. Tilt’s shop on the left.

print of a drawing by T.H. Shephard depicting Tilt’s shop (© The Trustees of the British Museum)

George Cruikshank, March Winds from The Comic Almanack, 1835

George Cruikshank’s portrait of Tilt on the back cover of A Comic Alphabet (Source: Thorn Books)

(1) More on the relation between Charles Tilt and George Cruikshank can be found in Robert L. Patten, George Cruikshank’s Life, Times, and Art (1996).
(2) The Monthly Review, February 1836, p. 157.
(3) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1861. The executors were William Henry Dalton, publisher, George Gladstone, ship broker, and Benjamin Brecknell, wax chandler.


<– 88 Fleet Street 85 Fleet Street –>

Christy & Co., hat manufacturers


Street View: 24
Address: 35 Gracechurch Street

In 1773, Quaker Miller Christy, originally from Edinburgh, started his career in London as a hatter. In 1789, Miller Christy and his partner Joseph Storrs insured their property at 35 Gracechurch Street. In 1790, 1792 and 1796 respectively, Miller Christy took on his sons Thomas, William Miller and John as his apprentices and the indentures state that Christy was a member of the Feltmakers’ Company. A few years later, in October 1794, Storrs and Christy dissolved their partnership with Christy to continue the business.(1) The two generations of Christys continue as hatters in Gracechurch Street until November 1803 when they dissolve their partnership as regards father Miller; the sons are to carry on.(2)

Horwood’s map of 1799

The Christys are listed in the Sun Fire Office records as insuring property in Gracechurch Street, but also in Nag’s Head Court where they apparently had a warehouse. They also insured property in Bermondsey Street where one Charles Birt, a baker, is listed as the occupant. Thomas’s son, Thomas junior, is apprenticed to his father in 1815 and later becomes a partner. In 1830, one of the young porters employed by the Christys embezzled some funds. He went round to customers of Christy & Co. for the payment of bills owed, but he failed to hand in the money to his employers’ clerk. He was sentenced at the Old Bailey to fourteen years transportation and was shipped out to New South Wales.(3) At the end of December 1830, Thomas Christy senior retired(4) and the firm was henceforth usually referred to as Messrs Christy & Co.

In 1835, another Old Bailey case (t18350511-1289) tells us that the Bermondsey address is where the manufacture takes place with Gracechurch Street as the address for the shop. More and more Christys joined the firm and when William Miller retired in 1845, the other partners were listed as John, Thomas junior, Sam., Henry and Alfred Christy.(5) Henry was definitely the son of William Miller, but I am not sure about Samuel and Alfred. Alfred was probably John’s son, but Samuel is slightly elusive. William Miller had done quite well for himself and when he died in 1858, his probate record values his estate at £60,000.(6)

Son Henry died in 1865 of inflammation of the lungs and his probate record lists Joseph Fell Christy of 35 Gracechurch Street as his brother and one of the executors.(7) Although Henry had been a partner in the hat-making business, he is also credited with inventing the penny receipt stamp, and he was director of the London Joint-Stock Bank as well as an amateur ethnologist. His interest in primitive societies and his funding led, after his death, to the discovery of Cro-Magnon man. He also left a half-finished book, entitled Reliquiae Aquitanicae, being contributions to the Archaeology and Paleontology of Périgord and the adjacent provinces of Southern France, completed at the behest of Christy’s executors, first by Edouard Lartet and, after his death in 1870, by Thomas Rupert Jones. For more on Henry Christy, see here.

George Dodd, in his Days at the Factories (1843) tells us more about the Bermondsey manufacturing department. According to Dodd, it was reported to be the largest in the world and consisted of two “extensive ranges of buildings on opposite sides of Bermondsey Street”. The steam engine required a chimney of a hundred and sixty feet and the whole complex consisted of a great number of individual departments, such as one for trimmers, one for packers, one for the turners and even a blacksmith’s shop, not to mention the storerooms required. The different kinds of hats, be they silk or beaver, were made in different sections of the building and Dodd goes to great lengths to describe the various processes necessary in making hats, which I will not repeat as you can read the whole story here.

hat manufacturing at Bermondsey from G. Dodd, Days at the Factories

dyeing cauldron from G. Dodd, Days at the Factories

1893-5 Ordnance Survey map depicting the hat factory in Bermondsey Street

But hats were not the only item produced by Christy’s. While Henry was travelling in Istanbul, he noticed the looped pile cotton fabric we now know as terry-cloth. The company developed a machine to make the looped pile and the first efforts, still under the name of ‘Turkish bath towel’, were shown at the Great Exhibition. The towel production continues till this day and you can see the purple and green variety every year at the Wimbledon Championships (their website for the towel business

The Gracechurch and Bermondsey properties were let go in the 1950s, but Christy’s still produce stylish quality hats as well as the helmets for the Metropolitan Police force (their website for the hat business And should you be interested in researching the history of the business, you need to go to the John Rylands University Library in Manchester where they keep the papers of W.M. Christy & Sons (see here).

(1) The London Gazette, 25 October 1794
(2) The London Gazette, 9 October 1804.
(3) Old Bailey case t18300527-19.
(4) The London Gazette, 28 December 1830.
(5) The London Gazette, 18 July 1845.
(6) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858.
(7) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1865. Value of the estate £60,000.


<– 36 Gracechurch Street 34 Gracechurch Street –>

Durnford & Co, pin and needle makers


Street View: 24
Address: 36 Gracechurch Street

Kent’s 1794 Directory of London and Westminster & Borough of Southwark lists Dunford, Baratty & Son, pin makers, at 36 Gracechurch Street, but the Dunfords had plied their trade for a lot longer, as from Christmas 1744, a house on London Bridge was leased to a Mr. Durnford, pin maker. Not much else is known, other than that the house had a frontage of 16ft 8in.(1). Kent’s Directory of 1766 already puts Richard Durnford, pin-maker, in Gracechurch Street, but no house number is given. The 1768 edition, however, lists R. Durnford at number 36. In 1808, Edward Francis and George Madgwick Davidson of 36 Grace Church Street, pin and needle makers, take out an insurance with the Sun Fire Office, suggesting that Durnford had disappeared from the premises. A year later, an entry in The Repertory of Arts and Manufacture, records that Messrs. Francis and Davidson have purchased a patent from one William Bundy for heading pins and the entry helpfully lists them “late Durnford and Co”. However, when Tallis came round in 1839 or 1840 for his Street Views, the firm was still called Durnford and Co, so what is going on?

Tabart’s Book of Trades, vol. 3

In 1819, The Cyclopaedia, or Universal Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Literature reports on a useful new way of heading pins, which made for a speedier process and more uniform heads. The Cyclopaedia is not at liberty to disclose the actual process, so we are none the wiser, but they do mention the inventors as Messrs Durnford, Francis & Co. which at least gives us a link between Francis and Durnford. The Naturalist of 1838 gives hints to entomologists on pinning their insects and tells their young readers that “Swedish and Russian pins are the best made” and “the heads of the small English pins are very liable to come off (and then the insect runs great risk of being spoiled)”. That problem can be solved by heating the pin head and dipping it in sealing wax, but “silver pins should be used for those [insects] liable to grease. The makers are Durnford, 36, Gracechurch Street, and Hales, 15, Great Dover Street, Southwark”.

Despite this 1838 mention of Durnford, an 1820 insurance record just lists the names of Francis and Davidson. The two gentlemen were doubly related as George Madgwick Davidson had married Elizabeth Francis in 1809; Edward Francis was her brother who had married Susanna Davidson, George Madgwick’s sister, also in 1809. And they were not just involved in pin making as in September 1831, they dissolve a partnership that they had in Nag’s Head Court, just around the corner of their pin making business in Gracechurch Street, with Edward’s brother, William Francis, as wholesale tea-dealers, saltpetre and hop merchants, under the name of Francis and Co.(2) They seem to have been busy people.

Advert for Durnford & Co. is Street View booklet 9

The 1841 census does not give house numbers, so it is not exactly clear who occupies which house, but one Alfred Davidson, manufacturer, is found in the right area and in an Old Bailey case of the same year, he testifies that he is the son of George Madgwick Davidson and that he conducts the pin making business for his father. The accused, Matthew Bulger, had ‘removed’ a candlestick, a blower, 11lbs. weight of pins, 5lbs. weight of candles, 144 hooks and eyes, 2lbs. weight of tin, 24 pin-cases, 4 quires of paper, 3 account-books, 31lbs. weight of copper wire, 28lbs. weight of pin points, and 2 drawers, all recognised as property belonging to Davidson, his master. Bulger was found guilty and confined for six months.(3)

Advert in Street View booklet 11, with similar ones in 12, 24 and 28

George Madgwick did very well out of all his businesses and was listed as a landed proprietor in the 1851 census. He died that same year at Warmley House (listed building, see here) and was buried “by coroners’ order” on 19 July. Son Alfred succeeded to his father’s pin-making factory at Warmley, which had been set up in the 18th century by William Champion.(4) Alfred expanded the business to include the Warmley Tower Potteries, but, in 1863, after the death of his wife, he emigrated to Australia. He was described as “a persistent and passionate advocate for justice for the aborigines” and “an unrelenting opponent of the Pacific Island labour trade.” More on him here.

The shop at 36 Gracechurch Street narrowly escaped being requisitioned for the road works that were necessary because of the new approach to London Bridge. On the 1887 insurance map you can see that number 36 kept its straight facade onto Gracechurch Street, but number 37 and higher numbers were set back. In the 1833 tax records, the property of Davidson & Francis’s neighbour, Henry Blenkinsop, at number 37, is listed as having “late Naish & Blenkinsop” as occupiers and the “New London Bridge Company” as owner. The Durnford pin shop seems to have been abandoned in the early 1840s as the 1843 Post Office Directory fails to list them and although the 1844 land tax records still list Francis & Davidson there, by 1847 they have gone (the records for 1845 and 1846 do not seem to be available online). The 1848 Post Office Directory shows Lawrence Hyam, tailor, draper, outfitter, hosier, hatter & warehouseman on the premises.

1887 insurance map

Advert from the Official Catalogue of the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations, 1851

(1) LMA, COL/CCS/PL/01/128/J.
(2) The London Gazette, 20 September 1831.
(3) The Old Bailey, case t18410201-678.
(4) Doreen Street, Not Worth a Pin: Pin Making in the Kingswood Area, online here)


<– 37 Gracechurch Street 35 Gracechurch Street –>

Nathaniel Jones Woolley, chemist & druggist


Street View: 25
Address: 35 Piccadilly

Before 1837, the chemist’s shop at 35 Piccadilly, on the corner of Swallow Street, was occupied by John Knaggs who dissolved a partnership with one Jeremiah Pereira on the 4th of May, 1835.(1) Pereira is listed for the property in the tax records for 1835 and 1836, but by 1837, Nathaniel Jones Woolley had taken over and advertisements began to appear in the newspapers listing him as one of the addresses where corn plasters and cough lozenges could be bought.

Advertisement in The London Dispatch and People’s Political and Social Reformer, 28 January 1838

By the time Tallis came round to gather information for his Street View, Woolley was well-established and even thought it worth his while to invest in the vignette Tallis included in his Street View. The chemist’s is prominently depicted, although Woolley still added ‘successor to Knaggs and Co’ to his name to make sure everyone knew his firm had been there for quite some time and he was not just a new kid on the block. Also included in Tallis’s booklet was an advertisement of 1/3 page, once again advertising cough lozenges.

advertisement in The Fleet Papers, 27 March 1841

The London Gazette, 8 July 1851

A notice in The Chartist of 19 May 1839 listed the marriage of Nathaniel Woolley to Ann Mary, the only daughter of William Brown Esq. of St. Alban’s on the 14th of that month, but the 1841 census gives a Robert Haynes, chemist, and his wife Sarah, at number 35, with no trace of Woolley. Things had not gone well for Woolley and the 1851 census lists him, 39 years old and originally from Northampstonshire, in the debtors’ prison in Whitecross Street. He is listed as a surgeon. His fellow prisoner were mainly professional men, such as architects, bakers and engineers, all fallen on hard times. The entry in The London Gazette for the prisoners brought before the bankruptcy court on the 22nd of July, 1851, gives us more information about Woolley’s whereabouts before his bankruptcy. It is a rather long list of addresses and – apparently failed – employments. Two years later, another notice in The London Gazette (28 June 1853), has him once again in the debtor’s prison with a former address of 9, Sussex Street, Wandsworth Road.

In the mean time, the chemist’s shop at number 35 was run by Robert Haynes until 1843. The 1843 Post Office Directory still lists Haynes, but the tax records for 1843 already have William Higgs on the premises. He managed to stay on for a lot longer than his two predecessors, as he was still in Piccadilly in the late 1860s. Besides a chemist, Higgs was also a soda water manufacturer. Carbonated water had been invented in the late 1760s (see here), but in the 1830s, dispensing fountains were developed to ease distribution (see here). Soda water was thought to be beneficial and chemists were quick to introduce the fountains in their shops.

Soda fountain from the Industrial History of the United States, 1878

1880 Land tax record for the five redeemed properties

In 1851, an advertisement concerning the sale of the leasehold of 35 Piccadilly appeared in the newspapers and it tell us that it was held on lease from the Crown at a ground rent of £88 5s and that the “highly respectable” tenant paid £170 a year. The let was to expire in 1855 and the rent was then expected to rise to £220. In 1868, the highly respectable Higgs is still listed in the tax records, but in 1870, the names for numbers 33, 34 and 35 were all preceded by ‘late’ and ‘redeemed Lady Day 1870’, suggesting that the leaseholder or the Crown had other plans with the properties. In 1872, two more shops, numbers 36 and 37, were added to the list of redeemed properties, but nothing much seems to have happened as the situation was still the same in the 1885 tax records. By 1889, however, a new building housed the Counties and Capital Bank (photo here), but that building did not make it to the present time either as the satellite view below shows.

Google satellite view, showing number 35 opposite St. James’s Church

(1) The London Gazette, 12 May 1835.


<– 36 Piccadilly 34 Piccadilly –>

Edward Radclyffe, carver and gilder


Street View: 20
Address: 237 High Holborn

The story of Edward Radclyffe starts with a trade card that I found in the British Museum Collection. It depicts Radclyffe’s name, occupation and address within an elaborate frame or cartouche. The Museum dates it to circa 1830.

trade card c. 1830 (© The Trustees of the British Museum)

They also have two other, undated, trade cards for Radclyffe with a more elaborate design than the one above. One of these trade cards had the address 237 High Holborn, which is the same as that which the trade card above mentions and which is also the address where Tallis found our carver & gilder, but the other card has the address 49 Brewer Street, Golden Square.

trade cards (© The Trustees of the British Museum)

So, which address came first? Although the Museum does not date the two trade cards, they also possess a sheet of paper with a copy of the card with the Holborn address that has been annotated with information about Radclyffe’s address. The sheet was bequeathed to the museum by Sir Ambrose Hill, who wrote Signboards of Old London Shops, so I assume they are his notes. He apparently had a look at various directories and found that the Brewer Street address was used by Radclyffe in 1817, but that he used the High Holborn address from 1827 onwards. A look at some other directories can pinpoint the date of Radclyffe’s removal a bit more precisely. Pigot’s 1822 directory shows Radclyffe already at Holborn, but the 1819 Post Office Directory still has him at Brewer Street. He had been there at least since 1811 when he is listed in Brewer Street in the London and Country Directory The Land Tax records also indicate a move in 1820 or thereabouts. He is not yet to be found in the 1819 and 1820 tax records, but he is there in 1821. Tax records were usually slightly behind with their administration, so a date of 1820 for the move is most likely.

In 1824, Edward got into financial difficulty and the creditors were asked to convene with the assignees of the bankrupt’s estate to see whether Radclyffe’s household goods and stock in trade had to be sold.(1) Radclyffe must have been able to turn things around as he continued to work as a carver & gilder at High Holborn. In 1838, in an Old Bailey case, he described himself as a picture dealer who had a picture, described as “Time flying away with Beauty”, stolen from him.(2) Despite his move from Brewer Street to Holborn, Edward and his wife Harriet continued to have their children baptised at St. James’s, Piccadilly. I found ten children, some of them with very fancy names, but there may have been more.(3) The eldest son, Edward William, later joined his father in the business.

Although Radclyffe started his career as a carver and gilder and was listed as such in most directories, in the 1843 Post Office Directory that designation has been expanded to “carver & gilder & picture dealer, liner, restorer & importer”, and in 1848 to “importer of pictures, picture & glass frame manfr. pictures lined & restored”. By 1851, however, he had apparently reduced his line of work to “picture importer”. From 1846 onwards, it must have been Edward William who ran the business and changed the line of work as Edward had died in that year. Edward had left the business to his wife and after her demise it was to go to Edward William.(4)

In the 1851 census, number 237 was occupied by John Beale, engineer, his wife Harriet M.A. and a cousin Geo. D. Radclyffe, shoemaker. Harriet Beale was Harriet Mary Anne Radclyffe who had married John Beale in 1835 in the presence of her father and sister. So, although the business of Edward Radclyffe remained at number 237, the owner, Edward William, was no longer living above the property, or maybe he did, but was away at the time of the census. I have not yet traced his whereabouts in 1851.

Edward William was often named William and unfortunately, there was another Edward Radclyffe and another William Radclyffe around of roughly the same age. They were the sons of Willliam Radclyffe, an engraver from Birmingham. But the 1861 census helps us out as Edward William’s brother Adolphus is living with him at the time. Edward William is listed as plain William, a dealer of works of art and living at 9 Charing Cross. Harriet, by then a widow, is still living at 237 High Holborn, which is bracketed together in the census record with number 238. I have not traced Harriet any further than the 1861 census and in 1871, the property for 237/238 High Holborn is listed as having no one sleeping on the premises, although the enumerator says that it contained a seed shop. This may very well be related to a) James Carter whom Tallis lists as seedman and florist at 238 High Holborn and/or b) Dick Edward Radclyffe, Edward William’s son, who was also a seed merchant. We will sort all that out when we write up the entry for number 238.

Edward William is known to have acted as intermediary at sales and supplier of paintings to Angela Burdett Coutts, and the National Portrait Gallery also has some paintings that passed through his hands.(5) By 1871 Edward William has relocated to 9 Warwick Street, but he also had a shop at 123 Pall Mall, as in the 1865 probate registry for John Jones, a picture restorer, he is mentioned as picture dealer of 123 Pall Mall, and in a notice after his death about his estate, he is said to have been of 123 Pall Mall and 30 Portland Road, Notting Hill.(6) The lease of the Pall Mall shop and of the house in Warwick Street were auctioned by Christies in April 1874 and so was the stock of about 240 paintings.

The London Gazette, 26 May 1874

The Athenaeum, 4 April 1874

(1) The London Gazette, 27 November 1824.
(2) Old Bailey case t18380402-1009.
(3) Harriott Mary Anne (1809), Caroline Sarah (1810), Edward William (1812), Robert Bolton (1816), Leopold Henry Radclyffe (1818), Arthur Dodd Walwyn (1821), Rosina Elizabeth Minchin (1823), Augustus Napoleon George (1825), Septimus Augustus Howlett (1827), Adolphus Thomas Hall Radclyffe (1829).
(4) PROB 11/2039/274.
(5) Susan S. Lewis, The Artistic and Architectural Patronage of Angela Burdett Coutts, thesis Royal Holloway, University of London, January 2012 (online here). For NPG paintings see here and here.
(6) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1874. The executor was son Dick Edward Radclyffe, seed
merchant of 129 High Holborn. Estate valued at under £5,000.


<– 238 High Holborn 236 High Holborn –>

General Steam Navigation Company


Street Views: 17, 25 and 2 Suppl.
Address: 37 Regent Street

The General Steam Navigation Company had their office at 37 Regent Street, one of the houses of Piccadilly Circus, which was still called Regent Circus (South) when Tallis produced his booklets and looked similar to how Oxford Circus (Regent Circus North) still looks today, but it lost its complete circular form in 1886 with the construction of Shaftesbury Avenue. The Ordnance Survey map of 1893-95 below shows the changes in progress. The north-eastern corner of the Circus has already disappeared and the rounded off corners of the three remaining sections were to disappear over time when streets were widened and houses set back.(1) Number 37 is indicated by the arrow.

In February 1823, a meeting took place at the London Tavern, Bishopsgate Street, to see whether enough interest (read: money) could be raised to form a General Steam Navigation Company (GSNC). The idea was to raise a capital of £300,000 by issuing 150 shares of £2000, a large sum to fork out, but individual shares could be divided into halves or quarters. With the money raised steam ships were to be purchased or ordered to be built. It was envisaged that these ships would provide a regular service from London, Dover, Brighton, Southampton and Plymouth to various destinations on the Continent.(2) The official year for the start of the Company is 1824, as was proudly displayed on their flag. A notice in the papers a year and a half after the meeting in Bishopsgate Street, showed that the activities and the capital were to be increased considerably by issuing 20,000 shares of £100.(3) The GSNC initially had their office at 24 Crutched Friars, and later in Lombard Street, but certainly by 1834 they also had an office at 37 Regent Street.

Source: P&O Heritage website

After only a year in business, the Company announced that they were so successful that a dividend of eight per cent could be paid out to the shareholders and that fifteen vessels had been bought or built.(4) The company initially concentrated on passengers, but from the late 1820s they also transported livestock. By 1833, the company ran regular mail boats to Hamburg, Ostend, Boulogne and Rotterdam. In 1836, they acquired the six steam ships of the London and Edinburgh Steam Packet Company and the steamships of the rival Margate Steam Packet Company. Some of the GSNC’s personnel managed to be singled out for their achievements, such as, in November 1836, when one of the Company’s captains, W. Norwood of the Sir Edward Banks, was presented with a gold medal by the Emperor of Russia for rescuing some Russian citizens from the shipwreck of The Neptune on the Hinder Bank. To distribute among the crew, £40 was given.(5) And one Henry Cobby, of the GSNC’s Kingston-upon-Hull office, listed a design for “an apparatus for causing the paddle-wheels of a steam-vessel to revolve in a contrary direction to each other at one time, and thereby to turn the vessel round”.(6) I wonder how they managed to do that before Cobby’s invention.

advertisement in Northcroft’s Parliamentary Chronicle, 1834

listing of rates and conditions in The Pocket Cambist of 1836

Pleasure boats, ferrying people for trips to Southend, Margate or Ramsgate, were very popular, but after the SS Princess Alice disaster in 1878 (see here), the market slumped considerably and it took all the efforts of the company to restore public confidence. The Continental cattle trade was also in trouble due to the Franco-Prussian War, a cattle plague on the Continent, and some severe winters blocking traffic to northern harbours, forcing the company to decommission some ships.

advertisement in The Post-Office Directory for Edinburgh & Leith, 1854-55

Changing holiday destinations, the railways and cheap flights all contributed to the decline of the Steam Company and they were taken over in 1920 by P&O, although remaining under own management till 1972. More on this later part of the history of the GSNC is to be found here.

A list of all the ships that have been owned by the General Steam Navigation Company can be found here. And if you want to know more about the history of the GSNC, have a look at Sarah Palmer’s “‘The most indefatigable activity’: the General Steam Navigation Company, 1824-50” in The Journal of Transport History 1982.

Guidebook (Source: P&O website)

shipping token (© The Trustees of the British Museum)

One of the GSNC’s ships (Source: Ebay)

Dutch poster for the GSNC (Source: Geheugen van Nederland)

Poster GSNC (Source:

(1) Changes described in Survey of London, vols. 31-2; online here and here.
(2) The Morning Post, 12 February 1823.
(3) The Morning Post, 19 August 1824.
(4) The Morning Post, 12 August 1825.
(5) The Nautical Magazine and Naval Chronicle for 1838, p. 628 and List of Shipwrecks in 1836.
(6) Newton’s London Journal of Arts and Sciences, 1843.


<– 35 Regent Street 39 Regent Street –>

Henry Broughton, button maker


Street View: 74
Address: 135 Fenchurch Street

To tell you something about the history of 135 Fenchurch Street, we have to go back to the mid-eighteenth century and to another part of London. According to John D. Davis in his Pewter at Colonial Williamsburg (2003), John Townsend, the son of another John, a Berkshire yeoman, started his business as a pewterer in 1748, which would have been soon after he obtained the freedom of the City. He had started his apprenticeship with Samuel Jeffery, pewterer, on 10 November 1740, which would give him his freedom after the usual 7-year period in late 1747. He started his professional life at 47 Prescott Street, Goodmans Field, but could later be found in Booth Street, Spitalfields. In 1752 he married Sarah Hogge and that same year, he took on as an apprentice, Thomas Giffin, son of Thomas, another pewterer. In 1770 the Land Tax records for the St. Gabriel Fenchurch precinct record Thomas Giffin for the first time at the property where Tallis was to find Henry Broughton, that is, on the corner of Cullum Street and Fenchurch Street. John D. Davis mentions a partnership Townsend contracted with one Reynolds between 1767 and 1771, but from 1771 he was in business with his former apprentice Giffin. From 1778, the company was known as John Townsend & Co., which included Giffin and Townsend’s son-in-law Thomas Compton.

touch marks Giffin (Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 23.80.53)

Compton had been Townsend’s apprentice since 1763 and had married Townsend’s daughter Mary in 1775. Townsend and Compton had their pewter and tin-foil factory in Booth Street, Spitalfields, and in 1790, they took on one John Gray from Brentford as their apprentice. Thanks to him, we know a lot about Townsend and Compton as in 1839 the Memoir of the Life and Character of John Gray, a Member of the Society of Friends was published by Theodore Compton. Later editions included short biographies of Gray’s masters Townsend and Compton. The Quaker Townsend travelled widely in England and in America on “religious services and missions”. Apparently, his brother had settled in Canada and from there Townsend went to New York and Pennsylvania, among other places. From time to time members of the family went to America on business and lots of their pewter, “immense quantities” according to Davis, ended up in America.

touch mark Townsend and Compton (Source: Wayne & Hilt)

But to return to 135 Fenchurch Street. Thomas Giffin took the corner property in 1770, but the tax records usually listed the property for Townsend & Giffin and from 1780 onwards for Townsend & Co. until 1803 when only Thomas Compton is listed. Thomas died in 1817 and the property is then listed for T. & G. (or T. & H.) Compton until 1831 when Henry Broughton takes over. Henry Compton later traded from 37 Fenchurch Street. We will leave the Townsend/Compton business for what it was and concentrate on Broughton. He called himself a hardware and button warehouseman in the 1831 Sun Fire Office entry where he is stated as having insured the property, “in which no manufactury takes place”, for £1300. In 1834, he also insures his stock and utensils for £500. From 1836, he shared the property with Jonathan White junior who insured his household goods for £100, later increased to £150. By the time Tallis produced his booklet, Broughton shared the property with Gordon & Leith. Tallis does not give these gentlemen an occupation, but they were merchants, trading in the Caribbean, with just an office in Fenchurch Street. In the 1851 Post Office Directory they have been replaced by Charles Avery, colonial broker. More on these men in a later post.

Goad’s insurance map, 1887

Henry Broughton did not trade just from Fenchurch Street, but also from Bouverie Street, Fleet Street, although by the time his will was proved in 1849, he was said to be “late of Bouverie Street and now of Fenchurch Street”, so the Bouverie Street property was given up at some point. According to the list of military button manufacturers that Peter Nayler compiled, Henry Broughton had been in partnership with Thomas Nortzell at 21 Bouverie Street from 1820 until 1831(1), so up to the time of his move to Fenchurch Street. It is unclear whether he remained in Bouverie Street after the partnership with Nortzell was dissolved in 1831, possibly just with a warehouse, but it seems likely, because why would he otherwise still refer to that address in his will? After Broughton’s death, the Fenchurch property was listed in the tax records under the name of Broughton & Son till 1854 when one Edmund Jones took over.

advertisement for Broughton in the Tallis Street View booklet

Although the premises at number 135 were listed in the tax records for Broughton, or rather, for his son, until 1854, an advertisement in the newspapers of late 1852 suggests an earlier change of hands. The property is advertised as a haberdasher’s shop, but Broughton always called himself a hardwareman or button maker, so it seems that Jones took over earlier than the tax records suggest. The 1856 Post Office Directory lists Jones as hosier and shirt maker, sharing the property with Thomas Thompson, solicitor. More on later occupants of 135 Fenchurch Street in the forthcoming post on Gordon & Leith, but for now, this is where this post stops.

advertisement in The Morning Chronicle, 28 October 1852

(1) Partnership dissolved 30 June 1831. Source: The London Gazette, 12 July 1831.


<– 136 Fenchurch Street 134 Fenchurch Street –>