Thomas PALMER was a book seller and book binder. I know this because of census entries, parish records and marriage certificates.
The first indication of his profession was his son George Wright PALMER’s marriage certificate, where Thomas’ profession was listed as ‘Bookseller’. George had given his place of birth as Portsea, Hampshire on the 1861 census which allowed me to locate his father Thomas in Hampshire on the 1851 and 1861 censuses despite George not being in the home (more about the 1841 later). Like any keen family historian, I wanted to know exactly where this family lived.
The censuses gave me South Street (no.53) as an address but where on South Street? House numbering has not been consistent over time and I knew from comparing historical and modern maps that South Street, Gosport is a lot longer today than in the 1800s. I turned to trade directories to assist me.
Thomas didn’t appear on the 1871 census but he DID appear in the 1867 ‘Kelly’s Directory of Hampshire’ as a secondhand bookseller in Upper South street, Gosport. This would’ve narrowed it down a bit except I had no idea which end of the street was upper?
The 1855 ‘Post Office Directory of Hampshire, Wiltshire & Dorsetshire’ specified number 53 Upper South Street (as did the 1861 census) but I recall the street numbers of the past may not necessarily be in the same location as street numbers today.
However, the 1859 ‘Directory of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight’ listed Thomas at 61 South street.
There were no other appropriate directories on the Historical Directories site for me to search. Thomas does not appear in the 1828 or 1844 Pigot’s directories of Hampshire, nor have I found him yet in the 1841 census.
So, the address list compiled so far is as follows:
- 1851 – South street
- 1855 – 53 Upper South street
- 1859 – 61 South street
- 1861 – 53 South street
- 1867 – Upper South street
- view parish marriage record for Thomas & Ruth
- find Thomas on the 1841 census
- order Thomas’ death certificate