If you lived in the West End of Derby in the 19th century, you were considered to live in the slums. It is here that the families I’ve researched lived mainly in what was known as court housing (see Discover Liverpool for a good explanation of this type of housing).
An article on the Derby Telegraph site mentions that this area was part of an 1849 report to the General Board of Health on “The Sewerage, Drainage and Supply of Water and the Sanitary Conditions of the Inhabitants of Derby”;
In Willow Row, Court 1, 103 inhabitants shared two privies and residents reported that milk would turn to curd when mixed with water from the communal pump…
Observations of Walker Lane, where 75 cases of typhus fever were reported between June 15 and September 14, 1847, were: “The houses are of the most inferior description and the inhabitants of a piece with their houses; to crown all, there are lodging houses, which are the principal headquarters of vagrants, and of those comers and goers who, for reasons best known to themselves, prefer darkness to light.”
It is in these conditions that Hannah Bates, William Lamb (& their families) lived most of their lives. The slum clearances of the 1930s mean that the court housing is now long gone but it’s important to keep these living conditions in mind when researching the people of the area and trying to understand their lives.
This is almost a continuation of my post about antenuptial fornication but I have decided to post separately as I am still not sure whether this is the same person.
In the Dumfries Kirk Sessions of 1822 (which are searchable online), James BROWN was “named as the father of Jean Smith’s child; [and] gave satisfaction for this in the parish of Applegarth” (Archive Ref: CH2/537/12). I believe ‘gave satisfaction’ (in this sense), meant that the father gave monetary compensation to the parish for their support of the child.
So was this James BROWN my ancestor, who appeared in the Dunscore parish records 6 years later for antenuptial fornication? With such a common name I cannot be sure but I can assess the likelihood of it being the same man for future reference.
First, was he old enough to be involved in this? Although I don’t have his birth record, the 1851 census suggests he was born in 1801, which means he would have been 21 at the time – a prime age for this kind of crime. 😉
James Brown and family on the 1851 census
(Interestingly, their neighbour, Andrew Lorimer (appearing at bottom of image above) was the certifying physician on James’ death certificate.)
Next, was he near enough to be involved? Applegarth is roughly 20 miles from Dunscore and about 30 miles from my James’ home, Glencairn. Not a short walk, but not impossible distances.
Map showing locations of Applegarth, Dunscore and Glencairn (Moniaive) in relation to each other
So I can’t rule out my James Brown as the father of Jean Smith’s illegitimate child and I have kept hold of this genealogical tidbit. To get any closer to proving this, I would need to check for further information in the Kirk Session records and the Applegarth parish records for any further information on Jean SMITH and her child.
Check for further information in the Kirk Session records
Check Applegarth parish records for the child’s birth
Update: Checked Applegarth, Dunscore, Glencairn and Lochmaben parishes (via ScotlandsPeople) for any birth with Jean SMITH as parent (between 1800 – 1825) and any SMITH birth (between 1816 – 1825) – no likely entries found (all have listed fathers).
After his second wife died, George seemed to move around, lodging at various places in London. His marriage to second wife Emily FELLA was so short that it didn’t feature in any of the censuses (they married in 1873 – she died in 1875). Luckily for me, Emily’s death certificate lists George as the informant and his residence as 54 Swinton St, London (Emily also died here).
Death Certifcate of Emily Jane FELLA -1875
A quick search of Rumsey’s site informs me that houses still exist at this site:
I am aware that house numbers changed at some time in the past and need to check that number 54 Swinton St today is the same number 54 Swinton Street of 1875. Even so, it’s another address for me to visit when I’m in London. I like being able to get a feel of how my ancestor’s lives may have lived.
I used Google’s street view for a quick peek at the area. Click and drag the orange man on to the map and use the on screen tools to have a look around.
Did the PALMERs live (and in Emily’s case, die) in these buildings:
Whilst reading my copy of ‘Your Family Tree’ magazine, I came across a great resource for people with London ancestors. The David Rumsey Historical Map Collection includes an 1843 London map which you can transpose over google’s current satellite map. This would have saved me a lot of time a couple of years ago.
I don’t have many links to London in my tree. The only significant person in my tree to reside in London was George Wright PALMER and part of his family.
George was born in Portsea and his job in the Royal Navy caused him to move around a bit. For some reason, George was in London at the time of the 1871 census. He was living at 33 Marshall St with his first wife, Mary Ann and youngest son, Edward.
When I went on the hunt for this address a couple of years ago, I had to switch between windows and use educated guesses to pinpoint the locations. With Rumsey’s site, I was able to search and quickly locate Marshall St in Westminster.
Here is a photograph I took of what I believe to be 33 Marshall St (I found it the hard way but using this map overlay it was so quick and simple):
Here is a picture I found of 33 – 36 Marshall St, taken in the 1960s (annoyingly from the opposite direction to my picture):
It’s hard to say how long George and his reduced family lived at this address. Mary Ann died the next year and he married his second wife, Emily Jane FELLA in 1873. Tragically, she died just two years later.
I’m not often able to find detailed information on the houses in which my ancestors lived, which makes the details I found at British History Online even more special.
Most of these buildings […] were erected in the 1820’s by or under the supervision of Thomas Finden after the closure of Carnaby Market […]. This redevelopment was uniformly planned, small in area and scale, but forming to-day an unusually pleasant oasis for pedestrians, and offering facilities for shopping away from the through streets. There is accommodation for shop-keepers over the shops, as well as for chamber trades such as tailoring. The least altered parts are the block bounded on the west by Newburgh Street and on the south by Ganton Street, and the two pedestrian courts west of Newburgh Street—Lowndes Court and Marlborough Court. The prevailing form was thefour-storey terrace house fronted in stock brick, two windows wide with plain window-openings, and a continuous plain parapet with stone coping. The windows, most of which have their original narrow glazing-bars, have stone sills. The ground floors were built as shops from the beginning, for this was the period of the planned shopping street… The ground floors of Nos. 33–36 Marshall Street have thin pilaster-strips and a continuous entablature; space appears to have been provided for shop-windows but, except at No. 35, these spaces have only one domestic-size window each. The ground floors of Nos. 20–22 Peter Street are similar.
(From: ‘Marshall Street Area’, Survey of London: volumes 31 and 32: St James Westminster, Part 2 (1963), pp. 196-208. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=41471 Date accessed: 10 January 2010). (The bold font was added by myself for ease of reference).