Sunday, April 29, 2012

the WEEDENs and the Anchor Brewery and Charles Booth's poverty survey

I came across something interesting this week with regard to my Southwark ancestors (the porters, coopers, etc). I know from the various censuses that they lived within spitting distance of the Thames, and now I've discovered that Gainsford St where Richard WEEDEN and his family were living for several years, was owned by Courage Brewery. So, it would appear that this is who they worked for. The map below shows quite clearly the block that the Anchor Brewhouse took up, with Gainsford St running NW to SE near the bottom. The Courage website gives details of the history of the brewery, which brewed at the Anchor Brewery

So I went looking for more on the history of the Brewery and got sidetracked into Charles Booth's study of poverty in London. (more to come)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Jonathan and Rebekah WEEDEN

Today I'm going to write about Jonathan WEEDEN, my 4x great grandfather.  I have managed to gather several documents about his life despite him living almost 275 years ago, including his marriage bond, and his will. His will, in particular, allowed a very high brick wall to be knocked down!!

He was born on 4 May 1750 in Chears Yard, Bermondsey and baptised 9 days later at St Mary Magdalene Church, Bermondsey, son of George WEEDEN, gardener, and Mercy his wife.

Jonathon married twice. Firstly to Sarah Carter by licence on 1 Aug 1770. The marriage bond is available, and quite exciting as it's the only marriage bond I've ever seen. How exciting to be able to view his actual signature! From this document I was able to see that he was living in the parish of St Olave's Hart Street. (Samuel Pepys' parish). Not far north of the river and close to the Tower of London.

Jonathan was a porter, and worked the route across the river from the City of London into Southwark. I know this from a 1772 document viewed online from the National Archives: George Mills accused of stealing a silk handkerchief from the pocket of Jonathan Weeden of Nightingale Lane, City of London, porter, as it he bringing a load out of the City into the Borough of Southwark and the end of Tooley Street.

Sarah died in Dec 1771, just 16 months after their marriage. Their daughter Susannah, born May 1771, died aged  just 18 months.

 Jonathan was now free to remarry,  to Rebekah BRITTON  on 15 May 1774 at St George the Martyr, Southwark by banns, (another lovely flourishing signature from Jonathan, and an X for Rebekah). One of the witnesses was George WEEDEN,  (his brother, as his father George had died in 1742). They had 10 children, and their baptism records show that the family had settled in Southwark after this marriage, living on Five Foot Lane. Jonathan's occupation varied between victualler, porter and Gent!

Jonathan died on 14 Aug 1792 in Lambeth, and was buried back at St Mary Magdalene Church, Bermondsey in a vault in the churchyard. (I am unable to read what it says in the PR after that. Looks like Desk Sewin???**)

Jonathan's will was published on 25th August, and described him as 'late Ticket Porter, now Victualler of Lambeth , Surrey.' Rebekah died in 1805, and also left an informative will.

** Eric thinks it says Desk Service, and I agree....but what does that mean?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Frank Winnold PRENTICE-Titanic survivor, born Downham Market, Norfolk

Frank Prentice-survivor
Today's posting is a diversion from my family tree, although the person it describes was born in my town.

Frank Winnold PRENTICE was born in Downham Market, Norfolk on 17 Feb 1889.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4th April 1912, he gave his address as 71 Denzil Avenue, Southampton. He transferred from the Celtic. As an Assistant Storekeeper he received monthly wages of £3 15s.

At the time of the collision, Prentice was in his berth on the port side of E deck (a cabin he shared with 5 other kitchen storekeepers) sitting in his bunk talking to another storekeeper. He didn't notice anything strange other than the ship stopping. He went up onto the promenade deck to survey the scene and saw the forward well deck covered in ice. 

He either helped to load the lifeboats or watched the loading, but later in the night he ended up on the poop deck chatting with his mates. 

Cyril Ricks-victim
When the poop deck became crowded with people, Prentice, with his colleagues Cyril Ricks and Michael Kieran, climbed over the port side railing and jumped into the icy water. He found Ricks was injured, and floating nearby, and stayed with the man until Ricks died. Prentice began swimming and found Lifeboat 4, where the crew and women in the boat pulled him in.  He had earlier helped a wealthy Los Angeles socialite put on her life jacket. She was in lifeboat 4 and recognised him after he had been picked up and wrapped her coat round him – helping him to live.

Prentice signed-on to the Oceanic on 10 July 1912. He later recalled that he was on board when one of Titanic's lifeboats was found drifting in mid-Atlantic. He was the only one of the five Norfolk survivors to cross the Atlantic again.  

Here are two clips from interviews. Frank features in both videos.His memories are strong, and he still feels the pain after all these years.


Shortly before his death  Frank Prentice told his story in a British documentary Titanic: A Question of Murder. He died on 30 May 1982 at the age of 92

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Bonnets 1960

Here I am with my elder sister Cynthia on Easter Sunday 1960. We are wearing our Easter bonnets, so have either just returned from Sunday School, or are about to go. We attended the Union Chapel at Hunstanton. 

 Easter Sunday meant chocolate! This was courtesy of my great aunt Ada who ran a sweet shop in London. Every Easter she sent us a huge box full of chocolate eggs, which stood on the piano for at least a week before Easter. Of course we were not allowed them until Easter Day!!!


Friday, April 6, 2012

Richard James WEEDEN my great great uncle

Richard James WEEDEN was the brother of my great, great grandfather Joseph. I had no knowledge of him until I started researching, and was lucky enough, through the internet, to make contact with two of his direct descendants who were able to send me today's images.

Richard is a name that runs through the WEEDEN family, normally given to the eldest son. So, Richard was the oldest son of Richard (still to come) and Sarah (nee DOWNES) born on 13 Feb 1856 at John St, Southwark. In 1861 the family had moved to 59, Gainsford St, Southwark, Surrey. Gainsford Street is in the heart of Docklands today, so I have no idea what their house looked like. Richard father was a cooper, like his son Joseph.

Ten years later in 1871, the family have moved again to Freeschool St, Southwark St John, Richard is 15, but no occupation is listed for him.

By 1881, a new address, Three Oak Lane. Richard is now 25, still unmarried, and has followed his father's occupation into cooperage (barrel making).

Louisa Hogg
Holy Trinity
On 5 Aug 1882, Richard married Louisa HOGG  in Holy Trinity Church, Newington. [I've just discovered that in 1973, when plans to convert it into an orchestral rehearsal hall were well under way, the building burnt overnight in a spectacular fire, which destroyed most of the interior. It was recon­structed as Henry Wood Hall].

Richard James and Louisa had seven children, all of which survived to adulthood. Their family lived at Monson Road for at least the next thirty years. I have photos of three of their children.

Helen b. 1888
Edward (Teddy) b. 1893
Winifred Kate (Kitty) b. 1899

Remarkably, 87, Monson Rd survived the Blitz, and I was able to find a photograph of it!

Richard died in Arundel, Sussex in 1936.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

MIMMS/JONES in Canada (continued from 30th March)

What I know about Margaret and John's children in Canada:

Having arrived in 1912, they had two further sons. Thomas E Jones in 1915, and Herbert Jones in 1917. 
Their John Arthur Jones married Victoria Edith Morrow on 9 Nov 1923, Carleton, Ontario.
Their daughter Ella Jones married Charles Walter Lavergne on 11 Feb 1926, Carleton, Ontario. She died on 4 Aug 1930 (perhaps in childbirth).

The 1930 US census shows that John and Margaret with two of their sons, Herbert and Thomas E, were living at Parson's Boulevard, Queens, New York City, USA. John was a plasterer. This census tells me the birth years of these two Canadian-born sons. It also tells me when the family went from Canada to USA (1924)

On 23rd Sep 1931, John Jones attempted to cross back from USA into Canada. Currently I don't know what took him to USA.  The manifest which has survived is full of useful information. It shows that he was aged 53, from Brighton, England, married, and his mother's name was Helen Jones, currently residing at Islington Rd, Brighton, Susses, England. Additionally, he had lived in Canada before, between 11 April 1907 and 16 Jun 1924 living at 19, Lett St, Ottawa. The address to which he was trying to travel was his son's house, Earl JONES, 15, Finlay Ave, Ottawa. He was in possession of $150. His application was rejected.

However, he tried again on 2 November 1931. He travelled to Ottawa, Ontario. This time, he stated that his previous place of residence was St John, NB. He was accepted. Margaret wasn't accompanying him.

She has her own manifest 24 days after John was readmitted. Dated 26 November 1931, as Mrs Margaret Jones, housewife, travelling with two Canadian born sons (not named). Previously resident in Canada 1912-1924, Ottawa.  Husband John Jones of 15, Findlay Ave, Ottawa. Next of kin, Louise Godden, sister, of 82, Preston Drive, Brighton, England. $25 to her name. They were accepted.

I was hoping to have received some photos of this branch by now, but have decided to post today as I want to get backto maternal father's line of the Weedens tomorrow., starting with Joseph WEEDEN's brother Richard James.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

James and Ann MIMMS my 3x great grandparents

James MIMMS , born c1801, was the brother of John who I told you about yesterday. The situation for labouring families in Eynesbury had worsened in the previous nine years. By 1830 there was a severe agricultural depression. many were unemployed. John had, perhaps seen this depression coming. William Cobbett witnessed this unease up and down the country in 'Rural Rides'.

Two previous harvests had been very poor and 1830 looked to be no different. What made the difference and fuelled the unemployment was the adoption of threshing machines, This became the symbol of the labourers misery.  What followed was the greatest machine-breaking episodes in English history, and became known as the Swing Riots.

In the midst of this revolt, James MIMMS decided to leave his agricultural life behind him and seek his fortune in London,  as his elder brother had set out to do nine years earlier.  Perhaps he intended returning. We will never know. Presumably brother John had sent home letters with news of his alternative life selling fish.

James will have followed the Roman Great North Road towards London. Perhaps he walked some of the way, and sometimes managed to take a ride for some stretches. No doubt he slept in hedgerows. As he approached London he may have decided to visit John and Sarah in Hampstead. Again we will never know. What we do know is, that James continued into London, and in fact crossed the Thames to Southwark. This was the only ward of the City of London south of the river. James settled in Southwark St Thomas, marrying Ann WINFIELD there in 1833.

By 1841, James and Ann had a small family consisting of William, James and  Francis (future father of Margaret Wilhemina). James' occupation was a porter. In the following ten years, four more children were born (only one girl altogether). These were Thomas, Mary Ann, Benjamin and  John Henry WinfieldJames was now listed as an apprentice tin plate worker. They were, after all, living very close to the Thames, so undoubtedly there were opportunities for a variety of dock work, which kept many members of my family employed for another 70 odd years. We can follow his occupation through the baptisms of his seven children.  When he died a year after the 1851 census, his widow Ann described him as a cheesesmonger's warehouseman. James died of kidney failure on 11th June 1852. He was a patient in St Thomas's Hospital. However, the hospital unusually did not bury James. Somehow, Ann found the money to bury him privately in St Olave's Churchyard, Bermondsey, aged just 49.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

John MIMMS fish hawker of Hampstead - my great, great uncle

John was born in 1797, the son of John and Lydia MIMMS.  He was the first to leave his birth village of Eynesbury, to travel towards London to start a new life,  soon after his mother died in 1821.

Flask Walk early 1900s
He travelled as far as Hendon, where he met and married a local girl Sarah PEACOCK. They settled in the old and select village of Hampstead where they raised seven children. John spent his whole life in Hampstead where he worked as a fish hawker. They lived in Flask Walk, behind Flask Inn (formerly known as The Thatched House).
The Flask owes its name to a philanthropic bequest of 1689 when ‘six acres of waste land lying and being about certain medicinal waters called the wells’ were given over to the benefit of the poor of Hampstead.  Spring water was placed into flasks, which were sold for threepence each. The water was said to have medicinal qualities, and was sold throughout London.

John may well have sold fish from a stall like this

John died in April 1863, aged 66,  and was buried in Hampstead St John Churchyard.


Monday, April 2, 2012

John MIMMS and Lydia ENDERSBY of Eynesbury, Huntingdonshire

Hen Brook today
John MIMMS married Lydia ENDERSBY by licence on 24th Feb 1788 at St. Neot's Parish Church, Huntingdonshire..Their first child George was born just three months later. They lived their whole life in Eynesbury,  just across the small stream called Hen Brook which separated the village from the market town of St Neot's.

village sign
By 1805, their family complete,  they still had 10 out of 11 children, having lost just one the previous year(aged 15). Quite an achievement for the time!  They lived in very poor conditions in a small labourer's cottage. Peter MIMMS, my cousin who wrote "Only for Life" drew a comparison between their wattle and daub cottage, and those written about by Flora Thompson in 'Lark Rise to Candleford' 80 years later.  William Cobbett called them hovels, and the inhabitants, wretched. 

There was no piped water, even for the nearby town, until the end of the century. The sole village pump was next to the church. Clothes were washed in Hen Brook, and dried on the hedgerows.  John's wife Lydia died in 1821, and it was shortly after this, that son John set out for London (see next post).
St Neot's Workhouse, Eaton Socon

The area was famous for its lace-making, and their daughter Lydia earned her living as a lace-maker. When not in work she was found in the old parish Workhouse (in 1841). She never married and died at the age of 65 in St Neot's Workhouse, Eaton Socon. Her cause of death was 'exhaustion from chronic disease of brain and epilepsy'.

Eynesbury Church today

John lived until 1851, when he was in his 86th year. He joined his wife in the churchyard. A long and hard life, bringing up a young family during the French and Napoleonic Wars. 
Great Exhibition

His children had left home during the period of post-war depression, and the 'Swing Riots' of 1830. He survived the Hungry 40's, and died in the year of Prince Albert's Great Exhibition. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Wm Francis MIMMS ~ 8th (King's Royal Irish) Hussars

William Francis MIMMS was my great, great uncle, another brother to James my great, great grandfather. He was the first born of James and Ann, and after his father died in 1852, when William Francis was 18 years old,  it fell to him to earn a living to look after his mother and six siblings.  At that time he was  a tinplate worker, making metal boxes for stroring groceries in the warehouses along the Thames. It will not have been a well paid job. Maybe this is one reason he enlisted to the 8th (King's Royal Irish) Hussars, at the Westminster recruiting office in November 1854. He was sent to the Crimea, where he served seven months. He went on to India where he served six and a half years, earning the Indian Mutiny Medal.   Altogether he served 21 years in the 8th Hussars, and reached the rank of Troop Sergeant Major.  He was awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct medal, and achieved a 2nd class school certificate. His pension was 1s 10 1/2d a day when he was discharged in 1875.

A year later, in 1876, he married an Irish widow, Margaret Bowman. They settled in Limehouse where they lived for the next twenty years in various rented rooms.  By 1881 he had found himself a job as school attendance officer.  The census describes him as  Chelsea Pensioner and Schoolboard Visitor. In 1891 he is described as Visitor for School Board and School Inspector.

In all, he served 17 years working for the School Board. His health began to deteriorate, and he finished work just a year before he died, at the age of 63, from diabetic complications.