Monday, 21 April 2008

The Horne Family

Vivienne Lewis (nee Horne) writes: I am a direct descendent of the Horne family who were involved in the coal merchant business and subsequently banking and insurance in central London. Just recently I found out that my great-great-great grandfather had a house in Gordon Square which I believe is in the centre of Bloomsbury. In the 1841 Census he is recorded as living there with his wife Ann, his son Neale Horne and wife Louisa, their daughter Ann, and two more members of the Horne family, namely Mary and Julia, but I do not know their relationship to the others. Also recorded as living there are three female servants and one male servant. Unfortunately, in the 1841 Census there are no numbers listed in Gordon Square, but the entry above is of the Musgrave family, which includes a barrister and the entry below is of a James Harding who is recorded as being an artist.

The Horne coal merchant business was located at Bankside, and both Thomas and his Brother, William, were born on Bankside, the business having been founded by their great-grandfather, Benjamin Horne. As a point of interest, William's son, Edgar Horne, was a founding member and the first chairman of the Prudential Insurance Company, and subsequently his son, William Edgar, was also Chairman of the Prudential.

Before Thomas Horne relocated to Gordon Square, he had been living at his house in Bankside (where the Globe Theatre now stands), with his business close by. They were of Quaker origin, with a social conscience, and in the 1830s he had tried unsuccessfully to get a standard pay rate fixed for the porters so they would not have to compete with each other when work was scarce. This fact I found out from a book published last year called The House by the Thames: and the people who lived there, written by Gillian Tindall (London: Pimlico 2007).

Although I have yet to find out whether Thomas had any input into any of the institutions in Bloomsbury, he does come over as an individual who liked to be involved. At the time of the 1841 Census he was 56 and he was still alive in the 1861 Census when I found him living at 21 Highbury Grove, Islington.