Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Bloomsbury resident finds a new life in Manitoba

Mark Sanderson's great grandmother, Eliza Jane Adkin, was born in 1856 at St Giles (a parish next to Bloomsbury) and was baptized at St George, Bloomsbury. At that time, her family was living on Little Russell Street. He says, 'Eliza Jane did not tell us much about her family history before she died in the late 1940s. However, from what I am learning, her father, Robert Isaiah Adkin, was married to Sarah Wallwork in 1846 at St Pancras Church. At that time, he was living at Tottenham Place (now Beaumont Street). Sadly, the records show that Robert died in 1859, when Eliza Jane was only 3 years old. The 1861 census shows that Sarah Adkin, his widow, was a lodging house keeper at 20 Gilbert Street (now Gilbert Place), Bloomsbury.'

The top photograph shows the entrance to Gilbert Place from Museum Street (close by the British Museum). The entrance to Little Russell Street is also visible and runs parallel to Gilbert Place. Gilbert Place (middle picture) is not very attractive although it might have been better at mid-19th century. Not all the building are numbered, and the presence of a large block of flats built after the period, confuses the numbering. From what I can make out, number 20 was near the location of the now empty Quinto Bookshop (bottom picture).

Eliza Jane, then aged 5, is not listed with her family in the 1861 census, but in that year, her mother Sarah remarried. Her new husband was George Alfred Courcelle. Sarah died during the next decade for her husband is listed as a widower in the 1871 census. Eliza is not mentioned although her youngest brother, Charles T was living with his step-father.

Eliza appears on the 1881 census as a lady's maid. The following year, aged 26, she married Thomas Tuttle, a coachman, and they moved to Canada to become homesteaders in Manitoba. Mark says that they endured many privations but raised a fine family on the bald prairie.