Thursday, 22 October 2009

From Bloomsbury to the Cape of Good Hope

Following my blog entry, Wesleyan Methodists emigrate to the Cape of Good Hope, Rodney Jones contacted me from Randburg, South Africa. He wrote: 'One of my wife's distant ancestors has links to Bloomsbury.

James Hancock (top picture) was born on 1 May 1776 in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, England. He married Ann Kennedy (b. 1790, picture above) on 21 February 1808 at the Church of St George the Martyr, Bloomsbury. Ann was a Londoner, born in Bride Lane, in the City. James and Ann were two of the 1820 Settlers to South Africa, part of Hezekiah Sephton's party in the ship Aurora (344 passengers). They departed from London on 15 February 1820, and arrived at Simon's Bay on 1 May 1820. They arrived at their final destination of Algoa Bay, Cape Colony, on 15 May 1820.

James Hancock was a china painter. He founded an art school in Grahamstown. James Hancock was a Wesleyan lay preacher. In 1833, he had a street named after him (Hancock Street) in Port Elizabeth.

He died on 20 August 1837, in Port Elizabeth, Cape Colony. He is buried in the Old Settler Cemetery, South End, Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Any further information about James Hancock would be of great interest to me.'

Hezekiah Sephton, who led the emigrating party, was a carpenter of 1 Bedford Court, Red Lion Square, Bloomsbury. He and other members of the group seem to have been members of the Great Queen Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, which was just over the Bloomsbury border in Holborn. They formed themselves into the United Wesleyan Methodist Society, with a committee responsible for the organisation of the party. The selection of the clergyman was put in the hands of the committee of the General Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society, whose choice fell on the Rev William Shaw. Read more about this journey by clicking on the link to Hezekiah Sephton.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

The Barton family, the abolition of slavery, and the founding of Birkbeck College

Dave Barton has asked to be put in touch with Vivienne Lewis (née Horne), whose Gx3 grandfather, Thomas Horne, had a house in Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, and ran his successful coal merchant business from Bankside (where the Globe Theatre now stands, top picture) – see blog entries 21 April 2008, 30 March 2009 and 2 July 2009.

Dave writes: ‘Vivienne and I are 6th cousins. Her Gx3 grandfather and his brother William Horne were amongst the children of Anthony Horne. Anthony and Elizabeth Horne (my Gx4 grandma) were amongst the children of Thomas Horne senior (d.1802), who was the son of Benjamin Horne, who founded the coal business. Thomas Horne senior was my Gx5 grandfather, through his daughter Elizabeth (1760-1833, second picture from top), who married John Barton (1754-1789, third picture from top), one of the nine English Quaker members of the “Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade” set up in 1787 by William Wilberforce and two other Anglicans. Their efforts ultimately led to the passing, by British Parliament, of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act (1807).’

John Barton’s son, John (1789-1852, Dave’s Gx3 grandfather, bottom picture), was a botanist and political economist, and a lifelong supporter of schools and mechanics’ institutes (established to promote the education of working people). In December 1823 he was elected a member of the governing committee responsible for setting up the London Mechanics' Institution, and his name was included on the foundation stone in the entrance hall of Birkbeck College, then in Chancery Lane. (The London Mechanics’ Institution was renamed Birkbeck Literary and Scientific Institution in 1866, and is now Birkbeck College, part of the University of London, in Bloomsbury). John Barton was acquainted with its chief founder, George Birkbeck, and other members such as David Ricardo, George Grote, Jeremy Bentham (also a founder, in 1826, of University College London) and William Cobbett. Barton’s economic writings influenced both David Ricardo and Thomas Malthus although he disagreed with both on aspects of employment and wages. Like Malthus, Barton tackled the issue of the effects of overpopulation. He argued that only where land was cheap and plentiful would economic growth be maximised and he therefore supported emigration to Canada and other colonization schemes. His ideas were discussed by Karl Marx in Das Kapital.

In 1827, John Barton left the Society of Friends and joined the Church of England, becoming a churchwarden at Stoughton, Chichester, West Sussex. His first wife having died in 1822, he married Fanny Rickman in 1828, and they had nine children. Fanny and their 4-year-old daughter, Sarah, died of scarlet fever in 1842.

About 1833, John Barton had his first four economics pamphlets bound in one volume and gave copies to Lord Grey who steered the Reform Bill through Parliament, Sir Robert Peel, the Duke of Richmond, Lord G Lennox, Sir George Staunton FRS and Lord Althorp. John was half-brother to Bernard Barton (1784-1849), a minor poet, and Maria Hack (née Barton, 1777-1844), a children’s writer. John, Bernard and Maria have entries in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Dave writes: ‘Every one of John Barton of Chichester's sons and son-in-laws were vicars! My Gx2 grandfather was another John (Rev. John Barton, a missionary in India and then Vicar of Holy Trinity Cambridge). He married a lady called Emily Eugenia Elliott, and her family history goes way way back, not just because of the already extensive Elliott pedigree but also because her grandmother Alicia Boileau was of Huguenot stock.’
Dave Barton contacted me in November 2010 to say that he has now set up a Barton family history site.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Henry T Packman and the monster Christmas pudding

This newspaper feature from the Daily Mirror, 3 December 1909, tells of a charity football match to be played between 'The Church and The Stage' - ie. 'eleven athletic clerics who are all really good players' versus 'eleven actors' - in aid of 'The Daily Mirror Fund for providing hungry London children with Christmas Pudding on Christmas Day.' The match was to be played on Monday 13 December at the Stamford Bridge ground, 'very kindly lent by the Chelsea Football Club'.
About 5000 puddings were to be produced by a legion of cooks at the 'Palace of Pudding', 41a Quaker Street, Spitalfields, in London's East End. In addition, 'A monster Christmas pudding is promised by Mr H T Packman, proprietor of the Dr Butler's Head (a pub in Moorgate owned by Henry T, which has a great medical history!), and a well-known salesman in the Central Meat Markets.'

The pudding recipe was supplied by Messrs Alfred Bird & Sons (Bird's Custard) so if you fancy making an Edwardian Christmas pudding 100 years after the original recipe was published, here it is (makes six puddings):

Ingredients: 3lb breadcrumbs, 1.5lb flour, 6lb raisins, 3lb currants, 4.5 lbs suet (finely chopped), 4.5 lb moist sugar, 0.75lb mixed peel (sliced), whole nutmeg (grated), powdered cinnamon (saltspoonful), salt (teaspoonful), 2.5 pints milk, egg power (6 heaped teaspoonfuls).

Mix together with wooden spoon. Moisten gradually with milk, pour into well-buttered basins. Tie on pudding-cloths, buttered and sprinkled with flour. Boil for 8 hours.


The children of Henry Tillett Packman

These lovely portraits are the children of Henry Tillett Packman and his wife Ann (see blog dated 29 September), sent to me by his great grandson, Roger Packman. The photographs were taken by Lang Sims, 437 Brixton Road, South London. Roger reckons they were taken about 1895/6, a couple of years before the family moved to Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury.

From the top, the children are: Annie Wensley (b. 1881), William Henry (b. 1883) - Roger's grandfather, Nellie May (b. 1884), Gladys Mary (b. 1886), and Winifred Dorothy (b. 1890).

Roger writes: 'I hope you will agree they are a wonderful set of photos with the little girls all in similar dresses but with different neck brooches.'
More about the adventures of some of these children in later features.

Solved! The mystery of Henry Tillett Packman's 'Tavistock Theatre'

Roger Packman has solved the mystery of his great grandfather's ownership of the 'Tavistock Theatre' (see blog entry 29 September). It was a spoof! Roger recently met up with a relative, Lesley Joffick, with whom he shares Henry Tillett Packman as a great grandfather, and Lesley showed him her collection of the printed theatre programmes.

Henry T was a wealthy wholesale and retail butcher who traded at London's Smithfield Market and also had a number of retail outlets, the only one in Bloomsbury being at 40 Store Street.

Roger says: 'There is an element of disappointment in that Henry T didn't actually own a theatre, but on the other hand the family and friends/neighbours had clearly taken huge trouble to produce these Christmas events. I think the wit and humour contained within them plus getting the programmes actually printed is a fantastic example of the lengths that they would have gone to in order to produce their own entertainment, by comparison with what of course is available today.'

The programme reproduced above dates from 1907. It is clearly also a very good exercise in marketing, and Henry T may indeed have distributed these amongst his customers for advertising purposes. By including advertisements from other local traders, he may also have offset the cost of printing! A clever man.

Roger has sent me lots of interesting information about his Bloomsbury family, which I'll be featuring in other blog entries.
If you have an ancestor who worked as a butcher, particularly such a high profile one as Henry T, you may find it worthwhile to search the trade journal entitled The Meat Trades' Journal and Cattle Salesman's Gazette published 1888-1966, thereafter called the Meat Trades Journal. These are viewable in the British Library Newspaper Library at Colindale, North London.