Friday, 21 May 2010

Free Protestant Episcopal Church of England

Bloomsbury People has featured a number of stories about Bishop Andrew McLaglen, the father of Hollywood star, Victor McLaglen. Andrew McLagen was consecrated in November 1897 as bishop of the Free Protestant Episcopal Church of England (later known as the Evangelical Church of England). This church was formally dissolved in 1997 although it remains active in the US and Canada.

I have just been contacted by Bishop Edwin Follick, Director of University Libraries and University Chaplain, South Baylo University, Anaheim, California. He writes: 'Your article relating to Bishop McLaglen was so well done and afforded special insight into missionary activities related to Africa. After graduating from the Free Protestant Episcopal Seminary in London (Bishop Follick was consecrated on 28 August 1968), it fell upon me to serve as a director of education under the Bishop Primus, Charles Dennis Boltwood. The educational ministry included James Martin Bible College and St Andrew's Correspondence College, for the training of an indigenous pastorate to serve the local churches.

The Free Church is ongoing, and undoubtedly continues in service within the United Kingdom. A schismatic bishop from Germany did apparently attempt to disestablish the church and replace it with an "international" prefix hopefully perhaps trying to bring some good intention to revitalize the mission. With many of the clergy not versed in legal matters and a vacuum in leadership the usual issues of social disorganization appear. Fortunately, one of the bishops in Canada, Bishop Darrel D Hockley, literally is the consummate historian of the church.

I do have a real love of history [BA Cal State Los Angeles 1956, MA Pepperdine 1957] with majors in history and sociology. Thus, your work at the University of London is so important to record our past progress and mistakes - we don't mind repeating the progress but need to minimize the mistakes! Thus, a copy of this email is being sent to Bishop Hockley and for sure he would be able to shed far more light on the history of the church than me.

Please do feel free to post any message from me on the Bloomsbury People blog. Working in an Asian university and going to lunch with my deputy, Dr Kwang-hee Park, I jested that we should be in a pub watching the boats move past on the River Thames and enjoy the food with a pint of stout. Of course we repaired to an elegant Asian restaurant for wonderful food. But with respect for past delightful experiences the nostalgia does come through. My appreciation for your interest in the past of the now ambient Bloomsbury district.

The Most Reverend Edwin Follick is Primus and Bishop of California.

From knowing absolutely nothing about Bishop Andrew McLaglen's background when the first blog about him was posted on 6 August 2009, other than the fact he had been an apprentice missionary in Bloomsbury from 1877-1879, the Bloomsbury Project now has a link to the church.

I couldn't find a suitable picture unfortunately, but perhaps Bishop Ed will kindly send me one.

Bloomsbury resident tried at the Old Bailey

Sue Fisher’s 4x Grandfather, George Lewis, was a schoolmaster at an academy established in about 1818 by the Reverend Peter Fenn, in Hyde Street (no longer exists), off New Oxford Street, Bloomsbury. George Lewis died in November 1827, and on his death-bed obtained a promise from the Reverend Fenn to protect his wife and three children, George William Fenn Lewis (b.1819), Richard Caleb Fenn and Esther Georgiana.

However, the Reverend Peter Fenn was not all he seemed because on 11 September 1828 he was tried at the Old Bailey for deception and forgery. An article in The Times of 2 April 1828, tells the story:

‘It appears that about thirty years since (ie. c.1800), this man was ordained in holy orders, under the name of Fall, but why he subsequently changed his name, remains at present a mystery. Under the assumed name of Fenn, he was employed as a teacher in Kirkman's academy, Islington, and about ten years since purchased, on his own account, an academy in Bloomsbury, in which he succeeded beyond his most sanguine expectations. Unfortunately for him, and, we may say with truth, for the greatest body of his creditors, Mr Fenn was not satisfied with the profits derived from his school; he started also as a bill-broker, or rather discounter of bills, taking to himself (as others of that notorious class do) an exorbitant rate of interest. He thus made many bad debts, and was himself ultimately induced to resort to other usurers, who, like himself, though more wary, were not wanting in the rate to be charged to a brother miscreant. Spurred on by this connexion, he was led to commit the crime of forgery, and not only committed various forgeries himself, but he also made one of his tutors draw and accept bills in fictitious names. He also had the unmanly hardihood to involve his pupils in his guilt, for he has also, in a like manner, made them draw, accept, and indorse fictitious bills, and has circulated that kind of rubbish (among tradesmen only) to an enormous amount; and in order to give a greater facility to his criminal traffic, an account was opened at Messrs. Ransom's bank. This circumstance gave a degree of credit to his movements, and by an insinnating address, pretended friendship, and plausibility of manner, ingratiated himself with various tradesmen. He would in some instances pretend that he possessed a a bill for a large amount, such as £2000 on this nobleman or the other, and that he was himself to receive £200 or £300 from the pretended nobleman, for the accommodation, and consequently could afford to give the unsuspecting tradesman £50 for the loan of £500. The tradesman, confiding in the sanctified clergyman, has in many instances been thus duped to the tune of £2000 or £3000. Again, the clergyman would produce one of his concocted bills, and say "If you discount me this £200 at 5 per cent, I will take £50 worth of goods, and you shall draw a bill on me for the amount of the goods", so that this fellow has in many instances obtained £250 for one of his forged bills of £200.

It appears that the circumstances which led to his immediate detection, was his absenting himself from his home, together with several of his cheques (which he had post-dated) becoming due, which were returned, as a matter of course, by his banker, for want of funds. Under these circumstances a meeting was convened, and an intercepted letter coming to hand, disclosed the whole system, and that the Rev. gentleman had emigrated to Paris, under the assumed named of George Lewis.’

Sue says: I believe that Peter Fall who matriculated from Pembroke College Oxford in 1791 and went on to be a curate in Guernsey and Jersey is our Peter Fenn. His father is given as "John of Isle of Jersey, gent" but I have yet to confirm this. Why Peter changed his name from Fall (possibly spelt Falle, as is more common in the Channel isles) to Fenn is still a mystery. I always assumed that my 3x Grandfather's middle name of Fenn (George William Fenn Lewis) would turn out to be his mother's maiden name, not the vicar's surname!

Peter Fenn was sentenced to death (see his records at Old Bailey online) but this was commuted to transportation for life to Australia (there had been a petition for clemency in The Times). Charles Dickens was aware of his case as he mentions his name in a letter to the Daily News in 1846. Fenn had hoped to be sent to Botany Bay "where,by the employment of his literary talents, he calculates upon improving his condition". But unfortunately he was sent to "The Valley of the Swells", a penal colony where he was set to manual work. He was given a conditional pardon in 1845.

My 3x Grandfather, George William Fenn Lewis (b.1819) became a Thames waterman. The photograph above shows boats on the River Thames at Southwark in 1845. Southwark Cathedral is in the foreground.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Samuel Mathers, a schoolmaster in Bloomsbury

The Bloomsbury Project has discovered no fewer than 62 educational establishments in the area, between 1800 and 1904. So, when Pat Pond e.mailed asking if I could find information about her ancestor, Samuel Mathers, who was a schoolmaster during the 1840s, I had to reply that I hadn't a clue where to start. However, there might be a descendent with more information so here's as much as I know.

Samuel Mathers was baptised on 12 February 1786. He married Hannah Liddell at St Giles, Great Orton, Cumberland, on 12 July 1808. His marriage certificate states that he was a weaver from Cross Gates, County Durham. Samuel and Hannah's first daughter, Margaret, was born on 4 November 1811, by which time Samuel had become a schoolmaster and parish clerk. A son, John, was baptised on 19 November 1815, but Hannah died in the same year, possibly in childbirth. Samuel presumably remarried and by the 1840s the family had moved to Bloomsbury. Another son, Joseph, was married at St George, Bloomsbury (1847) and a daughter, Elizabeth, at St James (1850). This was probably the church of St James, Hampstead Road, adjacent to Bloomsbury, and now demolished. On his children's marriage certificates, Samuel's occupation is still a schoolmaster.
And this is where Pat loses Samuel's trail although she says, 'We are hoping he was with his children in London, although Samuel's son, Joseph, eventually goes to America.' Some of the family did remain in the area because Pat's grandfather was also a schoolmaster in Holborn. Samuel Mathers is not to be confused with Samuel Liddell Mathers.
The photograph above (courtesy Ipoh 7, Flickr) shows the Bloomsbury skyline with the spire of St George's church in the distances. The keen-eyed will observe three men sitting on the parapet of a roof (right) with their feet dangling over the edge.

Joseph Aloysius Stanfield and the British Museum

Tim Stanfield, who lives in Paris, sent me information about his eminent grandfather, Joseph Aloysius Stanfield. I'm posting his message in the hope that other descendants of this family will help Tim in the search for his ancestors.

He writes: 'I read about your research on the internet after a conversation with a student involved in your project. Sometime ago I traced my family back a few generations. My grandfather, an archaeologist associated with the British Museum (Joseph Aloysius Stanfield) was born in the latter half of the 19th century in Bloomsbury where the family had lived for some time. His work on Gallo-Roman ceramics (lovely example above) co-authored with Dr Grace Simpson (d. 2008) is still to this day an important text on the subject (J A Stansfield & Grace Simpson, CENTRAL GAULISH POTTERS: Oxford University Press, London, 1958). An affiliation with Imperial College I believe.

The name was altered form the original STANDFIELD. So any census details from before my grandfather's era will show this as the correct spelling. I know that my great, great Grandfather John William Standfield was married circa1780 to a Louise Maria Harding and they were resident in Bloomsbury. My gandfather's father John Henry Standfield similarly married and resided in Bloomsbury. I have copies of birth and mainly marriage certificates from early research I made in the mid 1980s (from waxed-written tomes at St Catherines house!) and am trying to locate them. If there is any information you may be able to provide concerning historical facts, where they may have lived, their occupations, I would be most grateful for anything you can provide. I hope you may be able to turn over a stone or two for me.'

Knowing how successful this blog has been in putting ancestors in touch, it would be great if anyone could help Tim - and the Bloomsbury Project!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Bloomsbury doctors pioneer plastic surgery to rebuild nose

Jayne Hyslop's account of her x3 grandmother, Sarah Green, a domestic servant in a house in Russell Square (1841), mentioned a Dr Henry S Roots who lived in the house next door. This was intriguing as one of the purposes of the Bloomsbury Project is to discover information about the medical and scientific practitioners who lived and worked in the area.

Henry S Roots is probably Henry Shuckburgh Roots (1785-1861). In 1823, Dr Roots was a physician at the St Pancras Infirmary in King's Road, St Pancras (now St Pancras Way), a 20-minute walk from Russell Square. On 19th September of that year, Roots examined a 40-year-old shoemaker named Mr Capon, who was described as 'a most hideous object' because of a gaping hole in his face where his nose and mouth had once been. The unfortunate man had had syphilis and been treated with mercury. The dreadful disfigurement was a result of both the treatment and the infection which destroyed the tissue and cartilage of his face and which he was obliged to cover with a handkerchief. Since his palate had also been destroyed, his speech was barely articulate.

An operation - one of the first of its kind - to repair the defect, was carried out by a Dr John Davies (1796-1872), who had a practice at 189 Tottenham Court Road. No doubt Dr Roots was present when the patient was made to sit on a chair with his face towards the window so that the surgeon could operate with the maximum light. This was more than twenty years before the discovery of anaesthesia so Mr Capon would have been held fast by a number of assistants. The description of the operation can be read here. It appears to have been successful and Mr Capon was still alive the following year.

The picture above shows the type of facial deformity caused by syphilis for which there was no successful treatment until the discovery of the arsenical compound, Salvarsan, in the early 20th century, followed by the antibiotic penicillin in the 1940s.
In searching the web for more information about Dr Henry Shuckburgh Roots, I came across a post by Brian Shuckburgh (2002) also searching for connections to his ancestors. I hope Brian finds this blog. Apparently, Henry's father, George Roots, of Kingston Surrey, was also a doctor. He married Anne Shuckburgh in 1772 at Twickenham, Middlesex, and they had at least two children, Henry and William.

Sarah Green in Bloomsbury

Jane Hyslop e.mailed me from Canada with this story of her x3 grandmother, Sarah Green, who was born around 1816.

Sarah Green gave several places as her place of birth on the Census entries from 1851-81. Usually she gave Great Clacton, Essex, and once she stated Colchester, Essex, between the years 1812-13. There is no baptism entry on the IGI (International Genealogical Index, Mormon Library) to verify the exact place. Her marriage certificate indicates her father was William Green, a labourer.

Sarah appears in Russell Square, Bloomsbury (top picture courtesy GothPhil, Flickr), on the 1841 Census as a F.S. (Female Servant?), age 25, N (not born in the County). She is one of 4 female and 1 male servants in the household of John Foster, whose household lists 6 family members beside himself, 4 female and 1 male servant. As there is no listing of specific duties we cannot know if Sarah was a kitchen maid, governess or cook. Mr Foster’s occupation is blank except for the abbreviated word Ind., presumably meaning 'Independent', obtaining his income from private means. The house next door to the Fosters was inhabited by Henry S Roots, a physician. So although we don’t know the Foster’s house by street number, it was next door to Dr Roots (more of him in the next blog).

On 16 April 1843 Sarah married Christopher Best at St George’s, Bloomsbury. She gave her address as Upper Bedford Place (possible number 6 but the entry is illegible. This is now Bedford Way), Bloomsbury, and her occupation as Servant. The witnesses were Sarah and George Johnson (relationship to Sarah Green unknown). Christopher Best was a Mason by trade living on Little Guildford Street (now incorporated into Herbrand Street), the son of John Best, Cordwainer. Christopher was born in Kingston-upon-Hull, Yorkshire, and had gone to London in search of work after 1841. He was not a resident of Hull, his family were natives of Heighington, County Durham, a village near Darlington.

Sarah and Christopher lived at 7 Cowley Street in Smith Square, Westminister when their first child, Sarah Mahala, was born on 14 Jul 1844. They were still there in 1845 at the birth of their son Christopher on 2 Oct 1845. They had returned to the north, Darlington, County Durham, by the birth of their third child, Ann, in May 1848. Sarah and Christopher had 6 children (3 died in infancy). It is unknown when Sarah died. She appears in the 1881 Census for Darlington as a Widow (Christopher had died in 1860). It is undetermined whether she left the area or remarried.

From her presence in Bloomsbury, it is assumed Sarah went to London in search of work and found employment in a house at Russell Square. Since little else is known about her family it is unclear if she was living near to family members who also worked in service. Her reason for choosing London is presumably more opportunity for employment than in the small rural villages of Essex. No photos survive of Sarah or Christopher Best.

The bottom photograph (courtesy Jamie Barras, Flickr) shows the Peabody buildings in Herbrand Street which were completed in 1885, long after Christopher Best had left the area. The street had become a slum and these superior apartments were built to rehouse working people. Peabody buildings, of which there are a number around London, were intended for 'respectable' working class tenants rather than the indigent poor or those out of work.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

End of History of Medicine in Bloomsbury

Followers of this blog (and my backlog of contributors) have no doubt noticed the lack of entries for the past couple of months. A couple of things happened: I broke my ankle running for a train at Waterloo Station (yes, I know that shouldn't prevent me using a keyboard), and I lost my job.

Just before the Easter vacation we heard that our department is to be closed. You can read about it
here. We supposedly get a two-year wind down but there is some scepticism amongst my colleagues about this. However, I will keep this blog going while I'm here, and it will be archived as an important component of the Bloomsbury Project, so if you do have ancestors who lived and / or worked in the area please keep sending me stories.