Thursday, 3 February 2011

Sir Thomas Joshua and Lady Augusta Platt

Way back in October 2008 I posted a blog about the eminent Platt family which can be traced back to the 16th century and most of whose males were in the legal profession and lived in Bloomsbury adjacent to the Inns of Court at Lincolns Inn Fields.

One of those mentioned was Sir Thomas Joshua Platt (1788-1862) and I have just received an e.mail from Alicia Eykyn stating that he was her great, great grandfather.

Sir Thomas Joshua was born in Brunswick Square, Bloomsbury, the son of Thomas Platt (1760-1842) and his wife Catherine. He was educated at Harrow School and Trinity College Cambridge, admitted to the Inner Temple in 1806 and called to the Bar in 1816. He was a King's Counsellor (1834), Bencher of Inner Temple (1835), Serjeant at Law (1845), knighted (1845), and Baron of the Exchequer (1845-56). In 1814, at the age of 23, he married 18-year-old Augusta Cuming at St George, Bloomsbury. Alicia attached portraits of Sir Thomas Joshua and Augusta (above). She wrote: 'I am only just starting my research into the family ... Stupidly, I never asked my mother anything about the family. All that I knew was that the two portraits we have were of my great, great grandfather, Thomas Joshua Platt and his wife Augusta (and a formidable creature she looks too - she always terrified me as a child with her eyes following me around with a disapproving air!) Nine of their children were baptised at St Pancras Old Church between 1815 and 1832. Thomas Joshua, Augusta, and 8 of their children are buried in a vault in Highgate Cemetery. They lived at 39 Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury, from 1832 to 1846, then moved to 59 Portland Place until 1862 when he died.'

Thomas Joshua was described as 'a sensible popular judge, especially successful with common juries and with a large practice on the home circuit' (Harrow School Records). He sounds like a down-to-earth, no-nonsense type of adjudicator.

Alicia continues, 'I can't join the Platts between about 1660 to 1760. The logical link is that the Richard/Hugh/William branch owned masses of land in north London - including what is now St Pancras Station, Farringdon Street Tube, Smithfield Market and all round Holborn. As you know, all the "legal" Platts lived around that area - Bloomsbury - even my grandmother died in Park Crescent, which is at the end of Portland Place - the last home of Thomas Joshua. However, that could also simply be explained by the fact that area is handy for the legal London - the Inns of Court, etc., and as all of them were either legal people or parsons, easy to accomodate in that area!!'

Another descendent of the Platts, Elizabeth Smith, has also contacted me from Australia and I have put her and Alicia in touch, and also with Maurice Byford who sent me the original information about the Platt family. Hopefully, we can pull together more information about this remarkable Bloomsbury family.