A Millbank connection
Readers of David T Hawkings’s article on Millbank Penitentiary in the April/ May 2005 issue of Family Tree Magazine might like to know that London Sheet 88 (Pimlico, Sloane Square and Nine Elms, 1869) in the well-known Alan Godfrey series of Ordnance Survey map reprints features a large-scale ground plan of the building which clearly shows the functions of individual rooms.
Comparison with a modern map will show that the Tate Gallery and the spread of new streets across the site did not quite blot out all trace of the Penitentiary. Causton Street and Ponsonby Place SW1 were (despite some misgivings) built close to and aligned upon the prison’s outer wall and still retain, at the point where they meet, the imprint of the prison’s south-west angle.
For 10 years, up to 1958, I lived in a building which, when new, would have afforded a view of the wall a little to the north of there, opposite Pentagon No 4, and until I took up family history some 40 years later I had no reason to think that my connection with the Penitentiary, slight as it was, went any further than that from pure garcinia cambogia extract
Then, in the course of looking into my mother’s family, I found this entry in the 1891 Census return for 89 Grosvenor Road, Highbury, home of her great-greatuncle Joseph Henry Ward (1794-1884): `John Con, visitor, unmarried, chaplain (Millbank Prison)’. Naturally, this called for an explanation and in due time (the `unmarried’ not helping) I had it; John Con, clerk in holy orders, was married on 4 October 1870 at St Luke, Chelsea, to Ann Elizabeth Ward (1833-), fifth of the six children of Joseph Henry. The latter was the brother (and sometime partner in the family whipmaking business) of my great-great-grandfather William Burton Ward (1792-1832).
Of John Corr himself I have only the barest facts. The place (Coventry) and probable year (1838) of his birth are from the census; his residence at the time of marriage (`parish of Gravesend’) and father’s name (Thomas) are from the certificate.
My grateful thanks to David T Hawkings for a most absorbing read.
P M W CURTIS
925 83 2iharec c.153, okr Sal’a Republic of Slovakia
Smirke, not Smeeke
David T Hawkings’s article about Millbank Prison in the April/May issue was rather interesting. One small transcription detail: Thomas Pulman, in Table II (Not Residing in the Penetentiary…’) is described as `Employed on other works by Sir Robert Smeeke’.
Surely his employer was Sir Robert Smirke, the leading architect of his day, and very fashionable? He designed the British Museum, and was employed on many other commissions in the 1830s, including remodelling Nuneham Park, near Oxford, for the then Archbishop of York, Edward Venables Vernon Harcourt.
7 Church Way, Iffley
Oxford OX4 4DY
Thank you, Joanna. We think you’re right, although the undotted 1′ and cursive `r.’ would mislead anyone not familiar with Smirke’s name and reputation. Sir Robert (1781-1867) was articled to Sir John Soane, whose London house is one of the capital’s more unusual museums. Editor.
Oh! ‘A Pandora’s box of parish register oddities’ by John Titford in FTM March [Chronicon Mirabile, or extracts from parish registers, principally in the North of England, 1841] made my day and I was so sorry that my husband, Edward Kenneth Green, born on 11 June 1913, was not able to see it when I took it to him in the nursing home.
I am referring to: Robert Green, bone-setter, buried 10 March 1696, who was married on 19 December 1674 at St Oswald’s Church, Durham and was noted as ‘of Washington’. He married Margaret Watson, born 1 August 1652, of Houghton le-Spring, daughter of George Watson, yeoman of Newbattle, which is the farthest back we have managed to get Ken’s tree with much help from friends and family and all done before computers.
MRS EDNA L GREEN
23 St John’s Close, Bishopsteignton Teignmouth, Devon TQ14 9RT
Your reference to Hindsight, published by the Uckfield & District Preservation Society in ‘New Books in Brief’ in the April/May issue was interesting. Some 40 years ago I taught local history in Uckfield, East Sussex, and discovered, quite recently, this annual publication, produced long since my time in the district.
These days I teach family history in adult education, also researching my own ancestors. Hindsight offers a source that does not seem paralleled elsewhere.
The articles provide an insight into the lives, thoughts and experiences of ordinary people, especially those who were alive at the time of our immediate 19th century forebears. The authors also know the local territory which gives a valuable dimension to the writing.
2 Derwent Road, Leverstock Green Hertfordshire HP3 8RE
The Maritime Royal Artillery
I read with interest the letter by Gwen Rawlingson about her work at Shoeburyness (` Shoeburyness garrison’ in ‘Readers’ letters’, April/May) as my father served in the Maritime Royal Artillery and started his service there in 1943.
This branch of the service is little known, but contributed a great deal to the war effort. Briefly, the government decided that as our shipping losses were spiralling in the early years of the Second World War the merchant ships bringing in vital supplies needed some protection. The Maritime Royal Artillery was formed and Army and Royal Navy personnel were drafted in to be trained as gunners on what became known as DEMS, or defensively equipped merchant ships. My father’s record reveals that he spent a total of 364 days on board ship during his term of service from 1943 to 1945. He was awarded the Atlantic Star, the Burma Star and the Italy Star in addition to the usual war medals, so he served in the major theatres. Fortunately he was not on the Russian convoys.
I have done a lot of research on this service and I have some photographs of my dad on board ship with some crew members. I have no idea when they were taken, but if any other reader has any connection with this regiment and would like information or copy photos please feel free to contact me at the postal or email address below. I have written direct to Gwen expressing my gratitude on behalf of my dad and his shipmates at what she and her colleagues have done.
BRIAN L ROOTE
404 Godstone Road, Whyteleafe Surrey CR3 OBB
My daughter bought me a subscription to Family Tree Magazine as a 70th birthday present. It’s great! I have been tracing our ancestors for several years, and this will really help, but how much will our descendants know about us in 100 years time?
Seeking to leave our immediate family’s mark for the future, I set about writing the history of our own children and our parents – it was meant to be one book just for the family, but things got out of hand. We have, admittedly, had rather adventurous lives, but I did not realise it would go so well. There are five books in the series now, all self-published and selling like mad!
Believe it or not, the story has been taken up by one of the biggest publishers in the country, the first volume due out as a talking book.
Now there’s a thought for readers, to add extra interest to their own family trees. Like me, you might actually make a profit. We’ve made our own private web page too, and called it www.Comishbooks.co.uk.
If I can help any readers of my favourite magazine, I’d be proud to do so. I’m retired, so I have time on my hands to answer letters, phone calls or emails.
Nr Penzance, Cornwall TR20 9EP Email: Gordjan@aol.com
On reading the article ‘Flash, bang, wallop – what a picture!’ by Joyce Walmsley in Family Tree Magazine April/May, I was surprised to see my name and work mentioned. Unfortunately some of the details were not correct.
The directories of photographers in Cheshire, Lancashire, Shropshire and Staffordshire were published by the RPS Historical Group as supplements to their magazine PhotoHistorian, and issued to members. The research is mine, and so I have put the lists on to CD-ROM for Staffordshire, Shropshire, Cheshire and Lancashire. These are available from me at the address below at a cost of £5 each.
The book Lancashire Professional Photographs 1840-1940 is available from PhotoResearch in Watford and those details were correct. The book contains information on dating photographs from different aspects as well as listing Lancashire photographs and their operational dates at specific addresses.
5 Mitchell Rise, Yarnfield
Stone, Staffordshire ST15 OTR
In a letter in the April/May edition of Family Tree Magazine, Ian Ferguson asked the question why, in the era of ‘freedom of information’, both marriage and death data is retained by the government for 100 years. That’s not entirely true of course, as certificates can be obtained on request, although census records are closed. This reflects the requirements of the Data Protection Act, which specifically protects personal data (while giving individuals the right to obtain copies of their own data).
Although the law may seem overprotective (as Mr Ferguson says, personal information may be known locally), the legislation is complicated enough without exempting bits here and there, and it does provide for the very much needed protection of personal data and provides a means of redress against its misuse.
Data Protection & Freedom of
19 Rosedale Gardens, Thatcham Berkshire RG19 3LE
In the November 2004 issue of Family Tree Magazine my ‘Family heirloom’ photograph of a wedding party outside Torksey Golf Club near Lincoln was published on page 34.
I am delighted to say that I have now found the marriage certificate to go with the photograph. The bridegroom was Frederick John Earl, a bachelor aged 34, son of John
Edward Earl; the bride was Mary Ella Earl, a spinster aged 29, daughter of Frank Earl, both of Brampton. The wedding was on 11 July 1911 at Torksey parish church, Brampton is in the same parish as Torksey. It looks as though the couple may have been cousins.
I have received several letters since the photograph was printed, for which I am most grateful.
MRS SUZANNE LANGFORD
Hyland, 50 High Street,
West Wratting, Cambridge CBI 5LU
The first Sunday school?
I read Robert Burlison’s article ‘The Sunday School movement’ in the June issue with great interest and believe that I can add to it on the subject of who started the first Sunday school.
Back in 1971-72 I attended a local history class when I lived in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, and here are some notes I made at that time:
Hannah Ball (1733-1792) started the first Sunday school in the country in High Wycombe in 1769.
Hannah was born in the Great House, Naphill, in 1733. Her family came from Stokenchurch and many are buried there. Her father was a yeoman farmer and her brother a lacemaker in High Wycombe. When her brother’s wife died, she went to High Wycombe to look after his children, and it was here that she was converted by John Wesley’s preaching.
John Wesley had started a Sunday school in Savannah, USA, in 1734, and on his return to England travelled and preached throughout the land, passing through High Wycombe in 1736 and 1739. He preached from the Market House, and in the fields nearby, to great crowds. By 1770 he had visited the town on 22 occasions.
Hannah’s diaries record the teachings of John Wesley and early Methodism. She started the first Sunday school in the country in 1769 in her brother ‘s house in Queen’s Square, High Wycombe, which was continued after her death in 1792 by her sister.I believe that Hannah Ball’s diaries have been published.
MRS VIVIEN J ARTHUR
Allendale, Higher Broad Oak Road, West Hill,
Ottery St Mary, Devon EX11 1XJ