How did life differ for those Catchloves living in and around the Capital in comparison with their country cousins in the Catchlove heartland?
The Industrial Revolution saw a great change in the countryside and socio-economic conditions, with more and more people moving into the cities seeking work. In the south, this most commonly meant London and its growing metropolis.
The earliest records I have found of Catchloves in the area are two marriages in Westminster, in 1685 and 1693, with subsequent generations into the mid-1700s, suggesting a settled family. At this period Westminster, a separate entity, had only recently been joined to the mercantile City of London with the building of grand houses for wealthy businessmen and politicians along the Strand (see note i, below). Westminster itself was the home of parliament, comprising Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey and St James Palace; it was the centre of government and the royal English court. We can imagine it filled with the homes of wealthy courtiers and their servants. I guess the Catchloves must have been servants, as surely there would be more records of them if they were wealthy and important, or am I just not looking in the right place?
The 19th Century saw rapid growth in the London area, with many of the outlying villages being swamped under the spread of the suburbs to accommodate the growing population flooding into the capital in search of work. Much of this was made possible by the growth of the railways from around 1840. An excellent site for exploring 19th century London is Lee Jackson’s The Dictionary of Victorian London, to whom we owe the 1899 Railway Map of Central London, below. Take a look at his Houses & Housing page and his Health & Hygiene page for a taste of the conditions under which our Catchlove ancestors in the capital would have lived.
Another excellent source for understanding the conditions under which our London & Middlesex Catchloves lived is
Booth’s Maps Descriptive of London Poverty 1898-1899 (often referred to simply as Booth’s Poverty Map),
one of the earliest instances of large scale social research.
Charles Booth was a Victorian philanthropist who carried out a survey of London that mapped the areas of greatest need. Even a cursory glance at his map shows that most of the Catchloves would have been living in very poor conditions.
Booth used a range of seven colours to represent different economic classes on his map and eight different classifications (A-H) in the text. Roughly, though, only the top three classes were living above the poverty line.
The lowest four classes range from the Lowest Class (“street-sellers, loafers and criminals, whose only luxury is drink”) to Small Regular Earnings (factory workers, messengers and porters).
Between came those families who only had casual, intermittent work or regular work on a very low wage - these included dock workers and poorer artisans, as well as those
“who from mental, moral and physical reasons are incapable of better work.”
Records show the early Catchloves were settled in Westminster from 1685 until the 1730s. 1685 was the year that King Charles II died and was succeeded by his brother, James II (James VII of Scotland). The Early Westminster Catchloves may well have witnessed the funeral cortege of Charles and the coronation procession of James.
King James was a Roman Catholic and as such was unpopular with both the English Church and Parliament, which were fiercely Protestant and suspicious of his attempts to introduce religious tolerance for Catholics. Following the birth of his son in 1688, fears of a Catholic dynasty increased. He was forced into exile during the “Glorious Revolution” of 1688 when his daughter Mary II and her Protestant husband William of Orange (William III) deposed James to rule jointly. James fled to France, England’s traditional enemy and an ally of Scotland, from whence he and his Jacobite supporters, who still saw him as the legitimate and anointed monarch, plotted to regain the throne with the help of the French. In 1701 James died and the Jacobites declared his son King James III of England & VIII of Scotland with the support of the pope.
In 1714, George of Hanover succeeded William & Mary to the throne; King George I was German - he spoke no English and despised his English subjects. The Jacobites continued to fight to regain the throne through a series of uprisings and campaigns, culminating in the famous Forty Five Rebellion (1745) and the defeat of James II’s grandson, Bonnie Prince Charlie, at Culloden in 1746. Further plots lacked the support required to raise an army and eventually fizzled out.
William III & Mary II by Sir James Thornhill, copyright free image.
Battersea saw the marriage of Jane CATCHLOVE, a widow, at St John in 1875; she was only 37 years old. Which Catchlove had been her first husband?
The parish of St. John lies immediately east of Wandsworth Bridge and consisted of narrow terraces, which twenty years after Jane’s marriage were recorded by Booth as being “Mixed”, with some comfortable and some poor but with an enclave of the lowest class in the north-east corner of the parish. The map shows industrial zones and warehousing along the shores of the river itself, including saw mills and a starch factory, which would have been major sources of employment in the area.
We have only two records of Catchloves in Lambeth - a baptism in 1842 and a marriage 50 years later in 1892. Lambeth has long been known as one of the poorer areas of London, but has this always been so? The Lambeth district covers several parishes in a corridor running from the south bank of the Thames in the north toward the border of Surrey in the south. Until the 18th Century Lambeth consisted mainly of marshland around the Thames with a few villages scattered among woods and common land to the south; residential development followed the construction of Westminster, Blackfriars and Vauxhall Bridges and, later, the building of the railways (note xii, below).
The 1842 baptism took place in St. Matthew’s in Brixton Hill on what was then the southern edge of the Lambeth district (which has since grown to include Clapham to the west and Streatham to the south). The exact location of the 1892 marriage is not clear. It would appear from Booth’s Poverty Map that in the 1890s this area was largely in the top three classifications: Fairly Comfortable; Middle Class (Well To Do); and Upper Middle & Upper Class; with a Mixed area (some comfortable, others poor) to the east. A closer look shows that the wealthiest were living along the main roads of Brixton Hill itself and Effra Road, with the poorer housing in the side streets. These main roads would have been the main route between the capital and the Sussex coast and we can imagine them lined with large houses of the wealthy escaping the fumes of the city. The main sources of employment would have been the glass works, potteries and shipyards along the Thames (note xii) or employment as servants in the homes of the wealthy.
The earliest Catchloves we see in the London area after the 17th Century Westminster Catchloves are the marriages of two females, probably sisters, in Islington in the 1820s. Being situated at the end of the drover’s route bringing cattle in from the countryside to the slaughterhouses of Smithfield, Islington initially gained importance for its dairies but a population explosion at the end of the Napoleonic Wars saw a rapid growth in housing (note ii, below). This was the period when our Islington Catchloves were in residence, prior to the industrialisation of the area with the coming of the railways. For this reason, Booth’s Poverty Map is not likely to be of much use to us as the area would have changed dramatically in the intervening seventy years.
Covent Garden is, of course, famous for its market. Covent Garden Life gives us a handy timeline for the development of the area from pastures and gardens in the 13th Century. This shows the growth of the fruit and vegetable market from its establishment in the 17th Century, the introduction of coffee houses and brothels in the 18th Century as the area declined into slums and the massive expansion of the market from the 1830s. Again, Booth’s Poverty Map is unlikely to be of much use for understanding the conditions in which our Covent Garden Catchloves lived more than 65 years prior to the survey. Perhaps Henry worked in the market, which expanded rapidly following the building of the great piazza in 1830.
We have records of two babies in Covent Garden: the baptism of George, son of Henry & Anne CATCHLOVE at St Paul’s Church in 1831 and the burial of Jane CATCHLOVE aged 2 years 6 months, also in 1831. Was she George’s big sister?
World Gallery publish copies of a beautiful old print of St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, which I sadly cannot reproduce here due to copyright.
The original parish of St Marylebone, bounded by Pancras and Paddington, was a small village separated from London by pasture lands (note iv, below) until the late 18th Century, when a new road was constructed along which the Paddington Stage ran through sticky clay, taking some two and a half hours to reach London (note v, below). Housing was initially restricted along the new road (note v) but we can imagine as the 19th Century progressed, with the coming of the railway, the area would have quickly become built up as more people came to live within easy reach of London.
The Marylebone registration district lies between Hyde Park and Regent’s Park and incorporates the parishes of St. Matthew, St Mark, St Barnabas and St. Mary. Booth’s map shows all to be poor parishes overall, with a few pockets of more comfortable habitations to the east of the area, but with some habitations of the lowest class “Vicious, semi-criminal.” on the northern side of St. Matthews.
The earliest records I have found of Catchloves in the Marylebone area were the burial of 24 year old Ann CATCHLOVE in 1833 and the marriage of Maria in 1849. I have not been able to identify which families these young ladies came from, but it is entirely possible they had come to London as servants as did Ruth CATCHLOVE, sister of John the Gardener & James the Grocer (Family 5), who then went on to marry in 1851 and settle in the Marylebone area. Census records then show John’s daughter Sarah living with her aunt before she, too married in the area in 1867.
The only record we have of a Catchlove in Greenwich is the marriage in 1847 of Edmund CATCHLOVE, labourer, son of Edmund the Carpenter. The groom was a widower so may be older than we would normally expect. Greenwich is further east than any of the other Catchloves found in the London area and may well have been the bride’s home parish, rather than his own. The record shows Edmund to have married at the church of St. Alphege in Greenwich (spelled St. Alfege on Booth’s Poverty Map. At the end of the 19th Century this area, close to the Royal Observatory and the Royal Naval School, was predominantly middle class. Not knowing the area, at first I wondered what work there would have been for a labourer, until it became clear from Booth’s map that the area is not so very distant from the Royal Navy yards and the Foreign Cattle Market at Deptford or the ferry to the shipbuilding works at Millwall.
Annie Maria CATCHLOVE, who married in Camberwell in 1865, is the daughter of John the Gardener (Family 5) and we know from the 1861 census that she had been working as a live-in servant in St. Giles, Camberwell, prior to her marriage. This is shown to be an area of “Fairly Comfortable” homes overall, with well-to-do, middle class homes lining the main thoroughfares.
As we see in other parts of London south of the Thames, the area was largely pastoral until the construction of the bridges in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, after which substantial residences were built for city workers. The coming of the railway from 1862-1868 with cheap travel into the city meant even more people could afford to live here (note xiii, below). Annie Maria must have witnessed the construction of the railways and seen the area changing around her quite rapidly from elegant Georgian streets to rows of Victorian terraces.
Later, the 1881 census shows Emily, the grand-daughter of William the Chairmaker (Family 4) to be living in lodgings in Camberwell and working as a dressmaker before marrying in Hackney (see below).
The widowed Mary Jane McBREARTY, daughter of William CATCHLOVE, publican, was remarried at St Lukes in 1883. With the mention of a publican father named William CATCHLOVE, it would be easy to assume that Mary Jane was the daughter of William & Tryphena (Family 5), but her age at time of marriage shows her to have been born in 1842, before our William was born - so who was her father?
The parish of St. Lukes in Deptford appears on Booth’s Poverty Map as being adjacent to the Deptford Ferry that ran across the Thames to the Iron Shipbuilding Works at Millwall, so it is no surprise that Mary Ann’s second husband was a shipwright.
Emily CATCHLOVE, grand-daughter of William the Chairmaker (Family 4) married in Hackney in 1894. The 1891 census shows her to have been living in lodgings and working as a dressmaker in Camberwell before her marriage. Most young females went to work as live-in servants in wealthy households; we do not know why Emily moved to London. Before this Emily had been living with her maternal grandmother following the death of her father when she was only 5 years old; I have not found a record of her mother’s death. It is possible that Emily moved to London because she had no immediate family left - she had been living in the Fawley area with her grandmother and had probably had no contact with her Catchlove cousins in Sussex. But why Camberwell in particular? And why move all the way to Hackney to get married? How and where did she meet her husband?
Like many parts of London, Hackney appears to have developed rapidly from a straggle of farms and villages to an industrialised urban area from the 1830s onward. There appears to have ben plenty of employment in the area, with factories for bricks, paint, furniture, pianos, toothpaste, vinegar and perfume among others; many women were employed as home-workers for dressmaking (see note xiv, below) so perhaps the opportunity for employment was the attraction for Emily.
Booth’s Poverty Map is particularly useful in Emily’s case as the survey was carried out within 5 years of her marriage, so the likelihood is that she was still living in Hackney at the time. Again, because we have only the BMD record and not the parish records, we a re not certain where Emily lived as Hackney refers to the registration district, which could cover several parishes. The parish of St. John in central Hackney is shown to be an area of close terraces, mainly classified as “Mixed. Some comfortable, some poor.” but with well-to-do, middle class dwellings lining the main streets and a cluster of homes between the railway and the tram depot classed as “Very poor, casual. Chronic want.”, with more to the east as we move toward St. Luke’s, Homerton. But there are none of the very lowest class, reflecting, perhaps the employment opportunities in the many factories and workshops in the area. There were also some green spaces to escape the fumes of the factories, with Hackney Downs to the north-west and London fields to the south-west.
Camden saw the marriage in 1903 of William CATCHLOVE, son of William & Tryphena (family 5). After Tryphena’s death, William (then 8 years old) was brought up in the Boy’s Home in Pancras and the 1901 census shows him as a bandsman at Hyde Park Barracks. The parish records show William to have been married at St. John the Evangelist’s in Charlotte Street, Camden. The church was badly damaged by a flying bomb in 1945 (note xv, below). Charlotte Street runs north to south just to the east of Regent’s Park and parallel with Tottenham Court Road. Booth’s Poverty Map shows this to have been a mixed area at the turn of the century, ranging from poor to comfortable, with some well-to-do, middle class dwellings around Fitzroy Square itself and some very poor in the surrounding streets.
Kensington & Chelsea (1820s-40s, 1870s - 1880s)
Kensington & Chelsea are combined here because the Kensington registration district incorporates Chelsea and unless there are parish records which specify the location it is impossible to say exactly where in the district our Catchloves lived.
The earliest habitation of this area by Catchloves are baptisms in 1826, 1831 and 1843 in Chelsea in what I assume (rightly or wrongly) to be a single family - is this the same Henry & Ann we saw in Covent Garden?
Later we see the marriage of Ann Maria CATCHLOVE, daughter of James the Grocer (Family 5), at St Lukes, Chelsea, in 1870. This is followed by three babies being buried in quick succession in the later 1870s; whose babies are these?
Nowadays, we tend to associate Chelsea with the wealthy and Booth’s Poverty Map does indeed show the area to be largely affluent in the 1890s, ranging from “Fairly comfortable. Good ordinary earnings.”, through “Middle class. Well-to-do.” to “Upper-middle and Upper classes. Wealthy.”, especially along the Embankment. However, there are also pockets of poorer habitations, particularly in the narrow streets to the west of Flood Street, where families are “Poor. 18s. to 21s. a week for a moderate family.” and one or two spots are “Very poor, casual. Chronic want.”, especially as we move close to St Luke’s, where Ann Maria lived.
I have found only two BMD records for Catchloves in the Kensington District, both of which date to 1884, when we see the marriage of a Sarah CATCHLOVE and the death of Tryphena (William’s widow from Family 5). However, probate records show Tryphena to have lived at the College Arms on College Street in Chelsea, not in Kensington proper. Presumably she moved into the area from Pancras after being widowed. The Dead Pubs website shows the College Arms to have been at No. 47, College Street. I was unable to locate College Street in Chelsea on any modern map so assumed the name had been changed or the road obliterated by redevelopment. I eventually found, on an excellent website called maps.thehunthouse.com, that the name had been changed to Elystan Street in 1917. Once I had located it on the modern map, I was able to find it on Booth’s Poverty Map, which showed College Street itself to be classed as “Fairly comfortable” with neighbouring streets being “Mixed. Some comfortable, some poor.” and a narrow alley at the rear on the north-eastern side to be “Very poor, casual. Chronic want.” and “The Lowest Class. Vicious, semi-criminal.” Alcohol was a common problem in Victorian London as it was cheap and the only pleasure available to the very poor.
Like Chelsea, we associate Kensington with affluence and Booth’s Poverty Map bears this out, with most dwellings being Middle Class or Upper Middle Class. And, of course, the area is famous for Kensington Palace, a royal residence since the 17th Century, although during the period in which our Catchloves lived in Kensington, the palace was almost derelict and only used for storage (note iii, below). But once again, we spot tiny pockets of the less-well-off, though in this case they are much fewer and slightly better off, being only “Poor. 18s. to 21s. a week for a moderate family.”, with the very poorest being absent. This poorer area is around the railway and may well represent the homes of railway workers.
right: “Cordial Workings of the Spirit.”
A cartoon by George Cruikshank (1792-1878), illustrating the prevalence of drunkenness among London’s working classes.
From George Cruickshank (author) “Humorous Illustrations” Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co. (undated publication.)
The Southwark area also has quite a number of Catchloves. Since the Middle Ages, the “Stews” of Southwark had been notorious for its brothels and lawlessness (it enjoyed exemptions from the laws due to lying outside the City boundaries) and was one of the poorest parts of the London area. It was well-known as the home of two of the country’s most notorious prisons, the Marshalsea and the Clink (note vi, below) and incorporates the Old Kent Road of Monopoly fame. But there were also many grand houses and fine inns (note vii, below), probably due to its position on the route to London Bridge, the only crossing of the Thames until 1750 (note viii, below). Southwark expanded rapidly in the 19th Century following the building of more bridges, the development of manufacturing industries and the coming of the railway, swallowing the villages of Camberwell, Peckham and Nunhead (note ix, below).
Nunhead Cemetery in Linden Grove is a well-known Southwark landmark and one of the great Victorian Gothic cemeteries of London. There are many well-known characters buried at Nunhead and part of the cemetery is a nature reserve; there are guided tours and annual open days.
Records show that a Sarah CATCHLOVE was buried in Nunhead Cemetery in 1861. I have not yet been able to identify to which family she belonged.
There are records of Catchloves in the Southwark area from the 1830s into the 1880s, including the parishes of Christchurch, St. Olave, St. Saviours and the marriage at St John Horsleydown of Jane CATCHLOVE, the sister of John the Gardener and James the Grocer (Family 5).
Booths’s Poverty Map shows these areas to include the three poorest categories: “Lowest class. Vicious, semi-criminal.” “Very poor, casual. Chronic want.” and “Poor. 18s. to 21s. a week for a moderate family.” These classes were all living below the poverty line (note x, below). But there are also pockets shown as “Mixed. Some comfortable others poor.” One can imagine life was probably not easy for our Southwark Catchloves. They may have found employment in Guy’s Hospital, the Hop Exchange, one of the many pubs, or in the Borough Market - or indeed, on the railway itself.
Parish records show a number of Catchloves in St Pancras and it is possible that they are related to the Islington ladies, as St. Pancras borders Islington on its eastern side. The parish is a large one, covering much of Kentish Town, and Booth’s Poverty Map shows the full range of income groups living cheek-by-jowl in this area. The 1881 census shows William CATCHLOVE (Family 5) to have been a beer seller at 19 Roberts Street, Regents Park. Previously, the 1871 census showed William as a barman living with his uncle and aunt James & Ruth DALLY; James was a beer-seller at 5 Ernest Street, Pancras. The Dead Pubs website shows this to have been the “Magpie & Stump”. The census does not give us the name of William's pub in Robert Street and although it is listed on both the Dead Pubs website and the History of Pubs website under the address, no pub name is given.; it is possible that it was an off-licence (liquor store) rather than an actual pub. John Henry Henshall’s 1882 painting “Behind the Bar” shows the interior of a typical pub of the period.
Robert Street is located just east of the Park itself, running west-east between Albany Street and Hampstead Road; the western end is shown on the 1886 Post Office Directory Map as Ernest Street (it must have changed names between 1886 and 1898), so William did not move far when he set out on his own. Booth categorised this street as “Mixed. Some comfortable, others poor.”, although there were areas of “Chronic Want” in the back alleys flanking each side of the street.
We have seen in the wills and probates records that William left Tryphena £110, but she died in debt, leaving their orphaned son William to enter the Boys’ Home. To give an idea of what £110 was worth in 1881, we can consider that in 1880, the average wage for general labourers was £55.88 per year (compared to only £41.52 for agricultural labourers), whereas skilled workers averaged £82 - £96 per year, depending on the trade (note xi, below). So Tryphena’s inheritance would have been a respectable (though not great) sum - a little over a year’s salary for a skilled worker - and we can expect that William made a comfortable living from selling beer.
St. Pancras (1830s - 1900s)
St Pancras Old Church still stands today after restoration in the mid-19th century.
© Christine Matthews - this image has been published under Share Alike licence.
In which of
St Pancras’s two churches did William & Tryphena marry