Monday, January 18, 2021

An afternoon in Poultry



I wanted a quiet, indoors day today. Its hot and (very) windy down Gerolstein way. But. I just popped down to town to get a doctor's certificate, to say I'm a brilliantly adept 74y 11mth year-old gentleman, totally capable of driving my little car and should be given a new five years of licence ... two hours later, I rolled back through the gates of the farm. The lady before me at the surgery me must have been suffering from something frightful: she was in there for half an hour! Then, this being the age of form-filling (4 pages!), Doctor Kathy had by law to put me through all sorts of tests ... by the time I'd lined up for my pills at the pharmacy, clambered into my wee red car, visited the merlot shop and ... HORROR! The petrol gauge was showing not only EMPTY, but SUPER-EMPTY! Who, I shrieked inwardly, has been using my car? I use it about twice a month, and always, always, as mein Papa told me, refill the tank when it reaches half-empty. So I never look ... Anyway, I made it to a service station (there is only ONE in Rangiora) and collapsed into the garage's office, babbling incoherently... Well, by the time I got home I was exhausted. A nap was needed.

Nap over, I determined that the rest of the day would be spent in play, and dove into e-bay. Lucky dip! And it was, too. I pulled out a nice plum, which has given me three hours of fun, wandering the streets of Cheapside, Poultry, Rotherhithe and Surrey ... I chose this lady because she reminded me strangely of Elizabeth Barrett Browning ... also, she'd be quick and easy to track down because she had a name on the verso ..


She was listed as "Cabinet Card Of A Lady Mrs Neilson was Miss Weatherley, Florence Road New Cross". Even a christian name! Aunt Harriet!



But that wasn't right. If you look at the 'was' ... it has a capital letter ... and someone seems to have obliterated the last letters with a later-dated 's'. My hunch was right. The lady is Mrs Harriet Nielson WAKE. Formerly Miss Harriet Weatherley of Poultry ... Yes, Poultry: the heart of 18th and early 19th London ... I hear a jingling sound! And although my hearing ain't what it was, I was right.




Harriet WEATHERLEY (b 9 Poultry 27 March 1827; d 137 Lewisham High Road 13 February 1890), was the only daughter (there were four sons) of Mr Joseph Weatherley (b Poultry 5 July 1793; d Poultry July 1832), gold and silversmith and jeweller, and his wife Ann née Jerram (d Greenwich 9 February 1868). Very nice. Jingle. But, then, huge amounts of jingle: Joseph Weatherley was the son of another Joseph Weatherley (b 1759; d 18 July 1838), gold and silversmith, of no 9 Poultry, who was ... well just say that his will, in the archives at Canterbury, runs to ten scribally-copperplate pages and all the numbers in it are in thousands, legacies, mortgages lent, investments. Joseph was seriously wealthy.



His great fortune, alas, did not come the way of Joseph junior. It went to his brothers, James Crabbe Weatherley (b 1 March 1805; d 2 May 1875) and Samuel Weatherley (b 23 October 1802; d 1871), his sisters Mrs Maria Temple, Mrs Mary Baker (b 13 May 1791) and Mrs Elizabeth Sargent, and his wife, Elizabeth (d 15 October 1843, aged 75). Because Joseph jr had had the misfortune to predecease his father. However, the Weatherleys seem to have been a pretty close-knit family (they turn up at each other's weddings and christenings), so I imagine the widow Weatherley was not left in want. Nor her three survivng children. In the 1851 census we see the four of them, living in Greenwich High Street: Charles Joseph, the eldest (b 11 October 1825), Harriet, and younger brother, Joseph (b 7 June 1832; d 25 August 1892). Before the next census, all three children were married and parents, but Harriet was still at home (with her two infants daughters) at, yes, 64 Florence Road, New Cross, with mother. And no husband in sight. For a very good reason...



Mr Neilson Wake (b Rotherhithe 8 September 1817; d 8 Howson Rd, Lewisham January 1904) was born during his father's shipyard days at Rotherhite. His boatbuilder father was, by name, Nelson Wake, like his father before him, so I'm not quite sure why the son was Neilson, but Nelson and his wife, Catherine née Morgan would spend a number of years in the south before heading back to home ground in Monkwearmouth. Mother, father, Eliza, Ne(i)lson, George Joseph, Elizabeth Jenkins Wake (d Sunderland 26 September 1886), Jane Sarah ... Father stopped building boats and became the local registrar of births, deaths and marriages, with George as his assistant, but Nelson, like younger brother William, had heard the song of the sea ... In 1853 he gained his first mate's ticket, in 1862 his master mariner's one .. and in between times, he and Harriet had somehow met, and married, and had their daughters ... Florence Catherine (b New Cross 1858, Mrs Edwin Harri Matthews); and [Harriet] Annie (b New Cross 1860; d 1938) ....
Some time in the 'seventies, Neilson retired from the sea and became the manager of the Portland chalk quarry at Northfleet, and after Harriet's death, lived out his days in Lewisham with unmarried daughter, Annie. But the family continued. Elder daughter Florence married Edward Harri Matthews, and gave birth to a son, Edward Harri Neilson Matthews (b Greenwich 28 September 1881). After her huband's death, at the age of 27, Florence seems to have re-wed (1895) ... Her son (d Elham 29 June 1959) became a photographer, married Ellen Heddon ...

Well, that's the story. I wonder who wrote 'Auntie Harriet' on the photo. I feel its comes from her side, the Weatherleys, rather than the northern Wakes. Well, I scoured the vendor's shop to see if anyone else from the family tuned up, but, alas: no. Putting back together dismembered family collections is much, much harder than in cases where they have been kept in one box.
Harriet was 'auntie' to the children of her two brothers. So named Weatherley, right? Charles had eight children and Joseph three daughters ... I think I have to stop there ... cocktail time!


One day, however, I may follow up the children of Joseph the rich more precisely.


And who is the Lydia Wilkinson Hensman 'cousin', widow of Joseph Alfred Hensman, to whom Florence fled in her widowhood? She died at Edward Harri's home in Heathwood Lodge, Stelling 14 June 1922... and is buried in .. Folkestone?



Ah! Lydia Wilkinson Sargent ....


PS we can date the photo more or less to the 1860s, when the family were at Florence Road ...














1 comment:

k dee said...

Very entertaining! Thank you.