18th and 19th Century LONDON of the BLAYNEYs and life for Thomas & Rebecca

  KEY with links to 1857 map

  [1] St Johns   (Westminster)

  [2] St Margarets   (Westminster)

  [3] 156 Cheapside   (City of London)

  [4] St Alphage   (City of London)


  [5] St Lukes   (Old St Rd Finsbury)

  [6] 2 St Agnes circus   (Old St Rd, Finsbury)

  [7] St Matthews   (Bethnal Green)

  [8] Ashford St   (Hackney)

  [9] No 3 Park St   (Hackney)


Life for Thomas and Rebecca Blayney

The fact that Thomas and Rebecca Blayney move out to the slums of Shoreditch / Bethnal Breen / Hackney certainly suggests the tailoring trade from Old St Road was not profitable.

Shoreditch was 'a notoriously squalid area of London comprising cottages (36 in the 1841 census) and fields with interconnecting zigzagging paths next to a huge mound of excrement and rubbish [known as "Nova Scotia Gardens"], on which Charles Dickens based the "dust mounds" in his novel "Our Mutual Friend".' [145]. Also known as "Burkers Hole" after the famous bodysnatching case of Burke & Hare of 1831. Old Street (see of 1850 which advocated "Christian Socialism" and was associated with the Chartists and other anti-capitalist movements of the later 19th century. [855]

Nova Scotia Gardens c.1830
[sketch by George Godwin 1859]

Scavenging Dust mounds early 1800s

Of course our Thomas and Rebecca were unlikely to have been reduced to scavenging dust mounds, as despite the large family, all were comfortable, and by the 1851 census the family had moved to Park Street, Hackney. However a scavenging "gene" does appear in many Blayney decendants and Thomas did die of Cholera in 1854 at Hackney Wick, although water supplies in all parts of London were unsanitary at the time. Interestingly, the second father-in-law (Thomas Maconough Grimwood) of their 1st son (Thomas Blayneys) also died of Cholera (? and Typhoid) [145].

The following is a New York Times vignette about Tom, the tailor's shop boy on Cheapside. While set a little later than our Tom, it gives a glimpse of life as it could have been for him hoping to begin an apprenticeship at 156 Cheapside.