The Bowmans

My great grandmother, Louisa (Bowman) Robb, husband of Charles Edward, was born in 1856, in the parish of St. George in the East, Middlesex. Her father was John Bowman, an umbrella frame maker from Bow, and her mother was Elizabeth J. Larke from Wapping.In 1851, five years before Louisa was born, the family was living in Somerset Court in Aldgate, but by 1861 when Louisa was 5 years old, they were living a short distance away at 15 Pell Street, with Elizabeth’s widowed mother Mary, a sweet shop keeper.Louisa had an older sister Caroline, and four younger siblings: John, Mary, Elizabeth and Charlotte.Louisa’s father John was born in 1829, the son of Robert Bowman, a labourer, and Caroline Reed, who appear to have been married at St. Mary, Whitechapel in 1818. The 1841 census has 12 year old John living with his mother, father and younger siblings Robert, James, Caroline and Mary, in Harrow Alley in Aldgate.  I’ve been in email correspondence with Janet W., a descendant of Louisa’s sister Charlotte, who married David Day and moved to Cambridge. Janet says that her mother remembered going to London with her own grandmother (i.e. Charlotte) for a Jewish funeral. This raised the possibility of a Jewish connexion in the family. After all, ‘Bowman’ can be a Jewish name (naturalised from Bauer or Baumann), and the family lived in the heart of the Jewish East End, with many Jewish names among their close neighbours. It’s an intriguing possibility – or it may just be that Charlotte (Bowman) Day returned to London for the funeral of a family friend or neighbour. At any rate, Robert Bowman and Caroline Reed were married in a Christian church – St. Mary’s is the original ‘white chapel’ – as were their children.In 1901 John and Elizabeth Bowman were living by themselves in Pell Street. John, now 72, was still working: as a packer of furniture. He died in 1906, surviving his daughter Louisa by a year. 

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One Response to The Bowmans

  1. Pingback: The Bowmans and the Larkes « Martin Robb’s Family History Blog

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