I’ve made contact with Brian Seager, who lives in New Zealand and is a descendant of Edward William Seager. Brian has kindly sent me some more information about the Seagers, including details of various family members’ emigration from England. 

Edward William Seager sailed on the Cornwall, leaving England on 12 August 1851 and arriving in Lyttleton, New Zealand, on 1o December: a journey of four months!

Edward’s brother Henry Fowle Seager sailed on the Clontarf , leaving on 25 November 1859 and arriving at Lyttleton on 25 November 1859. The passenger records describe Henry as a ‘compositor’ (which fits with the description of him as a printer in the 1851 census), age 36. Sailing with him were Charlotte Seager, 31, Henry Fowle Seager, 6, Charlotte Elizabeth, 2, Amy Elizabeth, 2 (she died at sea) and Annie, 2 months.

Eleven years later, another brother, Samuel Hurst Seager, sailed on the Zealandia , departing on 23 September 1870 and arriving in New Zealand on 23 – 24 December 1870. Samuel is described as a carpenter, age 50 (again, confirming what we know from earlier census records), and sailing with him were Mary A Seager, 54, Rose Seager, 18, a domestic servant, Samuel Seager, 15, Jane Seager, 13, and Ada, 11.  Next to Samuel junior’s name is the abbreviation ‘Lbr’. I think this means ‘labourer’, but we know that he would go on to be the renowned architect mentioned in earlier posts.

Since receiving Brian’s email, I’ve found this information confirmed by Madeleine Seager’s book about Edward, mentioned in a earlier post. The book mentions Edward’s visit to England in 1880-1881 – he took a year’s leave of absence to visit and report on various asylums in his home country. Curiously, however, it omits to mention that for some of this time at least he stayed with his sister Julia and her family, at 32 Chetwynd Road, St. Pancras. We know this because Edward is listed at this address in the 1881 census, where he is described as ‘Superintendent of Lunatic Asylum, New Zealand (on visit to England)’. One imagines that Edward would have found much to discuss with Julia’s civil servant husband, Charles Lambert, who was one of the Clerks to the Commissioner of Lunacy, whose office was in Whitehall Place.