In the last post, I charted the life of my 3 x great grandfather John Blanch (1802 – 1869). I’m descended from John’s daughter Mary Ann (1827 – 1870), but in the next few posts I want to trace the lives of her brothers and sisters, to see what they can tell us about the family’s history and the times in which they lived.

In this post, the focus will be on Mary Ann’s brother Joseph James Blanch, born in 1831 in Mile End Old Town, the second child (after Mary Ann) of John Blanch and Keziah Holdsworth. In the 1841 census his name is given as James. By 1851, when he was 20, he was working as a carpenter.

This was also the occupation given at the time of his marriage, in 1852, at St Matthew’s church Bethnal Green, to Eliza Philpot. Eliza was the daughter of weaver John Philpot and lived close to the Blanch family in Green Street. Interestingly, one of the witnesses was one Richard Ellis, thus providing another clue as to the connections between the Blanch and Ellis families (see this post).

Joseph’s and Eliza’s first daughter, Eliza Kezia, was born in the following year in Bethnal Green. A second daughter, Marian (or Miriam) Sarah, was born in 1856, and a son, John James, in 1858.  In 1861 they had a second son, whose name is transcribed in the census of that year as ‘Watlow J Blanch’, but could be Walter – the record is almost illegibile. However, since he is not mentioned in later records, we can assume that this child did not survive. His birthplace is given as Bow, which was where the family was living at the time of the census, as lodgers in the home of carpenter Ingram (?) Davis. Joseph is described in this record as a joiner.

Eliza Philpot Blanch died in 1870, at the age of about 40. She appears to have died in the parish of  St James, Wesmtinster, which suggests that she, and perhaps the family, was staying with Joseph’s relatives at the time (see last post).

In the same year, 39 year old Joseph James Blanch remarried, his second wife being 25 year old Ann Maria Boreham. The marriage took place in Stepney. Born in Spitalfields in 1845, Ann Maria was the daughter of butcher Joseph Boreham and his wife Maria Boswell. In 1861 the family was living in Underwod Street (now Underwood Road), Stepney. Keeping track of Ann Maria in the records is not easy: in some places she is called Maria, and (confusingly) she has sisters named Hannah and Mary Ann.

The newly-married couple must have moved almost immediately to West Ham, which is where they can be found at the time of the 1871 census, together with two of Joseph’s children from his first marriage: Miriam, 15, and John, 12, the latter now working as a plasterer’s boy. Meanwhile, Joseph’s eldest daughter, Eliza Kezia, now 18, was in lodgings in Bromley S.t Leonard  and working as a paper sorter.

Joseph James and Ann Maria went on to have a number of children of their own, in fairly quick succession. Emma Maria was born in 1873, William Joseph in 1874, Alice Maude in 1876, Frederick Walter (also known as Walter Frederick) in 1877, Rose Ann in 1878, and Andrew Edward in 1880. All were born in West Ham, which is where the family was still living in 1881, at 15 Grange Road.

However, by the time their next and last child, Albert James, was born, in 1882, Joseph, Eliza and family were living in Sussex. Albert’s birthplace was given as Westhampnett  and at the time of the 1891 census the family was in South Bersted, Bognor. 14 year old Walter is working alongside his father as a carpenter’s apprentice, and the household includes four lodgers who are probably also employees: Ernest Jackson and George Wright, carpenters and joiners, and house decorators Thomas Paddons and Jonathan Black.

Ten years later, in 1901, when Joseph was 70 and his wife Ann 56, they were still living in South Bersted. Daughter Rose 22, and son Albert, 13,a carpenter like his father, were still living at home.

Ann died in Sussex in 1913, at the age of 68, and Joseph followed her three years later, dying in 1916 at the age of 88.

As for what became of their children, this is what I have been able to find out:

At the time of the 1881 census, Eliza Kezia Blanch (then aged 28) was employed as a cook and domestic servant in the home of master builder Andrew Robinson in Wanstead. In 1891 she was working as a charwoman in the household of woollen warehouseman Edmund Cooke in Hammersmith, and ten years later, in 1901, she was employed as a domestic caretaker in the flat of Mrs Mary Cocke (his widow?) in Hampstead.

In 1905, at the age of 52, Eliza married 67 year old widower and boilermaker Charles James Levererett of West Ealing. Her employer, Mrs Cocke, was one of the witnesses, while the other appears to be her sister Marian Sarah (the surname is difficult to read, but we know that Marian had married in West Ham in 1875).

Sadly, it would appear that Charles and Eliza did not enjoy a long married life together. There’s a record of a 66 year old Charles James Leverett dying in West Ham in 1906, suggesting that the couple had moved back to east London after their marriage. I’m not sure when Eliza Kezia died, but an Eliza K. Leverett died in Kensington in 1925, aged 71. Perhaps she was still working as a servant when she died.

It appears that John James Blanch married his wife Elizabeth in 1877. In 1881 they were living in West Ham, where he was working as a carpenter, and they had two young children: (Elizabeth) Maud,3, and James, 1. Ten years later, still in West Ham, there are a number of additional children: Joseph, 9, Frederick, 6, Albert, 5, Eunice, 4, Andrew, 3, and William, 7 months. Most of the children were born in east London, but Joseph was born in Bognor, suggesting that John James lived with or near his parents at one point. Eunice was born in Finchley and Andrew in Kent, indicating that the family moved from place to place a fair bit. By 1901 another daughter, Florence, has been added to the family, and they are even able to afford a domestic servant: Polly Syrett from Somerset, said to be a relative (of Elizabeth’s?).

It would appear that Elizabeth died in 1924 and John James in 1939, both in Rochford, Essex.

West Ham, 1890

Emma Maria Blanch married salesman William John Underwood in Battersea in 1898, when she was 25. They were still living in the area, with their two young children Ethel and Frederick, three years later, at the time of the 1901 census. At some stage Emma must have returned to Sussex, as she appears to have died there in 1974, at the grand age of 101.

William Joseph Blanch, described as a basket maker, married Elizabeth Ann Day in Bermondsey in 1904, when he was 30 and she was 26.

At the time of the 1891 census, when she was 15, Alice Maud Blanch (later known simplt as Maud), was staying in Bermondsey with her widowed maternal grandmother, Maria Boreham, a ‘provisions dealer (shop)’. I can’t find her in the 1901 census, but in 1905, when she was 29, Alice Maud Blanche Blanch married Jessie Foakes, a clerk, in Bermondsey. Her brother William Joseph was a witness, and in fact she was living at the same address – 6 Southwark Park Road – as she gave at the time of his marriage the previous year.

Frederick Walter Blanch joined the army in 1895 at the age of 18 and later served in the First World War as a sergeant in the Royal Artillery.

I don’t know what became of Rose Ann Blanch.

Andrew Edward Blanch served in the Royal Engineers in the First World War and was killed in action at Ypres.

Albert James Blanch was married in Sussex in 1906 but I don’t know the name of his wife.