By the time of the 1861 census, John Blanch and his wife Keziah had moved from Bethnal Green, where they had lived for more than thirty years, to 8 Great Crown Court, Soho, a stone’s throw from the Great Windmill Street / Ham Yard area where John’s brothers David, Thomas and William had been working as coach-builders. Still living with John and Keziah in 1861 were their daughters Eliza Maria, 23, Emma Louisa, 20, and their son John Holdsworth, 16, together with a number of lodgers, some or all of whom were probably John’s employees (see this post).
Another daughter, Keziah Sarah, 17, was working as a servant near Regent’s Park (see here). Their eldest son, Joseph James, now 30, had married Eliza Philipot in 1852 – this was the wedding at which Richard Ellis was a witness, suggesting a continuing connection between the Ellis family and the Bethnal Green Blanches. At the time of the 1861 census Joseph and Eliza were living in Bow with their four young children (see this post).
We can imagine that the move from Bethnal Green to Soho would have been a huge upheaval for John and Keziah, by now in their 60s, and can only have been motivated by economic necessity. Perhaps John’s shoemaking business in Bethnal Green had fallen on hard times, and he saw better prospects in the West End? The relocation must have been helped by the fact that John and Keziah’s eldest daughter Mary Ann and her husband Daniel Roe had also moved (with them?) to the area.
Daniel and Mary Ann’s second child, Daniel Ellis Roe (the Ellis connection again), was born in March 1853 at 8 Great Crown Court, the same address where Mary Ann’s parents can be found in 1861. Had John and Keziah already moved to Soho by this date, and had Daniel and Mary Ann moved from Bethnal Green with them? Perhaps at this stage Daniel was still working alongside his father-in-law? I don’t think the move took place any earlier: John and Keziah were still in Green Street, Bethnal Green in 1851, and their son James Joseph gave it as his address when he got married in 1852.
It’s curious that Daniel and Mary Ann had moved again, to 4 Herbert’s Passage, just off the Strand, by the time that their next two children – Mary Ann Blanch Roe and John Richard Roe – were born, in 1856 and 1859 respectively. It’s possible that 8 Crown Court was too small to accommodate a growing family: certainly the 1861 census shows two other families, besides the five Blanches and their five lodgers, sharing the same premises.
By 1861, Daniel and Mary Ann were back in Great Crown Court, but now at No.2, a building which they shared with two other families. They now had four children: Keziah Eliza, 10, Daniel Ellis, 8, Mary Ann Blanch, 4, and John Richard, 2. Could it be that the return to Great Crown Court was motivated by the need for Daniel to be near his place of work – in his father-in-law’s workshop?
It seems odd that the Bethnal Green Blanches moved to Soho just as other members of the Blanch family were moving away from the area, as noted in the last post. By 1861, John’s brother David Blanch, now 50, and a coach-maker and smith employing seven men and two boys, was living at 35 Church Street, Chelsea, with his wife Sarah, sons William 22, also a coachsmith, David, 20, an engraver, Thomas, 18, another coachsmith, and daughter Jane, 16, as well as their house servant Elizabeth Higham, now 40. It would appear that David’s half sister Maria Blanch (Rodbard) who had lived with his family for the past twenty years or so, had died in 1859, when she would have been 77.
Thomas Blanch, brother of John and David, appears to have died in 1858. Certainly by 1861 his widow Ann is living with her daughter Mary Ann Sophia, husband Thomas Bagley and their children in Fulham (Ann is wrongly described in the census record as Thomas’ stepmother, rather than mother-in-law). I don’t know what became of Thomas and Ann’s eldest son, Thomas George, but their younger son William Henry appears to have married Emma Ann Wilson at St. Martin in the Fields in 1847. However, by 1851 William, now 26, also a coachsmith, is living alone in Fulham. I’ve yet to find a record for him in 1861 (perhaps he is the William Henry Blanch who died in Chelsea in 1857?).
Another William Henry Blanch, the brother of John, David and Thomas, who was living in Great Windmill Street in 1851, was still in Soho – in neighbouring Archer Street – for the marriages of his sons James William and David Henry, both of which took place in 1857, but I don’t know where he was in 1861. James William’s marriage, to Frances Donovan, was his second (his first wife Susan died in 1855, perhaps in childbirth: their second child, William Richard, was born in the same year), and by 1861 the couple were living, with their young daughter, Frances Martha, in Richmond Buildings, Soho. Following in the family tradition, James was working as a coachsmith. His brother David Henry Blanch, another coachsmith, married Deborah Croker and by 1861 they were living in Knightsbridge with their two infant sons.
We left the family of Richard Ellis in 1851, living in Richmond Street, Soho, which had been the Ellis family home for many years. By 1861, however, they had too had moved – to 3 Clifton Place, Kensington, where Richard, now 44, was working as a carpenter. Living with him and his wife Marianne, also 44, were their children Frances, 19, an assistant at a dye works, David Richard, 17, a dyer, Mary Anne, 11 (whom we last saw as a ‘nurse child’ with the Blanch family in Bethnal Green) and Henry, 10 (almost certainly the same person as the Alfred H.B. Ellis who was a newborn baby in 1851). The family had two lodgers: Charlotte Caughtrey, 22, a ribbon blocker at a dye works (probably a work-mate of Frances’) and James Blanch, 24, a coach painter. The latter was the son of David Blanch, and Frances’ future husband.
There were three households at the Clifton Place address: besides the Ellis family there was labourer Charles Stanbrook and his wife Ann; and then there was the person whose name has been inscribed as ‘Mary Ann Widow’, 66, a widow and a laundress, born in St. George’s Fields, Surrey. We know from other records that this must be Mary Ann Blanch (Harrison), who was living with the Ellis family in Richmond Street in 1851, and before that with her brother David in Richmond Street. In other words, she is the aunt of the Ellises’ lodger James George Blanch.
Sophia Sarah Ellis, whom I failed to find in the 1851 census, would have been about 15 by this time. As I’ve suggested in earlier posts, she is probably identical with the Sophia Ellis to be found in 1861 working as a nurse maid in the Oxford Street home of prosperous tea dealer Jonathan Puckridge and his wife Sarah.
I don’t know when the Ellis family moved from Soho to Kensington, as I have no records for them between 1851 and 1861. The fact that Daniel and Mary Ann (Blanch) Roe gave their son, Daniel, the middle name ‘Ellis’ might suggest that the two families were in regular contact around the time of his birth, in 1854 (though he wasn’t actually baptised until 1861). Since John and Keziah’s Blanch relations had left Soho by the time they moved there, Richard and Marianne Ellis, living a few minutes away from Great Crown Court in Richmond Street, might have been the only people they, and Daniel and Mary Ann, knew in the area. Relations between the two families must have been close: Keziah had nursed the Ellises’ daughter Mary Ann in 1851, and John’s sister Mary Ann Harrison was now living with them. Even so, to name your child after someone who was not a direct relative seems unusual, and I suspect there is still more to discover about the precise connections between the Blanch, Ellis and Roe families.