Joseph Partleton (1837-1874)



When you catch the family history bug, and you start digging up a great big pile of unconnected old facts; births, christenings, censuses, marriages, burials, wills, deaths, one thing starts to become obvious right from the start... some people are easy to find and to trace. And some are just downright difficult.

Joseph Partleton falls in to the second category. Nearly all of his brothers and sisters - and there were eight of them - have their baptisms recorded. But apparently not our Joseph. Why? Good question... maybe he was born on the move; maybe his name was mis-spelled; maybe the vicar forgot to fill in the register; maybe his mum & dad, Benjamin Partleton and Mary Greenwood, just never got round to it.

No matter, we have enough facts to tell his tale... starting with those custodians of all things genealogical, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who seem to have a record of his birth in their database:

But actually what we see above is not from any Parish Register of Baptisms... and his name, which is abbreviated, ain't Josh!

... in fact what the LDS have done is back-calculated his birthdate from this 1841 census sheet:

From the 'y' on this form we know that he was born in the county of Surrey - almost certainly in the same house where he's living in 1841 - which is in Vauxhall / Kennington / South Lambeth, so - for those of us who haven't seen other pages in the Partleton Tree - let's just locate this area, in the blue circle in the map below:

And then we can zoom in to his exact house, no. 8 Francis Street, which is near the corner at its junction with Vauxhall Street [formerly Barrett Street], in the blue circle in the map below:

Francis Street was relatively new in 1841, less than 20 years old.

In the map below, which is Richard Horwood's 1790s map in an 1807 revision, we can see the future site of Francis Street, just south of the old workhouse, circled in blue in a soggy field, sliding off the bottom edge of the map:

In 1841, Joseph's dad, house-painter Benjamin Partleton, is doing OK. The family occupies the whole house at 8 Francis Street - not just one room as was very often the case for poor families in London - and at the time of that census they'd already been there seven years, since 1834.

So it seems the perfect opportunity to explore some of young Joseph's neighbourhood. The first image is a big school, just around the corner, the Licensed Victualler's School. This grand edifice, replacing an earlier one, was completed one year before Joseph was born, in 1836:

The Licensed Victualler's School was created as a charitable educational institution, set up by people in the brewing business, for families in within the industry who were less well-off than themselves. As it happens, it would have been almost tailor-made for our Joseph, who lived and worked exclusively in pubs in his later life, except we have no reason to believe he ever attended, and he never had any children. The Licensed Victualler's School is still going [2010], as a charitable trust, is presently located in Ascot, and has about a thousand kids.

From all the evidence, Joseph preferred the inside of a pub to the outside, and I have taken the opportunity to set something of a pub theme to his web pages. He was a barman, but I will add that I've no idea if he was a big drinker. For all I know, he may have been teetotal.

The above watercolour painting of the Licensed Victualler's School was executed from the viewpoint of the green arrow in the map below:

And here is a photograph of the same building in 1860, taken by a friend of this website, the master photographer William Strudwick:

From 1921 to 1992 this building became headquarters of the Navy, Army and Air Force Institute [NAAFI] - essentially the armed forces catering organisation - and survives today, renamed as Imperial Court, and converted to residential apartments:

A 3-bedroom apartment in there will cost you today [2010], close on a million dollars.

Let's move on. Joseph, like all kids, would no doubt have loved going to the park, and Kennington has got a good one, circled red in the map below:

Actually, in 1841, this piece of grassland was not Kennington Park, but Kennington Common, and we see it below, from the yellow arrow in the map, depicted by artist William Henry Prior, from an original of c1830:

There's a misconception about commons. One might imagine from the name that they are open to any old Tom, Dick or Harry to graze their livestock. Common land. No, no, no: the person or persons who held the grazing rights were very specifically designated. If you stuck your sheep on a common in Joseph's day without the right, you'd very soon find an angry red-faced farmer, armed with a pitchfork, knocking on your door. The rules were strict: who could use it, what animals were allowed, and for how long.

In a previous era to our Joseph, Kennington Common had been the site of public executions, the last of which - the hanging of a fraudster from Camberwell - was held in 1799. St Mark's church - which we see in the distance in the engraving above - was built in 1824 on the site of the old gallows.

Here's a closer look at the church, and more interestingly, in the foreground, Kennington turnpike / tollbooth, courtesy of artist John Chessell Buckler in 1827... we'll be seeing more of these turnpikes later:

I found this story about the Kennington Common hanging of cold-blooded robber and murderer Lewis Avershaw for whose execution a vast crowd congregated:

In the 1830 Kennington Common engraving, we saw a snapshot of the old rural countryside south of the Thames being pushed aside by the relentless, explosive expansion of London. Sheep graze cheek-by-jowl with new city blocks, including Joseph's home at Francis Street.

In fact the whole of Kennington Common was shrinking due to the development all around it; great chunks of the surrounding areas were [and are] owned by the royal family, like coloured cards on a giant monopoly board. In 1854, when our Joseph was 17, the Duchy of Cornwall enclosed the Common and created Kennington Park. The Duchy of Cornwall [ie Prince Charles] sold much of its Kennington property in 1990 but still owns "about 50 houses" in the area according to their website.

But the Common was put to other uses than hanging villains, grazing sheep and filling the royal pocket:

The above extraordinary early daguerreotype photo was taken by William Kilburn on Kennington Common on 10 April 1848, when our Joseph was 11.

Kennington Common was used throughout the 19th century as a place for public oration. The political gathering in the daguerreotype was organised by the Chartists who were pressing for universal [male] suffrage, and for paid-Members of Parliament [with the aim of enabling working men to become MP's], among other things, which we see in their poster promoting the event:

The crowd on Kennington Common was estimated by the Chartists as 300,000; by the government as 15,000; so let's have another look at that fabulous photo and decide for ourselves... hmmm, I've been in plenty of football crowds and I'd say there's definitely more than 15,000 on that field... but there's no way that there's 300,000. Perhaps they're not all in shot.

Unless he was a very politically-active 11-year-old, it's unlikely that Joseph would have attended this event, even though it's just a short walk from his home, but what the heck, let's step into his shoes and listen to the harangue from the hustings:

It's hard to identify where William Kilburn stood to take his photo. He's clearly above everyone's heads, and I've seen speculation that he may have positioned himself looking southwards from an upstairs room in the Horns Tavern. If so, the shadows in the foreground dictate that this must be taken in the late afternoon, which makes sense. There is a road surface in the foreground [which may be Kennington Road], with carriages on it , and we can see an industrial chimney which could be associated with the Vitriol [Sulphuric Acid] works on Royal Road.

"What's the Horns Tavern?", I hear you ask, and to answer that question, we'll go back to the 1830 engraving of Kennington Road, which is, incidentally, a part of what is, in modern terminology, the A23 - the main London to Brighton highway; that's why we see that tollgate in middle of the road in the distance:

The Horns Tavern is the pub on the right of the picture, including - if my eyes don't deceive me - a stag's head complete with antlers above the door. We are looking from the yellow arrow in the map below:

Here's another view of the Horns Tavern [1790] from the viewpoint of the purple arrow in the map above. I love the old-school signpost in the road:

The Horns Tavern had large assembly rooms, and these hosted some very interesting gatherings including one which which was held on 22 August 1845 - when our Joseph was eight - at which 100 representatives of local cricket clubs had a meeting and founded the Surrey County Cricket Club.

In the 1938 aerial photo below, we see a later rebuild of the Horns at the point of the purple arrow, Kennington Park at the top of the picture at the red arrow, and - dominating the picture - the outcome of that meeting: Kennington Oval, the home ground of Surrey County Cricket Club:

The photo is taken from the blue arrow in the map below:

Here's another view of The Horns - a copy of an original of about 1820, drawn from the purple arrow; I reckon the assembly rooms are in the large building at the left:

We'll need to see the map again:

Below we see another engraving featuring the Horns Tavern, this time from the orange arrow in the map, looking east towards Kennington Park. It's the day of the General Election of 11 July 1865, and hustings have been built on Kennington Road. The husting is the temporary platform directly ahead, built specially for the election, from which the candidates addressed the crowd, sometimes being shouted down.

The Horns Tavern is on the left of the picture:

There is some self-congatulatory back-slapping in the newspaper article above; pride in the civilised British democracy, and a strong sense in the picture of a fair and free election in progress, which was true - freedom of speech and of opinion - but also of note here is that Joseph Partleton, aged 28 on the day of the election, probably couldn't vote. Eligibility varied from borough to borough, according to a variety of criteria, but in general, suffrage was limited to freeholders, i.e. landowners, and our Joe sure as hell ain't one of those. At this election, the Conservative candidate, Hughes, won the vote.

But the winds of change were blowing. Two years after the election, the Chartists got some of their demands in the Representation of the People Act 1867 which enfranchised most of the urban male working class. In the next election, in 1868, the Liberal candidate for Lambeth, James Lawrence, whose posters we see above for his losing campaign of 1865, was voted by a much broader electorate... but still entirely made up of men.

In 1883, the Horns hosted another interesting meeting... but first, let's have a peek at some Suffragettes campaigning for votes for women outside Kennington Oval cricket ground in 1908:

If you thought the Suffragettes only started in Edwardian times, check out this poster of an event held at the Horns Tavern in 1883, a whole generation earlier:

Four years after this meeting, in 1887, the Horns Tavern was torn down.

It must have been a very profitable business because it was replaced by this rather grand Victorian Horns Tavern:

Below we see the Victorian architect's plans of 1887 for the palatial new pub, apparently a favourite haunt of Charlie Chaplin's alcoholic absentee father as Charlie struggled through his childhood in the 1890s in Kennington living with his mentally ill mother:

Nothing ever stays the same in London. The Victorian pub was damaged by bombing in WW2 and demolished in 1960.

Below we see the junction today. The building is the local office of the Department of Social Security. I'll give it another 50 years before it's knocked down in turn:

And I guess that's us done for the Horns Tavern and Kennington Common. We've got a bit ahead of ourselves in the chronology. Joseph never saw the new Horns Tavern; he died in 1874, and before we took our diversion into Kennington Park, he was only four years old, and the year was 1841.

Joseph's mum, Mary Greenwood, was pregnant at the time of the 1841 census, and seven months later, in January 1842, gave birth to a baby brother, Charles, for young Joseph. It was to be her last, and it is my great-great-grandfather.

One year later, January 1843; little Joseph, who was now five years old, had his world shaken to its foundations as his daddy died:

Benjamin Partleton died of a stroke ['Apoplexy'] while out on a painting job at the house of a Victorian celebrity; an interesting story which you'll find on his own page.

This is a massive catastrophe for poor Mary Greenwood. Thankfully, her older kids are already big enough to go out to work. And she also has her family to fall back on to help with the younger ones. Her brother Charles Greenwood is an entrepreneur, running a small business, cleaning and curing leather. He and his wife eventually take in and raise the new baby, my great-great granddad Charles.

Mary will also have received some charity from the parish, not much - some food and some help towards the rent. It was very common in such situations for the mother and her children to enter the workhouse, but Mary seems to have managed to avoid this.

And so it is that in the next census, 1851, that we find our Joseph, now fourteen years old, living in one room in Marshall Street with his mum:

Unsurprisingly, Joseph has taken a job as an errand-boy to help his widowed mum with the meagre income she earns by taking in laundry.

They've moved a mile or so north and can now be found in the yellow circle:

Marshall Street lies between St George's Circus and the Elephant & Castle. We get a lovely clear view of its precise location, as always, in Richard Horwood's beautiful map, surveyed in the 1790s, below. It's circled in blue:

As we see above, Marshall Street had two nice facing crescents of houses. And if we have a closer look in the map below, we see, outlined in blue, the exact location of No 39, where Joseph and his mum shared a single room:

Let's step into Joseph's shoes, perhaps to run one of those errands... head south down Marshall Street and turn left:

Ok, the above highly animated aquatint, by Samuel John Egbert Jones, is of the Elephant & Castle pub and road junction in the year 1826, 11 years before our Joseph was born. But the chaotic melee of horses and carriages at this busy intersection would certainly be extremely familiar to Joseph.

The lady on the right of the painting is selling oysters - poor-man's food during our Joseph's time, and it's quite likely that he partook of these, which have become a rich man's delicacy in our era.

We are looking from the point of view of the red arrow in the map below:

And from the blue arrow in the map, a quieter moment at the Elephant & Castle turnpike gate, captured in time for ever by artist Gideon Yates for the publication Views in Surrey:

The Elephant and Castle pub in the middle of the picture above was an old coaching inn; set up as a lucrative business to support the traveller in the days of horse-drawn transport. The building we see in this painting was constructed in 1818 on the site of an earlier pub.

Below we see a nice atmospheric sketch of the same subject from about the same period by an anonymous artist:

Just like the earlier view of Kennington and the Horns Tavern, we see another of those tollbooths. What's going on?...

Thanks to cartographer John Cary (c1754-1835), we get a very clear view of the whole London turnpike system in the map above. Artist Yates's view of the Newington Gate is at the point of the blue arrow.

The tollbooths were introduced by the Turnpike Act of 1707 to collect money for the maintenance of the roads. The previous system - which had relied on individual parishes to fund the roads - didn't work very well, and some main highways were in a sorry state as ever-increasing traffic of heavy wagons passed every year.

The Act set the rates: one shilling and sixpence for a coach pulled by four horses; a penny for an unladen horse; and tenpence for a drove of 20 cows on their way to Smithfield Market. As we can see from the map, the gates form a spider's web. There's no way in or out of the capital without paying your toll, though at some gates - such as the Kennington one we saw earlier [from the yellow arrow] - the open fields surrounding the gates were sometimes misused by the unscrupulous to bypass the toll.

Turnpikes, tolls and gatekeepers can't have been good for traffic flow. At Surrey History Centre I found an interesting legal deposition of an event which occurred in 1745 at the Elephant & Castle / Newington Gate - which we saw above... a fracas resulting from a ticket which had expired an hour earlier:

Let's get back to our Joseph. If we leave his front door, head north to the top of Marshall Street and go 50 yards left, we come to St George's Circus, with its landmark obelisk:

The obelisk had been erected in 1771  to mark the completion of several new roads across St George's Fields, which we will come to in a moment.

The gothic-style building at the left is the School for the Indigent Blind, modelled in 1834, a charitable institution giving vocational training to blind people. Straight ahead is Lambeth Road with the famous Bedlam Mental Hospital dimly visible in the distance. Joseph's home in Marshall Street is a short walk down the road disappearing out left of the picture, London Road.

The viewpoint of the artist for the above engraving is from the orange arrow in the map below:

And if we turn around and face north, from the green arrow, we see, below, the Surrey Theatre - the large building at the front - and behind it, the Magdalen Hospital, a refuge and reform institution for prostitutes.

Oh, and yet another tollbooth, the Circus Gate...

The above engraving is of 1812; the buildings are all pretty new, and we get a sense of spaciousness and leafiness, before the whole area of south London experienced the overcrowding, pollution and overexploitation which occurred during Joseph's lifetime. In this case, the view would be pretty much unchanged in 1851; put Joseph in this picture and he'd know exactly where he was.

Look carefully and you can see the Circus Gate at the point of the green arrow in Cary's map:

All of the tollbooths would be quite recognisable to Joseph Partleton. Kennington Gate was eventually closed, if you'll excuse the pun, in 1865, as the unwieldy turnpike system was gradually dropped, as we see the event reported in the Illustrated London News of 09 December 1865:

Practically all of the buildings in this area, except for the coaching inns, were built subsequent to 1771 when the land was drained and major new roads laid across the fields, so let's rewind 25 years from that date and view John Rocque's beautiful map of 1746:

John Rocque shows us just how rural south London was. This area is called St George's Fields because it is in the parish of St George the Martyr in Southwark: the fields are just that - nothing but marshy low-lying meadows prone to flooding, crossed by farm tracks. The future main thoroughfares; London Road; Blackfriars Road, Borough Road, either don't exist or are just crude country tracks. The village of Newington can be seen at bottom right.

The future location of Marshall Street, Joseph's home in 1851, is circled in blue; St George's Circus with its obelisk will be in the purple circle. The Newington Turnpike is already in place, at the point of the blue arrow, and the Elephant & Castle pub is circled in red.

In the charming painting below, by an unknown artist, we see harvesting in St George's Fields in 1780 which shows that it is still just countryside, even nine years after the new roads have been created:

Let's have another look at Rocque's map:

Keeping up the pub theme of Joseph's web page, at the point of the green arrow, we see another ancient inn and spa; the Dog and Duck aka St George's Spa:

The 'spa' aspect of this wayside hostelry was questionable; there was a spring, apparently - with muddy marsh water and stagnant ponds surrounding it - but it embraced a wide range of activities and entertainments, not the least of which was that it became a notorious place to pick up prostitutes.

There's no suggestion of that in the colourful and ribald 1783 painting we see below, Fatty in Distress, but there is more than a hint of indelicate comic vulgarity; check out the faces as the large lady tries to squeeze between two narrow posts:

The artist is Robert Dighton - and if we look carefully, we see that the buildings behind the lady are indeed the Dog & Duck in St George's Fields.

Six years later, we get a look inside. A much more genteel affair:

No hint of the brothel here either, as the elegantly attired ladies dance in their giant hats in the public rooms at the Dog & Duck on 25 July 1789, captured by an anonymous artist.

But in this 1822 publication, The Edinburgh Gazetteer or Geographical Dictionary, we find a reference to 'violations of decorum' which caused the Dog & Duck to have its licence revoked.

And we note with interest that the School for the Indigent Blind, which - as we saw earlier - eventually got its own fancy custom-made building, for its first few years of good work had originally established itself, with a small handful of blind people, in rooms at the Dog & Duck.

Below we have a bizarre event which occurred at the Dog & Duck in an earlier age, reported in the newspaper Applebee’s Original Weekly Journal on 03 June 1721. Before you read it, we'll need to establish a few things or it won't make any sense...

In c1543, Henry VIII had created a mint in Southwark, just south of London Bridge, for the production of coins. It received a charter in 1550 which exempted it from the control of the City of London, effectively establishing a separate jurisdiction; the Liberty of the Mint. Because it was outside the jurisdiction of the City, it became for many years a grim refuge for debtors, criminals and fugitives, outside of the law in many regards, its inhabitants populated in terrible slum housing. Now, fast-forward to 1721 and read on...

Left: Applebee’s Original Weekly Journal, 03 June 1721

We can see the cow-ponds near the Dog & Duck where the unfortunate bailiff was nearly drowned, in Rocque's map below:

The Mint lost its special privileges the following year due to an Act of Parliament; The Mint in Southwark Act 1722.

130 years later, no matter how keen a drinker Joseph Partleton was, he would not have consumed any ale at the Dog & Duck, because, as we saw in the Edinburgh Gazetteer, it had been demolished in 1812 to make way for the new Bedlam lunatic asylum. Here's Bedlam, as Joseph would have seen it:

And so, time passes, and we seem to have lost the thread of Joseph's progress. We last saw him in the 1851 census with his mum at Marshall Street, St George's Fields.

Four years later, in late 1855, Joseph's mum, Mary Greenwood, died:

This is a tough break for the young lad who is just 18, who lost his dad when he was 5, and who must surely have been close to his mum having lived alone with her during his childhood.

The next we see of Joseph is the 1861 census:

Above we see Joseph is residing at the Hope & Anchor, Acre Lane, Brixton, so we need to find our bearings... let's pull out that by-now-familiar engraving of the Kennington Turnpike...

See that road branching away to the left? We're looking from the yellow arrow in the map below, and that's Brixton Road aka the Wash Way aka Croydon Road aka Brighton Road which is highlighted in blue.

We'll join Joseph for a short bus journey from the Kennington Gate, down Brixton Road, to the Hope & Anchor pub on Acre Lane:

Joseph wasn't rich, and undoubtedly would have used public transport.

So, let's walk with him, go to Kennington Turnpike, and step carefully through the horse-manure in the road. In a few minutes we are going to catch a horse-drawn omnibus like the one we see below:

The c1860 photograph of Kennington Gate we see above was taken from the point of the yellow arrow in the 1857 Kelly's Post Office Directory Map Of London below:

Let's take a look at the same viewpoint of the yellow arrow 22 years earlier, when Joseph was one year old:

I've left the image above full-size as there is so much going on. It depicts a day of chaos. The title of this sketch is Scenes on the Road to Epsom, No 4, Kennington Gate. Artist James Pollard is attempting to capture the atmosphere on Derby day 1838 as vast crowds exit London through Kennington Gate, rich and poor, flocking south to Epsom to see the big horse race.

This transportation mini-crisis in south London, caused by Derby day, was reported in the Yorkshire Gazette of 02 June 1838:

Left: Yorkshire Gazette, 02 June 1838

Artist James Pollard obviously liked the Derby as he painted many pictures of it. Here's one he executed in 1836, titled Epsom Races, the Betting Post:

On Derby day, buses taking people though Kennington Gate on the road to Epsom, in the heat of summer, were uncomfortably full, probably filled beyond their normal maximum capacity. The Yorkshire Gazette tells us more about this, and the mayhem at Kennington turnpike:

Left: Yorkshire Gazette, 02 June 1838

On the same day, just a half-mile away from Kennington gate, the brand newfangled railway station at Nine Elms, Vauxhall, at the point of the green arrow in the map below, had laid on eight special trains for the Derby:

The station had opened on 21 May 1838, just nine days before the Derby.

In the 1856 painting below, by Thomas Hosmer Shepherd, we see Nine Elms station from the viewpoint of the green arrow in the map above:

Nine Elms was short-lived as a London terminus - you had to get off the train and complete your journey into the city by boat down the Thames: not very convenient. During the 1850s, the line was extended northwards to Waterloo station, as can be seen in Kelly's 1857 map above, and as Joseph would know only too well as the many miles of elevated railway arches which came to dominate the entire neighbourhood of Lambeth were built before his very eyes as he grew up. This was good for transportation but not very beneficial to the landscape - and the arches are still there today, as I can testify as I currently [2013] take this very train in to central London every day.

On Derby day, despite the special trains, the new railway at Nine Elms was totally overwhelmed with customers, and a potentially disastrous situation ensued, as described by the Staffordshire Advertiser :

Left: Staffordshire Advertiser - Saturday 09 June 1838

The newspaper noted with apparent relief that when the police were called to break up the throng after the last train departed, though thousands were left standing at the station, a riot did not break out among the disappointed punters who would miss the big race. An actual, and quite unpleasant, riot had occurred in Kennington just six days earlier, among paying customers, when a much-vaunted hot-air balloon stunt had gone wrong at the Surrey Zoological Gardens. You'll find that story elsewhere in the Partleton Tree.

Let's get back to Joseph. We left him at Kennington Gate in 1861, about to board a horse-drawn omnibus to take him, not to Epsom, but to his workplace at Acre Lane. This photo gives us a slightly clearer view of the junction:

The photograph we see above was taken in 1860, and Joseph was living in Acre Lane, just two miles away, in 1861, so here we have a perfect vision of Joseph's world. Let's climb on board the bus. We are going to pass through the gate on the left, and travel southwards down the Brixton Road to Acre Lane.

Horse-drawn omnibuses were, of course, rather more cramped - some might say cosy - than the modern buses we are used to. In that tight cab we'll smell a mixture of the fragrance of our fellow-travellers - perhaps a bit of baccy, maybe a hint of ladies' perfume, maybe something worse - mingled with the fumes from the little oil lamp which is thoughtfully placed in the carriage for the benefit of the passengers:

That's no ordinary passenger, of course, on the left, with the top hat. This cute painting is usually titled 'An omnibus ride to Piccadilly Circus - Mr. Gladstone travelling with ordinary passengers'. The picture was executed during prime minister Gladstone's second term, in the 1880s, but thanks to the Representation of the People Act 1867 which we mentioned earlier, our Joseph was enfranchised to vote, probably for the first time, in the 1868 General Election when he could have chosen either the Conservatives and Disraeli or the Liberals and Gladstone. Gladstone won.

And the 'ordinary' passengers on the Piccadilly route are - we might suggest - somewhat posher than those we would find at Kennington Turnpike? Maybe not. Brixton used to be posher than it is now. The man in the corner is probably Alfred Morgan, the artist of the painting, in self-portrait with his wife and two of his children.

We'll definitely have to drop our customary barriers of personal-space when we get in the carriage, as we can see amply illustrated in the mid-19th-century sketch below; the passengers knocking their knees together:

The picture above is attributed to Victorian artist Charles Keene, but not for certain. Apologies to the anonymous artist if that's wrong.

Also by an anonymous artist is the wonderful cartoon we see below, published in the famous Parisian Charivari magazine in the 1840s:

Though the bus is in a whole different country, I think this takes us a little closer to our Joseph's omnibus. The lady squeezed between the butcher and the drunk, eyeing his drool with horror, is beautifully and hilariously drawn, but I can only credit the author with his initials which appear to be B.D.

The last time I was on a crowded London bus, it wasn't so different to the illustration. But there were more mobile phones, that's for sure.

How much did it cost in 1861 to travel from Kennington Gate to Acre Lane, Brixton? Well, can get a pretty good estimate because an angry Brixton resident complained about bus fares in the London Daily News of Saturday 30 October 1858:

This letter shows us that fares varied quite a bit depending on the route: that's what the angry Mr 'Brixtoniensis' is complaining about. Kennington Gate to Chancery Lane is 2.7 miles, and cost 4d. Charing Cross is 2.4 miles, cost 6d. Kennington Gate to the Swan, Stockwell - just 1 mile - cost 2d in 1867. This is all quite pricey.

Kennington Gate to Acre Lane is an easy journey, 1.6 miles. Based on the above, the fare would be tuppence, more likely threepence. Here are three Victorian pennies, extremely familiar to Joseph. He'd have some jangling in his pockets every day:

The cost was threepence... was that a lot of money?

How much did Joseph Partleton earn?... We can get a pretty good idea from another newspaper report, wherein another barman working at Blackfriars - just up the road from Joseph - nicked a load of stuff from a publican:

Left: Morning Chronicle, Saturday 28 August 1858

So, when we saw Joseph getting his board and lodging at the Hope & Anchor in the 1861 census, he received, in addition, 5 shillings a week or thereabouts. That's 60 old pence. Working six days a week, that's tenpence a day.

From this I think we can assume that there's no way Joseph is going to shell out threepence - a third of a day's wages - for a short bus ride; 1.6 miles, a distance which could be walked in 30 minutes.

Of course, he didn't have to travel inside the bus:

Probably it would have been cheaper to sit up top. There's quite a crowd up there on this (Islington) omnibus in c1865.

The surprise to me is that those horses can pull such a weight, that the axles can hold it, and that the roof doesn't collapse.

Yes, it may have been cheaper up top, and we can be fairly sure that Joseph would have walked, but we're rich, so let's pay his 3d fare for him. It's a short journey down Brixton Road...

About halfway down the road, from the purple arrow, in a previous era [1785], we see another coaching inn; the White Horse, with a couple of locals gawping at one of the novelties of the age - a hot-air balloon:

Aw, it looks right pastoral and welcoming to a weary traveller taking a break for a pint of beer, or perhaps staying the night, on his journey from London to Brighton.

We see the above point of view, which is at the purple arrow, upside-down, in another of John Cary's lovely maps [1790], this time a route-map:

John Cary chose, for the purposes of his route-map, to put south at the top - but to help us keep our bearings, I have put north at the top, which is why it appears upside-down.

Along this route-map, we again see our turnpikes; the Circus Gate, circled green, and Kennington Gate, circled yellow, where John Cary helpfully advises the traveller he may 'pass with Newington Gate ticket &c', the point being that it was not necessary to pay twice. And the location of some important way-stops; the Duke of Bedford; the Horse & Groom, etc.

In Victorian times, the charming country pub of the White Horse, which we saw earlier, was replaced with a new building, as London swamped the surrounding countryside. This photo, with the landscape looking very different, was taken in about 1910, from the red arrow in Cary's route map:


This version of the White Horse is still there today [2010], as we see on the right.

So, our bus journey with Joseph proceeds, and we come to the junction of Brixton Road with Acre Lane and Coldharbour Lane, at the point of the orange arrow:

We have a photo, below, of this junction [1883], looking north from the orange arrow towards the railway bridge... seems to have snowed quite heavily during our short omnibus trip. I'm glad we got the bus now. I don't think I would want to sit up top on a day like this, but the poor driver had to, with no more protection than his overcoat, come rain or shine. It was a different age:

In the above picture we see the street-front sign for the Prince of Wales, a pub/hotel which has been on the site since the early 1800s, but the pub itself is out of view, so I'll put that straight with an advert of 1910:


The Prince of Wales didn't have a telephone in 1861, which is not surprising because it wasn't invented till 1876. Consequently, our Joseph - who died in 1874 - never saw one.

But by that 1910 advert, the Prince of Wales did have a phone. Fifteen or twenty years later, the Victorian pub was replaced with the art deco building which we see above on the right. The same building is still there [2013], and still houses a pub, whose name has been shortened to The Prince, and it presumably has a phone, but I guess the number may have changed... in 1910, as we see above, their phone number was Brixton 21.

In 1861, Joseph would ride the horse-drawn omnibus, but nine years later, he could use the brand-new horse-drawn tram which we see below, in 1870, passing the former location of Kennington Gate, with St Mark's church in the background, painted by an anonymous artist:

And thanks to The Graphic Newspaper of March 1870, we can step inside the tram:

The Brixton and Kennington Tramway was completed in 1870. It followed exactly the same route as the omnibus we just looked at above, starting at the Horns Tavern, along Brixton Road, to Stockwell Road. The advantage of the rails was that the two horses could now pull even greater loads; an incredible 22 people inside and 24 on the open top deck.

We disembark our omnibus at he point of the orange arrow and walk the remaining short distance down Acre Lane...

... and though it seems to have taken us a while, at the pink arrow, we come to the Hope & Anchor:

Mmmm, oooh, this can't be right. The photo of the Hope & Anchor above, taken in the 1930s, shows the pub as some sort of dutch-style confection - which was in fact built in the 1930s, and still stands there today [2010]:

Let's try again...

Left: Hope & Anchor, Acre Lane, c1900

Aaaah, that's better. The Hope & Anchor we see on the right, on the same site on Acre Lane, is the actual pub in which our Joseph lived and worked in 1861.

On the night of the 1861 census, he is sleeping in one of the very rooms which we see upstairs... step into his shoes... Ok, he's not sleeping in his shoes.

Here's that census return of 1861:

Joseph's Relation to the Head of Household is rather comically recorded as 'Potman'... technically the enumerator should have written 'Boarder'. 'Potman' is, of course, Joseph's Occupation. A 'potman' in a pub carries out menial tasks such as collecting up the used glasses. Joseph's age, given as 19, is incorrect.

Joseph did not marry in his twenties - which is unusual in that era - and thus the next we see of him in the records is ten years later, in the 1871 census. He's now 34 years old:

Errors are evident in the above census sheet, which has Joseph as 'John Portleton' - chances are that he's illiterate and the enumerator has dashed off his name without much care - but be assured, this is definitely our Joseph Partleton.

He's still a potman, but he's moved quite a long way, to Chalk Farm in north London, so we should get our map out again:

The location of Chalk Farm is in the red circle in John Cary's map above. In 1785, when John drew his map, the area was undeveloped, but by 1871, the Victorians have laid it all out with new streets...

For the second census in a row, we see Joseph Partleton's bedroom. It's under one of those blinds in the pub 'Celebrated Welch Ales' at the right of the picture. The pub in question is The Belmont Tavern, at 71 & 72 Chalk Farm Road. You can just discern the 'BE...' and 'TA...' of their pub sign at top right of the Edwardian photo above.

The rapid development and modification of streets such as Chalk Farm Road created havoc with the house numbering. By 1891, the Belmont Tavern was renumbered as 78 & 79 Chalk Farm Road, which is where we find it today [2010] as the Bartok restaurant:

We can see the location of The Belmont outlined in red in Stanford's 1862 map below. In this map, Chalk Farm Road appears as Hampstead Road; the old photo is from the viewpoint of the blue arrow:

You may notice the gigantic circular Corn and Potato Store opposite the pub, which must have been pretty obvious as Joseph looked out of his bedroom window. This was originally built in 1846 to house a railway engine turntable. Ten years later it became redundant because, in those early days of the railways, locomotives had already become too big for it.

In the 1860s it was converted to the corn and potato store. You may think that Londoners would never grow hungry with such a huge store of food at their service, but, no, in keeping with the pub and booze theme of this web page, the building had been leased in 1869 by Gilbey's Gin - the contents of the warehouse were not going to be eaten, but drunk with a dash of tonic. Gilbey's lease was for 50 years; they didn't renew it, and in the 20th century the circular edifice again became redundant.

In the early-1960s photograph we see below, viewed from the purple arrow in the map, the empty and disused circular building still has its Gilbey's Gin sign on the outside.

In the mid-1960s, the building was converted at public expense to a music venue: The Roundhouse.

Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane and The Doors appeared there, and Pink Floyd - you name it...

In the mid-1970s the Roundhouse had become a popular venue for punk rock:

What would our Joseph have made of that back in 1871?

But Joseph is about to move on again. Between 1871 and 1874 he became very ill. His short life was coming to a rapid end.

To be looked after during his terminal illness, Joseph went to live with his elder brother Benjamin and sister-in-law Louisa in the South London suburb of Norwood.

Joseph's new exact address is Denmark Road, circled in green below:

Norwood is a typical Victorian South London suburb; the name originating from the mediaeval Great North Wood which had been systematically cut down.

Below is Denmark Road in 2010. Looking from the viewpoint of the purple arrow in the map above and picked out by the purple arrow in the picture below, we can see the exact house where Joseph died in 1874, as it still stands today: No4 Denmark Road:

Reverting to the map, we see that Denmark Road is named because of the nearby Prince of Denmark pub, circled yellow:

Here's the Prince of Denmark today - a Thai restaurant, though in this case I can't be sure that it's the same building which was there in 1874, the wine store to its left most certainly was:

This part of London was growing rapidly with the spread of the railways. The local station is Norwood Junction:

The bridge in the 1891 engraving above is seen from the viewpoint of the red arrow in the map below:

Let's have another look at that bridge picture:

In the distance behind the bridge we see yet another traveller's pub; The Jolly Sailor. It's circled in blue in the map, at the crossroads of South Norwood High Street and Portland Road.

The Jolly Sailor inn had originally provided rest and comfort to the weary traveller on the road. In 1809 the new Croydon Canal was completed, cutting right past the Jolly Sailor, which was subsequently frequented by the bargemen. The canal proved an economic failure. After it closed in 1836, making it the first canal to be formally abandoned by an Act of Parliament, much of the alignment was then purchased by the London & Croydon Railway for £40,250. The Norwood stop on the new railway line, completed in 1839, was named Jolly Sailor Station after the pub.

The station location was moved slightly in 1846 at which time the name was changed to the much more boring Norwood, becoming Norwood Junction in 1856.

And that's the last pub reference on Joseph Partleton's web page. All that's left is for us to review his death certificate, obtained by Terry Partleton:

The cause of death, 'Scirrhus of Pylorus', translates to cancer of the stomach in modern terminology. With the state of medical advance in 1874, Joseph stood absolutely no chance of any possible cure at the time. It's a very painful and slow death; the patient becoming increasingly emaciated as his stomach fails to function properly. Joe would have needed quite a bit of looking-after.

Joseph is still recorded as a barman on his death certificate. He had a quite typical tough life as a Victorian working-class man; his parents were both dead before he was out of his teens; he found lodging and work in pubs; never married, and died at the young age of just 36.

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