Sunday, 25 August 2013

For the past few weeks I've been looking into the lives of my maternal g-g-grandparents, William & Sarah GALE, and the areas of Holloway & Islington in which they lived. Born in about 1830, William was a second generation sailor from Salcombe Devon & Sarah, the daughter of  brewer William Kennet, was born in Chatham Kent on the 15th January 1832.

William & Sarah married in St John the Baptist Church, Hoxton on Tuesday 30 Nov 1852.  William signed his name but Sarah made her mark X

Within 10 months their first child, Edwin was born on 19/9/1853 at their home in Anglers Gardens Islington. Whereas this area had once been a respectable area inhabited by artisans involved in watch making and similar trades, by the time the Gale's were starting their family the neighbourhood was already running into disrepair.

View of the Anglers Gardens, on Frog Lane, Islington; a row of terraced houses with fenced gardens in front; a few figures walking along lane in foreground; washing hanging from a line in nearest garden, a woman stands in doorway beckoning to a child. (1839 Pen and ink with brown wash

In another few decades Anglers Gardens would be gone entirely, caught up in the slum clearances towards the end of the century which saw this cluster of lanes, alleys and squares transform into the Paradise Gardens development.
 Like most women of her time, Sarah was almost continually pregnant throughout her married life and so when Edwin was only a year & a half old, his brother William was born & 2½ years later Charles Thomas came along. It was time for the growing family to move and 2 years later, when the census was taken in 1861 William & his family are living in Palmer Street, Lower Holloway.
We may never know why the family left the place they had called home for 8 years but we can speculate. The area around Anglers Gardens was becoming more run-down and depressed and overcrowding was becoming more of a problem. On the other hand, just 2 kms north, the area around Palmer Street still had open green spaces and housing development was booming. By 1868 the family had made their final move; less than a kilometre south-west to Dorset Place just off Bride Street, which is where they spent the next 3 decades. For William, who was about to leave the merchant service & take on labouring jobs this new neighbourhood would have been ideal.
By the time of the census on the night of 2nd April 1871, William & Sarah had been married almost 20 years. They had welcomed 8 children; 3 sons and 5 daughters; but sadly had buried their twins Eliza & Jane. In almost all this time William had worked as a merchant sailor although given the regularity of arrival of his children, it is unlikely he was “at sea” but rather working domestic waters.
The next few decades brought another 3 daughters and the death of two of these and William & Sarah took on the role of bringing up their granddaughter, Maud. Their eldest son Edwin had married in 1878 but lost his wife & newborn son Charles Edwin in 1882. As a soldier he would not have been able to raise his daughter Maud alone although why she did not go to live with her mothers’ family is a mystery still to be investigated.
By the 1891 census, William & Sarah had only 13 year old Lilly & 9 year old granddaughter Maud still at home with them but only 2 years later, at the age of 63, William passed away. When the next census is taken in 1901 Sarah is now sadly living on Parish Relief; no doubt supported in some way by the meagre wage Maud would have been earning as Business Time Keeper. In 1905 Sarah died at the age of 75.

ST MARYS ISLINGTON where all the Gale children were baptised.
EDWIN b.9/09/1853 baptised 1/08/1858
WILLIAM b.7/06/1855 baptised 22/04/1866
CHARLES THOMAS b.7/10/1858 baptised 31/10/1858
MARY ANN b.22/09/1862 baptised 17/05/1865
SARAH b.19/02/1865 baptised 21/04/1867
JANE & ELIZA b.26/02/1867 baptised 17/03/1867 both dead by July 1867
CHARLOTTE b. 12/09/1868 baptised 4/10/1868
AMY MARY b.16/12/1871 baptised 17/01/1872 dead by October 1872
EMILY b.20/108/1875 baptised 28/05/1876 dead by April 1878
HILDA LILLY b.17/04/1878 baptised 22/09/1878

Friday, 2 August 2013

Well I have decided I really must try & be more disciplined with this blog. I mean, really, several years between posts is far too relaxed an approach to take. Then again, it does reflect my approach to my gen research – sporadic at best. I think about it a lot and have very good intentions of documenting my progress in an orderly fashion, but ………

So, I will try & make some sort of regular contributions to this blog. (I have this cynical little voice in my head at the moment reminding me about a time many years ago when a friend & I decided to get ourselves a “Gunna” book to write down all the things that we were “gunna” do one day …. But we never got around to getting the “Gunna” book).