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JONES

Not surprisingly tracing the Jones relations is not an easy task because of the commonality of the surname. The furthest we can go back so far is to 1839 with the birth of William Jones in Notting Hill, South London, the birth year is taken from the 1881 census so could be out by a few years. The 1871 census has him as being born around 1836 and in Kensington, so at present I am not quite sure yet of the date and place. William is my great, great grandfather. His father as shown on his marriage certificate was John Jones

On 1st January 1866 he married Sarah Stevens. Shirley Gardiner found this information for us. She noticed on the 1881 census that William and Sarah Jones had a nephew staying with them with surname of Stevens. From this information she was able to find the marriage and certificate. The marriage was witness by William Stevens and Jane Stevens.

I have information on 4 of the couple’s children, however there may have been more. The first one recorded 1866 in Islington a girl, named Charlotte Amelia Jones, who is my great grandmother, following her later marriage to William Martin. Her birth was 10th December 1866 and was registered in Kensington. Father is William Jones, mother Sarah Jones formerly Stevens.

Her record of Baptism is shown below early the following year, record is 2nd from bottom.

Charlotte Jones Baptism Record

Next to arrive was another girl, Sarah E. Jones born about 1869, this was worked out from the age on the 1871 and 1881 census. There seems to have been a certain amount of movement by the family as Sarah is shown on the 1881 census as being born in Notting Hill, where William originally came from.

There is a big gap to the next child I have, which makes me think there were others. The next child, was another girl, Harriet L. Jones born around 1878, she is shown as aged 3 on 1881 census. Another location for the birth this time Camden.

In 1881 the first boy, that I have found, arrives. William J Jones born in B Buildings, Islington. I think the B buildings stands for Beaconsfield Buildings, which we believe to have been somewhere to the north of Kings Cross station.

There is a reference on the Charles Booth Online Archive at booth.lse.ac.uk (note there’s no www in the web address) to Beaconsfield Buildings as follows:

Interview with Dr Gwyther, runs social club rooms at Beaconsfield Buildings, Caledonian Road, in the parish of St Michael’s, 18 November [1897]

This would explain how Charlotte Amelia Jones above met William Martin, as the Martins were living near to Beaconsfield Buildings during this time.

The Beaconsfield buildings were of the Peabody type. Below is an article by Michael Gandy where he discusses the Peabody buildings in Blackfriers Road which would have been similar to where our Martin’s lived. It shows you the type of conditions in which they lived and the things they had to endure.

"Over the last couple of issues 1 have looked at the vast number of organisations which gave regular help to the needy however from at least the 1830s social reformers were consciously working to change the system rather than just treat the symptoms

The progress of the last 150 years has been stupendous. We sometimes talk about the "bad old days" but people back then talked in the same way about the bed old days of their youth. Surviving hardship is a competition we ad want to win and young pop stars talk and write about their deprived childhood’s in the bad old days five years ago. At least our cardboard box had Raps on. And we was 'appy!

Amongst the most serious social problems was housing. In the 19th century towns there was mile after mile of slum housing built cheaply and let cheaply. We have a whole mythology of bad landlords but in fact a property company invariably has the staff and income to comply with the law. George Orwell wrote in The Road to Wigan Pier: "I found that small landlords are usually the worst. Ideally, the worst type of slum landlord is a fat, wicked man drawing an immense income from extortionate rents. Actually, it is a poor old woman who has invested in three slum houses, inhabits one of them, and tries to live on the rent of the other two - never, in consequence, having any money for repairs".

The idea that properties of good standard should be built by charitable organisations, which would let them at fair rents, grew from the 1840s. There was a boom in the 1860s and by 1875 nearly 7,000 London families had been rehoused. The best known is probably the Peabody Trust whose distinctive style can still be seen round London; they prepared the way for the later municipal housing programmes.

These organisations tended to build flats - "tenements" and their great blocks sharply divided public opinion. Certainly they were more healthy than the slums, easier to build, easier to maintain - and easier to control. But, the gut reaction of many people was against them. They might be model dwellings but they could never be "homes". People lost their individuality, became part of an anonymous mass; the public areas were dangerous, people "did things" on the stairs and crowds of youths terrorised respectable people. George Haw summed it up: "The cottage has produced great men and women but forty years of block dwellings have produced no single character of

Jerry White's book Rothschild Buildings (1980) describes life in one such block, in Whitechapel East London, chiefly around 1900-1910. The old people remembering their childhood seem perfectly aware that the plate was okay for its time - but you and 1 wouldn't last five minutes.

1 was going to describe a typical flat but enough people today still live in two rooms, kitchen and bathroom. Only, very few of us have to bring up eight children in them. They were built by the Four Per Cent Industrial Dwellings Company Ltd whose heart was in the right place, by and large.

The living room was a good size (17 feet x 12 feet) but had to double as a second bedroom and the beds had to be stored during the day. The bedroom itself was long and thin (17ft x 6ft 61n). The kitchen was only a scullery so anything that needed elbowroom had to be done in the living room.

Some families had very little. One girl remembered: "Furniture? One orange box - it was covered with a nice piece of material. We had orange boxes for to eat on ... We had three chairs. My younger sister: a boy wanted to take her home ... she said, 'I can't bring a boy home. We've only got three legs on one chair, where's he gonna sit?"'

Things could get better once the children grew up and were bringing money in themselves. One family had a real live piano. Few families attained that ultimate status symbol but most had a solid table, a few chairs, a chest of drawers and enough to give everyone a bed (not on their own, of course).

Not that they always slept in it. Despite the quality of the building, bed-bugs were endermic. 'The people there waged continuous war against them but the bugs always won in the end. Tailors and housewives would face a long day's work after a sleepless night when the bugs were active. Children would fall asleep at school because the bugs gave them little peace at night - 'didn't have any sleep, we used to be up all night. You couldn't sleep'." Standing the bedlegs in tins of paraffin didn't ready work and few people could afford to buy insecticides. Every so often the flat would be fumigated. "My mother used to smoke the place out with sulphur candles, year in and year out, twice a year .. when we went in there was a pile like this. But Gawd love us! We had thousands of 'em. And my mother was a clean woman but you couldn't keep em away. I always remember - 1 had a friend up there and they were crawling up the wafts. I didn't know where to put my face".

And these were model dwellings..

The scullery led off the living room. A small range (later, a gas stove), a stone sink (one cold tap), coal bin, fitted dresser and a copper and a space about 5ft x 4ft to stand and cook, prepare food, wash clothes and wash yourselves. Measure it against your own kitchen (though you'll have a separate bathroom). It's OK - if there were only a couple of you!

Laundry was probably the biggest problem. Scrubbing was often done in the living room. pans of water heated on the stove and then carried into the main room. Whites were boiled in the copper but in many homes the mangle (if you had one) was kept in the living room, perhaps next to the sewing machine (lots of the residents were in the garment trades).

"These tiny sculleries were always packed from concrete floor to white-washed ceiling. Their cold, unplastered brick walls were wet with condensation from continuous washing and cooking. There were buckets, mops and brooms in every corner under the sink a pail of refuse waiting to be tipped down the dust-chute; next to that a bowl of cold water with a cloth over it, containing milk in jugs ... cups and glasses for perhaps ten people were stacked or hanging on the dresser and shelves round the walls; on the coal bin sacks of wood and paper, perhaps with the scrubbing board balanced on top; across the scullery lines of washing which seemed never to dry - there was always clothes hanging, take one lot off and put one lot on; fish or chicken on the lid of the copper waiting to be prepared for the evening meal; the midday meal boiling on the gas stove and in between it all the children clamoured for a bit of bread or a biscuit to keep them going till father came home".

A bit further up I was talking about orange boxes and now we're onto fish and snacks. These are respectable working class people but definitely poor - in a dreadful area, working in insecure and unhealthy trades and sleeping three or four to a bed. Some of their children died - but lots didn't. At the time of the Boer War the military authorities were appalled at how undersized they were - but we knew them when they were old and they were solid and healthy and at least as sane as us. Poor, yes, - but not destitute."

Below, Shirley’s friend Wendy found a picture of the actual Beaconsfield Buildings in Islington.

Picture of Beaconsfield Buildings

The family are shown on the 1881 census still in the Islington district – details are shown below:

Dwelling: 31G Beaconsfield Building
Census Place: Islington, London, England

Name St Age Sex Birthplace Rel Occ
William Jones M 42 M Notting Hill, London, England, Head, Horse Keeper
Sarah Jones M 39 F Kent, England, Wife,
Sarah E.Jones U 12 F Notting Hill, London, England Daur,
Harriet L Jones U 3 F Camden Town, London, England Daur
William J. Jones U 3m M B.Buildings, London, England, Son,
William Stevens U 4 M Notting Hill, London, England, Nephew


As you can see from the above census William’s profession is shown as Horse Keeper. That will be another project to work on at some time. Missing from the household above is my great grandma Charlotte Amelia Jones, by this time she is 16 years of age but can be found, not to far away at number 46 Tollington Road the home of George and Clementina Howard, working as a servant. Tollington Road is still around today, at the top of Caledonian Road. Two maps below show the location as it was in 1880’s and as it is now.

Map of Tollington Road

Tollington Road runs from top right hand corner into the middle of the picture. Below is as it is now.

Tollington Road Today

Living in the same area, Islington, at the time were the Martin family, and in particular William and at some point in time the couple met and by 1883 they were married. The date was 25th November 1883 at St Andrews Church in Islington, and the marriage was witness by William Martin and John Roberts. Charlotte is living at 31 Beaconsfield Buildings.

When they got married they rented a room in Clayton Street just off Caledonian Road, so this would indicate that the location is about right. I have in my possession a page from a rent book, which shows details of the room William and Charlotte rented at 28 Clayton Street, Caledonian Road, from 24th November 1883 to April 12th 1884, this can be seen in an earlier chapter.

Details of their marriage are covered in the Martin section.

John Jones Descendant Chart