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  1. #1
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    Default Blacksmith in Spitalfields

    My grandmother's granddad, Joseph Maynard (1832-1914) on my father's side was a blacksmith all his life and after he ran off with the family's maid servant one Eliza Parrish, he moved into the Spitalfields area of London from Essex. This to me seems an odd choice for a new location as the area was famous for it's silk industry and later for the weavers and certainly not for any horse connected business. Joseph's oldest daughter, Alice Ann married John Henry Langridge a groom who came from a horse family and they moved upmarket into Islington. The Langridge's had been horse people for decades and even married horse people and they handled all things equestrain (which is probably where I get it from). Getting back to Joseph, it would appear that his fortunes took a tumble at some point and he ended up as a pauper patient in the London County Asylum and then in 1903 he was transferred to the newly opened Tooting Bec Asylum. Now I have very little knowledge of London in the 1880s to 1900 so I am presuming here that because of his trade and that the earliest motor vehicles were beginning to appear, his line of work would have dried up a bit, perhaps not completely but enough for the family's fortunes to change and clearly he didn't adapt. So has anyone got any idea what Spitalfields might have been like at the time as I can't draw up a mental image of it at all. Joseph did a full apprenticeship so would he have had to belonged to any guild or society? My knowledge of horses is extensive but I'm not that good when he comes to blacksmith work other than to pay them. Many thanks

  2. #2
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    Hello Prue

    Have you looked at the Victorian London website?

    https://www.
    victorianlondon.org/index-2012.htm

    Lots of information and extracts there about Spitalfields.

    Good hunting

    Colin

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    Horsepower was still predominant. In 1903 there was only one motor taxi in London and 11,500 horse drawn cabs. Motorised lorries followed a similar timescale. Spitalfields sounds a perfectly reasonable place for a farrier to work.

    You said he was a blacksmith but scanning quickly through some census entries he seems to have been described as a farrier. I bow to your superior knowledge on horses but I think there's a pretty clear distinction between farrier and blacksmith!

    Are you thinking that perhaps lack of work unbalanced his mind? What was his cause of death?

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    Hi, I was born and bred in East London and well remember several Blacksmith /Farriers working well into the 1950's. in fact Spitalfields area would have been the ideal spot for a farrier, you had a large fruit and veg market, a very large railway complex involving several rail company goods distribution facilities, Cab companies abound in that area even today, and a very large brewery where my own gggrandad and sons were coopers, so you see Spitalfields would have been very much a farriers haven. I well remember in the late 40's early 50's watching farriers at work at the brewery stables around Cable Street, city deliveries were still being carried out by horse drey's. your relative would probably have been very busy in that area.

  5. #5
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    In 1861 he lived just off Lamb Street (still there today). The area is mentioned on a walk in the Charles Booth notebooks.
    https://
    booth.lse.ac.uk/cgi-bin/do.pl?sub=retrieve_catalogue_notebook&args=b351,60 ,80

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    Hi,
    Thanks for that. It gives me an idea although probably gives me other questions as well. Although I was born in Enfield and raised in Winchmore Hill, North London, I am sorry to say I now very little about London as a whole. Spitalfields to me at that time conjures up cholera, depravity, silk industry and then weavers, as well as French Hugenots (also in the family) and other nationalities. Joseph started off life as a blacksmith apprentice but ended up as a farrier and while for many they are one and the same, I would consider a farrier more specialised. What does puzzle me a little is that his daughter's in-laws, the Langridges where big horse people and had stables in Calendonian Road, Harringey and Muswell Hill. They were coachman, grooms, omnibus drivers, horse breakers in fact everything to do with horses but I haven't found a farrier, so you would have thought the services of Joseph would have come in handy. But you have given me some ideas, for which I thank you.

  7. #7
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    Yes there is a clear distinction between farrier and blacksmith although it is a more modern distinction. In any town or village they would have had a blacksmith or smithy and he would have been expected to be able to shoe a horse, which is a very complex thing and I wouldn't bore you with the details. My father did blacksmith work in relation to the sculpture classes he taught but I certainly wouldn't have allowed him near one of my horses's feet. On an earlier reply I explained that Joseph's daughter's in-laws were big horse people and further enhanced the horse trade by marrying into the Blanchflower family who were also known for horses. The Langridges still operated horse drawn hearses, wedding carriages etc., up until the 1940's I believe although I haven't checked out any recent records to see if they are still going. They had stables in Calendonian Road, Harringey Road and Muswell Hill. Were big coach people (ancestors have driven the Lord Mayor's coach and the Gold State Coach), horses keepers and I expect traders as well. They also broke remounts, polo ponies. Were omnibus drivers, cab drivers in fact everything horse power but I haven't found a farrier amongst them. I suppose it might be a case of the Maynards and the Langridges not getting on. What caused Joseph's death I haven't found out as he is one of the few death certificates I haven't got. I am thinking of an unbalanced mind for him to end up in an asylum although of course that doesn't mean he was a lunatic as the Victorians looked on these things differently but you would have thought with seven children living, one of them would have seen to their parents as his wife was alive I believe although I haven't located her.

  8. #8
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    Thanks Colin, I shall have a look at that. See I'm new to all this tracing family etc., and have no idea such websites exist. Now if it was horses pedigrees going back to the earliest records of say around 1770, I would have no problem and it would be all done and dusted in 30 minutes.
    Prue

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