I have started this thread to look at the possibility that George Hutchinson was identical with the George Hutchinson who was listed in the 1881 census as a pauper scholar from Mile End, aged 15, living on the training ship Exmouth in Grays, Essex.
If nothing else we will at least get a number of versions of ‘Hutchinson’ written by a number of different people – and a little slice of late Victorian life.
I believe this is our man (or boy) - born in the first quarter of 1866 in Whitechapel – George E Hutchinson. Down at the bottom...
In the 1871 census he was living at 31 Alie Street in Whitechapel.
Alie Street connects Leman Street and Commercial Road.
The family consisted of:
John Hutchinson the head. He was a 36 year old Cook and Cutter from Nottingham
Kezia Hutchinson, his wife was a 32 year old needle worker from Leytonstone.
They had five children all born in Whitechapel:
Sarah A – a scholar, aged 10.
John W – a scholar aged 9
George E – a scholar aged 5 (the future Grays pauper)
James - aged 3
Emily – aged 11 months.
Kezia’s mother seems to be living there as a widowed nurse. She is called Anne Plumb and is aged 70. There are a couple of things that don’t quite add up about this. She must have been 38 when she had Kezia, which is a bit old for that period and as we will see, Kezia’s maiden name was Goldstone.
It is of course possible that she remarried and became widowed a second time.
As they had the house to themselves I presume that they were relatively prosperous.
John Hutchinson married Kezia Goldstone on 29th August 1858.
She is listed as living at 31 Little Alie Street.
I just referred to my 1873 map and Alie Street was indeed divided up into Great Alie Street (between Mansell Street and Leman Street) and Little Alie Street (between Leman Street and Commercial Street – with the very end actually called Goodman’s Stile).
I remember someone asking about Alie Street on here a short while ago.
Anyway it is fairly clear that they moved into her address and were still living there at the time of the 1871 census.
They were married at St Jude’s Whitechapel, which was on Commercial Street, in front of Toynbee Hall.
John was a 22 year old cook, the son of Benjamin Hutchinson a publican and he was from 26 Newgate Street, which is in the City of London.
Another son was born about this time – Benjamin Joseph, who was baptised on 15th December 1872.
The father – John – is for some reason listed as a labourer, although I think he was actually dead by this time. Baptismal records sometimes listed the name and occupation of the father even if he was dead.
The other interesting thing about this document is that it lists their abode as being 16 Mulberry Street which was very close to Little Alie Street but was within Mile End Old Town. This matches the record for John’s death.
The baptism took place at St Phillip’s Church which was on Oxford Street (now Stepney Way). The church is still there although it was rebuilt in 1892 and now houses the medical library for the Royal London Hospital. Interestingly, the Royal London Museum is in the crypt and contains items relating to the Elephant Man and the Jack the Ripper case. I had no idea it was open to the public (Tuesday to Friday, 10 am-4.30 pm) and I will be getting down there soon!
When I was looking up this family’s details I found a reference stating that Benjamin was actually the son of someone called Thomas Weedon. This would suggest that Kezia was having an affair with Thomas Weedon. I didn’t do an exhaustive search but I couldn’t find a connection between Kezia Hutchinson and Thomas Weedon who had a separate family in Bethnal Green. Perhaps it is a family tradition of some sort.
The death of John Hutchinson spelt disaster for his family.
By 1881 Kezia was with young Benjamin over the river in Bermondsey.
There were living at 21 Alexis Street which is just off Southwark Park Road, very near a market known as ‘The Blue’. Booth has it as a mixed area – some respectable some poor.
Kezia is now a 40 year old shirt maker and is listed as a widow from Leytonstone.
Benjamin is an 8 year old scholar, born in Mile End.
The rest of the family has dispersed – including young Emily. If she was still alive she would have been nearly eleven years old. Son James would have been just 13.
They had a boarder which would have helped with the bills – William Saunders, a printer compositor aged 19 from Limehouse.
The house was shared with another family – the Abbots. Another widow with four children. The eldest girl, aged 14, was a factory worker, the mother a needlewoman.
I suspect that William Saunders earned more than the rest of them put together.
The older children dispersed.
In 1881 we find George on the training ship Exmouth in Grays in Essex on the Thames estuary.
He is a 15 year old pauper scholar.
The Exmouth was established in 1877 and was run by the Metropolitan Asylums Board to train destitute children from all over London.
This tells us that George almost certainly went to the Mile End Old Town workhouse and was forwarded from there to the Exmouth.
Mile End Old Town Workhouse can still be found on Bancroft Road, next to Tower Hamlets Local History Library. It is now called Mile End Hospital.
The Exmouth catered for children between the ages of 12 and 16 so presumably George went there in 1878 and left in 1882.
The children were given a general education and specific training in naval skills under conditions of strict Naval discipline.
Most of the children from the Exmouth went onto join the Merchant Navy or the Royal Navy.
The Exmouth was built in 1854 as a two deck man of war. She served in the Baltic during the Crimean War.
In 1891 the family partially reunited.
They are living in south London, in the Parish of Newington, which was part of the Parliamentary Division of Walworth. The Ecclesiastical Parish was St John’s.
They lived at 300 Munton Road.
This is just off the New Kent Road, quite near the Elephant and Castle.
Slightly surprisingly on the Booth map it is down as ‘Fairly comfortable – good ordinary earnings’.
There is no doubt that this is the correct household.
It consisted of:
Kezia Hutchinson - a widowed shirt maker, aged 51, born in Leytonstone.
George Hutchinson – her son, a seaman aged 25, born in Mile End.
Benjamin Hutchinson – another son, a vellum binder apprentice aged 18, born in Whitechapel.
George Hutchinson – another son, a scholar aged 9, born in Newington. This George Hutchinson is something of an oddity.