Parish Register Newsletter: January 2009

Welcome to the parishregister January newsletter, which you can see is in a slightly different format. I must admit I'm an inquisitive type and wanted to see how this newsletter feature works. I had trouble with adding links before and you see I had to put in the whole line of each link. This version allows me to insert links. I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year and are still keeping up your new year resolutions! I'm OK as I didn't make any!

New products

This Parish at the time of the release of this newsletter is almost ready to be uploaded. Check the site regularly to check when it has been uploaded.

All Saints Poplar 1728-1732, 1776 and 1802-1812 (I thought the film was just 1802-1812, but there were also these extra years on it, so I've included them also. There are relatively few entries for this period and I wondered why this should be. So far all I have been able to establish is that Poplar was, at that time in the 'countryside', and so sparcely populated compared to other Parishes.

To search the site click here

New CDs

St George in the East Part I

This is a new compendium CD which contains all the records for St George in the East Parish Registers from 1729-1826. This is a compendium of seven separate CDs totaling over 75000 baptism records. The cost of the separate CDs would be 7 x £7.95, plus postage. This CD is available for £29.95 which represents a saving of nearly half!

To buy this CD click here

New Watermen and Lightermen CD

Volume 78. St.Botolph, Northfleet 1871-1900 baptisms, marriage & burials

This is the latest of Rob Cottrell's CDs and is available for £7.95  To buy this click here

Coming soon

Another compendium CD, Southwark Parish Registers

Now in transcription are:

The Merchant Taylors 1520 to 1929

St George in the East 1848-1861

St George in the East 1861-1877

St Dunstan Stepney 1837-1848

I am aware that on the site we said St Matthew was 'coming soon', however we continue to have problems getting hold of said film, so I've decided that it is now not coming soon. As soon as it arrives I'll let you know!

More about All Saints

POPLAR, a parish and populous suburban district in the Tower division of the hundred of Ossulstone and borough of the Tower Hamlets, county Middlesex, 3½ miles S.E. of St. Paul's, London.

It is connected with the metropolis by the London and Blackwall, and by the North-Western and Docks Junction lines of railway, which last communicates with the North London and Great Eastern lines. It also has constant communication with all parts of London by omnibus and steam-boat. It is situated at the south-eastern extremity of the county on the N. bank of the Thames, here joined by the river Lea. The surface is low, but not marshy. It includes the West India Docks, Blackwall, and the Isle of Dogs, having been separated from Stepney, and created into a distinct parish by Act of Parliament in 1817. In former times it abounded in poplar trees, for the growth of which its situation near the river was highly favourable, and from which circumstance it derives its name. The greater part of the land is now built over, the parish having more than doubled its population in the last twenty years, viz: from 20,346 in 1841 to 43,529 in 1861, of which latter number the recently formed ecclesiastical district of Christ Church contains 8,579. The inhabitants are chiefly connected with the shipping interest, or are employed in the docks, in Green's and other extensive shipbuilding yards, and in the various factories and warehouses on the river. The place is partly paved, well lighted with gas, and amply supplied with water by the East London waterworks. It contains the 'K' police station, a hospital, union poorhouse, a savings-bank, an institute for the promotion of literature and science, situated in the East India-road, and the townhall, erected on the removal of a more ancient edifice which stood in the highway. The most distinguishing feature, however, of Poplar are the extensive docks which run across the Isle of Dogs and fill 204 acres, having been formed near the commencement of the present century, at a cost of nearly £1,250,000; the import West India Dock covers 30 acres, and is surrounded with warehouses for sugar, coffee, rum, dyewoods, and other colonial products; the export dock is less capacious, covering 24 acres, but has basins at both ends near Limehouse and Blackwall opening to the Thames. At a short distance from these are the timber dock, the -south dock or canal made in 1799 at a cost of about £140,000, and the East India Docks which were constructed under the superintendence of Rennie in 1806, and comprise import and export docks scarcely less capacious than the West India Docks [see Blackwall]. There are also extensive works connected with Seaward's steam factories, Smith's wire-rope works, Green's and other extensive shipbuilding yards, iron-foundries, chain-cable factories, ropewalks, pearl ash works, and various other important establishments connected with the shipping trade. The parish church, dedicated to All Saints, and which stands on the S. side of the East India-road, in the centre of a cemetery, is a Grecian structure, with a steeple of the composite order rising 161 feet from the ground. It was built by C. Hollin in 1823, at a cost of £35.000, defrayed by the parishioners. (from

Book Reviews

It's been a bit hectic this month since Christmas and New Year, so we haven't had time to review many new books. However, I thought I might list a few of the books we have in stock, or can get hold of at the drop of a hat. If you are interested in any of them, then click on the book title and you will be whisked to the more detailed description on the website's book shop

A century of the East End

Around Poplar and Limehouse

 Around Plaistow

Barking and Dagenham (Archive Photographs S.)

Barking Past

Call the Midwife

Canning Town (Pocket Images)

East End at War

East End Neighbourhoods

Growing up in a War

Family and Kinship in East London

London Life in the 19th Century: A Human Awful Wonder of God

The Workhouse

Dockland: Illustrated Historical Survey of Life and Work in East London

Francis Frith's Down the Thames

Just before completing this newsletter Yvonne came up with these two new titles, one of which I found very interesting as I teach in Hackney:

Hackney Memories by Alan Wilson, ISBN: 978-0750937160 Price £14.99

Product Description
The 1930s were a troubled era, and England at this time was a land of contrasts. In Hackney Memories Alan Wilson gives us a vivid impression of growing up in a working-class family in the East End at this time. Trapped by poverty, his family lived in a world that seems very alien to us now: here it is vividly recalled, set against a backdrop of rapidly developing national events. Alan Wilson's informative text, together with a selection of well-chosen photographs, will make fascinating reading for anyone who remembers the interwar years, and anyone interested in London's social history.

To buy this book please click here

Shadows Of The Workhouse: The Drama Of Life In Post War London (Paperback)

by Jennifer Worth      Price: £6.99

Jennifer Worth was a district midwife in the London Docklands in the 1950s, working with an order of nuns. She recounts the moving lives, loves and backgrounds of the different cockney characters she met and the stories she learnt about some of the men and women who began their lives in the workhouse, an experience which had dramatic consequences.

It was as a district nurse and midwife in Poplar, East London in the 1950’s that Jennifer Worth came into contact with people who as children, lacked what we would call “the bare necessities of life”. If parents died, the children were put into a workhouse, brothers separated from sisters, of course. If a man lost his livelihood-well, tough. Conditions were pretty basic in their lodgings, and where was Nanny State in all this? You could argue that the workhouse provided for the orphans’ needs: They were fed, sheltered, and trained to earn their living. What they lacked was love and individual attention; if you think your grandparents, who were brought up in the tough Docklands environment, seem a bit unsympathetic about your alleged problems, you spoilt brats, this story will surely enlighten you.

Now it’s not one long wallow in misery! Jennifer Worth has interwoven various life histories of the people she interacted with during her work into an intensely interesting novel. She was attached to a religious nursing order, founded in Poplar in 1870, and these excellent women pioneered nursing as a respectable profession. The story of Sister Monica Joan, and the subsequent denouement, gives us a view of convent life not normally exposed to the public. And I’m not talking about naughty goings-on, if you know what I mean.

We are told the stories of the children who were put into the workhouse, and their lives in the outside world as adults. I found a fascinating detail about Costers-those men who rose early in the mornings, attended the wholesale markets, then spent all day selling their wares-well, they never had homes of their own. As soon as they had money in their pockets, it was spent on food, drink (plenty of that), girls, and a bed in a rooming-house. No possessions, apart from some flamboyant clothes to swagger about in in the pubs.

There is also an insight into the differences in perception. Jenny visits an old man she has befriended during the time she visited him to dress his leg ulcers. He lives in a dirty little flat in Poplar, all alone, and seemingly deprived of all comforts, in her eyes. On her first visit, she refuses a cup of tea when she sees the state of the cups, and realises she has hurt his feelings, so against all rules she accepts a small glass of sherry. Joseph though considers himself really well off. He has his pension, plenty of coal for a good fire and he can afford to buy sherry and chocolates to offer Jenny when she visits him. She was his only human contact. The flat harboured many other inhabitants however. The walls of these tenements heaved with bugs-something my mother would relish telling us about when we made to faint on spotting the odd spider in the bath. So, she saw filth and discomfort, but he saw cosy comfort and felt well off. Until the inevitable demolitions…..

This has been a very satisfying read and I look forward to reading her previous book “ Call the Midwife”. My own grandmother was a midwife in East London and I often wonder how many of your ancestors were helped into the world by her skilful hands. She was very intolerant of modern moaners after all she had seen. Do you think our descendents will find unsavoury things about our lives to write about? I hope they do so with the same insight and research skills shown by Jennifer Worth. ( by S.K.Oldfield, aka my Mum!).

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Phoenix New edition 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7538-2585-3

To buy this book please click here

Useful Sites


Thanks to Laurie who e-mailed me these useful websites:

inner temple

This site contains a searchable database of all those that have worked in the inner temple from 1547-1850. The occupations include: advocates, judges, barristers, clergymen, butlers and secretaries...and many more.

The maximum information available (not all entries have full details) is:

  • Date of admission to the Inner Temple (year and full date)
  • Name of person admitted (surname and first names(s))
  • Address(es) on admission (may include college name)
  • Occupation or status on admission
  • Age on admission (not date of birth)
  • Date of call to the bar (if applicable)
  • Date of call to the bench of the Inn (if applicable)
  • Date of leaving Inn or death (if given)
  • Name of student's father (surname and first names(s))
  • Address(es) of father
  • Occupation or status of father (and if deceased)
  • Notes (additional information, editorial notes etc.)

    Main sources used in compiling database

  • Inner Temple admission registers (1547-1850)
  • Inner Temple bar book (1547-1850)
  • Published Calendar of Inner Temple Records

    The site also contains a very interesting history of the inner temple, stretching back hundreds of years. Here's an excert from the 18th century;

    The eighteenth century was an era of greater stability, perhaps of genteel decline. Charles Lamb, who was born in Crown Office Row in 1775, painted a loving picture of the Temple of his youth in his essay 'The Old Benchers of the Inner Temple'. If he is to be trusted, the late-Georgian benchers were a very singular body of individuals. Sir Joseph Jekyll, Treasurer in 1816, similarly wrote of his elderly fellows as 'fogrums' opposed to all modern fashions, including new-fangled comforts. The decrepit state of some of the benchers was matched by that of the gloomy alleys and decaying buildings. Charles Dickens (Pickwick Papers, ch. 31) wrote of the Temple's sequestered nooks, comprising for the most part 'low-roofed, mouldy rooms, where innumerable rolls of parchment, which have been perspiring in secret for the last century, send forth an agreeable odour, which is mingled by day with the scent of the dry rot, and by night with the various exhalations which arise from damp cloaks, festering umbrellas, and the coarsest tallow candles'. Much of the Inner Temple was rebuilt between 1830 and 1900, replacing Restoration elegance and Dickensian quaintness with Victorian stolidity. The most successful of the rebuilding projects, though it resulted in the demolition of the little fourteenth-century hall, was the new Hall and Library, designed in a perpendicular style by Sydney Smirke and opened by Princess Louise in 1870.

    First World War

    Wow, an excellent and informative site; I spent hours on this. In the commonwealth war graves part of the site I searched the name 'Legon' and found six relatives who died in the first world war and three in the second, of which two were civilians and died whilst putting out fires. In the records they also gave details of their families and addresses, so great for cross-referencing to other family members, cheers Laurie!

    Emigration to New York is an invaluable resource for educators, scholars, students, family historians, and the interested public. Currently the site hosts 10 million records. Sadly a search didn't produce any results for me but might for you, so good luck!


    Another site packed full of interesting information. Topics of particular interest and, at times, amusement are:

    Workhouse Life
    Unmarried Mothers
    Inmate Removals
    Casual Wards

    One last site I found is the New Zealand Archive which is full of really useful information if you have any ties with Kiwi land!

    After my last newsletter Ted e-mailed me after seeing that Tate and Lyle would be attending the East London family history show. He told me that his wife had a lot of members of her family who used to work there. One of these was Henry Hal Broomfield. Unfortunately he came to a rather 'sticky' end in 1927; he fell in a vat of hot syrup and died a week after the tragedy. Ted and his family now live in Australia and would love to know more about the history of Tate and Lyle, so if you have any information or know of any sources of information please let me know and I'll forward it to you. (Oh and yes, they've tried asking Tate and Lyle but they know 'nothing'...rather surprising!


  • Ramblings from the Council Estate

    Well, that's Christmas done and dusted! I must admit it was good to have the break, the first time I've drawn breath since James died. Because of this we didn't really celebrate Christmas day as it didn't seem right with James not being around the table. So we had a family meal with Yvonne, my dad, my other brother William and his (fairly new wife) Phil (no she's not a bloke!) and of course James the lesser, James's son, a week before Christmas.

    I notice that all of you use a multitude of different service providers for your internet. Well I've just changed to BT from AOL after having a right to-do with AOL over the last few months. Talk about frustrating! It all started when my better half happened to find her way to the 'my account' area of AL and to our shock found that we hadn't paid for the service for 3 months. Terrified I was going to be cut off in my prime, as it were, I telephoned them on their far too expensive 'suuport line'. After an eternity they dained to answer and told me it was my fault, my banks fault, the credit crunch, my dog (I haven't got on) in fact anyone's fault but theirs! After more phone calls and a visit to the bank and a letter of complaint, they eventually owned up and confessed it was indeed their fault. After such shabby treatment we decided to change provider. Was this easy, you ask, oh no! AOL then kept trying to peruade me to sign up for more of their crap (excuse me) service. When I wouldn't give in to their pressure selling I phoned them to cancel the service but this call ended up with them putting the phone down on me, at which point I had steam coming out of my ears! After further phone calls and letters of complaint I eventually managed to sever my ties with these odious people. At this moment I'm waiting for an offer of compensation from them, so watch this space!

    Right that's my rant out of the way!

    At last I've found time to peruse the Legon family tree which James spent years collating. I must admit to being truly amazed at the scale of his achievement. There are hundreds of Legons on the tree stretching back to the 1600s with dates of birth and death, marriage dates and to whom, and parish names. Now, I have dug up a lot of Legons recently and attempted to cross reference them with the tree. Would you believe it, I've found some that aren't on the tree! My problem is how to find out where they go on the tree. The first thing I have done is grouped them by geographical area and date order, but now I want to establish relationships between the Legons in each area. I must admit it's all very time consuming though, and a couple of hours can pass before you realise it; a bit like playing a computer game, yes/no?????

    It also occurred to me that there are a few male Legons on the tree with no marriage or children recorded, well what if they did marry and have children, there could be another whole line of Legons to add to the tree, how daunting!

    I went swimming again yesterday and boy was I tired, not just at the end, but after five minutes! It's amazing how at my ripe old age a few weeks without excercise and a tad over-eating can affect you so much. Before Christmas I was powering up and down, length after length, but yesterday I was cream crackered after a couple of lengths. Still, I'm sure it did me the power of good!

    It's almost the end of January. I don't know about you but this is the point at which I usually get fed up with the winter; it's been going on forever and now it's going to drag on, and on, and on. Still at least it's not dark at 4 now, small mercies and all that! Of course it doesn't help when your mother e-mails you from NZ and complains about how hot it is! (Only joking mum).

    Oh, I interrupted myself, yes, I was swimming with my better half's son and on the way there he showed me a poem he had written, not for school, but 'cause he felt like it. I read it and was bowled over by it. I told him it needs an audience, which he nodded to, so I asked him if he would let me put it in this newletter. I told him a few thousand of you read the newsletter but this didn't put him off, so here it is;

    The Right Path 

    Youths are dying, nearly every week, blood is spilled, the times are bleak, 

    Look up to heavens, and question why, all these youths, so tragically die, 

    Day after day, you look at the news, a youth is dead, a fight between crews,

    A young death in London, is not a surprise, the ghetto full of hatred revenge and lies, 

    Why can’t we walk, side by side? As opposed to feeling threatened, forced to hide, 

    Forced to surrender, hide behind a gang, thinking you’re big, “bussin” the slang, 

    Aero-hats, chains, shanks and cash, earrings, pouches, straps and gash, 

    Will this gang era, ever cease to exist? Be the bigger man, refrain from the fist,

     When will people, just get along? Will youths realise, what they’re doing is wrong, 

    Their energy, their talent, their potential, so large,  a chance at education, free of charge, 

    Grab the opportunities, whilst they last, childhood years, slip away so fast, 

    First minute you’re a child, truanting in schools. Next minute you’re an adult, behind prison walls, 

    Know your priorities; your morals, your aim, strive to success, keep a clear name, 

    Stay safe, keep on the right track, once you’re in the game, there’s no turning back, 

    Live your dreams, live your life, be the smart guy and walk away from the knife. 

    Pretty good eh? But quite serious, so let's end with a giggle:

    What do you call a sheep with no legs?
    A cloud.
    Doctor! I have a serious problem, I can never remember what i just said.
    When did you first notice this problem?
    What problem?

    Have you ever noticed... anybody going slower than you is an idiot. And anyone going faster is a maniac.

    A belated happy new year to you all from Jonathan and the Team


    -A Passion For Family History-

    © Docklands Ancestors Ltd.