Parish Register Newsletter: February 2009

Welcome to the parishregister February newsletter. The new format has, I believe, got your collective seal of approval, what a relief. That is unless you all thought negative thoughts but didn't want to hurt my feelings!

Oh yes, before we get down to business, I must say a thank you on behalf of my better half's offspring to those of you who e-mailed in praise of his poem (including you mum!). 

New Searchable Databases

Those of you who read last week's newsletter would have expected to see that All Saints Poplar was now uploaded and ready to search, indeed it was for a few days! Unfortunately it had to be taken down after a very understanding and helpful customer pointed out that the results he obtained from the search were exactly the same as a result he had received before from St Dunstans. I checked this and other entries and found that the were all the same! It appears that the film we received from the LMA did not have on it what we expected. The transcriber was a different one to the one who transcribed the St Dunstan's database and so the only way this was going to come to light was when one of you spotted it! Obviously this is very disappointing to those wanting to search the All Saints database but believe me there's no-one more frustrated than I am! I shall try and obtain the correct film from the LMA but at present

 To search the site click here

New CDs

Another compendium CD, Southwark Parish Registers

This comprises all the following Baptisms registers on one CD, in easily searchable Adobe Acrobat format.
Vol 21 St Mary Newington, Southwark 1829-1837
Vol 54 St Mary Newington, Southwark 1837-1842
vol 2 St Mary Newington, Southwark 1902-1922
vol 23 St Mary, Magdalen, Bermondsey 1782-1812
vol 53 St Mary, Magdalen, Bermondsey 1813-1822
vol 25 St Mary, magdalen, Bermondsey 1822-1829
Normal price: 6x£7.95=47.70
you save £27.75 price £19.95

To buy the CD please click here

Another CD Available 

SS. Mary and Joseph, Poplar Roman Catholic Chapel.

Marriages and Baptisms 1818 - 1856

Marriages:- Bride, Groom and may include parents and witnesses.
Baptisms:- Name of baptised, and may include Mother, Father and sponsors.

Price: £10.00 To buy this CD click here

Coming soon

St Anne Limehouse 1854-1877

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

Other selected products

Census 1851 West Ham

Census 1851 West Ham.HO107/1768.
Including the following sub-districts of Stratford: Stratford, Plaistow, Church St. West Ham: East Ham & Little Ilford.
Published by the East of London FHS

Price: £10.00    

To buy this CD please click here

Census 1891 Hackney

Census 1891 Hackney Part 1.RG12/0179 - 0194.
Covering: Stoke Newington, Stamfod Hill, West Hackney and Hackney.
Published by the East of London FHS.

Price: £10.00 

To buy this CD please click here 

More about:

SS Mary and Joseph Roman Catholic Church, Canton Street (demolished)
The predecessor of the present church, destroyed by bombing in the Second World War, was built in 1851–6 to designs by William Wilkinson Wardell (1823–99), the son of a baker in Poplar and a recent convert to Roman Catholicism. (ref. 33) (fn. b)
The history of the church seems to begin with the school and associated chapel established in Wade Street in 1816. A chapel building was called 'unfinished' by its priest in 1819, and in 1835 a new chapel was opened attached to the school: poor Irish labourers supplied much of the congregation. About 1840, the priest, Father Hearsnep, is said to have begun preparations to build a larger church. The famine in Ireland in 1846–7 may have increased the number of Irish migrants in Poplar, and in 1850 the preliminaries of building were undertaken. (ref. 34)
Wardell submitted to the Metropolitan Buildings Office in August 1850 a plan for a church in Canton (then Gates) Street, showing it virtually as built. (ref. 35) Work was begun by the builders R. & E. Curtis of Stratford in the following month, but was suspended, only to be recommenced by them in May 1851, when Cardinal Wiseman laid the foundation stone. (ref. 36) But work was again suspended and was resumed only in December 1855 at the hands of J. & E. Bird of Hammersmith, builders, under a contract made with Father Hearsnep in May 1852. (ref. 37) The church was opened by Cardinal Wiseman in September 1856. (ref. 38) The cost was about £9,000, although it is not clear whether this included the £1,000 said to have been paid for the site. Less than half of the debt had been discharged and it took another 50 years before it was cleared and the church could be consecrated. (ref. 39)
From: 'Poplar New Town: Infirmary, churches, schools and almshouses', Survey of London: volumes 43 and 44: Poplar, Blackwall and Isle of Dogs (1994), pp. 202-207. URL: 

 New Maps

London and its Environs 1813

London and its Environs 1813. Reproduction map from an engraving by Henry Cooper, published by Sherwood, Neely and Jones.
This massive map, measuring 800mm x 480mm, shows London in 1813, from Hyde Park in the West to West Ham in the east, Finsbury Fields in the north to Kennington in the south.
Ideal for framing and excellent value for money.

Price: £3.95

To buy the map please click here

Book Reviews

Southwark Revisited

Southwark Revisited (Images of England) by John D Beasley

This selection of articles, written by local historian John D Beasley, originally appeared in the South London Press and recall a past way of life in the old London Borough of Southwark.
Illustrated with over 110 old images, drawn from the archive held at Southwark Local Studies Library, Southwark Revisited recalls historic buildings and local industry and reveals some of the many changes that have taken place during the last century. From nostalgic recollections of frost fairs held on the frozen river Thames and entertainment at the Globe and Rose theatres, to reminiscences of London's last cowkeeper, John Jorden, who kept his herd in Peckham until 1967, each story is detailed and informative in its description of this area's history.

Price: £12.99 To buy the book please click here

Southwark Remembered

Changing Times: Southwark Remembered by John D Beasley.

Southwark Remembered is a compilation of pictorial articles which have been contributed to the Friday edition of the South London Press since 1997 and are held at the Southwark Local Studies Library. This collection highlights the wealth of fascinating history which can be found in the borough.
The current London Borough of Southwark was established in 1965, and consists of many ancient civil parishes, evidence for which stretches as far back as the iron age. This area houses the famous Dulwich Picture Gallery, Guy’s Hospital, the Imperial War Museum, Tate Modern and the spectacular Tower Bridge which all bear testimony to the development of the borough over recent centuries.
Charles Dickens’ father was imprisoned in Marshalsea for debt and the famous author was himself a resident in this neighbourhood. Other local notables include the scientist Michael Faraday, the GP and MP Dr Alfred Salter and Lord Soper.
Illustrated with over 130 old photographs Southwark Remembered documents the changing face of the area over the past 150 years and will appeal to those who know or who have lived in the area. The variety of life to be found in this area is contained within this volume and recaptures the changes that have taken place in this most historic of London boroughs.

Price: £12.99

To buy this book please click here


  The City of London

The City Of London by Brian Girling

Nearly 200 old photographs showing life in London from 1860 to 1960.
This book paints the fascinating pictures of the events and people shaped the city, including the building and wartime destruction wrought by the Blitz. Most of the images date from Edwardian period and slightly after. The images included great printing houses of Fleet Street to humble shops, such as the Temple wig maker's, along with the people who worked in them.

Publication Date:21/01/2009

Price: £12.99

To buy this book please click here


Anchor and Hope by Jo Anderson

Some capital cities, like Paris, make a special feature of the rivers that flow through their hearts. London tends nowadays to turn the other way and, with honourable exceptions, leave the Thames to get on with its business behind high walls or rusted gates. Jo Anderson leads us back to London's river to explore its teeming history and in so doing, to explore specific spots like Yantlet Creek and Allhallows where she picknicked as a child, or the fortress on the Isle of Grain, demolished in 1962.

For Jo Anderson's grandfather was a sailorman on the Thames, one of the last who plied between the Pool of London and the estuary, and Anchor and Hope is a celebration of a river and of a now lost way of life, governed by an indenture at Waterman's Hall and still remembered by the old people the author talked to in Charlton and Woolwich, rotherhithe and Gravesend.

Price: £19.95 

To buy this book click here

Dockland Apprentice by David Carpenter.
With 192 pages and 45 illustrations, Dockland Apprentice provides a fascinating insight into what life was like for an apprentice marine engineer within the London Docks during the 1950's. It was an area considered by most Londoners as mysterious and inaccessible, some parts enclosed and hidden from view by enormous walls and others bordered by marshland. The nearest that most people came was the sight of the ship's funnels and cranes that dominated the skyline as they travelled to work on the train.

The Docks were full of colourful and eccentric characters. Working conditions at the time were very different to today and the author describes both from an intimate knowledge.

He was an indentured apprentice and learned the skills necessary for a long and exciting career that involved repair work in one of the foremost shipyards and on many of the magnificent ships that docked in one of the world's busiest ports.
Price: £10.95 To buy this book click here

Thames: Sacred River (Hardcover)
by Peter Ackroyd.

"a book of 'substance and unflaggingly interesting detail...a very enjoyable and highly idiosyncratic account of the subject'"

The Times
"a 'meandering but magnificent tribute to our capital is not just the subject that sets this book apart but also the compelling new perspectives that he [Ackroyd] brings'"

Price: £11.70  To buy this book click here

Other selected titles:

Under Oars: Reminiscences of a Thames Lighterman, 1894-1909

The Coat:The Origin and Times of Doggett's Famous Wager

"Where's Your Horns?" Spitalfields People Talk About The Evacuation.

Growing Up in a War

Walthamstow ( Images of London )

Tales of London's Docklands

A century of the East End

Around Poplar and Limehouse

Barking and Dagenham (Archive Photographs S.)

Call the Midwife

East End at War

East End Neighbourhoods

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


Useful Sites

A very interesting site all about Nelson, including the battle of Trafalgar (which James celebrated each year by going to his favourite seafood restaurant). Headings included are:

Early life

Formative naval experiences

Captain Nelson

Find your Trafalgar- ancestor This free search facity allows you to find out if your ancestors fought in the battle. If you are lucky you'll get the person's name, age, place of birth, ship he served on, rank, when he served and when he was discharged (if he was lucky!)
Tower Hamlets Birth Death and Marriages

You may well be aware of this site, but I had a look for the first time, (I found it on our website!) Ideally you have the year to put in because otherwise it's a case of putting in a year and taking pot luck. However, I tried it, put in the name Legon and 1842 (give or take 5 years) and scored a hit! I found two female Legons, one who died and another who got married, together with her husband's name. I'll have to cross reference this with James ginormous family tree in due course, of course.


(Oh yes, Rob Cottrell has also found the marriage of another Legon for me whilst he was transcribing St Nicholas, Deptford, so thanks for that Rob!)

Royal Navy Medical Officers' journals 1793 - 1880

A new project to fully catalogue the journals of Royal Navy Medical Officers 1793 - 1880 has been launched following funding from the Wellcome Trust.

For medical historians and researchers

The journals relate to Royal Navy, convict and emigrant ships and provide detailed information on diseases, patients, injuries, treatments and living conditions on board. The goal is to create fully searchable material within The National Archives' electronic catalogue, enabling medical historians to define and pursue lines of enquiry, test hypotheses and explore the awareness, spread and practical application of the findings and theories of the period's great health reformers.

Medical researchers will be able to track cases to compare the treatment regimes - and relative success - of different medical officers; to examine the prevalence and persistence of particular diseases; to see which factors affected health; and to study how factors such as conditions onboard, the route followed and the countries visited impacted on sickness rates. There is also scope for using this material in conjunction with other records, such as those relating to the Victualling Board, with the Minutes of the Sick and Hurt Board, and with hospital musters or census returns.

For family historians

The project will prove a fascinating resource for many family historians.  As it will be name-searchable, there will be a real opportunity to track ancestors who came into contact with the surgeons during this period, whether they served on board ship, emigrating to start a new life, or were being transported.

Research Services

Our particular areas of expertise include the Company of Watermen and Lightermen Archives and Parish Records for both the City of London and the East End. However, we undertake all aspects of research including Census Data, Electoral Rolls, Wills, Newspaper Searches etc.
If you think we might be able to help you then do contact us. Email Esme at We will discuss your requirements and advise on options. If you want us to undertake research on your behalf, we will agree a proposal and a price. Typically, you will receive a written report, setting out the objectives, itemising in detail the sources and documents searched and discussing the results (both positive and negative). Photocopies of relevant entries will be included.

Our hourly rate is £15.00  plus expenses. Expenses cover travel to research centres, the costs of photocopies of relevant entries and / or certificates obtained and postage costs.

For UK Clients we prefer payment by UK cheque, made out to E K Richardson. For overseas Clients, we can arrange for payment to be made by credit card through the Worldpay facility on this web site.

Ramblings from the Council Estate

I'M NOW WRITING THIS FOR THE SECOND TIME! (the whole newsletter I mean!) I spent a couple of hours putting this masterpiece together, then I pressed 'save' and when I checked it I was horrified to find 75% of it had disappeared! I've been lucky enough to get a day off because of the snow (no I didn't bunk off; I trudged my way through the driven, virgin snow, only to find I was the only teacher who made it in), oops I'm rambling....and now I've wasted a big chunk of it! So now I'm pressing save after every few lines, this IS NOT going to happen to me again. So if one month a newsletter doesn't pop up in your inbox, you'll know it did happen again!

My comments on the weather prompted a few responses from Oz, and I tend to agree with you, I'd rather 'suffer' a bit of snow than go through the awful heat you're going through. On top of that you've now got those awful, deadly fires sweeping through Victoria. My heart truly goes out to all of you. 

Following on from my rant about AOL in the last newsletter I thought I would update you. OK, I didn't receive a reply for some time so a phone call was made to Ireland and ooops, the letter of response must have got lost in the post was the very plausible explanation. Waited a while longer then it appeared. I opened it with great excitement, 'how much would the compo be?' I wondered...answer....zilch! Come on, did I think it was going to be that easy? The reason for not getting any compo, well because I had chosen to complain about the service! So, I thought, trying to follow this logic; I would have got compensation if I hadn't complained???? Anyway, I replied asking for clarification on this matter but guess what, after three weeks....nothing, I expect it will have got lost in the post again! Watch this space.

I was having a look around the site the other day and found the site meter at the bottom of the page and for some reason clicked on it. This, after locating a password, brought me into a whole new world! The site, called, would you believe it, 'sitemeter' is full of fascinating facts about visitors to our site. For instance I found out that 80% of our visitors are UK based, 10% from down under (Aus/NZ) and the next biggest group is from the USA and Canada. It also tells me how many visitors we get per day, week, month, year.....and how long you spend on each page, I love statistics, but they do seem to throw up more questions than answers, and I must admit that now I know all these things, I find myself asking the question 'what do I do with this new-found knowledge????'

 My joke to finish off -A couple of hunters are out in the woods when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn't seem to be breathing, his eyes are rolled back in his head. The other guy whips out his mobile phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps to the operator: "My friend is dead! What can I do?" The operator, in a calm soothing voice says: "Just take it easy. I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is a silence, then a shot is heard. The guy's voice comes back on the line. He says: "OK, now what?".

Thanks to Heather for this gem:


1) No matter how hard you try, you can't baptise cats.
2) When your Mum is mad at your Dad, don't let her brush your hair.
3) If your sister hits you, don't hit her back. They always catch the second person.
4) Never ask your 3-year old brother to hold a tomato.
5) You can't trust dogs to watch your food.
6) Don't sneeze when someone is cutting your hair.
7) Never hold a Dust-Buster and a cat at the same time.
8) You can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.
9) Don't wear polka-dot underwear under white shorts.
10) The best place to be when you're sad is Grandpa's lap.

 All the best

Jonathan and the team


-A Passion For Family History-

© Docklands Ancestors Ltd.