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Section 29 : Direct Line 1809-1927

Chapter 29.A

Samuel, the letter carrier

My G3-Grandfather, Samuel, born 18th April 1809, was the eldest son of Thomas BRUSH "the much married" by his first wife Sarah TAYLOR (see chapter 24A). He was baptised on 14th May at St Lawrence Church, Little Stanmore in the north of Middlesex. 1809 is during the reign of George III, in the middle of the NapoleonicWars.

On 14th September 1830 Samuel married Sarah CARTER at St Mary, Lambeth. He was a bachelor and she a spinster and minor, i.e. under 21.

There is an earlier entry for them at 29 August 1830 which appears to be a record of their banns being called rather than a record of their marriage and there is a note next to it saying 14 Sept 30 - which was their wedding date.

Their first child, my great-great-grandfather, John Thomas BRUSH was born in Pimlico in 1831. He is discussed in chapter 29B. At that time Samuel was a bootmaker living at 4 Isabella Row.

Daughter Emma was born on 23 April 1833 and baptised on 26 May 1833.

According to Pigot's Guide to London, Isabella Row was located at 22 William Street, Pimlico. But in A Topographical Dictionary of London and Its Environs by James Elmes (1831) it is placed in Castle Lane. Presumably it ran between the two roads. Could 23 Castle Lane, actually have been the same house as 4 Isabella Row or had the family just moved a hundred yards or so?

I am not sure whose map this is taken from, though I do not think it is the Coghlan map mentioned below.
It shows William Street and Castle Lane. Isabella Row may be the opening between the two.

William (now Wilfred) Street and Castle Lane are about a quarter of a mile south of Buckingham Palace, side streets off Buckingham Gate. It seems that Pimlico at this time described a larger area of Westminster than it does today, as described in the Victoria County History:

The district of Pimlico may be regarded as embracing the whole of Belgravia, which we have already dealt with in a previous chapter, as well as the locality extending from Buckingham Palace Road to the Thames, and stretching away westward to Chelsea. This latter portion includes the Grosvenor Road and the Eccleston sub-district of squares, terraces, and streets, nearly all of which have sprung up within the last half-century. In the map appended to Coghlan's "Picture of London," published in the year 1834, the whole of this division of Pimlico, between Vauxhall Bridge Road and Chelsea (now Buckingham Palace) Road, appears unbuilt upon, with the exception of a few stray cottages here and there, and a few blocks of houses near the river; the rest of the space is marked out as gardens and waste land, intersected by the Grosvenor Canal, the head of which, forming an immense basin, is now entirely covered by the Victoria Railway Station. Its rustic character at the above date may be inferred from the fact, that a considerable portion of the space between the two roads above mentioned is described as "osier

What is now described as Pimlico is the area west of Vauxhall Bridge Road, identified as largely unbuilt on in 1834. Samuel and his family were living right on the edge of London.

Further daughters followed. Sarah was born in 1834 and Harriott in 1836 - both baptised in 1837.

Mary Ann was born in 1839 and, as such, was registered in the new civil register at the General Registration Office and had a birth certificate. Civil Registration of births, marriages and deaths had begun only in 1837 but, perhaps surprisingly, registration of births would not become compulsory until 1875. Mary Ann is therefore the first entry of my direct family in those records, though there had been a number of other BRUSH entries in 1837 and 1838.

From 1833 to 1839 the Parish registers recording the baptisms of daughters Emma, Sarah, Harriet and Mary Ann give his occupation as postman or letter carrier. Their address at the 1837 baptisms is St George's Place. At the 1841 census he is a letter sorter, still living at St George's Place with wife Sarah and his five children. At number 10 according to the birth certificate of Mary Ann in 1839.

St George's Place would seem to have been a very small square off St George's Row, just to the south of the Grosvenor Canal. The Grosvenor Canal is now the route, more or less, of the railway tracks running south west out of Victoria Station. The bridge on the map marked Chelsea Bridge is not the current Bridge of that name over the Thames. It is now now named Ebury Bridge and St Georges Row seems to be Sutherland Street. St Georges Place, the 1841 home of Samuel and his family, today appears to lie under the Abbots Manor housing estate. The road immediately to the south "Monster Row" now appears as Sutherland Row. Also appearing on the map, top left, is Graham Street, where the WALLIS family lived in 1851. The Wallis family feature as John Thomas later married Mary Ann Wallis...

Although the postal service is often thought of as beginning in 1840, that is simply when postage stamps began. There had been an organised postal service before that. According to the now defunct site postalheritage.org.uk , London General Post letter carriers had from 1793 been issued with a scarlet coat with blue lapels and cuffs and brass buttons with the wearer's number, and a beaver hat and blue waistcoat.

In 1837, during Samuel's period of service, London's 'Two Penny Postmen' were issued with a cutaway blue coat with a scarlet collar, a blue vest and a beaver hat. They were not issued with trousers until 1855; previously they had to provide their own. Postalheritage.org.uk seems to have been absorbed into postalmuseum.org. From that site comes a 1950 photo of the district letter carrier uniform from 1837-1855, which is presumably what Samuel would have worn, and an 1897 oil paining of the uniform from 1830. The third picture comes from the Bath Postal museum site . It does not give precise information but seems to suggest an 1840 date. Whether the uniform is that of a letter sorter, or of the postmaster of a local office is not clear.

The same history page also records that at 1840 a stamp cost 1d (less than half of 1p) for any distance within the UK, the same as a pint of milk, that a pint of beer cost 2d and a 4 lb loaf 3d. Moving from being a letter carrier in 183 to a letter sorter in 1841 was a big step. A letter carrier earned 6 shillings (30p) a week; a sorter 16 shillings. That variation seems to be long gone. At 2021 both roles now seem to have an annual salary of around £21,000 which equates to about £400 per week - an increase of 800 times. But 800 x 2d for a beer is £6.67 which even in London sounds expensive. A first class letter stamp is just 85p - so letters back then were far from cheap.

When my parents and I were beginning our family history searches - in the 1970s - research was very different from today's online process. One of the small excitements was writing to the General Post Office and being answered with details from their archives of his service and pension. I just have to find them!

A second son, Samuel, is born on 25th January 1845. His father's residence (and Samuel's place of birth) is given, on the birth certificate, as the Wesleyan Chapel in Sloane Terrace. Quite why he was living at the chapel is unknown; his occupation continued to be a Letter Sorter in the General Post Office. This image of the chapel comes from 1901, courtesy of Dave Walker's posting on the Kensington & Chelsea local studies site . It no longer exists, having been replaced by a much grander Christian Science church which is now Cadogan Hall.

Despite repeated searching I have not been able (with just two exceptions) to find any of the family in the 1851 or 1861 censuses. In 1851 a Mary Brush age 13 (thus born c 1838) born Pimlico is a visitor in the house of Thomas Barkworth in Westminster and sister Emma age 18 is in the same house as a servant. But no trace of Samuel and Sarah or the other children. I thought for a while I had found them under the Carter name but it looks to have been just a tempting red herring, incompatible with the clear entry we do have for 'our' Samuel and other entries for Elizabeth Palmer. And with Methodism.

The 1861 census includes an entry for Samuel S Carter and Sarah Carter in West Ham - he is the victualler (=publican?) -at he 'Adam and Eve'and the entry also shows entries or children Samuel S age 15 and Ann S age 19. The 1856 Post Office directory gives his name as Samuel Smith Carter. The 1861 entry also shows Elizabeth L Palmer 'visitor' aged 31 as being at that address. But at 1871 Samuel S, Sarah, & Samuel S (plus lodger Eliza Palmer) are living in Mile End.

Sarah dies in Q2 1870 at 4 St John's Terrace, Croydon. She is buried on 5 May at Brompton cemetery. Age 57 according to the GRO index, age 58 according to the Burial register. She is recorded as 'dissent' rather than 'church'.

At 1871 Samuel is living at 4 St John's Terrace in Croydon with unmarried daughter Sarah (whose occupation is given as housekeeper and (at least on that night) a grandchild Edith H. Burrows age 7 (the daughter of Harriet). He is recorded as being blind and as "Late letter sorter G.P.O (Supann)" - "Superannuation" indicating him as a pensioner.

He remarried in February 1872 to Elizabeth Palmer, the daughter of Griffith Palmer, the parish clerk of Chipstead, and Patricia(?).

Elizabeth had been baptised in October 1824 at Chipstead - so about 15 years younger than Samuel. At 1871 she had been a cook in the Richardson household at 95 Grays Inn Road in London - six siblings age 48 to 65, all unmarried. Also present as a servant in the 41, 51 and 61 censuses.

Isaac James BRUSH and Harriet BRUSH, who witnessed the marriage, are presumably Samuel's younger half brother and his wife Harriet (nee Hale)though Isaac's son was also named Isaac James. As discussed in chapter ???

Samuel dies later the same year in Q4 1872 in the Croydon RD. His age is given as 62 though he was in fact 63.

Next Sections
Chapter 29B: John Thomas BRUSH
Chapter 29C: The younger children of Samuel and Sarah

The BRUSH Families of the British Isles
       © David Brush 2006 to 2020

The BRUSH Families
of the British Isles
© David Brush 2006 to 2020