FOWLER & DEATH, (bricks), St Albans, 19th century
During correspondence on ENG-HERTFORDSHIRE-L the subject of brickmaking in the 19th century came up and I said:
But the coming of the railways also meant the coming of the commuter - and there was a major housing boom (virtually all brick) during the Victorian period. This was enough to ensure plenty of work for brickmakers, etc., in places like St Albans, where I have made a detailed study of the brickworks on Bernards Heath. In the 1850's my great grandfather, Jacob Reynolds, is said to have commuted from Hatfield to the city daily.
Sheila Dowdell of Toronto replied
My ancestor, Daniel Death (born somewhere in Suffolk) married at St. Albans in 1830 to Hannah Wright, born Hatfield 1803. By trade he is shown in the early years as both labourer and bricklayer. He continued on with the bricklaying occupation and actually died in London on a job site when a scaffold broke, plunging him and another worker to their deaths.
His son, grandsons and great grandsons carried on this bricklaying tradition both in the UK and when they came to Canada, then in to the U.S. I always wondered what had drawn him to St. Albans and this is where he remained for about 12 years, before moving on to Hackney/Bethnal Green - London.
The first railway into Hertfordshire only opened in 1837 - so could not explain why your Daniel Death was in St Albans in 1830. In fact the railway was comparatively late coming to St Albans so the building boom did not start there until the 1860's
The situation is that Hertfordshire has no good natural building stone and there were many small brickyards scattered across the county - particularly in a strip which included glacial clay deposits on top of the chalk of the Chiltern Hills. In 1830 Joseph Fowler was making bricks on Bernards Heath, St Albans, and other brickmakers in the areas included Joseph Kinder, and perhaps William Bennett by 1833. However some bricklayers and builders may have made their own bricks, and I gather it was not unknown for the earth dug out to provide a cellar being converted into the bricks used to build the house!
Patricia Dominicci then wrote:
I read with interest your reply regarding the brickmaking in Hertfordshire. What caught my eye was your mention of a Joseph Fowler. I have a Joseph Fowler in my family tree, who could possibly be the son of the one you mentioned, as in 1830 my Joseph Fowler would have only been about 14 years of age.
In the 1861 Census Joseph Fowler (Head, married, age 45, bricklayer, born St. Albans) was living at Park Street with his wife, Amelia and children: Charles, Emma, Amelia, Sarah, Rhoda, Clara and George. Rhoda Fowler married one of my Sprigings relatives.
In the 1851 census your Joseph Fowler (35, born St Albans) was a journeyman bricklayer living at Church Green, St Peters, with his wife Amelia (28) and children Ellen (9), Charles (7), Elizabeth(6), Emma (4), Amelia (2) and Sarah (1). By the 1881 census the widowed Amelia was a 55 year old laundress, living at Park Street, St Stephens, St Albans, with children Sarah (30), Alfred (13), Annie (12).and Lizzie (5).
If we allow some latitude on age your Joseph Fowler was probably the son of the Benjamin Fowler who married Elizabeth Collins on 6th December 1813 at Saint Peter, Saint Albans. The following children are recorded in the St Peter's register: - Sarah (21st April 1815); Benjamin (10th May 1816); Elizabeth (24th March 1818); Ann (9th July 1819), Joseph (20th October 1820). Your Joseph Fowler's grandparents were Benjamin and Sarah Fowler and the Joseph Fowler I mentioned earlier was your Joseph's uncle.
If you can add to the information given above tell me.