BIGGADYKE, Cotterells, Hemel Hempstead, 1881

April, 2003

Paula Alexander (paulalexander1973 @t, of Scarborough, North Yorks writes: According to the 1881 British Census records (, some of my Biggadyke relations used to live in Cotterells Road.  I was born in Hemel Hempstead (I only moved away last year) and I still have living relations there. This was a complete surprise to us as we believed the family came from London and before that Lincoln. Is there anyway I can find information on the residents of the street in 1881, how long they were there for etc.  The Biggadyke family had moved into London by the time the 1901 census was taken.

John Thomas Biggadyke (Head of household) gives his occupation as Tobacconist - Pensioner from the Met Police.  Would I be able to find out if one of the houses in that street was actually a shop?   I hope I have been clear enough in my request.  I do not expect you to look everything up for me but if you could point me in the right direction I would be extremely grateful. 

The tradesmen listed for Cotterells, Hemel Hempstead, in the 1882 Kelly's Directory are:

Birch, Thomas, shopkeeper, Cotterells rd
Cuming, Nicholas, Eagle, Cotterells
Eden, Joshua, poulterer, etc., Cotterells
Eldred, Edward, boot & shoeman, Cotterells rd
Ford, Geo. Edwd., cabinet ma. Cotterells
Garment, Daniel, laundry, Cotterells
Grange, Cornelius, draper & beer rtlr, Charles Street, Cotterells
Haydon, Henry, farmer, Cotterells road
Hooker, George Frederick, carpenter & builder, Cotterells road
Ing, James, cowkeeper, Cotterells
Janes, Arthur, cowkeeper, Cotterells
Judge, William, watchmaker, Cotterells
Potts, James Edward, farmer & beer retailer, Cotterells
Rhodes, John James, baker & confectioner, Cotterells road
Samuel, Susan (Mrs), shopkeeper, Cotterells road
Slater, Catherine (Mrs), dress maker, Cotterells
Wells, Thos., writer & grainer, Cotterells

[The last entry is probably a mis-transcription of "graver" = "engraver", with Thomas Wells producing both text and pictures!]

Your John Thomas Biggadyke is not listed in this directory, or the 1878 or 1886 editions. This may mean that he was only in Hemel Hempstead for a short time, or that his business was on such a small scale as to be missed by the composers of the trade directory. After all his "shop" if he had one, would have almost certainly be little more than the front room of his house - without anything equivalent to the modern plate glass shop window. In fact the birth places of his children, as revealed by the 1881 census, suggests he had been very mobile and probably did not come to Hemel Hempstead until 1879/80.

You may well be able to identify the location of his house by comparing the 1881 census (on microfilm or the CD transcription) with other records. For instance he was only a few doors away from Daniel Garment and if you can tie one of his neighbours to a house number (which were introduced in about the 1880s in the area) you can count along to his house.

It is interesting that he was retired from the Metropolitan Police at the age of 40 - which could indicate that he was injured on duty. If so there could be a newspaper account of the incident! It is also possible that the records of the Metropolitan Police pensions have survived - and if so they  could prove to be a very valuable record of his movements (the address to which the pension was paid), etc. 

If you can add to the information given above tell me.