Bricklayers & Builders of Ware, Early 19th Century
Jane Clajus (jcpiano @t Zoomtown.com) of Maineville, Ohio, writes: My family, the Goodmans were from Ware, Hertfordshire. John Goodman, b. 1795 was a brickmason in Ware all of his life as were most of his sons. I do not now where they worked but am wondering if any of their names are listed among the local bricklayers? John Goodman's son Ephraim left England and continued his knowledge of brick masonry in Chicago, Ill. His brick company did very well after the "Great Chicago fire" of 1871.
I am sure you have already checked the census returns and the standard birth, marriage and death records which contain references to occupation - so I will say no more about these sources. The only easily accessible documents from the early 19th century which explicitly list occupations are the trade directories and I list all relevant entries below, followed by explanatory notes.
|Bricklayers, &c||Bricklayers, &c||Bricklayers||Traders|
|Adams James, Baldock Street||Andrews Samuel, Cribb Street||Hitch Caleb (& brickmaker) Baldock Street||Hitch Caleb, brickmaker & surveyor|
|Andrews Samuel, Cribb Street||Adams James, Baldock Street||Reason Alfred, Mill Lane||Mayfield John Shepherd, carpenter, builder & undertaker|
|Hitch Caleb, (& brickmaker & surveyor) Water Row||Hitch Caleb, (& brickmaker & surveyor) Water Row||Smith George Escott (& lime burner) Amwell End||Reason Alfred, bricklayer|
|Smith George, West Mill Road||Smith George, West Mill Road||
|Smith George Escott, bricklayer|
|Smith William, Mill Lane||Hitch Caleb (& bricklayer) Baldock Street||Stevens John, builder, brick & tile maker|
|Hitch James (& carpenter) Star Lane|
|Mayfield John (& carpenter) Amwell Road|
1851 Post Office Directory for Hertfordshire
Hitch Caleb, builder & brickmaker. Baldock Street
Hitch James, builder, upholsterer, undertaker, English & foreign timber merchant, & barge builder, Star Lane
Hitch Walter, surveyor & builder, & agent to Western Insurance company, Baldock Street
Mayfield John S., builder, Amwell End
Reason Alfred, builder, New Road
Stevens John, builder & agent to Star life insurance co., New Road
There is no good natural building stone in Hertfordshire, but there are deposits of brick earth and most buildings in the county in the early 19th century would have been constructed with locally made hand made bricks. This meant that someone who built houses might be described as a bricklayer rather than a builder. He may also have been responsible to making the bricks he used. The above list refers to all references of brickmakers, bricklayers and builders listed under Ware.
The information from 1823, 1828/9 and 1839 comes from Pigot's Directories, which listed traders by occupation for each town in the county.
The information from 1846 and 1851 comes from Post Office Directories, which list traders in alphabetical order for each town. Later directories are, in general, more detailed than earlier ones.
Trade directories list traders, and most bricklayers who are listed would probably now be described as builders. There are no equivalent lists for labourers and skilled employees, and relevant records relating to their employment rarely survive.
If someone is described as a brickmaker or bricklayer on a baptism record, birth or marriage certificate, or in the early censuses, but are not listed in the trade directories they were most likely an employee of one of the listed traders, or a casual labourer with relevant skills.
The fact that the Goodman name does not occur in the trade directories suggests that they were building workers - probably not well paid - and this is supported but the fact that John Goodman is described in the 1861 census as a pauper - possibly suggesting that he was a former bricklayer too ill or elderly to support himself. (There may be some surviving workhouse union records - I haven't checked at HALS to see).
The fact that Ephraim Goodman went to America and did well is not surprising. The social structure in England at the time kept labourers "in their place" (see "All Things Bright and Beautiful")- and there were excellent opportunities for skilled workmen (especially in the building trades) in the New World.
Caleb Hitch of Ware & Hitch Bricks
from the Newsletter
Monday, August 18, 2014
Caleb Hitch's Patent Bricks
I am mainly interested in St Albans Brickmakers but I recently had a query about Caleb Hitch of Ware. In 1828 he was was granted a patent for large interlocking bricks with cavities. They were laid on edge and claimed to be more economical than standard bricks, but because of the complicated form of brick required to turn a corner many different patterns had to be produced. Consequently, they were not widely adopted and outside Ware Hitch bricks are very rare. Has anyone got a good picture of some of these bricks so I can see how they worked?
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Hitch Bricks at Ware Museum
Further to my earlier posting about the distinctive bricks made by Caleb Hitch of Ware, Helen has written to say that her grandfather and great grandfather worked with and subsequently bought out Hitch's building firm. In addition Ware Museum has a permanent display on Hitch bricks in the museum with information concerning the Hitch family, as well as the connection between malting and brickmaking. The museum is open from 11am to 4pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and 2-4 on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays.
Ivan Judd wrote : Hitch the builders were still operative during my
boyhood. I used to collect wood shavings from their carpentry shop as my parents
knew Alf Pipkin who was a master carpenter and had worked for Hitch in Church
Street from boy to retirement.. The shavings were for a neighbours rabbits which
she bred for food. I seem to recall a small row of Hitch built cottages in
Watton Road that still exist today showing well early Hitch brickwork
Cheryl Wallis has written an article on ourhertfordandware.org.uk web site about the Ware Brickfields showing pictures of her ancestors the Neaves family that worked on the Brickfields. She has put some pictures up as well. I grew up with Cheryl's father Ray Wallis.