St Albans


The Brickmakers of St Albans

George Bourne





[Unless otherwise stated family information comes from the IGI, VRI, and census data.]

George Bourne was a brickmaker who lived in St Albans all his life. 

He was born in about 1843, the son of Samuel Bourne (normally described as a labourer) and his wife Elizabeth. In 1851 the family were living at Snatch Up - in the parish of St Peters, but on the very edge of Bernards Heath, Sandridge, and Samuel is simply described as a labourer. There is no indication where Samuel worked but he may have worked at the nearby brick works run by William Bennett, or he might have been an agricultural labourer (as he was described in the 1861 census) at nearby Heath Farm, under Robert Smith.

In 1861 George was an agricultural labourer, still living with his parents in New London Road, but by 1866 he was working as a foreman bricklayer for Mr Charnock. In court he gave evidence that some bricks supplied by George Farr Arnold had been faulty and the court agreed. See Arnold v Charnock

By 1870 he was moulding bricks on a piece-rate basis. He moulded some bricks on Frederick Barford's short-lived brickworks on Townsend Farm, St Albans. The foreman, Charnock, accepted the bricks as satisfactory but after they had been fired claimed that they were faulty and withheld payment. Bourne won his case - see Bourne V Barford.

By 1871 he was married and living in Hatfield Road, described as a Brick Maker. The following year he was working at Miskin's brick works on the edge of Bernards Heath. He headed a team in which it seems likely that he moulded the bricks while other members of the team brought him the prepared brick earth, or took the moulded bricks away and stacked them. The team consisted of Samuel Bourne (possibly his father, who was described as labourer in a brick yard in the 1871 census) Edward Dell and Henry Dell (in 1871 a 49 year old brick maker living in Old London Road, with a 14 year old son, Edmund). They were joined by 14 year old Charles Butcher as a junior - and all drank heavily together. They got poor Charles to pay "his share" of the rounds - which he clearly could not afford - and he ended up doing three months with hard labour for stealing 18 from his father. See Theft of Money.

In 1881 and 1891 George Bourne is described as a brickmaker - and in 1891 his 24 year old son George Bourne (junior) is described as a brick worker.

In 1894 a George Bourne was found guilty of card playing in St Peter's churchyard - but it was almost certainly George Bourne Junior. See Card Playing.

George Bourne senior died in 1896 and George Bourne junior was a bricklayers labourer in 1901.

[Note - for anyone trying to follow up this family on Ancestry's census indexes, in 1871 look for Samuel "Bowne" and in 1901 look for George "Bowin"]

Maureen Monckton (maureen.monckton @t of Western Australia has filled in the following additional information on her great grandfather, George Bourne (1843-1896): George was born 18/12/1843 to Samuel and Elizabeth Bourne nee Johnson. Samuel was listed as a brickmaker. Samuel's father was John Bourne (a carpenter) and he died 25th June 1849 at Snatch Up End, St Peters.

George married Elizabeth Faulkner 16/4/1865 her father was James Faulkner. He then married Sarah Dayton Anderson in 1868 her father was George Andrews, both marriages took place in St Peters Church. Samuel died in 1891 aged 79 and George died in 1896 in the workhouse aged 53.

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

Page updated September 2008