Places

St Albans

Bricket Wood

 

The Brickmakers of St Albans

The Search for

T. Pearson

 

Occupations

Brickmakers

   

The following notes are presented in this way to demonstrate how the census and other online sources can sometimes be used when all you really have to start with is a comparatively common name.

   
   

The St Stephen's Brickworks were apparently owned by someone called T. Pearson, circa 1880, but a search of Hertfordshire records had failed to identify him. The name Pearson is unfortunately too common to make a national search for T. Pearson easy, and while many of the ones found in the censuses have brick connections most seem too humble to be the owners of a brickworks.

   

Census returns from FindMyPast

 

In my preliminary search, I spent several hours looking at Thomas Pearson records in the 1881 census without success (see below). I thought there there might be a London connection and spotted the following census entry in 1881, for 78, Brayard Rd, Camberwell, Surrey

 

 

PEARSON, Buxton N

Head

Married

M

31

1850

Brick Manager & Agent

Bethnal Green, Middlesex

PEARSON, Amelia A

Wife

Married

F

31

1850

 

Little Thurrock, Essex

PEARSON, Percy J

Son

Single

M

0

1881

 

Peckham, Surrey

   

Could Buxton be an agent for a brick making relative called T. Pearson? As it was a possible lead I looked further and found the following entry in 1891, for 44, Benson Road, Grays, Thurrock, Essex:

   

PEARSON, Buxton W

Head

Widower

M

41

1850

Surveyor

Victoria Park, London

PEARSON, Percy J

Son

Single

M

10

1881

Scholar

Peckham, London

PEARSON, Frederick W

Son

 

M

8

1883

Scholar

Fawkham, Kent

PEARSON, Lilian V

Daughter

 

F

5

1886

Scholar

Fawkham, Kent

PEARSON, Mabel T

Daughter

 

F

2

1889

 

Grays, Essex

    A quick check of the Civil registration index produced the following entry:    

FreeBMD

 
Surname  First name(s)    District  Vol  Page 

Births Dec 1849   (>99%)
PEARSON  Wilberforce Buxton    Stepney  2 492
   
   

So the obvious thing to do was to look at the 1851 census to identify Buxton's  parents - and after a lot of searching I found the following at 6, James Street, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, Middlesex:

   

PEARSON, Thomas

Head

Married

M

29

1822

Labourer

Malling, Kent

PEARSON, Charlotte

Wife

Married

F

26

1825

General Shop

Cliff, Kent

PEARSON, George

Son

 

M

8

1843

Scholar

Upper Upnor, Kent

PEARSON, Eilizabeth

Daughter

 

F

5

1846

Scholar

Brompton, Kent

PEARSON, Wilbert Prie

Son

 

M

1

1850

 

Mile End, Middlesex

   

My reaction to this was mixed. Buxton's father was a Thomas Pearson which is a good sign - but the census entry suggests he was poor (although his wife kept a shop) - and he clearly would need to move up in the world in order to own a brickworks. So on to the 1861 census, which proved very difficult to find (with many dead ends explored and rejected)the problem being due to indexing errors. This time the family appeared at 1, Billy Place, Upper Kennington Lane, Lambeth listed as follows:

   

PARSON, Thomas

Head

Married

M

39

1822

...

Kent Town Malling

PARSON, Elizabeth

Wife

Married

F

36

1825

 

..., Hampshire

PARSON, Elizabeth

Daughter

 

F

16

1845

Scholar

Brompton, Hampshire

PARSON, Baxter

Son

 

M

11

1850

Scholar

Mile End, Middlesex

PARSON, Charlotte ...

Daughter

 

F

8

1853

Scholar

Bethnal Green, Middlesex

PARSON, Sarah ...

Daughter

 

F

7

1854

Scholar

..., ...

PARSON, Elizabeth Ann Daughter   F 2 1859   Shenington, Surrey
PARSON, Thomas Son   M 8 1853    
   

The census return was messy as the enumerator had made some errors and then corrected them. A look at the image showed that "Baxter ..." was quiet recognisable as "Buxton Wilberforce" so I definitely had the right family. The most relevant thing is the father's occupation

   

   

This looks very promising - I read it as "Builder Contractor and ???? employing 100 men" and it quickly became clear that the transcription was full of serious errors, and most of the "..." were actually quite easy to read. [The Shennington, Surrey, must be Kennington, but it is clearly written with an "Sh"] What a competent transcription should have said is as follows.

   

PEARSON, Thomas

Head

Married

M

39

1822

Builder Contractor and ??? employing 100 men

Kent Town Malling

PEARSON, Charlotte

Wife

Married

F

36

1825

 

Cliff, Kent

PEARSON, Elizabeth

Daughter

 

F

16

1845

Scholar

Brompton, Hampshire

PEARSON, Buxton Wilberforce

Son

 

M

11

1850

Scholar

Mile End, Middlesex

PEARSON, Charlotte Naomi

Daughter

 

F

8

1853

Scholar

Bethnal Green, Middlesex

PEARSON, Sarah Jane

Daughter

 

F

7

1854

Scholar

Stepney, Middlesex

PEARSON, Elizabeth Ann

Daughter   F 2 1859   Stepney, Middlesex

PEARSON, Thomas

Son   M 8 months 1860   Shenington, Surrey
   

It looks as if Thomas Pearson is our man - but if he employed 100 men I would have expected some resident domestic staff - and what a hike up from being a labourer 10 years earlier. The next stage was to locate Thomas senior in 1871 and I found him at White Hall Lane, Little Thurrock, Essex

   
PEARSON, Thomas Head Married M 49 1822 Brick Manufacturer West Malling, Kent
PEARSON, Charlotte Wife Married F 46 1825   Cliffe, Kent
PEARSON, Willerforce Burton Son   M 21 1850 Clerk Bethnal Green, London
PEARSON, Sarah Jane Daughter   F 17 1854   Stepney, London
PEARSON, Elizabeth Ann     F 12 1859   Stepney, London
PEARSON, Thomas Son   M 10 1861 Scholar Vauxhall, ondon
PEARSON, John Son   M 7 1864 Scholar Kennington, London
THOMPSON, Charlotte Naomi Daughter Married F 19 1852   Victoria Park, London
GOODYEAR, Edward Nephew   M 16 1855 Labourer Mile End Old Town, Middlesex
GOODYEAR, Sarah Niece   F 13 1858   Mile End Old Town, Middlesex
   

This really looks like our man and next stage was to look for him in later years. I couldn't spot an obvious entry in the 1881 or 1891 censuses or in the very many Thomas Pearson deaths on FreeBMD. However Anthony helped out but bringing the following entry from the National Probate Calendar to my attention:

   

National Probate Calendar from Ancestry.

 

PEARSON Thomas Effects under 3,000. 5 September [1877]. The Will of Thomas Pearson late of Kennington Cross in the County of Surrey Contractor who died 8 August 1877 at Kennington Cross was proved at the Principal Registry by Charlotte Pearson of Kennington Cross Widow the Relict the sole Executrix.

   
   

This made it possible to identify the death registration reference

   

FreeBMD

 
Deaths Sep 1877   (>99%)
PEARSON  Thomas  56  Lambeth  1d 224
   
   

Charlotte appears to have died the following year:

   

FreeBMD

 
Deaths Dec 1878   (>99%)
PEARSON  Charlotte  54  Lambeth  1d 280
   
   

I then looked for members of his family in the 1881 census. I found the following family at 10, Argent St North, Grays Thurrock, Essex:

   
THOMPSON, Wm Grimwood Head Married M 33 1848 Builder Master Grays, Essex
THOMPSON, Charlotte Naomi Wife Married F 29 1852   Victoria Park. Middlesex
THOMPSON, Wm Geo Son Single M 8 1873 Scholar Little Thurrock, Essex
THOMPSON, Geo Thos Son Single M 6 1875 Scholar Little Thurrock, Essex
THOMPSON, Ethel Elizabeth Daughter Single F 4 1877 Scholar Grays' Essex
THOMPSON, Jesse Pearson Son Single M 1 1880   Grays, Essex
PEARSON, Thomas Brother In Law Single M 20 1861 Foreman Of Tramway Cement Vauxhall, Surrey
PEARSON, John Brother In Law Single M 17 1864 Carpenter Kennington, Surrey
DAVIS, Anne Elizabeth Servant Single F 14 1867 General Servant D Little Thurrock, Essex
   

Not only have we found young Thomas, with what appears to be a significant job in the building industry, but we have also found his sister, Charlotte Naomi (now married) and younger brother John.

   

FreeBMD

 
Marriages Mar 1871   (>99%)
Pearson  Charlotte Naomi    Lambeth  1d 468
Thompson  William Grimwood    Lambeth  1d 468
   
   

In 1891 Thomas Pearson junior was at 46, Exmouth Road, Grays Thurrock, Essex

   
PEARSON, Thomas Head Married M 30 1861 Commercial Clerk Lambeth, Surrey
PEARSON, Emily Wife Married F 29 1862   Brighton, Sussex
PEARSON, Elsie V Daughter   F 3 1888   Grays, Essex
   

In 1901 he was at 2, River View, Agent Street, Grays Thurrock, Essex

   
PEARSON, Thomas Head Married M 40 1861 Managing Barge Clerk Lambeth, London
PEARSON, Emily Wife Married F 39 1862   Brighton, Sussex
PEARSON, Elsie V Daughter   F 13 1888   Grays, Essex
   

And ten years later, in 1911, he was at Sunnyside, Argent St, Grays, Essex

   
PEARSON, Thomas Head Married M 50 1861 Director And Secretary Lambeth Surrey
PEARSON, Emily Wife Married 28 years F 49 1862   Brighton Sussex
PEARSON, Elsie Victoria Daughter Single F 23 1888   Grays Essex
    A search for his will found the following    

National Probate Calendar from Ancestry.

 

PEARSON Thomas of Sunnyside Argent-street Grays Essex died 10 March 1914 Probate London 22 May to Emily Pearson widow. Effects 1023 2s. 8d.

   
    and these entries:    

FreeBMD

 
Marriages Mar 1884   (>99%)
Card  Emily Ann    Tunbridge  2a 794
Pearson  Thomas    Tunbridge  2a 794
Deaths Mar 1914   (>99%)
Pearson  Thomas  53  Orsett  4a 630
   
    Partial census searches for 1891-1911 for John Pearson proved unsuccessful, at least for the most obvious matches among a very large number of names but I did find Buxton at 46, Derby Road, Grays Thurrock, Grays, Essex in 1901.    
PEARSON, Buxton W Head Married M 57 1844 Surveyor Mile End, London
PEARSON, Annie B Wife Married F 39 1862   Kennington, London
PEARSON, Percy J Son Single M 20 1881 Barge Builders Apprentice Peckham, London
PEARSON, Fredk W Son Single M 18 1883 Builders Clerk Longfield, Kent
PEARSON, Lilian V Daughter   F 15 1886   Longfield, Kent
   

This was followed by the following entry in FreeBMD

   

FreeBMD

 
Deaths Mar 1903   (>99%)
Pearson  Buxton Wilberforce  53  Orsett  4a 300
   
         
   

Filling in a few more details

   
   

Because of the "labourer" description in 1851 I decided it could be useful to try and check his father's occupatiom

   

familysearch

 
name: Thomas Pearson
gender: Male
baptism/christening date: 27 May 1821
baptism/christening place: West Malling, Kent, England
birth date: 09 Apr 1821
father's name: George Pearson
mother's name: Jane
   
   

The original record (not online) would record George's occupation - and so would the 1841 census return if George could be found. However no relevant entry could be found at West Malling.

   

FreeBMD

 
Marriages Jun 1842   (>99%)
GOULD  Charlotte    Medway  5 413
PEARSON  Thomas    Medway  5 413
   
   

His wife, Charlotte Gould, appears to have been from a poor origin, as this 1841 census entry appears relate to an area of working class housing at Lower 14 Row, Upnor, Frindsbury, Aylesford, Kent

   
   
GOODGER, Richard M 45 1796 labourer Kent
GOODGER, Elizabeth F 35 1806   Kent
GOODGER, Sarah F 15 1826   Kent
GOODGER, Ann F 9 1832   Kent
GOODGER, Eliza F 5 1836   Kent
GOODGER, Edward M 2 1839   Kent

GOOLD, Sarah F 35 1806   Kent
GOOLD, Charlotte F 15 1826   Kent
GOOLD, Elizh F 11 1830   Kent
GOOLD, Sarah F 9 1832   Kent
GOOLD, Mary F 6 1835   Kent
   

Google

 

A Google search for "Thomas Pearson" "Brick maker" Shows that he is listed at Little Thurrock and Grays Thurrock in the 1874 Post Office Directory for Essex.

   

BRE

 

BRE (formerly the Buildings Research Establishment) includes the Victorian house Bucknalls, with the site of the brickworks lying in the wooded South East corner of the area. I have been in touch with their honorary archivist who was aware of the brickworks site, and will contact me if anything else turns up.

   
         
   

To Conclude

   
   

On the assumption that St Stephen's Brickworks had an absentee owner Thomas Pearson (1821-1876) would seem a very well qualified candidate, without an obvious rival.  It would be possible to find out more of his career, and particularly how he seems to have worked his way up from humble origins by, for example, buying his children's birth certificates and finding out how he described his occupation - and where he was living. (The various places of birth of his children may mean he was moving between building contracts.) However such research is unlikely to throw any light on any link with the St Albans area.

At this stage of the research it is unlikely that any further information will turn up online (or in my library of Hertfordshire books). In the absence of any contrary evidence it seems sensible to assume that Thomas Pearson was the owner of the brick works at Bricket Wood.

If you have any further evidence one way or another please tell me

   

 

Appendix

Thomas Pearson - Brickworkers -1881 Census.

Result of search involving the Occupation Field

Age Reg District Occupation Born
34 Kendal, Westmorland Builder & Contractor Hutton Roof, Westmorland
26 Prestwick, Lancashire Brick Maker Manchester, Lancashire
60 Glanford Brigg, Lincolnshire Foreman of Brickyard Hull, Yorkshire
17 Glanford Brigg, Lincolnshire Brickyard Labourer Barton on Humber, Lincolnshire
16 Barrow upon Soar, Leicestershire Brickyard Labourer Abby Liberty, Leicestershire
32 Stourbridge, Worcestershire Labourer in Brick Yard Lye, Worcestershire
15 Chorley, Lancashire Labourer Makr Brick Tipton, Staffordshire
       
47 Bedale, Yorkshire Bricklayer Scruton, Yorkshire
25 Boston, Lincolnshire Bricklayer Frampton, Lincolnshire
50 Chorlton, Lancashire Bricksetter Manchester, Lancashire
27 Darlington, Durham Bricklayer Duham, Durham
25 Fulham, Middlesex Bricklayer St Lukes, Middlesex
47 Mitford, Norfolk Bricklayer Mileham, Norfolk
60 Greenwich, Kent Bricklayer Harrietsham, Kent
70 Mitford, Norfolk Bricklayer Welingham, Norfolk
30 Salford, Lancashire Bricklayer Pendleton, Lancashire
22 Selby, Yorkshire Bricklayer Selby, Yorkshire
72 Sleaford, Lincolnshire Bricklayer Painton, Lincolnshire
27 St Giles, Midlothian Bricklayer Newcastle
19 St Neots, Huntingdonshire Bricklayer Eaton Socon, Bedfordshire
69 Stourbridge, Worcestershire Bricklayer (in Workhouse) Brierley Hill, Staffordshire
33 Sunderland, Durham Bricklayer Jarrow, Durham
46 Aston, Warwickshire Bricklayers Labourer Galway, Ireland
14 Foleshill, Warwickshire Bricklayers Labourer Foleshill, Warwickshire
28 Lambeth, Surrey Bricklayers Labourer Lambeth, Surrey
29 Lambeth, Surrey Bricklayers Labourer Camberwell, Surrey
23 Steyning, Sussex Bricklayers Labourer Hove, Sussex

It is clear that there is no obvious candidate for the Thomas Pearson we are looking for, who, it now appears. was already dead.

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

February 2012   Page created