Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The late 1800s


St Thomas’s church in Lee Bank was badly bombed in WW2. However, in days gone by it was the centre of the local community in which our Millington ancestors lived. Cregoe Street was close by

The Millingtons in Birmingham in the 1851 census

Having built up a picture of the events affecting the Millington family and their various movements prior to 1841, including the births of many of Andrew Millington’s children and grandchildren, the misdemeanors of himself and his sons in the 1830s, the movements of his sons back and forth between Wellington and Birmingham and Andrew’s subsequent death in 1841, it then seems that William and his younger brother James moved permanently to Lee Bank in Birmingham.

In the 1851 census, William’s family are recorded at 1C1H Fordrough Street in the St Thomas district of Birmingham (Lee Bank). William was recorded as a 49 year old master shoe maker. Curiously, his wife Phebe is not recorded in the census. Also in the family home was 15 year old William, a Plasterers Journeyman born in Wellington, 13 year old John, a Brass Casters Boy born in Wellington and 10 year old Henry Millington, a scholar, born in Wellington.

We have already referred to the fact that William’s younger brother James was recorded in the 1851 census, living with his own family in the same area as William. He is recorded as a 40 year old shoe maker at 36 Cregoe St, Lee Bank (born in Wellington). His wife is 42 year old Mary born in Warwickshire. Also recorded are 9 year old Mark Millington, a scholar, born in Wellington, 6 year old Alfred Millington, a scholar born in Birmingham, 3 year old Alice Millington born in Birmingham and 2 year old Lucy, born in Birmingham.

The death of Phebe Millington

The next record that I have appertaining to William and Phebe is a death certificate for Phoebe Millington dated 1st April 1858.

Phoebe died at their home at Back 112 Cregoe Street in Lee Bank following a two year illness caused by pluthisis (tuberculosis). Her age is given as 58. William himself was present at Phoebe’s death and is recorded as a shoe maker (Journeyman). Phoebe Millington was buried at St Philip’s on 6th April 1858.

Three years later, the 1861 Census records the 59 year old widower William Millington, living at 201 Cregoe Street with his two youngest (and unmarried) sons, John aged 23 and Harry aged 20.

John, who is our direct ancestor, was working as a sword maker, whilst Harry was a silver plater. William himself was still a shoe maker.

John’s place of birth is given as Wellington, whilst Harry’s is given as Wolverhampton. It seems extremely likely that Harry was actually the baby named Henry in the 1841 Census. Incidentally, John Millington, later named one of his own children Harry, presumably after his brother.

The death of a William Millington is indexed in the 3rd Quarter of 1865 in Aston. There is no age recorded in the index so it is difficult to say for certain at this stage that this is definitely his death, without the actual death certificate. However, it does seem quite likely as there is an absence of other Williams recorded in the death index for Birmingham during the period of 1861 to 1881. There is also evidence that the Millingtons may have moved out of the Lee Bank area into Aston, as William’s son John was living in Nechells when he married in 1870. More on this shortly.

A Strange Coincidence

An interesting point to make about the discovery of the Millingtons at their address in Cregoe Street in 1861 is that I came across them in the Census record by complete coincidence.

I was actually researching my grandmother’s family, and was conducting a search for her grandfather, Thomas Clayton, whom I knew to have lived in Cregoe Street when he married in 1864 (Thomas Clayton was a blacksmith who lived and worked in Cregoe Street).

However, I was not able to find a record for Thomas Clayton in the 1861 Census, but instead found the Millingtons by pure coincidence. If you can appreciate that the number of Census reels appertaining to the hundreds of districts and streets of Birmingham runs to about 60 or 70, with each reel taking about 2 to 3 hours to search through properly and bearing in mind that many of them are virtually illegible, to randomly come across a family of one’s own direct ancestors is lucky to say the least.

The implication of the discovery is that our Clayton ancestors may have actually lived and worked very close to our Millington ancestors in Cregoe Street, Lee Bank some 54 years prior to the marriage of our grandparents, Florence Clayton and William Millington in 1918. It raises the further question around whether the two families knew of each other throughout this 54 year period? I would speculate that they probably did not, as the Claytons moved around the city during this period, living in Winson Green, Aston, Duddeston and Bordesley before settling in Ladywood.

John Millington’s brothers and sisters

Before moving on to the marriage of John Millington himself, who was our direct ancestor (my g-g-grandfather), it is worth making a quick study of records appertaining to his brothers and sisters: James born in Birmingham in 1827, Emma born in Birmingham in 1832, William born in Wellington in 1835 and Henry (also known as Harry) born in Wolverhampton in 1841.

In 1851 John’s brother William was recorded in the Lee Bank home as a 15 year old plasterer’s journeyman.

Harry was of course listed as a 10 year old scholar in the 1851 census and a 20 year old silver plater in the 1861 census. There is a record of his marriage to Emma Wiseman at St Philips in 1863. Henry, a bachelor from Cregoe Street married Emma who was 20 on 15th March 1863. His father is listed as William Millington, a shoe maker and her father as William Wiseman, a cabinet maker.

Eighteen years later, Harry and Emma’s now large family (8 children) are listed in the 1881 census at 12 Soho Street in Harborne (in an area nowadays classed as Smethwick):

Henry Millington – head of family, aged 42, a Plater Wh Met+ born in Wellington

Emma aged 39, his wife born in Liverpool

Henry aged 17, a boot maker born in Birmingham Emma aged 15, a domestic servant born in Birmingham

Alice aged 13, a domestic servant born in Birmingham Louisa aged 10, a scholar born in Birmingham Elizabeth F aged 8, a scholar born in Birmingham

William aged 5, born in Birmingham

Frank aged 3, born in Handsworth

John aged 1, born in Smethwick


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