Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Bromley in 1797

An anomaly in examining the Dunn funeral accounts and other deposited material at Bromley Archives is a copy of Thomas Wilson's 1797 "Accurate description of Bromley". Wilson had lived in Bromley for 5 years and as an historian and author as well as retailer of books ( a long list is included in the two page advertisement at the end of the volume) he developed the book as a first attempt at a commercial directory.
The engraved view of Church Lane is of interesting not only for the results of recent building modifications to the Ancient Parish church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.
 On the left hand side of Church Lane is a double height door. We know from later descriptions that a fine Georgian House became the home and Surgery of Doctor Thomas Ilott in 1809. Ilott rented the property originally from Lord Gwydir who owned other land adjacent to Bromley Market Square. The house included a coach house and stables and it is likely that this is a possible use for the building.
I have transcribed the gentry,clergy,Law,Physicians and Tradesmen listed by Wilson for online publication on the Kent Online Parish Clerks Bromley page as it precedes and offers more detail of the occupations of households referred to in the 1801Bromley Census at Kent Online Parish Clerks.
Wilson contains passages describing the journey from London to enter Bromley and from Bromley to London remarking at the view of Saint Paul's Dome from Bromley Hill beyond the Long's estate. He also describes Lewisham, Rushey Green Southend and the hamlet of Mottingham.
The copy which entered Dunn's possession has several pages missing from the binding. The book is marked as the property of Baronet Richard E Williams . There is also a handwritten reference to Emmeline Clayden as being 11 years old in September 1871. The 1871 Census shows her resident in her native Hanwell Middlesex.
The enigma is how this volume passed from Williams to the author of the hand written record of Emmelines birthday in 1871 and thence to the Dunn's. The one thing that can be determined is that in the closure of Dunn and Company in Bromley Geoffrey Dunn deposited the funeral accounts and a collections of advertising and company material at Bromley Archives and can be found under reference 688/6/8. The Archive has only one copy of Wilson  which is a pocket book which appears to have had a life outside Bromley!
I will return to Wilson in my next blog to explore the poetry of Miss Ann Holmes.
My transcription of the named individuals in this work is now online at Bromley1797 Kent Online Parish Clerks.
 © Henry Mantell Downe Online Parish Clerk 2015