william mallindine + martha edghill

William was born on 13 November 1787 and baptised at St Matthew in Bethnal Green on 19 December. He was the son of William Mallindine, a weaver, and his wife Frances Kelsee.

Bethnal Green Workhouse
© mapco

William married Martha Edghill on 27 May 1811 at St Leonard in Shoreditch. Martha was born on 28 May 1787 and baptised at St Leonard on 15 July; she was the daughter of Jasper Edghill and his wife Eleanor Virtue. Her younger sister, Hannah, had married William’s brother James the previous year.

After their marriage, they settled in rooms in the Middlesex Buildings in Middlesex Place just off the Hackney Road where their first son, John William, was born on 16 January 1812. He was baptised at St Leonard on 18 May.

The family fell on hard times and their second son, William, was born in the Bethnal Green Workhouse on 30 December 1812. He was baptised at St Matthew in Bethnal Green on 24 January 1813 and his baptismal record notes that his father was a pauper.

The original parish workhouse in Bethnal Green was built in 1777 and was operated by the nearby church of St Matthew. It was a small square building with an inner courtyard and housed 400 people. The early parish workhouses were not as harsh as the mid 19th century institutions that were built in response to the Poor Law Act of 1834. Although the idea of using inmate labour to help fund the workhouse was initially central to their plans, most abandoned the idea in favour of providing general relief of the poor, medical care and lying in accommodation for expectant mothers.

It is not known how long William and Martha stayed in the workhouse but by the time their son Jasper was born on 6 August 1814, they were back living in the Middlesex Buildings in Shoreditch. Jasper was baptised at St Leonard on 28 August 1814. Sometime between 1813 and 1817, their son William died although no death record has yet been found. They had a second son, also named William, on 21 September 1817 and baptised at St Leonard on 12 October and for the first time William’s occupation was listed on an official record — he was listed as a weaver on William’s baptismal record. His occupation may explain the family’s dire financial situation as the weaving industry in the East End of London was so depressed that most could not support a family on the meagre wages available. Sadly, their second son named William also died in infancy.

On 25 July 1819, their first daughter Martha Ann was born followed by son Henry David on 15 January 1822 and both children were baptised at Christ Church, Spitalfields on 19 April 1824. The family was living on Hope Street, located near St James the Great on Bethnal Green Road, and William was still working as a weaver when daughter Eleanore was born in the middle of September 1824 but she died just 19 days later and was buried at the Wesleyan Burial Ground in Globe Road on 3 October. By 1826, the family had moved a little further north and were living on Hackney Road when son Thomas was born on 28 April but despite living closer to two other parish churches, they chose to have him baptised at St Leonard on 14 May.

St Leonard, Shoreditch

William and Martha had three more sons and all three were baptised at St Leonard: Francis was born on 14 March 1829 and baptised on 5 April, William was born on 29 April 1831 and baptised on 23 May, and George was born on 26 November 1834 and baptised on Christmas Day. The family remained in the same area — between Hackney Road and Bethnal Green Road — but moved to nearby William Street which lay between Bethnal Green Road and the Old Bethnal Green Road near the church of St Matthew.

Martha Edghill died at the family home on James Street on 19 June 1840 and was buried at St Matthew the next day; she was 53 years old and no cause of death was listed on her burial record. One year later, William was working as a labourer and living at James Place, which was just off the Hackney Road near Bird Cage Walk, along with his three youngest sons — Francis, William and George. His older sons John, Henry, and Thomas had left home but there is no record of Jasper or Martha Ann after their baptismal records so it is likely they died during infancy.

Son Henry was lodging in a house on Pundersons Gardens in Bethnal Green and working as a male servant. One year later, he was convicted of theft at the Old Bailey and sentenced to two months confinement. After his second conviction on 21 August 1843, he was sentenced to transportation to Australia for a period of seven years but he never returned to England and his family never saw him again.

William was once again forced to enter the workhouse and in the 1851 Census, he was living at Whitechapel Union Dispensary at 19 Leman Street. He was 63 years old and working as a dispensary servant along with 70 year old William Jackson. The census aslo notes that he was formerly a weaver but was currently receiving parish relief. His two youngest sons, 16 year old George and 22 year old Francis, were living on Granby Street with their brother Thomas and his young family. Twenty year old William has not been found in the 1851 census but he was living on Granby Street when he married in 1854.

On 30 March 1852, Francis died in the Whitechapel Workhouse; he was only twenty three years old and was working as a labourer at the time of his death. The cause of death is not known but Francis was buried at Christ Church in Spitalfields on 2 April. His father William died in Spitalfields in May 1859, aged 72 years, and was buried at Victoria Park Cemetery on 21 May.