william mallindine + mary ann ferrey

William was born on 12 April 1799 and baptised at the French Huguenot Church of St Jean in Spitalfields on 5 May. He was the youngest son of Isaac Mallindine and Marie Fage.

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William worked as a Silk Weaver although it is not known if he served an apprenticeship or simply learned the trade from his father.

He married Mary Ann Ferrey at St George in the East in Stepney on 22 August 1822. Mary Ann was born on 11 May 1800 to Isaac Ferrey and Susanna Bulinger and baptised at St Matthew, Bethnal Green on 22 June.

They settled on Thomas Street near St Matthew’s Church in Bethnal Green and lived there for the next 10 years. Their first son, William Isaac, was born on 16 September 1823 and baptised on 12 October at St Matthew and second son, Isaac Samuel, was born on 8 January 1825. He was baptised several weeks later but he died the following spring and was buried at the Bethnal Green Protestant Dissenters’ Burying Ground, known as the Gibraltar Row Burial Ground, on 7 May 1826. There is no evidence that the family was non-conformist but with the burial ground at St Matthew’s full by 1819, this may have been the only option available to them.

Mary Ann was pregnant when litle Isaac died and five months later, she gave birth to Mary Susannah on 12 October 1826. She was baptised at St Matthew on 1 November but she too died, just before her first birthday, and was buried at Gibraltar Row on 7 September 1827. When her daughter died, Mary was once again pregnant and their son, also named Isaac Samuel, was born on 2 January 1828 and baptised three weeks later. On 26 May 1831, George was born and baptised on 15 June but they lost a third child when he died eight months later; he was buried at Gibraltar Row on 26 February. Their youngest child, Mary Ann Susannah, was born on 17 March 1833 and baptised on 10 March at St Matthew.

Terraced weaver’s houses

By 1841, they had left Thomas Street and moved further east to a ‘two-up, two-down’ terraced house on South Conduit Street just off Bethnal Green Road. Also living on the street was William’s cousin James, the son of William Mallindine and Frances Kelsee, and he too was working as a weaver. Three years later, their twenty-one year old son William Isaac married Mary Ann Wilson at St John, Hackney but the family’s happiness was short lived as Mary Ann Ferrey died on 19 August 1847.

The death certificate lists the cause of death as ‘hemorrhage and gangrene of foot, ten days’ and it appears that Mary had an accident resulting in a cut that later became infected. Medical treatment was expensive and not readily available to the poor and working classes and although there were some hospitals offering care, many people entered the workhouse infirmaries for treatment. However, it seems Mary Ann remained in their home at 18 South Conduit Street until her death.

louisa ferrey

Three years after his wife’s death, William married a second time to Louisa Hannah Ferrey, Mary Ann’s niece, on 14 July 1850 at St Phillip in Stepney. Louisa was born in 1818 and baptised at Christ Church Spitalfields on 12 April to Samuel Ferrey and his wife Hannah Walker. She was living on New Church Street when they married and she signed the register with her mark unlike William who could read and write.

After the wedding, she moved into William’s house on Conduit Street and lived there along with his daughter Mary and a lodger also named Louisa. His son, Isaac, was not living with them and has not been found elsewhere in the census records although he married at St Matthew in 1853.

William and Louisa had two children, Louisa Mary, born on 23 February 1852 at 11 South Conduit Street and baptised at St Matthew on 14 March and John William who was born on 24 September 1853 and baptised at St Matthew on 16 October. One year after his son’s birth, William died of cholera at the family home on Conduit Street and was buried at Victoria Park Cemetery on 7 September.

Cholera Epidemics in London

The disease first appeared in England in the early 1830s after spreading from India, through the Middle East and across Europe. The cause was initially believed to be a ‘miasma’ or bad air caused by the increasingly poor state of sanitation
in London and the early focus was on improvements to both sanitation and public health but progress was slow.

The second epidemic occurred in 1848-49 and resulted in 14 000 deaths while the third epidemic of 1853-54 caused 11 000 deaths. During one outbreak, centred on Broad Street in Soho, 600 people died in less than two months. The disease caused severe nausea, vomiting and diarrhea and most who contracted cholera died within days.

One doctor, John Snow, who treated those in Broad Street began a systemic investigation into the source of cholera with the help of a local priest and came to the conclusion that it was a water borne disease. At that time, most sewage was piped directly into the Thames, often upriver from the intake pipes that supplied drinking water to the city’s residents. Snow’s findings were initially dismissed although the pressure to improve sanitation resulted in the creation of the Metropolitan Board of Works and the construction of a new sewer system.

There was one last outbreak in 1866 in an area of the East End that was not connected to the new sewer system and this reinforced the theory of transmission by contaminated water and led to further improvements in water treatment, public health and sanitation.

In 1861, Louisa was still living at 21 South Conduit with her two children and 28 year old step-daughter Mary and they were both working as Silk Warpers. A silk warper was responsible for setting up the loom by attaching the warp threads which were the long threads onto which the fabric was weaved. Some warpers worked at home on family looms while others worked in factories but the situation for Louisa and Mary is not clear from the census.

It is unlikely that they would have been able to earn enough as silk warpers to support the family and in 1862, Mary Ann Susannah applied for relief from the parish. She appeared before the Board of Guardians of the parish union on 6 September and the examination record includes the information she provided to establish that she was a resident of the parish and therefore eligible for relief. She stated that her father rented the house on Conduit Street for many years at an annual rent of £18 and she believed she may have been born on the street. She reported that her mother and father were dead and her step-mother was still living at the property but the record does not contain any information on the specific circumstances that caused her to claim relief. Mary died in the workhouse one year later, aged only 29 years.

Louisa and her children were living in the same street in 1871 although it had been renamed to Viaduct Street several years earlier. Her younger sister Mary Ferrey was also living with them and she was working as a silk warpers along with Louisa and her daughter. Seventeen year old John was also working as a Cover Writer although what this entailed is not clear but when he married three years later, he was working as a Clerk.

London County Asylum, Ilford

After his marriage, John and his wife moved to Approach Road near Victoria Park but Louisa, her daughter and sister remained on Viaduct Street and continued to work as silk warpers. Louisa died on 28 December 1886 and was buried in the Tower Hamlets Cemetery on 2 January 1887. Her daughter and sister were still living in the family home on Viaduct Street in 1891.

On 13 May 1892, Louisa was admitted to Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum in the London borough of Barnet but the admission register does not include any details on the nature of her illness. She was transferred to the Hoxton Asylum in December and remained there for one year before being transferred to the London County Lunatic Asylum in Ilford, Essex.

Ten years later, Mary Ferrey occupied two rooms in the house on Viaduct Street and 50 year old Louisa was still a pauper patient in the London County Asylum. The census return notes that she and all the other patients listed were lunatics but this was a catch-all term used to describe people with epilepsy, behavioural issues, and dementia as well as what would be described today as mental health issues such as psychosis, bi-polar and schizophrenia. She remained in the asylum until her death in 1902; she was buried in the Tower Hamlets Cemetery on 29 April.