william mallindine + frances kelsee

William was born on 29 May 1759 and baptised at St Dunstan in Stepney on 17 June. He was the youngest son of Isaac Mallindine and his wife Susanna Dupre. His father and grandfather were both silk weavers and William followed them into the trade and it appears he worked consistently as a weaver from his youth until at least 1801, possibly longer.

Baker’s Row, Whitechapel
from Carey’s Map of London 1795

During this time, the weavers in the East End of London were facing increasing pressure from both mechanization and competition from imported fabrics from India and China. As competition for work increased, some weavers agreed to work for less and wages fell below subsistence level for many journeymen weavers resulting in numerous riots between Irish and French weavers and between master and journeymen weavers. Although the weaving trade continued into the 19th century, it never recovered financially and it became more and more difficult for a weaver to support his family.

William married Frances Kelsee at St Dunstan in Stepney on 23 September 1783 with James Sinclair and Robert Vaughan acting as witnesses. The entry does not list William’s occupation but it confirms both he and Frances lived in the parish, however, they later moved to Baker’s Row in Whitechapel and were living there when their first child, Ann, was born. Ann was baptised on 14 April 1784 and the nearby church of St Mary Whitechapel but her date of birth was not included in the register.

They were still on Baker’s Row when son James was born the following year, on 5 September; he was baptised at St Mary Whitechapel on 7 October 1785. William was born on 13 November 1787 but he was baptised, on 19 December 1787, at St Matthew in Bethnal Green rather than in Whitechapel. The register does not list the family’s address but it is assumed they moved as five of their next six children were all baptised at St Matthew. Isaac was born on 12 August 1790 and baptised one month later and four years later, son Christopher Duclos was born on 30 October 1794 and baptised at St Leonard in Shoreditch on 10 December. The family’s address was listed simply as Hoxton, a ward in the borough of Shoreditch that lay to the west of Bethnal Green.

The family was living on Virginia Row in Bethnal Green when Mary Frances was born on 10 February 1798 and William’s occupation was listed as a weaver. Mary was baptised at St Matthew on 9 March followed by Frances Elizabeth who was born on 2 August 1801 and baptised at St Matthew one month later. Charles David was born on 9 March 1805 and was baptised at St Matthew on 26 April; he died at 16 months and was buried at St Matthew on 16 July 1806 followed by his sister Frances ten days later.

On 3 June 1810, their son James married Hannah Edghill at St Matthew and three months later, he acted as a witness at his sister Ann’s wedding to William Cross at St Dunstan on 22 September. William married Martha Edghill, Hannah’s sister, the following year at St Leonard and although Isaac’s marriage record hasn’t been found, banns were declared between him and Emma Blackstone at St Dunstan on three successive Sundays in March 1817.

Poverty in the East End

There is no further record of William or his wife Frances until his application for admission to the French Hospital. A transcript of his letter, dated 29 July 1823, appears in the hospital records published by the Huguenot Society:

The humble request of Guillaume Mallindine, Silk Weaver, native of London, aged 63 years. Grandson of David Mallindine, refugee from Normandy due to religious persecution. The applicant has suffered from an asthmatic complaint for many years, which has worsened with age, and during winter renders him incapable of finding work half the time, he is at present greatly impoverished and is obliged to come….asks you….reception in the said hospital…..(signed) Guillaume Mallindine, recommended by (signed) Jean Perrell, Gervais Baucher.

William was admitted to the French Hospital on 3 September 1825 and remained there until his death on 3 March 1827. He was buried at St Matthew, Bethnal Green on 11 March. Frances’ death record has not been found but as William applied to the hospital on his own, it is assumed she predeceased him.