Mark Lane: the Mid-Victorian Domestic Landscape
Mark Lane was home to a mix of commercial interests and housing in the nineteenth century, with corn exchanges to the south at 52 and 55 Mark Lane and with the parish church, rectory, and tenements held by All Hallow Staining to the north at 6, 7, and 9 Mark Lane.
During the early years of the incumbency of Lancelot Sharpe, who preceded Francis Stainforth as curate, the rectory of All Hallows Staining was leased to William Aston for £70 (over £7000 pounds today) per annum. Sharpe described the residence as “3 rooms on a floor besides a room on the ground floor, used as a Counting House, in good condition, commodious, and fit for occupation” .
Although many homes on Mark Lane were modest, a few of the residences appear to have been built with the wealthy in mind. Just to the north of the corn exchanges at the southern end of the lane, were two older homes: 35 Mark Lane (see near left) and 33 Mark Lane (see far left), the Gate House, described as a fine old house, supposed to have once been the residence of a Spanish Ambassador.
The Inhabitants of Mark Lane and Star Alley: the Reverend Lancelot Sharpe Era, 1851
Mark Lane and the small adjacent lane - Star Alley - were home to a families from a variety of regions and walks of life. These were recorded in the censuses of 1851 and of 1861. With the goal of tracking patterns of migration, the United Census of 1851 census for the first time recorded the full details of birth location - including parish or town, county, and, if not within the United Kingdom, country - for all individuals.
Mark Lane had become home to either long-term or short-term residents who happened to find themselves on the lane the night of Sunday, 30 March, of 1851. Wine merchant’s clerks, wine coopers, railway servants, an oilman, a stationer’s assistant, printers, tavern keepers, a nurse, a French polisher, office attendant, travelers, warehousemen, housemaids, tea dealers, clerks to news vendors, corn factors, dressmakers, a landscape painter, a bootmaker, a former hairdresser, a former laundress, a police sergeant, a grocer, a general postal carrier, a gentleman, a tea dealer, and a charwoman were all recorded as in being residence that evening in March.
The rectory of All Hallows Staining at 9 Mark Lane had, by 1851, become the home of perpetual curate Lancelot Sharpe (76). Born in the parish, Sharpe lived in the rectory with his wife Mary of Essex (62), a daughter (34, born in All Hallows Staining), a son (a 22-year old attorney, born in Middlesex), three house servants (Frances, 43, Margaret, 35, both of Herefordshire, Harriet, of Suffolk, 23), and a visiting governess (28, born in Middlesex).
A snapshot of Lancelot Sharpe's neighborhood appears in the carefully recorded census. 3 Star Alley was home to several households: widow Ruth Atkinson (66) and her unmarried granddaughter, Eliza Denston (16), both dressmakers, were raising Eliza's son, Walter(3), all born in Middlesex. Also in residence were unmarried landscape artist Dan Shea (25, born in Cork, Ireland); bootmaker John Beakem and his wife, Hannah (31) also of Cork, three daughters (7, of Middlesex and 3, and 1, both of All Hallows Staining), and the Beakem's unmarried niece Sarah Holland (15) of Middlesex.
Along the northern end at 3 Mark Lane lived Essex native Joseph Salmon (44), a baker who employed two men and whose son (16) assisted in the business, his wife Maria (44), his family, and servants Caroline (33) and George (19, of London). His younger children, Hannah (11), Joseph (6), and John (3) were listed as scholars. Susannah Cole (24), a Mariner’s wife of Norfolk, was visiting their home on the day of the census. At 4 Mark Lane, merchant’s clerk John Winkfield (34) of London employed John Macbach (40) of Germany as a porter. The porter's mother-in-law, Elizabeth Stein (60), wife Anna (34), and children (11, 10, 8, 3, and 1, with none listed as scholars) were living at the same address. The porter's family's immigration from Germany seems to have been recent; the two youngest children were born in London. Cooper George Blow (42, of Lincoln) and his young wife, Matilda (24, of Oxford), who worked as an office keeper, lived at 5 Mark Lane. William Osbourne and his wife Charlotte of Essex, both listed as housekeepers, lived at 6 Mark Lane, one of the two tenements held by All Hallows Staining. The parish churches’ second tenement at 7 Mark Lane was uninhabited at the time of the census.
Further south at 70 Mark Lane, wine merchant John Delaney of Ireland (50), his wife of south Wales (48), his children (16, 15, 14, 12, and 10, none listed as scholars), two servants (20 and 24), and visiting gentleman Herman Schroder (74) and wife Martha (38) were in residence.
The Inhabitants of Mark Lane and Star Alley: the Reverend Francis Stainforth Era, 1861
By 1861, many of the families living in Star Alley and Mark Lane had moved on making way for new inhabitants. Francis John Stainforth (then 63, of London), his second wife Elizabeth (47, of County Down, Ireland), his daughter (34, born in India), his son, Francis Edward Stainforth (21, born in Surrey, then working as a clerk to a general merchant), and three servants, cook Lydia Cousins, (28), housemaid Emma Finch (18), and lady's maid Emma Hurrell (16), all of London, occupied the rectory of All Hallows Staining in place of the family and servants of Lancelot Sharpe.
The tenements held by All Hallows Staining at 6 and 7 Mark Lane had been pulled down, reducing available housing. Elsewhere on Mark Lane, the families who once occupied 3, 4, and 5 Mark Lane were gone, with the bakery once held by Joseph Salmon, by 1861, operated by Charles Frederick John Webber (32, of Surrey). His wife Rheda (25, of Middlesex), his son, Thomas William Webber (1, born at All Hallows Staining), a confectioner's shop keeper, Elizabeth Barratt (22, of Middlesex), house servant Sophia Mary Kay (16, of Essex), bakers James Bryson (23, of London) and Henry King (21, of Surrey), and errand boy, Joseph Lowrey (16, of Middlesex) were also in residence.
While the residence at 70 Mark Lane, located to the south of the two corn exchanges, was still home to the wine merchant John Delaney of Ireland, his son John (26 ), a clerk, his daughter (24), and servant Anne Blain (17, of Surrey), many others residences reflected the changing face of London.
The population on Star Alley and Mark Lane reflected mid-nineteenth-century immigration trends. Throughout the 19th century a small population of German immigrants grew in London. In 1851, nearly 15,000 immigrated to Britain; by 1861, over 22,000. The Irish born population of London reached its peak around 1851, when the census counted their number at 109,000, Francis Stainforth's wife Elizabeth among them.