Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Jarvis Family of London

The last three months I've been researching the Jarvis branch of my family and now it's time to start writing about what I've discovered. My mother's mother was a Jarvis but the only mention my mother made of this side of her family was....
  • the family were wealthy
  • they came from Kent
She was right about the first but only half right about the second.

Like most New Zealanders my forebears were farmers, agricultural labourers , carpenters, stonemasons - working class people with strong connections to the land and rural living so it was a surprise to find a family that were urban,  upper middle class.

The first Jarvis records I have place the family in the City of Westminster, London at the beginning of the 19th century - the marriage of Richard Jarvis and Ann Hayter....

and the first indication of their occupation in the 1811 London Directory of Professions and Trades

Jarvis, Son & Co. undertakers & patent coffin makers, 13, Piccadilly

Surprising in more ways than one! The term 'undertaker' was originally used to describe any person who undertook to provide a service and only later became used exclusively for funeral services.
At the beginning of the 19th century burials were still quite simple. The laying out of the dead was done by family or servants and coffins, plain wooden boxes, were provided by someone who constructed them as a sideline to their everyday work - carpenters, wheelwrights etc.
With its already rapidly growing population and the prevalence of disease London would have offered an opportunity to focus entirely on coffin making and perhaps offering other funeral services.

13 Piccadilly is an affluent address in the heart of what is now London's West End, which suggests the Jarvis family had been established in London for some time. As was usual for the time they would have lived above the business premises. It's a pity Mr Jarvis didn't add his christian name or even an initial to his listing - without it's almost impossible to discover which of the many Jarvis' he might have been.

Richard and Anne had 6 children that lived to adulthood.

Richard Hayter  - 1801 - 1877
Anne Gertrude - 1803 - 1887
William John - 1805 - 1883
Thomas -1807 - 186?
John - 1809 - ?
Elenora Grace - 1819 - 1879

1819 UK Poll Books and Electoral Registers

Richard Jarvis ------ 139 Long Acre ------- Undertaker

At some time between 1811 and 1819 the business has expanded and moved to larger premises at Long Acre and Richard and Anne are living there as well. 139 is circled in red and has a large court behind and a chapel close by. 

Later Anne and Richard will move to Willesden to live, in the 1820's still 'an oasis of rural tranquillity' and popular with well-off middle class families, while the business remained at Long Acre.

Anne Jarvis died aged 56 in Jan 1836 and was buried on 26 January,1836 at Kensal Green All Souls.

Source Citation: ; London Metropolitan Archives, All Souls Cemetery, Kensal Green, Kensington, Transcript of Burials, 1836 Jan-1836 Dec, DL/t Item, 041/004; Call Number: DL/T/041/004.

Richard Jarvis died aged 74 in February 1848 and was buried on the 7th February, 1848 at Kensal Green All Souls. Following Anne's death he had moved back into central London and his last address was 32 Cambridge Terrace, Paddington although I have had no luck finding his whereabouts in the 1841 census.

Source Citation: ; London Metropolitan Archives, All Souls Cemetery, Kensal Green, Kensington, Transcript of Burials, 1848 Jan-1848 Dec, DL/t Item, 041/016; Call Number: DL/T/041/016.

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