Isabella Ormston Ford, (1855-1924)

  As well as writing about Victorian Occupations, I think its helpful to consider some of those great philanthropists who sought to help those working in the terrible conditions in which so many of the working classes found themselves. During the 19th Century, especially in the latter years, the concerns over sweating and the abuse… Read more »

Schools and Sanitation – Rowhedge grows….

  In this fourth and final post of the history of Rowhedge in the 19th century I’ll be focusing primarily on school life and the strength of the villagers as they fought off all on-comers in their attempts to bring a degree of drainage and sanitation to the village – a situation described as ‘a… Read more »

Rowhedge – A Community

A Community Grows    In his essay ‘Rough Days at Rowhedge’,[1] Hervey Benham characterises the village as a community of disorganised, barbarous criminals. The fishermen (who he refers to as ‘hairy old amphibians’[2] ), standing in a bath of beer on the pub floor, their ‘wretched’ wives beside them, boys running from pub to pub… Read more »

Shipbuilding and Brewing – Life changes….

In this second part of the life and work of the men of Rowhedge, we pick up their story around 1870; times were changing, and alternative sources of income were opening up. There had been a small shipbuilding enterprise in the village for centuries, but in the 1860s this became a far larger concern and… Read more »

Like Father, like Son – The Fishermen of Rowhedge

Like Father, like Son In 1850, Rowhedge was, as it had been for generations, a fishing village.  The tiny village, built on the waterfront, was a hive of activity with boats moored up being prepared for work and fisherman leaving for sea. The river was the lifeblood of a community built around one specific trade.… Read more »

The tailoresses of Rowhedge

  Rowhedge Rowhedge was, and still is, a small village on the banks of the River Colne in Essex. It is a place where for generations the men worked as fishermen, while the women stayed at home, holding together a family, a home, and in many cases also working. That it became a focus for… Read more »

C is for Crossing Sweeper

Crossing Sweeper   Continuing with the series on street life in Victorian London, the crossing sweeper was as much a part of this world as the costermongers, flower girls, mush-fakers, pure finders and the numerous other members of the London underclass.  Roads and pathways were filthy, covered in mud, rotting vegetable matter and the ever… Read more »

F is for Flower Seller

Flower Sellers When we think of flower sellers, we often think of Eliza Doolittle, the flower seller in Covent Garden who went from rags to riches thanks to the attentions of Professor Higgins. Hers was of course just a story, but her trade was common, although her rise out of poverty was hardly in any… Read more »

U is for Umbrella Maker

Umbrellas and parasols were a mainstay of a Victorian lady’s wardrobe – in a time when it was unfashionable for a woman to have a sun tan, the parasol was an essential part of a lady’s outfit, and when raining, umbrellas were, as now, considered necessary, however, umbrellas in the modern sense were more a… Read more »