Inherited Craziness
A place to share all the nuts found on my family tree

Thursday, 8 October 2020

Dodging trouble in Cable Street, London

Cable Street, Stepney

Eliza Louisa Tompson, my great-grandmother, was born on 24 Aug 1868 at 299 Cable Street, St George in the East. Her parents were Dan Tompson (Bricklayer) and Mary Ann Tompson (née Green). Originally, I'd found Eliza Louisa, aged 12, on the 1881 census, living with her father, in Watney Street, St George in the East. At that time, Dan's wife (his 2nd, it transpires) was listed as Sarah J, born Sarah Jane Baker, who he'd married in 1871.

It wasn't until I searched the indexes at the General Register Office for Eliza Louisa's birth, that I discovered that her mother's maiden name had been Green. After that, I was able to locate the 2 year old Eliza Louisa (listed as Thompson), living with her grandmother, Eliza Green, landlady at The King and Queen Public House in Tait Street, St George in the East, in 1871. 

The previous year, 1870, not only had her grandad, Edward Green, died, but so had her mother, Mary Ann, who had given birth to a son, Dan Edward G (I'm guessing George), probably on 12 Mar 1870, because Mary Ann died on 19 Mar 1870 at 363 Cable Street and the causes listed on Mary Ann's death certificate state "Childbirth 7 days, Scarlet Fever 4 days, exhaustion". Last part is hardly surprising! The infant Dan also died in the 2nd quarter of the same year.

By the time of the census of 1871, Eliza Louisa's widowed father, Dan, aged just 22, was lodging nearby at 197 Cable Street. 

In 1891, herself then 22, Eliza Louisa, now a 'fancy box maker' was living with William and Ellen Burton, in Knapp Road, Bromley, Poplar. Eliza Louisa is listed as their niece, actually their step-neice, because Ellen Rosina Burton (née Baker) was the sister of Dan's 2nd wife, Sarah Jane Baker.

On 5 Jan 1893, Eliza Louisa Tompson married Job Sweeney at the Parish Church of St Anthony, Stepney. They were both aged 24 and both gave their address at the time of the marriage, as 3 Monteagle Street, Stepney. Their only son, Job Thomas, was born at 25 Monteagle Street, Stepney (which further research suggests was a boarding house) on 27 Aug 1897.

In 1901, the family were living at 8, Repton Street, Limehouse, Stepney

My mother always claimed that her father and grandmother, Eliza Louisa, had been living in Sidney Street at the time of the Siege of Sidney Street, or Battle of Stepney that took place in January 1911. It's not impossible, but I can find no records to support this. Of course, Eliza Louisa was well away from the area when Cable Street was made famous by it's own battle in 1936.

The Battle of Cable Street gives an insight into the area.

Eliza Louisa Sweeney (née Tompson)
with her granddaughter, Ivy, c. 1939.
By the time of the census on 2 April 1911, the family were living at 102 Fore Street, in the City of London, Job having acquired employment as a Packer and Caretaker. They lived in a flat above the warehouse that came with the job. Job Sweeney died in Dec 1924. Eliza Louisa was still living at 102 Fore Street with her son and his wife, Elizabeth (Bet) née Fuller and granddaughter, Ivy, in 1939 and they all remained there until their home was destroyed in WWII, on the night of 29–30 December 1940, the so-called Second Great Fire of London.

Eliza Louisa Sweeney, otherwise Sweney (as it says on her death certificate), died on 13 Feb 1953, in Hornchurch, Essex, from coronary thrombosis, influenza, chronic bronchitis and old age. She was 84.

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