I hate correcting proofs!
Elaine, is a longstanding MHMS volunteer:
I hate correcting proofs. It’s tedious and fiddly work if you’re like me and more interested in what happened to whom rather than if the spelling is correct. However, it has to be done and we have a duty to be accurate both to the records and to the current occupiers of houses we have researched, so with heavy heart I set about correcting ‘my street’, Queen’s Gardens. What insights it revealed. By correcting transcripts of all the census and street directory data for the street in one go, I begun to get a sense of the street’s residents moving on or staying put, the sorts of jobs they did and how those jobs changed over the years.
Whilst the streets were built by Brighton’s nineteenth century speculators and developers on pretty much the same model as developers work today, the people who lived in them were very different from most of today’s residents. Who knows, perhaps there is still a music hall limelight man living in Queen’s Gardens but it’s some years since limelight was used in the theatre. Theatrical lodgings were in the street, too, housing musicians, singers of comic songs, music hall ‘artistes’ and gymnasts alongside stagehands and costumiers.
Some families occupied the street for many years, moving from one house to another. The Igglesdens are recorded at number 19 in the 1851 census and they stayed there until 1906 when they seem to have moved to Gloucester Road. Some of them also lived at number 25 from 1889 – 1906 and others in Robert Street from 1914 – 1958. There don’t seem to be any Igglesdens in Brighton now – are there? Number 19 must have had some magic attraction; the Darbys moved in after the Igglesdens and they stayed until 1954. Prior to that they lived from about 1892 at numbers 15 and 18. It seems different family members lived in the same street. The Piedot family moved around in Queen’s Gardens, too and there are still some people of that name living in Brighton. (If you read this – tell me, what is the origin of your name?) This family lived at number 37 from 1899 to 1907 and then at number 26 until 1913. After that they went to number 23 until 1958.
These are not unusual histories: many families stayed in the area and close to each other. Mobility was less than now, few people would have gone away to University, to work or just for the hell of it. Anyway, there was probably some sense in having your mum handy for childcare and your children handy for care as you aged.