Six children, all born live: a demographically lucky Victorian family.

We’ve seen that the Cornelius Schaller family had been augmented by a first child, Ellen, and had, for unknown reasons, moved to New York City. In fact, Ellen was an American citizen, and as we’ll see in detail in Floods and Schallers V, Robert Cornelius became one, too. His wife Ellen did not, and their subsequent children were born U.K. citizens.

This might seem like the cue for a Leonard Bernstein number. But again, unexpectedly, the Schallers moved: back to Old Blighty. We know it because there is a family record of five more children born in London in an arc of time from 1855 to 1868. All are important to the story, but for most of them the documentation must have gone down with collateral branches of the family or just been lost. What I do have is still interesting, because we know where each was born, at home.

By the way, it is worth noting that records only indicate six births, all live. I understand that Merrie Olde England was undergoing the demographic transition at this point, but still, I am surprised that there was no record or other memory of miscarriages or stillbirths. As we shall see, this family was every bit as sentimental as a middle class Victorian family could be, and commemorated their dead with great gusto, as we’ll also see. So I don’t think they’d be silent about lost children.

The children:

Ellen Elizabeth Ann (Nellie), named for her mother, covered in the last post;

Cassandra Paulina (Cassie), 20 November 1855 at 9 Howland Street, Fitzroy Square, London.

Cebella Emily (Bella), named for her maternal grandmother, 7 September 1857 at 68 Welbeck Street, Cavendish Square, London.

Cornelius Washington, 8 October 1862 at The Hermitage, Ravenscourt Park, Hammersmith, London. Baptised at St. Peters Church, Hammersmith.

Florence May (“Mama”), my ancestress, 28th May 1864 at 28 Saint Peters Square, Hammersmith, London. Baptised at St. Peters Church, Hammersmith.

Cornelius Robert (“Robert C.”), 1 July 1868 at Holly Cottage, Surbiton “in the county of Surrey.”

The addresses are somewhat confusing. My two assumptions are that they are residences of the Schallers, and they were always renting. The Charles Street addresses were all, I think, on a now lost Charles Street, renamed as part of Mortimer Street, that ran in front of the Middlesex Hospital (the big street that the hospital’s Google Earth marker sits on). An 1866 receipt explicitly gives Cornelius Schaller’s address as 25 Charles Street, St. James’, which is among the poshest of posh addresses. I frankly doubt it. Among other things, at the time of the 1866 receipt the children were being born miles and miles away in Hammersmith. Here is a map of the central London places:

And here are the Hammersmith places, including the vague “The Hermitage,” which appears to be an old housing development on the NE border of Ravenscourt Park. That’s the Tamesis at the bottom.

Floos-Schaller Hammersmith places. Google Earth.

And here is the 1893-1895 Ordinance Map of The Hermitage:

1893-1895 Ordinance Map, The Hermitage, Ravenscourt Park, Hammersmith, London.

I am not a connoisseur of London addresses, but even I know that all of the Central London ones are reasonably good. The Howland Street and Charles Street addresses are in Camden (old Bloomsbury and St. Pancras, respectively), though they really fall more into the informal city area called Fitzrovia, which spanned more than one borough. The 1840 Tallis street guide indicates that Charles Street was full of tradesmen like the Floods and the Schallers themselves.

The Hammersmith addresses are good ones, and the Surbiton address would have been comparatively rural, in Surrey, ripe for assimilation into Greater London (the Borough of Kingston upon Thames) in 1965. Can anything be inferred from this wealth of different addresses? Were the Schallers moving to more and more rural locations as Cornelius grew older? The trains made even places like Surbiton, way south and west, haunts for the well-to-do.

An appendix. The first child born in London, Cassandra Paulina (1855) was subject to the Compulsory Vaccination Act. The address for the vaccination was 110 Charlotte Street, about a block from the 9 Howland Street residence in Fitzrovia. British History Online states that in 1860 the surgeon John Derbishire resided at 11 Howland Street.

Compulsory Vaccination Act notice upon the birth of Cassandra Paulina Schaller (b. 20 November 1855). Photo: author.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Arlington, VA

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