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Saturday, 23 March 2019

The inhabitants of Milsom Street, Bath 1801-1820

 More research which will eventually go into the Young Ladies' Survival Guide in Visiting Bath - sorry about the formatting it did horrible things to my numbered bullets

The Inhabitants of Milsom Street 1801-1820

Built in 1762, by Thomas Lightholder, Milsom Street is mentioned in most novels about Bath, as a centre for shopping for fabrics and jewellery and clothes.  As seen in the list of shops, it was not the exclusive centre of shopping, but certainly it contained many shops.  The other main shopping streets were George Street, New Bond Street, Old Bond Street and Bath Street.
Milsom Street is an amazing street. It contains buildings which are detached, and others which are terraced.  But those which are terraced are grand terraces, like Somerset Buildings, 37-42.  Grand frontages with columns, bowed centres and in-your-face Palladian architechture turns a block of five houses into something which would not be out of place as the residence of an earl, if only placed into a country setting, not on the street.
Numbering of Milsom Street is also not as we are used to; even and odd do not denote the side of the street.  Instead, the numbering starts with no. 1 on the west side of the street at the northern end – where a number of roads like Old Bond Street start – and numbers up the western side to no. 23 on the corner of George Street.  Immediately opposite no. 23, numbering recommences with no. 24 and runs down to no. 47, opposite no. 1.

The buildings are, on the whole, 4 storey, with basement as well, and often double-bayed.  Many of them are broken up into multiple occupancy, typically with shops and the rooms behind them on the ground floor, and residences or boarding houses above.  Most boarding houses offer ‘rooms for gentlemen or families’; single ladies rarely mentioned, only by the Misses Kyan of no. 42   

Those houses whose occupancy I have not been able to trace may be presumed to be private dwellings or boarding houses which advertised by word of mouth rather than through the newspapers.

West Side

1          1 In April 1816 White’s Pianoforte and Music Warehouse (also on 5 George Street)
Speculated: the un-numbered Music Warehouse of Mr. William Loder, band-leader and violin maestro of the Theatre-Royal, who has a music warehouse in Milsom Street from 1818.

Numbers 2-22 are a terrace named Portland Place

2         2 Unknown
3         3 Unknown
4          4 In 1807 was called Civet-Cat, occupied by a Mr. Gould, a perfumer and hair cutter, who also provided wigs and hair pieces.
5         5 Unknown
6         6 Unknown
7          7 1794-1804, owner-occupier J. James, fine muslins and table linen. He moved and let the premises.
Until March 1817 Thos. Sheppherd and Jas. Trinder, woollen drapers, hatters and undertakers; in March 1817, they dissolve the partnership and Thomas Sheppherd continues alone.
8            8 Leased for 99 years in summer 1765; the occupant dies age 79 in 1813,  the lease being for sale for £300, plus yearly ground rent £4/6/-.  There was a tenant-at-will Mr. John Howell who paid the ground rent and £130 a year rent.
9          9 1803 E. Sandys, child-bed and ready-made linen warehouse.  In Feb 1817 the leasehold dwelling house and shop were for sale.
1         10 Jan 1801 sold by auction. The centre house of Portland Place.
By 1811 Bally and Bartrum, auctioneers, also letting-agents, ie doing the job we should now call estate agents.  Mr. Bally also kept a public library with reading rooms. Still there in 1820.
November 1820, the house was being let, furnished, by the year or less; Bally & Bartrum  were still operating out of their ‘Great Rooms’ there which is now numbered ‘number 5, Central House, Portland Place’.
111    Unknown
112    Mr. Henry Bowen until 1806 when the premises was sold to cover his bankruptcy.
1807 Lockwood and Porter linen draper, leave May 1812
1815-1820 Public Library, C. Duffield Bookseller and publisher
ALSO  from Nov. 1816 Mr. Kay, cutler, jeweller and plated goods.
113  Unknown until the 1820s when it became Jolly’s Bazaar, and is still Jolly’s department store to this day, under the House of Fraser.
114   In 1812 it was a lodging house, to be let; the shop frontage and shop separate.
115   In 1820 Mr. Cuff, Chemist
116    Up to 1809 P. Nonnet, Jewellery, perfumery, wigs etc Tunbridge-ware, selling up stock May 1809 to move to London
117    Unknown
118    Mr. William Evill, auctioneer, upholsterer, appraiser, undertaker and letting office. 
ALSO 1816-1818 at least William Bell, Upholsterer.
119  1801 Charles Smith Bookseller
1804 Mrs. Mary Smith, relict of Chas. Smith, with her brother Henry Godwin Bookseller and stationer.
1808 H. Godwin moves out with his business to Public Library to No. 43.  Did Mary die?
1816 Mrs. Vesey moves from Bath St.; Haberdashery.  Gives up business 1820
From Feb 1820 Abraham and Levy, jewellery
220  From January1816 new auction rooms  Mr. Stafford, auctioneer, upholsterer, paper hanging. Still there in 1820
221  Sold in April 1807.  Probably lodging houses in upper floors; given as address of Mr. Elliston, actor, first staying temporarily in 1811 and then permanently.
1811 [probably the ground floor] Mr. Webb auctioneer [possibly later in partnership with Mr. English]. Upholstery, carpets, paper hangings.
1818 Messrs English, English and Becks, Auctioneers,  same 1820
222    Unknown

223   Russel and Brookman, silks, velvets, gloves etc; dissolve partnership July 1811
After alterations, Oct 1819 shop bought S&J Martin, jeweller, silversmith and watchmaker

East Side

1      24    Oct 1811 Peter Ardenond moves in from Abbey Churchyard.  Woollen Draper, Tailor, Habit Maker. Apartment to be let at will. Moves out to the Colonnade House, 9, Bath St., October 1817, to set up a bazaar.  
Unknown time, Mr. Denie – presumably 1817-1820
1820 Thomas Flaherty, successor to Mr. Denie,Woollen Draper, Habit maker, Tailor, second premises; also uses no. 27.
Possesses baroque details not seen on other buildings.
2         25 Owned by ‘a lady’ who died early 1812
3          26 Unknown
4          27From Dec 1812 Mrs. R. Spornberg, Milliner, mantua-maker until June 1819.
1819 Thos. Flaherty, see no. 24
5          28 Dec 1811 Mr. Basnett first advertises, is certainly there 1813; goldsmith and jeweller, continuing from his father.
ALSO July 1818 Mr. Holbrook selling large furniture removing to Catherine place – probably in second occupancy with Mr. Basnett?

6          29 1805-1811 S.N. Riviere [moved in from no. 32] Jeweller
7          30 Jan 1818 The Rocking Horse and Golden Fleece, J Spreat, perfumier, toy and fancy goods.
8           31 From Nov. 1808 Mme Simeon, French Laces, bankrupt Jan 1811
Later 1811 C. Simeon, French Laces [her son?]
9           32 1801 S. N. Riviere Jeweller[of 63 Bond Street London] until 1805 when moves to no. 29 q.v.
1820 the whole house with exception of two parlours to be let.
133    1801 Frederick Albrecht, stay, habit and gaiter-maker to Her Highness Duchess of York. Moved from 7 George St.
Mrs. Albrecht to help the ladies.
134    Jan 1805 -1810 [at least] E & A Laing, Millinery, Haberdashery, dresses and pelisses
ALSO Mr. Andras, booking pleasure and packet boats on the Kennet and Avon Canal
135    Prior to 1893 Mrs. Prynn, private occupier; sold June 1803
136    1811-1815 at least, Mr. Fasana, repository of arts, silver, plated goods, oil paintings etc.  As part of his repository of arts, Mr. Mackie, teaching ladies shoe making.

Numbers 37 - 42 are a terrace called Somerset Buildings. An elegant central bow.

137   1802 Mr. Daniel, Miniature painter
1811 Mrs. M. Langdon moves from Argylle St.;  Hosiery, millinery, dresses, haberdashery and Imperial corsets.  Still there 1815 at least

138    From June 1819 J&R Spornberg, milliner, mantua-maker; moved from no. 27 which was sold out from under them when the owner went bankrupt.
Numbers 39 and 40 were owned by a Mr. W.Glover, sold 1801

139   AKA ‘The Centre House’. By 1805  Messers Slack Haberdashery who sold  to Mr. W. Crocker in 1816, who was still there in 1820. In 1817, when the whole upper house was let as ‘having been and suitable for a boarding house’. [The upper rooms were a boarding house.]
1820 Mesdames Urry and Huffown were keeping a boarding house, successors to Mrs. Bless
140    AKA Wellington House. May have been sold by Mr. Glover to someone initialled A.B.
1802 Sheffield plate warehouse, mirrors, Japanned goods etc, said to be ‘at Glover’s’.
Up to Oct. 1817 Mr. Charles Foreman, haberdashery and fine French laces. Stock sold, shop let separately to house, the house is very elegant with patent water-closets. See also no. 42
1817 part to let; taken on by Mr. Crocker, drapery, silks, shawls, still there 1820 [shop?]
1818 Mr. Hodgson  Auctioneer Wellington House.[House?]Formerly of Kay and Hodgson, 7 Union Street.
141    1801 Miss Wilson, quits premises in May
42  By 1804 C. Foreman; Hosiery and Gloves also see no. 41
From October 1807 the Misses Kyan’s Boarding House, having moved to a larger house from Henrietta Street.  Would take ladies or gentlemen with proper references. Purchases boarding house in Cheltenham as well, 1808 and at 19 Circus, Bath 1811 Weymouth 1816, when she is still living at 19 Circus, Bath
1810 Mr. and Mrs. Bloss take on boarding house buying 11 ¾ years of lease left @ £136/10/- p.a.; it has been newly papered.
2   43 Circulating Library and Reading Room; H. Godwin, bookseller, printer, publisher, moved in1808 after leaving mo. 19. [he printed the original of the map of Bath in the front of this book]
444    Unknown
245    Unknown
446    Before 1813 Mr. Bretton; jewellery. Quits business June 1813. There is an arched entranceway to no. 46 which also gives access to the Octagon Chapel.
Octagon Chapel
247    Detached building, massive 4-bay frontage with pillars.  Currently a bank and looks as though it was built either to be a bank or some civic building.

A Mrs. Mirvan lived in Milsom Street in 1818 but I have not tracked down which number.

The residents of Milsom Street petitioned to be provided with gas lighting in 1818


  1. Fascinating. Really looking forward to the Young Ladies' Survival Guide. ❤️

    1. Thank you! I am hoping to collate all the information by the summer, though I have a trip to Bath planned in August .... well, I'll see how fast it is going [I want some of it to write a selection of books not least 'Diana' the second of the Seven Stepsisters] so... I may release a 'short' version on kindle and then add photos as seems appropriate, or I might just illustrate it with contemporary prints

  2. Lovely blog. Thanks for sharing with us.This is so useful.

  3. Sarah, this isn't exactly about the info in the post, but I wanted to send you a message and couldn't find any other "contact" info since I'm not on Twitter or facebook. I am reading the Jane book number 9 and there are references to many characters from previous books and I am having trouble remembering who all of them are. I tried to skim through the previous three books and that helped some but not enough. Your Charity School books have a list of the main characters at the end and I was wondering if you could do the same for the Jane books. You could post it in your newsletter for now where current and future readers could find it and add it to any future Jane books you write. I love both the Charity School and the Jane books and enjoy being reminded how different characters fit into the world of each series. Thanks,
    Pat Hathaway,
    Salina, KS, USA

    1. Pat, I will see about doing that. I have it all in longhand in my Jane and Caleb notebook but it is an excellent idea to post it on the blog - and perhaps to add a link to the blog in future books, with the note that there is background information. Thanks for suggesting it! I may also see if I can put it into a document and publish free on Kindle as I have with the who's who of Felicia and Robin.
      I answer emails with a tagline which makes it clear what it's about on and if I don't, prod me here in case the machine has put them in spam and i missed them. It's the email which is on my profile on DWG

  4. Good Quality Post! Looking forward to reading your other articles, Keep it up!

    Read my Latest Post

    1. thank you! if you found this one interesting you might like the book which I am hoping to bring out around the middle of September, 'The Regency Miss's Suvival Guide to Bath'. I'll be posting some of my photos here as well shortly