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Z1 William BROOKS
William BROOKS was probably born about 1760.
Resided in St George’s Bloomsbury in 1791.
Occupation: Stone Mason.
William married Elizabeth.
They had one child:
William’s father might also have been a William BROOKS. A Will has been found of a John Knight of Lingfield, Sussex that mentions a William BROOKS.
In 1791 William Brooks entered into an agreement to build property in Cleaver Square, London. The following is an extract from the indenture:
Picture 41- Cleaver Square in 1898
Picture 42 - Cleaver Square 2001
In the Poor Law Books of 1794, William Brooks appears living at 8 Brooks Place (part of Cleaver Square). He paid an annual rent of 28s.
From at least 1792 until 1829, a William Brooks was the landlord of a property at 8 Leicester Square. The name appears on rent books at the Westminster Archive index. This was probably William Brooks senior and then later his son.
"This Indenture made the Twentieth day of May in the forty-fifth
year of the reign of our sovereign Lord George...Between William
Brooks of Herne Hill in the parish of Saint Mary Lambeth in the
County of Surrey Esquire of the one part and Samuel John Stump of Leicester Square...Miniature Painter...that for and in consideration of the Yearly Report covenants and Agreements hereinafter...demise lease and to farm let unto the said Samuel John Stump...being behind and adjourned to a certain lately occupied by Mr Polton together with all cellars..."
Z2 William Thomas James BROOKS
Born on 2 January 1784 in Eagle Street, Bloomsbury. William Thomas James was baptized in St George the Martyr, Bloomsbury on 29 February 1784.
Recorded residing at Salvador House, Bishopsgate in 1822; and in Scarbrook Place, Croydon in 1840.
William Thomas James died in Croydon Surrey on 26 May 1843, at the age of 59. Cause of death: Natural death by disease of the Heart.
Occupation: Architect, Stonemason.
On 7 June 1810 when William Thomas James was 26, he married Elizabeth BANKS, in St Paul's, Covent Garden, Westminster.
They had the following children:
William - Born in 1814, died 12 November 1837 aged 23. Believed that he committed suicide because of debt problems
William was a stone mason and seems to have been very successful.
A ‘Mr Brooks’ was the architect and builder of the College of London in 1815. It may have been the same man.
In the 1820s there was a lot of money about for building. After the Napoleonic Wars, the French had to pay war reparation to England and a lot of this money paid for London's expansion. London grew very rapidly in this period.
William Brooks was involved in the building of four churches in South London - St Matthew, St Mark, St Luke and St John. These buildings still survive. Enormous churches built in the same Greek style with stone column fronts.
Picture 43 - St John, Waterloo; St Luke, Norwood; St Mark Kennington; St Matthew Brixton
These four churches were built in the period 1820 to 1825. The architect was Francis Octavious Bedford. He also built some other churches in London.
The Church of England Record Centre holds an extensive file of original documents relating to the building of these churches. It includes legal and conveyance documents, plans for the buildings and minutes of meetings. An extensive search of these papers has revealed many references to Francis Bedford, but not to William BROOKS. His exact role is therefore not known.
However it has been established that in 1822 William was living at Salvador House, a large private residence in Bishopsgate, London (close to the present Liverpool Street railway station). Ten years later living at the same house is Francis Bedford, the son of Francis Octavious Bedford, architect. The son later went on to become a very famous Victorian photographer.
In 1820 a ‘William Brooks’ gave the sum of £60.15s.0d (equivalent to £3071 at 2001 rates) towards a reward fund for the capture of the capture of the Cato Street conspirators. This was an audacious attempt to assonate the entire British cabinet by anarchists.
William is supposed to have made a lot of money but lost it gambling. There is a story that some property in Oxford Street, London, lost in a gamble would revert to the family after 100 years. However, family members may have got the address wrong. A William Brooks was the landlord of 8 Leicester Square (less than a quarter of a mile away) from at least 1792 to 1829.
William is listed in the 1822 Post Office Directory as "Wm. Brooks, Architect, Salvador House, Bishopsgate, London". He is listed in the 1841 Census as living at Scarbrook Hill, Croydon, aged about 60 with wife Elizabeth aged about 50 and daughters Maria about 20 and Isabella about 15.
William died in testate. Letters of administration were granted to his wife, Elizabeth in 1843. His estate was valued at £20 (equivalent to £1,042 in 2000).
My Family Tree is a 60 minute documentary that I have made with my digital camcorder and edited into a video production.
This documentary is the story of four families. It is the story of my father's parents, Brigden and Chapman, and my mother's parents, Crowhurst and Plowman.
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