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I have a personal interest in football history as my great-grandfather’’s cousin, Joe Smith (1889-1971), was one of the best professional footballers of his generation. He is second only to the legendary Nat Lofthouse as Bolton’’s top goalscorer, and his 38 goals in season 1920/21 remain a club record.

Emma Jolly, in the article The National Football Museum

Emma Jolly writer, historian, genealogist
  1. Not on ancestry: London parish registers #3 St Benet and All Saints Church

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    This continues the description of Camden parishes not found on www.ancestry.co.ukTo help visualise where in London these are, take a look at the outline map of St Pancras parishes in 1903 at http://homepages.gold.ac.uk/genuki/MDX/StPancras/outline.htm

    Walk from St Mary Brookfield downhill into Kentish Town and you will find St Benet & All Saints in Lupton Street, towering over the backstreets. Like St Mary’s and St Anne’s Brookfield it is a High Victorian church with a High Anglican heritage. Situated at the north end of Kentish Town, bordering the modern borough of Islington, the church was originally part of the civil parish of St Pancras and the Pancras registration district. At the front of the church is a small raised garden, which is open for public use. The church is also referred to as St. Benet and All Saints Lady Margaret Road, Kentish Town. [1881/85] but it is not included in London Metropolitan Archives’ (LMA) records.

    The reason for the confused date of 1881/85 is that the parish has its origins in a mission church built on a small field given by St. John’s College, Cambridge “near a pond just off the Brecknock Road”. Father Frank Rowland opened the original church on 17th July 1881, but it was soon outgrown by its congregation. Eventually, this chapel became the church hall.

    The main church was designed by Joseph Peacock of Bloomsbury in 1884 and built quickly, with the foundation stone being laid on 13th June 1885. The saint’s name was chosen with reference to the Church of St. Benet’s, Paul’s Wharf, Queen Victoria Street – itself a corruption of St Benedict. The then vicar, Frank Oakley Rowland, consecrated the church only months later on All Saints’ Eve. Within a few years, the church’s hastily constructed foundations and a spring under the church, were creating several structural problems.

    In October 1908, the architects, Bodley and Hare, built a permanent chancel. But by 1925, the foundations of the whole were so unstable that the decision was made to take down the nave and rebuild it. London County Council condemned the old nave in November 1927. However, thanks to a legacy from a rich investor, Jeannette Elizabeth Crossthwaite (1845-1923), and “gifts of the faithful”, a new nave, with no aisles, was built in 1928 – again by Cecil G Hare. This was consecrated in November of that year by the Bishop of Willesden.  By the time of her death, Miss Crossthwaite was living at 51 St Charles Square, Notting Hill, but in 1871 she had been living at 106 Brecknock Road – not far from the site of St Benet.

    Today St Benet’s is the parish church of Kentish Town. Kentish Town CofE Primary School in Islip Street (originally Kentish Town National School) is connected, and there are some records relating to this school at LMA http://search.lma.gov.uk The parish registers for St Benet and All Saints continue to be retained by the church. The church’s own website http://www.saintbenets.org.uk/ contains further details.

    For more on the social classes of the parish in 1898-9, see the following page from Charles Booth’s Archive is at http://booth.lse.ac.uk/cgi-bin/do.pl?sub=view_booth_only&args=528970,185490,2,large,1

    Vicars:

    1881 Frank Oakley Rowland (perpetual curate)

    1887 Herbert Edward Hall

    1901 George Villiers Briscoe

    1906 Henry Tristram Valentine

    1913 Robert Caledon Ross

    1925 Harry Herbert Coleman Richardson

    1947 Cecil Eskholme Charlton

    Sources: the history section on http://www.saintbenets.org.uk/; Survey of London: volume 24: The parish of St Pancras part 4: King’s Cross Neighbourhood , Walter H. Godfrey and W. McB. Marcham (editors), 1952; John Richardson, A History of Camden: Hampstead, Holborn and St Pancras (Historical Publications Ltd, 1999); Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin) 1998; Camden Listed Buildings website; http://www.londongardensonline.org.uk

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  2. Not on ancestry: London parish registers #2 St Mary Brookfield

    This continues the description of Camden parishes not found on www.ancestry.co.uk To help visualise where in London these are, an outline map of parishes in St Pancras 1903 can be found on the genuki website: http://homepages.gold.ac.uk/genuki/MDX/StPancras/outline.htm

    St Mary Brookfield is only a short walk downhill from St Anne’s Brookfield. Although it resides in the modern borough of Camden, the church is literally across the road from the borough of Islington. Formerly in the civil parish of St Pancras and the old Pancras registration district, it is referred to as St Mary, Dartmouth Park Road (1875) in London Metropolitan Archives’ (LMA) records.

    In contrast from St Anne’s, this church was built by public subscription for rich and poor parishioners. When it was dedicated in 1875, it was one of the first open-pew churches, allowing all classes to worship together. The Gothic Revival architect, William Butterfield, began work on the church in 1869, but refused to complete the building as a result of “certain unpleasanteries” which occurred on the completion of the nave (T. F. Bumpus, London churches ancient and modern, 2nd ser., p. 103). Other architects who worked on the church were WC Street (the chancel) and Sir Ninian Comper (the rood). The building was Grade II listed on 10 June 1954.

    The parish is centred around the area of Dartmouth Park, just north of Kentish Town and Tufnell Park.  In the eighteenth century, the area was amongst vast fields owned by the eponymous Earl of Dartmouth. The park itself once stretched all the way from Highgate, but is now a small space, dominated by a reservoir tank. However, the park makes up for its size with its magnificent views of central London. From the mid-nineteenth century, the area saw continuous house building, and is now a popular residential area close to Hampstead Heath.

    Neighbours of the church in its early years included the impresario of Gilbert & Sullivan operas, Richard D’Oyly Carte, who lived at 2 Dartmouth park road. A blue plaque was recently unveiled there by the director, Mike Leigh (http://www.camdennewjournal.com/news/2010/dec/blue-plaque-unveiled-theatre-impresario-who-brought-together-gilbert-and-sullivan-film )

    The first vicars of the parish were Daniel John Twemlow-Cooke (from 1877), Philip Harold Rogers (1907), Charles Reginald Dalton (1928) and Frederick Salmon Vaughan (1945).

    LMA holds Assignment of Consolidated Chapelry of St Mary, Brookfield (ref. P83/JNE/91 21 Dec. 1877), but the parish registers are retained by the church. The church’s own website is http://www.stmarybrookfield.com/

    Further information can be found at https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/Brookfield_St_Mary,_Middlesex

    For more on the social classes of the parish, see the following page from Charles Booth’s Archive is at http://booth.lse.ac.uk/notebooks/b356/jpg/54.html (Booth B356, p54)

    Sources: Survey of London: volume 24: The parish of St Pancras part 4: King’s Cross Neighbourhood, Walter H. Godfrey and W. McB. Marcham (editors), 1952; The Buildings of England London 4: North. Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner. ISBN 0-300-09653-4.

    John Richardson, A History of Camden: Hampstead, Holborn and St Pancras (Historical Publications Ltd, 1999)

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  3. Not on ancestry: London parish registers #1 St Anne Brookfield

     In Highgate days that gap was yawning wide,

    But awe and mystery were everywhere,

    Most in the purple dark of thin St. Anne’s

    John Betjeman

    St Anne Brookfield is a parish in the north of the modern borough of Camden, and formally in the civil parish of St Pancras, and the old Pancras registration district. Originally stretching into Kentish Town, the estate of Brookfield bordered Hampstead Heath and Highgate, where its heights and rural air refreshed those emerging from the miasma of inner London.

    The site of the church on the steep hill of Highgate Rise (now Highgate West Hill) was originally home to the Cow and Hare. This was conveyed to Richard Barnett Esq. by Harry Chester and his wife in 1838. After Richard’s death in 1851, his sister, Anne Barnett, erected the church of St Anne, Brookfield. The church was built in the Early English style and dedicated in 1853, just a few years before Anne’s own death in 1858.

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    St Anne’s peal of bells was given by the parish’s most famous resident, of the enormously rich Angela Burdett Coutts (1814-1906). Believed to be the richest woman in England, Baroness Burdett Coutts (as she later became) was a close friend of Charles Dickens and the inheritress of the fortune of bank owner, Thomas Coutts (her grandfather). On the death of her grandfather’s wife, she inherited all the land between Swain’s Lane and Highgate West Hill (except the Cow and Hare) in 1837, and bought the remaining land in the parish from the Chester Trustees in 1856. Her rural home, The Holly Lodge, lay just behind the church, but was demolished in the 1920s when it was replaced with the current Holly Lodge Estate.

    Other notable features of the area are Highgate Cemetery and Holly Village (featured on the gothic episode of Grand Designs).

    Transcriptions of monumental inscriptions for other churches in St Pancras, compiled Frederick Teague Cansick (1889), can be consulted at Camden Local Studies and Archives. LMA hold Bishops’ Transcripts for the church in reference DL/T/064, and London diocesan visitation returns for 1858 and 1862 are held at Lambeth Palace Library in references Tait 440/128 and Tait 441/237. Latter-Day Saints information on this parish can be found at https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/Brookfield_St_Anne,_Middlesex

    Poet Laureate, Sir John Betjeman (1906-84), who was baptised at the church on 25 November 1906, lived for the first three years of his life at nearby Parliament Hill Mansions. The former ‘John Betjemann’ (his family changed their name in the Great War) referred to the church in his poem, NW5 & N6.

    Whilst Betjeman was educated at the prestigious Highgate School, poorer parish children attended the National School of St Ann(e) Brookfield, built in 1870. Some pupils of this school lived in the parish of St Mary Brookfield – the next parish in the ‘Not on ancestry’ blog series.

    Sources: ‘Additional Churches’, Survey of London: volume 24: The parish of St Pancras part 4: King’s Cross Neighbourhood (1952), pp. 140-146; ‘Nos 45 and 46 West Hill’, Survey of London: volume 17: The parish of St Pancras part 1: The village of Highgate (1936), pp. 67-68; John Betjeman, Summoned By Bells (1960)

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    Gate of Highgate East Cemetery, Chester Road

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    A gate at Holly Village showing gothic detail

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Member of The Association of Genealogists and Researchers in ArchivesGraduate of the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies CanterburyMember of the Society of Genealogists