London Clay Pipe Studies

The clay tobacco pipe industry in the parishes of St Margaret and St John the Evangelist, Westminster

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Gardener's Lane and Blue Anchor Yard (182354)

The Swinyard family of master pipe makers could be found throughout the London area and in Guildford, Surrey in the late 18th- and 19th centuries. Members of two generations of this family spent part of their working lives in the parish of St Margaret's, Westminster. I am indebted to Mrs. Sheila Jelley for providing some of the following information on the Swinyards and their extensive family tree.

George Joseph Swinyard

George Joseph Swinyard and his wife Mary (née Watts) occupied a house in Gardener’s Lane, Westminster from at least 1823 until some time between 1841 and 1846. It has not been possible to locate the house precisely, mainly because George's name does not appear in the rate books. However, its approximate location is shown on Fig 15. There is no direct evidence (such as an entry in a trade directory) that George's workshop was at the same address, although it seems likely.

Fig 15  Extract from Horwood's map of 1792–9 showing the approximate locations of the houses occupied by George Joseph Swinyard and Thomas George Swinyard in Gardiner's Lane (magenta) and Thomas George Swinyard and Richard Critchfield in Blue Anchor Yard (cyan)

George was born in 1786, the son of the pipe maker Thomas Swinyard of Lambeth, Surrey. He married Mary in 1811, in Southwark, before moving to the London parish of St Leonard, Bromley by Bow, where their son Thomas George was born in 1812. Another son William was born there in 1815. They had at least three more children, who were all baptised at St Margaret's, Westminster:

Mary (born 13 August 1817; baptised 10 September 1823)

Ann (born 14 April 1824; baptised 10 September 1823

George (born 14 April 1824; baptised 6 August 1824

According to the census of 1841, George and Mary were still living in Gardener’s Lane but their children had all either died or left home. Their daughter Mary had married the pipe maker Benjamin Leach in 1836, and in 1841 she was living at 6 Black Lion Yard, Whitechapel, London. Son Thomas George married Mary Webber from Lavenham, Suffolk in about 1836. George and Mary shared their house with another pipe maker, Samuel Winch (aged about 30), who was presumably an employee.

Within a few years George and Mary Swinyard had moved out of Gardener’s Lane. George died at his daughter’s house in Black Lion Yard on 17 December 1846. The cause of death was given as disease of the kidneys and dropsy.

Thomas George Swinyard

In 1836, about the time that he married Mary Webber, Thomas Swinyard advertised for the first time in Pigot's directory at 16 Gardener's Lane, which was two doors away from his parents' house (see Fig 15). According to the census of 1841 Thomas and Mary were then still living at number 16, with their first child Thomas, aged 4 years. John Jenkins* (aged about 15), an apprentice pipe maker, lived with them, as did a Caroline Sinclair (aged 50), who was probably a relation.

Thomas Swinyard and his family moved to nearby Blue Anchor Yard (on the east side of Gardener's Lane) in 1847/8 (see Fig 15). It is possible that their previous house was demolished, since 16 Gardener's Lane was not recorded in the 1851 census. Thomas advertised in trade directories at 2 Blue Anchor Yard until 1853, although the 1851 census gave his address as 4 Blue Anchor Yard. In 1851 the census recorded Thomas, his wife Mary and two of their three known children, Thomas (aged 13) and Henry (aged 9). Another son, George, had been born in 1839 but did not reach his first birthday. Caroline Sinclair was still living with the Swinyards. Three other families were recorded at the same address.

Thomas vacated Blue Anchor Yard in 1853 or 1854. He died of typhus on 25 April 1862 at 2 Martha Street, Haggerstone East, London.

Joseph Kent

The 1841 census recorded a John Kent, pipe maker, living (with his wife Mary and four children) next door to Thomas Swinyard. This was presumably the Joseph Kent of 17 Gardener’s Lane, who name appeared in the parish register on 6 April 1840, at the baptism of his son Frederick. He had previously lived in nearby Little Chapel Street, and in later years appeared in directories at 19 Blue Anchor Alley (Bunhill Row) and elsewhere in London.

Richard Critchfield

Thomas Swinyard's workshop at 2 Blue Anchor Yard was taken over by his cousin Richard Critchfield. He was a member of another widespread family of London pipe makers, recorded in Bermondsey, Bethnal Green and elsewhere. Richard was born in Bermondsey on 2 March 1828, the son of the pipe maker James Critchfield and Sarah Matilda, who was George Joseph Swinyard's sister. Before moving to Westminster Richard was at 3 Alfred Place, Southwark, which was his address when he married Susannah Sargeant in 1850. On the evidence of trade directories he only remained at Blue Anchor Yard for one year (1854). It is possible that he was evicted, because Blue Anchor Yard was on the proposed route of the Metropolitan District railway line (now part of the District and Circle lines), construction of which was completed in 1868.


* Five years later, John Jenkins was still living somewhere in Gardener's Lane when he and his wife Caroline baptised their son William Henry (24 May 1846).

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