I was just looking at the Hunt & Co. and Silverthorne directories for Bath and Bristol for 1848 and 1846 respectively and thought it would be interesting to see what went on in the village around then – what was it like on Combe Down around 1846 – 1848? Who is mentioned? What trades and professions?
The problem is that, unlike later Kelly’s directories that locate a place and then show the people living there plus their occupations etc. these earlier directories are alphabetical and by class, so it’s not so simple to get an idea of what was going on.
Luckily, in this age of the internet you can find ‘electronic’ copies of most things, which makes it easier to do a search and then……
The results are below and provide an interesting snapshot of some of the people who lived and worked here.
I find a number of things interesting, compared to today. For example the use of ‘nobility and gentry’ and people describing themselves as ‘gent’. The boarding and day schools situated in private houses. The fact that there were actually shops in the village (!) – no cars or supermarkets then. Additionally, given the total population of 1,600 – 1,750 there are, unlike say the old telephone directories, actually very few people listed. One other thing is the blacksmith. In Silverthorne’s of 1846 it is George Humphries but by Hunt & Co of 1848 it is Harriett Humphries – presumably his wife or daughter. But, was she the owner or did she actually smith? It would be interesting to know.
The census’ for 1841 and 1851 also give a picture and are shown below the directory findings.
Some interesting things were going on with property on Combe Down around this time. John Ovens Thomas (1778 – 1836), the eldest son of John Thomas, the owner of Prior Park had died 10 years earlier but in 1846 his trustees decided to sell much of the land he had inherited from his father as well as some of his ground rents. The land, as can be seen from the estate sale notice below included the farm next door to St. Michael and All Angels Church at Monkton Combe, a number of fields near the Dundas Acqueduct and Midford Brook as well as ground rents for the Tyning Road area, The Brow, and Tyning Place.
John Ovens Thomas estate sale – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Thursday 16 April 1846
It also included the land from North Road to Church Road as the map below shows, The map also gives a really good idea of what this area of Combe Down was like in 1846.
Hunts & Co 1848
Nobility, Gentry, &c.
Baskett Mrs. Sarah, 6, De Montalt place, Combe down