Ann Howcutt & Albert Buttivant

 

Ann Howcutt married Albert Buttivant in 1871. For reasons unknown he signed the register as “Albert Huckinbury” and shortly afterwards was said to be unmarried. This is their story.

 

Ann Howcutt was born at Plaistow on 23 February 1849, the fourth of nine children of William Howcutt and his wife Emma Brown. William (also known as William James) appears to have been a blacksmith throughout his working life. At the time of the 1851 census, William and Emma were living with their four surviving children along with two other households at 2 Bell Water Gate, Woolwich. Ten years later, the family had moved north of the Thames to 3 Arbour Gardens, Stepney, where as well as the parents and their seven surviving children, Ann’s widowed grandmother, Mary Brown, was also in residence.

 

On 27 February 1871, Ann Howcutt married Albert “Huckinbury” at the church of St James the Great, Bethnal Green. [1] The groom was a cigar packer. Like Ann, he signed the register. The witnesses were “Eliza Barley” and Hannah De Gruchy.

 

The 1871 census was held 34 days after the wedding but contains no record of an Albert or Ann Huckinbury. However, Albert Buttivant was living at 11 Heath Street, Mile End in a household headed by his widowed mother Hannah. Albert was described there as “unmarried” but there can be no doubt that he was actually the same person as “Albert Huckinbury” because the births of all of Albert Buttivant’s children were registered with the mother’s maiden name given as Howcutt. Moreover, Eliza Burley and Hannah de Gruchy - the witnesses to the marriage of Ann and Albert - were sisters of the bride and groom respectively. In the 1871 census, Hannah was also living at 11 Heath Street and Eliza Burley was living with her parents nearby at 95 Heath Street. The most plausible explanation is that although most members of Albert and Ann’s families knew of their marriage in February the information was kept from his mother – she was the person who reported to the census in April that her son was still single.

 

No record has been found of Albert’s wife in the 1871 census with any variation of the Howcutt, Huckinbury or Buttivant surnames.

 

 Ann and Albert had four children:

 

·    Ann Emma (1871-1915)

·    Albert Edward (1873-1874)

·    Eliza (1875-1918)

·    Mary Ann (1877-1960)

 

On 8 January 1877, Ann Buttivant was acquitted at the General Quarter Sessions held at Clerkenwell of a charge of larceny in a dwelling house and receiving. [2]

 

The earliest records of members of the family being admitted to a workhouse are in 1879. [3] On 23 July, Ann, who had been working as a charwoman, along with her three daughters were admitted from the casual ward [4] to the City of London workhouse. [5] Emma and Eliza were sent to Hanwell School on 31 July and 7 August respectively. [6] Ann and Mary Ann remained at the workhouse until 22 August when, along with Emma, they were “removed”, though it is no clear to where. Ann and her daughter Mary Ann were destitute when they arrived at Mile End Old Town workhouse on 28 November 1879. They remained there for nearly a month and were discharged on 26 December. On the following day, Albert, Ann and Mary Ann were admitted to the same institution, where they may have remained for quite some time, as the 1881 census includes Albert and Ann in the list of inmates and their three daughter as resident in the workhouse school.

 

Ann and Albert Buttivant

In 1891, Albert and Ann were living in the same area at 87 Ernest Street, along with their two youngest daughters. Albert was working as a china packer, Ann as a washer woman and Eliza (recorded as “Ann E”) was a domestic servant. At that stage, Mary Ann was still a scholar.

 

At the time of the 1901 census, Albert and Ann were living in two rooms as 42 Blackthorn Street, Bow Common. Albert was the working as a corn porter. The house was presumably very crowded as the rest of it was occupied by Ann’s sister Eliza Burley, her husband, eight of their children and a granddaughter.

 

Ann has not been located in the records of the 1911 census, but Albert appears there as an inmate of Poplar workhouse. Records exist of numerous occasions when Albert and Ann were admitted to or discharged from workhouses between 1879 and 1920. [7]

 

Electoral registers show Albert and Ann Buttivant as resident at 8 Stewart’s Cottages, Poplar in 1918 and 1919.

 

Albert and Ann remained in the East End of London for the rest of their lives. They both died in the Poplar registration district - Ann in 1933 and Albert two years later.

 

A great deal of information about Albert’s ancestry and some of the descendants of Albert and Ann can be found online. [8]

 

Notes

 

[1]      St James the Great was a very popular church for marriages at the time. Since Easter 1865, the vicar had not charged a fee, in order to encourage couples to marry rather than just live together. As a result, those seeking an economical wedding flocked to that church. In 1871, some 1,223 marriages took place there.

[2]      The National Archives: HO27/177, page 175.

[3]      It is possible that they were also admitted to the workhouse before that year and that the records do not survive. For instance, the earliest one for which the admission and discharge records of the Mile End Old Town workhouse survive.

[4]      The casual ward for the City of London poor law union was at Robin Hood Court, at the south end of Thavies Inn, Holborn.

[5]      The main workhouse for the City of London was on the south side of Bow Road. However, the City of London Union had expanded in 1869 by taking over two adjoining areas called the East London Union and the West London Union.

[6]      Central London District Schools occupied a site of 160 acres at Hanwell, Middlesex.

[7]      The following table sets out references to Ann and Albert Buttivant in workhouse records held by the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA). The list is probably not complete. The abbreviation “MEOT” stands for “Mile End Old Town”.

 

 

Admitted

Discharged

Workhouse

LMA reference

Ann

23 July 1879

 

City of London

CBG/334/007

Ann

28 Nov 1879

 

MEOT

STBG/ME/115/001

Ann

 

26 Dec 1879

MEOT

STBG/ME/115/001

Albert

27 Dec 1879

 

MEOT

STBG/ME/115/001

Ann

27 Dec 1879

 

MEOT

STBG/ME/115/001

Albert

6 Nov 1893

 

MEOT

STBG/ME/114/10

Albert

 

16 Nov 1903

Poplar

POBG/286/07

Ann

 

10 Dec 1903

Poplar

POBG/286/07

Ann

 

12 Jan 1904

Poplar

POBG/286/07

Albert

22 Oct 1906

 

Poplar

POBG/286/13

Albert

17 Oct 1907

 

Poplar

POBG/286/15

Ann

17 Oct 1907

 

Poplar

POBG/286/15

Albert

 

8 May 1909

Poplar

POBG/286/18

Ann

11 May 1909

 

Poplar

POBG/286/18

Albert

 

17 June 1910

Poplar

POBG/286/20

Ann

 

17 June 1910

Poplar

POBG/286/20

Albert

10 May 1920

 

Poplar

POBG/286/36

 

[8]      Edward III Descent for Danny Dyer (b. 1977) on WDYTYA “on Royal Descent blogspot by Brad Verity.