When I am not researching for clients, I enjoy exploring my own family's history. One of my main projects currently is looking further into the life of my great-great grandfather, William Jolly (1842-1889).
- For more on my JOLLY Scottish ancestors, please read my guest blog on Scottish Genes http://scottishancestry.blogspot.com/2010/08/guest-post-jolly-time-of-it.html
If you are connected to any of the people or places mentioned below, please contact us.
1881 Census of The South Kensington Museum, London (RG11/44: folios 42-43, pages 16-17)
Registration District: Kensington; Sub Registration District: Brompton
| Henry Jackson||Head ||M ||Male ||30 ||Birmingham, Warwickshire ||Sergeant RE |
| Hugh E. Caston||Boarder ||M ||Male ||27 ||Kenilworth, Warwickshire ||Corporal RE |
| John Mager||Boarder ||U ||Male||25 ||Dublin, Ireland ||Sapper RE |
| Charles Anderson|| Boarder||M||Male||35|| Linlithgow, Scotland|| Sapper RE|
| John Bunkall||Boarder|| ||Male||45|| Cambridge, Cambridge|| Sapper RE|
| John Dougherty||Boarder||M||Male||40|| Louth, Ireland|| Sapper RE|
| William Forster||Boarder|| ||Male||34|| Minories, Middlesex|| Sapper RE|
| William Mills||Boarder|| ||Male||35|| Stoney Stratford, Buckinghamshire|| Sapper RE|
| Henry Newell||Boarder||M||Male||33|| Greenwich, Kent|| Sapper RE|
| William Nias||Boarder|| ||Male||39|| Exeter, Devon|| Sapper RE|
| Joseph D. Annett||Boarder|| ||Male||21|| Windsor, Berkshire|| Sapper RE|
| John McAuliff||Boarder||M||Male||36|| Moneghan, Ireland|| Sapper RE|
| page 17|| || || || || || |
| Walter P. Jones||Head||U||Male||37|| Mallon, York|| Captain & Sert Major RE|
| Thomas W. Robinson||Servant||U||Male||20|| Newbury, Berkshire|| Valet Domestic Servant|
| John Knight||Boarder||M||Male||28|| Woolpit, Suffolk|| Sapper RE|
| Margaret Knight||Servant||M||Female||30|| Jusson, Norfolk|| Cook Domestic Servant|
| Thomas W. Talbot||Head||M||Male||48|| St Georges, Middlesex|| Gas & Electrical Engineer|
| Elizabeth Talbot||Wife||M||Female||49|| Chelsea, Middlesex|| |
| Thomas Beardsmore||Head||U||Male||50|| Niaidwell, Northamptonshire|| Foreman of Works Timbler|
| George Baker||Servant||M||Male||48|| Bromley, Kent||Labourer|
| Anne E. Baker||Servant||M||Female||41|| Hotchworth, Cambridge|| Housekeeper Domestic Servant|
| Jessie Anderson||Head||M||Female||25|| Kings Lynn, Norfolk|| |
| George G. Anderson||Son||U||Male||4|| Old Brompton, Kent|| |
| Jessie H. I. Anderson||Daur||U||Female||3|| Old Brompton, Kent|| |
| Wilhimina L. Anderson||Daur||U||Female||9 mo|| Kensington, Middlesex|| |
| Laura Ellis||Mother||W||Female||62|| Zeal, Devon||Annuitant |
| The Residences No 1|| || || || || || |
| Edward R Festing||Head||M||Male||42|| Frome, Somerset|| Lieut Col RE PR4 Assist Dir So Kensington Museum Science & Art Department|
| Frances M Festing||Wife||M||Female||29|| Chaldon, Surrey|| |
| Gabriell E,||Daur||U||Female||9||Kensington|| |
| Richard CR||Son||U||Male||5||Westminster|| |
| Louisa S Parkinson||Cousin||U||Female||29|| Dunganon, Brecknock, Wales|| |
| Eliza J Williams||Servant||U||Female||31|| St Neots, Cornwall|| Cook Domestic Servant|
| Marian Cole||Servant||U||Female||32||London|| Nurse Domestic Servant|
| Elizabeth Ramsay||Servant||U||Female||32||Westminster|| Housemaid Domestic Servant|
| The Residences No 2|| || || || ||The Director of the Museum + household|| |
|page 18|| || || || || || |
|The Residences No 3|| || || || || The Assistant Drector of the Museum + household|| |
|The Residences No 4|| || || || || The Keeper of the Collection Science and Art + household|| |
If any of the above are ancestors of yours, or otherwise appear in your family tree, please let us know.1871 Census of South Kensington Museum. Barracks, RE, London [RG10/51, ff. 15-16]
|Name||Condition ||Age ||Rank ||Where Born |
| Patrick Connell||Unmarried ||26 ||Corporal ||Wakefield, Yorkshire |
| Joseph Brown||Unmarried||32||Corporal|| Blandford, Dorset|
| James Wright||Unmarried||26|| 2nd Corporal|| Lancashire, Manchester|
| John Harlow||Married||31|| Lance Corporal||Ireland|
| John Bodle||Unmarried||21||Sapper|| Lewes, Sussex|
| Hugh Conway||Unmarried||29||Sapper||Ireland|
| John Cook||Unmarried||30||Sapper|| Bampton, Oxford|
| WILLIAM JOLLY||UNMARRIED||27||SAPPER||SCOTLAND|
| Norman Montgomery||Unmarried||23||Sapper||Scotland|
| Alfred Smither(s)||Unmarried||26||Sapper|| Winchester, Hants|
| Hugh Strairs?||Unmarried||29||Sapper||Scotland|
| Benjamin L. Spackman||Married||37||Sergeant|| Chellard, Gloucestershire|
1871 Census of South Kensington Museum. Barracks, RE, London [RG10/51, ff. 15-16]
In 1851 the South Kensington Museum was constructed to hold the contents of the International Exhibition (now known as the Great Exhibiton). From these early years the Royal Engineers (RE) were involved in the construction of the Museum and in the supervision of the Science section. One of the first men to work there was Captain Francis Fowke RE. He died in 1865, but before this he began the adaption of the Art School into the sappers' barracks and carpentry workshops. This is recorded in papers held at The National Archives (Class ED 84/4, 3 January, 1865). Many state papers of this kind can be useful in genealogy.
A map of the museum from 1867 (Kensington Library) shows the sappers' quarters as being against the far wall of the building, behind the North Cloister, the Refreshment Rooms and the Art Museums. The quarters faced workshops (backing directly onto the first numbers of Princes Gate Mews) across a road or path.
My ancestor, William Jolly, joined the Royal Engineers in 1867 and is shown on the census transcript above. He was still living in the Sappers Quarters a year later (1872) when he married at Kensington Registry Office (to Maria Pymer - see guest blog http://abrahamadcock.com). It is possible he had been living in the Museum from 1869, by which time the detachment was established.
Sergeant Benjamin Spackman lived in the Museum for some years, with all his children being born in Kensington, and he became noted for pioneering work in photography. The Victoria and Albert Archives (www.vam.ac.uk) hold records on him and his work. He shared his (separate) quarters with his young wife, Ann (18), his children, Harry (9), Benjamin (7) & Marian (4), and a Scottish maidservant, Margaret Kennedy (24).
The sappers spent their days looking after the fire engines, hoses, hydrants and so on; they also worked as photographers, clerks in the offices, in the Art Library, or as artisans. As the Royal Albert Hall was being constructed in this period, it is likely the sappers made some contribution to the build. I am researching this at present.
The establishment of sappers was intended to be reduced in 1880, but there were certainly sappers there at the time of the 1881 and 1891 censuses (see page 2 for details). According to the census (RG13/34) the newly named Victoria and Albert Museum was uninhabited in 1901.
The science department has since become a museum in its own right (The Science Museum on Exhibition Road) and the building that once housed a Detachment of Royal Engineers (South Kensington Museum) now houses decorative arts (The Victoria and Albert Museum).