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Not Brentford

A Ghost Story Part 2: Did he stay or did he go?

In part 1 it was established that Stephen Ghost lived in Old Brentford in 1810 and 1811, and that in 1810 he was the tenant of Samuel Webb of a tenement and school room. Part 2 looks at Ghost's whereabouts after 1811.

First, was he in the same property in 1810 and 1811? This boils down to 'did he have the same neighbours in both sets of records?'; if yes, then most likely he was in the same property, if not then most likely he had moved house.

In the table below, the first four columns show information from the 1810 land tax. The description of property, where not recorded, presumably was 'house' or similar. The fifth column has my conclusions about the likely household no. recorded in the 1811 census, drawn from the sixth column, which is the list of household numbers where the census head of household matches the occupier name from 1810; a note of any difference in spelling is noted. NB the household number in 1811 is not the postal house no. used from the 1870s onwards. An 'x' in this column means the property was not residential, so nobody was recorded here in the census.

It can be seen that there are two sequences of household numbers from 1811 - 138, 137 & 134 and then 121, 120 and 119 - that recur in 1810. This suggests the two sets of three people were in the same properties in 1810 and 1811 and also, as the household numbers are relatively close to each other, that they were in the same area - assuming the census was recorded door to door rather than the enumerators randomly skittering around Brentford.

Assessed Value/Rent Occupier in 1810 Description of property Owner/proprietor in 1810 Household no. 1811 Possible household no. matches 1811
£4 Solomon Wise Henry West [69]
£2 James Armitage Joseph Wilkins 129? [90, 129]
£4 John Baker " [162]
£4 Thomas Dummer John Burford 138 [138 - Thomas Drummer]
£4 James Carter Samuel Webb 137 [137]
£4 Stephen Ghost Tenement & School Room " 134 [134]
£24 Mr Pollard Joseph Wilkins [223]
£15 Joseph Wilkins Warehouse and wharf occupied by himself and J Andrews Esqr Joseph Wilkins x
£6 Richard Soward House " [16]
£6 Thomas Brokers House " [452 - Thomas Brooks]
blank blank The Houses and Malt Houses all taken down blank x
£6 Mr Hope Thomas Gore 121 [121, 408]
£6 Baker Joseph Hartley 120 [120, 465, 482]
£5 Mrs Hatt herself 119 [119]

The sequence of recording in the land tax probably reflects a route taken round the town by the tax collectors. In walking round the warren of courts and yards off the main roads, it is quite possible the census enumerators tackled this differently to the poor rate assessors.

The next land tax available is that from 1816 land tax. Here the sequence of names Wise to 'Gost' matches that in 1810 and the following block of names includes Soward, Hope, Baker and Hatt, as in 1810: Ghost was in the same property in 1810 and 1816, although the 1816 record has no reference to the school room.

It is concluded that it is highly likely Ghost lived in the same property in 1810 and 1816 as in the 1811 census.

Do we know where this property was? Unfortunately, the part of the census in which Ghost was recorded is notable for having no landmark properties - public houses or long-standing businesses - which suggests he may have lived on a side road.

There are clues to location from the land tax: references to a wharf and (taken down) malthouses suggests south of the High Street, near to the Thames.

The next land tax record, from 1817 does not include Ghost in Old Brentford or his landlord Samuel Webb. Part 3 will look into what happened to him and also looks into his earlier life.



The 1811 census transcript is here, thanks to John Gauss (not Ghost!).

Part 1 of the Ghost story.

Page published February 2022