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Brentford Families - Folkard
A newspaper article from 1835 described a court case in which Thomas Folkard, pawnbroker of Old Brentford, was asked to explain his surcharge of fourpence on a lady who had pledged a ring. The name Folkard sounded like a character from Dickens; his occupation too; and the court case was in the year before the serial publication of The Pickwick Papers. So research into the Folkard family and pawnbroking seemed timely. The newspaper account notes Thomas was the son of a pawnbroker and his reference to regulations dating back 50 years suggests he was not a young man.
Looking first at records referring to Folkard of Brentford, there is one earlier reference on this website: in 1826 John Cope Folkard of Old Brentford was a pawnbroker and fire office agent for the Albion.
Searches for 'Folkard, pawnbroker' and 'John Cope Folkard' using the newspaper archive on findmypastuncovered a family enterprise: earlier pieces from 1810-1819 refer to Folkard of London Road. In July 1823 a sale of books included items from Folkard of London Road and Folkard of Providence Row, suggesting expansion. A sale in November 1823 mentions Folkard of London Road, Providence Row and Brentford: a branch had opened in Brentford. This is confirmed in Pigot's directory of 1823-1824, when John C Folkard was noted as a pawnbroker of Old Brentford. A witness statement from an Old Bailey trial of 1827 adds some information about the Providence Row branch; William MARCHANT: 'I live with Daniel Folkard, a pawnbroker , in Providence-row'. An 1829 advertisement for the sale of a valuable assortment of unredeemed pledges also refers to the Brentford shop.
An Old Bailey case from 1836 states John Cope Folkard's location ' I am a pawnbroker and live at Old Brentford'. In the same year J. C. Folkard was recorded in the Poor Rate for Old Brentford.
A newspaper advert for another pledge sale, December 1838, mentions goods from POTTER (late FOLKARD) of Brentford; it is known that William Potter was at 288/9 High Street - later to become RATTENBURY's well-known shop - and the 1836 Poor Rate confirms Folkard's location. John Cope and Thomas Folkard used the same premises as early as 1823.
The newspaper cuttings suggest the Folkards had moved out of Brentford by the end of 1838 and later references from the Old Bailey website and newspaper accounts show the London businesses continued. As to what happened to Thomas - no evidence has been found that he was buried in Brentford. A Thomas Folkard of William Street was buried in 1836 at St Marylebone, age 45, but the register provides no further details to help link him to the Brentford pawnbroker. However it is an unusual name so is a possibility. It is also possible Thomas changed trade following the demise of the Brentford business.
A final Old Bailey case from 1842 confirms the original business location: John Cope Folkard was of London road, pawnbroker and the account states 'Mr. Folkard said his father, who kept the shop before him ...'.
Google searches also revealed a cross-over between pawnbrokers and gold and silversmiths as the surname Folkard appears in Grimwade's London Goldsmiths - 1697-1837 - Their Marks & Lives. The biographies' section shows:
He died in 1863.
The National Trust website includes an image of a silver teapot made by John Cope Folkard.
Finally two marriage entries found on ancestry.co.uk provide more information about the whereabouts of JCF before and between censuses:
Daniel Folkard was recorded in an 1832 Electoral register at 16, London-road, Southwark.
There remain gaps in the story of Thomas Folkard and his relationship to John Cope is unknown: if you come across him in your research please get in touch!
Thanks to Geoff N for sending, in May 2022, details of a website about the Folkard family. This page offers a free download of research findings, incorporating previously published material augmented by a postal questionnaire sent to all Folkards in the late 1990s:
Page published March 2016; last updated May 2022