Object: Letter from 1820
Found: Delcampe auction site, Italy
Rent arrears are demanded in this letter from 27 October 1820, sent to J Sturton of 22 Clarendon Street (now Werrington Street) and posted from Lombard Street Post Office at 4 o’clock, as the postal mark reveals:
I am directed to inform you that unless the rent of the houses you occupy be immediately paid to me on account of Mrs Packharris Proceedings will be commenced for the recovery thereof.
Mrs Jane Packharris was the owner of 22 and 23 Clarendon Street – as insurance documents prove. She also owned 25 and 26 Bridgewater street (now Bridgeway street) nearby. She was a spinster living in Lincoln. The letter was sent by a relative.
Sturton’s story has not yet been uncovered. A register of bankrupted persons, however, gives the names of others who defaulted on debts in the immediate vicinity. There was the builder William Weston, bankrupted in 1825, the chemist and druggist Joseph Ledley, nearby on Clarendon Square, in 1829 and Francis William Johnson, a provision dealer on Bridgewater Street, in 1826. In 1824, Charles Dickens’ father John was sent to the debtors’ prison Marshalsea in Southwark, while young Charles was sent to work in a boot blacking factory. On his release, the family moved to Somers Town, in late 1824, and Charles attended the Wellington House Academy. The family was evicted for non-payment of rent in 1827 and moved to The Polygon for a short while, but made it back to the better circumstances of Johnson Street (now Cranleigh Street) until 1829.
By Esther Leslie