William Penn died aged 76 years and was buried on 25th March 1855 at the parish church of St. Bartholomew, Bethnal Green, East London.
There were about 70,000 people living around Bethnal Green in the late 1830s and the Bishop of London, recognising the huge social difficulties in the area, decided to build ten churches to try and address the problems. The churches were completed by 1850 and this was the start of several decades of philanthropists coming to the East End from the West End, Oxford and various churches to address the social and moral needs of the area.
St Bartholomew's was built in 1841 and consecrated a couple of years later. The architect was William Railton and the church was built in Early English neo-Gothic style .The church adopted a missionary approach to its work including the use of an outdoor pulpit.
The problems weren't alleviated because by the 1890s Charles Booth's Poverty map identified the area as "Very poor. Casual. Chronic want". http://booth.lse.ac.uk/cgi-bin/do.pl?sub=view_booth_only&args=534722,182172,2,large,1
Much later, St Bartholomew's suffered considerable war damage and wasn't re-opened until 1955. In 1978 the church was merged with a neighbouring parish and the building was converted into flats.
Images: http://www.dickens-and-london.com/BGChurches.htm and http://www.mernick.org.uk/thhol/stbarth.html
Born in 1779, William Penn was my husband's great, great, great grandfather.
1779 was ten years before the French Revolution; halfway through the American War of Independence and George III was on the throne of England. In other words, it was a long time ago!
William's parents, William and Jane Penn lived in Finchley, London and William was baptised at the parish church of St Mary's Finchley on June 13th 1779.
William married Elizabeth Radford in 1804 and they had three children: Richard, Thomas and William.
William was employed as an umbrella maker.
Umbrellas for men started to become popular in England from about 1800 evolving from the parasol, carried for shade from the sun, which had been around for years.
At first anyone using an umbrella was regarded with derision but gradually they became a necessary accessory for all. Unfortunately, they weighed about 10lbs because the frame was made from wooden rods and whalebone and the cover from waxed canvas.
By the time of the 1841 census, William and his family had moved to Chambers Street in Whitechapel and second son, Thomas, was working with his father as an umbrella maker too.
By 1851, William's wife, Elizabeth, had died and he was living with his oldest son, Richard, and still working as an umbrella maker. Richard was an umbrella maker as well and also the employer of two other umbrella makers.
By the time of his death William had moved to live at Monkwell Street, off Brick Lane, in London's East End.
His umbrella making dynasty lived on, however, for four generations.
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