The Homewood and Dowsett Lines
The Henry Line 1791 - 2000

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The Homewood Line

William c. 1777 -

William was born about 1777. He married Ann Randall February 25, 1797 in the Parish Church of St. Leonards, Shoreditch. Witnesses to the marriage were Richard Homewood and Elizabeth Randall. William was a silk weaver. They had (known) one child. Joseph was born November 9, 1812 in Shoreditch at New Inn Yard and Baptised in the Parish Church of St. Leonards November 29, 1812.

Joseph 1812 - 1887

Joseph married Mary Ann Colthorpe about 1837. Joseph was 25 years old and Mary Ann 22, the daughter of John and Suzannah Colthorpe. Both Joseph and her father were weavers. They had (known) four children. Emma was born June 10, 1839 at 17, Cambridge Street, Bethnal Green. Joseph, born May 15, 1845, and Martha, February 1, 1849 were both born at 3, Camden Street, Bethnal Green. George was born in 1854. There is no record of his birth. In April 1871 (Census) Joseph and Mary Ann were living at 9, Fox Street, Bethnal Green. They were both working as broad weavers. Mary Ann died there suddenly November 9, 1871 age 59. There was a Coroner's Inquest held November 13, which gace the cause of death as Consumption and Apoplexy (Stroke). On May 28, 1873, Joseph married Mary Ann (!) Jeffrey, a widow, at the Parish Church of St. Peter's, Bethnal Green. He was 60 years old and Mary Ann 50, the daughter od John Peters (deceased) who had been a weaver. She had a daughter, Sarah, age 14. Joseph and Mary were both working as silk weavers and living at 9, Fox Street. Witnesses to the marriage were (?) and Elizabeth Peters. In April 1881 (Census) they were living at 22, Wolverly Street, Bethnal Green, together with Sarah who was working as a fancy trimmer. Joseph died August 18, 1887 age 73 at 85, Mape Street, Bethnal Green. Cause of death was Prostatitis Cystitis and Nephritis, (Inflamation of the Prostate and Kidney). Notes for Mary Ann Colthorpe: Mary Ann was born August 10, 1814 at Nichols Street, Bethnal Green, and Baptised in the Parish Church of St. Mathew October 2, 1814.

Emma 1839 - 1912

Emma was born June 10, 1839 at 17, Cambridge Street, Bethnal Green. She married William Dowsett September 10, 1859 at the Parish Church of St. Andrews, Bethnal Green. See the Dowsett Line.

Joseph 1845 -

Joseph was born May 15, 1845 at 3, Camden Street, Bethnal Green. He married Caroline Deborah Meek - a widow - March 13, 1856 at the Parish Church of St. Jude, Bethnal Green. He was 22 years old and Caroline 29, the daughter of Thomas Ogborn, a chair maker. Joseph was living at 9, East London Place, Bethnal Green and working as a weaver. Caroline was living at 11, East London Place. Witnesses were Joseph's father and his sister, Martha. They had two children. Mary Ann was born in 1866 and Martha in 1870. In April 1881 (Census) they were living at 7, Grove Street, Bethnal Green. Joseph was working as a docks labourer and his wife and daughter, Mary Ann as boot binders. Martha was still at school.

The Dowsett Line

George Dowsett 1805 - 1882

George Dowsett was born in 1805. He married Elizabeth Johnson November 20, 1826 in the Parish Church of St. Dunstan, Stepney, Middlesex. He was 21 years old and Elizabeth 18, the daughter of Samuel and Ann Johnson. George was working as a silk weaver. Witnesses to the marriage were James Dowsett and (?) Johnson. They had seven children. Elizabeth was born August 21, 1827 and Baptised September 23, 1827 at the Parish Church of St. Leonards. George James was born August 20, 1831 and Baptised November 27, 1831. Thomas was born November 30, 1833 and Baptised December 25, 1833. All three children were born at New Inn Yard, Shoreditch. William was born in 1836. Ann was born August 15, 1838 at 23, Carlisle Street, in the Parish of St. Mathew, Bethnal Green. In June 1841 (Census), the family were living at 12, Cross Street, Bethnal Green where James was born July 8, 1841. Sarah was born August 21, 1843 at 8, Grovenor Place, Bethnal Green. In March 1851 (Census) they were living at 11, Preston Street, Bethnal Green. George and Elizabeth and their sons George and Thomas were working as hand loom weavers. Their daughter, Ann was working as a silk winder. James and Sarah were at school. Elizabeth does not appear at this address. George died July 8, 1882 age 77 in the Workhouse, Bethnal Green. Cause of death was Paralysis. The informant was N.T.Stanwood, Master of the Workhouse. No family were present. Notes for Elizabeth Johnson: Elizabeth was born December 26, 1808 at Chapel Street, Shoreditch, and Baptised February 5, 1809 at the Parish Church of St. Leonards, Shoreditch.

St. Andrews Parish Church,
Bethnal Green

The Silk Weavers of Bethnal Green

As London was still recovering from the effects of the Great Fire in 1666, there was a steady demand for silken fabrics for both domestic and civil uses. This growing need was met by the industrious Huguenot weavers who had immigrated to England from France in 1572. Their 'Spitalfields Silks' gained a wide reputation for excellence. This lead to the expansion of the cotage-industry into the leafy lanes of nearby Bethnal Green where hundreds of new homes were constructed. Before the 18th century Bethnal Green had been a secluded hamlet of the Parish of St. Dunstan's, Stepney, but was soon to become a silk-weaving centre. Its population rose rapidly, workers moving there from different regions throughout the country. This meant that the essential Huguenot way of life began to alter with intermarriage taking part on a large scale, the English surnames being adopted in place of French ones. The surname Dowsett is the anglicised form of the French Doux Saint. Although by the 1830's the silk trade was lessening, there was still 17,000 looms in operation in area covered by Spitalfields, Mile End and Bethnal Green, with some 100,000 people dependant upon them. Then in 1860 the undustry, weakened by a number of changes in working practices, received a shattering blow when low-price European goods flooded the market. At the outbreak of the First World War, hardly 50 of the traditional looms remained with just a remnant of the thousands of weavers who had toiled in the district for more than two centuries.

William 1836 - 1915

William was born in 1836. He married Emma Homewood September 10, 1859 in the Parish Church of St. Andrews, Bethnal Green. He was 23 years old and Emma 20, the daughter of Mary Ann and Joseph Homewood. William was then living at 9, Pratt Street, Bethnal Green and Emma at 9, Fox Street. William and Emma were both silk weavers as was Emma's father, Joseph. Witnesses to the marriage were Thomas and Ann Dowsett. They had seven children. (Emma 1861 ?) In 1862 they were living at 11, George Street, Bethnal Green where Mary-Ann was born May 12. Sarah Ann was born November 5, 1867 at 45, Cranbrook Street, Bethnal Green and Caroline, December 5, 1869 at 17, Type Street, Bethnal Green. (She married Edwin Percy Henry - see the Henry Line). William James was born March 2, 1872 at 3, Harold Street, Bethnal Green. William was then working as a packing case maker. George Joseph was born March 14, 1874 at 262, Green Street, Bethnal Green as was Edward John, December 14, 1878 and John Albert, February 16, 1880. In April 1881 (Census) the family were still at 262, Green Street, the head of the household being William's brother, James, who was unmarried. William and James were then working as oilmen and William's daughter, Mary-Ann as a machinist. Sarah, Caroline, William and George were all at school. Emma died August 7, 1912 age 73 at Bethnal Green Infirmary. Cause of death was Interstitial Nephritis and Cardiac Hypertrophy. She and William were then living at 19, Coventry Street, Bethnal Green. They had been married for 53 years. William died December 15, 1915 age 79 at 22, Braintree Street, Bethnal Green, the home of his son, George James. Cause of death was Senile Decay and Bronchitis. He had been working as a dock labourer.