|Photograph (taken between 1858 and 1869) owned by|
Elizabeth Lloyd, and used with her permission.
The old man was probably Richard Talbot,
and the photo shows one of the Talbot yards.
See Liz's article at the end of this post about Robert Talbot, the founder of the Talbot dynasty of barge builders.
Barges and lighters must have been built in their 100s along Rotherhithe's southern banks, but finding out about the companies that built them is far more challenging than looking into the builders of warships, East Indiamen and tea clippers.
Talbot and Sons was based at 292 Rotherhithe Street and when Lucy's husband Thomas Talbot died in 1858 it carried on as Lucy Talbot and Sons until she died in 1869 when it became Talbot Bros. Thanks to another reader, "PPM," who says that Lucy Talbot was born Lucy Rabjohn before marrying Thomas. Liz says that one of the men in the photo above, which was taken between 1858 and 1869, was taken when Lucy was in charge after the death of her husband Thomas.
Another branch of the family has also conducted a lot of research, which they have published online. The Talbot Research Organization has published a number of newsletters, amongst which are the Rotherhithe addresses for various family members throughout the mid 1800s: Robert Taylor, 282 Rotherhithe Street and 5 Charlotte Row 1842; Richard Talbot, 11 Lucas Street 1842; Richard and Eward Talbot, 26 Church Street and 282 Rotherhithe Street 1851; Richard and Eward Talbot, 26 Church Street and Near Church Stairs 1861; Lucy Talbot and Sons, 298 Rotherhithe Street 1861; Talbot Barge Builders, Ransome's Wharf, Rotherhithe Street, 1861.
Reverend E.J. Beck mentions the Talbot family in his Memorials to Serve for a History for the Parish of St Mary, published in 1907. At the time that Beck was writing, Edward Talbot, who had been the the head of the family, had died in 1905. He was much approved of by Beck for being "long connected with parochial affairs: he was a respected member of the Rotherhithe Vestry, and served all the offices, being sidesman and afterwards churchwarden of the Parish Church. He was long a member of the Shipwrights Company, of which he was a past-master and treasurer" (p.191). Beck says that Edward's nephews, Edward James Talbot and Francis Thomas Talbot, "were partners in a large business, building wooden and iron lighter-barges." Both were both churchwardens and members of the Vestry. Francis Talbot was also a member and alderman of Bermondsey Borough Council, and a "painstaking trustee of the Parish Charities." Beck adds that there were other members of the family still living in Rotherhithe at the time.
by Elizabeth Lloyd
Robert Talbot married Ann Proud at St Andrew by the Wardrobe, near St Paul’s cathedral in 1799. At first they lived in Shadwell, a crowded dock area between Limehouse and Wapping, but by the time of the birth of their second child, Thomas Talbot in 1804 they were living by the Thames in Fore Street, Lambeth. Fore Street, as its name signifies lay on the foreshore of the river Thames. It was a very busy area of boat builders, whiting works and potteries including Doultons, later Royal Doulton.
|Last Will and Testament of Robert Talbot|
Robert and Ann Proud had 8 children, before Ann’s death in 1830. Robert married again twice; to Ann Richards, a widow, in 1833 and to Cricey Finley in 1848, the year before his death of Asiatic cholera. Robert Talbot was buried in a graveyard on Lambeth High Street, near St Mary at Lambeth (The Garden Museum). The stones were moved against the walls by 1950 and have since eroded but it is a peaceful park with a children’s playground.
The barge building sons undertook 7 year apprenticeships with the Worshipful company of Watermen and Lightermen, and 16 members of the extended family became important officials of the Shipwrights company, including Edward James who was a liveryman of the Shipwrights company and a Freeman of the river Thames. His uncle Edward L. Talbot was Master of the Shipwrights company in 1869, as was John William Talbot in 1880.
Rotherhithe in Victorian times, was a vibrant part of the Pool of London, teeming with Irish labourers, boat builders and sea captains. The “Fighting Temeraire” sailed into port to be broken up here in 1838 and the Mayflower had set sail from Rotherhithe in 1620. There were rope makers, sail makers and oar makers like George Henry Leggett. Large quantities of timber were unloaded here. Grain was unloaded into the flat-bottomed lighters made by the Talbots and other barge builders. The wife of Edward James Talbot, Elizabeth Palmer Hopkins came from several generations of lightermen.
Later Richard Talbot (b. 1813) moved his barge building business to Caversham in Reading, returning to Berkshire where his wife had been born. It was said that this was because so many of his children died in the unhealthy atmosphere of Rotherhithe. Robert Talbot (b. 1828) based his business at Strand on the Green and Percy Sutton Talbot established his at Wood wharf, Greenwich.