Thomas Tomlinson

Adjacent to the premises of Henry Tomlinson …. “came the old house occupied by Mr. Thomas Tomlinson, shoemaker. He lived in an old-fashioned house standing back from the road, a cobble-stoned road leading to a side door. The chimney was next the street, a small window on each side. The living room was a good size, but very dark and low, a long, but narrow place at the back was where Mr. Tomlinson and his son Thomas made and repaired boots and shoes”.

This was 34 South Street on the 1871 census.

Thomas was born about 1806 in Stapleford and it might be thought that he was related to his next-door neighbour Henry.

Gap alert !!  Was he ?

Let me speculate … wildly extensively !!

Evidence suggests that Thomas was born in Stapleford, Nottinghamshire, about 1806/7. At his marriage to Ann Sills on October 13th 1839 his father is recorded as ‘George Gilbert, servant’. One explanation for this is that Thomas was illegitimate and his father was ‘George’.
There is an illegitimate ‘Thomas Tomlinson’ born to Hannah Tomlinson and baptised at Stapleford on February 8th 1806.
Is this the same Hannah Tomlinson who then married framework knitter Matthew Eyre at Stapleford on May 21st 1815 ?
Matthew died at Stapleford and was buried there on September 23rd 1823.
On the 1841 census for Ilkeston I believe that this ‘Hannah Ayre’ is shown at South Street, living with Henry Tomlinson.
On the 1851 census she is still with Henry and family. She died on May 8th 1860 , aged 78, when Thomas Tomlinson was present at her death.
This means that, born about 1781/2, Hannah could be the daughter of William Tomlinson and Hannah (nee Morley) and thus the sister of James Tomlinson … who was the father of Henry Tomlinson, living in South Street.
Thus Hannah Eyre nee Tomlinson would be the aunt of Henry … as she is listed on the 1851 census !! And Henry and Thomas would be cousins.


This South Street property was previously in the possession of the Sills family, via baker John Sills (who died July 24th, 1815) and then to his wife Prudence (nee Foster) (who died June 12th, 1838), and then to their children. One of the beneficiaries of John’s will was his son William who lived in this property and remained a bachelor until his death on August 7th, 1853, aged 53. Living in the property with William was his brother-in-law and his family.

This brother-in-law was Thomas Tomlinson who married William’s younger sister Ann Sills on October 13th, 1839.
By the time of his marriage Thomas was already connected with the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel and was to remain thus connected for the rest of his life. He was a Sunday School teacher and office-bearer at the South Street United Methodist Free Church, by the members of which he was highly esteemed and respected, as much for the value of his services as for the quiet, gentle and unassuming spirit which he always manifested in his labours for the cause’. (IA 1886)

“For years he was my bootmaker, and the boots Mr. Tomlinson turned out would astonish some folks of today. I wonder they ever wore out. I have sat for hours watching him wax and stitch and hammer. He was a model man, and if there be any good ones, surely he was one of the few”. (John Cartwright)

When he died on September 1st 1886 Thomas was still living at South Street with his daughter Annie and her husband Frank Henson. (His wife Ann had died at their South Street home on November 7th, 1879, aged 72)
The Advertiser noted that Thomas had reachedthe ripe age of 80 which burden of winters he bore with an appearance of health and strength that almost belied the extensive span of his earthly existence”.
Immediately prior to his death, Thomas, out and about, had attended a meeting at his church on a Tuesday evening. On the following morning his son-in-law heard him coughing, went to see what the problem was and found the bootmaker bleeding heavily from the mouth. He died shortly after.
At the Harvest Festival held at the South Street Chapel in September of that year the pulpit was draped in black with a wreath of white flowers at its front, a mark of respect to the memory of the boot maker.



The children of Thomas and Ann Tomlinson….

1) Eldest child John William alias William, born on October 8th 1840, appears on the 1841 and 1851 at the family home in South Street.
Gap alert!  Thereafter he proves elusive – he may be a schoolmaster at Leominster on the 1861 census.
John William had enlisted with the 6th Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers), in the spring of 1862, had served in Afghanistan and had obtained his commission from quatermaster-sergeant on October 13th, 1877. He died on December 13th, 1880 at Sialkot in the Punjab, aged 40, having caught a fever there while on active duty.

6th Dragoon Guards (attributed to Samuel Henry Gordon Alken)

2) Adeline recalls that “the son Thomas later became a United Methodist Free Church Minister; he married for his first wife Millicent Fisher, the adopted daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. Childs. She died when her first baby was born”.
Shoemaker son Thomas and Millicent Fisher had a short-lived married life together which began on August 18th, 1870 and ended when Millicent died on March 6th, 1873, aged 29, at Whittington Moor near Chesterfield.
“His second wife was Miss Rendel, only daughter (?) of Rev. S. Rendel, a very popular minister in the Ilkeston Circuit. The Rev Tomlinson developed consumption, and died leaving a widow but not any children”.
Two years after Millicent’s death Thomas married Mary Agnes Rendell, daughter of Free Methodist Minister James Sibley Rendell and Agnes (nee Oxley).
By now Thomas was also a Free Methodist Minister. He had at least four children before he died in 1887.
Nor was Mary Agnes an only daughter. Her younger sister Annie — by 17 years —  was born in South Street in 1862.
Rev. Rendell moved from Ilkeston to the North East in the later 1860’s.

3) Adeline also recalls “daughter Mary who married Mr. Thomas Pegg, of Long Eaton”
Mary married lacemaker Thomas Pegg in October 1869. Shortly after the couple moved to Nottingham where Thomas had business interests and then in the late 1890’s moved to Thomas’s home town of Long Eaton where his lace firm occupied part of the Harrington Mill in Leopold Street.

Harrington Mills in Leopold Street, Long Eaton (Chris Allen)

When the mill was opened in 1887 it was said to be the largest lace mill in England.

4) “Annie who lived at home”.
Born in 1849 Annie did live at home until she married in 1883 to Bramcote-born joiner and carpenter Frank Henson.
He was the nephew of William Atkin who married Mary Hannah Tomlinson (nee Robinson).


And we now arrive at the new shop of  Widow Brown.