A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my ancestor Thomas Nye Brittain’s financial difficulties . Little did I know then that he wasn’t the only ancestor to have had trouble managing his money.
The London Gazette is a wonderful source of information about bankrupts and insolvent debtors.
My great great grandfather George Arthur Briancourt is listed 3 times as he instituted Proceedings for Liquidation by Arrangement or Composition with Creditors in 1879 and then twice in 1880. He was a baker by trade but seems to have moved around London quite a bit, which suggests that he didn’t ever build up a regular clientele – or maybe he was just a very unsuccessful baker? It must have been quite hard to establish yourself as a baker in London at this time. There are so many bakers listed in various trade directories, and quite a few of them seem to have struggled as George Briancourt did, as bakers seem to turn up in the London Gazette listings quite frequently.
At around the same time, another great great grandfather, Ambrose Ferry, was trying to keep things together in east London. He had been a silk weaver in Bethnal Green but with the decline of the silk industry had turned to cabinet making sometime between 1861 and 1871. By June 1878 he had obviously found challenges in his business and, like George Briancourt, had instituted Proceedings for Liquidation by Arrangement or Composition with Creditors. Ambrose is described as a Loo and Dining Table Maker. He managed to get back on his feet but by 1883 he was once again forced to arrange liquidation to satisfy his creditors.
I find it interesting that I have at least 3 ancestors who struggled to manage their businesses. They would all have been dependent on their customers paying regularly, and in the poorer areas of London I imagine that this couldn’t be guaranteed.