John James Boyd was my great grandfather's brother. Early in my family history research, I learned his name, but, despite being the father of many children, many of them boys (so the "Boyd" (usually!) carries forward), John James and his family have been slow to come into focus.
Thankfully, an unrelated stranger has helped me several times, and at last I have enough information to do a page about John James... his families, at least. Quite a bit of the following is conjecture, but I've tried to separate fact and guess.
My information on his grand-parents, John and Sarah, I believe, is sketchy... They seem to have been "fruitiers" near Piccadilly Circus, London, early 1800s.
Be patient with me for the next few paragraphs? We get to some solid, useful information in a moment!....
John James' parents seem to have been Robert Andrew Boyd and Mary. Robert was baptized in London, 1815. Robert was involved in sugar. A source of many fortunes. In the 1871 census, shortly after Robert Andrew died, he left two sons John James and my grandfather (Thomas Lunham Boyd), as young men (in 20's) employers (according to the census return) of scores of men. Each.
Be here's where threads of the plot thicken. MOST things I have about all of the Boyds center on London. (There are connections to Liverpool and Cork, Ireland... but we'll come to that)... but Mary was from Northumberland. And Thomas Lunham Boyd, and the other employer-brother were in Longformacus at the time of the 1871 census. Just visiting?... grandmother's relatives?
John James seems to have lived much of his life in London, but, as we shall see, he was involved in businesses in the north... Gateshead and Durham. (It was a great delight to me a few years ago to find the family home... still standing... in north London. John James died there (if I recall properly), and many of his children (I think) born there. John James Boyd was born in Cork, Ireland, about 1847. Lived much of his life in London (Walthamstow, etc). Died Nov 1931.
One of John James' children who was born in Sweden. I think I have a record of one of his sons apprenticed to become a cabinet maker. (Finding THAT was interesting... the census taker recorded his Christian names reversed from the order I've seen elsewhere.) So? Did John James inherit money and an involvement in sugar, with my grandfather... a very successful businessman, whether "self made", or built on a good start... but by ALL accounts a very difficult person? And did John James "parlay" that into a separate business making furniture?
Now for the Good Stuff! 24 Nov 13 a kind person alerted me to an item on page 6201 of the London Gazette of 22 June 1917. It was an announcement of a revision of a partnership.
One partner, Douglas Stewart Boyd (one of John James's sons, I know from other research... thank heavens for the Boyd's predilection for giving everyone two Christian names!) was retiring. I infer that the remaining partners continued in business together.
Here are some things from the announcement...
There was, until the revision, dated 31 May 1917, a partnership between...
(The names are given in that order. From other research, I know that John James was the father and that the others were his sons.)
Going back to information in the announcement....
Their partnership was "...carrying on business as Importers and Manufacturers of Furniture, at Ibex Works, Hertford-road, Kingsland-road, N., and Ibex Works, Hillgate-quay, Gateshead-on-Tyne, in the county of Durham, under the style or firm of J.J. Boyd and Sons".
So! Just a "few" lines of research to follow up in that little treasure trove of data!! I wonder if "N" means Newcastle? (I SWORE I wouldn't start chasing that now... but I did. The only "Kingsland Road" in England that maps.google knew about was in London... between the docks, and where John James lived... and a present day "Hertford Road" is a continuation of that Kingsland Road.... Remember: The document is from only 1917. Proof? No. Worth further investigation..."Do ya think, DiNozzo?")
Just to let you form your own impression: Here's something further from the announcement:
(Partnership...) "was dissolved as and from the 1st day of June 1916, by mutual consent...." It then goes on, without a break, but I interject my comment to stress the following, to say... "so far as concerns the said Douglas Stewart Boyd,"... so: partnership continues, just minus Douglas?... and then, again without break, continues... "who retires from the same firm."
The notice is published by "H.W. and S. Patey, 42 Finsbury-square, E.C.2, Solicitors, for John James Boyd, Leslie Cameron Boyd, Colin Ainslie Boyd, Douglas Stewart Boyd."
You will, I'm sure, my thoughtful friend, have wondered this: What is a London family doing with a furniture business in Gateshead? In the days of horse and carriage? Again that mysterious and unexplained link to the north. Remember I said that John James's sons was born across the North Sea. Was John James living across from Gateshead for a time, getting his furniture business's supply chain established? And Leslie Cameron Boyd was a man of the north (Newcastle)... though I think he was born in London. Father's representative at the Gateshead works? Did the business involve trade across the North Sea? Ah, the joys of family history research! (That's where I was, February 2016.)
New discoveries, things more fully pinned down, April 2016, in the course of planning and doing a trip to Sunderland (and Newcastle)
This needs far more "inserted"... but to jump to the most exciting bit: I found where Ibex Works was! And even found an image!
(Enlarged view of bit of roof inset, upper right)
The 1927 photographer may have stood just above where I did. Other than that, I think I've achieved a near perfect "re-capture"? Note the arch supporting the first part of the bridge, marked with the yellow arrow in both photos. Also, use the dome on the top of the room above the center of the swing bridge as a "gunsight". Note how it aligns with St Mary's church- prominent in 1927, peeking out above southwest (right hand, in photo)tower of Tyne Bridge, as it is known today. Stephenson's bridge, from where photo taken, now known as "high level bridge", a name applied in 1927 to what we call the Tyne bridge, rather confusingly for the family history researcher!
As I said, for linking the two photos, the "legs", marked in yellow, under the right hand (southern) end of the bridge are useful. The next (to the north) set of legs are hidden in the modern photo by the concrete towers. They are up against the southern face of the towers, incorporated as part of them, hidden from our view.
If I've identified the right "footprint" on various maps, the Ibex Works building's axis was almost parallel to the bridge's, and close to the bridge... but not so close that it had to come down at the time the bridge was built. (Northern end slightly nearer line parallel to Swing Bridge than southern end. Swing bridge nearly parallel to bridges either side of it.
The "two gable" buildings in the modern image, to the west (right) of the swing bridge's southern end, have "1911" on a lintel.
A road ("Bridge Street") which, which is hard to see, but you can see it's continuation on the other side of the bridge... there's a blue car in it... was at some point moved north, although that is hard to see in the images. Today, it runs across about the southern half of where the Ibex works were.
The above discoveries arose from my interest in collecting old books. I discovered my first copy of the old photo in the course of visiting Keel Row Bookshop in North Shields, which is near where the Ibex Works was. (Only a few miles away.) The visit to Newcastle was en route to Sunderland, to see the show Billy Elliot. Funny old world, with its unexpected connections.
This item added 19 Jul 16....
Isn't Google Maps wonderful? Aren't people kind?!
And it isn't all just vain "living in the past"... this quest might "go somewhere". John James Boyd had
Following the delight of pinning down the site of the Ibex Works (John's business) in Gateshead, and, even, an photo of the now demolished building, I did some digging, again, for the other premises of Ibex works.
What I had from the 1917 London Gazette (see above) was that John James and his sons had a business with premises in Gateshead, and at "Hertford-road, Kingsland-road, N."
A little Google searching turned up "Hertford Road", near Kingsland Basin, in London, as a good candidate. And Hertford Road, at least today, isn't long, hurrah! (Of course that "at least today" is always a risky basis. The area concerned was heavily "re-developed" during WW II.)
The Basin was part of the goods transport system of the day (canals), about 2 miles NNE of St. Paul's cathedral.
Which is only about 5 miles from where John James lived for many years.
Of course, I may be completely off track... the London Gazette doesn't actually say that the Hertford Rd of the Ibex Works was in London! But the "N" in the entry could well be for the postal district, a pre-cursor of the post code system... and if it is, that would make London a good candidate. In family history research, you have to follow hunches... but you also have to remember what is fact based, and what only arises from a hunch.
So... courtesy of Google Maps, I was "off" to Hertford Road! Even in the "map" view, a likely commercial premise turned up, at the north end. Streetview confirmed that it could well have been the premises of a small furniture business... and a date on a lintel, 1913, added to the "promise" of a happy result. Most of the area, inevitably, had been rebuilt long since John James' day... but sometimes you get lucky!
Alas, that premise probably wasn't where Ibex Works was located. A kind person connected with the area was able to give me some information about it.
Six days later, however, the kind person wrote again...
My colleague has traced the Boyd works to 32a Hertford Road and the building with that number today is Victorian so may well be the one.
Rapidly off to Google Maps....
... and an initial false disappointment! My first guess for "the building" was the one marked "x". My first view was "from street", and it looked SO promising as a Victorian survival. And then I called up the view above... and discovered that it is only "Victorian" for it's first 30cm... only the Victorian "skin" survives.
However, I looked a little more closely, and discovered my mistake. Whew!
If today's "32a" was indeed the site of John James Boyd's Ibex Works in London, then it would appear that the building he worked in is still there today... escaping "progress" (so far) by "three windows" (number 32 also, it looks like, being a survivor.)
Details: (That was, until I got into it, "Stray Details")...
Number 20 is... oh DUH! I "learned" this 20 minutes ago... but hadn't noticed at the time. But having just gone back, looked again. Number 20 is "Norway Wharf"!!! And John James was importing from Norway!!
Doesn't "prove" anything... but certainly encourages me to follow this lead further!
I only included number 20 to help with the numbering of building "x", which I'd mistaken for 32!
Funny old world.
So! As I was saying... details: The image shows the view looking roughly towards the east. It is at N1 5QS (postcode), 51.5384N/ 0.0789W.
The Basin runs N/S, connecting to its canal at its southern end, and you can see the northern end in the upper right of the photo, complete with barges.
So! Onward... next: More information on the "life and times" of Ibex Works, London. And eventually, maybe, connect with "cousins"... three of the sons of John James Boyd (died 1931) were business partners with him. Surely at least SOME of them had grand-children?? (I know what happened to one of them, Leslie, and he didn't have a family. But the others?)
Almost no sooner had I typed up the above, second part of July 2016, but more Good Stuff poured in. It is arriving faster than I am getting it processed.
Preliminary processing has been done. Scruffy indications of things to come, in case it gives anyone a way to provide further help...
It seems that the Gateshead premises remained in the Boyds hands until gutted by fire in December 1939. Unexplained accident, not courtesy of Mr Hitler. At the time 100 men and boys working there.
Thirty nine years earlier, there was a John J Boyd, cabinet maker and upholsterer in Lambton St in West Hartlepool. Very likely "my" JJB, for a variety of reasons. HE had a fire, August 1900, again leading to the building being gutted.
Where was JJB 1900 to 1909? Did he have other premises then? When had he started the London end? A son was born in Sweden... did he live there for a time? By 1915, he was advertising in Birmingham for a cartage contractor to deliver furniture in Birmingham, and move "regular supplies of goods from London to Birmingham" The advertisement was placed by John J Boyd and Sons... Hertford Rd, Kingsland, London"... the premises discussed earlier on this page. What premises did he have in Birmingham by then? Or was an independent Birmingham firm selling Boyd goods?
Puzzles! Puzzles! Family history hunting can be a lot of fun!
John James Boyd, and a brother of his (my grandfather, Thomas Lunham Boyd) were born in Cork, Ireland, a little before 1850. I believe, on no very firm evidence, that their father was essentially English, but living in Cork for a time in connection with business as someone involved in the sale of food... meats probably, perhaps some activity in butter and or grains. He was connected, in various ways, with the Lunham family. Note that the childhoods of JJB and TLB, in, I think the home of a food merchant, were at least partly in Ireland... I'm not sure when they came back, or where to... at the time of catastrophic famines. Perhaps great-grandfather's "eccentricity" had causes...
Thank you for wading through this poorly edited material. I wanted to get the "Ibex Works" and addresses on the web.... who know what will turn up next...?
Speaking of "poorly edited"... here's a "bleeding chunk" from another of my web pages... I hope it agrees with everything I've said above!!! This material IS "carefully researched", and comes from information in my files... birth certificates, census returns, etc....
Robert Andrew Boyd, b. about 1815, d. 17 Jul 1869 (Walthamstow, near London. Sugar refiner)....
Mary Lunham, b. 11 Dec 1818, Swinton, Berwickshire, d. 27 Mar 1894 in southern England
RA Boyd and Mary, nee Lunham, had numerous children, among them my great grandfather, Thomas Lunham Boyd, b. 16 Dec 1849, d. 7 Oct 1931 and John James Boyd, b. about 1847, d. 26 Nov 1931... funny... I never noticed until now how close their dates of death were. I believe one (TLB) was in Italy and the other in England at the time, so just coincidence?... anyway...
John James Boyd married Rebecca Mace, about whom I don't know a lot. Born Bow, Middlesex (London) about 1848, d. aft 1900. Had ten children, one of them Leslie Cameron Boyd, the only one... so far... that I have been able to learn much about. I hope you, Gentle Reader, can help with one of the others? And will contact me!
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