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Alice maud mary thrasher - coffee house

Dear Family History UK

Our ancestor Alice Maud Mary Thrasher worked at the following coffee house as an inn assistant in the 1891 census. The coffee house was at 93 Jamaica Road in Bermondsey. Please could you tell me anything about coffee houses at this time (and about this coffee house), what the work would have entailed and the type of people who you might meet using this type of establishment and what the area was like at this time. Thank you.

Alice's father had been a messenger in the 1871 census and died in 1879. The family was still wealthy enough to send Alice's sister Louisa to a boarding school in the 1881 census, so their father Robert Thrasher may have been a Queen's Messenger, Foreign Office/Home Office Civil Service Messenger, London Stock Exchange Messenger or an Aristocrat's Messenger (this is still being researched).

Alice's sister Ruth Jezard (Ruth was born Ruth Thrasher but their mother Priscilla Thrasher remarried to John Jezard) became an actress and her husband Albert Edward Court was Chief Of Staff at the London Colesium. Alice's other sister Louisa Thrasher married Percy Atkins who was a Theatrical Business Manager.

Alice later went on to have an illegitimate baby in 1893 rumoured to be the son of an aristocrat.

Thank you for your help!

Name: George Cornwall
Age: 33
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1858
Relation: Head
Spouse's Name: Mary Ann Cornwall
Gender: Male
Where born: Bethnal Green, London, England
Civil parish: Bermondsey
Ecclesiastical parish: St James
County/Island: London
Country: England
Registration district: St Olave Southwark
Sub-registration district: St James Bermondsey
ED, institution, or vessel: 7
Piece: 375
Folio: 39
Page Number: 1
Household Members:
Name Age
George Cornwall 33
Mary Ann Cornwall 32
Beatrice C Cornwall 8
Emily F Cornwall 4
Geo Vincent Cornwall 2
Wm John Cornwall 1
Alice Maud M Thrasher 19
Mary Ward 17
Eliza E Marin 20


Loyal Member
swindon wilts

Hi Lorraine...the above link gives a little insight(19th/20th century)

The Coffee House would have been in one of Londons most toughest but most vibrant parts of London at the time....all the area was a haven for the Thames dock workers and ships from all over the world would arrive on this massive dockside to sell and buy cargo it would have been full of character but also a very dangerous place to live,like all Ports/Docks it would have every trade imaginable going on in the local area......a Coffee House was usually a posh name for a Cafe though being in Jamaica Road it may have been a little bit better than a cafe.
Bermondsey is a place i visit fairly regular delivering and even today you get the feeling of working class....as it was then.
Millwall the local football club still has a reputation for toughness.
One thing though....the workers were very close knit and very community aware....the unions were very strong in the area and kept a close eye on things.
Coffee Houses all over England at this time were all the rage....some were meeting places for the higher up in society to sit,drink coffee(and maybe Gin)and talk.
Others were rather less favourable places with Coffee House being a choice word for something less glamourous.


Some good old pics in the above link.
Hi Leefer - thank you for your post - very interesting!

We know that Alice's family was a theatrical family (we think that Alice also went on to be an actress) and the boarding house she stayed in later in the 1901 census run by an ex-actress - but they are just names that we have found in The Stage online archives and could just be mere coincidences or building up the facts?

Again the boarding school where Alice's child stayed in the 1901 census run by people who had been involved with the theatre and the girls boarding there later went into the theatre - again the names from The Stage online archives could just be coincidence or could be the facts of this story.

So it seems that the coffee house and theatre were places that Alice could have met the aristocratic father of her child?

Thank you

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