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Rural ancestors who migrated to giant cities.


Staff member

Doesnt it amaze you when you find an ancestor who was born and bought up in a sleepy tranquil village right in the middle of the rolling countryside but moved to London or one of the other big cities and spent the rest of their life in a crowded, smoky polluted city? Obviously a lot of reasons was for work or even to escape any scandals such as debt, illegitimacy or crime.

My 3xgreat grandmother Mary Ann Walder was born and bought up in the hilly and wooded village of Warninglid in mid Sussex to a profitable wheelwright father. When she was 24 she moved to London with my 3xgreat grandfather Thomas Roberts and lived from then on in some of Londons most central areas such as Walworth and Holborn, surrounded by gigantic buildings, railway viaducts, factories, government buildings and crowded dirt streets. She died in Evelyn Buildings, Dorrington Street, Holborn in 1886 after 3 sudden but aggressive infections. Evelyn Buildings was 5 storeys high and was model dwellings and Holborn was in 1886 around 5 miles away from any countryside. A far, far cry from the tranquil village she grew up in.