The Pigots directories give us a good source of information about the commercial aspect of a town in the 19th century. The following is their extract for Whitstable in 1840.
is a maritime village and parish in the hundred of its name and the lathe of St Augustine, six miles NW from Canterbury, and about four W from Herne Bay – situate on the northern part of the coast of Kent, near to the entrance of the East Swale, opposite the Isle of Sheppy.
This place is rapidly rising in population and commerce, the latter having been materially benefited by the railroad from hence to Canterbury; and an additional accommodation has been affected by the new harbour, which confers reciprocal advantage upon Whitstable and Canterbury, as connected with a trade direct to the metropolis. A number of colliers frequent the bay, from which Canterbury (by railway) and the surrounding places are supplied with coal; it is also the station of the hoys which sail to and from London. Many boats are employed in the fisheries, this being a royalty of fishery, or oyster dredging appendant to the manor; and for the due regulation of the trade a court is held, annually in February.
The parish church is dedicated to All Saints; the benefice is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the see of Canterbury, and present incumbency of the Rev C Eaton Plater. There are chapels for independents and Wesleyan Methodists. Fairs are held on Thursday before Whit-Sunday, on Midsummer day, and on Saint James’s day. The parish which includes the hamlet of Harwich, contained in 1831, 1926 inhabitants.
TRADESMEN and PEOPLE OF NOTE
POST OFFICE: High street, Robert Tritton WHORLOW, Postmaster. Letters from London and all parts arrive, (by way of Canterbury), every morning at eight and are despatched every evening at seven in summer and six in winter.
GENTRY AND CLERGY: ELLIS Mr Wynn, Tankerton House; HARRISON Rev David, Waterloo place; HYDER William esq, Court Lees; MARSHALL Mr John; PLATER; Rev Charles Eaton; SANDERS Mr John; WILLIAMS Mr J E M (surgeon)
ACADEMIES EARLE John, High st; HILLS George, High st; REEVES Matilda, Harbour st; TUDDENHAM Thomas, on the wall
BAKERS ADMANS Henry, High st; CARR John, High st; COX George, High st; GINDER James; MOLINEUX John, High st; SOUTHWELL George, Waterloo place; SOUTHWELL George, High st; WHORLOW John, Harbour st.
BLACKSMITHS BEAL William; Dray William; PETTMAN Thomas, Salter
BLOCK & MAST MAKERS REEVES Thomas & James; SPENCELY John
BOAT BUILDERS CULVER Thomas; DANIELS James, (& shipwright); HAYWARD James; HOLLOWAY Samuel; MADAMS Henry William, (& shipwright)
BOOT & SHOE MAKERS BRICE John, High st;; DADD Edward; DANIELS James; FOAD John, High st ; GOULDEN Richard, High st; GOULDEN Samuel, High st; MARSH William, High st ; WHORLOW Robert, Tritton
BRICKLAYERS BAKER James; KNIGHT William
BUTCHERS GANN James, Harbour st ; GIBBS George, High st ; LONGBOTHAM Isaac, High st ; MAXTED Thomas, High st ; SMITH Joseph, High st ; WHITE John, Harbour st
CARPENTERS BAKER James; BEAN William, High st. ; GOODWIN James; WACHER William
BLACKMAN William, (& ship owner); KITCHINGHAM William; MARLBOROUGH James; REEVES Thomas & James
COAL MERCHANTS BLACKMAN William, (& ship owner); BLACKMAN William, (& ship owner); KITCHINGHAM William; MARLBOROUGH James; REEVES Thomas & James; HOLDEN George, High st
GROCERS & DEALERS IN SUNDRIES BAKER John, High st; BEAL James, High st; CAMBURN George, High st; CAREY William, Harbour st; CHARROSIN William; ; FEDARB Horatio, High st; HONES George, High st; LAWSON John, High st; POTTS George, Harbour st; RIGDEN Stephen, High st; TERRY John, High st
HAIR DRESSERS ADAMS Richard; BEAL James.
IRONMONGERS BAKER James; STEPHENS John, (& brazier)
LINEN DRAPERS BONNER Ambrose, High st; JUTSON John, High st. ; PHILPOTT William, Harbour st
MILLERS FEAKINS Robert, (& corn chandler), LAWES & CARR.
PAINTERS & GLAZIERS AMOS William, High st.; BROWNING Stephen; KING Henry, High st
TAVERNS & PUBLIC HOUSES; Bear & Key, William KEMP, High st.; Duke of Cumberland, Hannah FOREMAN; Hoy, John GILES, High st; Pearson’s Arms, Thomas BARNES; Red Lion, Alice REEVES, Harbour st
Ship, Edward FOAD, High st.; Steam Packet, Benjamin HARNETT; Two Brewers, James ALLEN
TIMBER MERCHANTS BLACKMAN William; REEVES Thomas & James
WATCH & CLOCK MAKERS ALDERSEY John; POLLARD Samuel
CONVEYANCE BY RAILWAY for passengers and goods
OFFICE on the Quay; NICHOLSON & BAYLIS, carriers
To CANTERBURY, Trains from the above office, every morning at nine; forenoon at eleven; and afternoon at one, three and five
CARRIERS To Canterbury, Robert WHORLOW daily & John WHITWELL every Saturday.
CONVEYANCE BY WATER Hoys To London, H A HOPE, COCK, GREAVES & Co and John HEADDEY, every Wednesday and Saturday.
What can we learn from this?
Many of the family names we come across as we research the people of Whitstable through the ages are present on this listing. In addition, the name of Wynn Ellis is shown. He was a local benefactor who built Whitstable Castle and the alms-houses that can be seen between the harbour and the castle. When Tankerton Estate was built two of the roads were named in his honour, Wynn Road and Ellis Road.
The recording of the population figure for 1831 (1,926) is useful so that we can build a graph showing the growth of population in the town. We would expect this to show the increase in growth at this time that the building of the railway in 1830 promoted.
For the first time we see documented evidence of the growing coal carrying trade which we first became aware of as we discovered the large number of townspeople on board ships around Durham during the 1881 census.
Whitstable Harbour early image.
Researched and written by Brian Baker.