Residents of the mid-1800s

Albion Street, 1999
From a private collection

Maurice Packham’s great great grandfather lived in the house in the photo in 1851…

“Thomas Packham, my great great grandfather, was living at 7 Albion Street in 1839 when it was a drayman’s store belonging to Tamplin’s brewery. He had arrived some ten years earlier from Lewes with a sack on his back and eleven pence in his pocket, hoping to make a better living in Brighton. He was an ostler by trade; so ‘being good with horses’ he probably found work with the brewery while his wife Mary took in washing, the staple back street Brighton industry of that time.

By 1851 the family had moved to Number 4 Albion Street which still exists; and Thomas would doubtless have been astonished to learn that the house next door was up for sale recently for nearly £74,000 and described as ‘a charming Victorian terraced two bedroom house with small patio’. Thomas would have known the patio as a backyard where his wife hung out the washing and laboured over the tub on sunny days. The rest of the washing would have been strung across the street.”

Comments about this page

  • Hello, Maurice! I had an Uncle Bill (William) Packham. He married a Brighton girl. They had two children; the boy was named Maurice, the girl Peggy. Their mother I believe was sadly killed while running for a bus, and Uncle Bill returned to Surrey, where his brother John and his wife brought up the children. Maurice lives in Canada. He is about 65-70. Uncle Bill worked at Simsons in the Strand. I wonder if we had family in Brighton and that’s why he was down there and how he met his wife. Uncle Bill was born in 1899.

    By Angela Marshall (22/02/2004)
  • Hi! My grandfather’s uncle, George Packham, ran the Albion pub in Hove. His family all originate from Newhaven, Denton Island. Is this the same family??

    By Joanne Packham (03/08/2004)
  • Hi Angela, I do hope this reaches you, the date of your post being 2004. You may have lost interest by now. Anyway, I live in Canada and worked with a Maurice Packham for many years. I think he still lives quite close to me. If this fact could be of any use to you, please contact me.

    By Art Didlock (18/04/2008)
  • My great, great grandfather Joseph Boniface was born in Brighton and lived in Edward Street 1822 and St Johns Place 1841. He married Sarah Hindess, born in Shoreham, in 1845 and from the on lived at Albion Street in 1845, Essex Street in 1871 and also Apollo Terrace date unknown. Between 1871 and 1881 they then moved to Central London. I would love to contact others from this section of the Boniface family as other sites seem to concentrate on the family outside of Brighton. Any info and help would be gratefully appreciated.

    By Derek A. Coles (14/06/2008)
  • I knew Maurice in 1945 in Lagos, Nigeria when he was a sub lieutenant and I was a midshipman aboard MV Sansu of the now defunct Elder Dempster Lines. We met in the home of Padre Wright and together sailed his dinghy the Rosemary on Tarkwa Bay. We had a hairbrained scheme to raise a sunken sailing boat, load it on my ship and return it to the UK but our Chief Officer spoiled that by saying the boat wasn’t worth saving and would cost too much to transport it. I have always regretted not keeping in touch with Maurice but many things changed as the war finished. My very best wishes if you are still around.

    By Dr Reg Saynor (formerly Midshipman MN (23/10/2008)
  • Dear Reg, I was delighted to see your letter. I well remember our time in Lagos when we sailed on Padre Wright’s boat. Long after the war I looked him up in Chichester and he had fond memories of you. He named his Sussex home the same as his Lagos one: something about cowrie shells. Impressed to see you are a doctor. I wondered whether I should hear that you were captain in the Merchant Navy! You were kind enough to invite me to be your best man; but I chickened out because – if you would believe it – I hadn’t a formal suit! I imagined it would be a ‘posh do’ I cannot claim my naval career was distinguished. I had a baptism of fire on HMS Sirius which assisted the Salerno landing and later was bombed in the Agean. After which I suppose they didn’t know quite what to do with me and they put me in the Naval Control which was interesting. You were kind enough to send my mother a box of dried fruit from Lagos which she much appreciated in those rationing days. After the war I went into teaching and now of course retired and living in Horsham. My ambition was always to be a writer and the BBC commissioned eight of my radio plays – six of which I never heard! My attempts to get into the children’s book market have so far been unsuccessful. I came to an arrangement with my son Simon that whoever got his book published – he should buy the other dinner. Simon bought mine! His book was very successful and titled ‘The Opposite Bastard’ which is ruder than it sounds. Simon was an actor, and ‘opposite bastard’ has a different connotation in stage parlance. Would be delighted to hear more of your news.

    By Maurice Packham (22/05/2009)
  • Hi Derek – just seen your note re Boniface family. I don’t think my researches marry up with yours, but for what it’s worth here are some which may be of use:William Boniface born 1804 Pyecombe, married Sarah Tucker in 1832 at St Nicholas, Brighton. Four children giving birth places as Pyecombe or Hamsey were Anne b 1835, Mary b 1841, George b 1844 and Elizabeth b 1848. George(above) married Emily Soughton in 1868 at Brighton. Confirmation of family details are hazy but I found births from Preston (Worthing), Brighton, Hove and Clayton: Eva Bessie b 1871, Alice Mary b 1873, Burton Clement b 1878, Laura Beatrice b 1880, Sidney Edward b 1882 and William James b 1882. I also have an Eward Sidney possibly the same. He emigrated to Oregon. Other researches show many Bonfaces around Clayton, Woodmancote and Keymer areas, just outside the Brighton area.

    By Peter (24/07/2009)
  • Hello Maurice, I’ve only this evening seen your reply to my message, I gave up a few weeks after I first tried to contact you. To say I am delighted to hear from you is the understatement of the year. I left the sea in 1946 after contracting malaria in Apapa and after a few months working for my father in his infant silver business, I applied for, and got, a job as a junior technician in the Royal Hospital here in Sheffield. Over the years I collected a number of qualifications including a PhD, hence the Dr. Margaret and I had three children, Keith who has a fairly successful powerboat business, Julie who lives in Baslow near Chatsworth House and sells drugs (the legal type) and Brian who is a struggling jeweller. I also have four grandchildren around fourteen years old. Unfortunately, Margaret suffered a disabling stroke in 1995 and I was 24/7 carer for ten years until her death in 2005, so I live alone now with the exception of my golden retriever, of course. I was very interested in seeing you were an author of some note. I published two books in 1990 and 1995. The first was “The Eskimo Diet” and was a bestseller, only because I was helped by a colleague who knew how to write. The second “The Garlic Effect” was my magnum opus. Both books were based on my research into the effects of omega three fatty acids and garlic in heart patients. I was in touch with Padre Wright in the 1950s when I was offered a job in Ibadan – he advised strongly against it and I always respected his advice. I spend my time now walking the dog twice daily with three companions; one ex headteacher, an ex science teacher and an ex surgeon. When we are out it’s rather like ‘Last of the Summer Wine’. The rest of the time is a little gardening, messing with the computer and painting (the oils variety). I was so excited when I saw your reply this evening. Would be great to meet again. My email is Anyway for the moment, my very very best wishes. Reg

    [Reg, I have removed your address and telephone number from your entry to avoid you receiving unwanted communications. Comments Ed]

    By Reg Saynor (22/09/2009)
  • My great grandfather George Packham was born in 1839 in Albion Street. He ran a chandler’s shop in Gloucester Street and then bought houses in Brighton. He was very kind to my father, George, who lost his father in 1906. He used to take him to the Theatre Royal when Gilbert & Sulivan musicals were on. My father was gassed in the 1914 – 1918 War: he was a signaller. He died some five months before I was born of endocarditis: my mother said his death was hastened by being gassed.

    By Maurice Packham (08/02/2010)
  • Hello Derek Coles. I’m researching for a friend and there is a definite connection to Joseph Boniface and Sarah Hindess. I’ve got back to Jame Boniface 1805, and on Sarah’s side, Mary Ann ?1806. If I can help let me know.

    By Margaret Moores (04/06/2010)
  • Very interested about the information from Maurice on the Packham family as my husband also descends from Thomas and George although I assume that Maurice’s line is from his son George, whereas he descends from Alfred. We would love to hear more about the family history as we know so little ourselves. I’d be quite happy to provide an email address if you’d be happy to share with us.

    By Chris Packham (15/06/2010)
  • Alfred Packham, b.1827 and his brother Thomas,b.1834 sons of Thomas and Mary, disappeared off the radar screen. Found list of transportees, Alfred 1839 and Thomas 1851. Dates agree, but can’t be absolutely certain. Alfred arrived in Van Diemen’s land in 1842 on the Candahar. It was a hellish place where the lads were ill treated. He probably died in Australia, in the Redfern Sydney district. Be interested in further research.

    By maurice packham (18/12/2010)
  • I’m also interested in the Packham family of Brighton. I’ve come across this page while looking for a picture of the fish shop at 3 Albion St. I’m tyring to trace back my boyfriend’s family, and the 1881 census shows Harriet Grainger (nee Packham) as a fish dealer living at 3 Fish Shop, Albion St. There is also an F. Packham (unemployed flyman, b 1831, and Harriet’s brother) living there. I think Harriet also had an illegitimate son William (b 1850). I’d be interested if anyone knows anything about the Fish Shop and it’s occupants! Emma

    By Emma Harrison (24/01/2011)
  • To Emma Harrison: the fish shop you mentioned was not in Albion Street but Richmond Buildings. Harriet married Grainger. To Chris: haven’t found anything more about Alfred Packham who was transported to Australia. He was only eleven and was to serve seven years. He was later freed; and if he is any relative of yours he must have returned from Australia. My Brighton relatives in Australia, also Packhams, are doing research I think. Maurice Packham.

    By Maurice Packham (09/12/2011)
  • Found further info about Alfred who was transported: He had a hell of a time at Parkhurst before sailing on Candahar for Australia in 1842, and probably even worse in Van Deiman’s Land. There is a reference to him in the Queenslander, 1892/2 about his being in Australia for so many years and writing to his sister Harriet. She married Grainger. The paper mentioned that Alfred came from Brighton. Another document confirms that Alfred’s parents were Thomas and Mary of Albion Street.

    By Maurice Packham (10/02/2012)
  • Does anybody remember the Bashford family living in either Albion Street or Albion Cottages? My grandparents were Bertie & Emma Bashford and they had four boys and six girls. Emma was born Emma Golds on 20th April 1890 and died in 1944-45 (can’t find an actual date). If anybody has any recollections of this family, it will be great to read. Thanks

    By Rodney Fowler (19/06/2015)
  • Hi, Rodney Fowler. William Richard Golds was my 2nd Gt Grand Uncle, brother of my 2x Great Grandfather James H. Golds 

    By Anthony Holley (27/08/2015)
  • my grandfather has recently died and I’m interested in finding out about his father and his family who were born on or around Denton Island. They would all be Packhams around the 1800s and I was told that there were connections to them sailing some kind of boat/ferry up and down the river. Any information would be appreciated.

    By Joanne Briggs (14/01/2018)
  • Joanne, Denton Island is rather out of our usual remit but if you use the census material at The Keep at Falmer you should be able to track them down. You may also find them in trade and street directories for Newhaven at that date, they are also at The Keep. Newhaven Museum at the Paradise Garden Centre may also have some info, but you will need to contact them prior to your visit to see if they have what you are looking for.

    By Geoffrey Mead (16/01/2018)
  • My G G grandfather, a Brewer’s Nightman was scalded to death in the Albion Brewery when a tub of beer mash burst.
    I can’t see how to post on here my copy of the coroner’s report in the Sussex Advertiser of July 2nd 1878. He lived with his wife and 4 kids at the tiny terraced 2 bed flint cottage at No. 2 Black Lion Lane. She had to leave the tied cottage and the workers at the brewery clubbed together and bought her a mangle so that she could take in washing. No Benefits in those days.

    By Neville Bolding (29/12/2020)
  • Does anyone recall a Family by the names of James & Annie Thomas they lived on Albion street in Brighton.
    They were my grandparents ..Annie’s name before she married was “Fears “her mother was Ruth …
    I also have the “Boniface “name it’s my maiden name ..
    Do Not know that the Boniface name in your story is related to me ..I now live in Canada since 1946 my father Frederick Boniface was killed in Dunkirk 1940.
    My mother re married a Canadian she was a war bride with three children.

    Doreen Doré.

    By Doreen Doré (04/03/2024)

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