Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Jane's New Home and 'Business' - FICTION based on GENEALOGICAL FACT, “There’s No Place Like Home” - Understanding our characters through the places they lived

In the centre of England there was a little old house tucked away in a yard in Red Cross Street Leicester.  In 1846 the owner Mr Wright allowed Mrs Jane Castings to live there. Jane set about quietly establishing her own business. Thus she supported her sick husband and four young children who lived on the outskirts of town.

Being a native of Leicester Jane knew the city inside out.  This was to her advantage in recent hard times.  She harboured young juveniles and taught them to steal.  A petty theft business whereby she paid so much for their “jobs” like any other tradeswoman.

The house was well positioned right in the middle of town, near the noisy market place, the shops of Red Cross, Regent and Welford Streets and Mr Christian the pawnbroker.

It was a dark building with a large coal-place to the side of the door providing a good hiding spot for the lads to offload stolen baskets. The safest place to conceal things, if anyone was about, was in the ‘pipkin’ (earthenware pot) behind the rainwater tub.

The small kitchen held a pantry, fireplace, table and chairs.  The boys crowded in after a successful evening’s work and enjoyed a mouth-watering bacon ‘frizzle’ (fry-up) with their boss.  They slept upstairs - Jane in her bed and the boys on the floor.  The pawnbroker’s duplicates were kept in a pepper pot under the bed with other stolen merchandise.  Needles and a ball of blue worsted were stored ready to monogram linen and clothing with a large ‘C'.

Jane had settled comfortably in her new home and trade was going well.



TAHO, CON15/1/3, Image 314, Indent Register, Jane Castings Sea Queen 1846

Find My Past, England Wales & Scotland Census 1841 Transcription, HO107, Piece no 604, Bk 13, Folio 30, p 3, Navigation St, St Margaret, Leicester, Leicestershire, England: Henry Castings

The Record Office for Leicestershire, England. Parish Records, Baptisms: Parish of Burbage & Burback, Co of Leicester, 18 April 1813, Reg No: 11, Jane, daughter of Charles (labourer) and Sophia Pratt, Burbage.

Leicester Journal, Friday 27 February 1846, page 1; 
British Newspaper Archive (

Leicester Chronicle, Saturday 28 February 1846, page 3;  
British Newspaper Archive (

Leicestershire Mercury, Saturday 28 February 1846, page 1;  

British Newspaper Archive (

No comments:

Post a Comment