Saturday, 30 May 2015

Edward Mitchell - Gold Pen Maker, Silversmith and Jeweller - Birmingham & London, England

Updated 20 June 2015 with partnership and patent details.  Edward just won't let this go. I am supposed to be concentrating on his brother, Henry, now but he won't let up. I can't believe I have actually found what appears to be a patent so Matthew Burnett's 'stories' are becoming more and more real. I just need to work out how to prove or not whether he met Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort.


This was supposed to be a story.  A story that I have wanted to write for a long, long time. However, until I find a) enough time and b) enough skill, it will have to just be the usual list of information found.  Rather disappointing but I need to get something written up.  And since I am using records rather than a story it will have to be posted in a few parts.

Part 1 - England (Birmingham & London)
Part 2 - Australia (Collingwood, Melbourne & Ballarat, Victoria) might need two parts here as well.

Edward Mitchell


Edward Mitchell was born on 18 January 1814 in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England as the seventh child (of eleven) of Robert and Elizabeth Mitchell. His ten known siblings were: William, Robert, Ann Eliza, Charles, Elizabeth, Thomas, Henry, Emma, Julia and Alfred.

Edward was baptized on 21 November 1817 in St Philip's Church, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England at age: 3.

When he was 23, he married Elizabeth Buckler, daughter of Nehemiah Buckler and Sarah Webster, on 23 December 1837 in St Bartholomew, Edgbaston, Warwickshire, England. Edward Mitchell was employed as a Silversmith and living in Brierley Street when he married. Elizabeth was living at Constitution Hill.

By 1837 he was living or working at 32 1/2 Constitution Hill, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England according to the Trade Directory - Pigots & Co (Scotland?) possibly in business with Elizabeth's brother.

Business must have been doing well given the advertisement in the 1838 edition of 'Osborne's Guide to the Grand Junction, Or Birmingham, Liverpool, and Manchester Railway with the topography of the country through which the Line passes, and complete guides to the towns of Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester'.

The following year he had moved to No. 217 New John Street West, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England and this is the address at which, on 12 May 1838, his father, Robert Mitchell, died. Edward was still there in 1839 according to the Wrightsons & Robson Trade Directory.

Coventry Standard of 18 January 1839 reported the following

Dissolution of Partnership

... Mitchell and Buckler, Birmingham, silversmiths ...

And also mentioned in the Birmingham Journal on 19 January 1839 and the Staffordshire Gazette and County Standard on 23 January 1839.  It was even reported as far as Bradford via the Bradford Observer of 24 January 1839, Newcastle via the Newcastle Journal on 19 January 1839 and Liverpool via the Liverpool Mercury of 25 January 1839.  (The point in posting so many references is to remind people not to restrict newspaper searches for ancestors just to the area they lived in as often stories/notices were picked up by other newspapers in other areas).

A check of the London Gazette revealed the following notice on 15 January 1839:

NOTICE is hereby given, that the Partnership subsisting
between us the undersigned, Edward Mitchell and John
Buckler, carrying on the business of Silversmiths, in Constitution-hill,
Birmingham, under the firm of Mitchell and
Buckler, is this day dissolved by mutual consent. The trade
will in future be carried on by the undersigned Edward
Mitchell solely ; and all accounts will be paid and received by
him.-Dated this 31st day of December 1838.
Edward Mitchell.

John Buckler.

A few days later Edward Mitchell and Elizabeth Buckler had a little girl, Elizabeth Mitchell, who was born on 20 January 1839 at the house in New John Street West. It was not to be the happy occasion that it should have been as a few days later Edward's wife died.

Aris Gazette (11/02/1839) remembered her:

Mitchell Elizabeth wife of Edward Mitchell, silversmith of New John Street West, daughter of N Bucklee [sic], Birmingham aged 21 d.26 January 1839

Things got even darker for Edward

Debtor: 07 November 1840 in Birmingham Gaol, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England

Court for Relief of Insolvent Debtors
Orders have been made, vesting in the Provisional Assignee the Estates and Effects of the following Persons:
(On their own Petitions)
Edward Mitchell, late of Great Hampton-street, Birmingham, Silversmith -In the Gaol of Birmingham
(source not noted!)

A notice in the London Gazette on the 10 November 1840 followed:

Edward Mitchell, late of Great Hampton-street, Birmingham, Silversmith -In the Gaol of Birmingham

Followed by another one on the 17 November:

Edward Mitchell, living in New John-street, afterwards lodging in Constitution-hill. Silver and German Silver Pencil Case Maker, and Dealer in Ever Pointed Pencils, Steel Pens, and Holders, part of the time in partnership with John Buckler, under the firm of Mitchell & Buckler, and other part of the time on his own account, at 32 ½, Constitution-hill aforesaid, since of No. 67. Great Hampton-street, Silver and German Silver Pencil Case Maker, and Dealer in Ever Pointed Pencils, Steel Pens, and Holders, and late lodging in Great Hampton-street, out of business, all in Birmingham, at the same time lodging in Regent-street, Leamington-Priors, Warwickshire.

Edward's mother, Elizabeth, died just over a month later on the 20 December 1840. Aris Gazette remembered her too.

Mitchell, Mrs Robert died at daughter's, Upper Hockley St, 60 years, 20 December 1840.

We suspect that Edward's daughter, Eliza(beth) Mitchell, was living with his sister's Elizabeth Mitchell and Ann Jacques on the evening of the 1841 census at Upper Hockley Street, All Saints District. She was two years old. Until her birth certificate can be found, we can, at the moment, only speculate as to who the parents of little Eliza Mitchell were, as the 1841 census does not detail relationships. However, she could be Edward's daughter. Edward must have been having a terrible time.  In the three years before, he had lost his father and his young bride who died just over a week after giving birth to their daughter, Elizabeth. He was in debtors goal the month before his mother died and since we don't know how long his stay was we do not know if he was able to be with her. It's no wonder why his sisters, Ann and Elizabeth, may have taken the baby into their home. Edward, at the time of the 1841 census, was with his other siblings, Emma, Julia and Alfred, at Sherlock Street, Birmingham. He is listed as a pencil case maker. A Trade Directory (failed to record which one) shows him at Court 7, Henrietta Street, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England in 1841.

On the 29 March 1842 when he was 28 Edward married Hannah Beckett, the under age daughter of John & Hannah Beckett, in St Peter's Church, Harborne, Staffordshire, England.

Sometime around 1844 Edward and Hannah had a little girl, Louisa. And on the 7 February 1846, a son, Thomas was born. Both births took place in Birmingham.


I believe the following might be 'our' Edward.  The following book (found via a google search) - Newtons London Journal of Arts and Sciences 1850 on

Edward Mitchell, of Great Sutton-street, Clerkenwell, Gent., for improvements in fastenings for articles used for writing and drawing and other purposes; and improvements in articles to be used for writing and drawing. Sealed 24th June " 6 months for inrolment.

By the time of the 1851 census the family, well all but one member of the family, were living in London. Edward, Hannah, Elizabeth (12) and Thomas (5) were lodging at 25 Great Sutton Street with Thomas and Elizabeth James and their servant, Sarah Hallett. Thomas James is a hair worker and with Edward's sister being married to a Thomas James it seems such a coincidence unless this Thomas James, hair worker, is somehow related to Edward's brother in law, Thomas James, leather merchant. Edward, himself, is listed as a Gold Pen Maker, Silversmith and Jeweller. Strangely Thomas James' place of birth is shown as St Leonard's, City of London. I have not been able to find the marriage of Edward's parents, Robert and Elizabeth, but there is a likely marriage in 1802 in St Leonard's. Louisa, for some strange reason, is in Birmingham with her grandmother (Hannah Beckett) on the night of the 1851 census.

Part 2 - Australia (Collingwood, Melbourne & Ballarat, Victoria

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