Sunday, 21 June 2015

Henry Mitchell & Lucy Dell Arnold, Electro Gilder, Birmingham

Henry Mitchell was born 26 February 1815 in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England as the eight child (of eleven) of Robert and Elizabeth Mitchell. His ten known siblings were: William, Robert, Ann Eliza, Charles, Elizabeth, Thomas, Edward, Emma, Julia and Alfred. 

He was baptised at St Philips Church, Birmingham on the 21 November 1817 along with Edward and Emma.

At the time of the 1841 census Henry appears to be living alone in Soho Street, Handsworth. He is shown as a Silversmith who wasn't born in the county. This would be correct given that Henry would have been born in Birmingham, Warwickshire whereas, at that time, Handsworth would have been in Staffordshire. 

When he was 27, he married Lucy Dell Arnold (daughter of Francis Arnold and Mary Dell) on 12 May 1842 in Harborne Parish Church. Henry is shown as a silversmith. The witnesses were William Henerey Barton? and Sarah Dell Arnold. Henry and Lucy went on to have nine children.

Their first known child was Albert Henry Mitchell, born the 29 January 1843 (same birth date as my Grandad) at 66 Unett Street. Henry registered the birth on 2 March 1843, the day before Albert Henry was christened in St George's Church (3 March 1843). Henry is shown as a silversmith on the birth certificate.

Their second son, William Mitchell, was born in Birmingham in 1846, followed by Thomas Mitchell born in 1848. Their fourth son, Frank Mitchell being born (possibly at Augusta Street) on 28 January 1851.

The family are shown on the 1851 census at No. 34 Tenby Street, Birmingham (HO/107/2051 folio 609 page 55). Henry is listed as a 35 year old gold penmaker journeyman of Birmingham, Warwickshire with: wife, Lucy, 35 and sons: Albert, 8; William, 5; Thomas, 3; and Frank, 2 months old.

Finally, they had a daughter, Emma Mitchell, who was born in Tenby Street on the 12 August 1852, and was christened in St Paul's Church, Birmingham on the 29 May 1854. Henry is listed as a gold pen maker. Sadly, Emma died in Tenby Street in June 1854. She was buried at St Pauls, 3 June 1854, when she was only 1 year and 9 months.

They were blessed with another child, Edwin Mitchell, who was born possibly in Augusta Street on the 18 August 1855. His story has been documented by his great grandson so please leave a comment if you are interested in this link or drop me a message via Twitter @Joynealogy.

A seventh child, another boy, Henry Mitchell, born in 1856, was followed by Arthur Mitchell, who was born possibly in Augusta Street on the 29 September 1857. Arthur was christened in St Paul's Church, Birmingham, on 5 April 1859. Henry's occupation was shown as a silversmith. Tragedy was to strike again when Arthur sadly died in Augusta Street in April 1859 and was buried at St Paul's on 11 April 1859. He was only 1 year 7 months.

By the time of the 1861 census the family were still living at 16 Augustus Street. (RG9/2167 ). Henry is shown as a 45 year old Electro-gilder along with: Wife, Lucy, 45; sons: Albert, 18, Jeweller; William, 15, Jeweller; Thomas, 13; Frank, 10, Scholar; Edwin, 7, Scholar; and Henry, 5.

Frank and Edwin were christened at St Paul's Church, Birmingham on 17 July 1861 when they were 10 years old and almost 6 years old respectively. Their father was described then as a guilder. Their mother, Lucy, would have been heavily pregnant at the time with her namesake, Lucy Elizabeth Mitchell, who was born in Augusta Street on 24 August 1861. Lucy Elizabeth was christened at St Paul's Church, Birmingham on 12 September 1861.

Early in 1862 Henry was in court giving evidence as reported in the Birmingham Journal on 01 February 1862.


At the police court, yesterday, before T. C. S. Kynnersley, Esq., Ann Warren, wife of a journeyman gunmaker, was summoned on a charge that she did “on the 18th of December last, at the borough of Birmingham, utter, knowing the same to be forged, or counterfeit, for an imitation of a certain mark of a die usee by the Guardians of the standard of wrought-plate in Birmingham, upon certain wares of base metal ; with the letter 'H', the figure '9' and the figure of an anchor, upon twelve finger rings. Mr Motteram (instructed by Messrs. Ryland and Martineau) prosecuted and Mr Powell defended .

In opening the case, Mr Motteram stated that the information might be laid under the 22nd section of 5th Geo. IV., c.58, or perhaps it would be more convenient if it was taken under a more general and probably a better known statute the 17th and 18th Vict c, 22 section 2. By the first-named Act the company which was called the “standard of wrought iron plate company” was incorporated and by that Act it was made necessary that all goods sold should be asked by that office or some other office of the same character. By that statue it was pointed out how the goods were to be marked if they were of the proper quality. In gold only 18 or 22 carats were marked. In 1854 another act of Parliament was passed - the 17th and 18th Victoria - whereby the Queen was empowered by an order in Council to introduce gold of a lower standard, and prescribe a mark for it. Under that Act the company referred to were empowered to mark gold of as low a standard as nine carats. The second section of the Act enacted amongst other things that the forgery of those marks should involve the penalty of not more than fourteen orless than seven years' transportation, or imprisonment, with or without hard labour, for any period not exceeding three years. The marks adopted by the company were a figure denoting the number of carats, and in that case it was a figure of 9. There was also a decimal mark, which for the years 1856-7 would be 375: the mark of an anchor, and the dominical letter H. The anchor was a standard mark, but the letter was changed every year. Defendant lived in Caroline Street, and her husband was formerly a working jeweller : but he had latterly ceased to continue such employment, having been proceeded against by the Assay Company for penalties. He allowed judgment to go by default at the time, but afterwards paid the penalty. Since that time defendant and her son had carried on the business. On the 18th of December last, defendant called upon a merchant named Leichstentein, carrying on business inSt. Paul's Square, and offered twenty dozens of Ladies' fancy rings, at 24s. Per dozen, representing them to be of nine carats standard, and as bearing the Hall mark. Mr. Leichstentein gave something less than the prices asked, and received an invoice - “Twenty dozens of nine carat gold rings, at 18s. Per dozen. £18. Settled, Ann Warren”. Afterwards it was found out that the rings were not Hall marked, the figures on the rings being 595. The figure “9” was also on the rings, and the letter “H” : but the letter, instead of being horizontal, was perpendicular. It would be his duty to show that the marks were counterfeit, and that the defendant knew they were so when she sold the rings. Mr. Motteram then proceeded to call witnesses in support of his opening statement.

Simpson Leichstenstein deposed that he was a merchant in St. Paul's Square, carrying on business under the firm of Leichstentein and Lewis. He knew the defendant, Ann Warren. He also knew Charles Warren, her husband. He had been in the habit of purchasing rings for five or six years from his wife. She carried on the business on her own account, but the invoices were made out in Charles Warren's name. On Wednesday, the 18th of December, she called upon him, and asked him to buy twenty dozen of ladies' fancy rings, at 24s. per dozen. She said she had some payments to meet, and wished to sell them. Witness promised to decide in half an hour whether he would purchase them. When she called in half-an-hour's time, he told her he had no orders for gold rings. But he would give her 18s. per dozen for them. He told her they looked better than some he had had, and she warranted them to be 9 carat. She accepted the offer, and made out the invoice for the goods upon a blank bill-head she had brought with her. He told her she had better put on the invoice “warranted 9 carat,” and she wrote the word “carot”. Witness told her she could write the word “carat” and she must write the word correctly. She then did so, and said she would guarantee the marks on the rings were 9 carat Hall marks. Witness examined the rings, and felt satisfied that they were Hall marks. He told her the marks on some of the rings were not so plain as on others, and she answered that some of the workmen in finishing the rings after they were marked wasted away a part of the shank where the marks were put. After this conversation he advised the bill and she put “settled” to it. He never purchased 9 carats rings without the Hall marks, nor any rings under 15 carats. Defendant had offered rings not Hall marked, but he had told her he could not buy them. He had been in the habit of buying that description of jewellery five or six years, and he was deceived by those marks. They would have deceived any man in the trade. He had sold between 17 and 18 dozens of the rings, and he had received some of them back again on account of their not being properly marked. He produced eleven of the rings he bought. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Powell : He did not know the proper Birmingham assay mark for 1861. He had learnt the mark afterwards. In the rings produced there was not a quarter of a grain of gold. He pointed out what he thought was an anchor to Mrs. Warren. He had found out since that the mark was not an anchor, although it was something like one. He only examined two or three of the rings : not all. Spoons and other goods are marked like rings. The first time he knew anything abou the case was when Mr. Ryland call upon him. He was deceived by the rings because he saw the letter H, the figure of 9 and the mark of an anchor. A plain gold ring of 9 carats would be worth 18s. per dozen. He could purcahse them at that prize – that ws at 1s. 6d. each.

Mr. William Westwood, one of the assay masters at the Assay office, Birmingham, was next sworn. He said that they marks used in the office for nine carat gold were the decimal figures of 375, authorised by an order in the Council : the dominical letter, in roman capitals, and the mark of an anchor placed horizontally. The letter changed annually ; but the other marks were used constantly. The figures 375 expressed the quality. The letter H was the dominical letter for 1856-7. The rings produced had not the genuine assay marks upon them, although the marks upon them purported to be so.

Mr. Powell ; That is the question. We say that they do not “purport” to be the genuine marks.

Examination of witness resumed : The figures 9 and 1, and the three figures on the rings, were the same as those used in the genuine mark, somewhat resembing an anchor. The dominical letter was the same in character, although different in position.

Cross-examined : The dominical letter was not always at the right-hand side, although it generally was. The position depended upon the width of the article. The marks on the rings fairly respresented the genuine marks.

Henry Mitchell was next called : He said he was agilder, in Augustus Street. He knew defendant, and had gilded rings for her. Early in December he did some work for her. Between the 2nd and the 13th he gilded 35 dozen for her. Defendant invariably brought them herself. He called upon her once on business, but he did not see her. All his dealings had been with her. He did not know her husband. She always paid him herself. Once the servant girl brought him a sovereign.

Cross-examined : He gilded both rings and gilt toys for other people besides defendant. John Randall, assistant to Mr. Robinson, a dealer in precious stones, in Regent Place : He knew defendant, and had sold her stones for finger rings. He sold her a quantity in the beginning of December last. They were similar to those produced. He had always transacted business with her, and did not know her husband.

Edward Jones, a jeweller, living at the back of Augustus Street, depose that some years ago his son was apprenticed to defendant's husband, Charles Warren. In December last he saw Mrs. Warren about cancelling the indentures, on account of having too little work. She expressed her willingness to do so, and agreed to go to Mr. Edmonds's office about the affair. She said Mr. Warren had left her and gone to another woman to learn a fresh trade. [Laughter] She said she wished he would keep away, as she could do better without him than with him. She would be divorced from him if it were not for the sake of the children. 

When they went to Mr. Edmonds's office they were told that it could not be done in the absence of Mr. Warren.

At this stage of the proceedings the hearing of the case was upon application of Mr. Powell, adjourned to Thursday next, when the case for the prosecution will be completed.

Also reported in the Birmingham Daily Post on 01 February 1862.

I had to check to see what happened to Ann Warren.

It would appear that she didn't appear in court when she was supposed to and by 8 February a reward of £5 was being offered for any information that lead to her apprehension. See Birmingham Daily Post on 11 February 1862.

There would, no doubt, have been cause for celebration when Henry and Lucy's son Albert Henry Mitchell married. Albert Henry, now a 20 year old jeweller, married Hannah Hanson (daughter of Thomas Hanson and Mary Blakeway) on 18 July 1863 in Handsworth Parish Church. Hannah was just 19 year old. (See their separate story once written up) 

It was a sad time for Henry and Lucy in 1867 as the Birmingham Daily Gazette reported on 05 April 1867

MITCHELL.- On the 12th ult., after a short illness, aged 19 years and 6 months, Thomas, third and beloved son of Henry Mitchell, formerly of Augusta Street, in this town.

By the time of the 1871 census Henry and the family at living at 3 Bright Terrace (?), Handsworth. Henry is shown as a 55 year old Electrogilder; with wife, Lucy,55; Frank, 20, working jeweller; Edwin, 17, working jeweller; Henry, 15, working jeweller and daughter, Lucy, 8, scholar. It is possible that William Mitchell, 25 year old, Jeweller is living at 44 Prescott Street with wife Mary A, 25 years old and daughter Ellen, 8 month old. There is a possible marriage between Mary Ann Lee and possibly William Mitchell in September Quarter 1868 in Kings Norton District. Is this Henry and Lucy's son? This needs further research. 

Albert Henry Mitchell on the other hand was living at 93 Aldersgate Street, St. Botolph, London with wife, Hannah, 26; and children: Annie, 7; Albert E, 5; Frank, 4; and Thomas, 1 with Frank and Thomas having been born in London. Albert Henry is shown as a 28 year old gilder of jewellery.

Sometime between 1873 and 1874 Albert Henry and his family move back to Birmingham. This needs more research to establish why the move to London in the first place.

There is a reference to a Henry Mitchell which needs more research. The London Gazette for 3October 1876 carries the following notice.

NOTICE is hereby given, that the Partnership heretofore
subsisting between us the undersigned, Alexander
Hidson and Henry Mitchell, trading as Hidson and
Mitchell, of No. 15, Spencer-street, Birmingham, in the
county of Warwick, Electro Gilders, Silverers, and
Oxidizers, is this day dissolved by mutual consent.—As
witness our bauds this 28th day of September, 1876.
Alexander Hidson.

Henry Mitchell

At the time of the 1881 census Henry and Lucy's son's family are living at 7 Regent Row. Albert is shown as a 38 year old gilder with wife, Hannah, 36 and children: Annie, 17, Carver & Gilder; Albert E., 15, Brass Founder; Frank, 14, gilder; Thomas H, 12, scholar; Alfred, 10, scholar; Arthur J, 8, scholar; Ada, 7, scholar; and Harry, 3, scholar. Alfred and Arthur having been born in London and Ada and Harry having been born in Handsworth.

Henry Mitchell, at this time, is as a 65 year old, Electro Gilder living not too far away at 3 house, 2 court, Ninevah Road, Handsworth, Birmingham (RG11/2833/43/34). With him are: Lucy D. Mitchell, Wife aged 65 years old and Lucy Mitchell, their 18 year old daughter.

It is possible that Lucy Dell Mitchell born c 1815 died December Quarter 1882 aged 67 West Bromwich 6b 446. There are two possible death entries at the moment for Henry Mitchell (born c 1816) – March Qtr 1886 Birmingham or March Qtr 1890 West Bromwich.?

It may have been the case then that neither Lucy nor Henry saw their daughter, Lucy Elizabeth Mitchell, marry George Livingston on 29 Jul 1887 in Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland.George was a 42 year old widowed Tailor (son of Andrew Livingston and Mary Aitken) and Lucy was 24. (I am in contact with a descendant from this branch so please leave a comment or get in touch via Twitter if you need more information about Lucy & George Livingston's family).

See George Livingston & Son and their blog showing their tailoring work

And a youtube video of their shop


  1. Hi,

    I want to let you know that your blog is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!

  2. Hi Jana

    So sorry I hadn't realised there was a comment. Thank you so much for the mention :-)