It was all just fields in 1861 but began to grow into what would eventually become terrible slums. By 1881 there were about 60 houses in the street with separate flats on three floors, most with a basement too.
William and Ann Musgrove, who I mentioned last week, probably moved to Treverton Street around 1885. They were followed by other family members, some of them their children and their grandchildren, who all lived in Treverton Street at some point in the next twenty years :
Treverton Street – 3 ½ story - Doors open. Bird cages outside windows. Many windows broken, but much better than formerly. Some pink. Light blue on map. At the east end is the “Holly Bush” to all appearances a public house but only an off draught licence for wine, beer & spirits. Applies every year for a full license but it is always refused.
At the time, 1886 to 1903, the street consisted of the working poor and those slightly better off. Certainly not the worse of areas. However, by the early part of the twentieth century, those slightly better off were moving to a new nearby estate where life was better and less crowded. This meant that although the numbers of people living in the area was not increasing, it did mean that Treverton Street was getting poorer and more rundown. Landlords were reluctant to spend money on properties where the tenant might not pay their rent and this led to them having the choice between receiving the lowest class of tenant and leaving their houses unoccupied. Most chose the former. A report in 1914 said that there were areas of extreme poverty in North Kensington and in Treverton Street, where the whole population was of the working classes, there were large numbers of semi-destitute persons who have no regular employment.
There was certainly a growth in the numbers of people living in Treverton Street on each census but it did begin to fall as we moved into the twentieth century, for the reason mentioned above :
1871 - 188 people (only 30 houses at this time)
1881 - 887
1891 - 1,055
1901 - 1,087 (including 637 children)
1911 - 1,022
The 1911 census was the first in which the number of rooms in the dwelling were recorded. It specifically said to count the kitchen as a room but not to count the scullery, landing, lobby, closet or bathroom. The results were interesting and, I think, demonstrate the numbers of people trying to live in a small space.
I thought it might be interesting to look at one of these censuses in more detail to see what sort of trades the heads of these households were working in. I chose the 1891 census and found there were 213 separate heads of house of which 42 were women, mostly widowed. As you would expect, they had a mixture of trades comprising :
While I was looking through the census searching for details of my ancestors, I came across a couple of completely unconnected but interesting looking entries which I thought I would follow up.
'Baby' born on census day
On the 1881 census I found the birth of a very young male infant born at 61 Treverton Street at 3.00 a.m. eleven hours before the person arrived to take the census. Almost certainly he would have been one of the youngest individuals on the entire census.
Widow with 11 children
On the 1891 census the most occupants in any one flat was ten. There were seven households like this but only one where the head of house was a woman. She was Elizabeth Alexander - she was born in St Helier, Jersey in 1845, married in 1865, had eleven children between then and 1886, before her husband, a house painter, died soon after. Her occupation was a 'Charwoman'. What a life she must have had - living in a one or two bedroom flat with an ever growing family. To then lose your husband and have to bring up a huge young family must have been unimaginable. However, I am pleased to say that she was 63 and still alive on the 1911 census. The entry on the census proudly reported "11 children born; 11 children still living". I take my hat off to her.