Alphonsus, Clementina and Hephzibah

Thanks to the work of our volunteer Pam (@PamWoolliscroft if you’d like to follow her on Twitter) we’re now about halfway through indexing Eliza’s Register – that means the names of over 750 apprentices (and a similar number of parents or guardians) have already been captured. Some of the names featured in this register are so fantastic we had to highlight them here on the blog – after all, it’s not every day you “meet” a Theophilus Broadgate!

Jumping out from amongst the many Georges, Marys, Williams and Elizabeths are all manner of wonderful names, from Alphonsus Toft and Adeline Edwards to Johanna Monogue and Ethnie Johnson. There are pretty, feminine names such as Lavinia Simpson, Cecilia Winifred Heath, and Clementina Ann Mills and many others with biblical connections – Thirza Sutton, Abednego Reynolds, Enoch Foden, Solomon Day, Hephzibah Churchman, Elijah Inskip, Absal[o]m Barker, Keziah Burton. Hamlet Bentley and Hamlet Brownsword add a Shakespearean twist to the register, and imagine living up to a name like Isaac Newton!

Three families of Reeves – unrelated as far as we can tell – provide us with a particularly magnificent collection of first names. From parents Isaac and Susannah Reeves come apprentices Kezia, Rahab, Dinah and Imlah Isaac (with Merab and Naomi also present in the same household according to the census, the latter’s profession given as “Paintress” in 1881 – will she appear later in this volume?); from Thomas and Ann Reeves comes apprentice enameller Rosina; and from John and Ann Reeves comes another apprentice enameller, Lidora.

Also found within the register is Alboin Birks, a name which jumped out at us not just for it’s unusualness but also because this “surface modelling” apprentice would later become famous for his pâte-sur-pâte work at Minton. His is not the only well known name to appear in this volume either, as we’ve also spotted the artists George and Frederick Rhead within the volume as well.

One entry we’re still not convinced by is that of apprentice “Faylor Taylor” – despite all the wonderful names above we’re inclined to put this particular one down to absentmindedness!