Chapter 1

Life in Slough


My great great grandfather, Joseph Nixey, was baptised on 16th October 1814 at St Lawrence’s, Upton cum Chalvey, the youngest child of John and Elizabeth née Randell. He was the brother of William George, the inventor and patentee of the world renowned Nixey’s Refined Black Lead.

Robson’s 1839 Directory of Buckinghamshire lists Joseph as a Tailor at Slough, and also at Salt Hill, a village situated adjacent to the Western-most extremity of Slough, being shared between the parishes of Farnham Royal and Stoke Poges.

On 12th April 1841 at St Andrew’s, Holborn, London, Joseph and Martha Blincoe were married by Thomas Stone, in the presence of Henry Lovegrove and Elizabeth Heavingham. Martha had been baptised on 1st July 1821 at St Mary the Virgin, Langley Marish, Buckinghamshire, the daughter of William and Elizabeth née Carter who were married at the same church on 4th November 1820 in the presence of William East and Elizabeth Crowder.

On their marriage certificate, Joseph’s father was recorded as a Wheelwright, and Martha’s father’s occupation was recorded as a Foot Guardsman. Chelsea Pensioner records show that on 19th July 1799, at the age of twenty-two, William was enlisted at Dover, Kent for unlimited service in His Majesty’s 35th Regiment of Foot. He was recorded as a Private when he was discharged on 18th March 1818 after 18 years and 242 days of service.

William Blincoe was said to have been born at Langley Marish, but so far no baptism record has been found for him there. He married Elizabeth Carter at St Mary’s the Virgin, Langley Marish on 4th November 1820, in the presence of William East and Elizabeth Crowder. Martha was the first of five children, her siblings all being baptised at the same church that their parents were married at, William on 25th August 1822, Lydia on 11th April 1824, James on 26th June 1825, and Thomas on 3rd September 1826. It appears that out of all of their children, Martha was possibly the only one to be married. William died unmarried at the age of 47 in the Eton Union workhouse, and was buried on 4th January 1869. Lydia died at the young age of just 18 months, and was buried on 2nd October 1825. Other than his baptism date, no further details have so far been found regarding James, and Thomas died unmarried at the Saint Marylebone Workhouse in London on 1st September 1869, aged 44.

Almost 10 years after their youngest child Thomas was baptised, Elizabeth died at the age of forty-eight, and was buried on 26th June 1836. Shortly afterwards, William entered the Eton Union Workhouse, as his Chelsea Pensioner records show that he was examined there on 22nd November 1840. He was still in the Workhouse on June 6,1841, which is the date when the 1841 Census of England and Wales was taken.

Also in that year’s Census, Joseph and Martha Nixey are found living at Regent Place, which was situated in the High Street at Slough, and it was here they began raising their family. They had a total of 11 children, 9 of whom were born at Slough and baptised at St Lawrence’s, and two who were born at Langley Marish and baptised at St Mary the Virgin.

Their first child, Betsy, was baptised on 13th February 1842. She was followed by their first son, who they named Henry Edward, who was baptised on 4th June 1843, but who sadly died at the age of one, and was buried on 24th June 1844. Their second son, William, was baptised on 9th March 1845.

On 17th September 1847, Martha Nixey’s father, William Blincoe, died at the age of sixty-nine. It appears that he had left the Eton Union Workhouse by this time, because his burial record says he was “of Langley”.

The Bucks Herald of Saturday 9th October 1847 reported on a case involving Joseph Nixey:

The first cause called on was Nixey v. Dodsworth, Mr. Hornidge for plaintiff, Mr. J. J. Williams for defendant. It was an action for £4 for a suit of clothes furnished by the plaintiff, who is a tailor at Slough, to a lad who was at the time in the service of the defendant, the Rev. Dr. Dodsworth, of Slough. The question was entirely one of liability as regards the defendant, the delivery of the clothes, and the use of them by the lad, not being denied. Mr. Hornidge, for the plaintiff, endeavoured to establish the defendant’s liability by the agency of Mrs. Dodsworth (the defendant’s wife), but the Court held that the plaintiff in a transaction of this kind was bound to prove either a special agency committed to the wife, or such a general agency in matters of the kind as would embrace the present case. The plaintiff failing to establish either a general or a special agency, the Court about to nonsuit the plaintiff, but on further considerations the Judge agreed to adjourn the case to the next Court day, to give the plaintiff an opportunity of producing Mrs. Dodsworth by subpoena, on the condition of the plaintiff paying the costs of the day, for counsels attendance, and 10s. for Dr. Dodsworth’s expenses in attending, he having travelled for the purpose of attending to-day from Edmonton, a few miles on the other side of London. Adjourned accordingly.

The Bucks Herald of Saturday 20 November 1847 then continued the report:

Nixey v. Dodsworth
This was an adjourned case for the value of a suit of clothes supplied by the plaintiff, a tailor, at Slough, to a boy in the service of the defendant, who is the Rev. Dr. Dodsworth, of Slough. The case was adjourned at the request of the plaintiff’s solicitor, for the attendance of Mrs. Dodsworth, by which the plaintiff hoped to establish the defendant’s liability. Mrs. Dodsworth was now in attendance, but her evidence failed to establish the defendant’s liability. On the contrary, it seemed as was observed by the Judge, to place the plaintiff in a worse position than his case had assumed at the former hearing. Judgement for the defendant, with full costs.

The matter was also reported on in the Windsor and Eton Express of Saturday 20th November:

Nixey v. Dodsworth. – This case, a claim of 4l. for livery supplied to a groom by Mr. Nixey, tailor, of Slough, on Dr. Dodsworth, formerly of that place, but now of Highgate, was amply detailed in a former report, and was adjourned for the production of the evidence of Mrs. Dodsworth, who was this day present and whose presence had been required by Mr. Hornidge for the plaintiff.
Mrs. Elisabeth Dodsworth, examined by Mr. Hornidge: She said that Mr. Nixey, the tailor, was not sent for either by her or Dr. Dodsworth to measure the boy-groom for the suit in question. It was a kind of livery, but it was the boy’s own choice. She told the groom to go to Mr. Nixey, and say that Dr. Dodsworth would not be answerable for the clothes; and she said the same to Mr. Nixey. She told Mr. Nixey that the boy, as he received his wages, would pay him out of them. She told him he might do so in two months. He had only one shilling and ninepence a week, and he quitted the service shortly after.
After a sarcastic remark by Mr. J. J. Williams, who was for the defendant, that Mr. Hornidge was cross-examining his own witness, His Honour said that the plaintiff by the production of Mrs. Dodsworth had made his case worse than it was before, and at the same time incurred additional expense. He had, therefore, no alternative but to non-suit the plaintiff, with all the costs of the present and former proceedings.

Their next child, a daughter who they named Mary Ann, was baptised on 5th December 1847, and was the youngest of their children at the time of the 1851 Census which was taken on the night of 30th March. They are found living at George Green, Langley Marish, Joseph’s occupation being recorded as Master Tailor. Their eight year old daughter Betsy is found in this Census working as an errand girl for Charlotte Abrahams, a Governess living at Hope Cottages in Slough.

Their next two children, both boys, were born at Langley Marish. Alfred was baptised there on 14th March 1852, and in later years was also known as Charles, and his brother Arthur was baptised there on 12th March 1854. The family then returned to Slough where another three children were baptised, Emma Randell on 9th March 1856, Joseph on 13th June 1858, and John on 12th August 1860. With regards John’s baptism record, his surname was recorded as Blinko, but his surname was Nixey on his birth registration. This could possibly indicate that Joseph and Martha’s intention was for him to be baptised with the second forename of Blinko, but there was some misunderstanding over it.

At the time of the 1861 census, the family were living at 1 Clifton Villas, Alpha Road, Slough, with the exception of their son William who is found working as an assistant for William Hatfield, a grocer at Crooks Yard, Slough.

Their final daughter, Fanny, was baptised on 9th November 1862, but she died at the age of fifteen months and was buried on 23rd August 1863. Just 10 weeks after burying her daughter, Martha gave birth to her final child on 1st November at Alpha Road, Slough, my great grandfather, Edward James. Just over three years later, another baby was born in the Nixey household, but this time it was the turn of their daughter Betsy, or “Elizabeth” as she is shown on the baptism record. She gave birth to an illegitimate daughter, Fanny, on 13th February 1867, but she wasn’t baptised until 27th June 1868 at St Lawrence’s.

The first of their children to be married was their son William, who became the husband of Mary Blackwell in late 1867. Mary was born at Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, and was most likely the daughter of Joseph and Mary.

Although Joseph Nixey appeared in the Kelly’s Directory of 1869 at Alpha Street, Slough, it wasn’t long before he moved about ninety miles west to the county of Somerset, along with his wife Martha and most of their children, and where he continued his trade as a Tailor for a little while longer.


1841 Census:
Joseph Nixey and Martha née Blincoe, Upton-Cum-Chalvey, Buckinghamshire: HO107 piece 61 folio 7 page 18.

1851 Census:
Joseph Nixey and Martha née Blincoe, Langley Marish, Buckinghamshire: HO107 piece 1718 folio 180 page 1.
Betsy Nixey, Upton-Cum-Chalvey, Buckinghamshire: HO107 piece 1718 folio 353 page 34.

1861 Census:
Joseph Nixey and Martha née Blincoe, Upton-Cum-Chalvey, Buckinghamshire: RG09 piece 853 folio 71 page 36.
William Nixey, Upton-Cum-Chalvey, Buckinghamshire: RG09 piece 853 folio 75 page 44.

Unless otherwise stated, all newspaper articles can be found at the British Newspaper Archive.