Alexander Cockburn (1794-1842), Pipe Maker, Grocer, and Miller

Although baptised in Swinton, Berwickshire, Alexander Cockburn and his brother John (1781-1835) were to establish themselves in business in Carlisle. John may have arrived first, with Alexander joining him later. Marrying Mary Storey, the daughter of Johnathan Storey, a spirit merchant in Shaddongate Parish, the register describes Alexander as a pipe maker in 1817.[1] The Cockburn brothers also had a small premises in Fisher Street where they also sold tobacco. [2]

Clay for the pipes was available locally. The Pipery was situated near the Mill Race in Shaddongate.[3] Once a small suburb of Carlisle, it was on the road to Dalston just outside the city walls. At the end of the eighteenth century Shaddongate saw an influx of migrant workers looking for employment opportunities in the manufacturing industries. Many of these workers were of Irish and Scots origin.


Alexander and Mary’s daughter Margaret was baptised 28 February 1819 [4] by which time Alexander also had a Grocer’s shop at Annetwell Street within the area of the old city. Shortly after this in 1823 the canal was opened improvng trading links especially to Liverpool. It was here that another brother James (1801-1868) moved. Initially a flour miller, he married his first wife Ann Storey (1805-1852), [5] the sister of Mary Storey in 1824. While the brothers’ sister Mary Anne Hepburn (1797) married Steven Somerville and lived in Edinburgh, other siblings were Alison (1783-1811), Robert (b.1786), Margaret (b. 1789), Agnes (b.1791), and Isobel (b.1801). [6] Their parents being Alexander Cockburn (1752-1825 ), a fewer or blacksmith, and Margaret Service (1757-1829). [7]

Alexander and Mary don’t appear to have had any more children, before Mary died in childbirth on 22 November 1824 aged 29 at Annetwell Street. [8]

The brothers continued with their Pipery in Shaddongate despite the unrest that had developed in the area. Living conditions were poor, overcrowding common for many. The migrants being unfairly blamed for some of the trouble. After the ‘Shaddongate Riots’ of 1826, the Cumberland Pacquet and Whitehaven Ware’s Advertiser described the arrival of Benjamin Batty to direct efforts to restore order in the area. He was to instigate the formation of a police force to combat insubordination in the suburb. His first attempt to restore order in February 1827 led to him having to take refuge in Mr Storey’s house after being set upon. It is possible this could have been Mary Story’s father’s abode.[9]

24 January 1831 Alexander married again. His wife Jane Ross (1793-1873). [10] was the widow of Hugh Ross and the daughter of John Tallentire and Jane Henderson. A son, John Tallentire, was born 21 December 1834.[11]

For a brief time John Cockburn, after trading as a haberdasher and paper dealer, became a bookseller at 34 Scotch Street, once occupied by Mr Jollie the publisher. At the time, Alexander was listed at Irish Gate Brow [Annetwell Street].[12]

On Alexander Cockburn’s headed bill of September 1835 to Dalston’s Overseers he is described as a grocer supplying goods to Agness Ha[e]rdman for 23 weeks at a cost of £2.17s. 6d. [13] Agnes’s life is a mystery.

SPC21/2/48/159 Dalston Overseers’ Voucher September 1835


Well established in Carlisle, Alexander was elected a Counsellor. [14] All appeared to be going well. He owned three farms which he let. [15] Then on 16 September 1835 brother John died aged 54 [16] and on 3 January 1837 a fiat of bankruptcy was issued against Alexander. [17] The fact being made well known by various newspapers. The Cumberland and Westmorland and Whitehaven Ware’s Advertiser further reiterated his status Peter Dixon was elected to Alderman of the Corporation of Carlisle on Tuesday in the rooms of A Cockburn a bankrupt’.[18] He relinquished the office of Alderman on 9 November 1836, [19] and his farm properties were advertised for sale. [20] Creditors were asked to make it known what they were owed. The Pipery in Shaddongate was advertised for lease, by the now owner Mrs Armstong in May 1838. [21] A Certificate was issued in April 1837 [22] which would effectively discharge him of what was asked of him under the bankruptcy proceedings, while final dividends were paid out in 1838. [23]

Denton Corn Mill was offered for lease by Mrs Dixon [24] and Alexander was successful in taking over the Mill. He placed a notice in the Carlisle Journal of 1838 as follows:-

A Cockburn having entered on this commodious mill respectfully informs the public that the arrangements which he has made enable him to execute all orders in this line with the greatest care and expedition’. [25]

Alexander Cockburn was not re-elected Councillor in November 1841 at the Municipal Elections for Caldewgate Ward.[26] The next year, on 21 May 1842 Alexander died aged 48. [27] His death appeared in the Liverpool Standard and Commercial Advertiser on 27 May, where brother James was living at Aigburth, Toll Gate near Liverpool.[28] The obituary emphasised his role for Carlisle Corporation. Alexander was buried at Holy Trinity Church where his brother John had also been buried, in close proximity to where they had been in business together.

His wife and son didn’t stay on at Denton Mill. [29] They lived in Stanwix Village for a while, as did daughter Margaret who later married William Roxburgh (an estate agent from Liverpool who at one time lodged with them).[30] James Cockburn died in the Workhouse Liverpool 1868 where he appears to have sought surgical treatment. Jane Cockburn died 18 April 1873 aged 80, [31] but before her will could be enacted, her son John Tallentire died 24 April 1873 aged 38 intestate. By then, John Tallentire was a fairly successful building contractor of Bolton Place, Carlisle. As he had no close relatives, the estate went to John Alexander Cockburn (son of Alexander Cockburn’s brother John) of Allenwood Paper Mill.[32]

View of Carlisle from Blackwell Building s on the left of the the Industries that once followed the River Caldwe towards Shaddongate
Left buildings of the Industries which followed the River Caldew into Shaddongate April 2020

Sources
[1] Carlisle Patriot, 26 April 1817, p,3. col. e.
[2] Pigot & Co., National and Commercial Directory Cumberland Westmorland and Lancashire for 1828-29 (London and Manchester, J Pigot & Co., 1828).
[3] Carlisle Journal, 2 March 1844, p.4, col. b.
[4] Cumbria Archives, PR/47 25, St Mary’s Parish, Carlisle, Baptism Register 1813-1822
[5] Liverpool, England Church of England Marriages and Banns 1754-1935 [accessed at www.ancestry.co.uk, 6 June 2020]
[6] Berwickshire Swinton and Simprim Church of Scotland Birth serach [accessed at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk 6 June 2020]
[7]Alexander Cockburn and Margaret Service gravestone at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/125134655
[8]Carlisle Patriot, 27 November 1824 p,3. col,e
[9] Ware’s Cumberland Pacquet and Whitehaven Advertiser, 13 February 1827 p,3. col,e
[10] Cumbria Archives, PR/47 14, St Mary’s Parish Carlisle Marriage Register 1825-1837
[11] Cumbria Archives, PR/47 27, St Mary’s Parish, Carlisle, Baptism Register 1830- 1853
[12] J. Pigot, National Commercial Directory of Cumberland and Westmorland (London and Manchester: J Pigot & Co., 1834 [accessed at www.ancestry.co.uk p. 23]; Carlisle Journal 9 August 1834
[13] Cumbria Archives, SPC44/2/48/159 Dalston Overseers’ Voucher, September 1835, Alexander Cockburn Grocer , dealer in Tea, Hams, Bacon Butter Flour &c
[14] Carlisle Patriot, 26 December 1835 p,3. col,e
[15] Carlisle Journal, 15 August 1835 p,2 col,e
[16] Carlisle Journal ,19 September 1835 p,3 col,f
[17] Carlisle Journal, 7 January 1837 p,2. col,c
[18] Ware’s Cumberland and Westmorland and Whitehaven Advertiser ,24 January 1837, p,2. col,d
[19] Carlisle Journal, 21 January 1837 p,3. col.b
[20] Carlisle Journal, 29 July 1837 p1 col,e
[21] Carlisle Journal, 12 May 1838 p,2 col,d
[22] Perry’s Bankruptcy Gazette, 8 April 1837, p,6
[23] Carlisle Journal, 15 September 1838 p,1 col,a
[24] Carlisle Journal, 30 December 1837 p,2 col,f
[25] Carlisle Journal ,17 February 1838 p,1 col b
[26] Carlisle Journal, 6 November 1841 p,3 col,6
[27] Carlisle Journal, 21 May 1842 p.3 col f
[28] Liverpool Standard and Commercial Advertiser, 27 May 1842 p,8 col g
[29] Carlisle Journal, 28 May 1842 p,1 col,c
[30] Carlisle Patriot, 30 July 1847 p, 2 col,h
[31] Cumbria Archives, PROB/1873/W346A269, Will of Jane Cockburn
[32]Cumbria Archives , PROB/1873/96, Administration John Tallentire Cockburn 9 May 1873

This is a work in progress subject to change with new research

footnote
Margaret Cockburn [Roxburgh] died 15 January 1848 at her Stepmothers home in Carlisle Carlisle Journal 21 Jan 1848
James Cockburn 2nd wife was Jane Pickering (Graham) married Liverpool 11 February 1855

John Peake (b.1798), Ironmonger, Furniture Broker and Bankrupt, Lichfield

Figure 1: SRO, LD20/6/7/202, Lichfield, St Mary’s Overseers Vouchers, John Peake, 21 November 1831

Living in Lombard Street, by 1851 John Peake, then operating as a furniture broker (which usually meant a dealer in second hand goods) had a large family. Born in Lichfield in 1798, his wife Charity had been born in Exeter in 1806. Between them they had nine children: Edward (b. 1831), a writing clerk; Ann (b.1834); Peter (b. 1837), a tailor’s apprentice; Thomas (b. 1838); Elizabeth (b.1842); Charity (b.1842); Philip, (b. 1844); Steven (b. 1847); and Arthur (b. 1850).[1] With the exception of Elizabeth, Charity and Philip, who were born in Barton, Staffordshire, all the children were born in Lichfield.

This was his second marriage. The Birmingham Journal in 1826 reported the death of ‘Mrs Peake, wife of Mr John Peake, ironmonger, of Market Street, Lichfield’.[2] She was 32.

Listed in Pigot’s 1828 directory and in White’s 1834 directory as resident in Market Street, Peake supplied the overseers St Mary’s with ironmongery such as nails, coffee pots, and canisters, but, as his bills show, he was also a colourman or dealer in paints and oils.[3]

An advert in the Staffordshire Advertiser in 1829 reveals more about Peake’s business.[4] He was a bell hanger, lock and jobbing smith. His stock, offered at low prices with a five per cent discount for ready money, included cutlery, 52-piece table services, grates, lamps, fenders, fire irons, Britannia metal and ‘japanned’ goods, locks, bolts, hinges, nails, and screws. The same advert also announced that Peake was seeking ‘A respectable youth’ as an apprentice.

Things started to go wrong in July and August 1837 when a fiat of bankruptcy was issued against Peake and his business partner Thomas Hall.[5] They were required to present themselves before the bankruptcy commissioners on 7 September and again on 6 October at the Old Crown Inn, Lichfield. There they were to ‘make a full discovery and disclosure of their estate and effects’, and their creditors were ‘to come prepared to prove their debts’. Those indebted to the bankrupts, or who had any of their effects, were to contact solicitors Messrs. Bartrum and Son, of Old Broad Street London, or Messrs. E. and F. Bond, solicitors, Lichfield. The Bonds also undertook work for the parish of S. Mary’s.

At the end of September the Birmingham Journal announced the immediate disposal of the stock-in-trade, counters, shelves, and implements of Messrs John Peake and Co. ‘ironmongers, braziers, and tinmen in Market Street’.[6]

A dividend was paid to creditors in February 1838 at which point creditors, who had not already proved their debts, were requested to attend the meeting at the Old Crown to prove their claim, or be excluded the benefit of the dividend. Claims not proved at the meeting were to be disallowed.[7]

A certificate of discharge for Peake and Hall was issued in March 1838.[8] This allowed them to pursue business once again. This, however, was not the end of the issue. In December 1838, creditors were informed of a meeting to take place, once again at the Old Crown, with the assignees of the bankrupts’ estate on 21 January 1839.[9]

At the meeting the creditors were to assent or dissent from the assignees commencing a law suit against the trustees and managers of Lichfield’s Bank for Savings and against John Peake, Thomas Hall, and others for the purpose of ‘recovering certain sums of money, now in the hands of the said trustees and managers of the said Bank’. The assignees claimed that the money formed part of the separate estate of Thomas Hall. The creditors were also asked to assent or dissent from allowing the assignees to submit to arbitration in the matter. The matter rumbled on.

Six years later in December 1844, it was announced that John Balguy, a commissioner authorized to act in bankruptcy cases would sit in January 1845 at the Birmingham District Court of Bankruptcy, in order to ‘Audit the Accounts of the Assignees of the estate and effects’ Peake and Hall.[10]

Alongside his wife, in 1861 were their sons Stephen (sic), an architect’s clerk, aged 14; and Arthur; and their grandson, Charles Peake, aged eight.[11] By 1871 Peake’s household in Bore Street was reduced in size again. Living with himself and his wife were their daughter Charity and her husband George Smart who had been born in Essex.[12]


[1] TNA, HO 107/2014, Census 1851.

[2] Birmingham Journal, 4 February 1826, p.3/5.

[3] Pigot and Co., National Commercial Directory [Part 2:] for 1828–29 (London and Manchester: J. Pigot and Co., 1828), p.  716; William White, History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Staffordshire and of the City of Lichfield (Sheffield: 1834), p. 160.

[4] Staffordshire Advertiser, 28 March 1829, p. 1/1.

[5] London Gazette, 25 August 1837, p.  2261; 10 December 1844, p. 5139.

[6] Birmingham Journal, 30 September 1837, p. 5.

[7] London Gazette, 13 February 1838, p. 333.

[8] Globe, 8 March 1838, p. 3.

[9] London Gazette, 28 December 1838, p. 3002.

[10] London Gazette, 10 December 1844, p. 5139.

[11] TNA, RG9/1972, Census 1861.

[12] TNA, RG 2913/37, Census 1871.