WELCOME TO THE BAYLISS LINE. This blog has been created for my family. By "my family" I mean all those who are related to the Bayliss family either by blood, marriage or even relationship. There are, of course, other Bayliss families not related to us but this blog has at its heart a very specific family who had their origins in Gloucestershire. I am connected to that family because my mother was a Bayliss and it was her curiosity that started my research back in the early 1990's. So, what are you likely to see on this blog? Well, as it is a blog, I want it to be as entertaining as possible rather that a dry listing of facts (that is for Ancestry.com). I will, hopefully, be posting entries on our ancestors and relatives, on the places where they lived, and the historical times they lived through. I have an extensive collection of photographs of people and places which I will, of course, be sharing.

I'd like to ask anybody who reads this blog to give me some feedback. I'd really like this to be a two way thing. It sometimes unearths new information and, to be honest, it gives me encouragement. There will be two ways of providing feedback - either through the comment button (you will need a Google account for this) or via the e-mail address which appears on this page - alternatively, ring me. Now scroll down to read the latest entries.....and, of course, via Facebook.

Monday, 27 June 2011


Charles William Bayliss (1842-1900)
Probably at the time of his wedding.

By 1861 The Curtis Family had moved from Shoreditch to Somers Town which is the area north of Euston Station but south of Camden Town, London.  The area was lower middle-class but within its boundaries there were streets that exhibited extreme poverty and almost criminal reputations. It was in such a street that the Curtis Family lived, Clarendon Street.  It was in this very street in 1854 that Charles Richard Scotcher had been born. On the 1861 census the Scotchers are shown in Orpington in Kent although I do not believe this was their permanent residence. Did the Scotcher's know the Curtis family?  It seems likely. William Curtis is still in the carpentry trade, listing himself as a "Wood Turner" rather than "Cabinet-maker". Nancy, who seems never to have used the middle name Harriett after her baptism, is listed as a "Shoemaker." 

It seems probable, but by no means provable, that by this time the Scotcher, Curtis and Bayliss families knew each other. Charles Bayliss and his family were by this time living in Upper Bemerton Street, Islington, to the east of King's Cross Station.  As well as his fortunes, his family had grown and in addition to himself and his wife Hannah the 1861 census lists his children as Charles William, Frances Mary, John, Amelia and Lucy (Louisa).  The only name missing is that of Elizabeth Ann Bayliss (who would grow up, as we have seen, to marry Charles Richard Scotcher) because she was working as a servant in the house of James Mitchell, a successfull comb manufacturer and importer, at 6 Studd Street, Islington.

Somewhere along the line Nancy Harriett Curtis met Charles William Curtis. Charles was twenty years old, born in Charlton Kings, and the eldest son of Charles Bayliss. Despite living in nearby Clarendon Street with her family, Nancy's address on her marriage certificate is 17 Johnson Street which is nearby.This is the London of Charles Dickens. In David Copperfield, Mr.Micawber lived in Johnson Street and in Oliver Twist, Oliver himself lived nearby.  The great writer himself, as a child, lived in nearby Bayham Street and for several years after his father's release from the Marshalsea debtor's prison he lived in Johnson Street itself. This had been in the 1840's and Dickens' biographer, Peter Ackroyd, writing of Johnson Street reported that it was in Dicken's time "what might be called 'shabby genteel', the home of shopkeepers and clerks" but he adds that, presumably by twenty years later, it had "declined into squalor."

Charles and Nancy were married in June 1861 at St.Pancras Old Church. The church is still there today although no longer a parish church with regular worship. The surrounding churchyard is maintained as a park by the local council.  The church, like Johnson Street, has interesting literary associations for it was in the churchyard that young Mary Wolstoncraft, the future author of  was wooed by the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley who would later become her husband. One is tempted to imagine that it was at the wedding that Elizabeth Ann Bayliss first caught the eye of Charles Richard Scotcher. Sadly, we'll never know.

St. Pancras Old Church today

After the wedding Charles William and Nancy began their married life in Blundell Street, right opposite the forbidding gates of Pentonville Prison.  Their first child, christened Louisa Nancy, was born there in 1864.


  1. The richness of the research is what I particularly like i.e. tying in Charles Dickens and Mary Shelley to the family narrative which really places the events in the particular time. What a great read!

  2. Wait until I get to Wyatt Earp, Jack the Ripper and Vincent Price! I did omit to name the Dickens biographer - it was, of course, Peter Ackroyd. I have corrected the text.