Thursday, 31 March 2016

The Jones Family Part II: The Alliance Hotel, a move to Adelaide and a hint of London.

In Part I, I wrote about the Thomas and Theophila Jones’ move to the Alliance Hotel in Tanunda, and the birth of my Great Great Grandmother in 1851.  Their second child was born the next year. William Henry JONES was born on the 14th October 1852[i] but sadly he died when only six months old in April of 1853.[ii] 
As an aside, people often comment that the death of children in the old days was accepted as part of life, and people “just got on with things”. I have always had trouble believing this. I think the death of a child in the past would have been just as painful as it is today. It being common would not have made it easier. I do imagine though that it being an experience shared my many, there would have been good support from friends and family who would have understood the grief first-hand.

In  February 1853 their horse went missing. Thomas advertised in the hope of her return.

STRAYED from Tanunda, the end of January, a small LIGHT BAY MARE, aged, branded M under saddle, switch tail, off fore foot a little grey. Supposed to have gone in the direction of Encounter Bay. The above reward will be paid on delivery of the above mare at the
Alliance Hotel. Tanunda.
THOS. R. JONES.[iii]

I noticed that there were a number of missing horses in the area around that time. I wonder if there was a horse thief, or perhaps it was just a common occurrence in those days for horses to wander off.

On the 6th of July that year (1853) Theophila’s widowed mother Rosalia GĂ–ETTLING (nee SOBIESKI) married Johann Gottfried SCHROEDER in her Adelaide home[iv].  Later that same year Thomas and Theophila’s next child Henry Rowland JONES was born on the 9th December in Tanunda.[v]
In March of 1855 the family moved to Adelaide and held the licence at the Blenheim Hotel in busy Hindley St.[vi]
On one of Thomas’ first advertisements of his new business gives not only a lovely description of what was on offer but gives us a clue to his life in London before moving to Australia.

1855 'Advertising', Adelaide Times (SA : 1848 - 1858), 13 September, p. 1. , viewed 29 Mar 2016,

A diversion back further in time.

Thomas Rowlands JONES was born in Temple Street, Southwark, London on the 8th Feb 1823. His parents were Thomas JONES and Anna Maria ROWLANDS[vii]. Southwark was not far from the London docks, and Thomas mentions in his advertisement that he worked on the Docks for many years as a wine taster.  This made me wonder, what would life as a wine taster on the London docks be like?

Thanks to the Graphics Fairy for this nice picture and nifty craft idea.

The following quotes I took from the marvellous “The Dictionary of Victorian London” The section on the London Docks.

"As you enter the dock, the sight of the forest of masts in the distance, and the tall chimneys vomiting clouds of black smoke, and the many- coloured flags flying in the air, has a most peculiar effect; while the sheds, with the monster wheels arching through the roofs, look like the paddle-boxes of huge steamers. Along the quay, you see new men with their faces blue with indigo, and now gaugers with their long brass-tipped rule dripping with spirit from the cask they have been probing; then will come a group of flaxen-haired sailors, chattering German; and next a black sailor with a cotton handkerchief twisted turban-like around his head. Presently a blue-smocked butcher, with fresh meat and a bunch of cabbages in the tray on his shoulder, and shortly afterwards a mate with green parroquete in a wooden cage. Here you will see sitting on a bench a sorrowful- looking woman, with new bright cooking tins at her feet, telling you she is an emigrant preparing for her voyage. As you pass along this quay the air is pungent with tobacco, at that it overpowers you with the fumes of rum. Then you are nearly sickened with the stench of hides and huge bins of horns, and shortly afterwards the atmosphere is fragrant with coffee and spice. Nearly everywhere you meet stocks of cork, or else yellow bins of sulphur or lead-coloured copper ore. As you enter this warehouse, the flooring is sticky, as if it had been newly tarred, with the sugar that has leaked through the casks, and as you descend into the dark vaults you see long lines of lights hanging from the black arches, and lamps flitting about midway. Here you sniff the fumes of the wine, and there the peculiar fungous smell of dry-rot.
Henry Mayhew, Labour and the Poor in the Morning Chronicle for Oct., 1849. Quoted by Peter Cunningham, Hand-Book of London, 1850

This is the great depot for the stock of wines belonging to the Wine Merchants of London. Port is principally kept in pipes sherry in hogsheads. On the 30th of June,1849, the Dock contained 14,783 pipes of port ; 13,107 hogsheads of sherry ; 64 pipes of French wine; 796 pipes of Cap wine ; 7607 cases of wine, containing 19,140 dozen; 10,113 hogsheads of brandy; and 3642 pipes of rum. The total of port was 14,783 pipes, 4460 hogsheads, and 3161 quarter casks.
Peter Cunningham, Hand-Book of London, 1850

Under the London Docks are the finest vaults in the world, vast catacombs of the precious vintages garnered from every famous vineyard in the globe. The vaults in the London docks cover an area of eighteen acres, and afford accommodation for eighty thousand pipes of wine. One of the vaults alone is seven acres in extent, and the tea warehouses will hold one hundred and twenty thousand chests of that fragrant herb.
To go into these vast wine vaults is indeed a treat. It is like entering a City of the dead, only that instead of the skeletons of human beings piled on top of each other, you find an Aceldama of casks, pipes, barrels, hogsheads, and butts, bonded and stored tier upon tier ... The vaults are only separated from the bed of the Thames by a thick wall, and at noonday gas has to be turned on to light the way to the enormous storehouses of wine and brandy. Passes are granted by the companies and the owners of liquors on bond, called "tasting permits," which gives the privilege to the visitor to ask an attendant for a sample of any wine, or wines and liquors that he may choose to taste.
Daniel Joseph Kirwan, Palace and Hovel : Phases of London Life, 1878

WINE VAULTS, London Docks. The London Docks lie to the East of St. Katherine's Docks, and were constructed in 1805, at a cost of £4,000,000. They extend over an area of 120 acres and contain water space enough for 300 vessels. They have extensive warehouses for goods and their wine vaults can store more than 8,000,000 gallons of wine. At times more than 3,000 men are employed at these docks in one day, and every morning at the principal entrance a large crowd of labourers may be seen waiting in hopes of obtaining work. Permission to visit the vaults may be obtained from the Secretary of the London Dock Company at 109 Leadenhall Street, E.C. Those wishing to taste the wines must obtain a tasting order from a wine merchant. Ladies are not admitted after 1 p.m.

George Birch, The Descriptive Album of London, c.1896

Please check Lee Jackson’s site out it is really interesting. I love the bit on the Wool warehouse on the London Docks, but there is lots of other great stuff too.

"Tom, Jerry and Logic 'tasting' Wine in the Wood on the London Docks".1823 Isaac Richard and George Cruickshank

I do not know that the smell of dry rot in the dark vaults would have been too nice, but the docks do sound like they would have been an exciting place for a young man to work. I wonder if Thomas picked up German language with his dealings with wine merchants and importers, or if he already had the ability to speak German and so it helped him get his job as a taster.  Perhaps it was here in the hustle and bustle of the Docks that Thomas heard tales of the far off Barossa Vally, and decided to emigrate to Australia for the fresh air and peaceful countryside.

In my next instalment, I will have more on the Blenheim Hotel.

[i] Birth Registration index: William Henry JONES #4/88
[ii] Research by Christopher Ridings
[iii] 1853 'Advertising', South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), 9 February, p. 3. , viewed 29 Mar 2016,
[iv] Marriage Index : Rosalie Gottling and Johann SCHRODER #17/175
[v] Birth Registration index: Henry Rowlands JONES #4/246
[vi] 1855 'BENCH OF MAGISTRATES.', Adelaide Times (SA : 1848 - 1858), 15 March, p. 3. , viewed 29 Mar 2016,
[vii] England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch

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