South from Barley - part 1
South from Barley - part 1
When Joseph, the third child of Joseph South, an agricultural labourer, and Sarah Barnes, of Barley, was born in 1822, the South family had lived in the area for at least nine generations. After his marriage to Emma Bright in 1844 Joseph started on his journey south from Barley; firstly, via Ware and Cheshunt to Edmonton; later he travelled 13000 miles further south to New Zealand on the other side of the world.
Henry Bright, the father of Emma, was a brickmaker probably working at the brickfield at Morrice Green. It is likely that Joseph learnt the skills of the clayworker at that site and which he used to support his two families in the coming years. Indeed, the foundation was laid for his direct UK descendants who were engaged in the clay industry until 1960.
By 1850 Joseph and Emma were living in Ware and after the birth of their sons, Joseph(2) and Solomon, the couple move moved to Cheshunt where Samuel was born. Typically, itinerant brickmakers plied their trade on the site of building developments. Bricks were moulded from the brickearth excavated during the construction works and fired in makeshift kilns. The pug mill used to breakdown and mix the clay would be a portable item of equipment comprising a cylinder and roller turned by a horse walking in a circular path around it.
Eventually, Joseph and his family arrived in Edmonton sometime after 1861 and took up residence at 26 Water Lane (later Angel Road) with the intention of setting up a more permanent home. In 1868 he started a small pottery nearby, adjacent to Dysons Road making flower pots to supply the burgeoning Lea Valley Market Garden Industry. However, Joseph continued to be described as a brickmaker in the 1871 census.
The demand for flower pots was close at hand. Pots are heavy, bulky and fragile. They are, therefore, best made as near customers as possible. It is uncertain what type of clay was used at the Dysons Road pottery. Down on the valley floor the pottery was off the brickearth and Joseph would have needed to dig through gravels to reach the London clay which is particularly suitable for pot making. As with any mineral extraction, production results in a diminishing asset. The stock of clay was replenished by material excavated from building foundation and burials.
The last of the eight children from the union with Emma Bright were born at Water Lane. By 1871, the young Joseph and his brother Samuel were in business with their father and, it is believed, Solomon had enlisted in the army. However, the domestic harmony was not to last. Emma died in October 1868 from pulmonary tuberculosis leaving Joseph, who was now 45, to care for the younger children. Ten months later, in August 1869, Joseph married a second time to Mary-Ann Dutton who was less than half the age of her husband.
It can be reasonably speculated that the second marriage caused tensions between Joseph and the elder sons of Emma who were of a similar age to their step mother. The younger Joseph married and Samuel moved out also to lodge with the family of his future wife, Alice Barnard. The conflict was resolved when Joseph and Mary-Ann decided to emigrate from the UK to New Zealand. The decision meant that the family would separate, never to meet again.
During the 1870's New Zealand was actively encouraging immigrants and the more prosperous Provincial Councils, including Otago on the South Island, implemented their own schemes so that greater control could be exercised over the selection of the newcomers. Assisted passages were offered and advertisements appeared in the British press. Perhaps Joseph saw an announcement in the press made by the Otago Authority extolling the potential of the area.
Prior to his departure, Joseph set about putting his affairs in order. He sold the Dysons Road pottery to his son, Samuel.
The bill of sale was signed on 3 February 1874:
I Joseph South Sen do agree to sell to Samuel South the undermentioned Pots Plants and etc of the Pottery Angel Road Middx
The total is incorrect. It should be £19-05-0.
A month later, on 7 March 1874 Joseph and Mary Ann embarked on the "Buckinghamshire" accompanied by the four youngest children of his first marriage to Emma Bright and the second (surviving) child of the second marriage. The mixture of emotions can be imagined; great sadness at the break-up of the family; apprehension about the dangers of the voyage ahead; the uncertainty of the life that awaited them in New Zealand. Interestingly, the shipping lists for the assisted passengers on the voyage record incorrect personal details for Joseph and Mary-Ann:
The standards of safety and accommodation on board the ships taking immigrants to New Zealand at that time varied and, on occasion, they were the subject of official concern and investigation. Fire and the spread of disease, especially among the more vulnerable younger children were the greatest fears. The dangers were demonstrated when in September 1874, six months after Joseph left the UK, the Cospatrick caught fire on voyage to New Zealand and all 429 immigrants perished.
Joseph and his family arrived in Port Chalmers, New Zealand, on 29 May 1874 and would have spent few days in accommodation for assisted passengers. Later the same year he opened brick works at Anderson's Bay and later established a business at Fairfield on land leased from the government. Joseph and his sons operated both businesses until he closed down at Anderson's Bay in 1891. The family was now living in Fairfield and in 1889 the last of his nine children by Mary-Ann was born. In 1901 Joseph sold the business to his son, Ernest, for £115-16-6. On 20 December 1906, aged 84, Joseph died and the long journey south from Barley was over.
In the meantime, back in the UK, his son, Samuel had established a successful pottery business in White Hart Lane, Tottenham, which traded until its closure in 1960. But that as they say, is another story.
KLB 10/97 (rev 11/97)