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Robert Prentice of South Hackney, London, England

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Robert Prentice of South Hackney, London, England
By Linus Joseph Dewald Jr., Editor
Spring 2003 and Revised 24 Feb 2011

Update of 24 Feb 2011: Robert Prentice is #7 in our Spring 2001 article entitled John Prentice of Needham, Suffolk, England . That article now replaces this article.

By email of 21 Feb 2003, Kerry Prentice has provided us with the following Prentice information:

1. Robert Prentice was b. c. 1835 in Balderston, Suffolk, England and d. before 1889 and not shown with his wife and children in the 1881 census. He appears in the 1871 census in Tottenham, Middlesex, with his wife and family. At the time of his death he was an Oil Cloth Maker. Neither Robert nor his daughter, Elizabeth, appear in the 1881 census.

One of our correspondents, Kate Haushalter, of Toronto, Canada, told us what an Oil Clother Maker was, something which would have been common knowledge to earlier generations of our Prentice ancestors.

Floor Cloths were an early form of floor carpeting and apparently is still used in some areas today. A "Floor Cloth Painter" and "Oil Cloth Painter" were one and the same. Oil paint was the main form of paint so the terms were quite inter-changeable, unlike today when many floor cloths are done in latex or acylic paint.

Floor cloths were probably first made by maritime wives who used the heavy-duty cloth from ruined sails, then painted and decorated it for flooring. It was very durable. The technique was adapted and other heavy canvas was also used to make decorated floor coverings and Floor Cloths. These were used in many homes of all economic laevels and were popularized along with faux finishes.

The website at "Allens Artist Canvas" sets out the following brief history of floor cloth:

    The use of floor cloths as painted decorative floor coverings began in early eighteenth-century Britain. Also known as oylcloth, painted carpet, common carpet, or summer floor mats, floor cloths were initially used by the wealthy to decorate entryways, hallways and dining rooms. Some were also used under dining tables to protect more expensive carpets from spills. They began to be used in America as early as the Revolutionary War. Initially most were imported from England, but soon there were domestic makers as well and the art form remained popular until around 1860 with the advent of linoleum. There was a revival in the 1950's through the popularization of authentic American crafts and the restoration of vintage homes.

The foregoing website contains a listing of books on the subject that are in print and available for purchase.

Robert Prentice m. Emily, b. c. 1845, London, Middlesex. Children:

  1. Emily Prentice, b. c. 1866, Tottenham, Middlesex. 1871 and 1881 at home. 1891 not home.
  2. Maria Prentice, b. c. 1868, Tottenham, Middlesex. 1871 and 1881 at home. 1891 not home.
  3. Elizabeth Prentice, b. c. 1871, Tottenham, Middlesex.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [2]
  4. James Prentice, b. c. 1874, Tottenham, Middlesex. 1881 and 1891 at home. Not in 1901 census.
  5. Annie L. Prentice, b. c. 1876, Homerton. 1881and 1891 at home.
  6. William R. Prentice, b. c. 1880, Homerton. 1881 and 1891 at home. Not in 1901 census.

2. Elizabeth Prentice, b. c. 1871 , Tottenham, Middlesex, England per the 1891 census in Hackney, London. She appears with her husband and children in the 1901 census in Hackney, London.

She m. John Parrish on 21 Apr 1889 at St. Augustine's Church, South Hackney, London. She was b. 1868. In 1889, John Parrish's occupation was that of a French Polisher living at 16 Cowdry St., South Hackney, London. Elizabeth and John appear in the 1891 census in Hackney, London, where he was still a French Polisher.

Children of Elizabeth and John:

  1. Lily Parish, b. c. 1892, Hackney, London. 1901 at home.
  2. William "Willie" Parish, b. c. 1894, Hackney, London. 1901 at home.
  3. Alfred Parish, b. c. 1895, Hackney, London. 1901 at home.
  4. Robert Parish, b. c. 1898, Hackney, London. 1901 at home.
  5. Elizabeth Parish, b. c. 1900, Hackney, London. 1901 at home.

If you have any information about the folks mentioned in this article, please contact us at dewald@prenticenet.com.


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