There are several Benjamins recorded in London. The first that I have found a record of died in 1699. He was a distiller, son of another Benjamin. I hope to find if they were members of the Distillers guild, but this requires a visit to the Guildhall archive in London so that will have to go into the action pending pile!
The Benjamin of most significance to my family is Benjamin Shout (1746- 1811) son of Robert Shout and Margaret Driffield of Helmsley who established himself in business as an oilman and perfumer, selling whale oil for lamps. His premises were at 223 High Holborn. By 1802 he was also advertising as a dealer in British wines. I presume this might mean wine imported in barrels then bottled in England.
He appears in the Westminster Rate Book every year from 1771 although his precise address is not shown in most entries. In 1772 he is shown as being rated in Little Queen Street. In 1790 he is advertising in a partnership – Shout and Lightfoot at the top of Bedford Row, Holborn. After 1794 he is partnered with nephew Robert Shout (1763 – 1843), son of John Shout of Stockton and his wife Mary Hoggart. They had premises at 18 High Holborn (described as being three doors below Grays Inn Gate), and at 13 Eagle St. Red Lion Square. (In a touch of serendipity my employer for over thirty years had premises in Red Lion Sq). I think the No.18 High Holborn was probably a shop, and residence, while the Eagle Street premises was the yard where work was carried out.
Benjamin married Elizabeth Marshall at St Luke’s Old St. on 17th October 1782. I have a copy of a Court of Chancery action taken by Benjamin and Elizabeth in connection with a will. Unfortunately this is on 5 sheets of A3 paper and is pretty illegible – but one day I will pick out enough detail to understand what was at issue.
Benjamin and Robert became well established as sculptors and makers of plaster casts. Their works occasionally come up in auctions (but unfortunately they are rather more than I am in a position to pay! Some reach several thousand pounds). The writer Leigh Hunt once wrote that the home of the poet Shelley contained several works by Shout, but this was after Benjamin’s death
During the period of their partnership Benjamin seems to have kept his oilman business operating and quite possibly was more concerned with this business rather than the “artistic” activity of the partnership.
In his will, Benjamin left the oilman business to his son Benjamin, his half share in the statuary business to be sold to Robert for the benefit of his widow , as was his third share in “The General Greenfield” which he shared with his nephew John. He bequeathed a life interest in the Eagle Street premises to his widow, and on her death this transferred to son Benjamin and daughters Jane (married to John Frodsham) and Sarah (married to Edward Baker). Both sons in law were chronometer makers. John Frodsham’s family were noted for many years for their quality. I believe that Benjamin also had a son William Shout whose will is in the TNA. Written in 1802 when he was Master’s Mate aboard HMS Culloden, William left everything to his daughter Elizabeth in the care of his mother. No further record of his daughter has been found.
Benjamin’s burial is recorded in the register of St Giles in the Fields on 17th February 1811. In 1814 /15 there was litigation in the Court of Chancery between John & Jane Frodsham and Elizabeth Shout, Benjamin Shout & Edward Baker & wife. Another trip to The National Archives is called for to try to get to the bottom of why Jane felt aggrieved with her mother and siblings.
The will of Benjamin’s widow Elizabeth is available on Ancestry.co.uk, written in December 1815. Benjamin junior is her sole heir and executor. Charles Lutwyche Shout (son of Robert) is shown as a deponent that the writing and signature he recognised as that of Elizabeth Shout. Her address is given as White Lyon St, Pentonville. Clearly the bad blood between Benjamin & his mother and his siblings was still in effect as he needed his “cousin” Charles to confirm his mother’s signature!
Benjamin Junior seems to have had a rather chequered business career. He appears as a bankrupt in The London Gazette and numerous other newspapers in 1817, 1819, 1827 and 1835. His business interests included partnerships in The Phoenix Brewery , Bagnigge Well London) , manufacture of malt vinegar, manufacture of table sauce (sued for claiming someone else’s recipe as his own. Cost 100 guineas), manufacture of “blacking” (which I think was either shoe polish or the black polish used on kitchen ranges).
Benjamin married Elizabeth Curtis on 3rd October 1807 at Lambeth St Mary’s.
In 1827 he is shown as a commission traveller – but no indication of what he sold. Once again he is in trouble for insolvency. His address is given as Windsor Terrace, Great Dover St. -ironically not far from Marshallsea debtors prison, as immortalised in Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens.
In the 1851 census he is shown staying with his son Henry (1813 – 1878) also a commercial traveller, and wife Jane (1816 – 1895) , at Halton Lane, Runcorn, Cheshire. Benjamin died in 1857 in Derby at the home of Henry. He does not appear to have left a will (or had an administration of his estate). Given his past history this is perhaps not surprising!
Henry married Jane Frodsham, his first cousin, in Islington in 1850 and died in Nottingham 13th August 1878. Jane died 16th July 1895, also in Nottingham. They had three children – Jane Elizabeth b 1851, Mary Alice b 1856, Emily Frodsham b 1859. All three daughters married in 1887, 1883 and 1882 respectively. Emily married in Scarborough while the others stayed closer to home and married in Nottingham. In the 1871 census Henry’s place of birth is given as Runcorn but in 1851 it is recorded as London. Unfortunately I have not been able to locate him in 1861.