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  • All The Year Round

    Saving the best till last, we come to 'Potler', described by Harrison as 'the cleverest man in Europe at that work' (knocking horses on the head).

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    tell you what he can do, and then you may...

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    • All The Year Round

      More about Potler tomorrow. To put all this into a JTR context, in 1869 Henry Tomkins would have been a 10-year-old boy living in the next street to Harrison's yard, where his father worked.

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      • All The Year Round

        Potler, 2:

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        • All The Year Round

          Potler, 3:

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          • All The Year Round

            Potler, 4:

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            • The description of Potler removing his blue cloth reefing jacket and handing it to one of his canvas-coated minions reminded me of the classic image of the group of men outdide The Fortune of War pub next door to Atcheler's/Harrison's slaughter yard in Belle Isle:


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              I spot a reefing jacket and a couple of blood-smeared canvas coats.

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              • Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
                The description of Potler removing his blue cloth reefing jacket, and of his canvas-coated minions reminded me of the classic image of the group of men outdide The Fortune of War pub next door to Atcheler's/Harrison's slaughter yard in Belle Isle:


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                I spot a reefing jacket and a couple of blood-smeared canvas coats.
                I say 'next door' - the building to the left of the pub was the office where the cosy parlour would have been located, and the buildings behind the pub, just glimpsed on the right, were in Atchelers Yard, a complex of dwellings and slaughterhouse buildings where the action took place.

                I doubt the name 'Potler' was genuine. There were quite a few knackers living in the yard and nearby Pleasant Grove, but none with that name, although I imagine a superstar knacker like old 'Potler' could have afforded to live somewhere a little more upmarket.

                'Potler' may well have had his origins in another part of London. Atcheler only moved to Belle Isle in the 1850s, before that the 'chief seat of the London horse-slaughterers' had been in Cow Cross, near Smithfield Market. Perhaps Potler grew up there, or in Wandsworth, or Whitechapel.

                Edit: I believe his name was James Cutler and he was born in Cow Cross.

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                • Henry Tomkins's mum (Sarah Carvell) appeared as a witness at the Old Bailey in October, 1856, giving evidence against Timothy Carter, an alleged burglar. She would have been seventeen at the time, and a year later would give birth to her first child, Jane. Henry would follow in February, 1859, and she would marry William Tomkins in May of that year.

                  Although she appeared as a prosecution witness against Carter, one or two of his cross-examination questions make you wonder how innocent she really was. I love the comment by Carter that when he got out of prison he would 'put half Belle Isle away'.

                  https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/brow...-980#highlight


                  Carter was tried for a second offence on the same day. Found guilty on both counts, he was sentenced to six years imprisonment*. During the second trial there was mention of a woman or girl who had wanted to give evidence against him, but was refused permission to do so by the magistrate.

                  https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/brow...1026#highlight

                  * Carter spent 17 months in Millbank Prison before being transported to Western Australia on the Lord Raglan.

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                  • Fortune of War

                    I obtained the Fortune of War photo from Historic England. They have it catalogued as having been taken in the 1880s. Charles Ritson was its landlord between 1868 and 1882, so that would just about fit, but the fact that Jack Atcheler's name is still showing on the slaughterhouse wall makes me wonder whether it might have been earlier. (The man on the left could well be James Greenwood's bone-crushing giant from 1873.)

                    The best we can say is that it was taken during Ritson's time as licensee, which certainly got off to a lively start (from January, 1869):

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                    • The dissolution of the John Harrison partnership:


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                      • Fortune of War

                        Here's another (later, obviously) photo of the FoW. The man on the right looks similar to the man at the centre of the group in the earlier image.


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                        • Fortune of War

                          Shortly before the buggers knocked it down. (But, given the Watney's livery, can you really blame 'em?)

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                          • Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
                            I obtained the Fortune of War photo from English Heritage. They have it catalogued as having been taken in the 1880s. Charles Ritson was its landlord between 1868 and 1882, so that would just about fit, but the fact that Jack Atcheler's name is still showing on the slaughterhouse wall makes me wonder whether it might have been earlier. (The man on the left could well be James Greenwood's bone-crushing giant from 1873.)

                            The best we can say is that it was taken during Ritson's time as licensee, which certainly got off to a lively start (from January, 1869):

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                            It just occurred to me that when I first found John Harrison on the 1881 census I read his name as Hamson. Could the 'Mr Hamson' in whose house the newly-weds held their wedding reception in fact have been John Harrison?

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                            • Household Words

                              "Heart of Mid-London"

                              A very interesting article (pages 121 to 125) on conditions in Smithfield Market from Charles Dickens's Household Words of 4th May, 1850. The focus of the piece is on the cruelty employed by the drovers and others to control the animals.

                              http://www.djo.org.uk/household-word.../page-121.html

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                              • The solution to the chaos of Smithfield was the creation of the Metropolitan Cattle Market at Copenhagen Fields, immediately to the north of Belle Isle. Thereafter, Smithfield continued as a wholesale meat market only.

                                http://www.victorianlondon.org/marke...agenfields.htm

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