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A Tie Maker

An illustration from Pearson’s Weekly dated 21 November 1901 of Tie Makers. Courtesy of British Newspaper Archives.

Louisa was a Victorian tie maker; we first find her in the trade at the age of 19. The likelihood is that she started work around the age of 13 or 14,  maybe younger. Louisa continued to work in the industry after she married, only stopping when she became ill at the age of 45. 

Louisa’s Story

Louisa Standly née Yates was born in the City of London in 1862. Though Louisa had several moves due to circumstances in her life, she always stayed just a few miles from her birth place. This was until she became ill and was admitted to Shoreditch Infirmary, Hackney union from where she was transferred to Horton Asylum in Epsom.

Louisa was baptised along with her elder sister Elizabeth Jane on the 7 December 1863 at All Hallows, London Wall. The births written in the side column are not fully legible, I can make out she was born on the 18th ? 62. Abode, 7 White Lion Court. 

Louisa’s father, Frederick Yates

Louisa’s father, Frederick Yates was born 23 June 1836 to Richard and Sarah Yates and he was baptised at the same church,  All Hallows, London Wall on 11 April 1841. Frederick was also baptised with his sister, Mary, born 11 March 1833. Their abode is also the same, White Lion Court. It is now redeveloped. 

Frederick was the youngest child of 6 I found in the 1841 census, born to Richard and Sarah. Richard is 45 years old, Sarah aged 40, children Anne, Robert, Elizabeth, William, Mary and Federick, all living at White Lion Court. 

In the 1851 Census, the residence is 7, White Lion Court, Sarah is now a widow, with 3 of the children. William, a Porter, Mary a waistcoat maker and Frederick an errand boy. I have found a possible death for Richard in the 3rd Quarter 1845 registered in the City of London. 

In 1861, still at 7 White Lion Court, we find Frederick sharing a room or rooms with a single man, William Davis, who is soon to become Frederick’s brother- in- law. There is no sign of the rest of the Yates family. There are several families in the building. 

In the 1st Quarter 1862 Frederick married Louisa’s mother Jane Davis in the City of London.

Jane Davis/Davies, Louisa’s Mother

Jane was born in 1844, the daughter of John Davis and possibly Jane Chapman. John Davis also lived at White Lion Court in 1841 with a Marie but, by 1851 he is with Jane and living at 9 White Lion Court. John is a Coal Porter living with Sons John aged 10, William aged 9 and daughter Jane aged 6.  

By 1861 we find they have moved a street away and are now at 4 Saddlers Street. John has changed occupation to Ostler, he is a widower with John and Jane still living with him. 

Frederick and Jane Yates

Frederick and Jane’s first child Elizabeth was born out of wedlock in 1861. Frederick claims to be the father on the baptism register. She was registered as Elizabeth Jane Davis (her mother’s maiden name) in the 3rd quarter. Louisa follows quickly after and she is registered in the 4th quarter of 1862. Sadly, Elizabeth died in June 1863.

In late 1864 a son is born, Frederick. He is registered in the 1st quarter of 1865 and baptised at All Hallows church, London Wall on 15 January 1865. again the birth dates cannot be read in the column.

1867 and 1868.

Things are not looking good for the family, particularly for Frederick. On 18 or 28 June 1867 Frederick entered the City of London, Hoxton Workhouse at his own request. He was destitute and he gave his address as Blue Hart Court, City of London. He was discharged on 22 July 67. 

The very next day another daughter was born to the couple on 23 July 1867. She was baptised at St Stephen’s Church, Coleman Street on 11 August 1867. The address given was 11 Blue Hart Court.

Blue Hart Court leads on to White Lion Court

Newspaper articles around this time describe the sanitary conditions at Blue Hart Court as terrible, with bad drainage and offensive cellars. In 1866 4 cases of Cholera were reported in the Court and 2 people died. The situation was called out to the Board of Guardians.

No wonder Frederick was admitted again to the same workhouse on 17 Jan 1868 and discharged on 15 February 1868 at his own request and destitute. On 29 October 1868 he was admitted again and discharged on 12 November 1868 at his own request, this time through illness.  Blue Hart Court is his abode.

In December 1868 there was more sadness for the family when baby Sarah died. 

On 5 April 1869 sadly poor Frederick died in the city of London workhouse, the death certificate states Bromley. (Bromley by Bow). The cause of death is Anasarca. Severe Fluid / Edema causing swelling throughout the body. He was only 32 years old.

Frederick’s death is registered in Poplar, 7 April. There is no mention of his family, but given that when baby Sarah was baptised both parents are named, I can only assume they were still together.

The City of London was a wealthy union and reluctant to build a workhouse. The Bow Road Workhouse was opened in 1849 housing 800 inmates. However, it had room only for casual applicants deemed sick or helpless. 

In 1869 the City of London, East London and West London Unions were amalgamated to form an enlarged City of London workhouse, Homerton in the East and Cornwallis, Upper Holloway in the West, Bow Road site became the infirmary. This is the year of Frederick’s death. 


In 1870, Jane had another child, a son John Yates, whose father was unknown. By the time of the 1871 census Jane had moved the family slightly to the east of White Lion Court to 2 Little Swan Alley shared with another family. 

Jane is a widow, working as a Charwoman, Louisa is aged 8, Frederick aged 6, both scholars and John aged 9 months, plus a lodger James D Somerville aged 40, a shoe maker from Ireland.

During this decade more children are born to Jane as the 1881 census reveals.


By 1881 Jane had moved the family again, this time north to 6 Acorn Street, Bishopsgate in London City, a multioccupancy and close to the rail tracks of Liverpool Street Railway Station.

Jane, now aged 36, a widow, a Washerwoman, Louisa aged 19 a tie maker, Frederick aged 17 an errand boy, John aged 12, but the family has increased. Alfred aged 7, George aged 4 plus 5 months old Ernest, all under the Yates surname. No partner or father to the younger children are mentioned.


In 1891 on 24 May at St Thomas’s church in Bethnal Green, Baroness Road. the marriage of Louisa to Lewis Richard Standly took place. Louisa has added Maud to her name. Louisa aged 23, is a tie maker, address 38 Baroness?  Road, her father Frederick Yates Porter, deceased. Lewis, 36, is a Seaman whose address is 104 Hackney Road, his father William Standly a druggist, deceased. Both Louisa and Lewis sign the register.  Witness Louisa’s brother Frederick and Eliza Green mark with an X. 

A few weeks before we find in the 1891 census Lewis and Louisa are living as man and wife at 143, Kingsland Road, Shoreditch. Lewis aged 42 a general Labourer from Lichfield, Staffordshire and Louisa 28 a tie maker, city of London. I can find no trace of any children born to the couple.

These are the correct ages and not as given on the marriage register.

The 1891 census shows for both addresses recorded on the wedding certificate having the following occupants:

Living at 38 Baroness Road, was a Mr Proudfoot, a blacksmith and his wife, a Mr Coleman, a fish porter, his wife and two sons, a Miss Franking whose occupation was brush trimming, Mr Griffith and wife unknown occupation. And at 104 Hackney Road a Richard Berry, a coffee house keeper and family. Both addresses were close to Kingsland Road on the A10. No obvious connection to Alice or Lewis.


In 1901 we find Lewis Richard Standly aged 52, a general labourer and Louisa Maud aged 38, a Tie maker, living at K Block 23. Peabody buildings. Glasshouse Street, Goodmans Fields, Whitechapel.

Glasshouse Street was named after the 17th and 18th century glass industry that was previously situated there. In 1936 the street was renamed John Fisher Street.

In 1940 WW2, K block was destroyed by a German bomb. 70 fatalities of residents and visitors including children and babies. There is now a memorial plaque with the names and ages of the deceased standing nearby. The block was never rebuilt.

London Electoral Register 1832-1965 records these addresses for Lewis Richard Standly:

1902 24 k block, Peabody Buildings, Whitechapel.

1904, 82, Gladstone Buildings, Hoxton. 

1906, 51 Chatham Ave, Hoxton. Louisa’s mother was living on this Avenue in 1901. 

Problems with Louisa’s health.

On 3 September 1907 Louisa was admitted to Horton Asylum. By now she is aged 45. 

Certificate of Medical Practitioner

In the matter of Louisa Standly of Shoreditch infirmary. Hoxton in the City of London. Tie maker an alleged lunatic.

Signed G E Froggett on 29 August 1907. Shoreditch Infirmary.


She is depressed, listless and melancholic, is faulty in her habits, at times refuses food. Takes no interest in anything and cannot give any rational reason why she is so low spirited. 

Statement of particulars

Standly Louisa. Female 45 years. Married. Tie maker. Church of England. From Shoreditch Infirmary.

Late of 53 Buttesland Street.

First attack.  No previous attacks. Length of attack 2 weeks. Supposed cause, Worry.

No epilepsy, not suicidal. Not dangerous to others. Unknown as to any relative afflicted with insanity.

Husband Lewis Richard Standly, 53 Buttesland Street. Husband to be informed of Death. 

Signed Ernest Nystrom 30 August 1907

Additional letters attached to notes.

Admission to Shoreditch Infirmary, I am not sure who George Standly is, have they made a mistake and it should be Lewis.  

Lewis has a brother George.

Possibly Louisa’s mother who remarried to John White in 1897.

Louisa stayed in Horton until her death 2 years later on 7 October 1909. The Cause of death, General Paralysis of the insane and fatty degeneration of the Heart. Post mortem and death certified by J R Lord. Sam C Elgee acting superintendent of Horton hospital registered the death on 19 October. Louisa a Tie maker, wife of – Standly. Occupation unknown of 53 Buttesland Street, Hoxton. Did Louisa lose contact with her husband Lewis? Horton should have his information from her notes.

Louisa was buried on 12th October 1909 in Horton Cemetery, grave no. 491b.

What happened to Lewis, did he also have GPI. I researched the lunacy records and searched death and census records. I could not find him. However, I did find a death that could possibly be him. 

A Richard Standley died in Shoreditch Infirmary in 1914.

Lewis Richard Standly, sometimes with an ‘e’, Standley.  His story.

Born to William Standly and Emma Sutton in Lichfield Staffordshire in the 2nd quarter of 1848. He was baptised at St Mary’s, Lichfield. 

William and Emma had 8 children, Lewis being the youngest. William was a chemist and in the 1841 census he was in Market Street, Lichfield with the first 4 children, William aged 7, Mary aged 5, Emma aged 3 and Susan aged 1. Their mother Emma isn’t with them.

By the 1851 census Emma is a widow, a Druggist and Grocer in Market Street, Lichfield. Eldest son William has left home, Mary aged 14, Charlotte Alice aged 6, Francis aged 5 and Lewis aged 3. Emma aged 12 and Susan aged 11 are in Little Hay school, Shenstone. George aged 8 is in the London Orphan Asylum, Hackney. 

Lewis and Francis, being fatherless at a young age, were put forward for the Wanstead Infant Orphan Asylum. Newspaper articles tell us they were successful. Lewis 26 Nov 1851 and Francis 26 Nov 1852.

The Morning Chronicle 28 Nov 1851

The Morning Herald 27 Nov 1852

The Morning Herald 29 Jan 1851

The Children’s Homes Website, Peter Higginbotham writes very interesting articles and provides photographs. He explains that the entry into many of these homes was by a six-monthly election process where donors to the institution funds voted for their favoured candidates from the list of candidates. The venue was The London Tavern. There are paintings by G E Hicks showing crowded scenes, women with banners and children.

The Wanstead Infant Orphan Asylum, London Orphan Asylum, Asylum for Fatherless Children, The Earlswood Asylum for Idiots, and the Royal Hospital for Incurables all owe their existence to the Reverend (Sir) Andrew Reed (1787-1862). He was a prolific philanthropist and particularly effective in raising money for the schemes from the wealthy and prestigious including Royalty and City merchants.

Sadly, Lewis’s mother Emma died in the last quarter of 1854. 

Thankfully all the children survived and mostly did well. Willam was a chemist in Liverpool. Mary a governess in the Admiralty House, Dock yard, Portsea. Charlotte also a governess in Torquay, Devon before they both settled later with brother Willam. All remained single. Sadly, Charlotte was admitted to Haydock Asylum, St Helen’s, Lancaster, on 28 Feb 1898 and died 9 Oct 1900.  Emma and Susan married. Francis became an insurance Clerk, George a Railway clerk in London. Lewis went to sea at the age of 16. 

His Apprentice Indenture to the Merchant Navy, dated 23 May 1864 age 16, bonded to William John of the Iron Ship Co. Compta registered in Bombay. Date of enrolment, 30 May 1864 for 4 years.

7 Dec 1865- 2 April 1867. Report on Character, very good. Merchant ship, Liverpool to 

East Indies, Cape Town and Boston and back to Liverpool. 

 He was on the Memling, before joining the Priam, in June 1879. 

This may have been his last voyage, as we find him in the 1881 census, a lodger at 6 Woodstock Cottages, Tower Hamlet Road. West Ham, occupation, Labourer. 

He joined on 7 July 1882 London and South West Trains. Employed for a year as a porter.

Of course, we know by the time of the 1891 census he was living with Louisa and indeed married her on 24 May 1891. 

Louisa’s mother, Jane, and siblings

I left Jane aged 36, a washerwoman in 1881 having more children by an unknown father. By the 1891 census Jane is stated to be the wife of John White from Eton, Windsor. Their home is at 1 Tysson Street, Shoreditch. It is shared accommodation. Jane is aged 46, John aged 45, a Stationer’s porter. Frederick Yates aged 26, general porter. Alfred aged 17, a chair maker, Ernest aged 10, and a daughter Annie aged 6. Alfred, Ernest and Annie are recorded under the surname White. 

In the 1901 census we find John aged 56, a porter out of work, Jane aged 58, and Alice aged 16, art needlework (‘fancy’ written above) Single occupancy at 96, Chatham Avenue, Shoreditch. Alice is noted as Alice Annie. 


By the time of the 1911 census. John says he is now aged 72 and a street seller, a newsvendor. Jane is aged 67. They say they have been married 31 years. This is incorrect; they married in 1897. 

It’s also stated that 14 children have been born, 5 alive and 9 have died. Is this with the present marriage or including the children with Frederick Yates? 

Alice Annie is still at home, an art needleworker in drapery. Ernest William aged 31, is now back home. He is an army pensioner, a truck driver to a box maker. Frederick Yates aged 46, is also back home, a wharf labourer. Waterside.  

Jane and John’s marriage 2 March 1897, at St Saviour, Hoxton, Hyde Road, Hackney

There is a possible death for Jane in September quarter 1913 in Shoreditch. 

I have found 9 children being born to Jane and only 3 deaths, Elizabeth, Sarah and Louisa’s. The name White is not the best to research. I haven’t found the White children being registered or baptised.

The work of a Tie Maker

Louisa worked in the same occupation all her working life. Tie making was a skilled job involving predominantly women and children. It seems to have been a job that was done mainly in the home so it was popular with women who could not go out to work. There is evidence there were small establishments where ties were made. We will never know where exactly Louisa worked. 

 The work was considered important enough to be included in the 1893 Royal Commission on Labour – Employment of Women. This looked at the “effects of women’s industrial employment on their health, morality and the home”. Lady Assistant Commissioners were sent out to interview and obtain direct evidence from working women.

 As a result of this Commission there were moves to restrict working hours. However, the women were against this as it restricted their capacity to earn. The Tie Makers Union led by a Mrs Portbury was part of a deputation to the Home Secretary Mr Gerald Balfour in 1894 speaking against the prohibition of home work.

Newspaper articles show the women worked 10 to 12 hours a day for an average wage of 5 shillings a week. Sometimes they were not paid and were exploited.

An example from the Holloway Press dated 16 August 1901 advertising for experienced Tie Makers.

Courtesy of British Newspaper Archives

Machine-made ties at the turn of the 20th century pushed the price of ties down so this must have had an impact on the Tie Makers income. In an article from 1906 it showed some women were only receiving between 6d and 8d per dozen ties made which was not enough to support them.

The information I have managed to gather about Tie Makers shows Louisa would have had to work very hard every day for little reward. Although with all her years of experience she would have been very skilled and in the end her health would have meant she was probably unable to earn and ultimately found herself in an Asylum.

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