Thomas Pell (1861-1938)

Thomas Pell was born in Quorndon in 1861 to parents Thomas, aged 38, and Jane, aged 35. At the time of the 1861 census[1], Thomas junior was a month old, living on Leicester Road, Quorndon, with his parents and four siblings (Ephraim (10), Ann (8), Lois (3) and Francis (2)). Thomas senior is recorded as being a “stone quarrier”, probably at Mountsorrel, as was his son Ephraim, aged just 10. Thomas senior was born in either Willoughby or Wartnaby about 1823 and married Jane Brewin, born about 1824 in Thorpe Acre, at All Saints’ Church, Loughborough on 29th September 1850[2]. Following their marriage[3], they initially lived with Jane’s parents, John and Jane Brewin and her four siblings in Regent Street, Loughborough. At the time, Jane was described as an angora shirt maker and Thomas, a labourer.

Thomas Pell senior died on 3rd October 1868, aged 46, following an accident, whilst working in a stone quarry in Mountsorrel. The outcome of the inquest was accidental death[4]:

Death from Accident at Mountsorrel Quarries

—On Monday, an inquest held at Loughborough, before J. Gregory, Esq., coroner, on the body of Thomas Pell, deceased, who was forty-six years of age, was a quarryman, employed at the Mountsorrel Stone Quarries, and from the evidence adduced at the inquest, it appeared that on the 5th alt., he was engaged with another quarry-man, named Perkins, in unloading some squares of stone from some waggons, which were on the railway near to the junction with the Midland line, where there is a slight incline. Deceased got out of the waggon to lower it a little, intending it to about twelve or fourteen yards. He placed one foot on the break, the other was hanging over the buffer, and the rails being rather damp, the waggon proceeded farther than he intended it down the incline. The deceased used every endeavour to stop it, but was unable to do so. Some more waggons were standing on the line, about fifty yards off, and deceased being unable to stop the waggon he was in, his foot was crushed between the buffers. He complained of great pain, and his fellow workmen came to his assistance, and he was shortly afterwards removed to the Dispensary, at Loughborough. When he was admitted there, it found that his foot was very badly crushed, the second toe being broken. He went on very well until the 28th ult., when the end of the broken toe began to mortify, and deceased showed symptoms of tetanus, which increased up to Saturday last, when he died. The deceased was a very steady man, and was considered a very careful man about his work. On this occasion, his attention appears to have been so much up in attempting to stop the wagon, that he forgot the position of his foot. —

The jury returned verdict of “Accidental death”.

The family subsequently moved to Loughborough, where in 1871[5], Thomas junior, still at school, was living with his widowed mother, at No. 10, John Street[6], together with his two elder sisters, Annie, aged 18, and Lois, aged 13, both working in a hosiery warehouse and younger brother, Frank, aged 6. Also, living with them was Jane’s mother, Jane, aged 79, who had remarried. Jane’s brother, Ephraim, aged 36, a labourer at an iron works, was living with his young family, a few doors away at No. 13. Later the same year, Thomas’ mother married William Thompson, a bricklayer’s labourer, who was also widowed and living in Quorndon with two sons and two daughters[7]. In 1881, Thomas junior, now aged 20 was living in Quorndon with his step-father, mother, half-brother and brother, Frank. Like his step-father and half-brother he was working as a bricklayer’s labourer, whilst Frank was an elastic weaver.

Thomas junior married Ann Lynes on 12th November, 1881, at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Chapel, Ashby Road, Loughborough. He reportedly joined the firm the following year, probably as a labourer[8]; as in 1891[9], he was described as a woodyard labourer. At the time, he was living, at No. 3, Union Lane[10], off Derby Road, with his wife, 4-month-old daughter, Agnes, and three sons, Frank, aged 7, (Thomas) William, aged 5 and Albert, aged 3; all born in Loughborough. Later, they moved to No. 109, Station Street, where in 1901, now a joiner’s labourer;, his son Frank was working as a painter for the firm; Thomas William, as a factory errand boy; Albert, as a newsboy hawk (a street newspaper seller). In the intervening 10 years, two more daughters had arrived, Frances, aged 5 and Annie, 2. The family remained in Station Street to around 1908[11], moving to No. 7a, Regent Street, where their daughter Agnes died, aged 20, in December 1910[12]. By the 1911 census, Thomas, still a woodyard labourer, and Annie were living at No. 3, Ashby Square, a 4-room property, with their 12-year old daughter Annie and Joseph Thacker, a single 29-year old lodger. Whether Joseph Thacker, who was a labourer also worked for the firm is unknown.


No. 109, Station Road, Loughborough

The only installation that Thomas Pell is known to have worked on was a new peach house for Viscount Galway, at Serlby Hall (between Worksop and Doncaster), Nottinghamshire, in 1889[13].

Thomas died aged 78 in 1938 and his wife, Ann, two years earlier, aged 73.



  1. 7th April 1861.
  2. The Leicestershire Mercury and General Advertiser for the Midland Counties, 5th October 1850.
  3. 1851 Census Return.
  4. The Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury, 10th October 1868.
  5. Census Return.
  6. John Street no longer exists, it ran between Bridge Street and Salmon Street (no longer exists ran but ran between the end of Shakespeare Street and Fennel Street) and today is partly occupied by Fennel Street (at its junction with Bridge Street) and partly by the Rushes Shopping Centre.
  7. 1871 Census Return.
  8. A Century of Progress – a History of Messenger & Company, Limited. 1858-1958 (Unpublished).
  9. Census Return.
  10. Union Lane was a very short street, consisting of about 5 terraced houses. It was approached off Derby Road, between Nos. 54 and 56 on the south side. It originally lead up to the Union Workhouse, hence its name. The site is now occupied by Regent Court.
  11. Wills’ Loughborough Almanac & Street Directory for 1908.
  12. The Loughborough Monitor and News, 8th December 1910.
  13. Privately held records.