In the last post I noted that, at the time of his marriage to Elizabeth Robb in February 1842,  Edmund Vineer claimed to be living in Salem Gardens in the Bayswater / Paddington area. I suggested that Vineer, as a young ‘professor of music’, might have been attracted by the literary and artistic associations of the area. However, I’ve now found Salem Gardens in the census records for 1841 and a rather different picture emerges of this street on the far western edge of the rapidly expanding metropolis.

We know that Edmund Vineer wasn’t in Salem Gardens when the 1841 census was taken, since at that time he could be found living with his widowed mother and younger siblings at Clarence Terrace, close to Regent’s Park. So he must have moved at some point in the intervening seven months: if indeed Salem Gardens was ever his actual home rather than an address of convenience.

'Sweeps' Day in Upper Lisson Street, Paddington', late 1830s.

‘Sweeps’ Day in Upper Lisson Street, Paddington’, late 1830s. London street with a Jack-in-the-Green procession and a number of boy chimney sweeps who are collecting money. People watch the entertainment from the pavement. (Photo by Museum of London/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

The census records reveal that there were twenty-nine dwellings in Salem Gardens in 1841, many of them of multiple occupancy. A survey of the occupations of the heads of household shows that the street had a decidedly working-class character – unlike more mixed neighbourhoods, such as Gresse Street, where Joseph and Georgiana Boden lived. Among those owning or renting properties in Salem Gardens were porters, labourers, chimney sweeps, charwomen, laundresses, ironers, grooms, gardeners, shop assistants, needlewomen, french polishers, coach builders, furniture packers and watchmen, as well as an unusual number of bricklayers, plasterers and decorators, presumably attracted to the area by the enormous amount of building going on at that time.

Of course, Vineer was himself of humble origins: after all, his father was a bootmaker. But presumably Edmund’s profession meant that he aspired to a different way of life. Arguably, he only achieved it with his second marriage, which will be the subject of the next post.