Landrake: contrasting personal geographies

Landrake is a parish in south-east Cornwall straddling the main road from Saltash to Liskeard. Now part of Plymouth’s commuter belt, in the nineteenth century it was predominantly farming country. Nonetheless, the village housed the usual quota of shopkeepers and craftsmen. The life courses of two children from non-farming backgrounds provide a contrasting tale of geographical and occupational mobility.

Sarah Ann Warrick was the daughter of a grocer in the village of Landrake – John Warrick. The family was obviously vital in supporting John’s business, his wife and eldest daughter Jane being described as grocer’s assistants in 1851. Ellen, his wife, died during the 1850s and John was then forced to rely solely on the help of his eldest daughter while his other children grew up.

By 1871 Jane had left home and Sarah, along with her sister Ellen were the only ones left to help their father. His relatively long life, surviving almost to his 80th year, plus the family shop, to a large extent mapped out Sarah’s destination for her. She and her sister remained unmarried while they assisted their father. When he died in the 1880s the pair took over the shop, adding a drapery business to the grocery concern.

Joseph Ough grew up in the same village as Sarah Warrick, brought up by his grandparents. Joseph had no family business to walk into and does not appear to have followed his grandfather into his trade of carpentry. Unlike Sarah, he did not stay in the village. It’s not clear what he was doing or where he was in 1871 and 1881 but in 1891 he re-appeared in the historical record as a Metropolitan Police constable, unmarried and living in the police barracks at Kings Cross in north London. It’s possible that he’d been in the forces – navy or army – in the intervening years and joined the Met on leaving. He retired from the police soon after the 1891 census in 1895, still a humble constable.

In 1901 Joseph married at the age of 60 while still living in north London at Finsbury. At some point in his retirement, he then moved out to the growing suburb of Edmonton, where he died in 1929.

Joseph Ough’s retirement and pension details

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