James Bradley Chamberlain
Person Male Born 30/6/1795 Died 5/5/1880
Andrew Behan has kindly researched this frequenter of the Old Bailey: James Bradley Chamberlain was born on 30 June 1795 in Warwick, Warwickshire. He was the eldest son and the second of the five children of William (1768-1848) and Hannah Chamberlain (1762-1811). His father was a labourer. On 28 October 1795 he was baptised in the Collegiate Church of St Mary, Old Square, Warwick.
On 5 December 1821 he gave evidence in a case (concerning the disposal of stolen goods) at the Old Bailey, and described himself as a servant to a Mr Wise, a pawnbroker, in Broad Street, Bloomsbury. The 1825 edition of Pigot & Co's Commercial Directory of London lists him as a Salesman (General) at 37 Broad Street, Bloomsbury. Horwood's map puts this on what is now High Holborn, at the corner with Endell Street.
On 10 May 1828 he married Charlotte Pearce (1790-1841) at St George's Church, Hanover Square, London. Charlotte Pearce née Warburton, was a widow who had two children by her deceased husband, Matthew Pearce, called Matthew Frederick Pearce (1812-1884) and William Warburton Pearce (1814-1872). The 1832 electoral register confirms he was still at 37 Broad Street.
15 June 1935 he gave evidence in a pocket-picking case at the Old Bailey. The incident had taken place at Middle-row, St. Giles's, and Chamberlain witnessed its aftermath as he was coming out of his private door.
In 1836 he was a victim of theft and gave evidence at the Old Bailey on 19 September 1836 describing himself as a Spectacle Maker of Broad Street. It seems he also stocked guns since that was what was stolen. On 4 February 1839 he again gave evidence (again concerning the disposal of stolen goods) at the Old Bailey and described himself as an Optician at Broad Street, St Giles. The 1841 census shows him at Broad Street as an Optician together with his step-son, William W. Pearce and two females servants, Eleanor and Ann Crump who were in fact his wife's nieces.
On 25 October 1841 his other step-son, Matthew Frederick Pearce was convicted in Liverpool Borough Quarter Sessions of the offence of Larceny by Servant (an employee stealing from their employer - more serious than normal theft) and was sentenced to transportation to Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania, Australia) for seven years.
In December 1850 he gave evidence as a victim of fraud (an attempt to acquire a picture by deception) in a trial at the Old Bailey, and he was described as an Optician and Dealer in Pictures of 203 Holborn, London. The 1851 census confirms he was at this address with his step-son, William W. Pearce, his niece Ann Crump, a cousin Sarah Scarlett, a female house servant and a male porter. The 1861 census shows him living at the home of his step-son William Pearce, at Hereford House, Southend Green, Hampstead, together with his niece Ann Crump and a female general servant. Both he and his step-son were shown as Opticians and Importers of Paintings.
On top of all these appearances in court as a witness he also served as a juror on three occasions: 14 May 1838, 13 June 1842 and 6 July 1846.
The St Pancras, Middlesex, electoral registers for 1861 and 1964 shows him registered to vote with property at 203 Holborn, 3 Kings Row, Haverstock Hill and Field Cottage, Haverstock Hill. The 1871 census shows him as an optician, living with his step-son at Hereford House, Hampstead, his niece Ann Crump and a parlour-maid. Pearce died in 1872. Chamberlain died, aged 84 years, on 5 May 1880 in Hampstead.