Many of the documents I am now cataloguing relate to property owned, leased or rented in the early 1800`s by the Powell family, in Fulham and Thanet. Currently I have been examining correspondence relating to John Powell Powell, his wife Charlotte, and his brother-in –law, Captain Charles Bowland Cotton, of the East India Company and his wife, Harriott, John`s sister.
As I was opening up today, in Quex house,to my left I noticed we have on display Captain Cotton`s octant, and medicine chest, the latter containing purges and emetics for use on long journeys at sea. We also have coins salvaged from the Thames Estuary wreck of the `Hindostan`. The word `cash` may be derived from the Sanskrit, an Indian connection, and cash in all its forms was often the subject of this correspondence.
These families lived in London for much of the time, but John and Charlotte also lived at Quex Park, their country seat, whereas Charles and Harriott lived at the Convent, Kingsgate,near Broadstairs.
Frequent letters were sent to their joint solicitor in London, Charles Deare, who kept track of family assets and arguments over property, bills and furniture, particularly relating to Kingsgate. Each house seemed to have its own special items, hotly disputed over many years.
Whilst their respective husbands were often at sea the wives proved themselves to be formidable estate managers, with responsibilities of looking after buildings, tenants and farms, at times incurring great expense. Harriott was something of an interior designer, whilst Charlotte was deeply involved with Quex Farm Tenants. She was also conscious of her duties to the labourers and the poor,ensuring a `Hot Capital Beef` Christmas dinner for them This was also expedient as this was the time in 1830 of the`Swing` riots against poor wages and the introduction of machines.
Extensive details of daily life were sent by each family member to Charles Deare in Temple, London, and Charlotte also sent him food by carriage, a favourite hare, killed by the hunt, and a fresh lobster, with cucumber, cooked by the Quex cook, freshly caught that morning.
More news will follow as I delve deeper into the `Swing` riots, and how they affected East Kent in the 1830`s, with the men from the Blockade not always available, and fear for the rioters of transportation.
Eileen Mount works in the Archives here at Quex, here she is with two of her fellow archive volunteers, Joy and Tina.