One of my fifth great grandfathers was Thomas Plaisted (1777 – 1832), who owned a wine bar in Deptford (I have written before about this, at Plaisteds Wine Bar). Deptford was a dockyard district on the south bank of the River Thames in south-east London.


The Coopers Arms, also known as Plaisteds Wine Bar, in 2008 (photograph from Wikimedia Commons taken by Ewan Munro and uploaded by Oxyman) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 ]

According to my cousin Helen Hudson in “Cherry Stones“, her history of her forebears, Thomas Plaisted was born in Newnham on Severn in west Gloucestershire. His Plaisted ancestors were connected with the village of Castle Combe in Wiltshire. Helen describes an excellent ploughman’s lunch she had there.

Helen’s research was largely based on the work of Arthur Plaisted, who published “The Plaisted Family of North Wilts” in 1939. With the benefit of direct access to many more records and with the power of indexes and digitisation, current family history researchers differ from some of Arthur Plaisted’s conclusions.

Two records of my fifth great grandfather I feel confident about are:

  • his marriage to Lydia Wilkes in June 1797 at St Bride’s Church Fleet Street
  • his will of 1832 and associated codicil, where he names his wife and children. In the codicil to his will he stated: “I Thomas Plaisted do hereby acknowledge that the house known as the sign of the Coopers Arms Woolwich Kent has been from the taking of the above house and is now the property of my son John Plaisted and I do hereby direct that the Licences be transferred to him or to whom he shall appoint witness my hand this twenty ninth day of May one thousand eight hundred and thirty two”. John Plaisted (1800 – 1858) was my fourth great grandfather who in 1849 emigrated to Australia.

The wine bar survived under different owners to about 2010. According to Google Street View in 2018, the building was is being used as a laundrette. Although it looks Georgian, the facade of the building apparently dates from a renovation in the 1920s. The distinctive lamp may date from the original building.

I don’t know why my 5th great grandfather migrated from Gloucestershire to London, or if in fact it was his parents who migrated. London’s population grew from about three-quarters of a million people in 1760 to 1.1 million people in 1801, when the first reliable census was taken. The Plaisted family were among those migrants to London. Some of London’s population growth was due to reduced infant mortality: by the 1840s children born in the capital were three times less likely to die in childhood than those born in the 1730s. However, population growth attributable to reduced infant mortality was outweighed by increased migration and rising fertility.

Thomas Plaisted ran a successful business, which survived and was run by his descendants for most of the nineteenth century. The building was bought in 1890 by a Mr E.J. Rose, who continued to use it as a wine shop and bar. It changed hands several times in the twentieth century and finally closed about 2010.

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