Much to my amazement, accidentally mixed in with a bunch of Woodruff family papers was this 1830 indenture certificate whereby shipwright “Thomas Trewin the Elder of Plumstead” placed his son “Thomas the Younger” into the hands of Joseph David Binks of Woolwich with whom the younger Thomas, at 13 years of age, was to apprentice as a cabinet maker and joiner for seven years. The document is dated May 14, 1830, “the Eleventh Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord, George the Fourth by the Grace of God, of the united Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Kind Defender of the Faith, and so forth, and in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty.” [George IV–not a very popular guy due to his extravagant lifestyle–died some six weeks later; his brother was crowned King William IV.] If you click on the links I included above, you will see that Plumstead and Woolwich are right next door to each other south of the Thames; at that time, the towns were part of the County of Kent, but were later (1889) swallowed up by Greater London. Thomas the younger would have finished his apprenticeship at age 20 in 1837, the year Queen Victoria began her 63-year reign at age 18 and the year in which Charles Dickens set his novel Great Expectations.
Thomas the Elder gave Binks 10 pounds to take his son on, the equivalent of nearly $1,000 today. From August 1832 to August 1834, Thomas the younger was to receive six shillings per week [about $30 today]; seven shillings per week for the next two years; and eight shillings for the remainder of the contract. The certificate is an interesting read, and the scan is of sufficient quality that you should be able to get down to the fine print.
Joseph David Binks’ descendants have posted quite a bit of information on him. He was a master cabinetmaker whose business was situated at 1 Wellington Street in Woolwich. To read more about him, click here.
You may remember that it was Thomas the younger who eventually, in 1857, with his wife Mary Phillips (married January 27, 1839, in Lewisham village, Co. Kent) and children set sail for a new life in Canada having endured great hardship in the Woolwich area once work became scarce at the arsenal there after the Crimean War.* The emigration chapter of their life was described in one of my earliest posts. (To read all Trewin-related posts, click on Trewin under the surname category on the left side of this blog page; it’s best to go in chronological order.)
Note: For an interesting synopsis of the history of London’s royal dockyards, Woolwich and Deptford, visit the PORTCITIESLondon website.