Thomas Lambert Penrith grocer

When I looked at the photos I’d taken of ‘random’ gravestones at Beacon Edge Cemetery, Penrith, the name ‘Thomas Lambert’ seemed familiar.

A little digging, and I worked out why.

Thomas Lambert – his family

Thomas Lambert was just 41 when he died, on March 18, 1901, at 49 Wordsworth Street, Penrith. 

He left behind him a widow, Mary, and children Horace and Stafford.

1901 49 Wordsworth Street, Penrith. 

Mary Lambert, 36, boarding house keeper, born Sebergham,

Horace Lambert 12, Stafford Lambert 8, and:

Mary’s sister Elizabeth Murray, who is single.

There aren’t any boarders.

The address in 1911 is Hesket House, Wordsworth Street. Mary is still a boarding house keeper, assisted by her sister.

Stafford Lambert, who was baptised on October 28, 1892, is a clerk to an accountant. And there are two boarders. 

Stafford looks to have served in the Royal Fusiliers in the First World War. Brother Horace Lambert, by now moved to Liverpool, served in the Royal Garrison Artillery. When he joined up, in May 1916, his mother was living at 10 Hunter Lane, Penrith. 

Thomas Lambert is buried at Beacon Edge Cemetery, Penrith

Back to Thomas Lambert

We have to go back to 1891 for the key information: Thomas Lambert was a grocer, at 8 Market Square. 

He’d been born at Hesket: in 1871, he was at Low Hesket with his widowed mother, Ann, and several siblings. Father Robert had been a farmer of 255 acres, but he died in 1867, prompting a big sale of cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, crops, implements, etc. 

Also at Low Hesket in 1871 are the Murray family: farmer Francis, his wife Sarah, and their children, including seven-year-old Mary.

Thomas Lambert and Mary Murray married at High Hesket on April 4, 1888. Mary was still living in the village, but Thomas was now running the grocery business in Market Square. 

He was nominated for election to Penrith Board of Health in March 1891, but withdrew. However, he was appointed an overseer (for the poor) a month later. 

A (in passing!) royal visit to Penrith

In 1896, it was announced that the partnership between Thomas Lambert and William Taylor, trading as Lambert and Taylor, grocers and provision dealers, had been dissolved by mutual consent. The partners had, at the start of that year, decorated their premises with

 ‘a very tasteful show of red drapings, flags and shrubs, while a crown in the centre of the royal monogram was the illumination’.

The occasion, embraced enthusiastically by all Penrith traders, was a visit by his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. HRH was actually there to visit Lord Lonsdale at Lowther Castle, with a view to shooting pheasants. But he arrived by royal train and Lord Lonsdale’s carriage then took him through the town, where bands played and crowds cheered.

Flooding in Penrith

Thomas Lambert continued in business, in King Street. There was drama there in January 1899 when days of heavy rain led to flooding in Penrith. Thomas Lambert’s stables flooded and he had to wade almost up to his waist to get the horses out, while his pigs swam for their lives. The damage to his stock in his flooded warehouses was put at £50, about £6,560 in today’s values.

The loss must have been too heavy to bear, for he ‘ceased trading’ in 1900.

Yesterday, Mr Thomas, Lambert, Arthur Street, Penrith, died after a very short illness, at the age of 42. For several years, he was in business with Mr. William Taylor as wholesale grocer in the Corn Market. On the dissolution of the partnership, he carried on business alone in King Street, but had to cease trading last year. He leaves a widow and small family 

Carlisle Journal, March 19, 1901

The Penrith Observer reports:

a deed of assignment for the benefit of creditors, executed as the 17th day of October, 1900, by THOMAS LAMBERT, of PENRITH, the County of Cumberland. GROCER and PROVISION MERCHANT. To be sold as a going concern…

11 King Street

The address of the premises was 11 King Street. This was then taken over by Pears & Elliott, grocers, who initially used up some old printed invoices, stamping their name over Tom Lambert’s. And that’s why his name seemed familiar.

October 27, 1900 

Important notice. Having purchased the business of Mr Thomas Lambert, 11 King Street, Penrith, we will open the same on Tuesday, October 30 and we hope, with strict and personal attention to business, to be honoured with the support that has been so liberally been accorded to him.

You can read more about 11 King Street in this post