The Times 25th July 1891, p16
“WAITER, Coffee, Sitting Room, or otherwise. Thoroughly experienced. English. Age 23. – E.L. 241 Avenue-road Extension, Clarendon Park, Leicester.”
This advertisement is so interesting to me. It typifies us so many things about Victorian Clarendon Park life.
Number 241 Avenue Road Extension was a shop. In 1891 it was occupied by John and Elizabeth Clayton (and her mother), who also kept boarders. Census night was 5th April 1891 and E.L., whoever he was, had presumably found a job and moved out. He was almost certainly a boarder rather than a family member (Elizabeth’s maiden name was Rawlins). There was a surprising amount of mobility in and out of Clarendon Park, and also within it – a bit like the student population today I suppose. Boarders were particularly likely to move frequently, in search of better landlords or a more convenient location.
As to E.L. – well, I have found in 1891 a waiter by the name of Emanuel Leiter, aged 23, in an hotel run by Emily Cunningham at 51 New Bond Street, Mayfair. He was born in Switzerland, so he may not be the same person. Then again, he may be – people weren’t always entirely honest about their age and minor details like their nationality in these adverts. They knew that employers were prejudiced against foreigners and those they felt too old or too young for the job (especially domestic service). E.L. may not even have been his real initials: People sometimes changed their names to more ‘suitable’ ones for their profession, again especially in domestic service. It has to be said that Emanuel isn’t a very Victorian Clarendon Park name – I was expecting something more prosaic like Edward or perhaps Ernest.
I tried to take a photo of 141 Avenue Road Extension but once again I CAN’T FIND IT. Is the extension some kind of Bermuda Triangle? If anyone feels like looking for it, or even showing me how the numbering system works on that godforsaken road, I would be only too grateful. In the meantime, regards Elizabeth.