In these modern times of crunched-credit, no one thinks anything of going bankrupt. After seven years or so, a bankrupt is almost back to normal financially and I doubt there are many people who would shun them or think of them as shameful. But back in Victorian times, when even the act of writing a cheque that you knew would bounce was a serious criminal offence, there was a huge stigma attached to bankruptcy. Names were printed not only in the ‘official’ source (The London Gazette), but also in The Times and local newspapers. It was whilst browsing The Times Digital Archive that I began to notice the Clarendon Park bankrupts.
The person with the dubious honour of being Clarendon Park’s first bankrupt (at least according to The Times), was Elizabeth Nancy Jackson. Born in Poplar, London c1825, she came to Leicester 1861-71 with husband William – a commercial traveller – and their six children. In 1881 she resided at Ramsey Villa, 1 West Avenue, describing herself as “dealer in works of art and antiquities.”
Unfortunately Elizabeth’s businesses failed. In October 1885 The Times printed the first notification: “Bankrupts – Adjudications – Jackson, Elizabeth Nancy, Leicester and Clarendon-park, near Leicester, antique china and curiosity dealer, and dairy and cab proprietor.” By February 1886 it was all over. Elizabeth’s creditors were offered 7s 8 1/2d for each pound they were owed, i.e. less than half. I bet the name of Jackson was mud all over Clarendon Park and half of Leicester.
By 1887 son William Maurice Jackson had taken over the cab business, which thrived for at least another 25 years. One of these days I will look into that business properly, as it looks to me as though the premises are still standing. In the meantime, I have plenty more tales of bankruptcy woe to share with you, so buy your handkerchieves now whilst stocks last! Regards, Elizabeth.