In Search of a Better Life


When the Caroline weighed anchor in January 1855, everyone including the Loades family rejoiced that they were sailing. It was the practice of the day to have the emigrants board first. Where they then sat for two to three days on the docks waiting for the ship to be loaded. The Caroline was a British government emigrant ship. Her main cargo on this voyage was 366 emigrants, all bound for South Australia. Among the emigrants were Edward Waller Loades and his family.

Edward Waller Loades was a carpenter, a builder and a risk taker. In 1855 he with his wife Jane and their four children left London behind to travel to South Australia. This was a journey that Jane a farmhand’s daughter from Kent could never imagined doing. Quickening with child and with four children in tow she followed her husband to the other side of the world. What was the impetus for this family to emigrate?

At the time the Loades family emigrated they were living in Saint John’s Square, Clerkenwell. Lodging with them was William Beddington, a carpenter and joiner like Edward. It is highly likely that both Edward and William worked together. Having a lodger would have helped to supplement the family’s income in difficult times. Clerkenwell had become overcrowded by 1850. The growth of industry and manufacturing within the district led to an influx of workers. Row upon row of smaller houses were built and tenements were created from once grand houses. With overcrowding came poverty and disease. Clerkenwell was no longer the safe place that Edward knew as a young lad.

Like Clerkenwell, it appears that the Loades family had fallen on hard times. Records from Great Yarmouth give us a better understanding of the family Edward was born into. Edward’s father after whom he was named, was a Freeman of the Borough of Great Yarmouth. This entitled him to vote. In the 1830’s he ran his carpentry business in both London and Great Yarmouth. By the 1830’s the family had moved to London. The evidence confirming the family’s location in the 1830’s comes from the poll registers of Great Yarmouth. We don’t have a firm date for when the family moved, but we do have a time frame. The move to London occurred before Luke Waller Loades was buried in 1829 at Bethnal Green but after the last child Mary Ann Waller Loades was born and baptised in Great Yarmouth in 1826. Edward was aged between eight and ten when his family moved to London.

Tracing the Loades family through the archives has been relatively easy. The use of Edward Waller Loades in each generation from 1800 to the present day helps to confirm the authenticity of the records. All the children born in Great Yarmouth to Edward and Harriet Loades had Waller as a middle name.  The use of this common middle name helps when tracing the family and provides secondary evidence that the information is correct.

The 1841 census suggests that the move to London did not bring the riches that the family had hoped for. In 1841 the Loades family were living in a tenement in Wellington Street, Clerkenwell.  Edward senior was designated the head of the house on the census, a total of twelve people live there. Only four of them were members of the Loades family. No apprentice records have been found for Edward, but he like his father is listed as a carpenter and joiner in the census. One assumes that he learnt his trade from his father.

By the 1851 census the family unit was no longer together. Edward had married Jane Lawrence and had four children. His sister Mary Ann had married Robert Archer in 1844 and moved had away from St James, Clerkenwell. Their mother Harriet was living the life of a pauper at Coppice Row Poorhouse. She worked as a charwoman and was one of many living in the poorhouse. Harriet Loades lived out her life in the poorhouse, dying on the 26th June, 1854 aged 59. She died from liver disease and paralysis. The cause of her death suggests that over time she turned to alcohol.

No records of Edward Loades senior’s death have been found. His wife’s death certificate states that she is a widow, one assumption is that he died. This may have occurred around the time of the great cholera outbreak in London during the late 1840’s, and this may explain why there is no death registered. There are no records of him from the 1851 census. Either he died prior to 1851 or he left the family and emigrated or changed his name.  An Edward Loades, carpenter emigrated to Natal under the Byrnes Scheme. This Edward Loades fit the age range for Edward senior. There is insufficient evidence at this time to confirm that he did emigrate to Natal. His death like his birth is a mystery.

These factors may all have been triggers that led Edward and Jane to deciding to emigrate to the colony of South Australia. Lured by the promise of a better life. The South Australian colony was looking for able bodied men and families. They were looking for skilled men to help establish a colony without convicts. The South Australian Company promised a world that was fair, and where people could advance. Life in the colonies was promoted as being healthier than life in England. South Australia was promoted as being free from the overcrowding and illnesses found in the tenements of Clerkenwell and London. One can only assume that these ideals and the promise of a better life appealed to Edward.  He knew he could do better for himself and his family. He had dreams of a better life for himself and his family and emigration was one way to achieve those dreams.

On the 11th of January 1855, the Loades family began a 104-day journey to the colony of South Australia.  Where they would begin a new chapter in their life.


England, Norfolk, Parish Registers (County Record Office), 1510-1997,” database with images, FamilySearch ( accessed 7 November 2015), Yarmouth St Nicholas, Baptisms, 1816-1820, image 107 of 154; Record Office, Norwich.
“England, Norfolk, Parish Registers (County Record Office), 1510-1997,” database with images, FamilySearch ( accessed 22 November 2015), Yarmouth St Nicholas > Baptisms > 1816-1827 > image 199 of 208; Record Office, Norwich
Public record Office Register of Burials at Gibraltar Row Protestant Dissenters Burial Ground in Bethnal Green, Middlesex from 1825 to 1830 TNA Reference RG8 / Piece 310 / Folio 231 [Chapel/Registry] Accessed online 22nd Nov 2015
General Register Office, Certified Copy of Marriage Certificate MXF 515024 Jane LAWRENCE and Edward LOADES
General Register Office, Certified Copy of Death Certificate 1854, Harriet LOADES.
General Registers Office Certified Copy of Entry of Birth. BXCF 399046, Mary Anne LOADES
General Registers Office Certified Copy of Entry of Birth. BXCF 399086 Hannah Jane LOADES
General Registers Office Certified Copy of Entry of Birth. BXCF 399045 Harriet Waller LOADES
General Registers Office Certified Copy of Entry of Birth. BXCF 396456 Edward Waller LOADES
1841 England, Wales and Scotland Census Transcription Street: Wellington Street, Parish or township:  St James Clerkenwell, City or borough: Finsbury, County: Middlesex,  Country: England Archive Reference: HO107 Piece no. 662 Book No: 4 Folio: 37 Page 26. Accessed on line:  2nd Nov, 2015
1851 England, Wales and Scotland Census. Finsbury, Clerkenwell, Archive reference: HO107. Piece number: 1516. Folio: 249. Page: 17. Accessed online 22nd Nov 2015
England and Wales Census, 1851,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 December 2015), Harriott Loads, Saint James Clerkenwell, Middlesex, England; citing Saint James Clerkenwell,



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