Saturday, February 12, 2011

Thomas Charles March, and his rise through the ranks at Queen Victoria's household

In 1871, Thomas Charles MARCH lived at 1 Charles Street, Berkeley Square, in London. (I usually use "London" to describe the modern metropolis. Many places were more properly described as being in Westminster rather than London, in the 19th century.) His career was spent in the service of Queen Victoria, and by the time he died in 1898, he was at the top of her household staff.

Thomas MARCH: One degree from Queen Victoria

I have traced Thomas and his family, mainly through the census returns using, as well as a few other online sources. At every turn I find something rather unexpected and interesting. Hope you find it so, too.

Where and what Thomas MARCH was in the census

1841: Don't know yet. I have looked, and looked, and looked. More to come about what I know of his family from about 1800 up to 1851.

1851: St. James's Palace, Stable Yard, No. 4, Thomas C. MARCH: unmarried, age 31, (occupation) Lord Chamberlain's Office, living with his two unmarried brothers, William (36, also of the Lord Chamberlain's Office) and George (22, No Occupation), and an unmarried woman servant, Elizabeth BARTLEY, age 70 (or possibly 40).

Census Reference (from   Class:  HO107; Piece:  1481; Folio:  10; Page:  12; GSU roll:  87806.

Modern Google Map for Stable Yard Road

The official website of the British Monarchy, "St James's Palace"

1861: St. James's Palace, Thomas C. MARCH, Head, unmarried, 41, [Clerk?] Lord Chamberlain's Office, living in a dwelling (not sure of what sort) with his brother William G. MARCH, unmarred, 43, "Ditto" (i.e., also a clerk in the Lord Chamberlain's office) and a 54-year-old widow, Sarah LOW, as their general servant.

Census Reference (from Class:  RG9; Piece:  56; Folio:  17; Page:  29; GSU roll:  542565

With the benefit of hindsight, we now know that Thomas rose through the ranks of the Royal Household to become what appears to be the top financial manager. The Lord Chamberlain, his boss for most of Thomas's years in service, was a political appointment. There were about 13 of them, some with multiple terms of office, during Thomas's career. I envision Thomas as the Victoria equivalent of Sir Humphrey Appleby.

(Link to video in case the embedded video is not showing.)

Sometime in the 1860s it appears Thomas got married. In the census returns before 1871, he was shown as unmarried. (This is not the same as widowed, which is usually specified.) I hard quite a hard time figuring out the identity of Thomas's wife. That's coming next.

Thomas March is the first of many interesting people we will meet on Charles Street in 1871. His story starts with Thomas March of 1 Charles Street: One degree from Queen Victoria.

This article is one in an ongoing series, starting with Bram Stoker, author of Dracula in public records: BMD (Birth, Marriage, Death).

Next: Applying some Jane Austen logic to the marriage of Thomas Charles March, Queen Victoria's Pay-master

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