What is dating 1840 mean

04 Jul

‘I struggle to imagine what took place in that house in those years,’ says Olusoga.

By November that year he’d gone out of business and was in debtor’s prison.

However within two years, the seemingly irrepressible Wilfred was free, married to a widow and had moved to the up-and-coming town of Widnes.

His rooms were furnished with rosewood and mahogany and rich Brussels carpet – details we know about because by 1844 they were listed in a local newspaper for auction.

‘In 1844 Richard’s world came crashing down, and the will left by his father Jonas explains why,’ reveals Olusoga.

‘History isn’t just about what happens on battlefields and in palaces,’ says the show’s presenter, historian David Olusoga.

‘It’s also the stories of millions of ordinary people living in houses like this one.’The house he’s referring to is 62 Falkner Street, a handsome four-storey Georgian terraced property a mile from Liverpool’s centre.

‘Both their fathers worked as labourers so they had no inherited money – we have to assume it was down to their ingenuity,’ says Olusoga.

The young broker moved into the house with his mother in the early 1850s, when he was riding high in Liverpool’s booming cotton trade – he was even immortalised in this 1856 portrait by William Lindsay Windus.

Back at Falkner Street in 1854, brewery agent John Bowes and his wife Elizabeth moved in – although just months afterwards John died of cholera.

Widowed and facing penury, by 1857 Elizabeth had turned her home into a boarding house for ‘young gentleman’ lodgers.