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Saturday, 01 September 2007
A Working Class Hero?

Jabez West Memorial Fountain

This is the Jabez West Memorial Fountain in Southwark Park, London.  It represents the first public memorial in London to a working class person. The inscription on the fountain reads:

- 1884
Erected by
public
subscriptions
to commemorate
the
life and labours
of
Jabez West
Working Man
Temperance
Advocate

A rare specimen
of a rare class.
Dr Burns

According to one of his descendants:

He was a champion in the Temperance Movement and a granite drinking fountain was erected in his honour in Southwark Park, London. According to a 1881 Census he was: Born in Scotland and was a Fellmonger by trade. At the time of the Census he was living at 51 Frean Street, Bermondsey, Surrey, England. Apparently Jabez married twice; once in 1838 and again in 1874. He was buried on the 17th May 1884 in the Forest Hill Cemetry.

Elsewhere Jabez is described as a skinner & tanner, but I guess this is more or less the same thing as a fellmonger.

Kingsmere Crafts describes a fellmonger as follows:

Dealer in hides and skins. One who removes hair or wool from hides in preparation for leather making. Also recycled inedible animal parts for glue, fertiliser; horn, bone, gut etc. By the end of the sixteenth century, the trade of the fellmonger began to develop to the detriment of the gloving trade. A fellmonger took the sheepskins from the butcher or farmer, removed the wool from the skin and sold the wool to the textile trade and the pelt to the whittawer or glover. Previously this trade had been controlled by the whittawers. As the wool was more valuable than the pelt, care was not always taken with the quality of the skin.

Posted by bigblue on 01/09/2007 at 11:46 AM
Filed under: EuropeUnited KingdomEngland • (0) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share

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