Robert Mollett 1783 or 4-1866 Old age and death
Skinner Street and Stoke Newington 1851-1866
Robert continued working until the age of at least 68, for in the 1851 census, when he was at that relatively old age, he was still at 54 Skinner Street, whilst his wife Lucy was at their new home in Barrett Grove, Stoke Newington with her son Isaac and the two girls. Her sister Elizabeth was also there, although whether she was just visiting or was a permanent fixture I do not know. And there was a resident servant. Robert on the other hand was slaving away at work with an assistant, a porter, two lodgers and a house servant. Here are two pastry cooks from the 1850s showing off their work - probably near to the truth of what he produced, but obviously much younger men than he.
By 1861 he had retired, but of course I do not know when this came about. Maybe when he turned 70.
This is Barrett Grove, Stoke Newington, the street in which Robert and Lucy first moved to after Skinner Street. I am however a little confused, because the other significant event in their lives at this time was the death of their older son Henry George at the age of 30 in 1850. I am confused because the newspaper announcement states quite clearly that he died in Nelson Terrace, Stoke Newington, the home in which Robert and Lucy are living in 1861. In 1851 Lucy is in Barrett Grove with her remaining children and Robert is still slaving away in Skinner Street. Maybe Henry, and possibly his brother Isaac had been living in Nelson Terrace. Whatever the situation had been, in the 1851 the Nelson Terrace house - no.27 was occupied by somebody else entirely. A tenant maybe? Just another little mystery that one finds when looking into the past.
He was buried in Abney Park - the now picturesque cemetery in Stoke Newington. And even more tragically he was joined by his brother Isaac Farr Mollett just seven years later. So retirement was not a happy time for Robert. A tragic one even. How awful to see your sons, who by now are making their mark on the world die. I do not know why they died and am probably unlikely to ever find out. Neither of them were married either, and so there are no descendants to enlighten me.
What I do know is that at some point Robert and Lucy with their remaining two children - Lucy and Emily Ann moved to 27 Nelson Terrace, where they were to remain until their deaths. Their daughter Lucy/Louisa married in 1861, but Emily Ann remained.
Robert's other family, though had expanded hugely. By the time he died, Robert had 11 grown grandchildren - even the youngest, my great-grandfather had married and had children by then. I have not counted up all the great-grandchildren but there were a few. And they all came from his younger twin son, John. John had a country house in Buckinghamshire which always seemed to be full of children and strays. Maybe Robert and Lucy visited from time to time with Emily Ann. The lovely French painting at right is of a family reunion - all that is missing are the almost countless grandchildren and great-grandchildren. So let's hope that the last ten years or so of his life were happy. He certainly looks contented in that portrait, but then it was probably painted many years before.
Back in 2010 I paid my first visit to England for many, many years, and one day my late brother, my sister and I (along with spouses) made a pilgrimage to Abney Park cemetery in Stoke Newington and Robert Mollett's family tomb. It is such an atmospheric place that cemetery. We had very clear directions to the tomb and I think we were all somewhat taken aback when we discovered it. Well we could barely see it at first. The picture at left is what we found. A large edifice of some kind completely overgrown with Ivy. We had no tools with us, but we did our best to pull it all away and eventually uncovered the inscription below at the very front of the large stone tomb.
Robert's name is not the first of course. It is the last. For above him, so sadly are his sons Henry George and Isaac Farr, and then, even more tragically his wife of almost fifty years, Lucy. What a blow that must have been for Robert who would then have been a very old man of around 83. Maybe it was the final blow because he died himself just over a year later of 'natural decay'. His youngest daughter Emily Ann was there when he died at home in 27 Nelson Terrace on 5th August 1866. All his life official documents described him as a pastry cook or confectioner or both. When he died he was described as a Gentleman. A quiet achievement for someone who began life as the son of a humble cow keeper.
I'm pretty sure there would have been a reasonably large funeral. His three oldest sons from his first marriage - successful businessmen all, and his two daughters would have seen to this. And the tomb is quite imposing.
A long life and one, I think, in which he was much loved. A life of tragedies surmounted and a major change in status achieved. Yet another remarkable Mollett.
Old age and death
Robert Mollett 1783 or 4 - 1866
Robert Mollett 1746 or 48 - 1816 or 1829
Temperance Boast/Bast/Bost/Base or
Holborn and Skinner Street
Pastrycooks and confectioners