JAMES AND ROSA HOOPER
Research is very limited into the life and times of James and Rosa. We do not know who their parents were, if they had any siblings or how many children they may have had. The information obtained from two certificates differ. The Marriage Certificate for son John Thomas Hooper states his father is James Hooper but the death extract for John Thomas Hooper, in New Zealand, states his father was John James Hooper. The information on the Marriage Certificate would have been provided by John Thomas and it is most probable that he knew his father's name. The information on John Thomas death certificate was provided by an informant who may have been unsure of the correct details. I have concluded that he will be known as James on our family tree.
Bethnal Green's Gibraltar Walk
James and Rosa Hooper lived at 9 Gibraltar Walk, Bethnal Green, London when son John Thomas married Rebecca Page in 1849. When John was born, in 1824, Bethnal Green was said be a pretty place with decent Cottages with garden beds of flowers. We do not know when James died but we can assume he saw great change in his life time. An article in Victorian London by John Timbs in 1867 describes Bethnal Green as .....'The area formed a densely-crowded district. Among the inhabitants were street vendors of every kind, travelers to fairs, tramps, shoplifters and pickpockets, dog fanciers and dog stealers. It abounds with young Arabs of the street, and its outward moral degradation is at once apparent to any who passes that way.' In 1841 the population of Bethnal Green was 74,988. The following description of Gibraltar Walk in 1871 was taken from 'The Builder' dated 28th January 1871. "Gibraltar Walk dips down into a hollow from Bethnal Green Road, and here and there are brokers, furniture-dealers, bird-fanciers, and cage makers. If their health is good, they must have iron constitutions. The Bethnal Green vestry ought to take a walk round this quarter, and see whether its condition will have any effect on stirring them into action; But those last-named places are beauty itself compared with other unmentionable localities, where the 'social evil' and small-pox are killing and damning souls together".
James Hooper was a Plasterer by trade. The method of producing ornamental plasterwork was done in two ways: it would be run in place (or on a bench on-site); Or cast in molds in a workshop. Plain plaster molding without surface ornamentation was usually created directly on the wall, or run on a flat surface such as a plasterer's workbench and attached to the wall after it set. Ornament such as coffering for ceilings, centers for light fixtures (ornate medallions), brackets, dentils, or columns were cast in hide glue (gelatin) or plaster molds in an off-site shop, often in more than one piece, then assembled and installed in the building. English craftsmen were in high demand and this offered them unparalleled opportunity. The plaster trade must have provided a reasonable living for James as his son, John, followed in his foot-steps and at the time of his marriage to Rebecca his occupation was given as Plasterer.
THE FAMILY TREE OF JAMES HOOPER
(a) James Hooper (abt 1780-1805) married Rosa Spittal ( - )