1 April 2013

A is for Archibald Hume

Archibald Hume [1796 - 1857]

Death of Archibald Hume

For many years I was unable to find the death record of my 3x great-uncle Archibald Hume. His family had lived in Clerkenwell, London from the mid-1820s when his daughter Agnes was born until after the 1851 census when they were living at 2 Coburg Street, St James, Clerkenwell. At that point Archibald was a Master Painter employing 3 men and therefore fairly successful. At some point between the 1851 and 1861 censuses Mary, his wife moved to Islington. In the 1861 census Mary was living with one of her daughters, Jane Lorimer Hume and a grand-daughter, Agnes Hume, at 26 Mildmay Street, Islington, Middlesex. Mary was shown to be widowed and working as a charwoman.

So Archibald would seem to have died between the 1851 and 1861 censuses. But Archibald did not appear in any death records from either Clerkenwell or Islington or any parishes in North London.

I undertook searches at a range of on-line Death records including Ancestry , The Genealogist, Findmypast, FreeBMD  and Family Search. A single entry of death for an Archibald Hume was found in Camberwell:

Deaths Sep 1857
Surname First name(s) Age District Vol Page
Hume Archibald Camberwell 1d 273

Having ordered the death certificate from the General Register Office the information it contained was a significant shock. The certificate showed Archibald Hume was a plumber making it quite likely to be my 3x great-uncle. However he had committed suicide by hanging himself whilst being an inmate of Peckham House Lunatic Asylum.

Archibald Hume Death Certificate 1857

Registration District Camberwell
1857 Death in the Sub-district of Camberwell in the County of Surrey
Column:- No.
339
1. When and where died.
Found hanging.
Twenty ninth July 1857.
Lunatic Asylum Peckham House
2. Name and surname.
Archibald Hume
3. Sex.
Male
4. Age.
63 Years
5. Occupation.
Plumber
6. Cause of death.
Suicide by hanging
7. Signature, description and residence 8f informant.
William Carter Coroner for Surrey
76 Blackfriars Road
8. When registered.
Thirtieth September 1857
9. Signature of registrar.
W[illia]m Searle Registrar


As no patient records seem to have survived, we can only speculate as to why Archibald was locked up there and how he came to have committed suicide.