From the Parish Records[i] we find that Lewis Birch was baptised the son of another Lewis Birch and wife Elizabeth (neé Hill) on 22 May 1769 and was the eldest of 5 Children , one of whom was John, who worked as a Cutler in Uttoxeter, and another was a sister Elizabeth, who married Joseph Gregory a Grocer.
Lewis Birch the elder was probably also a Brazier as the Staffordshire Name Index[ii] reveals William Gothridge being apprenticed to Lewis Birch, Brazier to learn Husbandry on 13 Sept 1773. As Lewis junior was only 4 it must have been his Father.
Lewis Birch senior was buried 7 Aug 1785 and a 1791 Trade Directory[iii] lists Elizabeth Birch, Brazier so it appears that his widow carried on the business until Lewis Junior was old enough to take over.
Lewis Birch junior also married an Elizabeth possibly in Birmingham and they had 10 Children including a set of twins, but 3 died as babies, which included the twins at only 3 or 4 days old.
Of the surviving sons the eldest was another Lewis who became a surgeon[iv] and may have emigrated to Australia as he disappears from the census; online family trees indicate that he might have gone to Western Australia.
John the other surviving son became a Cutler and Brazier in Church Street, later dropping the Brazing. He died in 1881 without leaving any children.
Of Lewis junior’s surviving daughters 2 of them set up business together in the High Street as Milliners & Dress Makers[v] but then one married a Cabinet Maker and moved to Daventry and the other married a Draper and Commercial Traveller and moved to Oldham.
One daughter has not been traced but she is not named in the 1834 Will so may have died.
Lewis Birch junior supplied goods to the Overseers of the Poor of Uttoxeter on several occasions; the most expensive item so far being a gallon copper Tea Kettle at 8s.
He appears to have had a very successful business as his Will reveals that he owned his Messuage where he lived in Sheep Market and also 2 other messuages in Market Place in the occupation of Ann Norris and George Slater. (Ann Norris & Son is listed as a stationer in a Trade Directory[vi] and the Lichfield marriage licences have one for George Slater, clock and watch maker, in 1829 so they may be shops)
Probate of Lewis’s Will on 29 Oct 1834 reveals that he died on 28 Aug 1834 leaving an estate of “Under £300”.
The Will included the names of his Wife and surviving children which could be checked in the Parish Records.
[i] St. Mary’s, Uttoxeter.
[iii] The Universal British Trade Directory 1791 vol IV
[iv] Lichfield Marriage Licences
[v] History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire 1834 by William White.
[vi] History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire 1834 by William White.