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Adam Rushworth Murgatroyd

His wife inherited an undertakers business from her father and we speculate over the expression "Heavens to Murgatroyd".

The Blore family had built up several businesses in the early 19th century around Mayfair and Knightsbridge including a pub, "The Chequers", a carpenters business and a funeral business.  In 1820, Georgiana Matilda Blore married Adam Rushworth Murgatroyd in St George Hanover Square Church.  By 1836 they had eight children of whom six were daughters.  She inherited the funeral business from her eldest brother, William, when he died in 1835.  

The 1841 census records that the family are living in Stafford Row, St Georges Hanover Square and Adam is described as a 'trunk maker'. The children are as in 1851 (below), plus :

Matilda - 16
Georgiana - 14
Mary - 13
Fanny - 11 

In 1844 a report in The Times says "Matilda Murgatroyd, a girl 18 years of age, stated that her father was a trunk maker living at 18 Stafford Row, Pimlico, but was also the owner of a tobacconists shop in Ranelagh Street, which she and her brother (William) ran for him.  It seems a customer had been given change which turned out to be illegal tender.  A dispute arose and the customer was accused of trying to defraud the shop owner by insisting the bad money he had been given should be changed for legal tender.  At the hearing before the Court, the police confirmed that some of the money which the accused had was counterfeit but that he was "in every respect a gentleman", the son of a solicitor and "of strict integrity".  The accused was discharged and the magistrate said "he thought the probability was that the parties at the shop had taken the bad money, and given it to the gentleman presuming it to be good."

On the 1851 census, at 18 Stafford Row, St Georges Hanover Square :

Adam Rushworth Murgatroyd - head - 59 - undertaker - born Ashwell, Hertfordshire
Georgiana - wife - 56 - undertakers wife - Knightsbridge, Middlesex

William - son - 27 - undertaker - Knightsbridge, Middlesex
Adam - son - 17 - undertaker - Pimlico, Middlesex
Grace - daughter - 28 - at home - Knightsbridge, Middlesex
Isabella - daughter - 15 - at home - Pimlico, Middlesex

Adam (could be the father or the son) is in an 1856 commercial directory "Murgatroyd Adam, furn. undertaker, 18 Stafford Row, Pimlico" and in 1851 he's listed as "trunk ma. & und" (presumably trunk maker and undertaker).

A thought which has proved impossible to verify is that, as a marketing ploy, Adam started using the phrase "HEAVENS THROUGH MURGATROYD" which then became Heavens to Murgatroyd when it was spoken by Bert Lahr (who became the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz) in a 1944 film before becoming much better known after 1959 when it was used by Hanna-Barbera's, Snagglepuss. I have tried looking in old newspapers to see if I could find any of their advertising material but so far without luck.

Adam Rushworth Murgatroyd died, aged 82, exactly one month after his wife, Georgiana in July 1871.


Adam Murgatroyd (1834 - ?)

The 1861 census shows Adam junior married to  Sophia and he was a Victualler at York Minster, North Audley Street, St Georges Hanover Square.  The 1881 census shows her widowed.

11 July 1863 - William Horwood was sentenced to four months hard labour for stealing a pair of boots from the "Three Tuns Inn", the property of Adam Murgatroyd.

On 20th April 1866 an interesting case came to Court involving alledged election fraud.  It seems one of the parties in the election, fearing defeat in the local elections, had booked a number of 'committee rooms' in the town including the "Three Tuns" and beer had been given away free as a bribe not to turn up to vote.   

In 1871 a pane of glass was broken by someone who had drunk too much in the "Star and Garter" where Adam was landlord.

Adam died in Windsor in 1873, two years after his parents.



Linked toWilliam Blore

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