Three Suns, Two Men, One Woman.

A tragic, romantic tale of one pub, “The Three Suns” and two of its landlords, John Boggon and George Scollick. The pub closed in 1986 and no longer exists by that name but as you walk up Garnet Street from Wapping High Street you come to an upmarket wine bar and shop. Stand on the opposite side of the road and look-up at “Victualler” and you might see something on the brickwork that hints at the building’s past.

Cut brick designs on the outside of the pub

The pub as it stands was apparently rebuilt in the 1880s and I don’t know the extent of any rebuild but a pub called The Three Suns has been on the site since at least 1789. Whilst the pub has always been on this site, its address has varied from “New Crane” to “New Gravel Lane” and now “Garnet Street”.

Bankruptcy notice, London Gazette 1789

The first landlord of the story, John Boggon came to London from the North East of England and took over the Three Suns. He lived there with his wife Frances, who was also from the North East, from about 1843/4. John and Frances had four children together.

However, it was not to be a happy family and three of the four children died before the age of two, and Frances died in 1859 aged only about 36, leaving John a widower and Emily without a mother.

John retired from working in the pub shortly after Frances’ death at the quite young age of 46 and moved to Bromley Street in Stepney, where he lived with his remaining daughter Emily, his sister and a servant, but shortly after Emily also died aged 3 or 4. John’s appears to have some commercial acumen and appears to have been successful and had a number of property interests in Wapping/Shadwell and Stepney.

1861 Census: Retired Licensed Victualler

Boggon Land Tax

1841 census extract from Harrogate: George Scollick – Joiner
The next landlord of the pub was George Scollick, who grew up in Yorkshire and worked as a joiner and appears to have moved around looking for work. Why he came to London isn’t clear, but he may have first worked in London as a tobacconist in 1851. At around this time George also suffered a series of bereavements losing both his parents and four adult siblings between 1847 and 1860, which may have been a trigger to moving and/or staying in London.

Scollick family gravestone,
Hunsingore, Yorkshire

Trade directory 1851

It seems likely that George met his wife, Charlotte Elizabeth (who sometimes just used her middle name, Elizabeth), who was born in Datchet/Windsor , in London. There is only one marriage record of someone called George Scollick marrying a woman called Charlotte (Elizabeth) that I can find, and that dates to  about April 1858 in Newington and that ties up to the birthplace of one of their children (more on this below).

1861 Census extract for 88 New Gravel Lane

The place and date of birth of their oldest child, Samuel, was Pimlico 1853, suggesting he was illegitimate, but the birth of his brother, George, in August 1858 in Newington, just four months after their marriage suggests that the prospect of a second child sent them down the aisle together. The fact that George wasn’t baptised until 1865 though (I’ve found no record for Samuel), suggests that they weren’t a religious family and further indicated by the fact that they baptised George Jr, Emily and Elizabeth in one go (and even Elizabeth was 9 months old at the point of baptism) at St Paul’s Shadwell. This in the context of the 19th century when baptism within a month or so of birth was typical.

Baptisms of George, Emily and Elizabeth

George and Charlotte had a fifth child, Ralph Henry, in 1868 who died unfortunately shortly after birth. We don’t know the cause of baby Ralph’s death, but it appears not to have been unexpected, as the baptism register at St Peters London Docks marks the baptism as ‘private’ (baptisms are normally done on a Sunday in front of the congregation). This urgency in having a baptism perhaps suggests an increased concern towards spiritual matters, particularly with an ill child.

George died the next year and Charlotte moved to Harrowgate Road in Hackney.

Now here’s the interesting bit. John Boggon appears to have been named Executor of George’s estate. Given John’s property portfolio (he definitely owned properties on New Gravel Lane) he may have owned the Three Suns, but regardless there is a definite link between the two men.

George Scollick, probate
Electoral register 1869

For the next twenty years, John Boggon continued to live on Bromley Street. Charlotte however disappears from the searchable records. I’ve started to try and trawl through the census for Hackney to see if she stayed there or not but I think that’s of secondary importance to what happened in 1892.

UPDATE: In 1891, Charlotte is listed on the census as living with John Boggon at 93 Bromley Street as a ‘visitor’ and ‘living on her own means’.

At age 78, John Boggon married George Scollick’s widow Charlotte, aged a tender 54, in Thanet, Kent.

Their marriage was almost inevitably short, and six years later John died. Charlotte then went to live with her daughter Elizabeth Ann in West Ham, with whom she lived until 1914 when she died.

Charlotte probate
How had their relationship developed over those 20 years? Perhaps if I track Charlotte down we might get an idea. but for now, I find the fact as fascinating as the means for now.

End note

I hope for this to be the first in a series of posts about pubs, both dead and alive in Wapping.

I’ve spent quite a few hours building up family trees of the two men and their families in this story, and have become quite attached to their story, perhaps because I identify with them being northerners moving to Wapping. I also experienced a genuine sense of sadness when after working up their family trees and identifying births and marriages to then discover how early so many children and adults died.

All my records came from

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