Occupations – Great Grand-Aunt Fanny was a Milliner

In 1871 Fanny Dinnis was working as a Milliner, we  know this from looking at the England Census of that year. She was 25 years old, living in Islington, London with her parents John and Charlotte Dinnis, brother George and sister Charlotte Harriet. John and George were working as Cooks and Charlotte was a Telegraph Clerk.

Fanny Dinnis and her daughter Edith in 1878

Fanny Dinnis and her daughter Edith in 1878

On reading around the subject of ‘Millinery’ for a few weeks it appears that Fanny and her family were living in one of the centres of the Millinery trade in the mid-late 1800s. Take a look at this website called ‘The Millinery Works’.


Here there is a picture of a street in Islington from 1905, full of men and women in hats and bonnets. A postwar Ordnance Survey map notes the premises as

“a Millinery works alongside a cardboard factory, a cake decorating factory and a large printing works.”

The address for these establishments is Southgate Road, London, which is about a 25 minute walk from Parkfield Street, where Fanny was living in 1871.

George Dinnis 1890

George Dinnis 1890

It is also interesting to note that in the following England Census of 1881, George Dinnis was living nearby in Ossory Road and working as a Confectioner, so might have been working at the cake decorating factory beside the Millinery works. There is more information on the ‘Confectioner’ in this post.


By this time Fanny was married to John W. Forbes, and they were living in Lugard Road, London. John’s occupation is listed as a Printers Compositor, so perhaps he was working at the printing works alongside the Millinery works and the cake decorating factory in Islington. John and Fanny Forbes had two children at this time, and a boarder, Lucy Hamilton who was also a Milliner and also from Brighton. Lucy had previously been living with the family in 1871.

John Dinnis 1888

John Dinnis 1888

Next door were Fanny’s parents John and Charlotte Dinnis, along with their daughter, Charlotte Harriet and Jane Dinnis, their daughter-in-law. Her husband, John Henry had died in 1877.

Charlotte Harriet Dinnis (Crocker) 1914

Charlotte Harriet Dinnis (Crocker) 1914

Having hopefully put everyone in place the next post will be looking in some detail at the world of the Milliner in the 1860s – 1870s.


Class: RG10; Piece: 251; Folio: 23; Page: 40; GSU roll: 824911; Class: RG11; Piece: 683; Folio: 23; Page: 40; GSU roll: 1341159;




About Jackie Dinnis

Welcome to my blog where I am enjoying meeting my family - past and present - one at a time. Join me as I learn who my ancestors were, where they lived, what their occupations were and what everyday life was like for them.
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5 Responses to Occupations – Great Grand-Aunt Fanny was a Milliner

  1. I looked on the site and really love these photos. Incredible to have those to attach with the information.

  2. Mary Cundiff says:

    Hello Jackie! Now that my daughter’s wedding is I have begun to Delve into the Dinnis box. I am organizing into file folders and sheet projectors. I decided to start catching up on blog posts that I have missed and this happens to be the first one that I read. I love the information here and I actually have some documents showing where John Williams Forbes worked. I am literally really sitting among hundreds of pieces of paper right now and I am excited to share with you love you , Mary

    • Hi Mary, you have no idea how excited I am about your ‘Dinnis’ box! Thank you so much for sharing things with me, I got your Facebook message with the photo’s and will reply in a moment. I can’t believe you have documents showing where John W. Forbes worked, how amazing! Wish I was there with you to help you 🙂 Enjoy yourselves as you discover our family’s past. Love to you all xx

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