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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree July 2018 > It’s a Navvy’s life for me

It’s a Navvy’s life for me

Many of our ancestors worked in the construction industry and their legacy is the architecture we see around us today. Adèle Emm explains how to find out more about their lives


If there was ever the perfect time to be a builder, it was during Queen Victoria’s reign. The rapidly increasing British population and workforce required urgent accommodation. The old Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament to you and me) had burned down in 1834 and needed replacing. The cholera epidemics of the 1830s and the Great Stink (bringing London to a standstill in July and August 1858) meant even the big-wigs realised something had to be done. Sir Joseph Bazalgette (1819-1891) planned 1,300 miles of sewers beneath London’s streets, largely to be hidden beneath the Thames Embankment.

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About Family Tree

Join us as we celebrate the mothers, grandmothers, aunts and more on your family tree. It's vital to research the female ancestors, otherwise you're only learning half of your family history. This issue we have plenty to help and inspire your research into women's history and so gain a fuller understanding of your family members and their lives in times gone by.