The ‘urban clan’ of Samuel Ingram, builder


Samuel Ingram, builder and businessman, a member of early Bournemouth’s property meritocracy, appears to have created an ‘urban clan’, whereby relatives and employees dwelt nearby in his houses.

Samuel Ingram’s early background

The family of Samuel Ingram, carpenter and builder, active in early Bournemouth, came from Moor Crichel and its neighbourhood. Crichel House, the local proprietor’s mansion, had belonged to the Sturt family since the middle of the eighteenth century. They pursued large-scale renovations, including landscaping the park. In order to accommodate the latter, they destroyed part of Moor Crichel. They relocated the inhabitants about half a mile to the south: New Town. Born about a generation after this event, Samuel Ingram nevertheless could still have seen remains of the old village. The story of this transplanting perhaps remained within the memory of his family and the neighbourhood for many years. Unlike his father Hubert, a gardener, Samuel Ingram made his living from carpentry. He and his siblings, as did many in the area, became mobile in search of work. His journey ended in the building site then known as Bourne.

Terrace Road’s early community

The 1841 Census listed Samuel Ingram, then living in Canford, working as a carpenter. Ten years later, however, he described himself as a builder, employing four men. He had become a capitalist, a man of business. The next Census saw him continue as such. According to Alan Miller, Samuel Ingram and a partner leased land from John Tregonwell along Terrace Road in 1850. There they built a row of cottages. The 1851 Census recorded ten heads of household living on Terrace Road. The men worked at various occupations, many to do with building, while, with the exception of a schoolteacher, the women performed such menial tasks as laundry or dressmaking. Half the households had visitors, lodgers or servants, though the latter perhaps worked elsewhere. Samuel Ingram appeared at the head of the fourth household along, accompanied by his (second) wife, son from first wife and daughter from second.

A very close family

The first woman that Samuel Ingram married appears to have had a sister that became wife to one of his brothers, William. The girls’ father may have worked as a bricklayer at one time. This marital proximity that existed between the brothers had a physical aspect. By 1851, William, too, had arrived in Bournemouth. That year he worked as an ostler up the road at the Belle Vue Tap. As did their husbands, the sisters came from Moor Crichel. A decade later, William Ingram, now a general servant, lived on Terrace Road, his father-in-law part of the household. The next household along contained a like-named man, half his age, a carpenter, Samuel Ingram’s son. Perhaps now working for his father, he continued the tradition of family proximity by living next to one of his uncles. Tracing other Terrace Road residents suggests that several may have had connections to Samuel Ingram.

A network in close proximity

In Terrace Road’s seventh household lived a lodger, Emma Habgood, a young adult born in Lymington. Perhaps she had connections with the builder John Habgood, living further up the road, or with the Tuck building family, one of whom originated in Lymington. John Habgood had married into the Tucks, his brother-in-law living around the corner. Emma had a long proximity with the Ingrams, however. Married to a carpenter, she appears to have lodged with the Ingrams by 1861, staying with Samuel’s widow ten years later. Thereafter, the census listings show her as a neighbour of the Ingrams’ married daughter, her husband a builder and shopfitter. Information at hand does not suffice to explain further Emma’s proximity with the Ingram family, extended over her adult life. Her husband’s trade perhaps provided him with employment through the Ingrams’ building activities. Others nearby may have benefited in the same way.

A neighbourhood of employees

A number of people living on Terrace Road in 1851 appear to have continued to live in the neighbourhood, even returning after moving further away. Mary Ingram, though from Portsmouth, perhaps connected to Samuel, lived on Terrace Road before marrying a carpenter. They moved away in 1861, but her brother-in-law, a bricklayer, had moved to Terrace Road by then. She and her husband returned to Terrace Road by 1871. Four other men, perhaps not Ingram family, continued to live a few minutes’ walk from Terrace Road over the next decades. Labourers, carters and gardeners, they may also have depended on the Ingrams for some of their income. Their continued presence, just as that of Emma Habgood, leads to the existence of a community having some longevity. The return of Mary Ingram perhaps supports that idea. Consideration about Samuel Ingram’s later social position leads to further possibilities.

A true man of property

Samuel Ingram died in 1868. His probate listing recorded an estate worth almost £3,000, a wealthy man. He had come far from a gardener’s cottage at Moor Crichel. More importance, perhaps, lay in the identity of his executors: Peter Tuck, Edward Rebbeck, both members of Bournemouth’s property meritocracy, both wealthy. Samuel Ingram may have owed them money, but their connection perhaps had a more personal nature. All three belonged to Hengist, Bournemouth’s new Masonic Lodge. Early members for the most part consisted of those involved in property: builders, solicitors, bankers and estate agents. As a true man of property Samuel Ingram would have found kindred spirits here. Nevertheless, he seems to have continued to live in the Terrace Road neighbourhood, family members and perhaps employees living nearby, maybe inhabiting his buildings. The beneficiaries clustered nearby in loyalty and affectionate kinship, a type of ‘urban clan’ beside their chieftain.

Moor Crichel reborn on Terrace Road?

Records accessible so far do not reveal how much of Terrace Road’s built environment Samuel Ingram constructed. At the very least, he participated in a process to create dwellings to house a community where none had stood before. In a sense, therefore, he replicated the Sturts’ creation of Moor Crichel’s New Town after they had destroyed the inhabitants’ housing to improve their parkland. It seems plausible to assume that kinship and friendly relationships had occurred amongst the former community, some of which may have survived the transplanting. The social community evident in Terrace Road, a network connecting through Samuel Ingram through kinship or employment patronage, perhaps ran along similar lines to the neighbourhood of his youth. In the resort, affluent visitors would have spent time and effort in networking with others of their ilk. Elsewhere in town, a different type of network may have prospered around Samuel Ingram, builder.


As he grew in wealth and influence, Samuel Ingram had the ability to control not only his built environment but its inhabitants. His neighbourhood appears to have contained relatives and perhaps former employees dwelling in his property. In a way, he may have replicated the village society of his youth by replicating Moor Crichel along Terrace Road, Bournemouth.


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Thanks to Alwyn Ladell for his picture of Crichel House.


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