PAINTER AND JAPANNER
Situated in the Unconsecrated/East Section of Jesmond Old Cemetery
Lancelot Usher was born on the 18th July 1802 in Newcastle, one of seven children of to Robert Usher and Sarah nee Bainbridge. Lancelot was baptized on the 21st November 1802 in the Postern Chapel, Postern Street, which was a Nonconformist Chapel. The site of the Chapel is now under the east part of the Central Station (the street can be seen on Thomas Oliver’s 1830 map of Newcastle) and was named after the White Friar’s Postern, a postern being a secondary door or gate in a fortification, such as a city wall.
Lancelot married Sarah nee Hunter on 2nd May 1826. They did not have any children. In the 1827 edition of the History, Directory and Gazetteer of Durham and Northumberland, Lancelot and Sarah are recorded as living in Blackett Street, Newcastle, with Lancelot being identified as a ‘Painter and Japanner’. Japanning is a type of finish that originated as a European imitation of East Asian lacquerwork, mainly used on furniture but also on small items in metal. It is most often involves a heavy black lacquer, similar to shellac, and is polished to give a smooth, glossy finish. At the height of its popularity, richly japanned ware was to be seen in every middle-class home, so one can imagine that Lancelot was very much in demand in the more affluent areas of Newcastle. In the 1828 edition of Pigot and Co’s National Commercial Directory, Lancelot is located in the ‘Painter and Glazier’ section, and is still living in Blackett Street.
Lancelot died on the 10th August 1845, aged 43, leaving £450 in his will, but his widow, Sarah, lived to the ripe old age of 85. The 1851 Census shows that she is still living in Blackett Street (at number 30 to be precise) and then in the subsequent three Censuses, it records Sarah now living, alone, at 31, Blenheim Street, Newcastle. Sarah died on the 6th January 1885, leaving £393 12s 3d in her will. Her executors were a Thomas Graham Dunford, Shipbroker of Osbourne Avenue, Newcastle and an Errington Dunford, Ironmonger, of Saville Row, Newcastle.