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JOHNSTON, Charles (1801-1865)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 ACC/1292
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Full title: JOHNSTON, Charles (1801-1865)
Date(s): 1804-1897
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 0.30 linear metres (261 documents).
Name of creator(s): Johnston | Charles | 1801-1865 | businessman


Administrative/Biographical history:

Charles Johnston was born in Tottenham in 1801, being the third son of William Johnston who prospered on the Stock Exchange. In 1827 Charles married Caroline Roebuck of Cheltenham by whom he had four children. By 1836 Charles was established in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, and was trustee of various parish charities. The family moved to Hyde Park and, in 1856, to Southland House in Godstone, Surrey. Charles did not appear to have his father's success in business. He became involved in the formation of joint-stock companies, holding the position of chairman in both a chartered banking company with branches in Australia, and a gold mining company in South America. As the correspondence reveals, the companies did not prosper and there was general dissatisfaction from shareholders and directors alike.

Whether the pressures of business affected Charles Johnston's mind is not known but, by 1863 he was insane and as such placed in Dr Harrington Tuke's asylum at The Manor House, Chiswick. In one of his lucid moments Charles wrote to his elder daughter, Harriet describing his life at Chiswick where he was, apparently, very happy (ACC/1292/040). He died in 1865 and his affairs were wound up by his surviving son, William Archibald, and his solicitors.

Edmund Johnston was the second son of William and Sarah Johnston and elder brother to Charles Johnston. Under the terms of his father's will, in 1836, Edmund received property in Holborn and was co-trustee of premises in St. Marylebone (see ACC/1292/003). He did not marry and lived with his widowed mother until her death in 1851 when she bequeathed him the household effects at "Beaulieu", Winchmore Hill, Edmonton. Here he resided until his own death in October 1864.

The estate was left in trust for the children of Charles Johnston and their heirs. Entries in Edmund's account books (ACC/1292/181-182) reveal his affection for his nephew and nieces, although he had little patience with his brother's disastrous business affairs. Nevertheless, he did contribute considerable sums of money to these ventures and also paid the costs of Charles's maintenance in Dr Tuke's asylum in Chiswick.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Charles Johnston, businessman, including property transactions, probates and administrations; papers relating to Johnston's marriage settlement; correspondence; financial accounts; sales catalogues; papers relating to charities in Cheshunt; papers regarding Johnston's insanity and his financial affairs; letters to Johnston in his capacity as the chairman of the English, Scottish and Australian Chartered Bank; papers of the New Granada Company including annual reports, prospectus, correspondence, shares and papers relating to liquidation.

Also papers of Edmund Johnston including property transactions, financial records and papers relating to his estate.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The documents were received in a metal deed box from a firm of solicitors. The collection has been arranged to reflect Charles Johnston's personal and business affairs. Original bundles of letters have been preserved and are noted as such in the list.

The documents were received in a metal deed box marked ""Executors of Edmund Johnston Esq."" The final item in this collection { ACC/1292/261} clearly belongs with the papers relating to the estate of Charles Johnston.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to this collection rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Records deposited in October 1975.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Records prepared May to September 2011.

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