Major Usborne 
Born February 16th 1809 at Ware.
Baptised May 5th 1809 at Ware.
Lived at 9 Upper Bedford Place and 35 Russell Square (1855-68).
First marriage September 30th.1833 at Croydon
to Elizabeth Stenning of Godstone.
Second marriage in 1862
to Elizabeth Margaret Gross at Ayr.
Elizabeth(1st) died February 4th.1858. 
Elizabeth (2nd) born October 20th 1822.
Elizabeth (2nd.) died July 1918 (?).
Major died May 7th.1868. 
All are buried Highgate Cemetery.

   Major continued to run the family firm of Thomas Usborne and son on the death of his father in 1836. The entry in the London Post Office Directory for 1839 describes their activities as Malt & Corn Factors and Insurance Agents at 5 New London St.
The Corn Laws were designed to protect the interests of British agriculture and thereby the interests of the landed gentry and merchants. Its by-product was the high price of bread. Frightened by the failure of the potato harvest in Ireland and expected famine, the corn laws were repealed in 1846. Corn markets across the world opened up. The summer of 1847 brought bumper harvests from Europe leading to a devastating drop of prices. Corn Exchange prices dropped from 115s a quarter in May to 49s.6d in September. A tightening of credit led to panic on the money markets. 117 firms failed including eleven banks. Usborne & Son went down with debts of 33,627 ( Major owed his brother Thomas in Ireland 18,346. The liquidators paid out 11s.3d. in the pound. The Times reported "The present position has arisen entirely from the dis-honour of claims the company holds on Leslie Alexander and other suspended firms. The circumstances of the stoppage are such as will maintain rather than diminish the honourable character which Mr. Usborne has hitherto borne". How he re-started his career is not recorded. By 1854 trade was firmly re-established. Major continued to buy ship-loads of grain from his brother Thomas.
   He became a director of the National Bank.
   He is listed in the Court Directory (upper crust) in 1863.    

  The family bible was bought in 1833 for Major's wedding to Elizabeth Stenning. Family births, deaths and marriages are recorded on the fly leaves. W.H.Havergill, rector of Astley, Worcestershire, made the first entry in celebration of the union at Croydon: "May they be heirs together of the Grace of Life. May they mark, learn and inwardly digest the Word of Life; and at the last Great Day may they be found written in the Book of Life."

In 1843 there was a devastating fire in St Olave's church, Hart St., close to Major's office in the City. Major must have been one of the local prosperous merchants who contributed to it's repair. He was rewarded by having his coat of arms (borrowed from his cousins) incorporate in in the right hand light of the north aisle.         (See Coat of Arms page)

First version?

Russell Square

Bedford St

Peter (b.1937) peers out from the jungle of Highgate cemetery where he discovered Major's memorial