James Partleton was born on 05/05/1837. His parents were James Partleton & Mary Ann Palmer.
There are opinions that May Ann Palmer was married earlier to another man. Divorce was a rare occurrence those days, so it is said that his parents could never get married. James was their first of nine kids. His birth place was Houghton Street, Clare Market, Strand.
At the age of four, James was baptised at Feathers Court, a yard which was notorious for all kinds of vices like prostitution, drunkenness, all kinds of disease outbreaks etc.
Drury Lane at Feathers Court is where James lived till he was 9 years. There were many other notorious streets nearby like Coal Yard where thieves found harbour, Barley court which was home to returned convicts, men & women of bad character etc.
Ashlin’s place was yet another building which later came to be known as Ragged Staff Court. The condition of this place was so bad due to a sickening smell that passing through that street was also a torture. The pathetic situation of the neighbourhoods can be understood as James lost his brother and two sisters to serious diseases.
Every room in Feathers Court had one family staying in it. James used to stay with his large family in a single room .There was no proper arrangement for cooking in any of these rooms. The house was intended for one family which never happened. All the families had to sacrifice many comforts and adjust with meagre facilities.
The sewage and septic tank facilities were almost nonexistent .These unhygienic conditions led way to outbreak of many diseases which claimed the lives of many.
Another building was Russell Court which was a special place to live in as it had a cemetery in the courtyard. It was here that most of the people in the neighbourhood were buried.
The above description would give you an idea of the environment in which James lived in the early years of his childhood.