Neal relations at Cuckoos Cup, The Wrekin

In tune with the times Music, migration and print

Further research on the O’Brien and Farrall lines {2} has unsurprisingly revealed more relatives to contact via Ancestry or other means. That’s not really worthy of a written note on Cutlock & Co – but perhaps a musical version instead, as one of these relatives has turned his hand to writing songs. A cousin to “uncle Charles”, he has put together an album’s worth set around their common ancestors’ journey from Ireland to London in the 1840s.

Richard O’Brien’s ‘Wherever the Moon is – songs of migration’ consists of eleven tracks with subjects such as Rookery Rock – the trials of living in Victorian London, or Hold the Front Page – when the family’s attachment to the printing trade begins. Listen and watch the videos on the website, or get the tracks via various outlets.

The focus is on the family of Charles O’Brien (or Brien/Bryan) and Catherine Neal (O’Neill), who married in a Catholic wedding at Saffron Hill in 1858. Their son Charles (1864-1914) became a printer compositor and in 1886 marries Louisa Banan at the ‘Sardinian Chapel’, the Roman Catholic Church of St Anselm and St Cecilia in Holborn. In turn, their son Charles Frederick (1887-1968) appears as a linotype operator in 1911.

Further notation

Uncle Charles (Charles Theophilus O’Brien) continued the family printing tradition – as a linotype operator per the 1939 register, simply ‘printer’ on his wedding certificate in 1948, and in 1970 he stated his occupation as “typographer/journalist”.

Thomas Banan, brother to Louisa and marrying Charles’ sister Ellen, manages to combine music and print as a “music lithographic printer” per 1901 and 1911 censuses, living in Wood Green but probably working in central London. What tunes might have had a wider audience due to his work?

Closer inspection of Theophilus Farrall’s various legal scrapes {1} brings to light that he was secretary to the Chesterton Brass Band at some point in the 1870s. Presumably he would also have played some instrument.


Other Cutlock & Co musical stories:


  1. See Theophilus Farrall shipping agent and electrical inventor, in particular Note 7, for his involvement in legal proceedings.
  2. Research was undertaken to update material in preparation for a U3A family history presentation on Theophilus Farrall. As well as Note 1’s link, see Political shocks ruin the inventing business.




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