Robert Tristram worked for Wood's in the early 19th century.
His death was recorded in the Morning Chronicle of 20th January 1823 under the heading ‘Extraordinary Case', although his funeral was more fully reported in The Times of 30th January where his name had been transcribed incorrectly as ‘Thomas Drisdell', one theory being the mis-translation of the reporter's shorthand.
The Times noted that ‘Drisdell was by trade a journeyman scale-maker, and worked for many years with Mr. Wood, in Smithfield'. He was also a miser, who accumulated a small fortune during his life through refusing to spend any money. This behaviour did not endear him to his work colleagues, as although he was always ready to join them for a drink, he never stood his round and became known as ‘Tom the Cadger'. His funeral was attended by a ‘vast concourse of persons' ‘anxious to see his remains consigned to the earth'.
Despite the fact that he was very industrious in his early years, Richard Wood discharged him around 1820 as he had ‘got to be a very slow workman'. Robert died on 17th January 1823, and named his former employer as his sole executor.
For an extraordinary report of his death and funeral, and of the huge fortune of £1700 that he left to his 13 year old illegitimate daughter Mary Ann Thompson, read here.
Our thanks to Jenny Hutchinson for unearthing the original report, and to Shaun Jones for identifying Robert Tristram's correct name.