The marriage record states both Thomas and his father’s occupation as ‘Vegetable Dealers’. It’s most likely that they were pooling their resources and working as a team, each covering different streets, but combining their wages to buy stock.
Henry Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor once more proves invaluable in explaining that ‘general’ and ‘vegetable’ dealer often meant the same thing, as did ‘green-grocer’:
“the purveyor of vegetables now usually sells fish with his cabbages, turnips, cauliflowers, or other garden stuff. The fish that he carries out on his round generally consists of soles, mackerel, or fresh or salt herrings. This combination of the street-green-grocer and street-fishmonger is called a “general dealer.”
(Mayhew, page 92)
Despite their teamwork the family were suffering serious economic difficulties. In 1861 there were a total of 11 people, (7 of them aged over 16) squashed into 1 Hatfield Terrace, Latymer Road. The residents consisted of Thomas, Thomas’ parents (Charles and Sarah), Thomas’ wife Elizabeth and their 3 young children along with Thomas’ widowed sister, Sarah and her children.
Most of the men toiled on the streets hawking goods whist the women of the household were employed in laundry-work as ironers. The house was undoubtedly small, quite possibly only consisting of one or two rooms. It’s yard backed out onto the West London Junction Railway tracks.