Sarah Downing was born in 1828 in Smethwick and was the younger sister of William Downing. We have a small collection of three letters that were sent to her from 1845 to 1853 that shed some light on early life in Smethwick in this period. It is not clear why these essentially insignificant letters have survived or who kept them. However with their age they have become rare and fragile objects of considerable interest.

She married William Laister in 1853.

Letter from Emma Downing in 1845 to her sisters-in-law Sarah and Eliza

Letter from Ann Maria Downing in 1853 to her sisters-in-law Sarah and Eliza

Letter from Aunt Cropley in 1849 to Sarah.

William Laister, like the Downings was a maltster. Both he and Sarah died with a few days of each other in January 1892. They had five surviving chilldren. Their wills show that they had little of the wealth attained by William Downing. One of the letters would suggest that the marriage was not fully approved of. Whatever level of estrangement these particular letters nonetheless found their way back to William's side of the family to fall into our possession.

For her immediate relations see the descendants tree of her Grandfather John Downing.