The following relates to a sister of my great grandmother in Wales. my great grandmother was the sole reason I first became interested in family history many years ago.
The history of this one family from the 1880's up to the first decade of 1900's was of one tragedy after another. One by one each member of the family had either died or had to endure an extremely tough early life.
I think many of us would imagine that being in an industrial School, orphanage or children's home in Victorian and Edwardian times would be tough to say the least. I was quite surprised when I managed to get copies of around 35 letters relating to the sister of My great grandmother.
What really surprised me was at this stage (1908) she was 23 years of age, and obviously the home took great interest in her.
The following is a report written by a children's home in London on my great grand aunt's circumstances in her employment. I have many letters from the home, employer and Florence herself. (great grand aunt)
9th and 10th September 1908 ( A typed report on Florence…appears to be carried out by the home)
9th Septr 1908 .
Re Florence Locke
Mr Clare called with reference to above. Florence gave notice to leave Mr Clare on 25 th August, for 25th Septr, the family have since removed from Eastbourne back again to Streatham & are staying temporarily at Winton Lodge, Leigham Court Rd, Streatham. Mr Clare feels he cannot keep Florence & would like her advised by us as to her future.
10th Septr 1908
Miss Tregenza called at the above address & found Mrs Clare had gone to the exhibition & would not be back till late. Saw Mrs Robinson, Mrs Clare’s mother, with whom the Clares are staying till they find a suitable house for themselves. It appears that Mrs Robinson made an understanding that Florence should accompany her Mistress to Winton Lodge & Mrs R. feels that Florence could not be spared while they are still there as it is a very big house & at present she has only one little maid of 17. Suggested I should call again in an hour or two 7 probably Mr Clare would then be in. Called again at 6 o’clock but Mr C, had not returned. Mrs Robinson stated that Florence was perfectly honest, a good worker, and very clean in her person,
habits & work, but still gave a great deal of trouble occasionally on account of her temper & for that reason Mrs Robinson thought the Clares might not be willing to take her with them when they settled again, but she could not say anything definite on that point. I asked to see Florence and thought her looking very pale and thin, she broke down when she saw me & feared that the people at the Home are vexed with her but I explained that Mr Clare had said she thought of leaving & we were only anxious to know what she was going to do & whether she would like us to get her another place. I am under the impression that Florence gets out very little , in fact Mrs Robinson mentioned that she believed she wanted to get out by herself in order to go to a Reg: office to look for another place & she really could not spare F,
while the Clares are with her. I asked F, what wages she was now getting & she said they raised her to £12-0-0 at the end of the first 6 months but has since told her that they never gave their maids more than that. Florence has been with them for nearly 4 years. I suggested that F. should come to the Home one half day soon & see Mr Carnegie. Mrs Robinson then suggested that she could have a few days change as they were going away next week and asked if Mr Carnegie could take Florence from next Tues: or Wed: 16th inst to the following sat: or Mon: as probably the change would do her good & she might settled down happily again. Miss Tregenza stated Mr Carnegie would probably write to Mr F Clare to-day with reference to the matter
N.B. Mrs Robinson stated she would be quite willing to pay for Florence’s board for the few days.
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