Margaret K’s story

Being charged with child neglect is bad enough in this day and age, but being penalised for that crime when you were already locked up and therefore couldn’t physically care for your children seems particularly harsh. This was the case for Margaret, but as someone clearly scratching a living from hawking and possessing a chequered criminal past, perhaps the support and upkeep of her children during this incarceration could have been handled in another manner – even in an era where children and their rights were treated very differently to today.

The trouble with habitual criminals in the Victorian age is that often they gave false names at conviction, and could falsify other details too, so keeping track of them and their misdemeanours through documents can often be a tricky prospect. Thankfully, some were up in front of the courts often enough for judges to recognise them, and correct their names alongside their assumed moniker in the record.

Margaret appears to have been born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, in the early 1850s, the second child of Catholic immigrants from Galway, Ireland. Her father had found work in the city as a mason’s labourer, and she grew up in a family of at least four children. She didn’t receive a great deal of education, and it’s likely that her first employment was around the city’s heavy industry.

By 21, she was pregnant with an illegitimate daughter, and a son followed swiftly afterwards. The 1891 census for Sheffield shows her having taken up with a man, who may or may not have been the children’s father – they’re listed under her surname, not his – and living crammed into one room in a house of multiple occupation. Around them are a file striker, a plumber, bill hanger, general gardener, fancy case maker, brass turner, and spoon fork buffer, all with several people to a room. Her man worked as a ironworks labourer, and was nearly 10 years her senior. He’d had no education whatsoever, was a Church of England worshipper – which may have caused problems among her catholic relatives – and already had had a brush with the law at the age of 19, for threatening another man, and had served six months.

Margaret’s first brush with the justice system happened between the births of her first and second child, when she was fined for stealing clothes. She then received 28 days hard labour for stealing five shirts, when her son was only a few months old. Her children would have been left in the care of her man at this time, and perhaps looked after by someone else in one of the house’s other rooms while he was at work.

However, both Margaret and her partner were in trouble again shortly after this – having together stolen a coat and a vest. Margaret was sentenced to two calendar months in jail, while her partner received four months in the same institution – however, these sentences appear not to have occurred at the same time, as her partner was incarcerated as she was released, presumably to provide consistent childcare.

This pattern continued for Margaret, with a succession of convictions throughout the early 1890s. She stole a coat and hat, and got three months hard labour for that. Another coat only a few months later got her a further three months in the clink, and then she was charged with being drunk and disorderly and was locked up for a week. In between convictions she worked – as a tin worker, and then as a mill hand. She then stole 47 ½ yards of Holland cloth, and received a further four months hard labour.

Her partner appears to have stayed on the straight and narrow through this, but during this last period that Margaret was detained something appears to have changed. He was convicted of cruelty to two children – presumably Margaret’s daughter and son, who may or may not have been his own – while living in Barnsley, and received a month’s hard labour. Cruelty to children – in an era where children were often beaten and repressed as a matter of course in the name of instilling “good” behaviour – appears have been a much lesser crime than stealing clothing, given the more lenient sentence he received.

Despite this conviction, a year after his release Margaret married him. Her son died shortly afterwards, at the age of five. A year or so later two further daughters were born, and she appears to have been better behaved, or at least not been caught. However, there are two more minor convictions – one for assault, one for damaging glass – at the tail end of the 1890s that show that she wasn’t completely on the straight and narrow. She received a calendar month of hard labour for each offence. Another daughter was born just at the turn of the 20th century.

The 1901 census finds the family still crammed into one room in a Sheffield house, with her husband still employed as a furnaceman at the ironworks. Margaret, at this time, was unable to work as she has a very small baby. However, over the next couple of years she is charged with being drunk twice – once while being in charge of a child – and for using obscene language.

She then received six months in Wakefield prison for malicious wounding, and six months after that got a further half year – this time in Sheffield jail – for stealing a suit of clothes. By this stage she was giving her profession as a hawker. She gave birth to a son during this time in prison.

At the time of the conviction for neglecting her children, Margaret was in Derby prison. It’s unclear what she did to end up there – the prison records for Derbyshire at that time are unavailable – but the neglect took place over several dates over six months, so it’s probable that she received a six-month sentence for similar clothes-stealing crimes. The children should by rights have been in the care of their father while she was incarcerated, but in practice – as was seen in his earlier conviction – his care appears to have been minimal at best. He also died very shortly after Margaret was convicted of neglect, so may well have been ill and unable to provide adequate care – hence the blame for the children’s condition falling squarely on her shoulders. Margaret’s charges were that she “unlawfully did wilfully neglect them in a manner likely to cause them unnecessary suffering to their person at Sheffield”. She was discharged, to serve for this crime once her sentence in Derby had come to an end.

Unsurprisingly, with their father dead and their mother incarcerated, the four children were removed from Sheffield and placed in an orphanage in Sussex. Here they would have followed quite a harsh regime, but would been educated and trained, clothed and looked after – which may have seemed settled after their earlier life.

Margaret, once out of prison, still worked as a hawker. The 1911 census records her as a rag and bone hawker, who would have roamed the streets finding useful scrap and selling it on. She lodged with her married sister and family, still in Sheffield, in their tiny lodgings. Her sister worked as a fruit and vegetable hawker, so may well have roamed the streets together.

There are no further convictions, and she lived on in Sheffield until the beginning of the second world war. At least one of her daughters came back to the city once she had grown up.



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Marion Young’s story

Marion was at the forefront of new art teaching in elementary schools in the 1930s, but her contribution has been eclipsed by that of her rather better-known colleague Robin Tanner, and her part in this teaching epoch has been buried – possibly as her medium, needlework, was not considered worthy of a traditional art focus either then or now, and instead is often viewed merely as a woman’s practical skill.

She was born in Marlborough, Wiltshire, in the summer of 1902 – the fourth child and second daughter of an insurance agent and his wife. The family were almost certainly non-conformists in religion – Marion’s older sister was baptised in a Methodist church, and Marion herself was later reprimanded for teaching scripture lessons from the perspective of a non-CofE denomination. After moving when she was small, she was brought up in Chippenham, a well-connected Wiltshire market town, and would probably have been initially educated at St Paul’s elementary school, just across the road from her family’s home.

In her teens she decided to train as a teacher, and went to Salisbury Teacher Training College, an institution that trained women teachers for National Schools. Here she would have been given two years’ training to instruct children in English, history, geography, music, needlework, arithmetic, drawing, domestic economy and scripture – all subjects that were felt essential for children’s basic education at the beginning of the 1920s.

teacher training salisbury

It’s likely that her first job post-training was at Melksham Boy’s National School, in a town about six miles away from home, but the log book of this institution for that period is not available. In September 1923, the boys’ school amalgamated with the girls’ school, and Marion is on the staff of this new school – the head teacher’s comments about her in the school log book perhaps indicate a longer acquaintance, and she is certainly not on the staff of the previous girls’ school, which leads to the assumption that she had taught at the boys’ school.

At this newly amalgamated school, Marion taught Standards I and II and was an assistant mistress. She left her post in the summer of 1924, with no reason given – there is nothing in her personal life that would indicate why she quit. She did not get married, which was the usual reason young women teachers resigned, as a marriage bar prohibited them from working, nor did she transfer to another school. The head writes: “The departure of Miss Young from this school is a matter of deep regret to all. She has rendered extremely loyal service during her period of service at this school.”

Marion returned to the same school a year later, with no remark made upon her return, and taught there until the winter of 1930, when she secured a post at a school back in Chippenham, where she was still living.

This school was Ivy Lane Elementary School, which had Robin Tanner on the staff at that time. Tanner – an etcher and artist whose work was starting to be noticed – had been at the school for about six months, and was beginning to work with the pupils on arts and design, book binding, and painting on enamel. To this portfolio he later added weaving, with the school purchasing its own loom to achieve this. The headteacher, seeing the benefits for his pupils of this creative outlet, encouraged Tanner to include the girls’ decorative work from the needlework classes in this design work – and to this end he worked with Marion as she was the school’s needlework specialist.

Needlework at this time was very much seen as a practical skill, with utilitarian needs, and part of a preparation for girls’ future lives as wives and mothers. Because it was viewed as a woman’s skill, the decorative aspect of needlework was not considered as art in the traditional sense, but the work of Robin and Marion together changed this for pupils at Ivy Lane Elementary at least, and later displayed this to the education community nationally.

A report of late 1930 says that a striking feature of the art teaching at the school is the linking up of design with decorative needlework, and in 1931 the headteacher of Ivy Lane – Frederick Hinton – remarks that: “Mr Tanner and Miss Young have co-operated and the lessons in Design and in Needlework have been correlated with remarkably pleasing results.” He also notes that as a result of this collaboration, the girls in the school are showing a much greater interest in art and design, and that the approach was helping remedial children in the school to feel more confident about their work.

There is no doubt that Robin Tanner was the driving force behind the new approaches to art within the school, but he was ably supported and embellished by Marion’s skills. Indeed, the work going on at the school started to be noticed – initially by local schools’ inspectors within Wiltshire, and then further afield. An exhibition of the school’s handicraft, art and needlework led to senior inspectors visiting the school directly to look at the work. Then a party of students from the Salisbury Teacher Training College came to visit the school, and every class worked on art for an afternoon with them. Packages of artwork, including needlework, were sent to education conferences elsewhere – the work went as far as Dartington and Truro in the south of the country, and Durham and Newcastle in the north. Principals of art schools also visited the school, as did specialist art lecturers, and in 1934 the needlework was borrowed for a course by the Board of Education. This achievement by Robin and Marion, alongside Miss Miles, another needlework teacher who joined in the work later, brought the school to national renown. One famous comment was that those seeing the exhibited work could not believe that they had been done by children.

Robin Tanner left Ivy Lane Elementary School in 1935 to become an inspector of schools himself, and the requests for exhibited art and needlework dried up almost immediately. A new art master took over, but there is no further mention of decorative needlework being combined with art teaching. Instead, Marion’s speciality at the school became Physical Training – the older name for PE – and she attended various courses to improve the instruction for the pupils.

Towards the tail end of 1940, with Chippenham’s schools already overcrowded and waves of evacuees swelling pupil numbers still further, education in the town was reorganised. The three highest forms from all the town’s elementary schools formed a new temporary senior school, based in a building that Chippenham’s grammar school had recently vacated, and Marion’s teaching job moved to this new school. Here she remained a PT specialist, while still providing class-based general education for the 11-14-year-olds still in the elementary system.

The school drew children from across the town, some of them travelling a great distance to attend, which meant that the traditional dinner interval where children went home for a hot meal was more difficult. Until the second world war every child went home for lunch, and were given up to an hour and a half to achieve this, but rationing of food meant that collective ways to eat were becoming more popular as nicer meals were achievable if everyone’s share was amalgamated. The temporary senior school established their own canteen to provide hot meals for the children, with their own cook and Marion as the staff member in charge of the venture.

The blitz on Bath of 27/28 April 1942 meant that the gas supply to the surrounding area was cut off – including Chippenham. Marion worked with the cook, Mrs Whittle, and a troop of New Zealand soldiers that were also stationed at the temporary senior school building at that point in the war, to ensure that every child had a hot meal that day. This involved cooking in pots over camp fires.

The Butler Education Act of 1944 formalised Chippenham’s Temporary Senior School into a mixed Secondary Modern School. This also gradually moved the education format from class-based general teaching to separate subject specialisms – and Marion, as a senior assistant mistress, was still the PT specialist for the school. The marriage bar for women teachers was also lifted that year, meaning that Marion and her colleagues could marry and keep their jobs. However, at 42 she may have felt that marriage was not an option open to her. Nonetheless, it was Marion who was nominated to attend courses on how to deliver sex education to her pupils.

The school split in 1956, with the boys remaining in the old grammar school building and the Girls’ Secondary Modern School moving to new premises at Hardenhuish. Marion went to teach in this new girls’ school, as the most senior assistant mistress (today’s equivalent to a Deputy Headteacher). By this stage her specialism was English.

Here she remained as a prominent member of staff for another eight years, until retirement in 1964. When she left the school had a special assembly for her, and she was presented with a record player and record case. The staff also had a party for her in the school library.

She died at the tail end of the 1970s, having lived with her widowed sister in a sizable house, and left a great deal of money. She is buried in Chippenham’s St Paul’s churchyard, alongside her parents and one of her brothers.


The image accompanying this post is by Hannah Hill.



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Caroline T’s story

Caroline was steeped in the cloth trade of the East End of London. Both her parents came from weaving stock, so had been around the manufacture of cloth since childhood, but by the time Caroline – their first daughter and oldest child – came along her father was making a living from making straps and dog collars. Since the neckwear of vicars in the 1880s was more usually referred to as a clerical collar at that time, it’s likely that Caroline’s parents’ income depended on fancy collars for pampered pooches.

Production of luxury, non-essential items, was far from unusual in Shoreditch in the last two decades of the 19th century, where Caroline and her seven siblings grew up. The households surrounding them housed tailors and other cloth workers, invariably of Jewish descent and having arrived in the UK from Russia or Poland, and from the census records of their occupations it is clear that their work involved non-essential clothing and fancy or decorative items.

edwardian embroidery 1

By 1901 Caroline – who by this stage was in her early 20s – and her whole family were working together to produce luxury fabric items. Her father still made dog collars, while her mother stitched shirts, two of her sisters were machinists while a brother worked with them. Caroline herself was an embroidery cutter, so would have be involved in fiddly and intricate work that put the gloss and style on the products the rest of her family made.

By this stage, Caroline might have been expected to get married, but instead she chose to continue her embroidery and stay working within the family business. This was also a choice made by several of her sisters – the entire family stayed working together for the next decade. The sister closest to Caroline in age died in 1910, in her early 30s, but had worked closely with the rest of the family until that point.

With seven active family members working, their fortunes went up. They were able to move from Shoreditch to Mile End, and Caroline’s father acted as the official salesperson for their products, as a hawker. Caroline herself, alongside one of her sisters, embroidered ladies’ jackets, while one brother made belts, a sister produced garments for horses, another produced hand lace, and the youngest sister was apprenticed to a dress maker.

edwardian embroidery 2
Walking suit ca. 1905. Hunter green wool in herringbone weave. Long jacket, trimmed with passementerie and faux buttons and with a faux vest in velvet with cream embroidery. Lined in cream silk satin; weighted hem. Pleated skirt with decorated front panel.

The difference in the economy caused by the First World War meant that luxury items were less in demand and the situation changed for Caroline’s family. She, alongside several of her younger sisters, married during the four years of the war.

The man of her choosing was a widower with three young children – who had relied on his younger unmarried sister for family support for five years after his wife’s death until Caroline came into the picture. She gained a new family, but at the age of 40 was probably getting past the age of child-bearing, so did not have any children of her own. They moved to Marylebone, where her husband worked as a French polisher and undertaker.

Caroline died ten years later, at the age of just fifty, making her husband twice widowed.


To submit a woman from your family for inclusion in The Women Who Made Me project, contact Lucy of Once Upon A Family Tree. If you don’t think you have anyone, she begs to differ and can help you discover your female relatives’ lives.

Frances B’s story

A minor member of the peerage, through both her birth and her marriage, Frances B was one of the early recruits to the Auxiliary Territorial Service at the beginning of the Second World War, and died while on active service.

Born in Bermuda, while her naval commander father was serving in the area in the 1890s, Frances was the oldest of three children. Her parents had married in Malta, and Frances had by far the most exotic of her sibling’s births – the others occurring in Kent and Oxfordshire.

Despite her father’s position in the navy, which would have required him to be at sea for long periods of time, the family settled in Portsmouth while they were in England, and had a comfortable existence supported by domestic staff – including a nursemaid for the children.

Later on, as her father’s career was winding down, Frances’ family moved permanently to a village in Kent, to a house that her parents had returned to when they were between periods of service. By 1911 she was the only child left at home – her brother was at public school, and her sister was elsewhere. Frances, having left any education she was given, was at this stage of marriageable age, and would have been expected to make a good match.

Her brother was killed on active service in France in the first half of the Great War, and both Frances and her sister married the following year – her sister to a military musician, and Frances to a naval lieutenant in active service, so the pattern of traveling she experienced as a child continued into her adulthood.

Her husband saw service on many naval vessels, and their daughter and only child was born while Frances was based on the north-east coast of England at the tail end of the first world war.

In peace time the family settled in Cheshire. Her husband retired from the Navy on medical grounds, becoming a company director, and their daughter grew up and married. Frances led a comfortable existence during the early half of the 20th century.

However, the outbreak of the second world war ended that lifestyle. Frances’ husband was recalled into the navy. Frances herself, who had always lived alongside the military, joined the fledgling Auxiliary Territorial Service. This unit for women was attached to the territorial army, and members received two thirds of the pay that a male member of the TA would be given.

At the time Frances joined the ATS, the women in the service were employed as cooks, clerks and shopkeepers, helping to keep institutions and structures running during war time when men were getting scarcer. Some became telephonists, with more than 300 women sent to France to support troops in the very earliest part of the war. Frances, with her background in the military and high social standing, became a senior commandant – an equivalent to the male rank of major – and would have been in charge of many other women volunteering to help the war effort.

Later on, the roles of ATS members expanded to include orderlies, postal workers, ammunition inspectors and drivers. However, Frances did not live to see these changes. She died while on active service at a hospital in Oxford, during the spring of 1941. The hospital does not appear to have been part of the blitz, however. She was included in the UK Army Roll of Honour.

Frances’ personal effects and her money were given to her husband – who was also awarded during World War II – and her married daughter.


To submit a woman from your family for inclusion in The Women Who Made Me project, contact Lucy of Once Upon A Family Tree. If you don’t think you have anyone, she begs to differ and can help you discover your female relatives’ lives.

Lilian Y’s story

The railway age is often seen as a romantic one, with clouds of steam and breathless brief encounters perhaps eclipsing the reality of filthy hard work and clothes full of soot smuts. However, the community around railways could at least partly be described as romantic in that many people met their partners among the multifarious professions employed on and around the rails.

Lilian Y was one of these, as she came from a railway family, and married a railway man. However, where her tale differs is that she did not remain associated with the rails and instead became landlady of a pub.

She was born in Bristol, the second child of a railway platelayer – someone who inspected the conditions of the track – and his wife at the beginning of the 1890s. Six younger siblings followed, and the family grew up beside the harbour railway  in Bristol’s docklands, alongside boats working with tobacco, coal and other heavy industry.

In her teens her father moved to a similar role on the Strawberry Line or the Cheddar Valley Line, and the family went with him. Upon leaving school Lilian found work as a waitress in a restaurant, possibly in the station café, and boarded out of the family home.

By 1915 Lilian was in a Wiltshire market town with a strong railway industry, possibly due to her father’s next job. She married that year, to a railway guard who was more than ten years her senior.

Initially they lived behind the town’s brake and signalling works, and their first son followed later that year, with another born five years later. The gap in their children’s ages would perhaps suggest that her husband served in the first world war, but there is no evidence for this.

Things changed in early 1932 when they bought a pub – including all the fixtures, fittings and cutlery, and even including the 60 tulip bulbs in the garden – which was one of two frequented by railway workers and those employed in the next-door bacon factory. This had several rooms – a bar, smoking room, club room, drawing room, and kitchen with meat safes.

Her husband, who had long been employed on the railway, kept his job as a railway guard while being landlord at the pub. However, in practice with him employed down the road – despite gaps in trains arriving and departing the station, and the pub being only a stone’s throw away – it would have been Lilian who would have opened the bar for trade and served the beer, in addition to providing any food that the pub would serve and keeping the place clean and tidy. She was aided in her landlady’s role by her two sons, but they also had jobs elsewhere – one at the post office and the other at the bacon factory. Despite this huge amount of work, and her official role as landlady, the 1939 register tersely gives Lillian’s profession as “unpaid domestic duties at home”.

A year into World War II, her husband died – only in his late 50s – and Lilian ran the pub alone with the help of her sons. However, with pressure to join up and fight the eldest son went into the air force not long after his father’s death. He was killed in a nearby flying accident around nine months later, while awaiting his wings, leaving Lilian with two close bereavements within a year of each other.

She continued to run the pub, now landlord in name as well as action, sometimes with her remaining son, alongside a bar manager until 1957, when she retired and moved elsewhere in the town. She died around a decade later, and is buried alongside her husband and elder son in the grounds of the church in which she married.


To submit a woman from your family for inclusion in The Women Who Made Me project, contact Lucy of Once Upon A Family Tree. If you don’t think you have anyone, she begs to differ and can help you discover your female relatives’ lives.

Cecelia W’s story

Magdalene laundries are more usually associated with Ireland, but institutions for penitent women were found in many countries.

The more usual name for these institutions were reformatory schools or refuges for penitent women, and they were run by a collection of nuns with the aim to cleanse the souls of those accommodated within, and focus the mind on good work through useful industry.

The more usual view is that admittance was via loose behaviour – either bearing a child out of wedlock or engaging in prostitution – but young catholic women could also be placed there for other reasons, such as engaging in petty crimes.

It is unknown what Cecilia W did to end up in a convent reformatory, but there is a record from someone bearing her name in 1879 who was charged with two counts of fraud. This young woman admitted her guilt, and was released – but may have been placed in a reformatory by her parents to keep her on the straight and narrow.

She’d been born in Newport, South Wales, into a large catholic family of eleven children. Her father worked as a sawyer, while her mother ran a public house.

Whatever she did to end up as a penitent, by 1881 she was placed in a convent institution in Bristol, spending her time employed in laundry work and needlework.

She stayed there for at least the next twenty years. In 1891 the institution, which was run by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd – who had other convents and reform schools elsewhere in the UK – had 67 penitent women on their books alongside 59 reformatory girls and 20 school children. By 1891 Cecilia’s needlework role appeared to have been dropped and she was merely working as a laundry maid. She was similarly employed in the same institution in 1901.

By 1911, however, she appears to have left the convent as she does not appear on the list of inmates – so perhaps her debt to society had been repaid in the eyes of the church. A woman bearing her name was living in a flat in Brighton, on the south coast of England, as the travelling companion to an American visitor of Irish descent. In the absence of an obvious death record it would be nice to think that, after many years hard laundry labour at the hands of the nuns, she had a nicer and more comfortable life in her later years. There is no further record of Cecelia, so she may have travelled back to America with her new-found companion.


To submit a woman from your family for inclusion in The Women Who Made Me project, contact Lucy of Once Upon A Family Tree. If you don’t think you have anyone, she begs to differ and can help you discover your female relatives’ lives.

Amy W’s story

Entering a convent and becoming a nun, giving up your life to God and a regime of worship and good works, might have been done for several reasons in the 19th century. For poorer catholic girls, it was a way to achieve a more comfortable and stable life. For others, it was a way to avoid the institutions of marriage and children. The convent offered an opportunity for leadership and prominent positions unavailable to women outside the institution, and perhaps gave women a chance for creative expression or female education that would not otherwise be offered. Some may have felt a strong calling to devote their lives to God. More monied and prominent catholic families might have expected one or two of their daughters to enter the convent in time-honoured tradition, and a convent dowry was usually less than a marriage dowry so could have been seen as making economic sense.

Amy W and her twin sister were the youngest daughters in a prominent and landed Catholic family, born at the beginning of the 1830s in the south of England. They had six older siblings, including three older sisters. At least some of their childhood was spent in a convent in Taunton, although by the time they were 19 they had been brought home and possibly were in the market for husbands.

Two of their brothers married – one going on to have fourteen children of his own – but none of their older sisters married. They all, along with Amy and her twin, spent their lives in convents serving either as nuns or nuns who had a remit to teach children or penitents.

Amy, on re-entering the religious profession at some point in the 1860s, had the most prominent career of all her sisters. While her twin remained with the Franciscan sisters in Taunton, she became part of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, an order that had first come to London in 1841 and gradually founded other convents throughout the UK.

She rose to become the superintendent of their Glazenwood convent in Essex, under a Belgian priest. This institution was effectively a refuge and reformatory for penitent women, and there were 31 inmates at the turn of the 1860s – a mixture of former laundresses, seamstresses, domestic servants, parlour maids, dairy maids, farmer workers and nursery maids. The nuns in this house, with Amy at their head, offered care and instruction to the inmates.

During the following decade, she moved to become the prioress of another Sisters of the Good Shepherd convent in Bristol. This institution, set in a former great house, was again a reform school and refuge for penitent women but on a much larger scale than the one in Essex. In this position Amy had an assistant, a choir of 12 nuns, and 12 lay sisters underneath her. There were 127 penitent women and girls in the institution, all employed in laundry and needlework. In many cases these women would have been undergoing penance for loose behaviour with men or prostitution, but those who had undertaken other crimes were also admitted for correction and soul-cleansing.

By the mid-1880s, Amy had moved to the original Sisters of the Good Shepherd convent at Hammersmith in London, and by the turn of the 1890s she was serving at their convent in Blackley, near Manchester in Lancashire. By this stage she was 59, and possibly in less robust health as she did not serve as superioress or prioress, and was instead second in command. This was another institution for penitents, with 20 nuns and 128 inmates.

While one of her sisters had some small amount of money, which she left to Amy, when Amy died at the early part of the 1890s she had nothing to leave anyone. She passed away while serving at the Lancashire convent. Her twin sister continued to live and serve at the Taunton convent until she died in the run up to the First World War.


To submit a woman from your family for inclusion in The Women Who Made Me project, contact Lucy of Once Upon A Family Tree. If you don’t think you have anyone, she begs to differ and can help you discover your female relatives’ lives.