RootsChat.Com

General => The Common Room => The Lighter Side => Topic started by: River Tyne Lass on Wednesday 16 September 20 09:44 BST (UK)

Title: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Wednesday 16 September 20 09:44 BST (UK)
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/215628519/elizabeth-elsdon

I have just added this grave stone memorial (photographed at All Saints Cemetery, Newcastle upon Tyne) to Find A Grave yesterday.  I just take photos for this site - Elizabeth Elsdon is not an ancestor.

I presume it would have been Elizabeth's employer who would have paid for this large stone and inscription.  If so, what a kind employer to have done this for her.  I wonder if Elizabeth was a servant up to the end of her life.  Hopefully, she got to have some retirement years before her death at 88.

I wonder if anyone else may have stories of a Victorian era servant ancestor who was treated with some particular kindness by an employer?  Or perhaps you might have a tale to tell about a benevolent employer ancestor?
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: JenB on Wednesday 16 September 20 09:52 BST (UK)
Amazingly I had noticed that very burial when I was looking for someone else in the burial records just last week.

As an Elsdon family researcher I should have info about her in my notes so will take a look shortly  :)

Thanks for the photo!
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Wednesday 16 September 20 09:58 BST (UK)
Wow Jen!  What a case of serendipity!  You having notes on this person and me having taken this photo!   I will send you the original.  :)

Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: trish1120 on Wednesday 16 September 20 10:31 BST (UK)
How lovely is that ;)

1861 Anc has her as    Elizabeth Clsdon, Unm, Cook, born 1786 Cambo, Northumberland
Employer Collingwood F Jackson a Coal Exporter
She is with him 1841/1851 Census also.


So possible Bapt 18 Apr 1788, St Andrew, Hartburn;
ELIZABETH Elsdon to JOHN/FRANCES
Abode Wallington New Houses
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: JenB on Wednesday 16 September 20 10:37 BST (UK)
How lovely is that ;)

1861 Anc has her as    Elizabeth Clsdon, Unm, Cook, born 1786 Cambo, Northumberland
Employer Collingwood F Jackson a Coal Exporter
She is with him 1841/1851 Census also.


So possible Bapt 18 Apr 1788, St Andrew, Hartburn;
ELIZABETH Elsdon to JOHN/FRANCES
Abode Wallington New Houses

You got there before me!

I just checked my notes, and that's her. her mother was Frances Davison.

Her employers also put a notice in the Newcastle Courant about her death.
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: JenB on Wednesday 16 September 20 11:00 BST (UK)
Her employer Collingwood Jackson died in 1878, burial at Jesmond Cemetery
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/186955307/collingwood-forster-jackson#source

Morpeth Herald May 1878
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Wednesday 16 September 20 15:04 BST (UK)
Many thanks for this Jen and Trish.  I will be adding this to Elizabeth's 'biography' for anyone who may have her in their tree.

I think her employer must have been a very kind person.

Jen, you may already have this but I have just added a photo of a memorial for Robert & Mary Elsdon to the Preston, North Shields Find A Grave.  The inscription is not very clear from the photo so I have inscribed this.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/215662990/robert-elsdon

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/215663058/mary-elsdon

I also added one for another Elizabeth Elsdon a while back - is there a connection to you perhaps?

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/161728460/elizabeth-elsdon

Added: There .. I have now added the info you have provided to the original Elizabeth's biography.  Thanks again to you both.
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Wednesday 16 September 20 15:36 BST (UK)
Well, it might be too early for me to give up hope but judging from there being no forthcoming family 'stories' - aside from Collingwood Jackson - perhaps 'Victorian' and 'benevolent employer' might be too incongruous. ;D  ;D  ;D
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: JenB on Wednesday 16 September 20 21:07 BST (UK)
Thanks for those RTL  :)
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: Erato on Wednesday 16 September 20 21:28 BST (UK)
My g-grandfather received a "handsome mahogany pedestal writing table, two nicely chased brass candlesticks, an engraved brass card tray and an inkstand" from his employer, the Christ Church Schools, Clifton, when he retired to take up a post as headmaster at another school.  Does that count?
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: Top-of-the-hill on Wednesday 16 September 20 22:14 BST (UK)
   I don't think the words "benevolent" and "employer" go together very well in any era. ::)
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: Treetotal on Wednesday 16 September 20 22:27 BST (UK)
My g-grandfather received a "handsome mahogany pedestal writing table, two nicely chased brass candlesticks, an engraved brass card tray and an inkstand" from his employer, the Christ Church Schools, Clifton, when he retired to take up a post as headmaster at another school.  Does that count?

How lovely, have they survived?

Carol
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Wednesday 16 September 20 23:09 BST (UK)
Jen: You are welcome.

Erato: I agree with Carol, that does sound like a lovely parting gift.  I hope this survived to be passed down.  As your ancestor was a headmaster - have any of his school log books survived and if so have you been able to see them? 

I have read some log books at schools some of my ancestors attended (as pupils not staff) and these can be fascinating reads.

TotH: That made me laugh.  There is probably a lot of truth in that comment, though.   We shall see - someone might come along and surprise us with a tale of startling benevolence.  Let's see if anything turns up by tomorrow, or next week or next year ..  ;D
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: Erato on Wednesday 16 September 20 23:31 BST (UK)
"have they survived?"

I have no idea.  At any rate, none of the things made it to the US branch of the family.

What is a headmaster's log book?  That sounds like something worth pursuing.  He was headmaster at the St. Mark's Boys' School, Easton, Bristol from 1903-1920 and at the Castle Green Boys' School, Bristol from 1920-1930.
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Wednesday 16 September 20 23:37 BST (UK)
Yes, I would look into this.  Someone might know if the log books for those schools still exist.

Log books are a bit like diaries.  The head comments on the various things that were going on such as day to day happenings, comments on teachers and pupils, school sickness, war leave, deaths, punishments meted out .. all sorts of things.  And of course, these are all hand written.

One at a school which my Grandfather's cousins attended was particularly fascinating as the Head wrote as if it was his personal diary - he certainly wasn't circumspect but it certainly made for a good read.  Teachers and children were named - no such thing as data protection in the old days.
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: Erato on Wednesday 16 September 20 23:43 BST (UK)
From what I understand from my mother, he was a very popular teacher and mostly taught practical arts - printing, engraving, metal working and such.
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Wednesday 16 September 20 23:48 BST (UK)
That probably explains how he was presented with such a lovely gift.

If you write to the archives near where these schools are/were they might be able to tell you if your ancestor's school log books still exist.  Or if the schools are still around these may have them.

I hope they do.
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Thursday 17 September 20 06:49 BST (UK)
Erato, I think it might have been only state schools (in receipt of grants)who were required to keep log books.  If those schools you mentioned were private schools they might not have kept such books.  It is still probably worth looking into things further just in case.

If your ancestor can be traced to any school, as a pupil teacher, or teacher before he became a headmaster - if a log book was kept at a particular school he will very likely be mentioned in it.  References were often made to new staff coming in about their qualifications and past experience.  I recall in one of our local log books one teacher's interview process was tracked as he was applying for the post of headmaster at another school.  He was successful but sadly went off to the shortly after having resumed a new post and was killed in action.
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: Erato on Thursday 17 September 20 07:19 BST (UK)
Herbert was a pupil teacher in 1885 when he, ah, had to rather hastily get married to his under-aged wife [my g-grandmother].  I don't know the name of the school but it would have been in or around Bristol.  Possibly it was the Christ Church School.

He had been at the Christ Church School for seven years when he was given the writing table in 1893.  This seems to have been a CoE school because the desk and whatnot were presented to him by the vicar.

I think the St. Mark's School was also CoE.  It was closed in 1920 when the school building was converted into the church hall.  So Herbert then moved on to the Castle Green School which was "opened on 10 October 1887 in a new purpose-built building, believed to have been based on the design of a school in New York. Pupils were aged from five to fourteen and were mainly from the slum areas of central Bristol."  Presumably it was a state school.  It was destroyed by a bomb in 1940.


https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/2056127279
https://www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/3394652665

There are some photos but, unfortunately, after Herbert's time.

Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Thursday 17 September 20 07:36 BST (UK)
Oh well in that case I would definitely chase things up - log books may be out there.  :) What a great thing such as this would be to read knowing it was all written by your own ancestor! 

Let us know how you get on.
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: mowsehowse on Thursday 17 September 20 08:04 BST (UK)
   I don't think the words "benevolent" and "employer" go together very well in any era. ::)

 ;)  Perhaps not, but surely all the workers who benefitted from the model villages which were built such as Bournville and Port Sunlight could be said to have had a benevolent employer?

I found this list (England) on Wiki:
    Trowse, Norfolk (1805)
    Blaise Hamlet, Gloucestershire (1811)
    Selworthy, Somerset (1828)
    Barrow Bridge, Bolton (1830s)
    Snelston, Derbyshire (1840s)
    Swindon Railway Village, Wiltshire (1840s)
    Withnell Fold, Lancashire (1844)
    Meltham, Yorkshire (1850)
    Bromborough Pool ("Price's Village") (1853)
    Saltaire, Yorkshire (1853)
    Akroydon, Yorkshire (1859)
    Nenthead, Cumberland (1861)
    New Sharlston Colliery Village, Yorkshire (1864)
    Ripley Ville, Yorkshire (1866)
    Copley, Yorkshire (1874)
    Howe Bridge, Lancashire (187379)
    Bournville, Worcestershire (1879)
    Barwick Hertfordshire (1888)
    Port Sunlight, Cheshire (1888)
    Creswell Model Village, Derbyshire (1895)
    New Bolsover model village, Derbyshire (1896)
    Vickerstown, Lancashire (1901)

It does list others too.
The link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model_village
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Thursday 17 September 20 08:09 BST (UK)
I knew someone would find some benevolence somewhere!   :)

See there TotH .. you old cynic you! (Oh well, perhaps me as well)

Thanks for this mowsehowse! ;)
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: Liz_in_Sussex on Thursday 17 September 20 08:59 BST (UK)
One of my direct Victorian ancestors died at a very young age leaving a wife and 2 very small children. He was servant to a very wealthy man and his accommodation came with the job.

The employer provided for the children as if they were his own, sent them to the best schools and provided a house for the widow which she stayed in until WWI.

My ancestor came from a poor ag lab type background and his death was in no way the fault of his employer - I have seen the hospital records (treatment paid for by the employer) - we can only assume that he was a much valued servant by a man who really did care. The man was a public figure but not one known for his benevolence so I suspect he did not seek the limelight for his good deeds.

Liz
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: mowsehowse on Thursday 17 September 20 09:24 BST (UK)
That is good to know.
Thanks Liz.
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: Top-of-the-hill on Thursday 17 September 20 10:46 BST (UK)
  Just thought I would put the cat among the pigeons! My rural socialist upbringing showing itself. I suspect Quakers were involved in at least some of those places listed, and they were mainly good people with good intentions.
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: mowsehowse on Thursday 17 September 20 12:56 BST (UK)
  Just thought I would put the cat among the pigeons! My rural socialist upbringing showing itself. I suspect Quakers were involved in at least some of those places listed, and they were mainly good people with good intentions.

Quite so, but still Victorian employers......
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Thursday 17 September 20 15:47 BST (UK)
Thanks for this story of benevolence Liz.  It is good that some employers had a sense of social responsibility and seemed to genuinely care.  Your ancestors family were very fortunate.

This contrasts with a story I once heard from my Dad.  He came from a mining background and told me that when he was a little boy one of the miners in his village was killed at work.  Shortly, after the widow and her children were turfed out their home and ended up in the workhouse.  Obviously no 'injury lawyers' around in those days.  And when you think of how much those who owned the mines must have been raking in! 

It is good though to hear that there were some benevolent employers back then and that they weren't all villains and just out for themselves. 
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: Liz_in_Sussex on Friday 18 September 20 09:04 BST (UK)
Quote
It is good that some employers had a sense of social responsibility and seemed to genuinely care.  Your ancestors family were very fortunate.

They were indeed fortunate and the two children had opportunities that otherwise would not have been open to them - I have inherited gifts that were given to the youngest child which were obviously much treasured - some inscribed with messages from the employer so we know for example exactly which Christmas it was received.

The youngest child was only a baby when his father died and this caused havoc with my research as I was shown a family tree that he had drawn up - he clearly regarded his benefactor as a father figure but it didn't half confuse me at first! (DNA, photos and lots of documents sorted me out!)

Liz

Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Friday 18 September 20 09:54 BST (UK)
How kind of that employer to ensure that your ancestor's children were given opportunities in life.  Also, the gifts must have been so treasured to have survived so long through the years.   Lovely heirlooms for you, especially as you know the story behind these gifts.  I can imagine the employer as a very kind and honourable man taking the family under his wing.  It is hardly surprising that the youngest appears to have viewed him as a surrogate Father, creating some confusion for you.  What a marvellous thing DNA testing is these days for unravelling things!  Thank you for sharing more of the story Liz - it definitely is heart warming!

Erato, I like the new picture up of your 'Head Master' ancestor.  I only wish he had been at a school in my area.  If so, I would have looked up his log books for you.  Not that our archives are open at the moment .. we have also just been placed under lock down again today.
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Friday 18 September 20 09:56 BST (UK)
https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/how-escaped-slave-virginia-ended-17017602

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/207593255/mary-ann-blyth

ToTH's reference to the Quakers has reminded me of another example of 'Victorian employer benevolence' in my own area.  Some time back I took a photo for Find A Grave of the newly laid memorial for Mary Ann Blyth nee Macham.   She was a very brave woman who escaped slavery in Virginia, America and came as a stowaway to England and made her way to North Shields.  It is said that she was given a job in the household of a Quaker and that this family and the Quaker community supported her in establishing a new life of freedom in the north east. 
Title: Re: Benevolent Victorian era Employer - what's your story?
Post by: mowsehowse on Friday 18 September 20 13:24 BST (UK)
Interesting stories.
Thank you Ladies.