Nelson & His World

Discussion on the life and times of Admiral Lord Nelson
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 Post subject: Lady Hamilton's Black Maid
PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 3:29 pm 
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I am interested in finding information on what happened to Lady Hamilton's Black Maid, Fatima who came from Egypt. This all started in 2004 when I was writing an article called The Admiral, The Mistress and The Maid about Nelson's Surrey connectionon for the Surrey Museums Group Newsletter, I work as a volunteer at the Museum of Farnham and knew of the story that Emma was rumoured to have stayed at Farnham after Merton was sold and Fatima died in Bear Lane Workhouse. It is unlikely Emma lived in Farnham and Fatima could not have died in Farnham Workhouse because it was in Hale Road at that time. I know she went to a Workhouse, which is referred to as Bear Lane in various books (but which Bear Lane, London perhaps?) went mad and was sent to St Luke's Hospital where she died. I am trying to fnd out if there is any evidence that she went to Richmond, Surrey with Emma after Merton was sold to try and put a date to when she would have been sent away. The Richmond History Society do not have anything, only confirmation Emma lived at Heron House ( known as Herring House) which belonged to Old Q (Duke of Queensbury) Also I read in Caole Orman's (sorry can't recall the proper surname) book Nelson published about 1947 that Horatia remembered she was told Fatima came fron a slave ship and the fateful day when Cripp (the head gardner at Merton) took Fatima away to the Workhouse and then to St Lukes. The author used quotes but unfortunately did not provide any source. I have looked at some papers at the National Maritime Museum including Horatia's letters and they do not mention Fatima and I was wandering if any one has any ideas or have read anything. I would also like to know if anyone can help, about Lord Gordon who wrote a verse about Fatima. The books I have read such as Molly Hardwick's on Emma, say very little about him. I already know Fatima was christened at Merton Church in 1802 and the reference to her dancing with Emma at a gathering in the Hamilton's London home and that she a Coptic. I have written this purely from memory so I have not been precise.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:53 am 
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Tina, I don't know whether this will help, but Winifred Gérin mentions in her biography of Horatia, that the son-in-law of Cribb the gardener, who was a boy of twelve when Nelson left for Trafalgar, recalled seeing Horatia 'playing in the grounds of Merton, closely followed by her black maid.' The source given is simply 'Chamberlain:reminiscences of Old Merton'. If you can get hold of a copy of this book (there are a couple of copies on www.abebooks.co.uk ) there might be more on the timing of Fatima's removal from Merton, possibly when the house was sold in 1808?

Carola Oman notes that Emma was very fond of Fatima and while she was at Bear Lane workhouse, prior to her removal to St Luke's madhouse, '10 shillings a week was being paid for her'. This seems rather odd. I thought the workhouse was for those who were utterly penniless. Ten shillings a week was more than a servant was paid so why banish her? Unless she had already started exhibiting strange behaviour. Maybe Carola Oman also got her information from the Chamberlain book. Hudson, who supplied the information about Horatia and Fatima at Merton, lived until 1889 so his memory about the workhouse/madhouse details might not be totally reliable.

Fatima was indeed a favourite of Emma's, and Nelson's too. He mentions in one of his letters that he longed to hear 'an anecdote of Fatima'. A local newspaper, when they were in Austria/Yugoslavia on their way home from Naples, describes her as 'a counterpart in black beauty to Lady Hamilton's charms'.

Lord William Gordon was a younger son of the Duke of Gordon who, according to Flora Fraser, has been of the Hamilton milieu at Naples, and continued the friendship in England - he was at a dinner party at 23 Piccadilly, the Hamilton's London home, when news of the victory at Copenhagen arrived.

He married Lady Frances Ingram ( http://www.leeds.gov.uk/templenewsam/house/port_18.html) and was a notorious womaniser (and a kinsman of the equally notorious Lord Byron, so no surprises there, then) and an amateur poet. He was the author of the poem 'Lord Nelson to his Guardian Angel' that begins:

'From my best cable though I'm forced to part,
I leave my anchor in my angel's heart.
Love like a pilot shall the pledge defend
And for a prong his happiest quiver lend'.

This poem was long thought to be by Nelson himself (Pettigrew attributes it to him) but when I was researching for my little anthology, I discovered a reference to a letter of Nelson's, dated 21 January 1801, in the British Library (Egerton MS1614) in which he asks Lady H. to send the poem by Lord William Gordon about 'the anchor in my angel's heart'.

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Anna


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 Post subject: Showell's Poor House
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:24 pm 
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Hello Tina,

A possibility could be:

Showell's Poor House (also referred to as a workhouse). Bear Lane, Southwark, Greenwich.

This was a commercial Poor House, which would explain Tycho's query about charges.

Quote:
"In 1796 the vestry entered into a contract with a Mrs. Sarah Showell of Bear Lane for the keep of the poor at 4s. 3d. a head a week for grown persons and 3s. 9d. a week for children; but later the children seem to have been sent to another contractor at Enfield. In 1799 and in 1801, when the prices of all provisions went up, the contractors were allowed to advance their charges. At the same time, in 1801, some adult poor were taken from Mrs. Showell's workhouse and sent to Mr. McKenzie's in Islington; and in 1812 the churchwardens were empowered to place poor with J. Tipple & Son, Hoxton." More info at: http://archives.colstate.edu/GAH/1993/82-89.pdf


Also:
Quote:
"Showell's workhouse on Bear Lane housed the sick, the elderly without kin who could care for them, women needing shelter during childbirth, and a few refractory people that overseers wanted to punish. The seriously ill went to St. Thomas Hospital." (The Solidarities of Strangers: The English Poor Laws. Lynn Hollen Lees 1998.)


When did Fatima leave Emma's service?

Quote:
"By July 1808, with Sir William and Nelson dead, Emma had embarked on a spectacular disintegration. Fuelled by financial hardship, failing health and unable to cope, she was impelled to break up her household and lay off most of her servants. Oliver was amongst those dismissed, and he reacted with venom." (Peeping John, History Today, Aug 2008.)


Quote:
Only two maid-servants and a footboy remained. (The Nelsons of Burnham Thorpe, Matcham-Eyre.)


Walter Sichel relates that from 1808:

Quote:
"With her staunch servant Nanny, and her faithful ' old Dame Francis,' who attended her to the end, she and Horatia retired to Richmond, where for a space the Duke allowed her to occupy Heron Court, though this too was later on to be exchanged for a small house in the Bridge Road... From 1810, when they left Richmond, onwards, Emma and Horatia owned no fixed abode. They moved from Bond Street to Albemarle Street,' thence for a few months to Piccadilly once more, thence to Dover Street, thence to two separate lodgings at the two ends again of Bond Street, where Nelson for a brief space after Sir William's death had also lodged." Full text is available online at: http://www.archive.org/stream/emmahamil ... h_djvu.txt


(Nanny is also referred to as Nancy, but Nanny is her correct name). Dame Francis remained with Emma following her flight to Calais in 1814, Nanny though, with friends in the country outside London, disappears from the scene. I'd be interested to know Sichel's source for Nanny and Dame Francis.

Emma's time at Heron Court may link into a Southwark and Greenwich location. She was also spotted by Major Pryce Gordon taking a party of children to the Ship Inn at Greenwich in 1811. (Flora Fraser, p312 and Winifred Gerin, p180.)

I have a little information on Lord William Gordon to complement the excellent portrait provided by Tycho, I'll look this up and would also be happy to post an image of Lord William and another of Lady Gordon if someone could tell me how to do it here.

I'll dig for a little more information on Showell's Poor House, as I'm following up a lead or two regarding Emma's servants in the Southwark area at the time Fatima could have been resident there.

Finally for now, it's possible that the London Metropolitan Archives will hold good information on Showell's - perhaps even a list of inmates for the period Fatima may have been there. You can research a good deal on their website here: http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporat ... _archives/ and they are very helpful should you wish to contact them by email or visit in person. You can also order documents by post.

Good luck in your researches.


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 Post subject: Heron Court
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:46 pm 
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And a bit about Heron Court (Herring House) from Hilda Gamlin's 'Nelson's Friendships:'

Quote:
The Duke (of Queensberry) refused to take Merton, but he furnished a house for her at Richmond, Heron Court, into which she moved. His Grace also ailowed her sufficient income to enable her to live in comfort and keep an equipage.

The residence of Lady Hamilton at Heron Court brings on the scene an old friend of Lord Nelson, one who to the very utmost of his power assisted her at the worst phases of her ruinous downfall, and his latest kindness was to defray the whole of her funeral expenses. This was Alderman Joshua Jonathan Smith. His acquaintance with Lord Nelson dated as far back as the days when the Boreas was in the West Indies, as far back as 1786, when the business of President Herbert embraced with other things the sending to England of five hundred casks of sugar every year. Alderman Smith was born in 1765, and became senior partner in the great sugar factory of Smith & Seiffe at 17, Benet's Hill, London. He had sugar plantations in Jamaica, and thus commenced the lifelong friendship between Mr. Smith and Captain Nelson.

From time immemorial there had been a heronry in Richmond Park, and this gave the name to the house occupied by Lady Hamilton, which, during her tenure and for many a year before, had been called "Heron Court." When the Duke of Queensberry died and Lady Hamilton's resources were again cut off, Alderman Smith took the house and its contents in exchange for certain advances of money. All portable effects were packed most carefully in boxes, and an inventory enclosed with each. Some were not reopened for more than thirty years, when an accidental disclosure revealed that one contained the coat worn by Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar, which, through the medium of Sir Harris Nicolas, was purchased by the late Prince Consort and presented to Greenwich Hospital.

When Mr. Smith took over the house he altered the name to Herring House, in consequence of a lucky venture he had had with a herring vessel named the Friend's Endeavour, which was broken up in 1834. In some deeds it was called Herring House, but the older name was Heron Court. It was on the right-hand side of Hill Street. There was another house close to it with a heron in effigy on either side of the gateway.

After a time it was converted into a hotel, called the " Duke of York "; then four houses were erected with terraces and gardens to the towing path. One house was occupied by Mr. Maw (Maw, Son, & Thompson, surgical and medical sundrymen, 712, Aldersgate Street, E.C.). William Hunt, the celebrated fruit, flower, and bird's-nest painter, used to stay with Mr. Maw, and while with him painted many of his pictures.


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 Post subject: Lady Hamilton's Black Maid
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 12:24 pm 
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Anne and Mira

Many thanks I have read Chamberlain's book but he doesn't mention the 10 shillings given to Fatima. I am pleased to see I can get a copy which would save a journey to the British Library. Many thanks for the information on Lord William Gordon. I read that Gordon penned his verse about Fatima whilst on a holiday with Nelson and the Hamilton's at Box Hill.

The reference to Fatima in Nelson's letters may be about Mrs Denise who was known as Fatima. I would like to think it was Emma's maid he refers to.

The information on Showell's Poor House is a breakthrough for me and the information on Heron House is most useful. Very many thanks. Any more information is most welcome.


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 Post subject: St. Luke's Hospital (Madhouse)
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:48 am 
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Tina

As some biographies refer to Fatima dying at 'St. Luke's Madhouse.' I took a look at what information was easily available on the net. I'm certain more can be unearthed online, and probably a good deal more than that if paper based archives survive. If you are thinking of tracing Fatima's final home and resting place these may be of interest for you to follow up.

We know a good deal more (though never enough) about how Fatima's mistress Emma ended her days at Calais, and if the information about Fatima being moved to St. Luke's is correct, the contemporary information below, about how the inmates lived and were treated, is more enervating still.

You'll notice that the original hospital moved to Old Street, Islington in 1786, and so I have added information about the Parish registers and burials deposited at the London Metropolitan Archives at the end.

A quick note for your researches about Showell's Poor House mentioned above. I note that these establishments were properly known as 'Pauper Farms' at the time.

St Luke's Hospital

More general information on asylums and their regulation is available here: http://www.mdx.ac.uk/WWW/STUDY/4_13_TA.htm#StLukes

On the 17th June1750, a meeting took place in the King's Arms in Exchange Alley that decided to found a hospital: Founders Thomas Crowe, physician; Richard Speed, druggist of Old Fish Street; William Prowing, apothecary of Tower Street; James Sperling and Thomas Light, merchants of Mincing Lane; and Francis Magnus (250 year history booklet.)

Opened 1751 Upper Moorfields, opposite Bethlem. Took its name from the new parish of St Luke's.

1786 moved to Old Street. (New building designed by George Dance and erected 1782 to 1784?)

Mr and Mrs Thomas Dunston became Master and Matron from 1786, previously (from 1782) they had been head man keeper and head woman keeper. Their son, John Dunston, apothecary, married the daughter of Thomas Warburton

1810 Benjamin Rush refered to "Dr Dunston" "physician of St Luke's Hospital... eminent for his knowledge of diseases of the mind"

February 1811 Samuel Foart Simmons resigned as physician. Appointed consultant physician. His son did not wish to succeed him, but did wish his university friend, Alexander Robert Sutherland, to succeed. One of the unsuccessful candidates was George Leman Tuthill. Alexander Robert Sutherland elected physician:

"The House also for private patients at Islington was consigned to Dr S. on certain valuable considerations"

1812 Samuel Tuke visited St Lukes and compared ideas with Thomas Dunston. In a manuscript memorandum, he wrote:

Quote:
"There are three hundred patients, sexes about equal; number of women formerly much greater than men; incurables about half the number. The superintendent has never seen much advantage from the use of medicine, and relies chiefly on management. Thinks chains a preferable mode of restraint to straps or the waistcoat in some violent cases. Says they have some patients who do not generally wear clothes. Thinks confinement or restraint may be imposed as a punishment with some advantage, and, on the whole, thinks fear the most effectual principle by which to reduce the insane to orderly conduct. Instance: I observed a young woman chained by the arm to the wall in a small room with a large fire and several other patients, for having run downstairs to the committee-room door. The building has entirely the appearance of a place of confinement, enclosed by high walls, and there are strong iron grates to the windows. Many of the windows are not glazed, but have iron shutters which are closed at night. On the whole, I think St Luke's stands in need of a radical reform." (Quoted Tuke, D.H. 1882 pages 89-90)


1813 Mrs Foulkes prosecuted for keeping lunatics without a licence in a house owned by Thomas Dunston. The Royal College of Physicians Annals contain the activity relating to the physician commission in the years following 1811. In 1813 the college successfully prosecuted an unlicensed house in Hoxton:

Quote:
"Budd v. Foulkes, A Mrs Foulkes, of Ivy Lane, Hoxton, was summoned by the Treasurer of the Royal College of Physicians (Dr Budd), for keeping in her house more than one lunatic, she not having a licence from the Commissioners by 14 Geo.3,Cap.49. Mr Roberts, solicitor to the College, on March 2nd 1813, called at her house and asked her how she came to keep such a house without a licence. She was much confused, and said she could not afford to pay for a licence, which was £10. He asked if Mr Dunston, Master of St. Luke's Hospital, kept the house; she said he did not, but he was the landlord and recommended patients, but had nothing to do with the management or profits of the House; she said no medical gentleman attended the house; her patients were not ill enough to request medical assistance. There were four lunatics at that time in the house of defendant, some of them had straight-waistcoats, one was double waistcoated, had a lock which crossed the wrists; and at night she had a lock on her legs. By the evidence it seems Mr Dunston was the owner of the house".


St Luke's Church, Old Street, Islington, London

St Luke is a historic Anglican church building in the London Borough of Islington. It is now used as a concert hall by the London Symphony Orchestra and known as LSO St Luke's.

The parish was reunited with St Giles in 1959 and St. Luke's font and organ case moved there. The church was closed by the Diocese of London in 1964 and lay empty, the roof being removed and the shell becoming a ruin for 40 years, despite being a Grade I listed building.

After several proposals to redevelop it as offices, it was converted by the St Luke Centre Management Company Ltd for the London Symphony Orchestra as a concert hall, rehearsal, recording space and educational resource. The conversion was designed by Levitt Bernstein Architects[4]. A total of 1053 burials were recorded and removed during the restoration of the crypt.

St Lukes was in the Rural Deanery of the City of London and the last baptism and marriage registers closed in 1966, when the church integrated with St Giles Cripplegate and others. The scope of registers is: 1733-1966 baptisms, marriages and burials (with gaps) and indexed.

The information on St. Luke's Church is from Wiki.

Parish Registers and Burials for St.Luke's

Registers deposited with London Metropolitan Archives. The Archive reference is P76/LUK. Burials probably took place up to 1855, after which there was a general cessation in London churchyards because of a danger to public health. Several municipal and private cemeteries were then established to accommodate the dead, such as Abney Park. Many of the dead are thought to be buried at the huge St. Pancras and Islington Cemetery.


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 Post subject: Lady Hamilton's Black maid at St Luke's
PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:22 pm 
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Mira

Many thanks. I did look at the London Met archives for St Luke's burials some time ago but found nothing. However, I do intend to have another look just to make sure. I would very much like to know Fatima's final resting place. The information on St Luke's Hospital is also very informative. I did read a book about the history of the hospital published in about 1950. There was a large extract written by someone in about 1905 (I do know the name but don't have my paperwork in front of me).which was about the conditions and treatments of the patients at the time Fatima would have been there. The extract turned out to be a paper for a journal which I was able to read at the Wellocme library.

Keep up the good work

Tina


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 Post subject: Re: Lady Hamilton's Black Maid
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:58 pm 
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was Fatima a gift from Nelson ?


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 Post subject: Re: Lady Hamilton's Black Maid
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:50 am 
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Hello Margaret! Nice to hear from you.

Yes, Fatima was a gift from Nelson, but I can't find out how he came by her. She was a Nubian from North Africa. At the time, it was illegal for Christians to buy slaves so maybe she was a gift to Nelson from some foreign dignitary, and he passed her on to Emma. Norah Lofts points out in her biography of Emma that it was very common for an 18th century lady to have a black attendant in her entourage, so lots of people must have got round the rule about foreigners obtaining black slaves/employees. While they were small, these companions were indulged and treated almost like pets. As they became older, they were often given menial jobs to do - though Fatima was more of a companion to Emma, I think. She was baptised in Merton Church in 1802 and given the names Fatima Emma Charlotte Nelson Hamilton which suggests that she was regarded almost as one of the family.

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 Post subject: Re: Lady Hamilton's Black Maid
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 1:09 pm 
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Oh Anna, thank you for confirming that, I am working on my own project about Nelson and I just assumed she was a gift from Nelson and put that scenario in my work. It's so nice to know it' s actually true !

I am a sticklier for facts and don't want anything that isn't true , after all, our Lordship wasn't fiction !!! I want to be as true to him as if I lived in his presence :D


Mind you, I will have to be a bit imaginative with the dialogue :wink:

Margaret


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