b.1881 – d.1933 – A Grieving Wife
Much of the story of Beatrice is a result of information given to us by a living relative; in which we discover more than what can be found in records alone.
Beatrice Miriam HUGHES was born in Pimlico, London in 1880 to John Hughes (b.1849), originally from Birmingham and Clara Rimal Schunter who was born in Shoreditch London in 1854.
HUGHES, BEATRICE – Mother’s maiden name: SCHUNTER
– GRO Reference: 1880 Dec Quarter in ST GEORGE HANOVER SQUARE Volume 01A Page 425
Beatrice was baptised on Jun 14th 1881.
The 1891 census places the family at 15 Chapel Street, in London. Today a high wealth area of Belgravia surrounded by foreign embassies; certainly not the place you would expect to find a fishmonger’s assistant from Birmingham.
John and Clara also had Albert Walter b.1872, Clara Elizabeth b.1875, Charles Randolph b.1884-d.1885, and Ernest b.1885-d.1887. Blanche unfortunately died in 1891 too.
Life for the Hughes family with seven young mouths to feed must have been difficult; by 1901 we believe that Beatrice was employed as a Domestic Housemaid.
There is a record of Beatrice having a child on 28th Jan 1899 at St. Saviours Infirmary, baptised Harold Guy on 5th March. There is no mention of a father. Harold Guy died soon after.
In 1902, Beatrice had a second child out of wedlock. His name is listed on the Birth Certificate as Robert Harold BROOM, born 23rd June 1902. The Father’s name and occupation remain BLANK, where did Broom come from?
Robert H. was baptised on September 21st 1902, and Beatrice marked as a ‘Single Woman’ was living at 140 Lillington Street.
Beatrice had another son, Jack HUGHES born 1904. Baptised on 14th September 1904, we learn that Beatrice, a Cook, was living at 171 Grove Lane, and that Jack was born in 29th Aug 1904 (the document actually states 1901 which is an error).
On 19th December 1904, Beatrice and baby Jack were discharged from the workhouse.
Beatrice married Charles Henry BATES on the 16th April 1906. At the time, they both list their residence as 72, Grosvenor Road, Pimlico. A 25-year-old Beatrice’s profession described as a Domestic Servant and 26-year-old Charles, described as a Painter’s Labourer. Charles’s father was also a painter and Beatrice’s father still a fishmonger.
In 1911, Charles and Beatrice were living at 74 Bessborough Place, in Pimilico, which still exists as a private estate today. The census states they have been married 5yrs, and have had 5 children (by present marriage), 1 of whom died. This is a slightly misleading statement, unless Charles was accepting the Hughes boys as his own.
Beatrice & Charles went on to have eight more children together:
- Beatrice May ‘Maisie’ (1907-1982) – GRO: 1907-Q4-St George-Vol.01a/Pg.433
- Rosina Victoria (1909-1989) – GRO: 1909-Q3-Chelsea-Vol.01a/Pg.371
- Henry Frederick (1911-1997) – GRO: 1911-Q4-St George-Vol.01a/Pg.744
- Eileen Gertrude (1914-) – GRO: 1914-Q3-Lambeth-Vol.01a/Pg.789
- Albert Edward (1916-2007) – the father of our author – – GRO: 1916-Q1-Lambeth-Vol.01a/Pg.710
- Charles Douglas (1918-2007) – GRO: 1918-Q3-Lambeth-Vol.01a/Pg.504
- Frank Arthur Hughes (1922-2003) – GRO: 1922-Q4-Lambeth-Vol.01a/Pg.566
Sadly Jack (Hughes) Bates passed away in 1912 at the age of 8.
Charles Henry BATES joined the 6th Bn. Royal Fusiliers (#53754) and went on to join the Labour Corps (#60886), he was discharged from the Labour Corps on 7 March 1919 and admitted to the Chelsea Hospital on 5 March 1920. We don’t have any military records but the family story from his son Albert is that he suffered being gassed in Europe and was discharged from Royal Fusiliers in Sept 1916 due to Sickness, which may explain why he was conscripted to the Labour Corps.
On the Electoral Role of 1929, Beatrice Miriam and Charles Henry BATES are living at 10 Archer Street, with Beatrice May Bates and Robert Harold Bates.
On the 11th February 1933 Beatrice’s son, Albert Edward Bates’s, was to celebrate his 17th birthday.
This was the prelude to one of the worst years of Albert’s life. At seventeen years old he was unaware of the sorrow that was about to unfold.
Seventy-eight years later, in a box of old pictures, the son of Albert (who helped write this story), found this postcard addressed to his father Albert, from Albert’s parents, Beatrice and Charles.
Within days Albert’s father Charles, was dead. Charles Henry Bates died on the 16th February 1933.
According to Charles’ pension records, Beatrice was still living at 10 Archer Street in London.
As far as can be remembered Dad (Albert Edward Bates) never spoke much about that day or much about his Mum. I remember him saying that his Mom could not handle losing “her Charlie” and died of a broken heart not long after. He told us his Mom was put in an institution because she could not handle losing “her Charlie” (which was a sign of the times as they did not distinguish between extreme grief and mental illness). Dad said that all she did was stand by the front door saying that she was waiting for “her Charlie” to come home from work. Dad stayed with neighbours. The younger two brothers were put in a home. Dad said not long after she was put in the institution she died. He had no idea of where the institution was.
It is only since Dad died (2007) that the family found out information that Dad was unaware of. That institution was West Park Hospital, Epsom.John Bates, Grandson of Beatrice & Charles
No Love Lost
Another family memory is Dad, (Albert Edward) telling me that on the day Grandad (Charles Henry) Bates was buried, his brother ‘Bob’ (Robert Harold) was “slagging” his Dad (Charles Henry) off at his funeral. This erupted into a fight on the street between the two of them. As far as I can recollect Dad never elaborated on that but it was obvious there was no love lost between them. Dad never set eyes on eldest brother ‘Bob’ ever again. He may have only been 17 but Albert was a fighter, training as a boxer and becoming a boxing champ during his army years.
It is only since Dad’s death that the family have found out that Robert Harold was actually Dad’s step-brother, Robert Harold (Hughes/Broom). Whether Dad knew that or whether he was trying to protect his Mom’s name, we do not know. The records show that Robert Harold (Hughes/Broom) took the surname Bates.John Bates, Grandson of Beatrice & Charles
Beatrice was admitted seven weeks after the death of Charles, by her eldest son Robert Harold (Hughes/Broom) Bates to West Park Institution on the 5th April 1933. As the eldest son (30), Robert probably felt it was his duty to care for mother.
The following information was obtained in April 2014 from Surrey County Council Public Services Department from West Park Hospital, Epsom, Patient records SHC ref. 6294/7/1 – 6294/7/17 – 6294/7/61 – 6294/7/72 – 6366/5/18
Beatrice Marian Bates was admitted on the 5th April 1933 (case # 2734), and died there on 8th August 1933. She was buried by the hospital in Horton Cemetery on 12th August 1933. I regret that her patient notes have not survived.
“You may note from the post-mortem register that Mrs Bates had undergone some form of ‘malaria treatment’ according to her clinical history. A malaria therapy unit had been established at Horton Hospital, Epsom, when it had been demonstrated that patients suffering from generalised paralysis of the insane (neurosyphilis), either became well or showed signs of improvement when they had been inoculated with the malarial parasite to induce malarial fever. Malarial treatment was eventually phased out with the introduction of penicillin for the treatment of neurosyphilis.”Surrey County Council response
- Register of Death
- Immediate cause of death: Dementia Paralytica
- Contributory cause of death: Cystic disease of kidneys
- Post mortem
- Principal aetiological factor: HB (Syphilis, acquired)
- Associated aetiological factor: F2 (Prolonged Mental Stress)
- Form of mental illness on admission: 115 (Confusional Insanity)
- Form of mental illness at death: 115(Confusional Insanity)
- Observations: Buried in Hospital’s Cemetery