Hannah’s parents and siblings
Hannah Haycock was born in 1868 in Rochford, Essex to parents Thomas and Caroline (née Thompson). Hannah was the eldest of five children. She was baptised the following year on 9th May at St. Mary in Castro Church within Dover Castle. Her father’s occupation was recorded as a gunner in the Royal Artillery and their abode was recorded as Dover Castle.
I have not found a record of Hannah or her family on the 1871 Census. I suspect they were still residing at Dover Castle as Hannah’s three sisters were all born in Dover. There is a record of her sister Sarah being baptised on 10th December 1871 at the same church, and their abode was still recorded as the Castle. Her sister Eleanor was also baptised there on 27th April 1873.
When the 1881 Census was taken, the family had moved to Woolwich, London. Hannah, aged 12, was living with her father Thomas (aged 45, a labourer), and her siblings Alice, aged 11, Sarah, aged 9, Eleanor, aged 8 (known as Nellie), and John, aged 7. All of the children were recorded as scholars.
On 19th November 1886, Hannah was admitted to the workhouse in Hackney. She stayed there for three days before being discharged on the 22nd. On the record it states that her father Thomas was in the Woolwich Union Infirmary and her mother Caroline was at the Kent County Asylum. It also says that Hannah had been staying with a Miss Arnold at 76 Junction Road in Holloway, but doesn’t say whether Miss Arnold is a relative or friend.
On October 4th, 1889, Hannah was admitted to St. George’s workhouse in Southwark. Her occupation was recorded as servant. She was discharged at her own request.
On 17th September 1890, Hannah was taken by the police to Mile End workhouse in Tower Hamlets. Her occupation was still a servant, but it was her master who ordered her admission. She was recorded as ‘insane’. A few days later on the 22nd, Hannah was discharged from the workhouse and sent to Colney Hatch Asylum.
There is no record of Hannah on the 1891 Census, and the next time she appears in records is when she was admitted to a workhouse in Tower Hamlets on 14th January 1896. The reason for her admission was given as ‘venereal disease’. She remained there until the 30th of January.
Poor Law and Settlement Records
On 20th April the same year, she appears in the poor law and settlement records. She was recorded as examined at Bethnal Green. Her father remains at Woolwich Infirmary and her mother was recorded as being at the workhouse. The record provides detail on Hannah’s whereabouts for the past 4-5 years.
It is interesting that her age was recorded as 25 here, meaning that she would have been born in approximately 1871. I am confident that the birth record I have located for her (her birth was registered in 1868) is the right one as it fits with her family history, but of course, there is no way to be certain.
Admitted to Horton Hospital
There is another gap in Hannah’s timeline then until 19th January 1900, when she was admitted to Horton Hospital. We have been lucky enough to gain sight of Hannah’s case file which gives us a wealth of information about her as a patient. Her age was given as 30 years when she was admitted, which I believe to be incorrect.
The case file tells us that Hannah was just 14 when she suffered the first attack. It was assumed that her illness was hereditary from her mother and prior to her admittance at Horton, she had previously been treated at Barming Heath Asylum in Maidstone, Kent (which is where I believe her mother was at one stage). She was considered to be epileptic, suicidal and a danger to herself and others.
Hannah’s Horton case notes
The following was given as the facts indicating her insanity at the time of her examination on admission:
“She is excited in manner and incoherent in language. She says she hears voices and that people follow her, she says she will murder her father but cannot say how she wishes to do so.”
“This patient talks much nonsense about Jack the Ripper coming after her.”
The diagnosis upon her admission was ‘mania’. Hannah remained at the Horton Hospital for the next 8 years. The case files tell us that she settled in well to her new home and worked in the hospital laundry or the kitchens. Her general health was fair but at each entry, usually every three months, she was noted as dull, depressed, solitary, lacking self control, and sometimes rude, excitable and abusive.
On 21st October 1907, an entry into her case file reads, “Has a small tumour growing”. By the 16th November, the tumour was noted as “growing rapidly and is evidently a sarcoma”. On 11th March the following year, it was noted “the tumour in her jaw grows rapidly, her kidneys are also much diseased”.
Hannah’s health continued to decline gradually, though thankfully it was noted that she “has never had any pain to speak of”. On 1st August, Hannah had a fever and was very weak. The following morning, she had a bad attack of breathlessness and then complained of severe abdominal pain. Hannah died at around midday on 2nd August 1908.