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b.1831 – d.1911

Annie Harriet Conway was born on the 16th August 1831 in Holborn, Camden, England to parents Charles Conway and Ann Thiselton, she was baptised on the 4th September 1831 at the Parish of St Giles in the Fields, Holborn, Camden, England, father listed as a Carver and Gilder.

Baptism, Ann Harriet CONWAY, 1831

Annie’s father Charles Conway was born ~1798 in Middlesex, England and married Ann Thiselton on the 31st August 1825 at St. Anne’s, Westminster, Middlesex, England.

Advert in Marylebone Mercury (Various dates)

Charles a Carver and Gilder by trade owned the Conway Carver and Gilder family business which was located in Charlotte St, Fitzroy-square, St Pancras, London, it seems the business was quite successful and ran for over 50 years which saw 3 sons George, Frederick and Charles Jnr also take on the trade with the business eventually being handed over to Charles Conway Jnr. Newspaper articles located advertised paintings cleaned, lined and restored with a variety of Gilt Frames excellent in quality as well as several beautiful patterns for drawings and prints.

Charles and Ann went on to have 8 children that I could locate 5 boys and 3 girls, Annie being the 4th child and first daughter, they lived mainly in Soho which is an area of the City of Westminster, part of the West End of London, sadly the family where not without tragedy with their first 2 sons both named Charles Daking Conway dying in infancy, one in 1826 and the other in 1829.

1840s

The 1841 census has Annie listed as a 9 year old living with her parents Charles and Ann and her siblings George, Frederick, Anna, Charles and Eliza at Old Compton Street, Soho, London & Middlesex but only 2 years later in 1843 the family suffered a double tragedy, Annie 11 years old at the time not only lost her mother Ann aged 34 but 3 days later also her sister Emma aged 6, both passing away from Scarlet Fever.

After the death of his wife Charles was now a sole parent with young children still to care for and support, George aged 14, Annie aged 11, Frederick aged 10 years, Charles aged 7 years and Eliza aged 3 years, I would assume that Annie being old enough to do so would have taken on quite a big role in helping around the home and caring for her younger siblings so her father could continue to support his family.

1850-60s

Annie is next located during the 1851 census as a single 19 year old living with her widowed father Charles and her brother Charles Jnr, it would seem that the family where quite close and helped each other where needed as her younger sister Eliza who was 13 at the time can be found living with their older brother George and his family.

The 1861 census has Annie recorded as a single 29 year old no occupation still living with her father Charles, brother Frederick and her sister Eliza who by then has moved back home.

Annie was ~30 years of age when she married Robert Saunders Hodges on the 2nd September 1862 at the St Pancras Parish Chapel, Camden, England. Robert, who was 15 years older than Annie, was a Book Seller from Bayham Terrace, his father Thomas Hodges (deceased) and Annie from Charlotte Street, her father Charles Conway a Carver and Gilder.

2 years later saw the birth of their first child Kate Annie Hodges who was born ~1864.

1870-80s

During the 1871 census Annie was recorded as a married 38 year old living with her husband Robert a Retired Publisher and their daughter Kate, the family obviously where doing well at the time as they were able to hire a servant Louisa Alexander to help around the home, 1874 then saw the birth of their second daughter Nellie Maud Hodges.

During the 1881 census Annie was recorded as a married 48 year old living with her husband Robert a Retired Bookseller and their daughters Kate and Nellie, 1884 saw the passing of Annie’s father Charles who sadly died at the Grove Lunatic Asylum in London aged 86 years old and it was only 3 years later Annie also had to bury her husband Robert Saunders who died on the 27 March 1887 in St Pancras, Middlesex, England aged 71.

1890s & Fisherton Asylum

Annie is then located in the 1891 census recorded as a 59 year old widow living on her own means at 51 Caversham St, St Pancras, Middlesex, England.

March of 1895 saw yet another tragedy hit the family when Annie’s younger sister Eliza aged 54 years passed away due to Poisoning by Chlorodyne.

Not long after the death of her sister Eliza and according to her landlady Annie started to become strange in manner and was hearing voices, her daughter Kate it seems had no other choice but to have her mother admitted to the Fisherton House Asylum in Wiltshire, England dated the 13th May 1895, recorded as a 65 year old widowed Pauper from 70 Leighton Rd, Kentish Town, NW, documented as not epileptic or suicidal but is dangerous stating that she hears voices all around her through tubes and telephones and they imitate her family cruelly, especially her late husband Robert whom she believed was hypnotized to death and that she sees an Aunt that died 3 years ago.

Fisherton Asmission Notes

Her case notes mention that her father died insane at Grove and that her sister cut her throat / suicide March of 95 although I can find no records to confirm this happened apart from a newspaper article stating that her sister Eliza did pass away from Chlorodyne Poisoning by misadventure, a death notice does confirm this to be true.

Annie stayed at the Fisherton Asylum for the next several years where she continued to be monitored, the voices in her head persisted along with the hallucinations and delusions and was noted as being very insane in manner and appearance, she was discharged from Fisherton – not improved – to The Manor Asylum (Horton).

Horton/Manor Asylum

Annie was transferred to the Horton Manor asylum on the 20th June 1899, aged 69 years old eventually being diagnosed with Senile Mania.

On admission to Manor, Annie briefly mentions being mesmerized at Caversham St which is where she was residing in 1891, over the next few years her hallucinations only increased and the voices continued in her head which she believed was coming from the telephone wires around her, she was also noted as irrational and abusive at times but did enjoy needlework and occasionally doing a little work around the ward.

It seems that Annie’s daughters Kate and Nellie never married nor had children of their own and nothing to suggest that they remained in contact with their mother after her admission.

Annie remained at the Manor Asylum until her passing on the 5th May 1911 aged 81 years old, cause of death recorded as Valvular Disease of Heart and Parotitis, she was buried on the 11th May 1911 at the Horton Estate Cemetery in Epsom, Surrey, England grave number 1153 b.

Death certificate, 1911
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