b.1850 – d.1918
Elizabeth Jelliman was born in Shoreditch in the third quarter of 1850 to Daniel Jelliman and his wife Elizabeth (née Knowles). At the time of Elizabeth’s birth, her father was aged 34 and her mother was 30.
Daniel Jelliman’s first marriage
In 1839, Daniel had married his first wife, Elizabeth (Betsey) Lander in St. Saviour’s Church in Southwark and their first child, Daniel, was born the following year.
In the 1841 census, Daniel, Betsey and their son are living at 3, Shepperton Street in Shoreditch. Daniel is working as a fishmonger.
In the fourth quarter of 1842, Betsey gave birth to their second child, a daughter, also called Betsey. However, Daniel’s joy at the birth of his child was to be short-lived as sadly, we know that Daniel’s wife died in the same quarter of 1842. It is possible she died while giving birth to Betsey, or shortly afterwards. It is estimated that, between 1800 and 1850 as many as five out of every thousand live births resulted in the death of the mother. One can only imagine Daniel’s distress at losing his wife so young but the tragedy was compounded less than two years later when, in the third quarter of 1844, his son, Daniel, aged just three, also died.
Daniel married Elizabeth, his second wife and mother to Elizabeth, in St. Leonard’s Church in Shoreditch in the third quarter of 1849.
In the 1851 census, the 5 month-old Elizabeth is living with her father, mother and 8 year-old half-sister Bets(e)y at 164, Kingsland Road in Shoreditch, a property they share with two other families. Daniel is now working as a house painter and blind maker, ‘employing 1 man’.
Misfortune was to hit the family once again the following year when, on February 12th 1852, Daniel died aged just 36. We do not know the cause of Daniel’s death without further research.
In the 1861 census, we find that 18 year-old Betsy is now living in Finsbury with her aunt and uncle, Elizabeth and John Partridge who is a carpenter. Unfortunately, it has not been possible yet to ascertain Betsy’s whereabouts after this census.
Elizabeth and her mother are living at 2, Guy’s Buildings in Shoreditch and their neighbours are predominantly labourers, hawkers and cabmen. Although it would appear that they have the entire property to themselves, they do have a lodger, a 16 year-old errand boy called Henry Matthew. 10 year-old Elizabeth is working as a ‘brush drawer’, though this may be an error and should perhaps refer to her mother who, according to the census, does not work.
Brush drawing was the first aspect of the craft a brushmaker’s apprentice would be taught. In drawing, a wooden brush back is made and holes drilled through it to take the knots of bristle. The holes were each drilled with two bits, one wider than the other, so that half of the hole was of a larger bore. A length of wire or thin twine was then passed in loops through the holes from the back of the brush. A small bundle of bristles, about two inches or so long was then pushed through each loop so that, as the loop was pulled from behind the brush back the bristles folded over into the wider part of the hole and were held tight as the wire or twine was pulled.
In the 1871 census, Elizabeth, now twenty, and her 50-year-old mother are living at 30, Red Lion Street in Shoreditch. Again, it seems that they have the entire property to themselves and neither of them work. Their neighbours appear to be of the artisan class – cabinet makers, tailors and clickers.
The 1881 census suggests a change in the fortunes of Elizabeth and her mother. Mrs. Jelliman is lodging with John Farnell, an earthenware dealer, and his wife Susannah at 161, Hoxton Street in Shoreditch. She is living on a ‘small income’.
Elizabeth is working as a general domestic servant at Rose Bank Cottage, Carshalton Hill, the home of Henry Taunton, a retired farmer and his wife, Maria.
We do not know when Elizabeth started working for the Tauntons, or how long she remained in their employ, but in the 1891 census she is again living with her mother at 64, Hyde Road in Shoreditch. Mrs. Jelliman is living ‘on her own income’ and 40 year-old Elizabeth is without employment. We do not currently know the source of Mrs. Jelliman’s income.
In the 2nd quarter of 1892, Mrs. Jelliman died aged 71. We do not know if her mother’s death triggered the mental health problems, which were to dominate the rest of Elizabeth’s life, or if they had been apparent throughout her life. Perhaps she was incapable of living alone because in the same quarter of 1892, Elizabeth was admitted to Hoxton House Asylum in Hackney.
1900s and Elizabeth’s death
Elizabeth remained in the Hoxton Asylum until February 5th 1900, when she was transferred to Bexley Asylum in Kent.
On January 31st 1906, she was admitted to Hellingly Asylum in Sussex where she remained until October 23rd 1907 when she was transferred to Long Grove.
Sadly, Elizabeth died in Long Grove on December 4th 1918, aged 67, having spent the last 27 years of her life in asylums. She is buried in plot #346b in Horton Cemetery.