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  • Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
    Thanks, Anna, I see what you mean about the buttons. Other photos I’ve seen of reformatory inmates show them wearing a plain dress with a white apron over the top. Perhaps the jacket was added to make the photo look less institutional?

    Biddy’s little curl reminds me of the poem attributed to Longfellow:

    There was a little girl
    Who had a little curl
    Right in the middle of her forehead;
    When she was good
    She was very, very good,
    But when she was bad she was horrid.
    I don’t know why I’m waffling on about a reformatory - the photo was taken at Stone Asylum. Silly me.

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    • The Cowkeeper’s Wish: A Genealogical Journey

      This book looks very interesting. It follows a family who trek from rural Wales to London in search of a better life, only to find themselves in the ‘black hole’ of the East End*. One member, Ellen Evans Roff, becomes a patient at Stone Asylum shortly after Bridget’s departure.

      https://thecowkeeperswish.com/tag/stone-asylum/

      I’ve got the book on order and sadly I have to announce the extinction of the rare moth walletus barnettii.

      *Looks like it may have been SE rather than E.

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      • The Cowkeeper’s Wish

        The Stone Asylum episode is available here:

        https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=...asylum&f=false

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        • Biddy’s Hair-do

          Thanks to Howard for posting Richard Jones’ blog ‘A VOICE FROM THE EAST END’ which draws on an article that appeared in The Hackney and Kingsland Gazette on January 2nd, 1889. This extract provides some context for Bridget’s coiffure in the Stone photo:

          Scattered about the streets adjoining Goswell and Whitechapel roads, and in the neighbourhood of Old Street, there are thousands of girls and women who manage to exist in some mysterious way. working late and early, or rather, slaving – one can call it nothing else – earning on average from three to six shillings a week.

          These women and girls live two or three together in one room, generally a garret or a basement, and they deem themselves fortunate they earn enough to keep a shelter of some sort over their heads and the grim wolf, famine, from the door.

          They are wretched-looking creatures, stunted, sallow, hollow-eyed, but with a sort of grim cheerfulness that is infinitely more melancholy that the loudest complaints: their hard noisy laughter is but the very mockery of mirth and happiness.

          These women and girls are for the most part untidy, yet they have something distinctive about them. The women generally wear very small bonnets, tilted very far back, and shawls of a universal depressing grey; the girls affect “Ulsters” and hats of the most nondescript shape, composed of greasy, rusty velvet. A worsted muffler of some sort completes their costume, and their hair is usually cut short and very much frizzed.

          I once asked one of those girls, a bonnet shape maker, how it was that she always found time to ‘do up’ her hair, no matter how tired she was; and she replied, “Well, it is the only thing I ever do for myself from week’s end to week’s end; it is the only pleasure I have in my life.”

          Another girl, a pretty, delicate-looking girl, who was very lame, and who worked in a very small laundry. She was over the washtub all day, amid steam and the horrible atmosphere of soap suds, but her hair was almost always elaborately ‘frizzed’. She said, “If it weren’t for doin’ up her hair at night, she’d drown herself, or worse.”

          This sort of incongruous personal decoration seems almost to have a trace of savagery in it. And, in truth, the conditions under which many women live and work in East London are very little short of barbarous; and, instead of finding fault with the unloveliness and untidiness of their lives and dream, one should only marvel how they manage to live and purchase any clothing at all, how they even contrive to keep body and soul together.

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          • I believe that ‘Patterson’ who made the notes about Bridget’s progress was Dr Arthur Edward Patterson, the Senior Assistant Physician at Stone from late 1891 until his death in 1917. He also attended James Evans/Joseph Fleming at the asylum.

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            • Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
              Just a reminder:

              [ATTACH]20739[/ATTACH]

              Edit: IPN 30/7/1910
              Incidentally, the interesting event that Frances Ellen Smith (née Tourlamain) was expecting was the birth of her son Sidney George. Sidney’s birth was registered in the March quarter of 1911 and on the 1911 census (taken on 2nd April) his age appears as ‘under 4 months’. Presumably, therefore, Sidney was born in Dec 1910, or possibly Jan 1911, which means that Frances (she signed herself as Ellen on the census) was around 4 months pregnant at the time she was attacked by Biddy.

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              • Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
                I believe that ‘Patterson’ who made the notes about Bridget’s progress was Dr Arthur Edward Patterson, the Senior Assistant Physician at Stone from late 1891 until his death in 1917. He also attended James Evans/Joseph Fleming at the asylum.
                Or was he?

                The 1901 census shows two Pattersons at Stone:

                Arthur Edward, Head, 37, physician and surgeon, born in India (British subject)

                Charles Edward, Officer, 25 (?) physician and surgeon, born in Kidbrook, Kent.

                The first name/initial(s) of the Dr who made Bridget’s notes is hard to decipher:

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                Any suggestions?

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                • This seems to be another example of Patterson’s handwriting:

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                  It says, ‘Oct(b)r 26th / 01’.

                  Note the open ‘O’ - and the 1, which when he joins it to a 0 looks very much like a 7.

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                  • This is from the Merthyr Express of 6th December, 1884.

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                    The complainant could well have been Biddy’s mother. Biddy would have been 10 years old at the time and could have been the daughter who quarrelled with Mary Foley, but I would imagine her sisters were similarly quarrelsome.

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                    • This was the entrance to Stone Asylum. It looks rather nice, but it must have seemed somewhat daunting to Bridget as she arrived to collect her daughter. Did Poplar stump up the travel expenses, I wonder?

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                      • Stone Asylum

                        And here’s an aerial view to show the size of the asylum and its grounds:

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                        • Not too many flowerbeds?

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                          • Was one of the doctors perchance the author of a book called "Lawn mowing as Occupational Therapy"?

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                            • It’s a little known fact that after Bridget left Stone she became known as Biddy the Pruner.

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                              • Would you Adam and Eve it? If you have a spare AU$61.45, you can become the proud owner of a scatter cushion carrying an image of the Langho Inebriates Reformatory (later Brockhall Mental Hospital).

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