A Different World

The Towie girls of Tuesday’s post turned their backs on the open fields and big skies of Aberdeenshire. Younger sister Elizabeth ended her journey south in the heart of London. In 1901, aged 20, the census enumerator finds her working as a kitchenmaid for widow Annie HAMILTON in Belgravia. Seven of the 12 people in residence on census night, and five of the 8 servants, are Scottish-born. This would surely have helped Elizabeth to settle in the alien environment of the Great Wen.

14 West Halkin Street undergoing renovation, next to a former Scottish Presbyterian Church, now Mosimann’s, “one of the most prestigious private dining clubs in the world”.

Elizabeth may have served other mistresses in subsequent years but seems not to have strayed far from Belgravia. In the spring of 1908, she married Londoner Thomas Holland KILLINGBECK in Fulham.

Thomas is found in 1901 working as a footman in nearby Kensington.

The household at 7 Ennismore Gardens is headed by Katherine Drummond, a married woman aged 37. Of the eight live-in servants, one is Annie RODGER, aged 31, Scottish-born and a “nurse domestic” caring for the four Drummond children. I wonder if she played some part in bringing Tom and Elizabeth together. The distance between the two houses pictured could be walked in about twenty minutes, but a chance meeting leading to marriage is hard to imagine.

On census night 1911, Tom and Elizabeth are living under different roofs in Stansted Mountfitchet. Tom is employed as a footman at Hargrave House. Less than half a mile away at Bentfield Green, Elizabeth has the company of boarder Annie Elizabeth HALL, 17, a draper’s assistant. Tom has family connections in Yorkshire, and when he is killed at Gallipoli in 1915 he has a Filey address.

I will write about Elizabeth’s sister Mary in a day or two.

Water 45 · Martin’s Ravine


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