The Slaugham Archives

Country house staff, perhaps at Woodhurst
The Slaugham Archive
Country house staff, perhaps at Woodhurst

I have researched this photograph for some time but I still cannot identify where these ladies and one man were employed.
On the reverse there are handwritten notes as follows:
Back row: Mrs Beet, F. Hotten (prop), Mrs Brewer, Unknown, Mrs Johns, Mrs Stripp, Mrs Newman, Mrs Glover, Mrs Haylor.
Seated: Mrs Hotten, Mrs Rice, Mrs Miles, Mrs Sayers.
I can recognise Mrs Katherine Rice who, with his husband Thomas Rice, adopted my grandmother, May Longhurst. Mrs Rice was born in 1864 and I have estimated her age in the picture to be about 60, thereby arriving at an estimated year of 1925.
In 1911, the date of the latest census released, she was living in 3 Warren Cottages, Handcross but according to the 1933 electoral roll she had moved to Horsham Road in Pease Pottage where she lived until she died in 1952.
Perhaps the man was Francis Hotten (1896-1951) with his wife Elsie Hotten (1893-1972) in the front row. They were the parents of George Hotten who lived in Gilridge, Brighton Road, Handcross. The abbreviation “prop” could indicate that he was the proprietor, but in view of his young age and bib and brace overalls I suspect he was in charge of property maintenance!.
Perhaps the photograph was taken in Handcross, but I have assumed that the location was Pease Pottage. There is already a photograph of the domestic staff of Tilgate Forest Lodge on the website (see picture #722), so for the time being I have assumed that the location was Woodhurst. I can find no records of what happened between the end of the The Great War in 1918 (picture #996), and 1927 from when I believe the Mountain family occupied the house (picture #1680). Perhaps the casualties from WWI required care and nursing long after peace was declared.
Please can anyone supply more details of the photograph?
The Large Version shows a close up.

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Picture added on 26 June 2018 at 20:33
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I have a suggestion for you. First of all my father is not sure whether the Mrs Glover in the picture is his mother or not but he does remember that there was only one Glover family in the village of Handcross. They lived at 2 Wheel Cottage. Mrs Newman lived at No.1 and Mrs Beet lived at No.3.
Have you researched who was working at the Handcross Laundry at that time?
My great-grandmother, Elizabeth Beet, worked there and wore a hessian apron. She died in 1921 and she used to live at Wheel Cottage.
I have looked at the photo in your archive but don't think that the photo was taken in front of the building.
Added by Valerie Capon (née Glover) on 02 July 2018
Valerie, I was concerned that there were too many employees in the photograph to be simply the domestic staff of just one house. I think your suggestion is entirely plausible.
During the 1800s and early 1900s, there were at least three commercial laundries in Handcross, not necessarily operating at the same time. They were located at the southern end of Brighton Road (picture #80), the northern end of Brighton Road (picture #77), and Laurel Cottage (previously Laundry Cottage) in the Horsham Road (picture #703).
I think the Wheel Cottages mentioned must be the terraced row of four cottages just south of the present-day bridge and next to Laurel Cottage. They were known informally as the “Rabbit Hutches”, and are now converted into two cottages, Rose Cottage and Wheel Cottage. See picture #700.
The latest census return issued is for 1911 when the four cottages had two residents named Elizabeth Beet!
Anyway none of the residents of the terraced cottages have an occupation of “laundress”. It is frustrating, but I suspect that we shall have to await the 1921 census which is due to be released in January 1922, or even the 1931 census. The 1911 return only asked for occupations, e.g. carpenter, butcher, student, etc, but the 1921 census also asked for the employer’s name and place of work.

Added by Barry Ray on 04 July 2018
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