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Three Love Sisters

From 1934, sisters Mary, Sarah and Rachel Love lived together at 62 Crumpsall Street, Abbey Wood, London and for at least a period of that time James Vial Love and his son Sydney Charles Love lived with them in their 3 bedroom home.
The 1934 Electoral Register reveals Rachel Honor Love (aged 65), was qualified to vote by virtue of her employment. However her sisters Mary Ann Love (aged 70) and Sarah Ann Love (aged 67) were restricted to occupancy only, from which it would be reasonable to assume they had retired or been retired.
Their home features in a current property guide which asserts the street represents 'comfortable well presented Victorian freehold terraces ~ 3 good size bedrooms ~ manageable gardens ~ a pleasant well situated suburb'.
Having seen an image of the street, I imagine the three spinster ladies together. Did they argued over who would cook, wash and dry? Did they dress the same, finish each others sentences? Apart from being sisters they had much more in common, their shared background extended to a collective career path. Each had been the cook in a large Edwardian household.
The Cook was naturally in charge of the kitchen and kitchen staff, she reported directly to the lady of the house. Etiquette dictated that a cook was addressed as 'Mrs' regardless of marital status.
Newspapers adverts of the period, generally followed the format, 'Gentleman/Good house' requires 'Plain Cook' or 'Good Cook' for 'household with staff'. Countering this were ads placed by the cooks themselves, again almost invariably the applicants were 'Plain Cooks' who could often do 'open dishes' whilst a few 'understood soups, jellies and dairy'.

Sarah Ann LOVE 1857

Sarah Ann Love was born in December 1856 but tragically she died age six, 23 December 1862. Ten years later a second daughter was also named Sarah Ann.

ANCESTRY ~ Thomas / Mary / Sarah Ann

Sarah Ann LOVE 1867

Sarah Ann Love was born Cromer in April 1867. She was the second child born to the family named Sarah. Her name sake, born ten years earlier, had died as a five year old child several years before the birth of the second Sarah.
Sarah Ann Love followed her sister Mary into service. Having first worked in Suffolk, Sarah was found in the district records of Cherstey, in the suburb of Walton on Thames. This places her very close to her cousins, Thomas Randell's children, who are the same age.
By 1911 Sarah Ann Love was 'below stairs' at the estate of Barrister & Conservative MP Godfrey Locker-Lampson. Despite being 44, Sarah following her sisters lead, unmarried but on the up side she held the position of Cook and was no doubt ably assisted by the Butler, a Scullery maid and two Kitchen maids.
Her employer was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. He served as Conservative Member of Parliament for 25 years during which time he lived at Rowfant House, East Grinstead, Sussex a home he shared with Sarah Ann Love and thirteen other full time staff.
Rowfant House is a 16th century, manor house overlooking it’s own lake set in 22 acres of gardens and parkland. The dining table in the Great Hall seats eighty.
Sarah, Rachel and Mary lived for many years together in the leafy suburb of Abbey Wood. Sarah A Love aged 85, died 14 March 1953 in in Tooting Bec Hospital, the same location as her brother James and sister Rachel. Rachel died a few weeks before Sarah. Each left a tidy sum to Sydney Charles Love, nephew and Postman. Sarah Ann had assets of £2007 17s. 6d. at her death.

ANCESTRY ~ Thomas / Mary / Sarah Ann


Some positions stated 'all found', but most didn't, as it was understood servants were provided with food, clothing, housing, and a small wage. Hours were long and in large houses the staff lived in a class system which mirrored society at large.
Around 1901 a gentleman would expect to pay £20 to £26 a year for a 'plain cook'. A lady's maid £18 to £30, a working butler £30 to £35 and a governess £30 to £50. Governesses were frequently 'French, Parisian, Hanoverian or Swiss' and 'modest Protestants'.
Domestic service holds a peculiar position in British history, providing jobs for girls but at the same time amplifying the great divide between the wealthy and the poor. It symbolised an entrenched system of paternalism and no matter how well meaning or symbiotic, it was always doomed in a modern enlightened, labour saving twentieth century.
In 1901, there were more than a million female domestic servants in Britain. A figure which continued to rise until the Great War, when the parlour maid became the munitions worker. Against a background of female emancipation and a post war shortage of men, women had access to jobs unheard of before the war.
The decline of domestic service mirrored the change in attitudes reflected in society. The introduction of the welfare state and attempts to redress some of the imbalances in wealth contributed to it's decline. By 1939, fighting a rear guard action against labour saving devises, domestic service had truly lost it's way. The Second World War provided the schism that allowed both employers and domestics to draw the curtains on an era.
These days we don't have servants, we eat ready prepared meals cooked in a factory or eat out.

Mary Ann LOVE 1864

Mary Ann Love was born in Cromer in the first quarter of 1864 but oddly she does not appear in the St Peter & St Paul baptism register with the rest of her siblings. She lived with her family in Brooke Street, Cromer until taking a position as domestic servant and nurse with the family of successful merchant and insurance broker, George Acton Davis.
George and his wife Mary lived in Harrow on the Hill, Middlesex and employed Mary Ann Love for many years. Their address was Julian Hill, an area of very large houses, adjoining the playing fields of Harrow School. Their house had 23 rooms and a permanent staff of nine, including a butler, cook, various maids and a coachman. By 1901 Mary was filling the role of cook.
I was unable to find her in the 1911 census but I was also unable to find George Acton Davis or his wife Mary. George's son Kenneth, was in Julian Hill with a skeleton staff but the entire retinue of George and family were absent. Given George Acton Davis was appointed High Sheriff of Middlesex in 1914, the most likely explanation for their absence would be the family and staff were on holiday possibly on the continent.
Following her retirement Mary Ann lived with her sisters in Abbey Wood. Mary Ann Love died 7 December 1950 at 62 Crumpsall Street, Abbey Wood aged 86 years. She left £781 5s. 8d. to Herbert John Love, nephew and Engineer.

ANCESTRY ~ Thomas / Mary / Mary Ann

Rachel Honor LOVE 1869

Rachel Honor Love was born 25 April 1869 and baptised 4 March 1870 at St Peter and St Paul Church, Cromer. She lived with her family in Brooke Street, Cromer until in the 1891 census when she was appeared as Cook and Housekeeper at the Norwich home William and Florence Sayer.
By 1901 she was back in Cromer caring for her 74 year old widowed mother Mary. They lived in a mini enclave of family at Chesterfield Villas, Cromer. Two doors away was John Ephraim and his family. Rachel was age 32 and showing solidarity with her sisters not married.
Rachel Honor Love re-appears after the Great War, living at 520 Woolwich Road and later 21 Victoria Road, North Charlton, Kent. In 1918 she was living with her elder brother James, who lost his wife to illness and his son on the Western Front.
By 1936 Rachel, James, Mary and Sarah had taken up residence together at 62 Crumpsall Street, Abbey Wood, London. They remained at Crumpsall until they each died. James died in in 1939, whilst Mary Ann lived until 1950. Rachel and Sarah followed each other in quick succession.
Rachel Honor Love, spinster died 3 January 1953 in Tooting Bec Hospital, she was followed by Sarah Ann Love 14 March 1953. Rachel and Sarah each left a Will bequeathing £1101 6s. 6d and £2007 17s. 6d. respectively to their nephew Sydney Charles Love, Postman and one time resident at Crumpsall Street.

ANCESTRY ~ Thomas / Mary / Rachel Honor

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