The Rector's Nanny Back to the Main Historical Society page
Back to the Barwicker Contents page

The Rector's Nanny

from The Barwicker No.68

In the Society's first publication, 'Bygone Barwick' (page 13), there is this photograph of Main Street, Barwick, taken on a sunny summer afternoon. The photographer is at 'The Cross' pointing the camera south past the maypole and the 'cross'. In the centre of the photograph, crossing the traffic street in a relaxed manner, is a nanny in her starched white pinafore pushing a Victorian 'perambulator'. Seated upright in the pram is a child in what appears to be a sailor suit. At the side of the nanny is a child of pre-school age.

We do not have a date for the photograph but one could guess that it was taken about 1900. With the publication of the 1901 census, it is possible to have a better idea of the date. The census shows us that the only nanny employed in Barwick at the time was the rector's nanny. At the time of the previous census, 1891, there were no nannies in the village. The rector in 1881 and 1891 was Charles Hope who had only sons, the youngest of whom was born in 1880. He employed a nursery maid but is unlikely that the photograph dates from then for who is the small girl clutching the nanny's hand? Therefore it is almost certain that the photograph dates from the next rector, Frederick S Colman. Rector Hope died in December 1898. His successor was instituted to the benefice on 28 April 1899 and inducted on 1 May.

The 1901 census shows the following detail of the rector's household:

Name Relation Age Profession Where born
Frederick S. Colman Head 43 Clergyman Church of England London
Constance M Colman Wife 36 London
Dorothea CE Colman Daur. 12 London
Grace M Colman Daur. 8 London
Hugh FC Colman Son 4 Surrey Kingston
Lydia G Davis Servant 28 Nurse Glos.Clifford Chambers
Judith Braithwaite Servant 20 Parlour maid Yorks Barwick in Elmet
Elizabeth Hanson Servant 28 Cook Yorks Leeds
Edith L Button Servant 17 Housemaid Lincs Great Coates
Florence Lewis Visitor 33 Governess Staffs Sedgeley

If the assumption about the approximate age of the photograph is correct, the children Grace and Hugh are the only two possible children who have the right ages. The children look younger than 8 and 4 respectively. Therefore the summer of 1899 (just after they moved to Barwick) or 1900, less probably, seem the correct years for the picture. So that would make the nanny in the picture Lydia Davis.


Back to the top
Back to the Main Historical Society page
Back to the Barwicker Contents page