The story of a Victorian Harborian.
Who was Annie Scott, you might ask. Was she a famous author, a painter, a poet? Was she perhaps a familiar face of the 19th century music hall, who graced the stage with her beautiful singing voice and performed in front of audiences of hundreds? The answer is in fact no, she was none of the above.
Annie Scott was born on the 8th of October 1853 in Market Harborough to Thomas and Sarah Scott. She was the youngest of 6 children, and her birth was commemorated with this charmingly decorated Victorian christening cup, a popular tradition at the time. Her christening was held on the 2nd of December the same year at St Dionysus church in the heart of town. Unfortunately, just a year after Annie’s birth, her father passed away. He left behind his wife and 6 children, including baby Annie.
In the 1861 census, 7 year old Annie was listed as living with her mother, her 5 siblings, her grandmother, and a servant boy called Olson. It appears that Annie’s mother, Sarah, kept her husband’s business going and was working as a glazier. Annie’s eldest sister, 20 year old Elizabeth, was working as a china dealer. Sarah and Elizabeth’s incomes combined meant that Annie was able to attend school.
10 years later, 18 year old Annie had moved to Leicester. She was by this time employed as a servant under the Marriott family. The head of the family was Sir Charles Hayes Marriott, a prominent surgeon at the time. Charles had become the house-surgeon at Leicester Royal Infirmary and, in a matter of years, had become known as the primary surgeon within the city. Due to his status, it is likely that he would have hosted important guests and meetings at his home, and Annie would’ve been around to witness them.
By 1881, Annie had left the Marriott’s employment and returned to her native Market Harborough. She had found work as a dressmaker and was living with her mother on Coventry Street. Sadly, Sarah died 2 years later. Annie subsequently moved out of their home and went to live with her older sister, Mary, and her family. She remained with Mary for at least 20 years, working as a domestic housekeeper.
Annie passed away in the winter of 1934, aged 81. According to the census, she never married nor had any children.
Though Annie was no Victorian celebrity, she was a Harborian. Her story, though not one of great excitement, should be remembered nonetheless because she is just as much a part of the rich Market Harborough tapestry as you. Her lovely christening cup, on display at Harborough Museum, serves as a reminder of one of Market Harborough’s people.
Thanks to our volunteer, Hilary, for researching and writing this entry.