[This document comes from Helena Wojtczak's English Social History: Women of Nineteenth-Century Hastings and St.Leonards. An Illustrated Historical Miscellany, which the author has graciously shared with readers of the Victorian Web. Click on the title to obtain the original site, which has additional information.]

Women were barred from all professions and higher public offices. Apart from a few rare exceptions women were employed in official positions only where female gender was an occupational requirement, such as workhouse matrons. To be selected for such occupations a woman had to be eminently respectable, pious, and of unblemished reputation.

Included in this list are women who were listed in guidebooks as providing some kind of public service other than normal retailing. Among the earliest of these are Mrs West, assistant at the Post Office at 53 High Street around 1825, and Alicia Bond of 4 George Street, who in 1831 took over the Post Office at 55 George Street from her father, receiving the same salary that he had enjoyed.

1850s

Matron, East Sussex Infirmary, White rock (pictured above right): Mrs. Frances Charlotte Hartley (b.1800, widow)
Cave-keeper, St. Clements' Caves: Ann Golding, 16 George street (her husband had gained permission to open the caves as a tourist attraction in 1827)
Manager of Pelham Baths: Mrs Martha Thatcher (also kept lodging houses)
Attendant of Royal Baths, Marina: Mrs Roberts
Nurse, East Sussex Infirmary, White rock: Mrs Lucy Squires (b.1807, married)
Matron, Hastings Union (workhouse): Mrs Judith Harman (married to Master of the Workhouse)
Matron, West hill Industrial school: Mrs Maria Marshall
Joint-managers of St Leonards Baths: Mr & Mrs Barnes
Manager [sic], Hastings Old Baths: Mrs Neal
Assistant librarian: Mary Ann Shrimpton, 6 Maze hill (b.1823, single)
Carrier to Bexhill: Elizabeth Gander
Carrier to Rye: Catherine Hoad
(NB - all other carriers were men)
Lodge gate keeper, Bohemia lodge: Elizabeth Whybourne (b.1779, single)
Pew openers, All Saints' Church: Hannah Goodwin, 2 Church-yard (b.1797, widow)
and Jane Bafford, 1 Burdett place (b.1803, widow, one son)

Left: A typical matron of the 1850s. Right: An entry in the 1871 Hastings Directory

1870s

Mrs Baker, Manager of Albert House Ladies' Home &Soup Kitchen, Cross street
Miss Cooper, Lady Superintendant, The Ladies' Home, Blomfield Terrace
Miss Giesler, Principal, Children's convalescent Home, Stanhope place
Mrs Monk, Matron, Hastings Union Workhouse
Miss Marshall, Mistress of School of Industry, Albion-place
Mary Ann Griffin, Matron, Infirmary, White rock
Louisa Goodwin, Manageress, St Mary's soup-kitchen, Wellington terrace
Mrs and Misses Emary, Proprietresses of Pelham Baths
Charlotte Moore, Proprietress, Central Arcade, Havelock road
Lydia Clark, Manageress, St Mary's Convalescent Home for Women, 80 High street


Gender History

Last modified 18 November 2002