Elizabeth Barham (1824 - 1893)

Housemaid, Schoolmistress and Housekeeper

Elizabeth was born in 1824 and was the first child of James Barham and Elizabth Hazelton.

Elizabeth's Christening was recorded in the Swanscombe parish registers on 18th July 1824. "18th July....Elizabeth Daughter of...James and Elizabeth...Barham....Greenhithe...Glazier." The implication that James had married again after the death of his wife Mary is however not born out by the facts as described in the account of Elizabeth Hazelton. When a child was born to unmarried parents their names (when both were known) were commonly both recorded in full.  The priest baptising Elizabeth must have known that they were not married so was obviously being economical with the truth.

The birth of a baby to Elizabeth Hazelton, who it would seem had been employed by James to look after his children, must have had an impact on them. Over the next 16 years James and Elizabeth Hazelton had a further 7 children and one wonders what the relationship was between the two sets of children.

In 1841 the first detailed census reveals Elizabeth and her parents and siblings living in Greenhithe. Her father is described as "painter" and she is the oldest child present, her age being given as 17.  Mary's children have all left home.

Her father died in 1846 at the age of 60, leaving Elizabeth Hazelton as a single parent to her 7 surviving children. See "The Will" of James Barham for details of his legacy. Elizabeth was 22 at this point and four years older than Charles, her nearest sibling.

By 1851 according to the next census she had left Greenhithe and was working as a servant at Horne Castle, for the family of Thomas and Arabella Cooper. Her two sisters were in service leaving Charles and his brothers in Greenhithe running the plumbing/glazing/painting business. The next census in 1861 shows that she had moved to London where she was working as a housemaid for a solicitor, Geo A Crowder, at 42, Portland Place, 

In 1871 she had returned to Greenhithe, living with her mother and her sister Louisa's daughter, Emily. She was still unmarried, and working now as a schoolmistress, presumably supporting her mother and niece. As the eldest child (and daughter) the task of caring for her increasingly frail and elderly mother fell to her.

Her mother died of "morbis cordis" in 1881, shortly before the census which records Elizabeth still living in Greenhithe working as a schoolmistress.  Ten years later, at the age of 67 she was working in nearby Stone as housekeeper for George Stone, an Assurance Agent and his daughter. Her age on the census was given as 59 - maybe she was understating it to her employer.  She was still unmarried and died two years later in 1893.