Princess Mary at Crispin Street 1931

The Providence (Row) Night Refuge was founded in 1860, and heavily supported by Alfred Purssell, and his children, and sons-in-law almost from its foundation. Wilfrid Parker, Alfred Purssell’s  son in law, was chairman of the committee in 1931, Wilfrid’s nephew George Bellord was also on the committee. George’s father, Edmund Bellord (Agnes Purssell’s husband) had also chaired the committee. Frank Purssell had also been on the committee, and deputised for his father at times.

Princess Mary c 1930
Princess Mary c 1930

In the course of its seventy years’ history the Providence (Row) Night Refuge has several times had the honour of welcoming members of the Royal House within its walls. The Prince of Wales visited the Refuge about four years ago; and on Friday last week Princess Mary presided at the annual Founder’s Day celebration, the third princess to accept the performance of that function; her Royal Highness’s predecessors were Princess Alice of Athlone, who presided in 1913; and Princess Marie Louise, in 1924. Founder’s Day at Crispin Street is always an occasion for enlisting the sympathy, by presence, of a distinguished chairman; no fewer than eleven Lord Mayors of London, it may be noted, and five Chairmen of the London County Council, have been among those presiding in past years. This year, the visit of Princess Mary gave added distinction to the occasion, and the present Lord Mayor, Alderman Sir William Phene Neal, attended among those who welcomed Her Royal Highness and expressed their welcome in words. With the Lord Mayor were the Bishop of Cambysopolis, representing His Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop; Viscount FitzAlan, the senior trustee of the charity; Alderman Sir Harold Downer, K.C.S.G.; Sheriff Collins ; the Mayor of Stepney (Mr. M. H. Davis, L.C.C.); Captain W. W. Parker, M.B.E., Chairman of the Committee; Sir John Gilbert, K.C.S.G., K.S.S., Secretary; Adele Countess Cadogan, and others.

Her Royal Highness, attended by Miss Dorothy Yorke as Lady-in-Waiting, took the chair. A bouquet was presented by Bona Leather, of St. Aloysius’ Secondary School, Clarendon Square, N.W. The speeches followed. First of all the Lord Mayor, expressing gratitude to the Princess for the honour of her presence, extolled the work of the Night Refuge and commended as an example the action of market workers in the City who had subscribed fifty pounds to its funds. Lord FitzAlan associated himself with the words of welcome ; and the Bishop, who followed, remarked, as representing the Cardinal, that His Eminence, in whose name he thanked Her Royal Highness for honouring the institution, took a deep interest in that as in all other good works in the Archdiocese. His lordship referred also to the beneficent labours of the Sisters of Mercy at Crispin Street, labours, he said, which included work that in its result often meant more than the value of food and shelter to the poor and needy who sought the Refuge. Monsignor Butt was followed by Sir John Gilbert, who briefly related some salient facts and figures in connection with the work, as, for instance, that since 1860 the Refuge has provided nearly 2,600,000 free nights’ lodgings, and 5,200,000 free meals, upon an organization plan aimed at securing the benefits of the deserving.

Princess Mary and the other guests afterwards paid a visit to the various parts of the Refuge. They found everything in its customary’ order ; the inmates for the night had been admitted as usual at five o’clock, and the only circumstance marking the rejoicing for the visit of Her Royal Highness was a special meal, provided by an anonymous benefactor and more satisfying in its character than any banquet of cakes and ale.

The valuable link between the Home and the Corporation of the City of London may be noted from an examination of the charity’s list of officers in the annual report. Sir John Knill, treasurer and a trustee, was Lord Mayor of London, 1909-10; Sir Henry T. McAuliffe, a trustee, has served for many years upon the Common Council and is Deputy-Alderman for Bishopsgate; Sir Harold Downer, a member of Committee, was Sheriff in 1924 before his election last year as Alderman for Coleman Street Ward. Similarly, an extensive “second generation” of workers for Monsignor Gilbert’s institution will be recognized. Sir John Knill’s offices were formerly held by his father, the late Sir Stuart Knill, London’s first post-Reformation Catholic Lord Mayor; as mentioned above, Captain W. W. Parker, son of the late Sir Henry Watson Parker, a well-known City lawyer, fills the chair of the Committee, as did his father-in-law, the late Mr. Alfred Purssell, a former member of the Corporation and the great personal friend of the Founder ; Mr. George Bellord has succeeded his father, the late Mr. Edmund Bellord, thirty four years a member of Committee and twenty-six years its chairman ; Mr. Joseph Towsey joined the Committee upon the death of his father, the late Mr. William Towsey, an original member with a record service extending from 1860 to 1926; Mr. J. Arthur Walton is the son of the late Hon. Mr. Justice Walton, a trustee for many years. Finally, Sir John Gilbert, a nephew of the Founder, will this year complete thirty-five years’ work as Secretary.

Princess Mary has had a letter sent to Sir John Gilbert expressing her deep interest in all she saw at the Refuge. Her Royal Highness wishes to show that interest by a grant from Queen Mary’s London Needlework Guild.

The above text was found on p.22, 2nd May 1931 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

The Purssells 1861 -1871

The decade between 1861 and 1871 seems to be a pivotal one for the family. There is a definite sense of some succeeding, whilst others do nothing like as well; and by the start of the 1870’s there appears to be almost a gulf between the two remaining branches of the family.

Mile End Road, E.1

Joe has already emigrated to Australia, and has married again, in 1860; though it is not clear whether his first wife is still alive in London. By 1860, he had gone bankrupt twice. He was first bankrupted in 1839, when his address was given as 33 Crown Row, Mile End Road, London, and had a brief spell in a debtor’s prison; he would have been 24.

He went bankrupt again in 1850, where he was described as a butcher & cowman, at 3 Wellington Street Bethnal Green. On the second occasion, William Purssell, his younger brother, appears to have stepped in and acts as his assignee – i.e, the person appointed to sort out his financial affairs.

Royal Exchange, Cornhill and Threadneedle St

John Roger has also gone bankrupt, probably in 1854. His slightly hubristic attempt to rival the established Purssell business in Cornhill, with his own business in Ludgate Hill, and Regent Street doesn’t seem to have worked, and by 1861, he is using the premises at 162 Regent Street as a photographer’s studio. Having said that, he is still describing himself as a confectioner in the census that year.  He emigrates to Australia sometime in the 1860’s, but returns by the end of the century. His wife Eliza calls herself a widow, in the 1871 census, when she was living at 19 Lincoln Street, Mile End with their five youngest children. She describes herself as a house-owner, so obviously had some money. At least four of their seven children seem to have emigrated to Australia as well. Crucially, JR’s youngest, and only, daughter remained in London; and it’s with her, and her family, that he lives with on his return. So at least one of the children knew their father was still alive.

By 1861, things have progressed on the business front as well.  James Purssell and his family moved to New York in 1857; he had originally been in partnership with William, dissolving the partnership in 1854, and then laterly in partnership with Alfred until 1857, with the move to New York, as shown from the notice in The London Gazette.

NOTICE is hereby given, that the Partnership hereto-fore subsisting between us the undersigned, James Purssell and Alfred Purssell, as Biscuit Bakers and Confectioners,under the style or firm of James and Alfred Purssell, in Cornhill and Finch-lane, in the city of London, is this day dissolved by mutual consent.—Dated this 14th day of October, 1857.

So by 1861, Alfred was in sole control of the Purssell business in London. He is thirty years old, the father of a two year-old daughter, and a widower.

Alfred married Laura Rose Coles in the spring of 1857 at St George the Martyr, in Southwark. He was twenty six, and she was two years younger. Laura Rose was born in Blackheath on 19th March 1833. By the time they were married, Queen Victoria had been on the throne almost twenty years, but even so they were born during the reign of William IV.

Laura Rose and Alfred’s marriage was short-lived, she died on 22nd February 1860, aged just twenty seven, at 8, Highbury Crescent West in Islington, about half a mile away from the site of the old Highbury stadium. Rather touchingly, Alfred and Laura Mary were living in “Laura House” in Blackheath in the mid-1860’s.

Anyway, back to who is where in 1861.

Brighton Pavilion

Alfred, his daughter Laura Mary, and his eldest sister Charlotte, are all staying with William and Eliza Purssell at 18 James Place, Brighton.

William Purssell describes himself as a retired confectioner, aged forty four; and may well have retired as early as 1854 when he dissolved the partnership he had with James. Fifty year old Charlotte describes herself as a fund-holder, implying she, too, has retired, and Alfred describes himself as an employer of fifty heads. That is a 25% increase in staff numbers over the last ten years, so business is expanding.  

Also staying the night of the census, are three servants, a cook, housemaid, and a nurse; and twenty-eight year old William Jones, a manufacturer of artificial flowers from Plymouth, where he is employing fifteen people.

Regent Street, London, 1860
Regent Street, London, c.1860

Back in London at 10 Union Place, Newington, in Lambeth, John Roger is still calling himself a confectioner, dabbling in photography, and according to photolondon.org placing advertisements in The Times in March, and May that year for the photography business in Regents Street.

He is a thirty-six year old father of four sons, and the household also has two young female house servants. There is no trace of his nine year old son Edward, nor seven year old Albert after the 1861 census, though the younger two, Francis, and Charles are living with their mother ten years later, along with Arthur,Augustus, and Eliza.

Illawarra c.1885
Illawarra c.1885

All of Eliza’s traceable sons appear to have gone to Australia. Francis emigrated on the Illawarra, arriving in New South Wales on the 6th Aug 1883.

Charles George seems to have emigrated some time after 1881, and died in Australia. Arthur, also, appears to have emigrated; and Augustus appears to have emigrated, married, and died in Australia as well.

Virgo Fidelis convent norwood
Virgo Fidelis Convent, Norwood

By 1871,  Alfred has re-married, and had more children. Mother St George is in the convent in Norwood. Charlotte Purssell Jnr has died in London in 1869.  James is in New York. William is dead.  John Roger Purssell is presumed to be in Australia.

229 Mile End Road 1910
229 Mile End Road c.1910

And finally, their mother Charlotte Purcell is living in Mile End, at 350 Mile End Road, aged eighty-one, with Mary Isaacs, a sixteen year old servant girl; and her daughter-in-law, Eliza (William’s widow) is living at 2 Satin Road, Lambeth, also with a servant. In her case, nineteen year old Louisa Cox, from Banbury, in Oxfordshire.

Mother St. George (Frances Jane Purssell) 1827 -1914. A heroine-veteran of the Crimea

Mother St George was born Frances Purssell in 1827, became a nun when she was 21. She is Lady O’B’s aunt, and Alfred Purssell’s elder sister

from The Tablet Page 24, 8th February 1908

There are not many of the nun-nurses of the Crimea left among us—not, we believe, more than four, namely, Mother Mary Aloysius, the last survivor of the band of Irish Sisters of Mercy who tended the sick and wounded in the hospitals at Scutari ; florence-nightingale-nursesSister Stanislas and Sister Anastasia (both now at St. John’s Wood), the representatives of the English Sisters of Mercy who gave an equal devotion to the same service ; and Mother St. George, of the Convent of the Faithful Virgin, Norwood. Of these, the first, Mother Mary Aloysius, put on record some ten years ago her wonderful experiences in that delightfully simple and graphic little book, “Memories of the Crimea.” Mother St. George resigned a few weeks ago the active headship of the branch house of her Order at Folkestone (which she helped to found) and has now returned to pass her remaining days in the Norwood Convent, where she was professed sixty years ago at the age of twenty-one.

This week the readers of The Daily Chronicle were privileged to hear some of the reminiscences of this venerable nun, recounted in an interview which she gave to a correspondent of that paper.

“I must have five of your Sisters by seven o’clock to-morrow morning at London Bridge ready to start for Constantinople.”

Those brief, imperative marching orders from Bishop Grant were handed to the Mother Superior of the Convent of the Faithful Virgin at Norwood late in the evening of Sunday, October 22, 1854. Before six o’clock the next morning the Sisters asked for were at Bishop Grant’s house, and they started the same day with Florence Nightingale and her nurses for the East. Of that little band of five, Mother St. George was the youngest, and to-day is the sole survivor. The Order of the Faithful Virgin is a teaching, not a nursing order; but when that urgent cry of “More Nurses for the East” came from the perishing Army, there were few trained for the work who could immediately step into the breach, and hence it was that, at Bishop Grant’s summons, the Sisters of the Faithful Virgin came eagerly forward to fill the gap, and they filled it at Scutari nobly from November, 1854, till February, 1855, by which time plenty of nursing Sisters had arrived.

Mother St. George recalls the enthusiasm with which Florence Nightingale and her nurses were received when they landed at Boulogne. “Then we sailed from Marseilles” (she says); “it was a Friday, I remember, and the Captain objected to starting on Friday. The sailors were perfectly sure that the ship would go down. But Miss Nightingale would not wait ; she was anxious to reach her work as soon as possible. We had terrible weather, and the ship at one time was in very great danger in a narrow passage. However, we reached the Bosphorus safely, though I believe the ship was too damaged to make the return voyage, and Miss Nightingale said to the Captain, Why, I thought we were all to go to the bottom because we sailed on Friday ‘ ; and he answered, ‘And so we should have done if we hadn’t had Sisters on board ”

Barraok_Hospital,_Scutari._George_Dodd._Pictorial_history_of_the_Russian_war_1854-5-6On arriving at Scutari, Mother St. George went with the other nurses to the great palace which the Sultan had placed at the disposal of the British Government for a hospital. “At that time,” she says, “all the wounded had to be brought across the Black Sea before they could be properly treated. Many died on the way across, or directly they were brought in. But the men were so good, so brave, so delicate. Why, they would try to take off their soiled bandages themselves to save the Sisters the task. And some of these men were brought in after lying out six weeks in the trenches, so that their clothes stuck to their skins, and it was difficult to remove them. There was no chloroform in those days ; so when a man had to be operated upon they used to put a ball of lead in his mouth.” Of Miss Nightingale, though she has never seen her since she left Scutari, Mother St. George retains a vivid impression. “Tall, slender, upright she was, with dark hair. Very, very gentle in her manner, but very capable. She was a wonderful nurse. And she was very accomplished, too ; she spoke three languages fluently. The officers at the hospital at Scutari did not like a woman put over them ; I think she often suffered much from that. She used to be called ‘The Bird.’ We came home in the Candia with some invalided officers and men, coming direct to Southampton. It was a Sunday morning when we reached port, and we went ashore to see if we could find a church and hear Mass. A troop of street boys followed us ; they were so astonished at our white robes, and cried that it was ‘the Emperor of Rooshia and his five daughters come over.’ ‘Them Rooshians ‘—that was how the soldiers always spoke of the enemy,” concluded Mother St. George, with a smile.

from The Tablet Page 22, 28th October 1911

Coldstreams at ScutariOther memories of Scutari are quickened afresh in English minds this week by the death of Mother M. Anastasia Kelly at the St. John’s Wood Convent of her Order. This event, recorded in another column, leaves but one sole survivor of the band of brave Sisters of Mercy who took ship with Florence Nightingale for the Scutari hospital wards, packed with England’s cholera-stricken soldiers. This is Mother Mary Joseph Stanislas (born Jones), of the same Convent, whose years now number eighty-nine. Elsewhere and in another Order, one other remains who shared in the horrors and glories of the Crimea. Mother St. George (born Purssell), at the Convent of the Faithful Virgin, Norwood, well recalls the day, fifty-seven years ago, when she left that house, at a few hours’ notice, in response to Bishop Grant’s appeal for volunteers. Royal_Red_Cross_Medal

Hers was not a nursing Order, but that impediment counted for naught when the supply of trained Sisters of Mercy had fallen short of the demand. The venerable Nun now dead, her surviving companion at St. John’s Wood, and Mother St. George alike received from Queen Victoria, in her Jubilee year of 1887, the decoration of the Royal Red Cross

from The Sacred Heart Review, Number 22, 16 May 1914

WHAT FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE OWED TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.

Mother St. George, the last survivor of the band of nuns who worked in the Crimea with Florence Nightingale, died at Norwood, England, recently, aged eighty-seven. Last week in our news columns we chronicled her funeral. The London Tablet tells of Bishop Grant’s message to the Norwood convent, in 1854, one Sunday evening: “I must have five of the Sisters by seven o’clock to-morrow morning at London Bridge, ready to start for Constantinople.” The next day the five Sisters started with Miss Nightingale. Mother St. George was decorated with the Red Cross, by Queen Victoria, many years after the war. The recently published “Life” of Florence Nightingale, written by Sir Edward Cook, quotes from a letter to the London Times,— written by its special correspondent, in the Crimea- several passages that deplore the futility of the nursing arrangements on the British side and point to the advantages of the French who had the nursing Sisters. He wrote:— Here the French are greatly our superiors. Their medical arrangements are extremely good, their surgeons more numerous, and they have also the help of the Sisters of Charity, who have accompanied the expedition in incredible numbers. These devoted women are excellent nurses. Two days after this letter appeared, a reader of the Times sent to that paper the query, “Why have we no Sisters of Charity?” Florence Nightingale was persuaded to organize a corps of nurses. ” Her experience all tells,” wrote her sister, ” including in the list of qualifications, her sympathy with the Roman Catholic system of work.” The corps included ten Catholic nuns (five from Bermondsey and five from Norwood—Mother George’s party.) Miss Nightingale was from the first anxious to have Catholic nurses on her staff, because, says her biographer:— In the first place many of the soldiers were Catholics; and, secondly, her apprenticeship in nursing had shown her the excellent qualities as nurses, of many Catholics. A letter from Miss Nightingale to Mr. Herbert described a number of her Catholic nurses as being: “The truest Christians I ever met with,—invaluable in their work, devoted, heart and head, to serve God and mankind.” When the war was at an end, the Reverend Mother, who had come from Bermondsey with the first party, returned home. What her services meant to her chief is frankly acknowledged in the letter Miss Nightingale wrote to her from Balaclava: —

“God’s blessing and my love and gratitude with you, as you well know. You know well, too, that I shall do everything I can for the Sisters whom you have left me. But it will not be like you. Your wishes will be our law. And I shall try and remain in the Crimea for their sakes as long as we are any of us there. I do not presume to express praise or gratitude to you, Reverend Mother, because it would look as if I thought you had done the work not unto God but unto me. You were far above me in fitness for the general superintendency, both in worldly talent of administration and far more in the spiritual qualification which God values in a Superior. My being placed over you in an unenviable reign in the East was my misfortune and not my fault.”

From her childhood Florence Nightingale showed a vocation for nursing. She nursed and bandaged the dolls her sister broke, and she gave “first aid to the wounded” to a collie with a broken leg. The earliest sample of her writing is a tiny book, which the child stitched together and in which she entered in very uncertain letters a recipe ” sixteen grains for an old woman, eleven for a young woman, and seven for a child.” The conventions of her day and class forbade the following of her desire to become a nurse. The advantages of wealth and culture were hers, including travel and study in foreign countries. The chief attraction that Paris offered to her ” lay principally in its hospitals and nursing Sisterhoods.” Her beautiful home at Embley appealed to her chiefly as a desirable place for a hospital— ” I think how I should turn it into a hospital and how I should place the beds,” she said to a friend. When Dr. Howe visited Embley, Florence asked him; “If I should determine to study nursing, and to devote my life to that profession, do you think it would be a dreadful thing ? ” ” Not a dreadful thing at all,” replied the visitor. “I think it would be a very good thing.” To Catholic Sisterhoods she owed the opportunity that opened the way to her future career. She wrote on one occasion:— “The Catholic Orders offered me work, training for that work, sympathy and help in it, such as I had in vain sought in the Church of England. The Church of England has for men bishoprics, archbishoprics, and a little work. For women she has what ? I would have given her my head, my heart, my hand. She would not have them. She did not know what to do with them. She told me to go back and do crochet in my mother’s drawing-room; or, if I were tired of that, to marry and look well at the head of my husband’s table. You may go to the Sunday-school, if you like it, she said. But she gave me no training even for that. She gave me neither work to do for her, nor education for it.” In Rome, the great attraction for Miss Nightingale was the Sacred Heart Convent, but for nursing Sisterhoods she retained always the deepest regard. Her latest biographer says: — She thought more often, and with more affectionate remembrance, about the spirit of the best Catholic Sisterhoods than of Kaiserswerth, or indeed of anything else in her professional experience. At Kaiserswerth, an ancient town on the Rhine, there was a hospital conducted by Deaconesses, (Protestant) and here Miss Nightingale spent some months. That Kaiserswerth trained her, she herself denied. “The nursing there was nil,” she wrote. “The hygiene was horrible. The hospital was certainly the worst part of Kaiserswerth. I took all the training there was to be had; Kaiserswerth was far from having trained me.” From the Protestant Deaconesses of Germany, Miss Nightingale went to live among Catholic Sisters in France. Dr. Manning secured the opportunity for her to study in their institutions and hospitals. ” Florence joined the Sisters of Charity in Paris. “And thus after many struggles and delays, was she launched upon her true work in the world,” states Sir Edward Cook. In 1854 came the “call” to the Crimea and the practical test of Miss Nightingale’s vocation for nursing. Of her companions to the Crimea we have already learned something, and more is related in a general way in the chapters dealing with her experiences as an army nurse. A small black pocket-book, found among Miss Nightingale’s effects, after her death, contained a few of the letters she received before starting for the East. One of these letters, was from Dr. Manning, who wrote:— “God will keep you. And my prayer for you will be that your one object of Worship, Pattern for Imitation, and source of consolation and strength may be the Sacred Heart of our Divine Lord.” Summing up Miss Nightingale’s feeling towards Catholics and Catholicism, Sir Edward Cook says: — “There were many points at which Roman Catholicism appealed to her.  Cardinal Manning, for whom she entertained a high respect, may sometimes have regarded her as a likely convert; but towards acceptance of Roman doctrines, I find no ground for thinking that she was at any time inclined. Yet the spirit of Catholic saintliness—and especially that of the saints whose contemplative piety was joined to active benevolence— appealed strongly to her. She read books of Catholic devotion constantly, and made innumerable annotations in and from them. . . She admired intensely the aid which Catholic piety had given, and was giving to many of her own friends—to the Bermondsey nuns, especially, and to the mother and sisters of the Trinitade’ Monti — towards purity of heart and the doing of everything from a-right motive. Then, again, to be ” business-like” was with Miss Nightingale almost the highest commendation; and in this character also the Roman Church appealed to her. Its acceptance of doctrines in all their logical conclusions, seemed to her business-like; its organization was businesslike; its recognition of women-workers was business-like.”

Alfred Purssell 1831 -1897

Alfred Purssell is Gertrude Purssell’s (Lady O’B) father.  He is one of nine children of Roger Purssell and Charlotte Peachey as shown Purssell letter006by this copy from a family bible. Alfred himself had seven children. Five girls and two boys

  • Laura
  • Lucy
  • Alfred Joseph
  • Frank
  • Agnes
  • Charlotte
  • Gertrude

 

The Purssells were variously described as confectioners, bakers, tea importers, and by 1871, Alfred described himself as a wine merchant. In the census in 1881, he is living in Clapham as a widower, with five servants. (a housekeeper, cook, housemaid, parlourmaid, and a children’s maid.)

Alfred Purssell
Alfred Purssell

Alfred was also a member of the Court of Common Council in the City for many years. He was a Trustee of the Bridge House Estates, who were responsible for building Tower Bridge  as shown on theAlfred Purssell tower bridge plaque on the north side of the bridge.

 

 

He is listed as a guarantor of the International Exhibition of 1862 –  not the Great Exhibition (£100), which also lists him as a Member of the Society of Arts, and he is listed as a founder of Westminster Cathedral.

As part of the initial search for who was who in the photos, I also traced this print in the London Metropolitan  Archives, which confirmed that our picture was Alfred.The Chairman and Officers of the Commissioners of Sewers of the City of London 1889-1890

 

And then finally from the Tablet, Page 22, 22nd February 1930

Mr. Purssell served for many years as a member of the Court of Common Council for the Ward of Cornhill, of which the present Lord Mayor is Alderman. If memory serves, he was Chairman of the Bridge House Estate Committee when the Tower Bridge was opened.

Not quite true; he was on the committee, but not the chairman. But he was at the opening ceremony.

Edmund Joseph Bellord,(1857–1927)

EDMUND JOSEPH BELLORD,(1857–1927)
Solicitor and founder and leading committee member of Providence Row Night Refuge.

Born on 30 July 1858 at 22 Long Lane, Smithfield, London, son of James Bellord (1805-1894), a merchant sea captain, and Mary Ann Roche (1819-1895). Educated at St Augustine’s, Ramsgate, and Oxford. Admitted to the Roll, 1881; partner in the firm of Lickorish and Bellord, practised at 11 Mansion House Chambers, Queen Victoria Street, 1881–93 and at various addresses thereafter, finally locating at 8 Waterloo Place, Pall Mall. A trustee of the Providence Row Night Refuge and chairman of the Refuge’s committee.

Married (1) Helen Teresa Smith, 11 May 1886, three children,

Mildred Mary (1887–1972),

Cuthbert George (1889–1950), and

Margery Mary (1891–?),

and (2) Agnes Mary Purssell, 11 January 1899, children

Charles Edmund (1900–1918),

George (1904–1963),

Robert (1908–1970),

Elizabeth Agnes M (1910–1991), and

Patricia Mary (1912–1943).

Died 17 December 1927, at 46 Ennismore Gardens, South Kensington, leaving an estate valued at £21,641.

http://www.jtrforums.com/showthread.php?t=15517

Chris,
Here’s a sneak preview of the entry from the forthcoming and very much beefed-up e-book edition of the A to Z and details of John Savage’s excellent article in that ever-a-goldmine Ripperologist


Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution claims that Bellord was a partner in the firm of Perkins and Bellord, solicitors and estate agents, and that when the tobacconist at 22 Cleveland Street needed an assistant, Walter Sickert approached ‘a lawyer who ran an East End refuge for poor working women’, who brought Mary Jane Kelly to Cleveland Street. This is apparently a reference to Bellord.

Bellord was not a partner in the firm of Perkins and Bellord, but much later his nephew, James Bellord, went into partnership with Walter Mottram Perkins as estate agents at 14 Fitzroy Street. James died on 25 March 1935, among his bequests being £200 to Providence Row.

WHAT FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE OWED TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. Mother St. George 1914

The Sacred Heart Review, Number 22, 16 May 1914

WHAT FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE OWED TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.

Mother St. George, the last survivor of the band of nuns who worked in the Crimea with Florence Nightingale, died at Norwood, England, recently, aged eighty-seven. Last week in our news columns we chronicled her funeral. The London Tablet tells of Bishop Grant’s message to the Norwood convent, in 1854, one Sunday evening: “I must have five of the Sisters by seven o’clock to-morrow morning at London Bridge, ready to start for Constantinople.” The next day the five Sisters started with Miss Nightingale. Mother St. George was decorated with the Red Cross, by Queen Victoria, many years after the war. The recently published “Life” of Florence Nightingale, written by Sir Edward Cook, quotes from a letter to the London Times,— written by its special correspondent, in the Crimea- several passages that deplore the futility of the nursing arrangements on the British side and point to the advantages of the French who had the nursing Sisters. He wrote:— Here the French are greatly our superiors. Their medical arrangements are extremely good, their surgeons more numerous, and they have also the help of the Sisters of Charity, who have accompanied the expedition in incredible numbers. These devoted women are excellent nurses. Two days after this letter appeared, a reader of the Times sent to that paper the

query, “Why have we no Sisters of Charity?” Florence Nightingale was persuaded to organize a corps of nurses. ” Her experience all tells,” wrote her sister, ” including in the list of qualifications, her sympathy with the Roman Catholic system of work.” The corps included ten Catholic nuns (five from Bermondsey and five from Norwood—Mother George’s party.) Miss Nightingale was from the first anxious to have Catholic nurses on her staff, because, says her biographer:— In the first place many of the soldiers were Catholics; and, secondly, her apprenticeship in nursing had shown her the excellent qualities as nurses, of many Catholics. A letter from Miss Nightingale to Mr. Herbert described a number of her Catholic nurses as being: “The truest Christians I ever met with,—invaluable in their workdevoted, heart and head, to serve God and mankind.” When the war was at an end, the Reverend Mother, who had come from Bermondsey with the first party, returned home. What her services meant to her chief is frankly acknowledged in the letter Miss Nightingale wrote to her from Balaclava: — God’s blessing and my love and gratitude with you, as you well know. You know well, too, that I shall do everything I can for the Sisters whom you have left me. But it will not be like you. Your wishes will be our law. And I shall try and remain in the Crimea for their sakes as long as we are any of us there. I do not presume to express praise or gratitude to you, Reverend Mother, because it would look as if I thought you had done the work not unto God but unto me. You were far above me in fitness for the general superintendency, both in worldly talent of administration and far more in the spiritual qualification which God values in a Superior. My being placed over you in an unenviable reign in the East was my misfortune and not my fault. From her childhood Florence Nightingale showed a vocation for nursing. She nursed and bandaged the dolls her sister broke, and she gave “first aid to the wounded” to a collie with a broken leg. The earliest sample of her writing is a tiny book, which the child stitched together and in which she entered in very uncertain letters a recipe ” sixteen grains for an old woman, eleven for a young woman, and seven for a child.” The conventions of her day and class forbade the following of her desire to become a nurse. The advantages of wealth and culture were hers, including travel and study in foreign countries. The chief attraction that Paris offered to her ” lay principally in its hospitals and nursing Sisterhoods.” Her beautiful home at Embley appealed to her chiefly as a desirable place for a hospital— ” I think how I should turn it into a hospital and how I should place the beds,” she said to a friend. When Dr. Howe visited Embley, Florence asked him; “If I should determine to study nursing, and to devote my life to that profession, do you think it would be a dreadful thing ? ” ” Not a dreadful thing at all,” replied the visitor. “I think it would be a very good thing.” To Catholic Sisterhoods she owed the opportunity that opened the way to her future career. She wrote on one occasion:— The Catholic Orders offered me work, training for that work, sympathy and help in it, such as I had in vain sought in the Church of England. The Church of England has for men bishoprics, archbishoprics, and a little work. For women she has—

what ? I would have given her my head, my heart, my hand. She would not have them. She did not know what to do with them. She told me to go back and do crochet in my mother’s drawing-room; or, if I were tired of that, to marry and look well at the head of my husband’s table. You may go to the Sunday-school, if you like it, she said. But she gave me no training even for that. She gave me neither work to do for her, nor education for it. In Rome, the great attraction for Miss Nightingale was the Sacred Heart Convent, but for nursing Sisterhoods she retained always the deepest regard. Her latest biographer says: — She thought more often, and with more affectionate remembrance, about the spirit of the best Catholic Sisterhoods than of Kaiserswerth, or indeed of anything else in her professional experience. At Kaiserswerth, an ancient town on the Rhine, there was a hospital conducted by Deaconesses, (Protestant) and here Miss Nightingale spent some months. That Kaiserswerth trained her, she herself denied. “The nursing there was nil,” she wrote. “The hygiene was horrible. The hospital was certainly the worst part of Kaiserswerth. I took all the training there was to be had; Kaiserswerth was far from having trained me.” From the Protestant Deaconesses of Germany, Miss Nightingale went to live among Catholic Sisters in France. Dr. Manning secured the opportunity for her ‘to study in their institutions and hospitals. ” Florence joined the Sisters of Charity in Paris. And thus after many struggles and delays, was she launched upon her true work in the world,” states Sir Edward Cook. In 1854 came the “call” to the Crimea and the practical test of Miss Nightingale’s vocation for nursing. Of her companions to the Crimea we have already learned something, and more is related in a general way in the chapters dealing with her experiences as an army nurse. A small black pocket-book, found among Miss Nightingale’s effects, after her death, contained a few of the letters she received before starting for the East. One of these letters, was from Dr. Manning, who wrote:— God will keep you. And my prayer for you will be that your one object of Worship, Pattern for Imitation, and source of consolation and strength may be the Sacred Heart of our Divine Lord. Summing up Miss Nightingale’s feeling towards Catholics and Catholicism, Sir Edward Cook says: — There were many points at which Roman Catholicism appealed to her. . . Cardinal Manning, for whom she entertained a high respect, may sometimes have regarded her as a likely convert; but towards acceptance of Roman doctrines, I find no ground for thinking that she was at any time inclined. Yet the spirit of Catholic saintliness—and especially that of the saints whose contemplative piety was joined to active benevolence— appealed strongly to her. She read books of Catholic devotion constantly, and made innumerable annotations in and from them. . . She admired intensely the aid which Catholic piety had given, and was giving to many of her own friends—to the Bermondsey nuns, especially, and to the mother and sisters of the Trinitade’ Monti — towards purity of heart and the doing of everything from a-right motive. Then, again, to be ” business-like” was with Miss Nightingale almost the highest commendation; and in this character also the Roman Church appealed to her. Its acceptance of doctrines in all their logical conclusions, seemed to her business-like; its organization was businesslike; its recognition of women-workers was business-like.

Mother St. George 1908

The Tablet Page 24, 8th February 1908

There are not many of the nun-nurses of the Crimea left among us—not, we believe, more than four, namely, Mother Mary Aloysius, the last survivor of the band of Irish Sisters of Mercy who tended the sick and wounded in the hospitals at Scutari ; Sister Stanislas and Sister Anastasia (both now at St. John’s Wood), the representatives of the English Sisters of Mercy who gave an equal devotion to the same service ; and Mother St. George, of the Convent of the Faithful Virgin, Norwood. Of these, the first, Mother Mary Aloysius, put on record some ten years ago her wonderful experiences in that delightfully simple and graphic little book, “Memories of the Crimea.” Mother St. George resigned a few weeks ago the active headship of the branch house of her Order at Folkestone (which she helped to found) and has now returned to pass her remaining days in the Norwood Convent, where she was professed sixty years ago at the age of twenty-one. This week the readers of The Daily Chronicle were privileged to hear some of the reminiscences of this venerable nun, recounted in an interview which she gave to a correspondent of that paper.

“I must have five of your Sisters by seven o’clock to-morrow morning at London Bridge ready to start for Constantinople.” Those brief, imperative marching orders from Bishop Grant were handed to the Mother Superior of the Convent of the Faithful Virgin at Norwood late in the evening of Sunday, October 22, 1854. Before six o’clock the next morning the Sisters asked for were at Bishop Grant’s house, and they started the same day with Florence Nightingale and her nurses for the East. Of that little band of five, Mother St. George was the youngest, and to-day is the sole survivor. The Order of the Faithful Virgin is a teaching, not a nursing order; but when that urgent cry of “More Nurses for the East” came from the perishing Army, there were few trained for the work who could immediately step into the breach, and hence it was that, at Bishop Grant’s summons, the Sisters of the Faithful Virgin came eagerly forward to fill the gap, and they filled it at Scutari nobly from November, 1854, till February, 1855, by which time plenty of nursing Sisters had arrived. Mother St. George recalls the enthusiasm with which Florence Nightingale and her nurses were received when they landed at Boulogne. “Then we sailed from Marseilles” (she says); “it was a Friday, I remember, and the Captain objected to starting on Friday. The sailors were perfectly sure that the ship would go down. But Miss Nightingale would not wait ; she was anxious to reach her work as soon as possible. We had terrible weather, and the ship at one time was in very great danger in a narrow passage. However, we reached the Bosphorus safely, though I believe the ship was too damaged to make the return voyage, and Miss Nightingale said to the Captain, Why, I thought we were all to go to the bottom because we sailed on Friday ‘ ; and he answered, ‘And so we should have done if we hadn’t had Sisters on board I” On arriving at Scutari, Mother St. George went with the other nurses to the great palace which the Sultan had placed at the disposal of the British Government for a hospital. “At that time,” she says, “all the wounded had to be brought across the Black Sea before they could be properly treated. Many died on the way across, or directly they were brought in. But the men were so good, so brave, so delicate. Why, they would try to take off their soiled bandages themselves to save the Sisters the task. And some of these men were brought in after lying out six weeks in the trenches, so that their clothes stuck to their skins, and it was difficult to remove them. There was no chloroform in those days ; so when a man had to be operated upon they used to put a ball of lead in his mouth.” Of Miss Nightingale, though she has never seen her since she left Scutari, Mother St. George retains a vivid impression. “Tall, slender, upright she was, with dark hair. Very, very gentle in her manner, but very capable. She was a wonderful nurse. And she was very accomplished, too ; she spoke three languages fluently. The officers at the hospital at Scutari did not like a woman put over them ; I think she often suffered much from that. She used to be called ‘The Bird.’ We came home in the Candia with some invalided officers and men, coming direct to Southampton. It was a Sunday morning when we reached port, and we went ashore to see if we could find a church and hear Mass. A troop of street boys followed us ; they were so astonished at our white robes, and cried that it was ‘the Emperor of Rooshia and his five daughters come over.’ ‘Them Rooshians ‘—that was how the soldiers always spoke of the enemy,” concluded Mother St. George, with a smile.

Requiem Mass for Charlotte Purssell 1869

Page 23, 1st May 1869

ST. MARY’S, MOORFIELDS.—A Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of Miss Charlotte Purssell was sung at this church on Wednesday. In his sermon, Canon Gilbert took occasion to speak of the unostentatious charity of the deceased. She had given over £500 to the schools, and had erected an altar of Our Lady in the church, setting apart £80 a year for its maintenance; none but a very few persons knowing of her gifts. According to an old Catholic custom. Miss Purssell had ordered a dole of a loaf and one shilling to be given to 58 poor persons on the day of her burial