The Diary of Sarah Gould
1 January 1885 - 25 December 1890
The 1885 Diary
Typical diary page – click to enlarge
Sarah Gould by Henry Robertson
Louisa Gould by Henry Robertson
Lousia reading at No3 Steele's Road
On the omnibus
No 35 Steele's Road
Sarah Gould lived at No.3 Steele's Road Belsize Park, she was born in 1841 and died in 1926, aged 85. Sarah was 44 when she wrote this diary, described as a ‘Six year record of an uneventful life’ at 3 Steele’s Road.
No.3 Steele’s Road was the home of Miss Sarah (Sai), and her older sister Miss Louisa (Lou) Gould. The house was rented from 1885 for a period of seven years. Although they could be considered well-off, they still needed a loan of £50 from the family solicitor to be able to move there from Woburn Square.
Also living in the house was Miss Yates, or ‘Y’, an invalid lady aged 70, who had been housekeeper to their father and a companion to the sisters. The sisters had stayed at home and were not allowed into society in order to be able to look after their invalid father, John Gould.
John Gould FRS was an ornithologist, bird artist, and publisher of a number of monographs on birds, he died in 1881.
Their mother, Elizabeth Gould, died in childbirth when Sai was born in 1841.
There was a cook and two living-in housemaids, named Agnes and Emmie. After Lou died in 1894 Sai bought a house on Rosslyn Hill.
‘At Home' Events
Lou’s new musical instrument was a Harmony Flute. ‘It makes a charming accompaniment to the piano. Our neighbours next door thought it was a violin.' They also bought a ‘Magic Lantern’ for children’s parties, and a billiard table for adults. ‘At Home’ was on Wednesdays for visitors.
Sai became friendly with a Mr Shaw, who helped her on the omnibus.
Caught omnibus at the ‘Adelaide’. Conductor’s hours were from 9-11 and 40 mins for dinner, same for tea. Half-hour some other time of the day – 2 or 3 days a month holiday. ‘Hampstead men much better off than some of the lines’.
Sai visited his [Mr Shaw's] family often. New baby, born 15 September 1885 called after her Isabel Sarah Elizabeth, christened in St Luke’s Kentish Town, ‘short coated’ at 6 months in a pretty red petticoat. Bobby, her brother, came to her children’s parties.
Through the Unitarian Mission, Sai met Mr Weatherly, a conductor and cab driver who was often out of work. Baby ‘thin and delicate’. Sai arranged for 2 boys to have a fortnight’s holiday in Harrow. Sai sent money for coal, and provided Christmas dinner. His cab licence ran out and Sai gave money.
‘Broker’ arrived for overdue rent, Sai paid £1.2.6d but Mr Pollard said she was wrong to pay rent to families as some had low morals.
Sai collected storybooks from friends and opened a library in her house in August 1885 to August 1889. Sent circulars to Rhyl Street. For poor neighbours and children with a reference. Mrs Shaw unable to borrow because she could not read.
In 1890 Dr Alford came almost every day to see ‘Y’. £24 fee for six months.
Voted. Municipal Council for London. ‘It is quite a new experience for us to vote’ 1888.
Mr Henry (Harry) R. Robertson was a close friend. Exhibited oils for Royal Academy exhibits, miniatures and etchings. Had a studio in Steele’s Road. Painted ‘Magic Lantern' slides for the children’s parties. Painted miniatures of Sai and Lou in 1894 which I have.
Agnes stayed for nearly four years. Sang at concert at Unitarian Mission. Emmie and Agnes sang hymns with Sai on Sunday evenings. In 1886 arguments in the kitchen. After she left Sai found the new maid had better manners, Agnes had got ‘too uppish and familiar’. She married but Sai wrote that ‘her husband has bad health, the marriage can hardly be a prosperous one’.
Rev J. Pollard took Sai to see poor families in Rhyl Street, e.g. a tailor with one room and family of 5, eldest girl in rags. She was given an ‘area’ and visited the sick and new babies almost every week.
Mrs Brown had buried 6 babies but ‘thanked the Lord they were in Heaven'. She and 5 of her children came to a Jubilee Party at Sai’s home. Sai went to the Free Christian Church on Sundays.
Monday Jan 2nd 1887: A snow plough with eight horses went down Haverstock Hill.
Louisa on Hampstead Heath
View to No 35 Steele's Road
Many thanks to the diary owner:
Dr Anthony Edelsten and especially to Maureen Lambourne.
Grateful thanks to Caroline Warner of Steele's Road.