For our next Trading Stories, Working Lives article we piece together the lives of two sisters – Mary Jane and Clara Bramley – in their work as school mistresses and governesses.
It’s a fresh January morning in 1868. Let’s stand on the junction of Union Street and Freeschool Lane, a few steps north of the High Street in Leicester. Steam-powered spinning machines hiss and rattle at Fielding Johnson’s Bond Street Mills over the road. A horse clip clops past, pulling a creaky cart laden with market produce.
Now listen very carefully outside the corner house; children are chanting in unison “… 2 times 6 is 12, 3 times 6 is 18, 4 times 6 is 24…” Push open the door and peer inside. Miss Clara Bramley strides between the desks, reciting in time with the children. Her older sister Mary Jane jabs rhythmically down the multiplication table on the blackboard. Welcome to the Misses Bramley’s academy at 20 Union Street, Leicester.
The new term has just started – a fact announced in the Leicestershire Chronicle and Leicester Mercury with unfailing regularity every January and July, from 1866 until 1871.
Download the full story here: Mary Jane and Clara Bramley, Victorian school mistresses and governesses
You might also like to take a look at the other articles in our Trading Stories, Working Lives series:
Len Collis, a professional musician
John George Collis, a publican in the news
John Collins, a Victorian woolcomber and taxidermist
Naomi Cave, a purse-maker, pub landlady and devoted mother
The Caves of Leicester – Tories or Whigs?
William and Samuel Whittle, yeoman farmers and rabbit warreners of Charnwood
Nathaniel Orringe, miller and baker of Shepshed
Tom Crew, football referee and broadcaster
Samuel Taylor, beadle of Loughborough
Thomas Norman, elastic web weaver
John W Barker & Son, painters and decorators
Mary Ann Norman, Victorian laundress of Paradise Place
John Collins, Victorian fishmonger and game dealer
John and George Firn, monumental masons
Polkey boatmen of Loughborough
The Harrisons: gardeners, nurserymen and seeds merchants