Boutell, Mrs


Collection date: Feb 1908

Area: London

Mrs Boutell at 4 Stanhope Buildings, Red Cross Street, Southwark: age 80, 2 songs ‘Gang over the hills’ (FT1581) and ‘I’ll do down to the brook’ (FT1582) on 1 Feb 1908:

This singer is most probably Louisa Frances Bowtell (Boutell in 2 censuses). She was born Louisa Eton c1826, daughter of John Eton, a surgeon who served in India 1846-63. In Sept 1853 she married John Bowtell, a grocer from Gt Yeldham, Essex. How they met is unclear but they lived first in Tower Hamlets then at Peckham in London. They had one daughter Eleanor, and could employ one servant.

When husband John died, Louisa returned to the Midlands and both she and her daughter supported themselves as schoolmistresses (1881). When her daughter was married in 1885 in London, Louisa moved to the London area again. How Sharp met her in 1908 at the Stanhope Buildings in Southwark is a little mysterious. She was about 80 years of age, living on her own in the Peabody-style block of flats in South London. Her 2 songs were slightly unusual (Roud 12767,12768) and required an unusual foray across town for Sharp.

In the 1911 census Louisa had gone to live with her daughter Eleanor in Hornsey. She died on 16/10/1912.

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