Tuesday early 1915 – Rosamund to Gertrude

23 Feb

S. Ursula’s
Brooke St.


(Lunchtime at 8 Warwick Mansions)

Dearest Mother.

Thank you for your letter. That job is quite off now – as Lady Henry has found someone older, who will be quite better able to look after the women there. I am sorry as I had quite made up my mind to have a try, but as you say I may have better luck next time.

I had a card from Ben this morning, she is coming up to London on Saturday so I shall meet her- Emily Grant wrote to me the other day & asked me to let her have her Veil by Friday, so I am having to work hard to get it finished. I expect it sounds as if I have been ages over it but I had to work a very small coat of arms on the Veil & I could not see to do it by gas light, had to wait for Saturday. It looks rather sweet now I have finished, but I am sure she will never think what a bother it has been!!

Thank you so much for telling Mr Kirwan about my money. I quite believe if he had had the paying to do I should have had it ages ago!

I wonder if you have heard from Ted since you wrote. I am afraid they have been having rather a hard fight the last day or two. It is a very anxious time & I am afraid you must be very worried.

I have bought Topher’s watch in a shop in Kensington, it cost me 30/-. It is a very nice one & I am wearing it for a bit to see how it goes, & then I will give it to Ben to bring home on Saturday, as that is better than sending it by post.

I have finished my first sock. How is yours progressing. The Hyacinth is coming out beautifully, it is such a pretty one. I must not stop to write any more now. Let me know when you have news of Ted.

Best love from your loving daughter


How sweet of you to say you will send me some stuff for a curtain. I shall love it. I should want a yard of 52 in wide stuff. I should like some sort of fairly thin stuff.

Rosamund was 23 years old, and my mother said that when the war started she was doing church needlework in an Anglican convent. Like her mother, she was passionate in her Christian faith, and the needlework would have been a devotional act in its own right. However, it sounds as if she may have been sewing veils for brides or possibly for aristocratic nuns. Later in the war Rosamund worked on a farm in Kent where she met the man she was to marry.

I’ve not been able to find the convent. The Englishwoman’s Yearbook 1899 lists St Ursula’s Home, 25 Brooke Street, Holborn as a lodging house for “Lady clerks, typewriters, governesses, etc., members of Church of England. Age limit, 16 to 26”. The building still provides accomodation for the vulnerable and now it houses long-term rough sleepers rather than young single women.

8 Warwick Mansions is the address given for Miss H Harvey in a 1911 book of Church Embroidery; she embroidered some Banners and the Bishop of London’s Cope: Rosamund wasn’t with people who were churning out kneelers by the dozen. Spending her days in Warwick Mansions must have been awkward for her though: Gertrude was such a staunch royalist that she would refuse to let taxi drivers go down the Cromwell Road and it’s almost impossible to get to Warwick Mansions without going via the Cromwell Road.

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Posted by on 23 February, '15 in About


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