'Letters from my Aunt Mrs Butler about her work among fallen women in Liverpool 1867'

Scope and Content

Six letters copied into a book by Edith Leupold, daughter of JB's eldest sister Eliza. On the outside of the book is written

Letters addressed to:

* Mrs Myers 26 Feb 1867, p 1-10;

* 'Dearest Fanny (Mrs Smytton) 12 Feb 1867, p.11-19 and 27 Feb 1867, p.31-43,

* Dearest A (Mrs Raper) 27 Feb 1867 p.20-22, 7 Mar 1867 p.23-30 and 1867 p.44-52

* Letter to Mrs Myers. In notebook pp. 26 Feb [1867] 1-10

Abstract: Thanks Mr M and Miss Drummond for helpful hints for her work. She spent the day before in Manchester where she met people who had had experience of all kinds of work among poor women. Of especial help were Mrs Glayn, head of a large girls' school, and Lydia Becker. The Committee have given her as a start for her Home 50 beds and a guaranteed £200 a year, the rest she will have to raise by subscription. Some of the women are middle aged or elderly

As well as her Home or Hospital she has started her little 'House of Rest'. She has taken a small house with rent of £25 a year and has already 5 patients ready to be moved in. It is for those who 'want a place to die in' ('dying Magdalenes'). Talks of 3 dying girls in her house, and of George's ministrations to them. Tells of Mary's prayers 'for a certain gay summer of the town whom she had known'

* From JB to 'Dearest Fanny'

In notebook 12 Feb 1867 p.11-19

Abstract: JB tells her of a scheme she has in mind to start a House of Rest for the dying, for girls who are homeless and have nowhere to go except the Workhouse. There is no Magdalene House in Liverpool. She was encouraged in her scheme by her Dr offering to give his services free if she ever started a Hospital for the dying. She describes the workhouse with 4,000 inmates, about 1000 of whom are in the Hospital ward. Tells of her methods of raising money - FM (? Frederick Myers) has given her £10 and hopes soon to send £20 more. She favours asking 'young unmarried men of means'. She plans starting with 2 rooms and then by midsummer they will have to move to another house. Talks of Mary who is dying but has found peace. What with this work and visiting the Bridewell among the prisoners and the oakum cellar at the workhouse 'I have been kept rather busy'

* From JB to 'Dearest A'. In notebook 7 Mar 1867 p.23-30

Abstract: A new patient in the House of Rest, Margaret Winstanley who has been pining away ever since the birth of her child 6 months ago. The sister will keep the baby. She has established 'a very small temporary lodge, just a 'workroom for poor destitute girls to work in' (see letter of Feb 27 p.22) and makes an appeal for any old clothes or materials to be sent to her at once. She has now got several women fitted out with clothes so that they can return to their homes in Ireland or America

Mary's poem. Her room has become a religious centre and people call to ask for her prayers. Tale of her life. FM and Mary. The child who called after her in the street

* Letter from JB to 'dearest Fanny' In notebook 27 Feb [1867] p.31-43

Abstract: Opens with an urgent request for her to come to them to help with the work and she underlines the need by giving a detailed account of her work in Liverpool. First how they are overwhelmed with 'poor penitent women swarming up from the town' and F could help with correspondence about placing them in other Refuges. What the high class prostitutes tell her

She relates the tale of the oakum pickers in the Bridewell, her hopes about setting up a lodge for them and her disappointment when the Committee drew back from their offer and suggested that she should try the scheme out and if successful they would then help. But it is to help with the House of Rest that she especially wants her

* From JB to 'Mr dear A'. In notebook 'A' c. 7 Mar 1867 (p.44-52)

Abstract: In the letter of Feb 7 to dear 'A' JB said 'I think you might write a nice letter for me to read to her'. Now she has to tell him: 'Your letter for Mary came too late, she died yesterday evening'. There follows a description of her last hours which lasted all the night and onto the next day till she died at 5 in the evening. Once in the night Mary said: 'Oh I wish I could feel that holiness that Mr Raper spoke of'. JB said: 'I don't know what her allusion to you meant, I only tell you of it and I am sure that the prayer that followed 'O Jesus' was what you would have told her expressed 'our only holiness' (p.45)

JB was so unwell at the time that the servants had not called her in the night, but she was called early in the morning and spent the whole time holding Mary's hand from 8 am till 5 in the evening when she died. She was buried in Southdown cemetery where little Josephine lies [see Note]

* From JB to 'Dear A' In notebook 27 Feb 1867p.20-22 (p.44-52)

Abstract: Gives the latest news of her work. Mary is now alone in their house the others having been moved to the House of Rest. She asks after 'A'. Speaks of 'that fine woman Mrs Blacklock' who was led to Mrs Butler's house by Mary's prayers (see p.7-8 and p.21)

Her disappointment over the Committee at the workhouse who had promised her support to start a lodge for the oakum pickers now say they will only subscribe if she will start it and they can see it is beginning to be successful

Administrative / Biographical History

6 letters copied into a notebook by Edith Leupold written by JB to Mrs Myers, Mrs Smyttan and 'A'

Edith was married to a Swiss who lived in Genoa, a house where JB and her family were always welcome.

* Letter to Mrs Myers. In notebook pp. 26 Feb [1867] 1-10

Notes: 'Mrs Myers' was a sister of Mr James Marshall who was a friend of the Butlers and lent them a house in Consitor in the summer of 1864. Mrs M lived at Cheltenham and was 'a kind and constant friend' of the Butlers while they lived there (1857-1865)

* From JB to 'Dearest Fanny'

In notebook 12 Feb 1867 p.11-19

Notes: 'Fanny' (Frances) was a sister of JB and was born 1823. Formerly married to the Rev Smytton she was a widow in 1867

* From JB to 'Mr dear A'. In notebook 'A' c. 7 Mar 1867 (p.44-52)

Notes: Raper. Identity established by remark in this letter - 'Once in the night she said 'Oh! I wish I could feel that holiness that Mr Raper spoke of' ... 'I don't known what her allusions to you meant, I only tell you of it ...'

* From JB to 'Dear A' In notebook 27 Feb 1867p.20-22 (p.44-52)

Notes: 'little Josephine': This was Harriet Meuricoffre's daughter who died when the parents were in England visiting her and JB's father John Grey of Dilston, Northumberland in 1865. The child took ill on the way from the North to visit the Butlers in Liverpool, but before they got there she died. It was a double sorrow for them as the sister, Beatrice, had succumbed earlier in the year during an outbreak of cholera in Naples

Biog: Mrs Smyttan; Hatty Meuricoffre; Frederic WH Myers; Lionel Rothschild; Mrs Myers; Lydia Becker; Lady E Jebb; Miss Bennett; Hon Emily Eden; Lord Carlisle's Memorial Refuge; Alan Raper