Beatrice’s story

Elsie Inglis Memorial Maternity Hospital
The former Elsie Inglis Memorial Maternity Hospital, Edinburgh, Scotland

My grandmother, Beatrice Eleanor Chapman (apparently known as Betty), was born at the Elsie Inglis memorial maternity hospital in Edinburgh on the 8th August 1925, at 7.15 PM.  Her mother, Frances Eleanor Chapman (a restaurant waitress at the time) was unmarried, so unfortunately we do not know the name of my great grandfather.

Frances, along with her parents, Henry (a stoker) and Eleanor Isabella Chapman lived at 61 Home Street Edinburgh at the time.  Henry is listed on the 1920 Valuation rolls as a tenant at the address, while Eleanor is listed on the 1925 valuation rolls as a tenant there.  Eleanor is listed as living at 17 West Richmond Street on the valuation roll in 1930, then in the electoral register for 1931 at 5 Gibbs Entry.  By 1935 Eleanor was living at 12 Beaumont Place, Edinburgh.  The living conditions were not good at this time in the area where the family lived, and Beatrice at some point contracted tuberculosis.

At some point after 1930, Beatrice was placed in the Robertson Orphan Home for girls in Musselburgh and her mother Frances seemed to just disappear.  Apparently the Church of Scotland ran orphanage (which I haven’t managed to find any records for) was for girls (usually orphans of the clergy) aged 7 upwards.  The girls apparently learned a trade there.

By 1939 Beatrice was living with her grandmother, Eleanor (Married as a widow 4 years earlier to a much younger man called David Oswald) at 2A Greenside Place, Edinburgh, she was then in “domestic service”.

World War 2 came, and was obviously a time of such change, and so much devastation for so many families.  Beatrice (known as Betty) and Eleanor were living at 114 Miles Street Preston, Lancashire by the end of the war, Beatrice was working as a “machinist”.  Eleanor had been born close to Preston (at Woodplumpton) about 61 years earlier, her ex husband, Henry Chapman had been born at 27 Wellfield Road, Preston in 1879.

By 1950 Beatrice had been married to a man called Lionel Keast and had  2 sons born in Cornwall and a daughter born in Preston, the daughter sadly dying of gastroentiritis as a baby;  and then, she met my mum’s birth father, a George Maddern.  They moved at some point to the Liverpool area, i’m not sure why Liverpool in particular was chosen, but it was.

In March 1951 Beatrice, then pregnant, entered the Salvation Army hostel in Liverpool, and mum was born there in June 1951 (Beatrice gave 114 Miles Street, Preston as her address so possibly hadn’t heard of her grandmother’s death earlier in the year) , Beatrice left the hostel with mum in the January of 1952 and took a job as a cleaner, care of a “Mrs Healy” of 31 Pembroke Road, Bootle.

Beatrice was clearly struggling with her health, and was in and out of hospital numerous times over this period, mum’s birth father hadn’t kept up with the payments ordered by the court in an affiliation order dated 27th September 1951 after he’d shown up and admitted to be the father.

Mum was placed with her eventual adoptive parents of Browne Street Bootle on the 27th August 1952.  It was clear that Beatrice was doing her best but she “couldn’t provide a home for the child” as it says on the adoption papers.

On the 17th February 1953, Beatrice finally signed the consent to adoption papers.  (She was still calling herself by the name of mum’s birth father) At that time she was of 6 Harewood Road, Craigmillar, Edinburgh, and the adoption order was made at Bootle juvenile court on the 11th August 1953.

Blackpool, Lancashire, England

By 1954 Beatrice was on the move again, once again she had been in a Lancashire hospital with health problems related to TB, and was living at 16 Chapel Street, Blackpool.

In the June of 1954 Beatrice had a son with a man called John Martin Campbell close to Manchester .

She was back in hospital by the January of 1956, at Wrightington, near Wigan.

Beatrice (known as) Maddern of 4 Oddfellow Street, Blackpool sadly died on the 16th January 1956, at Wrightington Hospital, Lancashire, of TB.  A J M Campbell (also of 4 Oddfellow Street) registered the death, “causing the body to be buried”.

Our attempts at locating a burial or cremation for Beatrice have so far been unsuccessful.

We don’t know the context or dates for other addresses linked to Beatrice in the adoption papers, these are 7 St. Mary’s Street, Edinburgh, and 8 Pennywell Grove, Muirhouse, Granton, Edinburgh.

If anybody recognises any of the names, or addresses mentioned above, and possibly wishes to share any memories, I would love to hear from you.

I do not have any photographs of any of these people, so please click here to get in touch if you have any photos or stories about the people mentioned above, and would like to share them.