Shadow

The history of Clophill, Bedfordshire, UK
Including historical descriptions, maps and statistical analysis.

Susan Collip

This is the story of how a young servant girl came to own a shop in Clophill.


King's Cottage

On the Bedford & Luton Archives & Record Office website in the description of Kings Cottage it says "In January 1878 Frederick Titmas of Clophill, dealer, sold them to Susan Collip of Kensington Palace Gardens, London, domestic servant, for £400."

I wondered what a servant from Kensington was doing buying a property in Clophill. As it was within the period covered by available censuses I decided to investigate.

King's Cottage now

King's Cottage

King's Cottage

King's Cottage then

King's Cottage

King's Cottage

If you compare the photos you can see that part of the building at each end has gone.


1851 Census

Susan is a young girl living in Stanford with her family. She is already working as straw plaiter to supplement the family's income as are her three sisters.

Mill Road, (Stanford) Southill

Name Age Relation Condition Occupation Where born
William Collip 42 Head Mar Dealer Stanford
Elizth Collip 29 Wife Mar Stanford
Sarah Collip 11 Daur Straw Plait Maker Stanford
Susan Collip 9 Daur Straw Plait Maker Stanford
Mary Collip 7 Daur Straw Plait Maker Stanford
Hannah Collip 6 Daur Straw Plait Maker Stanford
John Collip 1 Son Stanford


1861 Census

The family has increased in size but her father has died leaving her mother, Elizabeth, as head of the family.

Susan has left home and is working as a servant in the house of the vicar of Southill. It was quite common for young girls to do this.

Mill Lane,Stanford

Name Age Relation Condition Occupation Where born
Elizabeth Collip 39 Head Widow Plaiter Willshamstead
Sarah Collip 21 Daur Un Straw Plaiter Stanford
Hannah Collip 15 Daur Un Straw Plaiter Stanford
John Collip 20 Son Un Farm Labourer Stanford
Frederick Collip 17 Son Un Scholar Stanford
Alice Collip 3 Daur Scholar Stanford
Emma Collip 1 Daur Scholar Stanford
Samuel Collip 21 Boarder Un Labourer Stanford

The Sandbank, Southill

Name Age Relation Condition Occupation Where born
Charles Baldock 45 Head Mar Curate Kent
Susan Collip 19 Serv Unm Female Stanford


1871 Census

The family have now moved from Mill Lane to the High Street where Elizabeth runs a shop.

Susan has moved to London where she is a servant in a large house.

This is rather a strange household. The oldest member of the family is 12 years and the youngest is 8 months! Where are their parents? But they have a staff of twelve to look after them.

High Street, Stanford

Name Age Relation Condition Occupation Where born
Elizabeth Collip 49 Head Widow Shopkeeper Wilstead
Sarah Collip 31 Daughter Unm Straw Plaiter Stanford
Frederick Collip 17 Son Unm Miller Stanford
Alice Collip 13 Daughter Unm Straw Plaiter Stanford
Emma Collip 11 Daughter Unmr Straw Plaiter Stanford

3 Gloucester Sq. Paddington

Name Age Relation Condition Occupation Where born
Edith H Chaplin 12 Daur Scholar Marylebone
Winifred Chaplin 11 Daur Scholar Marylebone
Dorothy Chaplin 6 Daur Scholar Richmond
William Chaplin 3 Son Richmond
Beatrice Chaplin 8 Mo Daur Paddington
Emma Coulston 43 Serv Governess Essex
Emma Thomas 34 Serv Housekeeper Oswestry
Ruth Reynolds 40 Serv Nurse Chidham
Charlotte Edwards 29 Serv Nurse Aldgate
Elizabeth Bettger 19 Serv Unm Nursemaid Marylebone
Hellen Comfort 23 Serv Unm Nursemaid Chelsham
Susan Collip 29 Serv Unm Housemaid Stanford
Susanah Smith 23 Serv Unm Housemaid Chelham
George Chapman 41 Serv Mar Butler Saxmundham
Ainsley Heath 22 Serv Unm Footman Grimstone


1881 Census

Susan's sister Sarah seems to be running the shop whilst her brother Frederick is a baker.

Susan is now working in a very large house Kensington Palace Gardens, one of the most exclusive addresses in London owned by Sir Thomas Lucas who was created 1st Baronet Lucas, of Ashtead Park, co. Surrey [U.K.] on 25 July 1887.

In this house Susan is one of sixteen servants.

It is in 1878 that she buys the property in Clophill. How did a servant girl have enough money to buy the property?

High Street, Clophill

Name Age Relation Condition Occupation Where born
Elizabeth Collip 59 Head W Willshamstead
Sarah Collip 41 Daur Unm Grocer Stanford
Frederick Collip 26 Son Unm Baker Stanford
Emma Collip 21 Daur Unm Dressmaker Stanford

12a Kensington Palace Gardens, London

Name Age Relation Condition Occupation Where born
Thomas Lucas 58 Head Mar Magistrate, Contractor for Pub ? London
Mary A Lucas 47 Wife Mar No occupation Norwich
Mary A Lucas 17 Daur Unm No occupation London
George P Lucas 5 Son Unm No occupation London
Henry L Dyer 46 Visitor Mar Mechanical Engineer Civil Chobham
Mathilda Henson 46 Boarder Unm Domestic Servant Governess France?
James Fitchmarsh 49 Serv Unm Domestic Servant Butler East Battery
John Middleton 32 Serv Unm Domestic Servant Valet Long Ditton
James Charman 26 Serv Unm Domestic Servant Footman Barnet
Joseph Gibbon 29 Serv Unm Domestic Servant Footman ?
John Turner 22 Serv Unm Domestic Servant Footman London
Humphrey Donaghue 56 Serv Mar Domestic Servant House ? Kilminshall
Elizabeth Kempton 49 Serv Unm Domestic Servant Cook ?
Elizabeth ? 37 Serv Unm Domestic Servant Lady ? Surbiton
Susan Collip 38 Serv Unm Domestic Servant - House Stanford
Anne Fletrell 24 Serv Unm Domestic Servant - House ?
Mary Harris 20 Serv Unm Domestic Servant - House ?
Leali Pakes 19 Serv Unm Domestic Servant Embarton
Laura Smith 21 Serv Unm Domestic Servant ?
Elizabeth ? 21 Serv Unm Domestic Servant Kirkby Stephen
Sarah Fredrick 16 Serv Unm Domestic Servant Perth


1891 Census

Susan is now in Clophill running a grocery shop from her new property. Her elderly mother Elizabeth is living with her as is her sister Alice. The sister are both spinsters.

High Street Clophill

Name Age Relation Condition Occupation Where born
Elizabeth Collip 69 Head Widow Living on own means Wilstead
Susann Collip 49 Daur S Grocer Southill
Alice Collip 33 Daur S Domestic Servant Southill
Mary Clegg 75 Visitor Widow Living on own means Paddington, London


1901 Census

Susan and her sister Alice continue to run the shop.

Collip's Corner, Clophill

Name Age Relation Condition Occupation Where born
Susan Collip 58 Head S Shopkeeper (Grocer's) Stanford
Elizabeth Collip 81 Mother Wid Wilstead
Alice Collip 43 Sister Female Assistant Shopkeeper Stanford


1911 Census

Susan's mother has died and the spinster sisters continue to run the shop.

It is recorded that "Susan Collip sold the premises to Maud Goddard of Clophill in 1919 for £600."

Clophill

Name Age Relation Condition Occupation Where born
Susan Collip 68 Head Single General Shopkeeper
Collip, Alice 53 Sister Single Shop Assistant


How did Susan get the money?

Susan was working (and living) at 12a Kensington Gardens when she bought the property in Clophill.

There is a description of 12a Kensington Gardens at British History Online.

This house was erected in 1863-5 for Sir Samuel Morton Peto in the garden of No. 12 by Lucas Brothers, Builders, a business started by Charles Thomas Lucas and Thomas Lucas.

12a Kensington Palace Gardens

12a Kensington Palace Gardens

Their most famous building contract was the Royal Albert Hall. Others include Covent Garden Opera House, King's College Hospital, the Junior Carlton Club, Charterhouse School, Alexandra Palace and Cliveden.

In 1867 Peto was declared bankrupt and No. 12A was acquired by Sir Thomas Lucas and he lived there from 1866 until his death in 1902.

I was wondering if Susan had been left some money in Sir Thomas Lucas's will but as he didn't die until 1902 that is not the answer.

The house is now occupied by the Royal Nepalese Embassy.