The history of Clophill, Bedfordshire, UK
Including historical descriptions, maps and statistical analysis.
This is the story of how a young servant girl came to own a shop in Clophill.
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.
If you compare the photos you can see that part of the building at each end has gone.
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
|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|
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.
|Sarah Collip||21||Daur||Un||Straw Plaiter||Stanford|
|Hannah Collip||15||Daur||Un||Straw Plaiter||Stanford|
|John Collip||20||Son||Un||Farm Labourer||Stanford|
The Sandbank, Southill
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
|Sarah Collip||31||Daughter||Unm||Straw Plaiter||Stanford|
|Alice Collip||13||Daughter||Unm||Straw Plaiter||Stanford|
|Emma Collip||11||Daughter||Unmr||Straw Plaiter||Stanford|
3 Gloucester Sq. Paddington
|Edith H Chaplin||12||Daur||Scholar||Marylebone|
|Beatrice Chaplin||8 Mo||Daur||Paddington|
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
12a Kensington Palace Gardens, London
|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|
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
|Elizabeth Collip||69||Head||Widow||Living on own means||Wilstead|
|Alice Collip||33||Daur||S||Domestic Servant||Southill|
|Mary Clegg||75||Visitor||Widow||Living on own means||Paddington, London|
Susan and her sister Alice continue to run the shop.
Collip's Corner, Clophill
|Susan Collip||58||Head||S||Shopkeeper (Grocer's)||Stanford|
|Alice Collip||43||Sister||Female||Assistant Shopkeeper||Stanford|
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."
|Susan Collip||68||Head||Single||General Shopkeeper|
|Collip, Alice||53||Sister||Single||Shop Assistant|
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.
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.