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Ruth Ann RUSSELL from Indiana, USA has been researching Martha GOFFEY, who as a child attended Harrington School.  Ruth Ann writes:  The reason I have become so interested in Martha Goffey and Liverpool schools is that recently I purchased a little needlework sampler that Martha stitched in 1818 when she was 9 years old and attending Harrington School (see right).  I have a small collection of English samplers, which are all stitched by girls from the working classes.  Those simple samplers appeal to me much more than the elaborate ones stitched by the rich girls.  I enjoy learning as much as I can about the stitchers, and I was delighted to find that Martha went on to become a school mistress where she had once been a student.

GoffeyMartha_sampler

So, what do we know about Martha?

She was porn in Liverpool in 1910 - her mother was also Liverpool-born.  She attended harrington School, and is listed as a mistress there in the 1829 Directory.

By 1835, Martha was mistress at Manesty Lane School.  Previously listed as teaching at the school were:  Mary EVANS, George FENBY and Samuel RANSON.  Martha must have known some of these people.  George FENBY is still listed there in 1835 - by 1841, he was in the fever hospital.  In 1846 the master of the school was William GEORGE; assistant master was Mr GALLAGHER.  Martha is listed as the mistress.  In 1841 and 1851, Martha is listed at Head St, Toxteth Park, where she lived with her mother.  Her occupation is given as a schoolmistress at Manesty’s Lane..  In 1861, still at Head St, Martha is listed as a needlewoman.  By 1871 her mother had died, and she was living with her nephew and his family in Bagot Street, Wavertree. Once again, she is a schoolmistress.  By the 1881 census, aged 71, there is no occupation listed for Martha.

Martha died in 1883, leaving almost 1,000. Her address at that time was given as Hartington Rd, which is close to Bagot St.  Her nephews were her executors

Ruth Ann says:  I was wondering earlier today if Martha considered her life to be happy.  One tends to think of the life of a spinster school teacher as being overworked, lonely, and unfulfilled, but maybe that was not always the case.  I wonder if her students remembered her with affection, or if they considered her an unkind  taskmistress.  I certainly hope it was the former.

I don’t yet know when Manesty’s Lane school closed.  it is not listed in the 1873, 1900 or 1938 Directory and in any case that area suffered a great deal of bomb damage during the Second World War.  In 1873 the street houses many businesses, the Colisseum Theatre and the offices of the Liverpool Mercury. No school, though!  There is an image of Manesty’s Lane on the Liverpool record Office website. Manesty’s Lane is now part of the Liverpool One development

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