Hannah married William Musgrove on 19th April 1885 at Christ Church in Notting Hill, Kensington when she was very pregnant – their marriage certificate shows them living next door to each other at 36 and 38 Treverton Street, Kensington. William was 23 years old but Hannah was very pregnant and just 18. George Wattell is an unknown witness to the marriage. Their first child was born 3 weeks after they married !
They went on to have 8 children in total :
William - born May 1885
Caroline - born February 1887
Charles - born March 1891; died May 1893
Alf - born August 1893
Bert - born April 1895
George - born September 1896
Frank - born June 1898
Jack - born August 1900 (my grandfather)
Their life together ended in November 1901 with the premature death of William leaving Hannah living in the cramped, overcrowded conditions of Southam Street. She was left with the impossible task of looking after and feeding her young children aged between 1 and 16 effectively as a single parent.
Both William (16) and Caroline (14) would have been old enough to work when their father died and Frank (3) and Jack (1) were not of school age. However, Alf (8), Bert (6) and George (5) had to attend the residential Banstead Road School for the poor full time which must have been heart wrenching for Hannah - they spent around seven years at the school between 1902 and 1909. There was also a period between 17th June 1907 and 15th January 1908 during which the two youngest attended while Hannah was "in a fever hospital".
When Jack Akehurst died in 1947 Hannah and Catherine moved to St Ervans Road.
JW told me that Hannah’s special friend in life was Nell Lowe. They were both widowed young and had a lot in common. Hannah initially lived at number 57 St Ervans Road but moved to number 41, where Nell lived, when a floor became vacant.
The house was a terrace plus a basement, all having just one front door. JW told me, "You had a dark entrance hall and steep stairs, the paintwork was brown or stained, no white ! Going up the stairs you passed the shared toilet that must have been on part of the roof. Upstairs used it too, but I don't know if Nell Lowe did. The first room was the kitchen where Hannah had her bed and her chair. The gas cooker and the sink were there too, plus a huge chest of drawers so you had no room in there to move.
The other room had a big roundish table, with chairs, various other items with Nan's bed along the far wall. All the entertaining was in there and we ate there every week.
Hannah was a real character; she had an extremely infectious laugh. She was regarded as old at 50 and sat in the corner of the room, always dressed in black long skirts."
JW found out later that the armchair Hannah sat in was really a commode, on which they put lots of covers and cushions !