Emily was born in Tottenham, North London and the first event in her life which we know about is her marriage to Thomas Bridges. We don't know when it was or how long they were married as he died before 1837 when deaths had to be registered by law and before the 1841 census was published. We do however know that they had four daughters between 1810 and 1822.
Fanny Sherer Bridges was born about 1810, Emily Caroline Bridges in 1817, Eliza Sherer Bridges in 1819 and Charlotte Sherer Bridges was born in 1822.
All the weddings were held at St Lukes Parish Church, Chelsea, which was on the doorstep of their house at 19 Robert Street. The Church had been consecrated in 1824. Charles Dickens married local girl Catherine Hogarth there in 1836, two days after publication of the first part of the Pickwick Papers.
What became of the widowed Emily ? We can only tell from the census but they do make interesting reading. Emily is already over 50 years old on the 1841 census. She is a school mistress and three of her four daughters are still living with her at 19 Robert Street. However over the next ten years, Emily moves to 41 Howland Street, St Pancras and her occupation is shown as "Ladies Establishment". Her daughter. Emily, is still living with her as well as her grandaughter, Charlotte's daughter Emily Johnson aged 6, and a live in servant.
There is nothing anywhere which I can find about this school they ran other than a notice in the London Standard in 1861 of a hearing in the Insolvent Debtors Court (see left). It seems they ran a school together in Upper Charlotte Street, Fitzroy Square. From my reading of the newspaper report, Emily and her daughter Emily Caroline must have borrowed £35 from a money lender to cover losses in running the school (worth £2,850 in today's money using RPI) but hadn't been able to repay it because Emily's three son in laws had not paid her what they owed for rent etc.
They moved to 23 Clarendon Road, Chelsea and the school must have continued as Emily Caroline is described as "School Mistress" on the 1871 census although Emily has now retired, unsurprising at 82 ! Two of Emily's grandchildren, daughters of Eliza, are living with them on the 1871 census plus a live in servant. What is surprising is that there were three others boarding at the same address :
Julian C Rogers - a civil engineer from Farnham in Surrey.
Arthur Edwards - a 5 year old boy with place of birth "unknown".
Jens H. Bie - a merchant from Norway.
Who are they and why are they living with the Bridges family ? Why would a 5 year old boy be staying without his mother and without a known place of birth ? Mysterious !
What is very surprising is that in a century where people tended to die young, each of her four daughters also lived to a ripe old age - Fanny 69, Emily 71, Eliza 74 and Charlotte 78.