Elizabeth Duff 1884 - ?

Parents: Robert James Duff and Phoebe Plumbridge
Siblings: Phoebe Sarah Anne, Robert James, James, Elizabeth, Mary, Ruth, Andrew, Rachel, Rebecca, Esther, Catherine Carr and William Charles


Elizabeth (the 2 nd) was born 3 rd June 1884 at her eldest sister's house in Streatham. Her mother Phoebe tragically died giving birth to her due to an internal haemorrhage.

After her mother Phoebe's death in 1884, her father Robert James could not cope with nor support his family. The Union Workhouse Kingston did not accommodate children and placed paupers' children to other institutions, mostly to Cowley Oxford but lesser numbers also to Brentwood and Grays in Essex, and Margate and Ramsgate in Kent. The Duff children, Rebecca, Rachel, Esther, William, Catherine and Elizabeth were sent to the Cowley Industrial School, an austere institution run on strict and harsh disciplinary lines on the outskirts of Oxford. The site is now the BMW factory. However, the children benefited from a basic education of the four "R"s - r eading, w r iting, a r ithmetic and r eligion. It is believed that this stood them in good stead when it came to employment. Upon leaving Cowley Industrial School they were found employment in the Kingston area by the "Guardians".

According to the 1901 census Elizabeth was at the Princess Louise Home , Kingston Hill, where she was being trained for domestic service. According to www.victorianlondon.org/dickens/dickens-f.htm :

The Princess Louise Home and National Society For The Protection Of Young Girls was a Friendly/Benevolent Society whose objects were: "To save young girls (not thieves) between the ages of eleven and fifteen, whether orphans or otherwise, who are, from any circumstance, in danger of becoming abandoned; to educate, train, feed, clothe, and prepare them for future usefulness as domestic servants; to protect them during the most critical period of life; to land them safe into womanhood; to procure situations for them; to provide them with an outfit, and generally to watch over them; to advise, counsel, and reward them, and in every possible way to become their guardians."

Known as "Lizzie", in her later days she lived in a flat in Mill Street Kingston .


This page was last updated on 18th October 2010.