June 11, 2015 by auntkatefirmin
Emily was the fourth child of George and Emily (Hall) Firmin and the first child born away from London. While family left Bath when she was nine, she must have remembered Bath favorably as she returned there after her marriage.
In 1869, when Emily was 19, her father died and either she chose to move out of the house, or finances were tight and it was prudent for her to find employment. There is an Emily Firmin born in Bath working as a governess in Kent in 1871 that is unlikely to be anyone other than “our” Emily. Both Emily and her sister Harriet had enough education to work as teachers although there is no information available about where any of the children attended school.
By 1881, Emily was living on an annuity – possibly the one from her grandfather – in the household of Ellen Firmin, widow of her uncle Henry. While she was 31, as a single woman in the Victorian era it would have been socially and financially better for her to be living with a relative.
Emily married John Marshall Trotter from Stirlingshire in 1881. He was eighteen years older, a master hosier who had sold a business in Stirling in 1872 shortly after moving to London. He had not been married before. They were both living at 8 Cicely Road in 1881 and may have met as neighbors. The witnesses at the wedding were William Baynham, the husband of Emily’s sister Kate, and her sister Harriet. The address Mr Trotter provided on the marriage document was the Baynham residence.
The couple’s only child, Constance Geraldine Louise, was born in Bath in 1882. Mr. Trotter continued to work as a hosier, and the family was listed at 8 Darlington Street, Bathwick, in 1891 and St Ronans (now 14 Sydney Buildings) in 1901. According to a blog about the street named Sydney Buildings, Emily Louise Trotter purchased today’s #12, then known as Grundy or Guindy Lodge, for £570 in 1884 and owned the property until 1923. It is interesting that the property was in Emily’s name; it makes me wonder if she was able to preserve her inheritance from her grandfather, John Firmin. Her property was part of a terrace of five houses, built by a small developer, that were completed and sold by 1884.
The terrace is in a scenic location above the Avon & Kennet canal and is less than a mile from St Mark’s Place (now Road) where Emily lived as a child. Both locations are at the fringes of the city – each about a mile from the Assembly Rooms.
Mr. Trotter died in 1903 leaving a relatively small estate of £56 to Emily. He was buried a short distance from their home, in the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin. Emily continued to wear black, as can be seen in the photographs with Mick taken in 1905.
By 1911 Emily & Constance lived at 12 Sydney Buildings, at that time recorded as “Grimley” Lodge. Based on Fanny Hall’s correspondence, by the 1930’s Emily was not on speaking terms with her sisters although it’s difficult to be certain how far back the rift dates. Even in 1905 photo Emily and Kate are separated by Mick and are carefully not looking at each other so it’s tempting to think they are already estranged and only meeting because of Mick.
In 1923 Emily sold the property in Sydney Buildings for £650; she was 73. Emily and Constance seem to have lived a secluded life with some contact with relatives including her husband’s niece Elizabeth (Millar) Anthony and her niece Fanny (Firmin) Hall.
At the time of her death in 1937, Emily’s address was 26 Kipling Avenue, Bath, part of a Victorian terrace that still stands. Constance had never married and lived with her mother. Emily must have been a shrewd money manager as her estate was valued at £1164, not quite double the amount she received from the sale of Guindy Lodge, leading to the conclusion that she had other investments and very likely brought her own money into her marriage. Though she was 52 years old, Constance had been very sheltered and could not cope without her mother. She declined very rapidly, was placed in nursing care, and died less than six months after Emily.
Emily and Constance were buried in the same plot as Mr Trotter in the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin, also know as the Bathwick Cemetery.
As she left no will, death of Constance started the search for her living cousins, leading to the correspondence between the grandchildren of George Firmin & Emily (Hall) Firmin.