The History of 8 Sussex Square

1 Schools in the Square

2 A Scholar in No 8 Sussex Square

1 Schools in the Square

There were a large number of schools on the Estate throughout its history, particularly in Sussex Square. Nearly all of them were boarding schools and virtually every school had pupils who were born far afield to parents serving the British Empire. It is interesting to speculate through our knowledge of the miserable childhoods of Rudyard Kipling and H.H.Munro just how these children fared.

For more detailed information see ‘Schools’ article on The Estate page

V.M.

2 A Scholar in No 8 Sussex Square

Louisa Sheaf, scholar, is listed as one of sixteen students at Miss Frewer’s school in 8 Sussex Square in the 1881 Census. As well as Miss Frewer, four more teachers are listed teaching French,English,German and Music and also six servants.

Aged 17 on census night Louisa is shown as having been born in Jamaica. Her birth date would be 1864.

Her father George Holland Sheaf was a planter and pen keeper (a stock breeder) in Kings Westmoreland, Jamaica, where Louisa was born. Her mother, Cornelia died in 1865 when Louisa was a baby. Her father had died by 1871. Louisa, now orphaned, may have come to England to be with her aunt, Deborah Briggs.

Her father was signatory to an open letter to the Governor of Jamaica in 1865 commending as necessary his swift and severe action in putting down an insurrection of black workers. This was in reaction to criticism from some in England to the killing of 439 black Jamaicans by soldiers, with 354 more arrested and later executed. Other punishments had included flogging for over 600 men and women and long prison sentences, with thousands of homes belonging to black Jamaicans being burned down.

It is interesting to note that this event divided public opinion in Victorian England. Amongst those supporting the Governor’s actions, were Charles Dickens, and John Ruskin, while among those condemning it, Charles Darwin, John Stuart Mill and Herbert Spencer

Louisa married a cousin, farmer, George Cornelius Sheaf in Gloucestershire in 1897. He had been married before and had 8 children. Louisa and George had 2 children, Isabella and Thomas.

Andrew Doig