Written By: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay,Ontario,Canada
Date: January 2,2016
Fanny Elizabeth Harrison (1844-1933) had been born in Maidstone. She was the daughter of Richard and Mary Ann Chittenden (1825-1903) In 1851 she was living with her mother and brother Richard at the home of their widowed grandmother Nancy Chittenden, in Maidstone.
By 1861 Fanny had left the family home and at the time of the 1861 census was working as a domestic servant at the George Harriett residence in Maidstone.
In 1870, at Maidstone, Fanny married a gardener by the name of Charles Sankey Harrison. The couple had four children namely Fanny Elizabeth, Margaret Nancy, Charles and Minnie. By 1881 however Fanny’s husband ended up at the Kent County Asylum Barming Heath, Maidstone, and when he died in Maidstone in 1886 Fanny was left with the young children to raise on her own, and to do this she worked in the early 1880’s as a laundress.
In 1882 she moved to Southborough and by 1891 had premises at 119 St Johns Road in Southborough where she was the proprietor of a bake shop. The 1899 Kelly directory gave her as a baker at 60 High Brooms Road. By 1901 she and her three daughters and mother moved to 3 High Brooms Road where they opened a bake shop. Their shop was located in a 2 sty red brick building on the south east corner of High Brooms Road and Yew Tree Road. Her daughter Minnie worked as an assistant in the shop; her daughter Margaret worked as a dressmaker at home and her daughter Fanny worked as a milliner. Fanny and her daughters Minnie and Margaret were still at 3 High Brooms Road at the time of the 1911 census.
Directories of 1913 and 1918 gave Fanny as a baker at 1 & 3 High Brooms Road. Directories of 1922 and 1930 gave Fanny at 1 & 3 High Brooms Road where she had both a bake shop and a post office. Fanny was still at this address when she passed away November 18,1933.
Today her old bake shop is a shop no more. The large shop window was removed and replaced by a smaller window and the wall bricked in. Today the shop is three flats.
FANNY AND HER BAKE SHOP
Fanny Elizabeth Chittenden was born 1844 in Maidstone,Kent. She was the daughter of Mary Ann Chittenden(1825-1903) Mary Ann Chittenden was born 1825 in Maidstone and was the daughter of Nancy Chittenden, born 1791 at Boxley, Kent. Fanny had a brother Richard, who had been born 1851 in Ashford,Kent. Fanny was baptised September 4,1844 . He mother’s name was given in the baptism records but no father’s name was given, however the baptism record for her brother Richard of August 24,1871 at Holy Trinity Church in Maidstone gave his parents as Richard and Mary Ann Chittenden. Mary Ann Chittenden also had a sister Charlotte, born 1804 in Maidstone.
The 1851 census, taken at Pudding Road in Maidstone gave the widow Nancy Chittenden as the head of the household and was working as a nurse. With her was her daughter Charlotte, age 47, of no occupation. Nancy’s daughter Mary Ann Chittenden, given as unmarried, was also there as were two of Nancy’s grandchildren Fanny Elizabeth Chittenden,age 7 and Richard Chittenden, age 4 months. Also there as boarders were three members of the Borman family.
At the time of the 1861 census Fanny Elizabeth Chittenden was working as a domestic servant in the Maidstone home of George Harriett and his family.
In the 2nd qtr of 1870 Fanny Elizabeth Chittenden married Charles Sankey Harrison at Maidstone. Fanny and her husband had the following children (1) Minnie, who was born 1871 in Maidstone. She was baptised May 14,1871 at Maidstone. She never married and died in Tunbridge Wells in the 2nd qtr of 1942. (2) Margaret Nancy, who was born 1873 in Maidstone. She was baptised at Maidstone on March 23,1873. In the 2nd qtr of 1934 she married James Sutton in Tunbridge Wells. Margaret N. Sutton died in Tunbridge Wells in the 4th qtr of 1959. (3) Charles was born 1875 in Maidstone. He was living with his mother and two sisters at the time of the 1881 census but died before 1891. (4)Fanny Elizabeth was born 1882 in Tunbridge Wells and was living with her mother and two sisters at the time of the 1891 census and by 1901 was working as a milliner in Southborough while living with her mother and two sisters. She left the family home before 1911.
The 1871 census, taken at 1 Romney Place in Maidstone gave Charles Sankey Harrison as the head of the home. With him was his wife Fanny Elizabeth and their daughter Fanny Elizabeth. They along with one other non -family member were living at that time as lodgers with the Baldwin family. Charles was at that time working as a gardener.
Charles Sankey Harrison(1844-1886) had been born at Hollinbourne, Kent, and was one of 10 children born to Edward Harrison (1813-1867) and Elizabeth Frances Harrison, nee Banner (1812-1890).
The 1881 census, taken at 166 Union Street in Maidstone gave Fanny Elizabeth Harrison as married but her husband was not with her. She was working as a laundress at that time. Also in the home was her three children Minnie, Margaret and Charles. So where was her husband? Well the 1881 census shows that he was an inmate at the Kent County Asylum at Barming Heath, Maidstone. He died in Maidstone in 1886, leaving his wife to raise their young children on her own.
The 1891 census, taken at 119 St John’s Road in Southborough gave Fanny as a baker. With her were her children Minnie ,Margaret and Fanny and her widowed mother Mary Ann Chittenden, a retired nurse. Minnie was at that time working as a laundress; Margaret was a baker shop assistant and Fanny was at school.
Sometime after 1891 Fanny and her children moved to High Brooms. A directory for 1899 gave the listing “Mrs Fanny Harrison, baker, 60 High Brooms Road, High Brooms”. By 1901 she and her family took up residence at 3 High Brooms Road where on the main floor Fanny was the proprietor of a bake shop, and over it they had living quarters. A photograph of this shop, at the south east corner of High Brooms Road and Yew Tree Road is shown in the “Overview” section of this article. This photograph was taken in 1915. In the window of the shop can be seen painted signs advertising Fry’s Chocolate, a product that my family always had in the kitchen cupboard. At the curb can be seen parked a motorcycle with a sidecar and against the wall is a bicycle. In the distance along High Brooms Road can be seen an old lorry and further along a horse and wagon. This building like most others in High Brooms was built of red brick, produced at the High Brooms Brick and Tile Company.
The 1901 census, taken at 3 High Brooms Road gave Fanny as a baker on own account at home. With her was her daughter Minnie who was working for her mother as a shop assistant. Also there was Margaret who was a dressmaker on own account at home and Fanny who was working as a milliner. Also there was Mary Ann Chittendenm a 76 year old widow and Fanny’s mother. A nephew by the name of Alfred R.Chittenden, age 19 was also there and working as a drapers porter.
The 1911 census, taken at 3 High Brooms Road gave Fanny as a baker shop keeper. With her was her daughter Minnie who was assisting in the business and Margaret who was a dressmaker on own account. The nephew Alfred Richard Chittenden, age 29 was also living there and working as a drapers porter.
Local directories of 1913 and 1918 gave the listing “ Mrs Fanny Harrison, baker 1 & 3 High Brooms Road. Directories for 1922 and 1930 gave the listing “Mrs Fanny Harrison, bakers and post office, 1 & 3 High Brooms Road.
Probate records gave Fanny Elizabeth Harrison of 1 High Brooms Road, High Brooms, Tunbridge Wells, died November 18,1933. The executor of her 577 pound estate was her spinster daughter Minnie Harrison.
The building in which Fanny had her bake shop and post office was later converted into three flats, a use that it retains today. As can be seen from the modern photograph (above) of the building opposite the big shop window was removed and replaced by a smaller window and the gap bricked in.