So That's Where I Get It From

February 7, 2011

Mystery Monday: My Gran Lucy Sinclair nee Dartnell and Miss Foote, Costumier

This is only a little mystery and not really vital to my research regarding my maternal grandmother Lucy Harriett Sinclair nee Dartnell  (1883 – 1984) but it is of interest to me and I would like to delve a little further!!

My gran used to be a Court dressmaker, this meant that she would make clothing for the ladies of the royal Court.  She started doing this in the reign of Queen Victoria and when Queen Victoria died in 1901 her son became King as Edward VII and he was married to Princess Alexander of Denmark. He died in 1910 and his son became King George V and he reigned from 1910 – 1936.

I don’t know for sure how long my grandmother was working as a Court dressmaker but she certainly would have been doing this towards the end of Queen Victoria’s reign, through King Edward VII’s reign and certainly into the beginning of King George V’s reign.

Lucy and Frederick Sinclair (my grandparents) with Miss Foote


Original photograph in my private collection - copyright 2011


As can be seen from the photo, Miss Foote had her business as a Costumier, etc at a building called Hatherley Villa.  I’m not too sure of the date of this photograph but my grandparents married in 1906 in London so I would say this is after that, maybe up to about 1910.

Miss Foote, my grandmother Lucy Sinclair nee Dartnell and an unknown gentleman!


Original photograph in my private collection - copyright 2011


I have tried to find Miss Foote in the Censuses but as I don’t know her full name, age or anything else about her other than her surname this has proved difficult.  I have tried to search for a building called Hatherley Villa in London but haven’t been able to find anything helpful.

My grandparents Lucy and Frederick Sinclair (he was born in 1878 and died in 1970) were both from Lambeth, London and married there also.  I thought perhaps this would be a good place to look for Miss Foote and her business but haven’t learned anything more.  I have not looked in Trade Directories yet.

So the little mystery is who is Miss Foote, where was her business and I wonder if I can find out more about her business as costumier to the royal Court.



  1. This is just the kind of mystery that puts meat on the bones of names and dates. I hope you have successful search!

    Comment by Nancy — February 8, 2011 @ 12:45 am

    • Hallo Nancy, thank you for your comment and visiting the blog, it’s very much appreciated! I rather regret not asking my dear grandmother more about her work as a Court dressmaker. I bet she would have had some interesting tales to tell. 😉

      I shall keep digging away and see if I can find out more about Miss Foote and her business and will blog about it here when I do!!

      Kind regards,

      Christine (rootsresearcher)

      Comment by rootsresearcher — February 8, 2011 @ 12:52 am

  2. Of course, you have the original photo, but it looks to me that the name of the building where Ms. Foote’s shop was located is “Matherley Villa,” instead of “Hatherley.” At least that’s how it looks on your blog site. If that’s true, it may help your search.

    Comment by Free Genealogy Guide — February 9, 2011 @ 5:10 am

    • Hallo,

      Thank you for visiting my blog and for your helpful comment. I had another look at the original photo and where I have it on my computer, zoomed in and double-checked the name of the building. It is really Hatherley Villa rather than Matherley as you suggested. The H is exactly the same as the TH in Hatherley. However, I will search for both Hatherley and Matherley Villa just in case there are transcription errors at any places I may find it.

      Many thanks for your suggestion also, because it made me look more closely at the photo and I will have in mind to look more closely at other photos, just in case text could be mistaken. 😉

      Kind regards,

      Christine (rootsresearcher)

      Comment by rootsresearcher — February 9, 2011 @ 1:54 pm

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