Use your vote! She couldn’t…
No.10 Elizabeth Hall Dare Jerdan (1820-1897) Governess
The governess in her lodgings depicted by Richard Redgrave is young and beautiful- Elizabeth Jerdan spent more than 30 years in this difficult profession, and then passed her retirement alone in a bed-sit.
Many of the women who asked Parliament for the vote in 1866 had experienced the difficulties of being head of a household, as a single parent, widow, or child supporting an elderly mother. Many more had lived in such households with all the uncertainty and poverty which this meant at this time. For Elizabeth and her mother this was compounded by her father’s scandalous behaviour.
Elizabeth Jerdan was born in 1820 and christened with her younger sister in St Mary Abbots, Kensington in 1825. Her parents were William and Frances Jerdan. William was a writer, who very publicly had a mistress and an illegitimate family. Elizabeth had moved away with her mother to Guildford where they lived in poverty. Her mother died in 1856, and 36 year old Elizabeth then had to support herself. She earned her living as a governess. In 1891 she was in lodgings as a retired governess in Seymore Place. She died in 1897.