Sophia Paley is my great grand aunt – in other words the sister of my great grandmother Ellen Paley.
Sophia was born on 31 July 1861 and baptised on 25 August 1861 in Rylstone, Yorkshire.
I haven’t been able to find Sophia on the 1871 census – she is certainly not at home with her parents. And I have checked the census returns for her grandparents and she is not there either.
In 1881 she is a domestic housemaid servant for a County Magistrate and cotton manufacturer in Skipton, Yorkshire.
By 1891 Sophia had moved south to Bromley in Kent, still working as a domestic housemaid servant – this time for a barrister. She remained in Bromley at least until the next census in 1901 when she was a parlour maid for a retired dealer in stocks and shares.
At some point over the next ten years Sophia had presumably earned sufficient money to leave domestic service. She had moved to Colne in Lancashire and was living in her own home. Her occupation is given as house keeper – own account. So I’m thinking she is maybe running a bed & breakfast type establishment – she has one person staying with her at the time.
Finally Sophia appears in the 1939 Register at Craven Cottage, Keighley Road, Colne and her occupation is described as occasional nursing.
Sophia passed away on 13 March 1947 at 2 Mayfield Avenue, Halifax, West Yorkshire. In her will she left effects totalling £647 18s 4d to Ernest Pearson, a solicitors managing clerk and Walter Pickles, a cotton manufacturer.
In the Barnoldswick & Earby Times of 11 April 1947 the following advert appears for the sale by auction of all Sophia’s household items.
CRAVEN COTTAGE OFF KEIGHLEY ROAD, COLNE (Heifer Lane Bus Stop)
Fred Smith, Auctioneer and Valuer, instructed by Executors of Miss Sophia Paley, will sell by Auction, at CRAVEN COTTAGE, COLNE, on SATURDAY, APRIL 12th, 1947: One Oak Dining Room Suite in green velvet, one Mahogany Drawing Room Suite in old gold figured velvet, one Inlaid walnut Bedroom Suite, one Maple Bedroom Suite, wardrobe and linen cupboard combined, full-length dressing mirror and commode; one Oak Gateleg Table, one Oak Antique Table, one Card Table, one Occasional Chair, one Mahogany Rocking Chair, one Antique Mahogany Table, one Inlaid Walnut Bedroom Suite, one Stand Table, one Walnut Fire Screen, one 4ft 6in Oak Bedstead, Spring Mattress and Hair Overlay, one Mahogany Plant Stand, one Maple Bedroom Table, one 4×3 Tapestry Carpet, one 4×3 Axminster Carpet, one 3×21/2 Axminster Carpet, one 3×3 tapestry Carpet, 2 Axminster Rugs, 12yds Wilton Stair Carpet, one Chrome-plated Carpet Sweeper, one Kitchen Leaf Table, one Onward Gas Oven, two Stools, one Night Commode, one China Tea Service (40 pieces), half Tuscan China Tea service (21 pieces), 15 Antique Tureens, Vases, Plates and Ornaments (Willow pattern), one part Dinner Service, one part Tea Service and various Cups, plates, Jugs, Pans and other Kitchen Utensils, Bed Linen, Sheets, Towels, Table Cloths and Window Curtains.
Sale at 1 o’clock.
The Auctioneer wishes to call your attention to this sale of very good Household Furniture.
Intending purchasers are requested to produce their Identity Cards.
View today (Friday, 2 to 4pm.
Fred Smith, Auctioneer & Valuer, Church Street Sale Rooms 9opposite Church), Colne.
A life sold by auction!