Carry on Matron!

In this series of blogs, the candidates for the post of Matron, and the outcomes of the ballot of shortlisted names, will be considered. This posting concerns four more of the candidates who were shortlisted but unsuccessful in their application.

Mrs Sarah Coombes, No 3 Cloisters, Smithfield, Letter in consequence of the Advertisement

Google street view  image
Google street view image

The Dictionary of London gives the spelling, from Horwood’s 1799 map, as Cloysters. Whatever its spelling, it was originally part of the monastic buildings that were the foundation of St Bartholomew’s hospital. John Strype describes it as occupied by rows of shops, and giving entrance to the Hospital buildings. The Cloisters fell into decay and disappeared by 1850, the site having been rebuilt. Now the name is recorded only in The Cloister Café where you can sit amongst fine architecture whilst snacking!

Cloisters café
Cloisters café


Mrs Euphemia Davies, No 4 James St, Manchester Square, Letter in consequence of the Advertisement includes a map of the area of Manchester Square in the 1790s. James St appears not to exist any longer. “The central section of the northern side of the square is occupied by a mansion once known as Manchester House and later as Hertford House, which is now the home of the Wallace Collection, a major collection of fine and decorative arts. The house and square form part of Marylebone’s Portman Estate.” (ibid) indicates that building of it began in the 1770s so it would have been all very new still in 1788.

We have no way of hearing people from the past but I wonder if Mrs Davies lived up to her forename? Euphemia is taken from Greek meaning ‘to speak well’. It can also mean to be spoken well of. There is a Saint Euphemia, an early Christian martyr, whose feast day is September 16.

Mrs E Wath[?], No 11 Lower Grosvenor Place, Letter in consequence of the Advertisement

This applicant’s name is difficult to read but does appear to say Wath. It makes it very difficult to undertake any research because of the uncertainty of what is actually written.

Fortunately, her address is written in a clearer hand. Lower Grosvenor Place is currently University House (11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place) and home to Alain Charles Publishing Limited, publisher of consumer and business journals and periodicals, amongst others, including Vietnam Airlines and the Montessori Head Office.

Google maps street view
Google maps street view

Mrs Ann Ashlee at Mr Mucklow’s, James St, Haymarket, Letter in consequence of the Advertisement

The surname Ashlee is a name associated strongly with Kent although we have no idea if this is where this candidate hailed from. Although given as Mrs (as are all the candidates) it may not mean she was a widow as Mistress (shortened to Mrs) was applied to married woman and to single ladies of more mature years.

“An inscription on a stone let into the wall of the Tennis Court, gives 1673 as the date of James Street”. An early photograph of the Tennis Court can be seen at

The identity of Mr Mucklow has not yet been ascertained.

“The First Haymarket Theatre or Little Theatre was built in 1720 by John Potter … It lay a little to the north of the present theatre, two houses south of James Street”

Interesting that two of the candidates lived in a James St but not, apparently, the same one!

Google maps St James, Haymarket
Google maps St James, Haymarket

More information about  ‘The Haymarket’, in Survey of London: Volume 20, St Martin-in-The-Fields, Pt III: Trafalgar Square and Neighbourhood, ed. G H Gater and F R Hiorns (London, 1940), pp. 95-100


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