They paved paradise… a cook’s tale

They paved paradise and put up… well, not a parking lot, in this post about the origins of a place name, and the story of a cook who jumped through a window.

Paradise on Earth

It is one of those sad ironies in life that builders and developers name streets after features they have destroyed by building them.

Around the UK, there a streets with names like Badgers Mead, Plantation Road, Orchard Drive that tell us what USED to be there before they were sold for development.

Other ‘pretty’ street names are just that – meant to sound nice. Housing estates called after magnolias and laurels and ash and rowan are unlikely to have all those different trees growing there before the diggers moved in. Indeed, some developers plant the trees to match the names and beautify the housing estate afterwards.

One curious street name is Paradise.

There are (among others) Paradise Lanes in Blackburn, Peterborough, Walsall… Paradise Streets in Liverpool, London, Oxford… Paradise Roads in Richmond and Dundee.

And while some of these places may be heavenly to those who live there, others… well, in Newcastle, there is a sign for a Paradise House under a railway arch that can’t be anyone’s idea of the promised land!

Paradise House, Newcastle, Cumbrian Characters,
A sign in Newcastle upon Tyne

The entrance to Paradise Court, in Carlisle doesn’t look exactly idyllic – but then Cumbria County Council explains the origin of the name in this city walk guide: 

Paradise Court takes its name from a field in Harraby, Paradise being a medieval name for an enclosure.

A Cook’s Adventure. 11 March 1887

Caroline Lavery. Paradise Court, Castle Street, sought to recover £4 5s 10d wages from Mr W. H. Scott, Red Gables, Chatsworth Square.

Plaintiff stated that she was engaged by Mr Scott as plain cook, with a salary of £22.

Caroline lasted just a few days, before Mr Scott told her she ‘did not suit them’. Their complaint was over a fowl – she said it was cooked all right, but there was no sauce because there was no milk.

Asked if she’d been in service before, she said: “Mrs Green’s, Croglin Rectory.”

The Judge asked: “What the defence? Is it that she cannnot cook?”

Mr Brown, for the defence, said: “She went there on the Monday, and nearly every meal that she put forward was wasted. On the Friday, Mr Scott told her that her cooking was very bad, and wished to see if she would take more pains and endeavour to do better. She said she would try to cook food in proper manner. On Saturday, things were worse than before, and, when Mr Scott spoke to her, she said if he was not satisfied she would leave. 

Mr Scott said he would give her a week’s money, and she should go on the Monday morning. 

A dramatic exit

And that’s where the story becomes more interesting than a cook who (allegedly) couldn’t cook.

On the Sunday night, she told the servants that she meant to have a “fiver * out of Mrs Scott.

(This was dismissed by Mr Johnson, for the plaintiff, as ’servants’ tittle tattle’).

Mr Brown said that when Mr Scott went to give her the agreed week’s wages, she said it wasn’t enough and she wanted a month’s wages and a month’s board.

“Mr Scott then told her not to leave his service, and after the house doors were locked, she leaped through the window and got off. (Laughter.).

A technicality

The Judge pointed out that technically, then: “She was never dismissed at all…”

“Supposing she is fit to cook at the best hotel in England, if this true, she left of her own accord.” 

(To plaintiff): “Did you go out the window?”

“Yes, sir.” (Laughter.) 

Why?

Plaintiff: “Because Mrs Scott ordered me out of the house.”

Mr Brown: “Mr Scott bolted the front and back doors and would not let her go.”

The Judge:  “Why did you go out of the window?”

Plaintiff: “Because the front and back doors were locked.” (Laughter.) 

“Mr Scott said I was no cook at all and he had better have a change. 

“Mrs Scott ordered me out at once, and she sent a page-boy out to bring a policeman. I was so much upset that I came out the window.”

Mrs Scott was too ill to come to court.

The unanswered question

Mr Johnson (to Scott): “How many cooks have you had?”

Mr Brown: “I object to that.”

The Judge: “This is the only cook we are talking about.”

The case was struck out, costs being allowed. 

Caroline Lavery

‘Lavery’ isn’t a common surname; nor was ‘Caroline’ all that common in the late 1800s. So it seems safe to assume that the Caroline Lavery, 27, cook on the 1891 census was the above.

She is recorded as having been born in India. And in 1891, was a patient in the District Infirmary, in Port Road, Caldewgate (Carlisle).

Born in Lucknow, a British subject, she had come to Cumbria at some point after 1881 – when she was recorded as a ‘cook domestic servant,’ at a house in Tranmere, Cheshire.

Cumbria doesn’t seem to have worked out too well for her! Or perhaps, given her start in life, she just felt she had no ‘roots’ tying her to any one place. For in 1901 she was in another hospital, hundreds of miles away – in Kidbrooke, London. Only this time, she was working there as a cook, not a patient. She had also cut 12 years off her age, but that may just have been an error by whoever filled in all the details for what was a very large institution.

Perhaps she had realised there was ‘safety in numbers’ working in a hospital kitchen – people would be less likely to notice if her cooking was not to the standard a family like the Scotts would expect.

The Cumbrian Characters

‘Mrs Green’s, Croglin Rectory’

In 1881, the rector of Croglin was Josephus Henry Green (MA, rector of Croglin AND farmer of 15.5 acres), 46. Mrs Green was his wife Elizabeth. (With them were a Lawrence, 18, Lydia, 20, and two domestic servants). Josephus died in 1889 and Elizabeth and the two adult children moved to Ulverston.

‘W H Scott’

William Hudson Scott was a lithographic printer, and part of famous family business. In 1891, he was 48 and still living in Red Gables, Chatsworth Square (number 16), with his wife Louie (née Louisa Owen), 33 – who had been born in Notting Hill, London.

However, Louie was NOT the Mrs Scott of the court case.

The first Mrs Scott, too ill to appear in court, had in fact died in 1889.

William married Louie/Louisa in January 1891 in Liverpool, where she was living at the time (according to the marriage certificate).

The first Mrs Scott was Alice. Oh, and 1881 shows us that William employed 200 men. 

When William Hudson Scott died in 1907, his estate was valued at more than £84,000.

I may well come back to Hudson Scott business in a future post.

With William and Louisa in 1891 was William’s daughter, Lucy M, aged six. And four female servants… including Mary Thompson, 55, cook. 

One hopes she was better at cooking chicken!

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