Charlotte Alderton: almost 'hidden from history'
Charlotte Alderton (1843-1903)
Charlotte Alderton, nee Kettle, was born in Hadleigh in about 1843 but spent most of her life in St Clement's parish, a poor, dockside district of Ipswich. We know something about her life because her husband, a disabled former Thames bargeman, wrote a memoir of their lives together. It is unlikely that Charlotte herself was able to read and write fluently, if at all, and without Joseph's narrative she would be truly 'hidden from history'. As a young woman, she was a silk binder and would have been paid poverty wages. Her married life was spent entirely in the domestic sphere, running a household and caring for her family. She took on paid work (mangling, shop work, sewing) when it fitted in with these duties and to bring in money when her husband was too ill to work. John Alderton, the actor - Upstairs, Downstairs - is one of her descendants and owns the family memoir which he is hoping to make into a film.
Sources include: Joseph Alderton's Memoirs (unpublished - courtesy of John Alderton)