Helen Hoult was born in Wolverley, Worcestershire in 1843. Her parents John and Ann Hoult had twelve children in total: John, Ann, Alice (1841-1927), (Ellen) Helen (1843), Felecia, Jane (1847), William, (Mary) Maria Louise, Sarah, Catherine (1854), Harry Edward and Jessie (1857-1930).
John farmed 250 acres at Low Farm, Wolverley and later at Condover Green, Shropshire. In 1871, Helen was 28 years old still living at home with parents and working as a governess but ten years later she was running her own school in Oswestry on Willow Street where she was working as school governess with her sisters Jane and Catherine along with an 18 year old French woman employed as a teacher named Mathilda du Salis. They have 14 boarders and 2 servants.
The 1891 census records Helen as Principal of School on Willow Street* with sisters Jane and Catherine, 2 governesses – Margaret Wylde and Catherine Waters, 8 schoolgirl boarders and 2 servants being Sarah Roberts, a cook and Harriet Jones (18), a housemaid from Oswestry.
Helen has set up her own school by 1911 The College, Queen’s Road with her sister Catherine and teachers Helene Weyermann, (1875) and Bessie Montgomery Porter, 33 from Wells Somerset and Emma Louis, 20. Both and Emma are Swiss nationals. There are 18 Pupils and two domestic servants being Jane Briggs, a housemaid, and Helen M Griffiths as cook – both came from Llanymynech.
By 1911, Helen Hoult, now 68 years old, was schoolmistress at The College with her sister Catherine and has taken on Helene and Bessie as partners in the running of the school and employs assistant mistress Ethel Smith from Wotton Bassett, Wiltshire. There are 8 pupils aged from 11-17 including one from Switzerland and one from the USA. And housemaid Mary Jane Jones (16 from Oswestry) & cook Elizabeth Lewis.
Helen died in Fordrough, Church Stretton 9 April 1931 probate £714 12s 3d to Catherine and Bessie Montgomery Griffiths (wife John Griffiths).
28 Shrewsbury Road, Fordrough, Church Stretton was where four of Helen’s sisters (Alice, Mary Louisa, Sarah, Jessie) ran a boarding house; all four were still single.
Jessie Hoult died 17 Oct 1930 Probate to £670 2s 10d to Catherine and Rev Geoffrey Dixon.
Catherine Hoult of Stanley, Roft Street died on 4 November 1939 at Oswestry Nursing home on Morda Road, leaving 2159 7s 5d to spinster Helen Weyermann and widow Bessie Montgomery Griffiths.
*The School on Willow Street was situated at 70–64 Castle Buildings. The foundation stone was laid 1803. There had been a school there previously run by a Miss Asterley who ran a boarding and day school and then a Miss Goldbororo until it was taken over by the Misses Hoult in 1874.
For more information on schools in Oswestry and the women who worked in them, click here.