Polly Shellaker


Life in Billesdon

In the Spring of 1886 the family move from Tugby to anew home, Billesdon Lodge Farm, which was approximately one mile north of the village of Billesdon in Leicestershire. At the time it was known as ‘Billesdon Lodge Farm’ but it became known later as ‘Shellaker Lodge Farm’. The photograph below of this farm, was taken by a man named Frank Brown, a photographer from Bournemouth, possibly around c.1910 – ‘Frank Brown‘ will feature very soon, and very heavier, in this narrative.

Shellaker Lodge Farm Billesdon - Earliest Picture

 Shellaker Lodge Farm near Billesdon

Polly’s younger sister Elizabeth died of pneumonia on 5th February 1888 at the age of twenty. It was believed her death was sudden, it is said she had been playing the organ (or similar) in the church only a week before she died. Elizabeth was buried in Tugby Churchyard. Polly was 23 years old at this time.

On Sunday 5th April 1891 another National Census was taken in England, the first recording the Shellaker family as living at Billesdon at “Shellaker Lodge”. As can be seen below, Richard & Mary Shellaker are recorded on this Census together with their adult children; Sarah, William and Emma, who were 29, 28 and 24 years old respectively and also their two young children; Helana (Nellie) who was only two weeks away from her 12th birthday and youngest child John who was 9 years old.

1891 Census - Richard Shellaker & Family in Billesdon

1881 Census – The Shellaker Family in Tugby

Reproduced by permission of Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland
Name of House Name Relationship Condition Age Occupation Where Born
Shellaker Lodge Richard Shellaker Head Married 60 Leicester, Tugby
Mary A Shellaker Wife Married 53 Leicester, Hallaton
Sarah A Shellaker Daughter Single 29 Leicester, Tugby
William Shellaker Son Single 28 Leicester, Tugby
Emma Shellaker Daughter Single 24 Leicester, Tugby
Helana Shellaker Daughter Single 11 Leicester, Tugby
John Shellaker Son Single 9 Leicester, Tugby

Richard & Mary’s daughter, Elizabeth, is not recorded on this Census as she died three years previously in 1888 as previously mentioned.

This 1891 Census also reveals Mary Jane (Polly) Shellaker is no longer living in the family home. Between the Census of 1881 and that of 1891 Polly left the family home, as in 1891 she was residing in the town of Grantham in Lincolnshire…..


Next Page: Polly becomes a Housekeeper