Janetta Bishop Mitchell

Female 1791 - 1859  (67 years)


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  • Name Janetta Bishop Mitchell 
    Born 20 Mar 1791  Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Female 
    Note It casts significant fresh light on Mrs. Gaskell's influential inner circle of friends, adding to our appreciation of her writings and of her life. The book uncovers some of the mysteries of Mrs. Gaskell's key relationships, most notably concerning Miss Mitchell, who has previously been misidentified in the Gaskell biography. Given Mrs. Gaskell's statement that Miss Mitchell was one of the two principal influences in her life, a deeper understanding of this shadowy presence and the figures around her is vital to our understanding of the author.

    ["You have done me so much good, dearest Nim; more than any one else in my life, - (that I'm aware of) except my own darling Aunt Lumb, & Miss Mitchell" letter to Mrs Emily Shaen, 27 Oct 1854]

    Existing orthodoxy identifies Miss Mitchell as Rosa Mitchell, a visiting governess in the Gaskell household. However, the Miss Mitchell mentioned repeatedly in Mrs. Gaskell's letters was in fact Rosa's much older sister, Janetta Bishop Mitchell.

    Janetta, born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1791, is further shown to have been a confidante not only of Mrs. Gaskell but also of Harriet Martineau. Miss Mitchell is mentioned in Harriet Martineau's early letters in the 1820s - working in Norwich from 1821-25, Janetta became close to both Harriet and her mother and remained in contact with them when Harriet gained literary prominence in the 1830s.

    Janetta Mitchell's fascinating and itinerant life is charted, demonstrating her close links to Unitarian communities across England. Janetta was an example of the many sophisticated women with few material resources who, despite remaining unmarried and culturally invisible, nevertheless found their own paths in 19th-century society.

    Mrs. Gaskell's Personal Pantheon is available from October 2020 (Edward Everett Root Publishers Co. Ltd) ISBN 9781913087463 hardback / ISBN 9781913087470 ebook / 229mm x 152mm, 256pp., fp. 12 b&w illustrations. 
    Residence 1843  39 & 41 Coupland Street, Chorlton, Manchester Find all individuals with events at this location 
    from land tax records 
    • [William Turner] eventually lodging with one of Elizabeth Gaskell's oldest friends, the teacher Rosa Mitchell, who used to keep a boarding house for students at Manchester New College.
      Elizabeth Gaskell, A Portrait in Letters

      John Dendy soon removed to 93 Lloyd Street, where he boarded with Miss Mitchell, a very cultivated lady, who kept a boarding-house for the students
      Recollections by Sarah Dendy (nee Beard) in Reciords of A Family 1800-1933, H McLachlan 1935. This seems to be about 1847.

      Probably it was Janetta Bishop Mitchell rather than Rosa who kept a boarding house, and possibly at these two properties before moving to 93 Lloyd Street a few years later.
    Note 1856 
    In 1856 EG writes that her friend Miss Mitchell has the Rev William Turner lodging with her, is living in straitened circumstances with just one servant and is doing her own cooking, and has a weak heart.

    Janetta's brother Edward Dawson Welbank Mitchell was living at Lloyd Street, Greenheys in 1862 and two sisters were living with him. So it appears to be a family house.

    The Rev Turner was living at Lloyd Street, Greenheys, in 1859 when he died. So he was living at a house belonging to the Mitchells, and Miss Mitchell would be the oldest daughter. 
    Died 1859  Lloyd Street, Greenheys, Manchester Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried 1859  Unitarian Chapel, Upper Brook Street, Manchester Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I821  Welbank1
    Last Modified 8 Sep 2020 

    Father Thomas Mitchell,   d. 1859, Lloyd Street, Greenheys, Manchester Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother Mary Welbank,   b. 14 Mar 1768, Saint Andrew, Holborn, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Aug 1837, Mount Pleasant, Northallerton Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 69 years) 
    Married 2 Mar 1789  Northallerton, Yorks Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F190  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart