TitleMargaret Gatty and Horatia Gatty (Mrs Eden), Ecclesfield, Sheffield
AdminHistoryMargaret Gatty [née Scott] (1809–1873), writer on natural history and children's writer, was born on 3 June 1809 in Burnham, Essex, the second daughter of the Revd Alexander John Scott and his wife, Mary Frances Ryder. Her father, a linguist and scholar, had been chaplain to Horatio Nelson. Margaret and her sister Horatia were educated in their father's library and they learned several languages, sketched avidly, and wrote for a family literary club.

In 1837 the Scotts began an acquaintance with a local curate and antiquarian, Alfred Gatty (1813–1903), whom Margaret married on 8 Jul 1839. They moved to Ecclesfield, Sheffield where they spent the rest of their lives. Margaret and Alfred Gatty had 10 children in total: Margaret Scott (b.1840), Juliana Horatia (b.1841), Reginald Alfred (b.1844), Horatia Katharine Frances (b.1846), Alfred Scott (b.1847), Undine Marcia (b.1848), Stephen Herbert (b.1849) and Charles Tindal (b.1851). Also Alfred Alexander (b.1843) and Horatio Nelson (b.1855) - both died in infancy.

After spending a winter in Hastings in 1848, Margaret began her lifelong passion for the collection and classification of seaweeds. She corresponded with a network of scientific friends, including W. H. Harvey of Trinity College, Dublin, George Johnston of Berwick upon Tweed, George Busk and Robert Brown. In 1863, she published a History of British Seaweeds, a guide for serious amateurs. Margaret Gatty also wrote tales for young people. Among her books are: Parables from Nature, Worlds not Realised, Proverbs Illustrated, and Aunt Judy's Magazine, a family publication written by various members of the Gatty family. She also wrote The Book of Emblems and The Book of Sundials (both published in 1872).

In the preface to the Book of Sundials, Margaret Gatty makes special mention of a friend: 'without whom it is probable that the work would never have appeared – Miss Eleanor Lloyd. To her the reader is indebted for by far the greater number of the continental mottoes, and for much of the pleasant notices which accompany them, as well as for general, unwearied enthusiasm in her researches. Being an artist too, she has adopted the habit which we ourselves had pursued, for so many years, and made sketches of all the dials she saw, both at home and abroad.' After Margaret Gatty's death, her daughter, Horatia and Eleanor Lloyd continued to collect notes on dials, resulting in the publication in 1889 of a second edition of the book followed thereafter by further reprints.

Margaret Gatty suffered from intermittent muscular paralysis. She died at the vicarage in Ecclesfield on 4 Oct 1873. She was buried in Ecclesfield churchyard and was commemorated by a memorial window in the church there.

Horatia Katharine Frances Gatty, born in 1846 was the Gattys' third daugher. Horatia, took on her mother's seaweed pastime and continued to collate and collect specimens and correspond with marine biologists after her mother's death. She accompanied her mother on all her seaweed collecting expeditions and took part in the laying out and preserving of the specimens that were collected and sent to them. Horatia left the vicarage in Ecclesfield during the 1870s to live in London. in 1889 she married Thomas Bainbridge Eden. Horatia died in Hampstead, London on 4 Nov 1945.
DescriptionLetters addressed to Mrs Margaret Gatty by scientific friends, and some written by her, c.1849 - c.1871 (MD2130/1)
Botanical notes and sketches by Margaret Gatty, [c. mid 19th cent] (MD2130/2)
Letters addressed to Miss Horatia Gatty (Mrs Eden), 1880 - 1927 (MD2130/3)
Printed pamphlets and articles sent to Mrs Margaret Gatty or Miss Horatia Gatty [Mrs. Eden] by scientific friends, c.1848 - c.1927 (MD2130/4)
Material on sundials collected by Mrs Eden and Miss Eleanor Lloyd, [early 20th cent] (MD2130/5)
Datec.1849 - 1927
Extent44 items
RelatedMaterialSheffield Archives
Records of the Gatty and Ewing families belonging to the Hunter Archaeological Society, 19th - 20th cent. (HAS/8)
Records of the Gatty family, 19th - 20th cent. (MD602-603; MD1623; MD1748-49; MD1782-83; MD2122-2126; MD2194-95; MD2687-89; MD3474; MD3614; MD6872; MD7998)
Joan and Mel Jones, The Remarkable Gatty family of Ecclesfield, 2003 (BIOG/GAT) (also at Sheffield Local Studies Library: B.GATT)

Sheffield Local Studies Library:
Mrs Alfred Gatty, The book of Sun-dials, 1872 (828)
Mrs Alfred Gatty, Parables From Nature, 1892-1894, 1892 (Central Library Store: 828.GATT)
Melvyn Jones, 'A remarkable literary and artistic family: the Gattys of Ecclesfield' in Melvyn Jones, South Yorkshire Yesterday: Glimpses of the Past, 2003 (942.74 S)
Chris Morley, 'Ecclesfield's literary connection' in M. Jones (ed), Aspects of Sheffield: Discovering Local History, Volume 2, 1999 (942.74 S)

Material held elsewhere:
Ewing-Gatty collection of watercolours, sketches, drawings and photographs, Yorkshire Libraries and Information in the Headquarters Library, Balne Lane, Wakefield
Papers of Margaret Scott Gatty 1822 - c.1989 including: 4 albums of mounted marine botanical specimens, family correspondence, photograph and 20th century manuscript biographical material relating to Margaret Scott Gatty, University of St Andrews, Scotland
Letters of Margaret Gatty, Alfred Gatty, Horatia K. F. Gatty (Eden) and Juliana Horatia Gatty (Ewing) to George Bell (publisher), Archives and Manuscripts Department of the Library, University of Reading.
    Powered by CalmView© 2008-2021