Lady Otway

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Lady Otway


E18LadyOtway.jpg


Lady Otway, although better known than most of the others in our section devoted to 'not so famous' islanders, is included here because she was, as is said of so many celebrities today, ‘famous for being famous’


Advertisement for the sale of contents of Gloucester House in 1910

The widow of Admiral Sir John Otway, Lady Otway lived at Gloucster House, Rouge Bouillon, a fine mansion later to become a hotel, and to be used as a casino by the Germans during their occupation of the island.

At the turn of the 19th century she was renowned as the greatest entertainer in Jersey society, and her fame spread far and wide, as witness this reference from the 16 December 1899 edition of the Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate, New South Wales

”The queen of Jersey society is Lady Otway, the wife of the late Admiral Sir John Otway, Bart. No one is so well known in Jersey, and her house is the rendezvous of all that is most delightful in island society. Lady Otway has a most interesting personality. She owns, with a laugh, that she is by no means a young woman, and yet she shows hardly a trace of her age in ber figure. Her bright eyes and lovely copper coloured hair constantly give the lie to fact. She has a slight foreign manner, due, probably, to her long residence at Naples in her youth. In that beautiful lazy resting place she was regarded as little short of an angel by the Italians. During the great cholera visitation, Lady Otway devoted enormous sums to the alleviation of distress, and herself nursed many of the sufferers in the most devoted and courageous way. At the close of the outbreak she was publicly thanked for her efforts by the Government.

In 1910 Lady Otway put the contents of Gloucester House on sale but reports suggest that the house was not sold until after World War 1, when it was purchased by Frank and Elsa Jollie.

Biography

Born Eliza Price Noble Campbell, in or about 1831, she was the youngest daughter and co-heir of John Campbell, of Burnham Grove, Buckinghamshire. On 28 March 1848 she married Sir George Graham Otway, 2nd Baronet, in Marylebone. The couple appear on the 1861 census, living at 7 Portman Square, London. He gave as his profession ‘Baronet [and] Captain’. The household comprised seven servants, including two footmen, a valet and a coachman. Admiral Sir George Otway died on 22 August 1881 at Villa Rione, Naples. In the absence of a male heir, the baronetcy passed to a younger brother.

In 1891 Lady Otway was a widow 'living on her own means' at 49 Rouge Bouillon, St Helier. Shortly afterwards she married Thomas William Crawford Leathem, of St Helier. Her second husband died on 11 December 1898.

Lady Otway died, aged 79, on 11 August 1910 at the Charing Cross Hotel, London – ‘while travelling’, according the brief announcement of her death in The Times.

At the time of her death, her age was registered at 79. When the census was taken in 1861 she had knocked 4 years off her age, and by 1891 she was knocking 14 years off her age.

The National Portrait Gallery holds a number of photographs of Lady Otway.

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