VAD Hannah Margaret Marriott-Watson

Voluntary Aid Detachment page

Red Cross, St John Ambulance Brigade and Royal Army Medical Corpsbadges

Hannah Margaret Marriott-Watson
Nursing Member

Hannah was born on the last day of the 19th Century to Frank McDonald Marriott-Watson and Florence Riviere Marriott-Watson nee Edwin, though Edwin was her stage name, her birth surname being Brown.

Frank was an actor who, along with his parents and siblings, had emigrated from Australia in the 1890s. He had several stage successes, and his brother, H. B. (Henry Brereton) Marriott-Watson was an author of over 40 novels. He and Florence had married in 1896 in Birkenhead, Cheshire.

Hannah was baptised at St. Mary’s Church in Grassendale, Liverpool on 26th January 1900. Her parent’s address at this time was 11 West Kensington Terrace, London – Frank was an actor and Florence an actress, so I assume they were working in Liverpool at the time. I don’t believe that Hannah had any siblings.

On the 1901 census the family were living at 14 Stanley Terrace, Tynemouth, Northumberland – Frank is described as a theatrical actor, Florence an actress. The other household members were boarders/visitors from around the world so I assume this was a boarding house.

I have been unable to locate Hannah on the 1911 census, however her parents were at 11 Glodwick Road, Oldham, boarding with a family called Mills, and Frank was described as a Theatrical Manager.

During World War One Hannah volunteered with the Red Cross Voluntary Aid Detachment. She worked at military hospitals in Gateshead and Bishop Auckland, but for a period also worked at Victoria Hospital in Keighley as a nursing member. Her address on the VAD record was ‘Tasma’, Sea View on the Isle of Wight. (I have found that she had a paternal aunt named Tasma, who had died in infancy). I have not been able to locate other records to show her or other family members living on the Isle of Wight so I am unclear as to why she was living there.

She may have been inspired by her cousin Richard (only son of Henry Brereton Marriott-Watson) who was serving throughout the war, and was a Lieutenant (M.C.) with the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles when he was killed in action on 24th March 1918, he is commemorated at Pozieres Memorial, Picardie. He was a war poet, best known for his poem ‘Kismet’.

There are various immigration records that show Hannah travelling to the USA and other countries, including in 1931 to South Africa where she travelled with other actors and actresses. Her stage name was Nan Marriott-Watson. Her page on states that she worked in Broadway plays for a number of years before turning to film and television. She played Grace Poole in Jane Eyre and also played the original Ena Sharples in the pilot episodes of Coronation Street (she wasn’t available due to other commitments when the role became permanent so the role went to Violet Carson). She went on to take roles in Sherlock Holmes, Maigret, The Saint, Crossroads and Z Cars before then turning to radio where she played Doris Archer in The Archers.

'Nan' Marriott-Watson, in the National Portrait Gallery


'Nan' Marriott-Watson, in the National Portrait Gallery

In the TV show The Saint, from

Nan Marriott-Watson died on August 28th 1982 in Puttenham, Surrey.

England and Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
Lancashire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1911
England and Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915
1901 England Census
1911 England Census
UK and Ireland, Outward passenger Lists, 1890-1960
UK and Ireland, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960
Massachusetts, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1963
England and Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007
England and Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995
UK, British Army WW1 Medal Roll Index Cards, 1914-1920

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