Hannah Winifred Maes was the younger sister of Charles Marett, a solicitor who inherited Westgate House from his father in 1870. Westgate House was situated at the southern end of the western shore, just to the south of the West Gate. Marett, who lived in London, made the house available to his sister who had become widowed on the death of her husband, Joseph Emile Maes of Nantes.

She lived at Westgate House with her children until her death in 1897. She was known as Madam Maes rather than Mrs. Maes and the house was often referred to as Madam Maes’ House. She was a popular and well-loved character in late Victorian Southampton. She was generous to those poor families who lived in the squalid courts and alleys of the Old Town close to her house. She was noted for the gracious hospitality she dispensed at her picturesque home and even made the contents of her library available to those who wanted to use it. She also opened up the grounds of the house as a play area for local children. After her death in 1897 Westgate House was demolished to make way for the building of Western Esplanade.

A water trough dedicated to the memory of Madam Maes and other members of the Marett Family was paid for by public subscription and erected on Western Esplanade in 1903. The trough, built by monumental stonemasons Garret & Haysom, still stands and now has Grade II listed status.

See also:

Further reading:

Southampton Memorials of Care for Man and Beast, by A. G. K. Leonard, p48-52. (HS/k)
Southampton Occasional Notes, by ‘Townsman’, p84. (HS/h)
Westgate House and Madam Maes, by A. G. K. Leonard. Southampton Occasional Papers No. 1.
‘A Maes of Confusion’, by John Edgar Mann, in Hampshire, Vol. 35, No. 4, February 1995, p39. (H/y)


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