Hester Smith was born in about 1810 in St Kitts. She was the daughter of Captain Robert M Smith of the Royal Engineers, and Louisa Ann Smith.
By 1861, Hester's father had died and she was living in Godalming with her mother and their friend Juliana Elizabeth Louisa Panchard. Hester and Juliana were running a Berlin repository together, with Louisa assisting. This was "a shop-cum-warehouse selling Berlin wool work which was cheap machine-made tapestry pictures or patterns in woollen cloth, used to make chair covers, fire screens, etc. It also supplied kits to make them for yourself."
By 1871, the shop was described as a "fancy repository". Such shops sometimes also sold Berlin work, so it may not have represented a complete change of approach. A Fancy Repository in Wales advertised itself as selling "watches, clocks, silver plate, jewellery, china, glass, lamps, cabinet goos, papier machie ditto, electro plate, superb Bohemian glass ornaments, jet goods in endless variety, and every description of fancy articles suitable for presents". This conveys the general idea.
Hester's mother died on 2 Jun 1872, aged 83, at her home in Godalming High Street. She was buried on 8 Jun 1872 in Nightingale Cemetery, Godalming, in the consecrated section.
Hester died on 26 Aug 1885, aged 75, at her home, Havelock House, in Godalming High Street. She was buried on 31 Aug 1885 in Nightingale Cemetery, Godalming, in the consecrated section - probably with her mother, but the grave number is missing from the record. Her executors were Juliana Elizabeth Louisa Panchaud of Havelock House, spinster, and Martha Foskett of 3 Harts Lane, Godalming, widow. Her estate was worth about £724.
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