The Story Behind Wallis Russell

By now if you follow a certain blog by Caren you will know I have crafted her a ‘Heritage Rabbit’ as a proviso for the lovely buttons she donated to me, I thought it would be fun to have a little bio on Wallis Russell the ‘Workhouse Rabbit’ and I was once told that in every story you tell there should be a little truth to give it depth and credibility, the names George / Martha / Wallis and North End Farm are fictitious and should be seen as purely coincidental in their representation, whereas all the other information is true.

I enclosed this letter to Caren I hope it made her smile
I enclosed this letter to Caren  to give her an insight to the life Wallis had lived so far – I hope you can read it !!!

I love social history, how the lives of our forefathers shaped our own, so now for the truthful elements of my letter that accompanied Wallis to her new life

Southwell Workhouse is indeed real, and while my ancestors didn't reside in this workhouse 3 members of my family were interred to such a facility
Southwell Workhouse is indeed real, and while my ancestors didn’t reside in this workhouse 3 members of my family were interred to such a facility

I did a little research into Southwell’s records to make sure no Wallis was noted so as not to cause distress to any living relatives.

Mrs Alice Nix was my Great, Great Grandmother and did indeed live with her daughter and the family were employed as farm labourers & domestic servants, although they didn’t live in Navenby I do have ancestors from that village, I also had ancestors who were evicted from tied cottages, even the part about a child being released as an apprentice from the workhouse happened.

So this is Wallis Russell, oh and the sheep ?? well I knitted that as I know Caren had a *thing* about sheep a while ago, and I think the duo make a cute couple
So this is Wallis Russell, oh and the sheep ?? well I knitted that as I know Caren had a *thing* about sheep a while ago, and I think the duo make a cute couple

I hope this gives a little glimpse as to my inspiration for my latest ‘Heritage Rabbit’

Mrs T’s post and photos of her meeting with Wallis is an absolute delight, and I just know Wallis will settle down to her new life as her apprentice with a warm heart

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30 thoughts on “The Story Behind Wallis Russell

  1. Dear Roma,
    I thought your letter was so original and a really lovely accompanying touch…though knowing now just how much is actually true fact, makes your wonderful gift even more special ❤
    Wallis and Lamb has settled in so quickly and have been so helpful with my latest project…they've been the centre of my attention for the past couple of days ;-)..more on that soon !!! 😀

      1. It’s an odd perspective to try and put one’s self in really, but I hope there might be something ?! I’d like to think if anyone read up about me…they’d at least say, ”….she tried…!!” LOL 😀

  2. OMG!!!! The sheep is so adorable!!! That rabbit reminds me of this programme I used to watch that had rabbits in it. I can’t remember the name of it. But it’s so sweet! I love finding out history like that as well. It make sit more special.

    1. Aww thanks Jess, if only I had asked more questions about my family when I was a kid, at the time it didn’t seem important but now there are lots of things I’d love to know !!

      1. I love your creations! I know it’s always the same. My Mum is doing her family tree on her Mum’s side and she has gone back to the 1800s. It’s crazy! We have so many cousins but it’s interesting to what she found out. One of my great uncle’s or it was two can’t remember but they were involved in the IRA.

      2. Just think everything we are doing now will be history to our future generations ..not sure if that is a good thought or not LOL

      3. I know it’s exciting even though some things I would like to forget that I think is very embarrassing. ha! But it would be amazing to do something now and when people are looking at the history they will think “wow”

  3. I LOVE reading snippets of social history like this, it makes you grateful for the world we live in today – how awful you imagine life in the workhouse was. Such a lovely thought to enclose such a letter in with Wallis.

    1. Southwell Workhouse was still in use right up till the 1990’s to provide accommodation for mothers & children – either single mothers or those running away from abusive relationships, for me 1990 doesn’t seem that long ago !!!

    1. Wallis must be relived to be living with a family once more, the workhouse must have seemed particularity hard for a child, especially when you know the rest of your family are unable to care for you due to financial restraints,

      1. So true! It can be tempting to think things were all rosy back in the day, but I think we all too often forget that there’s a lot to be said for modern medicine, hygiene and living conditions!

  4. Loved the social history and I’m so glad Wallis has found a new home. I have no idea of the stories of my ancestors, although I hope to be able to do some research when I visit the UK. I have lost all of the generation above me- from large families on both sides and nowadays one of my constant refrains is “Ask, while there’s someone to ask.”
    love the sheep!

    1. My family tree has hit a few setbacks as my paternal side is from Scotland and they don’t publish any documentation it has to be done in person, and Beloveds family tree is a nightmare it doesn’t help that his G Grandfather was a bigamist with 2 families !!!

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