Susannah Woolmer was born in December 1851 in Brighton. She was the fourth child of James and Susannah. During her childhood the family lived at various addresses in the St James's Street area of Brighton. However in 1871 she was working as a domestic servant for the Chapman family in North Road, Brighton. The Chapmans were Wine Merchants and in the census records of 1871, in addition to Allan and Eliza Chapman (the head of the family), there were 6 children - 4 sons and 2 daughters. Susannah is listed as being the only servant at the house. During her employment it seems likely, although no firm records can be found, that Susannah had an illicit affair with one of the Chapman sons with the result that Susannah fell pregnant in February 1874. It was an enormous social stigma to be an unmarried mother at this time, especially if the father of the child was a member of the employing family. The result was that Susannah was sent to the workhouse to end her confinement and she gave birth to James Ernest Woolmer on 26 October 1874. His birth certificate has no record of his father's name or details and it is likely that Susannah herself was illiterate at this time as the registration is recorded only by her mark with the place of residence being the Brighton Workhouse. The Elm Grove Workhouse The foundation stone at the new workhouse on Race Hill at Elm Grove in Brighton was finally laid on 11th April, 1865. Two and a half years later, on 12th September 1867, the building was finished at a cost of £41,000. Soon afterwards, all the inmates were transferred from the Church Hill workhouse, with the old building was demolished soon afterwards. The vacant site was then sold off for the construction of prestige housing. The sale of the land and materials raised £42,000, providing the Guardians with an overall profit of £1,000 on their transfer from one workhouse site to another. he new workhouse was designed by the London firm of JC & G Lansdown of Charing Cross, in conjunction with local man George Maynard. he impressive main block at the north of the site, was T-shaped in plan. Its frontage was four storeys with a central clock tower. The building was divided into separate sections for male and female inmates by means of iron gates in the corridors. The building employed a system of artificial ventilation. he projecting wing at the centre of the main block included a large chapel. An infirmary was located the south-west of the site, with a lunatics' block to its east. ther blocks included casual blocks, and foul and fever wards at the north-east of the workhouse. In 1880, three acres of land was purchased to the west of the workhouse on which new casual wards were erected in 1885, followed by infirmary pavilions at the south-west.