British Royal nannies with their royal charges.

The Norland Nannies in 1892.  Britain’s Norland College graduates are almost exclusively those picked as nannies for British royal children.

Current Norland Nannies.

Irish born Margaretta Eagar with the Romanov Grand Duchesses Tatiana, Anastasia, Olga, & Maria c. 1902.

Margaretta was born in the city of Limerick in 1863, trained as a nurse in Belfast, and became a nanny to the Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II’s children at the age of 35.  She died in 1936 at the age of 73 still grieving for the children she had adored, killed (murdered) during the Russian revolution of 1917-18.

A Victorian nanny takes a break.

Other nannies taking a break.

I wouldn’t mind pushing that gorgeous baby carriage around.  I used to love pushing my babies in a wonderful perambulator my Grandma Louise gave me when my first babe was born!  ‘No great grandchild of hers was going to be pushed around in something nearly on the ground’, she said – referring to the sleeper-strollers of the day.


I did have this sleeper-stroller, but it was only used as a stroller, never a ‘sleeper’ except once when I was visiting my Mom and only because I couldn’t fit the perambulator in the Karmann Ghia which is too bad because the body of it made into a marvelous car-bed back when those things weren’t frowned on.  But there was no way I could fit the perambulator's wheel base in that little sports car!






Our son in the sleeper-stroller at 4 months old at my Mom’s house.





The wonderful perambulator from my Grandma.  Warm, cozy, and it rolled like a Cadillac!





It also made a perfect ‘cradle’.  Easy to bounce gently, and if I wanted it to rock, I could take the body off the wheel base and attach it to a rocker base.  Rather nifty!






But getting back to nannies: It’s a wonder the baby didn’t fall out of this carriage!

This nanny’s duties included a fun break although I wonder how easy it was or wasn't to push that buggy out into the sand?

“Mrs. Jelly” (or Mrs. Jelby – not sure which?  My Grandma Louise’s writing in very light pencil on the back of the picture is difficult to read) “married a month” holding my mother, Lillian Adelle Whitney.  I’m not sure who Mrs. “J” was exactly?  I know my Grandma worked so she may have been a nanny/babysitter for my Mom?  It’s a nice old photo, though, and this seemed like a good place to share it.

My mother had a nanny/babysitter for me when I was a baby and she was working.  One day my ‘nanny’ took me out for a boat ride on the Sacramento River with a friend – miles from home.  Oopsie!  That was the end of that babysitter and soon thereafter, Mom became a stay-at-home Mom!

Mrs. Noami Hill wasn’t a nanny exactly, but she was our regular babysitter when we needed one and babysat with all three of our children as they came along.  Here she’s holding our eldest daughter with our son by her side in 1972.  Youngest daughter was a year and a half away yet.






Naomi put me in mind of another nannie – a famous nannie by the name of “Mrs. Doubtfire” aka Robin Williams.

Then there’s Emma Thompson as “Nanny McPhee”






And Julie Andrews as “Mary Poppins”. The “Mary Poppins” character was actually a governess which is a little different from a nanny in that governesses must be able to teach as well as take care of their charges.






Fran Drescher played a nanny on the TV show “The Nanny” which ran from 1993-1999!

And Debora Kerr starred in the 1956 movie “The King & I” as Anna Leonowens, governess to the King of Siam’s children.




The real Anna Herriette Leonowens





Harvey Korman played the part of “Mother Marcus” on the Carol Burnett show.  She was the town gossip, a would-be seer, and certainly looked the epitome of a comic nanny, but I’m not sure she was?





Harvey also played the part of Cinderella’s fairy God Mother in a Carol Burnett skit which could be construed as a sort-of crazy secret nanny? 


La Nightingail

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Mike Brubaker | Reply 16.11.2020 20:28

So many starched aprons! How did they keep so clean? Think those older nannies could jog behind those Cadillac buggies like the moms of today do? With 2 kids?

Barb Rogers | Reply 15.11.2020 11:53

Great to think of who raised all those children in so many families. Me too, as a working single mom, and my mom who worked (while married).

Kathy | Reply 14.11.2020 15:02

I learned a few things from the older photos. All great!

Molly of Molly's Canopy | Reply 14.11.2020 09:29

Interesting post. Domestic workers in the U.S. are often seen taking an outdoor break like those shown here. Many have unionized to safeguard their rights.

Susan | Reply 13.11.2020 19:28

Such a terrific post. A real tribute to childcare and a chronicle of how it's changed.

I like how you included media nannies. There were so many in the past.

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17.01 | 19:47

Clever! I often use an umbrella and hate the cheap ones. The better ones won't blow up in a gust of wind. The best keep the rain off but let the wind through.

17.01 | 09:27

I've always gone for the 'different' in things including umbrellas. The only time I want plain anything is if it's because it matches something else. :)

17.01 | 09:22

Hey - I'll leave it to you - coming up with UMBERella! Clever and I wish I'd thought of it! :) The only thing about some of those fancy umbrellas is cost! $$$

17.01 | 08:00

What a selection! I love the teal and umber, the bow top and the chickens. My umbrellas are solid color. Need to try one of these!

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