Anna Underwood (Mrs Lapsley)

Like Elizabeth Burn (Mrs Nourse), Anna Underwood (Mrs Lapsley) was a widow who long outlived her husband and ran a business in the New Town of Edinburgh for much of the nineteenth century. She gives the impression of a fierce businesswoman, separating her affairs from those of her insolvent son, and dying wealthy.

- 29 November 1872
Mr Daniel Underwood of Colchester
Jean Green (4)
186 Rose Street. After her husband's death her business was established from 1847 to 1872 at 24 South Castle Street.
From 1830 she ran the perfumer and hairdresser business of her husband. Briefly, from 1841-2, she ran the business jointly with her son James, but by 1843 they were in competition, for several years a few doors apart on Hanover Street until in 1847 she settled at South Castle Street. Her son James went bankrupt in 1843, and her will suggests she was tired of subsudising his family: 'I declare that I have left no legacies to the two younger children of the said James Lapsley solely on account of my having expended large sums on their maintenance and education.'
Wealth at death
£3897. She had considerable shareholdings in the Caledonian Railway, Edinburgh Perth and Dundee Railway, and Edinburgh Gas Company. She banked with the Commercial Bank. She had portraits of her father and husband.
Chapel connection
1817, marriage
Married on
25 November 1817
James Lapsley
Jemima Anne, Daniel Underwood, William Ferguson.


  1. Registers of Charlotte Chapel (NAS CH12/3)
  2. Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1818
  3. Anna Underwood's Will and Inventory, National Archives of Scotland, SC70/4/143/67 and SC70/1/160/845
  4. Ancestry message boards, Rootsweb, accessed 24 January 2012

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