The Victoria Lodging House (later known as the Victoria Hostel), West Port, Edinburgh
By
Jennifer Carnell

The Victoria Lodging House was run by the Rodger family at 85 West Port from the late 1860s until at least 1912.

The lodging house opened at 85 West Port in 1848 and the kitchen of the building was once the house of William Burke, the notorious bodysnatcher of Burke and Hare infamy. It was owned by a charitable association and was the first of the Victoria Lodging Houses; the aim was to provid low cost accomodation for working men. William and Margaret Rodger became the superintendants of the lodging house in the 1860s and ran the house with the assistance of Margaret's mother Isabella Grosset and, later, with assistance from their children from the Rodger and Anderson families.

William Rodger and Margaret Crawford Reid 's children together and from previous marriages were:

1. William Williams Rodger: born in Edinburgh in 1857, he married Susan Irvine. He was the son of William and his first wife Isabella Innes Williams.
2. Thomas Williams Rodger: born in Edinburgh in 1860. He was the son of William and his first wife Isabella Innes Williams.
3. John Anderson: John Anderson was born in Edinburgh in 1860 and he became a merchant seaman. He was the son of Margaret and her first husband William Anderson. He died at sea on the S.S. Manchuria in 1917. John Anderson's son was called William Anderson Rodger and he went firstly to America and later to New South Wales, Australia.
4. Elizabeth Grosset Anderson: Elizabeth Anderson was born in 1862.
5. Barbara Todd Richardson Rodger: Barbara was born in Edinburgh in 1863, Edinburgh.
6. Thomas Reid Anderson: Thomas was born in Edinburgh in 1864.
7. Isabella Rodger: Isabella was born in Edinburgh in 1865. She married John Tait Glendinning and after years of ill health died in 1910.
8. William Anderson: William Anderson was born in Edinburgh in 1865. William Anderson disappeared and was declared legally dead in 1914.
9. James Richardson Rodger: James Richardson Rodger (my great grandfather) was born in Edinburgh in 1868. He married Margaret Wright, the daughter of Mary Bruce (twin sister of Christian Bruce) and Matthew Wright, in Greenock. His second wife was Nancy Mercer Crichton. He later lived at Victoria Lodge, Heriot Gardens, Burntisland.
10. Margaret Crawford Rodger: Margaret Rodger was born in Edinburgh in 1871. She married James Fewell (sometimes spelt James Fuell), the son of Christian Bruce (the twin sister of Mary Bruce, whose daughter Margaret Wright married James Richardson Rodger) and Sergeant James Fewell of the 17th Lancers. In the 1900s Margaret Rodger (Margaret Crawford Rodger's mother) lent James Fewell the money to start a new career at the Trust Tavern (later known as the the Gothenburg) in Prestonpans, Scotland.
11. Robert Grosset Rodger: Robert Rodger was born in Edinburgh in 1877.
12. Jessie Mackintosh Rodger: Jessie was born in Edinburgh in 1879.

James Richardson Rodger was my great grandfather. His first wife was Margaret Wright, the daughter of Matthew Wright and Mary Bruce of Greenock (Mary Bruce came from Boddam and was the daughter of William Bruce and Margaret Stephen), and the sister of William Bruce Wright (chemist, married Agnes Craig and was the father of Dr. Agnes Barrie Bruce Wright and Marie Stephen Bruce Wright), Matthew Wright and John Wright.

James Richardson had several children: the two children from his first marriage were William Rodger and Mary Bruce Rodger (my grandmother, who married Frank John Carnell); and the children from his second marriage were James Richardson Rodger (who I believe was an officer or captain in the Ben Line merchant navy, possibly on the Benlawers or Benvannoch, and may have later lived in Kirkcaldy), David Crichton Rodger (died as a child), June Sheila Rodger (married James Lind of Glasgow) and Nancy Mercer Crichton Rodger (married James Alexander Swan of Kirkcaldy). I would love to hear any news of my Scottish relatives.

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