Christian Watt

Other names: 
Her married surname was Sim.
24 February 1833-1923

Christian Watt was born on 24 February 1833 at 72 Broadsea, Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, the seventh of the eight children of James Watt (1787–1868), fisherman, and his wife, Helen Noble (1788–1860).

She started work as a domestic servant aged eight, and at eleven went with the Broadsea fishermen to the west coast to gut and cook herring. At sixteen she went to London and worked as a domestic servant there.

In 1856 she travelled to America in order to receive money from the legacy of her late brother. Once there she worked as a tablemaid for a wealthy American family.

She returned to Fraserburgh home and married fisherman James Sim on 2 December 1858. They had nine children, James, Peter, George, Joseph, twins Isabella and Andrew, Hellen, Isaac, Mary. In 1874 her son Peter was drowned at sea and in 1876 her son, Joseph, died of tetanus. She was widowed in 1877, when her husband drowned at sea. Another son and a daughter died subsequently.

In 1877 Watt was admitted to the Royal Aberdeen Asylum, the first of three admissions, the last of which was permanent. Whilst there she wrote a vivid account of her life.

Christian Watt died on 20 June 1923, aged ninety.

D Fraser (ed) "The Christian Watt Papers" 1983