Mother Westman's Cottage
Mother Westman’s cottage was a private infant school. There have been approximately 40 similar infant schools in Jakobstad. Particularly girls and women without access to suitable jobs in the town earned a living as teachers. There were also male schoolmasters, but in relative small numbers. For many, as for Mother Westman, teaching was the only way to make a living.
Mother Westman’s school existed between 1794 and 1828.
The reason for Mother Westman’s Cottage being the only private infant school in Jakobstad to be preserved for posterity is that it was Johan Ludvig Runeberg’s first school. After all, there were many similar schools in the town.
Mother Westman's cottage is open by agreement.
Anna Lena Envaldia, or Mother Westman, was born in 1744 and came to Jakobstad from Sweden.
She first worked as a maid at Rosenlund rectory and got married in 1776 with sailor Johan Westman. The couple had two sons. She was widowed in 1785 when Johan perished in the Bay of Biscay.
Becoming a widow was a cruel fate shared by many women in the seafaring town of Jakobstad. Perhaps the thought of running a school occurred to Anna Lena already then. It is known that she started with teaching weaving. Her mother-in-law was also a seaman’s widow and Anna Lena’s son Anders Johan followed in his family’s footsteps and went to sea. He too disappeared at sea, leaving a young wife and a son. Anna Lena Westman was left to pull the heaviest load for the support of the family.
At the of 80 in 1824, she received gilded silver spoon by Finska hushållningssällskapet.