Here is the update of my search for the elusive Queenie Scott-Hopper. I had discovered that she was born in a country home in County Durham in 1881 in to a legal family, that she was a friend of Joseph Shipley, a great benefactor of my home town of Gateshead, for whom she wrote a touching poem on his death and I found a report in an obscure American newspaper that she had committed suicide in 1924 at Whitley Bay, Northumberland.
That seemed to be an end to it, as my searches of genealogical sources found no Scott-Hoppers in the counties of Durham or Northumberland. I was beginning to think that Queenie had adopted a pen-name and I would never find her real identity. Then I had a stroke of luck, if you can call laboriously scrolling through over 300 entries in Google Books for Scott-Hopper, luck. I found a reference to one, Robert Scott Hopper (no hyphen), solicitor. He was born in Gateshead and lived there for some time until he moved to Whitley Bay. I went straight back to Ancestry and discovered that he lived in an area of Gateshead which then would have been classed as countryside although it is now very much part of the Tyneside conurbation. He was living there in 1881 when Queenie was born but by 1901 he had moved to Whitley Bay and listed as living with him was a daughter aged 19 which would match Queenie's age. Was this the elusive Queenie? The evidence was only circumstantial but I believed I had found her. Then, the real stroke of luck, I found an entry in the UK census in for 1911 under the household of Robert Scott Hopper which read "Mabel Olive Hopper - literateuress." I can't find that word in any dictionary but its implication is clear and sounds better than writer.
Her poems and stories seem to have remained popular long after her death and she has appeared in anthologies alongside much more famous poets, including Christina Rossetti. She regularly featured in collections compiled for use in schools right up until the early sixties when tastes changed dramatically.
She also wrote historical articles for various periodicals and her subjects included Collingwood, Grace Darling, and the Dukes of Northumberland. She was involved with several projects which involved setting some of her poems to music (thanks, William, for that one) and produced at least one volume of "sacred" poetry, of which, one reviewer wrote, "Who will say after reading "Without the Sanctuary" by Queenie Scott-Hopper that the gift of sacred poetry has departed?"
There is evidence, though again circumstantial, that she may have been blind in later years. A snippet from Google Books says "Written by Miss Queenie Scott-Hopper, after reading a letter written by Mr. Walker who, as I told you, is himself blind".
Writing was not her only interest as records show that Queenie was a member of the Northumberland Natural History Society and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
One of Queenie's sisters Editha Gladys Kirsten Hopper was awarded the Joseph Cowan Memorial Prize for 1911 at King's College, now Newcastle University, which must have been quite an achievement for a woman in those distant days. She had also adopted the Scott-Hopper affectation.