29 September 2009

Grandma's birthday

As you may have gathered from the title, today was my grandmother's birthday. She was born in the village of Stretham, Cambs, in 1889, the youngest daughter (and seventh of eight children) of Isaac & Emma and christened at St James' church in July the following year.

Sadly, Emma died in 1895 and Isaac could not look after the children so the two oldest daughters were sent to Nottingham (hopefully to relatives, although I have no way of knowing!) and the three younger children went to live with Isaac's sister in Ely. I have always assumed that the two oldest boys were sort of left in Stretham to make their own way, as ag labs or whatever. Certainly, son number two joined the army as a regular at some point - possibly then, he would have been about 16.

In 1896, my grandmother and her two brothers were enrolled at the Infants School in Market Street in Ely (now the Citizens Advice Bureau) and they are all living with their aunt's family in Nutholt Lane in the 1901 census.

Family legend has it that grandma worked in Worthing at some point and the 1911 was able to confirm this! If only all family legends worked out that simply, eh! She was, indeed, at the Dolling Memorial Home in Worthing, as a domestic housemaid. After this, she moved to Biggleswade and, still in service, became the cook for the Maythorn family in the small market town.

And then . . . . . she met my grandfather (which is more than I did). They lived in St John's Street in Biggleswade until his death in 1957, with grandma moving to Back Street at some point in the early 1970s, I think.

Just 18 months short of her telegram from the Queen, grandma died in Biggleswade in 1988 and was buried alongside her husband in the town cemetery, on one of the coldest days in Christendom. I add the last bit because I was there and it was snowing.

More soon.

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