Week 8 of #52ancestors is an easy one for me – Courting. Now I get chance to share with you some of the letters my granny wrote to my grandad during 1935/36/37 whilst courting.
My granny was born Edith Evelyn Mary Terry on 19 October 1911 in Lingfield, Surrey to Albert Terry and his wife, Emily. Albert Terry was a Post Office Clerk at Lingfield Post Office where he later became the Post Master. By 1911 when Edith arrived,Albert and Emily had been married for 3 years and already had a son, Harold aged 1.
Edith and Harold were later joined by Winifred and Maurice (known as John). All the children did stints for the Post Office, Edith and Winifred both worked as Telephonists at East Grinstead and Edith at Gibraltar Tower, Heathfield. Harold later ran Lingfield Post Office and the last time I visited the Family History Centre in Lingfield, a group of elderly genealogists shared their memories of him. When Edith was at Heathfield, she presumably visited the Brethren chapel at Three Cups which is where she would have met my grandad, Ronald Charles Pilbeam who lived with his family at Rushford Farm.
The letters that she wrote are very chatty, in the days before email, text and mobile phones. They talk about her work in the Post Office, list the wedding presents as they arrived, visits to relatives, and later just before the wedding, cooking for the wedding reception.
“We have a new girl in the Post Office
started Monday. she is the daughter
of the East Grinstead Official who
did all the business of getting me
to Heathfield so I ought to like her
didn’t I? She is learning the work
to get in the East Grinstead office.
Donald, our clerk, went to London
yesterday for the Civil Service exam
He thinks he did well.”
She talks of putting calls through by telephone, date stamping tickets and other Post Office chores.
The letter dated 2 days before they married on 7 August 1937 at the Lingfield Mission Room lists some of the 89 wedding presents received:
“A tablecloth from Mr and Mrs Mummery
A Duchess set from a cousin at Ealing
A set of Dessert spoons and serve from an aunt in Hove
A combined work and afternoon tea table from the Gates
A marmalade jar from Miss Peters
A pickle spoon and fork from Miss Lambert
An afternoon tablecloth from Mrs Oliver
A tea pot and stand from Mrs Dean
A paste stand from Mrs Thorpe
A butter dish from Mrs Rose
Two towels and three tea cloths from Madge Deaton”
Some of those items I need to go and google, I have no idea what a paste stand is.
She signed that letter “from your own little Duckie bird”.
An interesting insight into a person, who was elderly when I knew her and serves as a reminder that our elderly relatives were once young and had different lives to those that we know they live. I often wish that I had taken more note of some of the stories told to me by my grandparents of their families, the people now lost in the mists of time.