My mother had somehow known we should go away for the weekend. It was during the war and I vividly remember our return to Lavender Hill on Sunday afternoon. We couldn’t get into our street; we were told four houses had been hit by a bomb. Ours was one. Amazingly, no one had been killed. Apart from some photos my mother had put in a biscuit tin and my dolls in a cardboard box, we lost everything.
I was born in 1922 in Tyneham Road Battersea. I had a twin sister who died at birth. I was very thin for my first year and was taken to the Mothercraft Training School in Earl’s Court. They advised a ‘peanut emulsion’ and I put on a stone in a year. My brother was 3 years younger. I got a trade scholarship and became a dress maker, working at House of Worth in Mayfair. I have always made clothes and still have my mother’s sewing machine – she had been a milliner.
I was called up and joined the ATS, and went to Yorkshire, working for 4 years as a telephonist. I hadn’t wanted to go, but it was an experience and I made friends. I ended up a corporal. So much changed after the war. There had always been lots going on at the Church of the Ascension in Lavender Hill, it was so happy. It was never the same after.
I married Arthur in Holy Trinity Church Paddington, and we moved to Isleworth in 1959, to the house where I still live. He worked for BOAC at Heathrow. By then I was with a company making cycle chains, starting as telephonist, ending in charge of the cash.
Arthur was a church warden at St John’s. I was brought up in a high church world and love the ritual. I used to go to Walsingham, where I sometimes helped with signing. I’ve met lots of people through the church. And where would we be without Jesus Christ?