100 Years in Twickenham

Vera Wetton is the oldest resident in Atfield House, born on 12th August 1913. Tom Interviewed her

My earliest memory is when I was aged 4, seeing a Zeppelin airship going over, on a bombing raid. I was standing by the porch at home in Twickenham. It looked enormous. I also remember my mother being worried having to leave me while she went to queue for food (during the war, there was rationing.) I was an only child and while she was out, I’d play with my dolls, pretending they were in school.

When the war ended, there were lots of celebrations. I remember we had a street party. My father was one of 7 boys. He was a bus driver and in the reserves. The others all fought, and 2 were killed. Everyone knew young men who were dying in the fighting.

Due to an unfortunate mix up of dates, I did not take the 11 plus. So when I left school at 14 ½, I got job as a typist with Pouparts who were in the next road. They were a well known company, jam makers.

During the 2nd World War I was working as a short hand typist at Chrysler motors in Kew. They made parts for Halifax bombers and so were a target for night bombing. We all took our turn at watch, and one night 5 on duty at the gate were killed in a raid.

Obviously, a lot has changed in my lifetime. My house in Elmsleigh Road in 1926 cost me £740. I have always lived in Twickenham (but never been to the stadium.) Because of the river, much of Twickenham feels the same, even if it has become much more international.

I had a wonderful 100th birthday at Brinsworth House, a home for retired actors. A friend knew I love donkeys and arranged for a couple of them to be in the grounds outside.