SIX GENERATIONS by Louise Hoare
Here follows the autobiography of Louise Hoare, printed privately in 1954. Louise Hoare was born in 1875 and spent much time in Cromer. Her writing is very much of her time and of her place as a member of the Hoare family, the best known of whom is probably Sir Samuel Hoare, government minister between the wars and ambassador in Spain during the Second World War. She writes openly of her family and its many memberss and from it all there is a strong picture of society life in Cromer in the first part of the 20th century.
We have included the full text, though as you are coming to this as part of the 'Cromer Dictionary', perhpas the Cromer material will be of greatest interest. The town has a chapter to itself, chapter III, but it is never far from the author's mind in other sections.
There are occasional errors in her text, either through a memory lapse or perhaps a transcription error, but they do not detract from the strength of the picture conveyed.The text we have used is annotated by a family descendant, Verily Anderson Paget, and where appropriate we have included her notes as VAP. Where other notes might be helpful, these are unattributed. Text with these forms of notes is highlighted and the comment is revealed if you 'hover' over it.
My parents, Richard and Susan Hoare, lived in London for some years. They then moved into Hertfordshire, taking their four children with them. They rented one of Lord Cowper's many places, Marden, between Hertford and Welwyn, where we lived for over 35 years. It was a delightful home for us all, standing on a hill with a long view over the River Minram and the valley below the hill to the distant woods beyond. It had a large old-fashioned garden filled with fruit, flowers and vegetables. We had our own woods and home farm and life there was very happy and free. A trout stream was a great pleasure to the family and to the various friends and relations who stayed with us. I was born in 1875 when they had lived there about five years.
Looking back on life there seemed almost perfect happiness. Dogs, rabbits, a succession of tame birds, a pigeon which never left me day or night, a tame duck who waited for me by the garden gate and followed me everywhere, a raven, and, best of all, horses and ponies to ride and drive. We were all put on to ponies as soon as we could walk and very soon allowed to ride about the country lanes alone. Lord Cowper's lovely park, Panshanger, was next to Marden and he gave us the right to ride or walk wherever we pleased. Hatfield, Woodall, Goldings, Bayfordbury, Tewin Water and all the neighbours' places were thrown open to us. In those days you could ride for miles in Hertfordshire and never meet anyone or even see a house. There were large woods with grass rides, fields and private parks. At Marden we had two beautiful lime avenues and I can still hear in imagination the rooks cawing and the bees buzzing in the trees. The herd of Jersey cows and the flock of sheep in the park seemed part of the whole scene. Every Sunday we all tramped up one of the avenues across some fields to Little Tewin Church standing on a hill. It was famous for Lady Anne Grimston's tomb, seven trees having grown out of her grave. The legend said that she had not believed in the resurrection. "If there is such a thing", she said, "seven trees will grow out of my grave". My parents, two brothers, two sisters, two nephews and two sisters-in-law are all buried in Tewin Churchyard. There is a memorial window to my parents in the Church and a small slab in memory of my sister Helen. The last part of our life at Marden we had a most delightful rector, Dr. Nairne. He afterwards became a celebrated theologian and writer.
My mother died when I was nine, after a long and sad illness (paralysis). I was very much frightened by her illness and still more by her death which was rather terrible for a child to see. My eldest brother, Douro, fetched me down from my bed one night-I remember being surprised that he carried me-I had on a blue dressing gown and clung to him in terror. I sat on his knees while we all watched round the bed to see her die; I can picture the scene as if it were yesterday. Then came the funeral in Tewin Churchyard. I begged not to goo but one of my aunts told me I should always be sorry when I was older if I had stayed away. The crowd of relations and friends and village people, the tolling bell, the snow on the ground and the bitter cold impressed me most morbidly, and leaving her alone in the cold and the snow seemed very sad.
So we were left, my father broken-hearted, my eldest brother, Douro, about 21, having just finished Cambridge, Helen, 19, a very wonderful character, Mary a year younger, Dick at Winchester and myself. Helen at once took everything on to herself, helping to comfort my father, looking after me, making a home for the other three, also managing a large house and all the servants. She took on all my mother's work in the village, Mothers Meetings and other activities. She was completely unselfish and never had much fun and gaiety. She had to be old before her time and never spared herself or thought of herself. Our aunts were very kind and helpful but Helen had the full burden and a very busy life. Douro went into the London business, Hoare Miller, and lived at home, Dick went to Cambridge and after that he lived at home and started work on the Stock Exchange. They all went up and down to London by train-we were only 25 miles from London. One of us usually rode to the station with my father in the early morning. The house was generally filled with relations and friends. As we grew older we all had our own friends to stay and the house was very gay with many young people. The neighbours were many and very friendly and pleasant. Douro and Dick and Henry Abel Smith later kept a pack of Harriers: they and my father also hunted with the Hertfordshire.
I had the same nurse for 40 years, "Warner". I was very devoted to her and she to me for .she had had me from the month. She was a strange creature in many ways but a very faithful and devoted friend to all of us. Life was very different then to the present days, so much more peaceful and quiet, no telephone, no motors, no wireless. Even telegrams had to come three miles from Hertford, the nearest town. There seemed more time then for family and friends and neighbours, not the same rush that goes on nowadays. If we went to London for the day we took a hansom-cab from Kings Cross Station, or possibly a very slow horse-drawn bus. I remember my father saying that he did not like the idea of his daughters going in a dirty bus. We never wept alone to London or out in London. If there were not two of us, a maid or governess always dragged along with us. I hated London after the free country life where I went where I liked to be by myself: it seemed so crowded. The six weeks we spent there every year were a penance to me.
At Marden I used to spend a good deal of my time in the village, playing with the babies, sitting with the old or ill people. They were all great friends and I loved being with them. It was good background for a child to learn how other people lived and to be going in and out of their houses as a friend. I know it has helped me in my later life to be brought up to take friends poorer than myself in my stride. My mother started and my sister Helen went on with this and encouraged me to help her as much as a child could. We had a curate-in-charge in those days, Mr. Nightingale. He gave me jobs to do and with his help we started a village library, Scripture Union, C.M.S. sales and other interests. When my brother Dick was away or at school I was often alone and enjoyed a most independent life. My sisters were out and Helen had very little time to spare though she was always there when any of us wanted her. My father depended very much on her and talked over all his business worries and affairs with her. He was a very good father. to us all and a very fine character.
I think I will close this Marden chapter for the moment and go back to stories of my parents' homes and families told me by my father. We had long walks and rides together and he loved to talk of old times. They were of great interest to us all.
My father came of Quaker stock, his mother was Louisa Gurney, one of the Earlham Gurneys and sister of Elizabeth Fry, the prison reformer. His father was Samuel Hoare and he and his wife did a good deal behind the scenes to help Elizabeth Fry's work. They had a large family whose names can be read on the slab in Cromer Church.
Children of Samuel Hoare
1. SAMUEL - died young of T.B. He married Miss Hankinson and had two daughters, Louisa (Hamond) and Priscilla (Hardcastle). Though they were my father's nieces they were very little younger than he was. Their mother was married a second time to Sir Edward Parry, one of the first Arctic explorers. We had a painting of a ship stuck in ice floes which was his first ship. It hung in the drawing-room in North Lodge, my father's Cromer house. I do not know what became of it.
2. GURNEY, who married Caroline Barclay. He was father of Sir Samuel Hoare, the father of the present Lord Templewood. They lived, as had my grandparents, at Hampstead but owned a good deal of land at Cromer and along the Norfolk coast. Their house was the Cliff House (which is now a hotel). I think my great-grandfather bought the Cliff House. It was always said to be haunted by the ghost of a little grey man, an old doctor who had once owned it. He was supposed to appear when anyone was dying. Certainly one of the family asked me who the new doctor was and why he wore grey clothes. The path and slope below the house are still called "Doctor's Steps". Uncle Gurney had a large family all of whom were very little younger than my father. Anna, the eldest daughter, was my father's best friend and very good to all of us children.
3. EDWARD. He left the Society of Friends and was ordained into the Church of England. He was a very holy evangelical preacher, wrote many books and kept us all in order. I remember the great impression he made on me preaching in Cromer Church. He was then a very old man and quite blind. Edward married a Miss Brodie and had a good many children. I have quite lost touch with his many descendants. He had a large parish at Tunbridge Wells for many years. I remember staying there and meeting a black Bishop. I must have been very young for when the black Bishop stooped to kiss me I ran screaming from the room - I had never seen a black man before. It was very wrong of me as our family have always stood as champions of the coloured races. One of Uncle Edward's sons, Joseph, was Bishop of Hong Kong and was drowned in a typhoon. Joseph's name is on a slab in Cromer Church.
4. ELIZABETH. My father's sister married a clergyman, John Patteson. They worked for years in a very poor London parish, Spitalfields, and then, as their children grew older, they moved to Thorpe, near Norwich. They were always very good to us and we loved them both, also their family. Aunt Bessie was very motherly and understanding and had such a great sense of humour. She often spoke her thoughts aloud by mistake. One day in Church she said, "If that Curate goes on a moment longer I shall leave the Church". Another time old Mr. Fitch, the Cromer Vicar, took her to see the plans of the new Church Chancel. He said very sadly, "I shall only see it from above". "Why", she said, "they cannot be going to ruin this lovely church with a gallery". The Pattesons had two sons, Frank and Carlos. They both married Hamonds, grandchildren of my eldest uncle Samuel Hoare and so their first cousins once removed. Frank had two daughters and one son. The old Pattesons had three daughters, Caroline (who married the Bishop of Norwich's son, Sydney Pelham) and Kathleen, who did not marry. Kathleen was a great favourite with all the young people and we enjoyed staying there. I used to go to Thorpe and visit Aunt Bessie and Uncle Pat and was made a great deal of by them all. My sister Helen found Aunt Bessie a very great comfort and help to her after our mother died. All the Pattesons died years ago and only Frank's widow and children are living. Frank worked in my father's business, Hoare Miller, in India. When Frank and his family returned they bought a house at Coltishall near Norwich. The old Pattesons also had a third daughter, Alice, whom I do not remember. She married Joseph Hoare, Uncle Edward's son and her first cousin: she died in China when her first baby was born. Joseph married again and his daughter Dorothy was a missionary in Japan and a friend of mine.
5. CATHERINE. My father's sister married a clergyman, Edward Hankinson. She also died young. He lived to be over 90 and I remember visiting him with my father. His cousin Eugenia married my father's brother Frank.
6. RICHARD-my father.
7. FRANCIS or FRANK came last in the family. He married Eugenia Hankinson and had five sons and two daughters. The second daughter died young and I always had a look at her small grave in Overstrand Churchyard. She was about my age and was of course my first cousin. The other daughter, Marion, married Bertie Barclay. We were their very close cousins and friends and Hanworth, their lovely Norfolk place near Cromer, always had a welcome for us. Their children are still living, younger than me but great friends. They all live in Norfolk. Uncle Frank's eldest sons were twins. When they were expected he came home from the City one day and was met by the nurse upon the doorstep, "Two young gentlemen upstairs waiting to see you". "Oh" said he, "Huz my first-born and Buz his brother ". These nicknames stayed with them until they both died at the age of about 90. Then came Alfred, Harold (Pipps) and Gerry. All the family was constantly with us at Marden and at Cromer and in later years in London. Their mother, Aunt Gina, was very good to us. She and Aunt Bessie Patteson were our favourite aunts on our father's side of the family. Uncle Frank was a strange character; in some ways he never grew up and was as fond of sport and all games as a young boy. He used to bathe before breakfast at Cromer when he was quite old and used to visit us at breakfast time very sandy and half dressed. In London he loved to bath under an open window and pretend to be by the sea-side. He drove down from Hampstead to his Bank in Cavendish Square in a high dog cart. I have never seen anyone in the least like him. He died at Hanworth playing Putting Golf which is what he would have liked.
8. JOSEPH - married Juliana Barclay. This uncle had no children and was most kind and generous to all of us. He died when I was about eleven, but I vividly remember the golden sovereigns which he gave me, and the £100 which he left me. His wife, Aunt Dot, kept a large box of crystallized fruits always ready whenever we went to see her. She had a cage of canaries and I was deeply disappointed when she died that she did not leave them to me. They lived at Childs Hall, Hampstead, where they had a children's bluebell party in their woods every year. This place is now a very busy London Suburb. North Lodge, Cromer, also belonged to them. Every Sunday after Church the whole clan of relations used to meet in their garden. Uncle Joseph left North Lodge and the land round it to my father. It is built, as is my house, of un-cut flints off the beach. Speaking of Uncle Joseph's house at Hampstead reminds me of a story of my grandfather told me by my father. He, Samuel Hoare, was riding through the lanes and fields from Hampstead to Highgate. As a precaution against highwaymen he put his gold watch in his jackboot. Sure enough, in a lonely lane a masked man stopped him, pistol in hand. "I know you are a man of honour and so am I", he said, "If I trust you to promise to give me all you have on you, you can go on." Samuel Hoare handed over his purse and a ring and forgot the watch in his boot. When he had ridden a short way he remembered it, wheeled his horse round and returned watch in hand which he handed over to the highwayman. History does not relate whether the robber returned it or not. To make the story good we should say that with a bow he gave it back to its owner.
This is rather breaking off from my Uncle Joseph's life. Uncle Frank and he both lived at Hampstead and at Cromer. Uncle Gurney's two daughters, Anna and Greta, also lived at Hampstead in a small house at North End. Greta held a high position in the St. John Ambulance Association and helped to run two hospitals in the 1914 war.
RICHARD HOARE (my Father)
My father's parents lived at The Hill House, Hampstead, and part of the time at Cromer. (I will describe the life there in another chapter). They were Quakers (or Friends). Religion was the leading motive of their life as well as of all their children. All my father's generation, also my grandparents, joined the Church of England in later years. My father was educated for some years at Northrepps Hall, near Cromer, because his mother was ill at Hampstead. His aunt, Hannah Buxton, one of the Earlham Gurneys had married Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton (of Slave Trade fame) and lived at Northrepps Hall. Richard was sent to live with them and shared their boys' governess and tutor. He was all his life devoted to his cousins Fowell and Charles. From his old diaries and letters and from what he often told us, he had a happy life there, the only draw-back being an extremely disagreeable governess, Miss Glover. She was a bad-tempered and unkind woman and was constantly boxing his ears-he always thought that this was the cause of his deafness in middle life. Years after, when he was grown up, he went to a meeting in London: he suddenly felt very sick and faint and a horrible feeling of fear came over him, the same as he had had as a child with Miss Glover. He looked round and saw her, very much aged of course but undoubtedly her. He did not speak to her and she did not recognise him.
None of the Hoare boys went to school. Quakers did not go to Public Schools in those days. I think they all went to Cambridge, certainly my father did. He made many friends there and I believe was very popular. I am not sure how old he was when his parents died. After Cambridge he started working in London and his Firm, Hoare Miller, which he and Mr. Miller started still goes on. It was, and still is, a successful Indian business, trading jute and cotton between Calcutta and Manchester. As time went on, he served on several Boards in the City. He lived in a small house in St. James's Street and was- a member of Brook's Club. He hunted from London and shot a good deal, especially in Norfolk with his relations and friends. Though he was so much with the clan he had a great many outside friends and lived in a much wider circle than did his relations. He was a Liberal but not a very keen politician. He was an evangelical churchman and loved his church. I think that if ever a man `walked with God' my father did for he was deeply religious. Every morning he would get up early for prayer and bible reading.
He had many interests and was a keen sportsman but he thought the theatre and racing wrong for himself. As we grew up he let us do anything we thought right and he liked to see us gay and going to balls and enjoying ourselves. We always had a great many young people round us. He had seventy first cousins and we had fifty, so, as we knew most of the families of our own generation and his, our family circle was pretty large. My father was devoted to his relations but he very much enjoyed meeting interesting people outside the family with wider ideas, and encouraged us to do the same. Our life at Marden with our many friends and neighbours gave us this opportunity and being so near London it was a pleasant and easy place to get to. There seemed to be a constant coming and going with our friends and ourselves. I wonder what small households now would have thought of it.
Marden was very old-fashioned, having oil lamps and candles, no hot water upstairs and no bathrooms. The housemaids and men servants carried all the hot water for hip baths up from the kitchen in the basement. They had to go up many stairs and through long passages. The attic floor where we had our night nurseries and where all the maids and the governess slept had no lavatory and there were only four in the whole of the house. Central heating was not thought of in those days and the passages must have been terribly cold: I do not remember noticing it. We were all brought up to be very fond of fresh air and an outdoor life. We had roaring coal fires in everyone's bedrooms which must have entailed a tremendous lot of work. Various `Dailies' came in to help the two housemaids, the village women being very glad to earn a bit extra. The ordinary labourer in those days only earned between 12s. and 15s. a week and often had a big family. He managed with a pig in his garden, but it must have been a very hard struggle. We tried to help many of them in illness or with babies by sending meat and milk, etc., and also clothes for the children when possible. My father was a very generous man and encouraged us to do all that we could to help. He also paid a great many of the Church expenses, being the only one attending Church who had any money to spare. He was a Churchwarden and never missed his two services morning and evening and Holy Communion once a month. He liked all of us, and as many of the servants as possible, to go to Church. I remember how worried he was because Staines, the coachman, never attended any place of Worship, saying to him "I want you to go as my friend".
Most of the members of the household had been with us for twenty or thirty years when the sad time came for us to leave Marden. The old gardener, Faint, was an amusing man, and a very good gardener. He and my father used to walk up and down the lawn arm in arm discussing things. When my father did not attend, Faint gave him a dig in the ribs with his elbow. "Really, Faint, I wish you would not do that". "Sorry, Sir, I thought you had not heard me". Faint sang in the choir and was a real support to the Church and to all of us. Mrs. Faint was a very nice woman. They lived at the lodge and kept our chickens-I suppose because they had more room there than the farmyard at the back of the kitchen garden. I remember when Amy Faint, their daughter, was born. Mrs. Faint was very ill and Warner, my Nanny, took the baby and looked after her in my nursery. I enjoyed very much watching the baby. There was no District Nurse in those days, an old village woman attended confinements with no precautions of any sort but she very seldom lost a case. My sister Helen saved one child's life by spoon-feeding her with champagne, and another child by rushing her to the Hertford Hospital when she had eaten poison berries. (But this is rather straying away from my father. I had meant to keep this chapter entirely to him but he was so concerned with everything that happened and writing of him brings back these small events which meant so much to us in those uneventful days).
He had a full and useful life until he died, working in the City four days a week, doing various jobs at home as a Magistrate and so on, managing his Home Farm and bringing up the family. He was a wonderful father to us all, so kind and sympathetic, taking care of our health and trying to take our mother's place. My brothers loved him and went
co him for everything, and so did we three daughters. Each night he came to visit us and say goodnight in our rooms and then he would kneel by our beds and say a `Church Collect or some other prayer or blessing, very embarrassing from anyone else but it came quite naturally from him.
He loved riding and as he grew older lived more and more on his cob which he rode everywhere. He found time to read a great many books of all kinds and liked reading aloud to us in the evenings. Summer evenings we would sit out in the garden after dinner and talk. I think that his goodness made all the difference to our lives and it would have been difficult not to go straight with his example before us. When my brother Douro married, my father was very pleased with his grandchildren and lived to know Douro's four eldest and my sister Mary's girl, Pamela. The last day of his life he rode to see an old friend at Bramfleld, Lady Bloomfield. On the way there he had a stroke and fell off his horse. The baker's boy found him lying by the roadside. He rushed to the house and fetched help. He was carried in unconscious. Helen and I were alone except for the servants and a great friend of mine, Dolly Brand (Feilden), who had come to luncheon. The Nairnes came at once. We telegraphed for the others but he died before they arrived never having regained consciousness. All the household were so sad, and the outdoor workers. There seemed to be tears everywhere. Our many relations, neighbours and friends came to the funeral, and all the village people. The children lined his grave with snowdrops. As usual the Easney Buxtons drove over at once to see us as soon as they heard the news.
After a few weeks we turned out of Marden, Helen, Dick and I into a furnished house in London. We afterwards divided the Marden furniture and settled with our three shares into a small house, 28 South Eaton Place. I will go on with our lives in a further chapter. Before I do so, I must go back to my mother and her family and surroundings.
My parents had no Marriage Settlement, Colonel Tomkinson, my grandfather, giving my mother £5000 down which was later divided between us five. My father said he had been much too much in love to bother about it. It meant that he had to work very hard to provide for us all.
My mother was Susan Tomkinson. They were a Cheshire family living at Willington Hall, near Tarporley. Dorfold was the family place but it had gone in the female line to the Roundells. My great-grandfather, the second son, built Willington. It was a charming house and garden
and had a distant view of the Welsh hills. We all stayed there a great deal as my uncle and aunt, Jim and Effie, kept an open house for the family and all their friends. I do not know where my father first met my mother. I believe he made friends with one of her brothers in London and stayed at Willington to hunt with the Cheshire hounds. She was a tall and beautiful girl, the eldest of her family. Her father, my grandfather, Colonel Tomkinson had been through most of the Peninsula War and fought at the Battle of Waterloo 1815. He was in a Cavalry Regiment (the 16th Light Dragoons) and went abroad as an Ensign. He kept a very full diary of these campaigns. His son, James Tomkinson, edited this book, calling it "The Diary of a Cavalry Officer". It is dry reading for a civilian but has been much thought of by military historians and experts. He was once badly wounded and his life was saved by a small prayer-book which he carried in his breast pocket. They still have this (with a hole through it) at Willington. My grandfather, Colonel Tomkinson, married Susan Tarletan. She came from Break Speare, an old house in Buckinghamshire. I believe it is now sold but I have not heard of the Tarletans since the last one died-Sir Alfred Tarletan. He left no son to succeed him and I do not know what became of his daughter.
My grandparents had a large family, five sons and three daughters-my mother (Susan)-Sibella, who married Jack Bryans, a clergyman (she had two children, Marjorie and Maurice: they are all now dead)-and Frances, who died of diabetes as a child. William, the eldest son, an epileptic, married an Italian and had no children. He was still alive when my parents were married at Delamere Church near Willington. He drove them to the station in his four-in-hand coach-my father said how nervous he was feeling that he might get a seizure at any moment. He told us that my mother adored this brother and was very unhappy when he died. The family had to provide for the Italian widow for a long time. The next brother, James, came into the property. He married Effie Palmer, daughter of Sir Archdale Palmer from Leicestershire. She was a young and charming Aunt to us all and we were devoted to her. Her children were my contemporaries and are my closest first cousins and greatest friends still. Uncle Jim and Aunt Effie were Radicals, a thing which was thought of much as Labour was in its first beginnings. They both spoke all over the county and Uncle Jim stood for Crewe and was elected after three attempts. They were friends of Mr. Gladstone and keen politicians. They spoke everywhere, not caring what the County thought of them. My parents were also Liberals but did not quite approve of "dear Effie" speaking in public. In those days it was considered very odd for a woman to speak in public. She also spoke very well on Temperance. 'They were both strict teetotallers and very much against all drink. Uncle Jim was killed in a steeple chase-he was well over 70 at the time. Aunt Effie had died earlier.
The other Tomkinson brothers were:-(1) Robert, who left two sons, Bill and Edward, (2) Edward, who had no children, and (3) Henry, who also had no children. Henry commanded the Royals which was later commanded by Harry Tomkinson, Uncle Jim's son, and Walter Hodgson his son-in-law. Their boy Barnard is in The Royals now.
From what my father and Aunt Effie told me, my grandparents were very strict and rather narrow. They had much the same religious views as my father, Richard Hoare, but were not so tolerant. He and my mother were very much in agreement over the most important things in life. They had a very happy married life only spoilt by my mother's bad health.
My father was always a most cheerful man but I think he never really got over my mother's death. Every Sunday he carried flowers across the fields to put on her grave. Most Sunday evenings he went away by himself to read her letters to him, all of which he had kept. He was usually very depressed for a time after doing this. When he died we found all her letters to him and all of his to her carefully dated and preserved. We burnt them unread as we felt that they were too private for anyone else to see. I do not remember my mother very clearly. Certain little episodes come back to me. My canary died and she was very kind and comforting when I found its little body on the floor of the cage.
I had a small violin and played easy tunes on it to her accompaniment. I went to Bonchurch with my parents and my nurse Warner and had a great friend, an old man called Mr. Barber, in the hotel. He took me out and gave me sweets. My mother was very pleased with me there because I sang some of the hymn tunes and chants which I had heard in Church.
I can remember sitting by her bed when she had her first stroke and feeling so pitying for her useless hand and arm. I can just picture her going into the front gate at Marden in a riding habit before she was taken ill. All these are very small memories but of course I was young. My sister Mary was her favourite child and she always rather spoilt her. Helen, the elder one, never took quite the same place in her affections. After her death I really think my father, Helen and Warner, my nurse, filled all the gaps. For many months before her death I had only known my mother as a complete invalid. I remember when I was older reading "Misunderstood" and thinking how silly Humphrey was, so I do not think I can really have ever been very unhappy. My mother was 47 when she died on the 8th January, 1885.
She had done a great deal of good at Marden visiting the Tewin village people and having Mothers Meetings and taking great interest in the people on the place. She also tried to help at Burnham Green, a wild little place with no church, about two and half miles from Marden. The people there were half gypsy and very uncivilized-they drank water from a horse pond and lived in hovels. She started a Mothers Meeting there and tried to teach them some religion. They were so rough that when she had a Christmas tree in the little Dame School for the children, they thronged in and snatched the things off the tree. After a time they completely changed and became ' tamer and more like the Tewin villagers.. My sister Helen took all this over at 19, after my mother's death and carried on with it until we left Marden 18 years later. The Tewin and Burnham Green people were very fond of both my mother and Helen. The old Rector at Datchworth, the next village, helped them both.
Burnham Green is now filled with good cottages, bungalows and villas.
This place was very much beloved by all of us. Its beautiful old 15th century church, the little old streets of the village, the golden beach and the green hills and the charming Norfolk fishermen and people have a fascination of their own.
Our enormous clan gathered there every autumn. My family migrated from Marden to Cromer, servants, dogs, horses etc., and not only our family but numerous other large families of relations and their children. I once counted eighty relations at morning Church, which I am afraid showed I was not paying much attention. They comprised uncles and aunts and cousins of all ages beside ourselves.
The Samuel Hoares lived at the old family house, The Cliff, and also owned a good deal of land along the coast. Uncle Joseph, my father's brother, lived at North Lodge which stood at the edge of the cliff. He had no children and, as I have said before, when he died he left this house to my father. When I was quite young we rented Brunswick House and spent our Autumns there. After we moved into North Lodge my Uncle Jim Tomkinson bought Brunswick House so that we had the added pleasure of some of my mother's family living near us. They were of course not related to the clan but they made great friends with them and joined in all that was going on. My father with his sons and brothers and nephews shot most days on the different family estates. Other days we went for large riding parties on the beach or through the woods and country. We had endless meals and parties together and lived in each other's houses. The younger children dug on the beach and the older ones played hockey. Uncle Frank lived at Weylands with his large family, three Barclay families at The Grove, Herne Close and The Warren. ; Old Lady Buxton (who with Mrs. Bond Cabbell started Cromer Cottage Hospital in Louden Road) lived at Colne House, the Fowell Buxtons at Upton House, Sir Fowell Buxton at Colne Cottage and other relations in different places in Cromer. Just outside Cromer Northrepps Hall had the Richard Gurneys, Northrepps Cottage the Clutterbucks, Hill House the Prestons, Cromer Hall the Bond Cabbells. These last three were all friends though not relations.
Old Mr. Fitch was Curate and Rector at Cromer for 50 years and much respected by the people. He and his daughters visited and knew everyone in the place-the Cromer people still talk of them. He preached in a black gown and we sang to a harmonium with no choir at all, which was rather dull.
Lady Buxton was a leader at Cromer and we did what she told us. She lived there all the year round. She kept up her interests and intellect until she died at 98. One night she could not sleep because she had forgotten a certain stanza in Spenser's ` Faerie Queen'. She had a large family and they all had many children. Some of these were my contemporaries and great friends, especially V. Buxton (de Bunsen) and her brother Charlie. Lady Buxton gave large evening parties to which we all gathered, also Bible Readings in her drawing room which I found rather dull. Her sister, Rachel Gurney, who married Fowell Buxton, came to Upton House each year, (their family home was Easney in Hertfordshire and there was much coming and going between our two houses both in Hertfordshire and at Cromer).
The two Gurney sisters had married their cousins Fowell and Edward North Buxton, all of them my father's first cousins. Norfolk was full of relations' houses, most of them working at Gurney's Bank (now Barclays). I think that the Fowell Buxtons at Upton House and at Easney were my father's greatest friends. We were always so much together and Easney always welcomed us children. It is a large ugly house on a hill in beautiful surroundings, woods up to the garden filled with daffodils. The Easney family migrated to Upton House, Cromer, at the same time that we moved to North Lodge. Uncle Fowell, as we called him, and Aunt Rachel were very good to all of us. Their carriage used to come down the Marden Avenue pretty constantly. Whenever anything went wrong they would be with us at once. They had a large family and many grandchildren, most of whom were my contemporaries. Effie and Ethel, their younger daughters, were my sister Helen's friends. After Helen's death many years later Ethel was most kind to me and did all she could to help me. We both lived in London and I used to see her constantly. I had a curious dream about her which was so vivid that I still remember it. I dreamed that I was standing at a door of a house in South Audley Street belonging to Mrs. Rate, No. 9. It had a porch covering some of the pavement. I saw Uncle Fowell, who had been dead for years, walk quickly up the street. What surprised me was that he was a young upright and very handsome man. When I had last seen him he was a very old man about 80. He came up to me and said "I have come to fetch Ethel". I remember no more and did not think of it again. About a fortnight later Ethel was taken ill with pneumonia and died in a few days.
Uncle Fowell gave Helen and me the electric light for North Cottage a year or two before he died.
One memory leads on to another and I have strayed away from Cromer. Another strong personality there was Mrs. Gurney Barclay at Herne Close. She only moved from her sofa to the dining room or up to bed, except for outings in her carriage or in her pony cart. I used often to drive with her, the carriage loaded with blankets and clothes of all kinds which she distributed round the villages. She was a most generous person and often told me to go into one the Cromer shops and spend a £1 putting it down to her account. Some years after she gave us a bathroom at North Cottage. Her son Bertie married my cousin Marion Hoare, Uncle Frank's daughter, and as I have said before made us welcome at Hanworth where they lived. Another son, Ted was Master of the Puckeridge Hunt and sometimes mounted my brother Dick. He was a very generous friend to him. Another brother lived at The Warren in Cromer and married Maud Buxton, a Colne House grandchild, so that they were our near neighbours at Cromer until they both died, when his son, Peter, sold the property. Frank had a most beautiful garden which is now built over with red brick villas, and his wood has been bought by the Town. We used to play in the wood as children but it had a most sad atmosphere which I still feel whenever I go through it. I never go into it if can help it. Lovely though woods are, they seem to be filled with a queer feeling. I went into a pine forest in Austria which had a feeling of terror in it and there is a wood Torquay where I hate to walk though it has most lovely views and trees. On the other hand, our woods at Marden gave me the most lovely ideas and feelings and I spent much time in them.
When my father inherited North Lodge from Uncle Joseph it gave him such pleasure. He added the six rooms on the East side so that it could hold all of us and the numerous visitors as well. Soon afterwards he bought North Cottage with its garden. It belonged to the Goldsmith's Company and at the end of the field there was a small boys school endowed by the same Company. Later a modern school was built in the middle of the town for all the children. A doctor's house and surgery were built on the school site and the schoolmaster's cottage was turned into our present house, North Cottage.
My father bought North Cottage and built on it for my sister Helen and myself. He added the drawing room, sitting room, two good bedrooms and a maid's sitting room. Until his death my eldest brother Douro with his wife and children came to North Cottage in the autumn, the rest of us living at North Lodge. The many months we were all at Marden or later in London both houses were let furnished. This covered most of the expenses of upkeep, rates, etc. After my father's death in 1901 Douro moved into North Lodge and Helen and I took possession of North Cottage. Dick shared it with us for his holidays.
I remember Cromer surrounded with fields and lanes, a lovely cliff walk to Overstrand and in the other direction to East Runton. The country was celebrated for its rare wild flowers growing along the Runton cliffs and lanes, Beeston and Southrepps bog and elsewhere. Most of it has now been built over by houses, or covered with caravans, and the flowers on the cliffs have disappeared. The lighthouse hills were turned into a golf course so that they still remain empty of buildings. The ruins of the old lighthouse stood on the edge of the cliff. My father as a boy was riding over the hills when he saw a tall man in a dressing gown standing at the door of the ruin. He cantered up to the place but to his surprise the figure had gone into the ruin. He searched on all sides but found no-one. That lighthouse has now fallen into the sea and a modern lighthouse has been built a bit further from the cliff edge. The Cromer cliffs have had many land slides and I have seen many acres disappear in my lifetime. The strange thing is that these land slides always occur at night and no-one has ever been buried on the sands below or thrown down the cliff top. At the end of the golf links stood the ruins of old Overstrand Church. These have been entirely rebuilt and there is now a lovely Church standing where the ruins once stood. A great many of the Buxtons are buried in the Churchyard. Most of the Hoare family were buried at Hendon as they lived at Hampstead. Hendon Church is a lovely place looking over miles of country. One family of Buxton children are in the same grave there. The story goes that they had scarlet fever but were taken out for a drive as fresh air was thought to be good for them. Naturally three if not four of them died. I have seen the grave and on it is written "Ehu, Ehu" (Alas, alas).
Cromer has very much changed. There were fields where Cliff Avenue now stands and the big ugly houses overlooking North Cottage were non -existent. Suffield Park with nearly 1,000 inhabitants has been built in my lifetime. Mill Road, which leads to the High Station, was a muddy country lane with no buildings on either side. It was supposed to be haunted by old Shuck, the dog with the teacup eyes. My brothers used to offer me a shilling if I was brave enough to walk there alone in the dark. Needless to say, I never attempted it. My elder brother and sister remember coming by coach from Norwich, 24 miles. The trains did not come as far as Cromer. Now there are two lines, one to London and the other to the Midlands and Peterborough. The Great Eastern Railway was the worst in the country very slow and shaky and not at all comfortable.
In those days there were no buses or cars so that the poorer people very seldom left their own village. It was the same where we lived in Hertfordshire. Though the people there lived only 25 miles from London very few of them had ever seen it. In these days of trains, buses, cars, aeroplanes, cinemas, wireless, television, telephones, etc., the world is completely different. It is sad that we hardly ever see a horse-drawn vehicle on any road now.
Cromer Church had only a ruined chancel when I was young. The present beautiful chancel was rebuilt about 66 years ago. The East end window is a memorial to Miss Herring, the side Window to Mr. Fitch, the old Rector. In the Lady Chapel there were windows to Mr. Bond Cabbell, Lady Buxton and my grandmother and their children. The idea in our window was "Those that saw visions" - Enoch, etc.
In the Second World War these windows were destroyed but have now been replaced with war damage money. My sister Mary and I put the oak altar in the Lady Chapel to Helen's memory.
A new Cromer Hospital was built about twenty years ago. I was on the Building Committee and the Hospital Committee and visited there every week for seventeen years. I also, with the help of Phyllis Williamson, started a library.
David Barclay has given the small wood by the Links Hotel to the Town. It was there that Elizabeth Fry held a Quakers meeting in the small summerhouse, which has now been removed. When she stayed at The Grove, which lies just below, she collected various members of the family together and read and preached to them there. It was a lovely spot within sound of the sea and of the wind in the trees and it made a beautiful setting for a service. The Quakers (Friends) had no meeting house nearer than Norwich. In my time Mr. and Mrs. Barclay, who were still Friends, attended Cromer Church, Mrs. Barclay driving there in her little pony cart with a party of relations with her. The Rocket Garden, now laid out with seats and shelters and filled with flowers, was once an untidy gully with a little stream running down it from the cliffs to the sea. It was most unsightly and dirty, filled with everyone's rubbish and old pots and pans.
The Town Crier used to ring his bell round the streets calling out local events and asking about lost goods. The horrible loudspeaker van which we now have is not an improvement. The pier was built in my time. There used to be a small wooden jetty which looked much more picturesque but was not so useful. Our Lifeboat House is now at the end of the pier. Our Cromer lifeboat has a great reputation largely owing to Coxswain Blogg and his crew who have made many wonderful rescues. One special rescue they made always stays in my mind-they went out on an awful night to a ship on Haisbro' sands. They rescued the whole crew of Italians. As they were starting home the Italians mentioned that they had left their St. Bernard dog on deck. Without any hesitation Coxswain Blogg turned the lifeboat, and himself rescued the dog from the ship. He gave it a home for many years and "Bondy" was a wellknown sight on Cromer beach.
We generally went home to Marden in November and I for one was very delighted to get back. I loved the house and garden, woods and village and all the country round; also the neighbours and friends with children of my own age. I enjoyed getting back to my different tame animals and birds which I had had to leave when we moved to Cromer. One year the duck which had always followed me about had gone, another year my tame pigeon, so that the coming home was sometimes something of a disappointment. Our dogs always went to Cromer with us, and my little dog 'Gyp' never left me. `Gyp ' was the first dog I had ever possessed and it was indeed a sad day when she died.
Brothers and Sisters
I will now try to describe my own family beginning with my sister Helen. We were all very much thrown together as except for the boys being at school and Cambridge they always lived at home until they married. Helen, my eldest sister, was an outstanding character. She was completely unselfish and good. She was tall and rather big but very good-looking, regular features and very blue eyes, a clear complexion with pretty brown hair. She and Mary had a very good education. Helen liked books and pictures and was keenly interested in everything, architecture, theology and various other subjects.
She had to be and was an excellent housekeeper and made us all extremely comfortable. She created a home atmosphere for all of us. She also had a great power of friendship and had many close friends amongst all classes. Everyone turned to her in illness or trouble and her sympathy never seemed to fail. They all felt that they could depend on her. She and I were very great and devoted friends and hardly ever left each other. We each had plenty of friends of our own but we always got back to each other as soon as we could. I was ten years younger than her but it never seemed to make any difference. My father and brothers were devoted to Helen and so was my second sister Mary. When my father died and we had to leave Marden, she was a great support to everyone. She loved the place and especially the garden and had her own special part which she worked herself. I can see her now saying goodbye to it all and the look on her face. Parting with the old servants and the village people was so sad too. Our neighbours, the Nairnes, Leslies, Brands and various others we still saw a good deal of in London or when staying with them.
When Helen, Dick and I settled in London, she took up work there and had a large Mothers Meeting at Clerkenwell and started a crèche in the same district, besides many other activities. She enjoyed living in London much more than I did-I never really liked it. We lived at 26 South Eaton Place and afterwards moved to 38 Ebury Street. When my brother Dick married about twenty years later, she and I bought a tiny house in Halsey Street, Douro lending us the money to enable us to do so. Helen was only there for a few months: she was run over and killed by a lorry in Westminster. This was the greatest sorrow in my life and I still do not like to think of it although it happened thirty years ago.
Mary, my second sister, was very gay and pretty. She had a lovely figure and curly hair and blue eyes and was altogether most attractive. She married Cecil Wray, a Gunner. They lived in various places while he was in the army, eventually settling in London. She had two daughters, Pamela and Christine. Both are now married-Pamela Campbell Orde and Christine Beaumont. Mary died about four years ago, she was 81. Cecil Wray had died two years earlier. I always saw a great deal of them and of their children: they lived near us when we were in London and stayed with us both at Marden and at Cromer. I stayed with her wherever she happened to be living. She was very generous and hospitable to me. We were all fond of Cecil Wray and my father was especially devoted to him. He and Cecil used to go yachting at Cowes as none of us were good enough sailors to keep my father company there (my father was a member of the R.Y.S.). Cecil Wray always appreciated my father and really loved him. He was a very pleasant brother-in-law to me and indeed to all of us. Though he was a keen soldier, he left the Army to please Mary and settled at 2 Walton Street.
In the 1914 war he rejoined, raised and trained a regiment of the Horse Artillery and became a Brigadier-General. After the war he was Adjutant to the Yeomen of the Guard and an Equerry to Princess Christian. The Wrays had a large circle of friends in London. They spent the summer at a small house on the cliffs at St. Margaret's Bay. All their grandchildren except one are grown up and out in the world. (I write this in July 1954). Pamela, the elder daughter, married Bob Lucas and had one daughter, Ann. She had to divorce Bob when Ann was about nine years old. After a time she married Bernard Campbell Orde. Their little girl Jennifer is about fourteen and goes to a day school in London. They live in Prince of Wales Drive overlooking Battersea Park.
Christine, Mary's second daughter, married Ralph Beaumont. They lived for some years between Montagu Square and their place in Wales. He was a Conservative M.P. for several years. In the last war their London house was bombed with all the furniture. Luckily they were in Wales at the time. Christine had three children-John (married) David (married) and Diana. John farms in Rhodesia and has two children.
Douro, my eldest brother, was twelve years older than me. He was called Douro after the Spanish river where my grandfather, Colonel Tomkinson, had been badly wounded in the Peninsula War. It was rather nice in our large circle of relations to have a distinctive name. His• children all call themselves the "Douro Hoares". Douro was a very good eldest brother to us and especially to his small sister. I had many happy days alone with him seeing sights in London or following him round at Marden. He brought a great many friends to stay from Winchester, Cambridge and London. He had rooms in London and lived between there and Marden working in my father's business, Hoare Miller. He soon became a partner and was also put on various Boards in the City. When he was older he was made a Director of the Bank of England. He was very keen about the London Hospital and was on the Committee there for about 25 years. Lord Knutsford, their famous Chairman, was' the son of an old friend of my father's.
Helen and I visited the London Hospital weekly for seventeen years and knew Miss Luckis, the Matron, very well. It was most interesting work. I visited the Men's Surgical Ward and Helen a Lupus Ward. She had a natural dislike to any nasty sight but never shirked them in the Lupus Ward, and the women enjoyed her visits.
To come back to Lord Knutsford - he was called the "Prince of Beggars". An enormously rich man once sent him £5,000: he sent the cheque back asking for £10,000. This he received by return of post.
After Douro's death his son Ralphe succeeded him in the business and on the London Hospital Committee. My father's cousins, the Buxtons, had helped to build the Hospital and their descendants are still working for it. I think that Fowell Buxton put Douro on the Committee, both his son and grandson were on the Board with Douro, and with Ralphe.
Douro was a keen sportsman and liked hunting, shooting and fishing. He had inherited from my father, as indeed both my brothers had, very affectionate ways to all their belongings. They all three as fathers thought their children perfect and as brothers admired their sisters. I have seen the same trait coming out in my nephews and great-nephews so much care and consideration for their womenkind. The two brothers, Douro and Dick, were devoted to each other.
To return to Douro, he met Ida Rate in London at various balls and friends' houses. His future wife told me afterwards that though she hated riding and was terrified of horses, she hired a hack every morning in Hyde Park hoping to meet Douro also riding there. They fell in love with each other and in due course were married at St. Mark's Church, North Audley Street. It was an enormous wedding with crowds of people. We three sisters were part of the train of bridesmaids, in white dresses with blue ribbons. As the procession walked up the Church my old nurse, Warner, also in a white dress with blue ribbons, followed behind. Uncle Frank jumped out of his pew and pulled her back. I do not think Ida ever quite forgave her and no-one could imagine why she ever did it except that she had always been most eccentric in all her ways and we never quite knew what she would do next. All our friends who knew her on Douro's side of the Church were very much amused.
I was only sixteen when Douro was engaged and was naturally very excited over it. We were all on the door-step at Marden when he brought his fiancée, Ida Rate, to stay - shy work for her as she hardly knew any of us. They took a small house in Deanery Street for the first few years of their married life and often came to Marden for holidays and week-ends. My father told me one day that there was a baby coming. I was thrilled for I had so loved small cousins and babies who had stayed with us and the idea of my own nephew or niece was most exciting. When "Guy" arrived he was in too much of a hurry and Ida was caught at Milton, her parents' house in Surrey. Douro was very much worried and my father went to spend the day with him. They had a walk in the country. When my father came back he told us how thankful Douro had been to see him and tell him all about it. Douro and his family lived between London and Cromer, and then Welwyn and Cromer. All the children married in Douro's lifetime except Barbara who married after his death. He died on April 10th 1929 having had bad blood pressure for some months. We all went to his funeral at Tewin, Humphrey Barclay taking the service. As we left the grave a strange inner voice said to me "Dick will be the next" - which came to pass. Dick and I went together to his funeral. Florence was in Scotland and the children were staying with me at North Cottage.
I will now describe Douro's family before going on to my other brother, Dick.
Guy Hoare. We all went to Milton for my nephew Guy's Christening. Mrs. Rate had a beautiful garden. Mr. Rate was a dear old man, I always liked him. I found Mrs. Rate very alarming and critical. I stayed there once or twice and then refused to go any more. Douro asked why. I said I did not like Mrs. Rate. He roared with laughter and thought it a great joke which rather relieved me because I had not wanted to hurt his feelings. Douro and Ida moved into Eaton Place taking a small furnished house somewhere near Marden for the summer months. When the family got larger they moved to Guessens, a house in Welwyn where they lived until Douro's death, Ida staying on there afterwards until she died at the end of the last War. They and their children seemed to be constantly with us either at Cromer, Marsden or in London. They were a great pleasure to Helen and me and a very attractive family of seven. Even with a governess, Nanny and nursery maid they were a large family to tackle and I think that Ida was often glad of the aunts with whom she could park some of them. When they lived at North Lodge and Helen and I had North Cottage we could wave to their nursery windows from our bedroom windows. I can still picture the rush of children of all ages coming across the field to visit us: Guy, Ralphe, Joan, Evelyn, Biddy, John and Barbara. We often had my sister Mary's little girls staying at Cromer at the same time and in and out with us in London so that there were plenty of children about. It does not seem so very long ago and yet some of them are now grandmothers. Douro and Ida had a terrible sorrow in Guy's death. He was a most charming boy, amusing, affectionate and nice looking. He and I were great friends. He was a very good rider and shot and hunted with his father. He went to Ludgrove and Eton, both of which places he very much enjoyed. When he was fourteen he started diabetes and had to lead a more or less invalid life leaving Eton, to his great grief. In those days insulin had not been discovered. The doctors all said it was hopeless but that he might last for two years. At the end of the two years he died. I do not think his poor mother ever quite got over his loss and Douro had been so proud of him that he suffered terribly too. Those last two years of his life they gave him ponies and dogs and whatever he asked for. He always had his greyhound, Nell, and his terrier, Rags, at his heels. Our great friend Canon Nairne prepared him for confirmation and found him very interesting and interested. I cannot remember whether he lived to be confirmed or died just before. I had such happy days with him at Ludgrove and Eton, and during his holidays he was a most charming companion. It seems strange to think that Guy would be 61 now if he had lived to grow up. I still think of him as the very attractive small boy with his blue eyes and towards the end looking so sadly thin and delicate. He was always so patient over the tiresome dieting which goes with diabetes and which is such a trial to a hungry boy.
Ralphe Hoare. Douro's second son was about two years younger than Guy. He also arrived before he was expected Ida had sent all the housemaids to Olympia, only keeping Nanny and little Guy at home. She was in her mother's house in South Audley Street. Suddenly Ralphe began to arrive. The nanny rushed out and found a policeman and implored him to fetch a doctor-there were no telephones in those days. He did so but before the doctor arrived Ralphe was born. A woman out of the mews at the back of the house came in to help. However, all went well and Ralphe was a healthy baby and was always a handsome and charming boy. Like Guy he went to Ludgrove and Eton and then to Cambridge. After Cambridge he went to France to learn French living with a French family. While he was there the 1914 War started. He at once joined the French Red Cross and somehow found an old Khaki uniform and had many adventures. I do not think his parents heard from him for several weeks and they felt very anxious as the Germans were overrunning the part of France where he had been. Helen, Dick and I were then living at 38 Ebury Street. Late one night we heard the front doorbell ring and Ralphe came in very tired and dirty. He was thankful for a bath and an enormous meal and then tumbled into bed. We telephoned to his parents in Welwyn and he went down there the next morning. After this he joined the Grenadier Guards and was in the Regiment all through the war. He was once wounded in the leg but not seriously. My friend Adele Gerstley was a V.A.D. in the Park Street Red Cross Hospital where he was taken. (She and I were shortly after to start a hospital of our own in Cadogan Square).
After the war he lived at Guessens with his parents and went into Hoare Miller with his father. A few years after he became engaged to Ellery Fetherstonhaugh. They were married in St. James's Church, Piccadilly (which was bombed in the last war). They went to India for a time to see the Indian side of Hoare Miller's work. After they returned their son Michael was born (He is now married and has three boys). Michael went like his father to Ludgrove and Eton and was in the Eton XI. While he was at Ludgrove his father Ralphe died most suddenly and quickly of acute blood poisoning. He was a great loss to us all. His father, Douro, had been dead for some years so that he, Ralphe, was the head of the family. I remember when I was laid up at Moorfields Hospital with a detached retina in my eye his constant visits to see me. Another vivid memory is my arrival in London when I had just heard of my brother Dick's death finding Ralphe at Liverpool Street to meet me and take me back to Dick and Florence's house in Paddington. Ida, Ralphe's mother, was abroad with Joan at the time of Ralphe's death and I do not think she saw him before he died. She went to Tewin Rectory, after a long and tiring journey and the shock of her son's death, to ask if Ralphe might be buried with his people in Tewin Churchyard. I do not know who the Rector was then but he was most rude to her and made it all as difficult as possible. The rest of Douro's family are living-I will not describe them in detail as they can speak for themselves.
The eldest daughter Joan Hoare (Pape) was a very attractive child with reddy gold hair and blue eyes. When she was grown up she joined the Red Cross in the 1914 War and drove an ambulance in France. Soon after this she went to India as Lady-in-Waiting to the Chelmsfords. When she came back she was engaged to George Pape. They lived in London when I was in Halsey Street and we used to see a good deal of each other. George Pape died very suddenly of blood poisoning and she has been a widow for some years. She later went to Canada with the Tweedsmuirs and had a most interesting time there. In the last war she started and ran a British Restaurant at Welwyn, at the same time nursing her mother who was very ill. Her mother died soon after peace was declared. Joan now lives in a lovely old manor house in Hampshire and has made a most beautiful garden there.
Evelyn Hoare (Dunlop). Evelyn had the same happy childhood as the rest of the family, doing lessons with a governess and living between London and Cromer, then Welwyn and Cromer. In the 1914 war she was a V.A.D. in the Cadogan Square Hospital of which I was Commandant. There she made friends with one of the patients, Renton Dunlop. They became engaged and were married while the War was still going on. They were both very young. They have two charming married sons-the elder, Jim, was a prisoner of war in Germany for several years. He has two children, a girl and a boy. The second son, Peter, was in the 60th, and did a big job entertaining the troops as he was not strong enough to fight. As I write this he is staying here and running a variety show in Cromer. Verral, his wife, is in hospital with their first daughter, Louisa. They live in London.
Bridget Hoare had the same childhood as the other two and was educated with them at home. She married Frank Crossley now Lord Somerleyton. She is a very charming person and an extremely useful one and works very hard. She has two sons and one daughter, Mary. Mary married Bill Birkbeck, a great grandson of my father's greatest friend, Henry Birkbeck, head of Gurney's Bank. Bill Birkbeck is in the Army and they have two small daughters. The Crossley boys, Bill in the Coldstream Guards and Nicholas in the 9th Lancers, are at present unmarried.
John Hoare, Douro's third boy, married a Canadian girl, Molly Singar. They live at Mattishall not far from here and have two daughters, Elizabeth and Joanna. John was in the Air Force throughout the last war, ground staff. He now works in a motor firm. When he left Eton he lived with me in Halsey Street for some time while learning business at Kit Hoare's office.
Barbara Susan Hoare (Gooch). The youngest of the family, she was very tiny when she was born, weighing I think 3 lbs. For a fortnight she was kept in one temperature and covered with olive oil. However she has grown up into a strong woman. She lived at Guessens with her parents some years after all the others had married and finally married Dick Gooch, a Brigadier-General in the Coldstreams. They live at Southacre near King's Lynn and have two boys at school, Richard and William. They often come to see me here.
After my brother Douro's death, his widow Ida sold North Lodge, the house, stables, garden and two fields to the Town. North Cottage now stands alone in its own garden with all its quiet and privacy gone. I have now got used to seeing the stables turned into a tea house, putting golf, bowls, tennis and a paddling pool in the field, and a roundabout just outside the garden wall. The place is certainly more useful to the town now then it ever was before.
(I will now write a description of my second brother Charles Richard Hoare (Dick).)
My favourite brother Dick came above me in the family and shared Warner, my nanny, and the nursery with me for a few years after my birth. He was a strikingly handsome boy and was later to be nicknamed the `Hertfordshire Adonis'. He had dark hair, regular features and good colouring and was tall and well made. As his younger sister I was very proud of him and liked to be seen going about with him. When we were children I tried to keep up with him in all he did. He, like most boys, thoroughly enjoyed sport. For love of him I watched rabbits coursed, ferreted or shot, pike snared, trout caught with a fly and so on. Hunting I never shared with him as my father hated women hunting, and in any case I never wished to. However, I never told anyone what I felt and everyone thought that I enjoyed sport as much as they did. I also found watching cricket extremely tedious. We had a good many boys' matches against the neighbours, and village matches at Marden though neither of my brothers were very good cricketers. Dick went to school at Twyford and Winchester. Twyford was a horrible place, the headmaster knocked the boys down on the smallest pretext and had a most violent temper. Dick liked Winchester much better. By then he was an overgrown lanky boy. Each holidays he came back with boils or a sore throat or some other small illness. I think that in those days the food at Public Schools was very bad and scarce. How he hated going back to school each term and what tears were shed by his sisters!! Children nowadays are much more stoical and I think the school life must be happier. Dick liked his housemaster at Winchester very much, Mr. Bramston. One of his most popular habits which appealed to all the boys was the fact that he always whistled before going into any of their rooms in case he overheard anything that they were saying. Dick did not do anything particularly brilliant in work or games at Winchester but he made a crowd of friends and enjoyed his life there. After Public School he was coached at Hardingham by the Rector there. Our cousins Gerry Hoare and Dardy Gurney went with him. Mr. Isaacson was rather an unpleasant fellow. Unlike Mr. Bramston, he listened at keyholes. The boys enjoyed rushing out almost knocking him over, "Beg pardon, Sir, I had no idea you were standing there". Mrs. Isaacson was pretty awful too. Dogs were not allowed in the house but the boys sometimes sneaked them in at night. Mrs. Isaacson leaned out of the lavatory window one day calling out "Hoare, Gurney, which of you had your dog in last night", holding up a white dog's hair. One of the boys replied, "We never like to answer ladies from that window". I expect the Isaacsons thought the boys as tiresome as they thought the Isaacsons.
Dick moved on to a much nicer place at Grantchester. He had two tries for his Little-go and finally succeeded and was entered for Trinity Hall, Cambridge, the following term (my father and Douro had been at Trinity). I had very happy days at Cambridge with him: it was easy to get there from Marden by train. I had meals with him in his rooms with burnt cream, the special Cambridge dish. Rowing on the Cam, visiting the colleges and his friends and arriving home in the evening very pleased with myself. In Douro's time I had been too young for days at school or Cambridge with him. I still remember Dick taking me on to the roof of King's College Chapel. When we got to the top he told me I ought to pay my boot bill because they squeaked so much it could not have been paid. What a silly thing to remember from 63 years! I think my happiest memories with Dick at Marden were down by the river Minram - lovely summer evenings and we often stayed down till dark, he fishing whilst I read a book or picked flowers and watched him playing the trout. It was so very peaceful and lovely. We often had an. early supper and all of us went out for the late evening fishing. We also spent a good deal of time on the banks of the river having picnic luncheons and teas-no Thermos in those days but tea was put into a wine bottle and wrapped round with flannel.
A great many friends came to stay for the fishing. Old Uncle Frank was so keen that he changed from London clothes to old fishing clothes in the dog cart on the way from the station and got out at the river without coming up to the house until dinner time. He and Sydney Buxton both thought that they possessed the stream and rushed for the best pools. They hated each other and we never had them together if we could help it. My father once wrote to them both putting them off because of the other and placed the wrong letters in the wrong envelopes much to the amusement of them both.
To get back to Dick's history. He joined his friend Guthrie Watson in a small flat in New Burlington Street and spent the weekdays between there and Marden generally spending the weekends at home. He had by then taken up work in the Stock Exchange as a jobber. They were in this flat at the top of a large building: they had to climb numerous stone stairs, then came their door which opened on to a wooden staircase leading to their rooms. After a few weeks there Dick told us that uncanny things were happening when he came in at night he often heard heavy footsteps following him up the stone and then the wooden staircase. When he stopped the steps still went on and it was really terrifying. He never mentioned it to his friend Guthrie. One day I said to Guthrie, thinking that they must have talked it over, "How is your ghost getting on ?" "What ghost ?" said Guthrie looking rather scared. I said "The man who follows Dick upstairs every night". "Oh, I did not know that he did", said Guthrie, "but he always follows me." I think soon after that they moved their rooms but I rather forgot the details.
Dick went out a great deal in London to balls and dinners and parties, bringing many of his friends home for weekends, and came home himself two or three nights in the week. Every year he stayed with Sir Archibald Smith on the Spey for the salmon fishing. The son Archie was a great friend of his and often stayed at Marden: Archie's sister Eleanor was a friend of mine. For several seasons in London Dick was very much in love with a very pretty and rather fascinating girl. The summer before my father died he brought her to Marden for a weekend: she told me in confidence that she and Dick were engaged. I felt a bit worried as I knew he had very little money to marry on and nor had she and why all the mystery. I had to promise to say nothing. I rather liked her though I realised she was leading Dick a bit of a dance. He was always a very affectionate and particularly faithful person, besides being very straight and honest. He thought that everyone was as true as he was. The following winter (1901) my father died and we went to live in London. That summer Helen, Dick and I took a small furnished house in Hertford for six weeks. I think the time we spent there was one of the most unhappy period of our lives. Dick had given up his rooms and lived entirely with us. One night at Hertford he came back from work looking very white and upset. He took me into his room and showed me a letter from the girl. "I am going to be married to next month". We afterwards discovered that the wretched woman had been engaged to three men at the same time. I think that for the time being it nearly broke his heart-he loved her so very much and had completely trusted her. If only we could see ahead sometimes, yet I do not believe she would have made him the least happy. He afterwards married one of the truest, nicest and most unselfish people in the world, Florence Chaplin, but this was not until twenty years later. For years he said he would never trust a women again. The others, especially Helen, were rather sad that he had never confided in them until the split came. It was not his fault nor mine: she had made us both swear to secrecy pretending that her mother would disapprove.
Well, after all this we three settled down to our London life and were quite satisfied with one another. I never remember a quarrel or even a disagreement. We each lived our independent lives and were together whenever possible.
Another blow was to fall later. As I have said, Dick was a jobber on the Stock Exchange. What exactly happened I do not quite remember but I believe his partner speculated. It was before the 1914-18 War. Anyway he came home one afternoon to tell us that he had lost every penny he possessed. It was a pretty bad moment for us all three. My brother Douro came to the rescue and put him into HoareMiller as a paid partner. Ted Barclay, Ernest Chaplin and Lindsey Smith, three of his greatest friends, lent him money to carry on with and so we tided over the crisis. Later he repaid every penny he had borrowed and he worked at Hoare-Miller until his death. Until the financial crisis he had kept two hunters at Grantham and hunted twice a week. He and Douro, Mr. Chaplin, Mr. Edgar Lubbock and Mr. Whitbread stayed at the George Hotel and hunted together with the Belvoir. Of course after he lost his money he had to sell his horses so he took up golf. Luckily our house at Cromer is near a golf links so that he really had quite happy holidays at North Cottage, also fishing in Scotland.
Ted Barclay and other friends occasionally mounted him. Hunting was the thing of all others he enjoyed the most. He never grumbled or made any fuss when things went wrong but it was very sad for him having to give it up. During the 1914 War he spent most of his nights on the anti-aircraft points in London. He hated being too old to loin up in any of the three Forces. This air watching was most tiring especially as he was working in an office which was short-handed all day. He began to look very much exhausted. He was never a strong man and tired easily though always quite healthy.
I think it was about two years after the Armistice that he became engaged to Florence Chaplin. She was Lord Chaplin's second daughter. Dick was about 48 and she was 39. They first lived in her flat in Tite Street. We gave up Ebury Street and Helen and I moved into 40 Halsey Street. It was a dear little house with a small garden. We should have been very happy together there though we missed Dick very much, but it was not to be.
Florence's first baby, Helen, was born the following spring. Florence was desperately ill and nearly died. She heard her nurse saying, "She has gone", pulled herself together and made up her mind she wouldn't die and to their surprise revived. Dick telegraphed to us at Cromer three or four times a day. Helen went up to help him, I meaning to follow a day or two later. 40 Halsey Street was let so that she went to our cousins Huz and Pipps Hoare in Buckingham Palace Gardens. She was with Dick for a couple of days and saw the baby. The nurse told me afterwards that as she looked at the little thing tears ran down her face. After seeing the baby, she went on to luncheon with Evelyn Dunlop, my niece, to see her new baby, Peter. That afternoon she went to service at Westminster Abbey. Coming out into Victoria Street a lorry ran over her. She was taken into Westminster Hospital where she died without recovering consciousness. The Police found her address "Buckingham Palace Gardens" in a letter from me, and went round there. The servants there telephoned to Evelyn Dunlop who telephoned to Dick. Poor Dick with Florence critically ill had to tell me at Cromer, and Douro and Mary who were both away. He telephoned to Frank Barclay at The Warren who with Dora Arnold, a great friend of mine, came round to tell me the news. Very soon Peggy Barclay and Una Bullard were with me. Also my cousin Alfred Hoare who happened to be in Cromer at the time. I went up to London the next morning, kind Peggy coming with me. Dick met me at Liverpool Street Station looking perfectly awful. Together we went through it all, the funeral at Tewin and all the sadness. Florence was better by then but felt so distressed for us that she let Dick be with me as much as possible.
The following winter he and Florence had to go to India. I think that winter was the loneliest time in my life. I had never been without Helen and Dick ever since I was born. The rest of the family and my friends were very good to me but I very much wanted Dick just then. Their nanny and baby Helen used to come and visit me. They had been left with Florence's sister, Lady Londonderry, in London. Helen was a fat and jolly baby. Nurse Cheesborough was a great friend to us all and still is. A year later Harry was born, and two years later Hugh. They were really beautiful children and so sensibly brought up. They were, and still are, a great pleasure to me. Dick was a most proud and devoted father. We had some very happy holidays all together at Cromer. Often when Florence took the children to Scotland Dick stayed with me at Halsey Street or I went to him at 17 Devonshire Terrace, Paddington where they lived. Florence's uncle, Mr. Ernest Chaplin, died and left Florence enough money to make them much more comfortable and to send the two boys to Eton. Helen went to St. Paul's. They were such a happy family and I spent a good deal of my time with them, most Sundays and when I had time in the week. Florence was such a nice sister-in-law and always made me feel welcome. We were great friends from the beginning and very fond of each other. When little Helen was ten, Dick was playing golf somewhere outside London. He had a sudden violent pain and thought it was indigestion and finished his round. Lord Chaplin, his brother-in-law, could hardly get him home. (By this time I had sold Halsey Street and was living at Cromer). I went straight up to stay with Mary Wray in Walton Street so as to be near him. Dick had thrombosis in his heart and was desperately ill for a long time. At last the doctor said he was out of danger so that I went home to Cromer. A few days after I left he suddenly had another bad attack and died. I returned to London to a small hotel opposite their house and was with Florence and the children for some time. My cousin Charlie Tomkinson helped me more than anyone else. There was a large crowd at Tewin for Dick's funeral. I remember after we left the grave a lark flying up and singing most beautifully above our heads. Florence came and hugged me and I do not remember much more of what happened or of the people there.
Florence and the children came to me at Cromer after a short time. It was very sad for us all being there without Dick. I think the children were really too young to realise it much: little Helen was very sad at first. During his illness the boys had been away at private school in Eastbourne but Helen had been at home all the time going to a Day School. Florence moved to a flat in Addison Gardens and a few years after came the second Great War. Harry went into the Blues and Hugh into the Navy. After his training in England Harry went out to France where after a few months he was very badly wounded and had to leave the Army. Hugh was in the Navy until the War ended. During the War Helen was a landgirl, a W.A.A.F., and finally went abroad as a W.V.S helper. Harry was in a Military hospital for many months and was then moved into the country where his mother had taken a house in Rutland (Langham, Oakham).
Helen and Harry now live together at Belton in Rutland. He has bought a farm there which he works with his friend John Duffus.
Hugh married Gillian Chesterman and bought a farm in Northants. Their baby Amanda has just been staying here with her mother. She is two years old.
Florence, my sister-in-law, died nearly four years ago. She was a splendid person, so very unselfish, reliable and kind, a very good wife to Dick and mother to her children, and a most loyal sister-in-law to me. Her death was a great blow to us for she was only 65. I think the hard work and anxiety of the War hastened her death. She was quite intrepid and would bicycle about in London streets while the air raids were on and in the black-out. She was very nicelooking, blue eyes and fair hair. Her mother had died when she was born and she always said that her first real home was when she married Dick. I like to think of them together now.
I forgot to mention that Dick was on the Committee of the Evelina Children's Hospital for many years. He was keenly interested in the work and attended most of the meetings and often visited the wards. He was on this long before he had children of his own. After his death Florence consulted me as to the wording on his grave. I thought at once of what Charlie Tomkinson had said to me about him. "Dick was the straightest man I have ever known".
"Lord who shall dwell in thy tabernacle? Even he that leadeth an uncorrupt life and doeth. the thing which is right and speaketh the truth from his heart", were the words that we chose.
My own memories and friends
Having described all my immediate family and a good many other relations, I will now go to my own memories and friends. I do not like writing about myself and if anyone is bored they must not feel that they must read it, but 1 am told that the point will have gone out of the book unless I bring myself in too. Remembrances of a quite ordinary life must be rather dull and my life has certainly been on the whole most uneventful. All the same it is mixed up with a great many other people who have done interesting things and it goes a good deal further back than many of the lives of the people who may read it.
I remember well and went to both Queen Victoria's Jubilees and also saw her funeral procession from a window in St. James's Street. I was presented at Queen Victoria's Drawing Room by my sister, Mary Wray. The Queen was not well and the Prince and Princes of Wales took her place. I had been particularly taught by D'Egville, the deportment master, how to walk out backwards, forgot all about it and walked out in the usual manner. One of my old friends Evelyn Pease was presented by her mother at the same Drawing Room.
I have vivid memories of the South African War. My brother - in - law Cecil Wray was there and I went to Southampton with Mary and the old Wrays to see him sail. As the large troopship started he stood on the deck watching, his solitary figure standing by the side of the ship. The effect on my emotions was such that I was very sick all the night after, which was not a very romantic way of showing what I felt. Mary and her baby, Pamela, lived at Marden while he was away. We had an awful 10 days when we heard that he was missing. It was a great relief to get a telegram from the War Office saying that he was a prisoner of war. He came safely home at the end of the war unwounded. I still have a Kruger sovereign that he brought me.
The first motor I saw stayed with us at Marden about 1898. A rattling wagonette going very slowly and belonging to my cousin Bertie Barclay. It caused great excitement and half the village came up to the house to have little rides in it. When cars first started, horses had to. be held by their bridles until the car passed them, they were so terrified. There was nothing on the road but horsedrawn carriages and bicycles in those days. Driving, riding and bicycling were our only means of getting about except of course the railways.
It was a great event when we took a house in London with electric light installed. My father said he thought it was rather a risk and might not be safe for us to do so. We had nothing but oil lamps at Marden and no telephone until we lived years later in South Eaton Place. I had my first wireless set about 1925, a horrid little crystal set in a box with "cat's whiskers". It was always going wrong and producing very distant sounds through ear phones. London had horse buses and trams, growlers and hansom cabs. After a time taxis began to appear. Now London is so full of cars and motor buses that one can hardly move about. The country roads are also full of cars and few people travel by train if they can go by car. Instead of the muddy roads we used to have they are nearly all covered with tarmac.
What an excitement the first aeroplane was! Someone, whose name I forget, actually flew across the Channel. Zeppelins were the menace of the 1914 War. I remember seeing one hovering over London, cigar shaped and a grey colour. When one was expected a man bicycled up and down the streets blowing a whistle and calling "Take cover". London was only slightly bombed in the 1914 War. The worst damage which I saw was when the old Chelsea Pensioners buildings were hit.
In earlier days at Marden we had dinner parties for 14 neighbours fairly often. If one fell out I was had downstairs before I was really `out' to save the unlucky number of 13 sitting down. The dinners were very long and dull and about six courses to eat. I remember once I was very young sitting by old Baron Dimsdale. The silly old man asked me how long I had been staying at Marden: to which I replied "All my life". In those days the ladies went into the drawing room about half an hour before the men joined us. After dinner I was made to play the violin and Helen and Mary to sing- so very tiresome for the visitors. One of the first things I remember was sitting in my pram on the lawn, Dick seizing the handle and running full speed for what seemed to me a very long distance.
He was to figure a good deal in my early history as he shared my nanny, Warner, and my nursery. Many little cousins and friends stayed with us at Marden. One very spoilt boy teased me unmercifully and finally chased me round the table with a croquet mallet hitting me hard on the head. I do not remember what happened except that my mother was crying and my nurse furious. I believe that he and his mother left hurriedly. My animals were always my greatest interest. `Gyp' my little dog followed me whereever I went. I also used to take out my father's retriever and the boys' dogs. With woods all around the house it was difficult to keep them from hunting. I loved wandering about the woods and fields alone with them, or riding on my old pony Chester. A good many of the neighbours' children used to come over to tea or I went to them. Charlie 'Tomkinson, my first cousin, was my greatest friend, his sister Margaret was two years older than me. We had great games together with our rabbits and gardens and so on. He came to Marden and I used to stay with him at Willington. Uncle Frank's sons were also at Marden often and although they were considerably older than me I did a good deal with them. Huz and Buz, the twins in his family, were so much alike that nobody ever knew them apart. One day Huz was staying in a hotel and saw his reflection in a long glass, went up to it and said "Hullo, Buz, I had no idea you were here". 'They both lived at Cromer when they were old men in Uncle Frank's house "Weylands". Their younger brothers Alfred, Harold (Pipps) and Gerry were often with us too. Governesses and lessons I found a great bore. I liked to be out of doors with my animals or my friends or else alone. I disliked governesses trailing after me. They were all of them very nice and much kinder to me than I deserved but I do not think they taught me very much. One who married after a short time I was very fond of.
When I was confirmed Mr. Nightingale, the curate-incharge, prepared me. He and his wife and children were real friends. The day of my confirmation I got up at 5-30 a.m. and walked across the fields to my mother's grave. I shall always remember the lovely feeling of quiet with no one up or about. Later we went to Hertford, where I was confirmed. Sam, Dick's dog, barked under the horses' hoofs all the way to the church door. It was a beautiful service at St. Andrews. I rather wished that all the maids and household had not come. I can see them now- they all looked so funny sitting in a row with the same faces they put on for family prayers, but not a bit like what they were in the house, where we were friends and had jokes and games together.
My nurse Warner was a good dressmaker and seldom went out with me, she was so busy sewing for us all. She was a strange person. Her grandfather had been Lord S., of which she was very proud. Her father was so poor that they lived in a tiny cottage near Dereham in Norfolk. She said that they often had to eat the bread and smell the cheese-there was not enough to go round. She puzzled me when I was a child by saying that she would like to "stamp on her grandfather's grave" and that her blood was bluer than mine. It was years after that I discovered what it really meant. She had lived in a Jewish family and had most strange ideas about the Old Testament. It was just as well that I had good teaching from a very sensible father. With all her peculiarities she was a devoted friend and a great help to us. She used to tell me that her waist only measured 19 inches: it certainly looked very small and she had an enormous bust. The snob in me sometimes felt a little ashamed of her when she went visiting with me to my various friends. It was a relief when I was considered old enough to go by myself.
I went for many visits to relations and friends and very much enjoyed them. Now I have grown old I feel lazy about leaving home which I find a great effort. Every other year I went to Scotland with the Edward Buxtons. They took a furnished house each year. Large parties of young people and a lovely outdoor life. I often stayed with them in Essex where they lived (Knighton, Buckhurst Hill). They had a beautiful garden and woods filled with wild flowers. The house is now pulled down and the garden has been taken into Epping Forrest. The three girls, Maude, Clare and Theresa were my friends. Maude married Frank Barclay and lived in Cromer: she is dead but I still see Clare and Theresa and talk of our happy days together years ago. Then I went to Warlies - the Fowell Buxtons, V. and Charlie, were my friends: she (V. de Bunsen) only died last year. Their older brothers, Noel and Charlie, held strong Labour views and were practically cut by most of the family. They were most charming men and their mother, Lady Victoria, a very remarkable woman.
Easney, Willington and Hanworth were open houses to us. At Easney one of the daughters, Louisa, was a little odd. She fascinated me when I was staying there as a child. She was often so amusing, drumming on the table and staring at the ceiling. My father used to make Dick very cross when he was at school by telling him that Louisa was in love with him, she was then about forty I suppose. When she grew old and senile, her sister Effie Lancaster took her to live with her. One morning she said to Effie "I must get up for I have to go to poor Effie's funeral" (Effie was rather taken aback) "get out my black clothes, dear, so that I can be ready in time". A coat and bonnet were found by Effie but what about a funeral to satisfy the old lady? Effie took her to afternoon church. In the middle of the service she turned round and said "I cannot see dear Effie's coffin, where can it be". How she got home or what happened after I do not know.
Other visits I enjoyed were to my friends the Brands at the Hoo, about 10 miles from Marden. We always had a very good time there. I saw a good deal of them always. One day they bicycled over to breakfast. I bicycled back with them to luncheon. They were starting to bicycle back with me to tea when Lady Hampden, their mother, stopped them. The three girls, Margaret, Alice and Dolly have been friends with me ever since. Margaret and Alice died a few years ago.
The Sturgises, some other friends, were very amusing to stay with-there were six of them. Their mother died when they were children. Their father, Mr. Sturgis, was a most charming man. He later married George Meredith's daughter. The Sturgis girls always made me avoid the "tiresome old man", but how proud I should be now to know and talk to George Meredith. He was very handsome with a white beard and rather tall.
As my various friends married I went to stay with them in their new homes and so the circle widened. After we left Marden and went to live in London we spent weekends with people round about, generally in Hertfordshire. Helen, Dick and I once had a delightful visit to the Arthur Peases at Marske in Yorkshire. Herbert, afterwards Lord Daryngton, was a friend of Dick's (who was his `Best Man'), Winnie a friend of Helen's and Evelyn a friend of mine. I still see Winnie, Mrs. Jenyns. She lives at Bottisham near Cambridge. All the others are dead. The old man was a "ministering Friend", and often spoke at Quakers Meetings. He was good all through and his children took after him: in later years they joined the Church of England. When Mr. Pease was dying he said, "I know not the way I am going but I know my God so well."
The days at Marden were very happy ones, practising my violin, playing golf or riding with my father, fishing with my brothers and visiting my friends in the village, helping to amuse my father's old friends, who stayed with us for long visits, and my own friends who came to stay. Same of my father's friends were very interesting-Mr. Kinglake, who wrote the celebrated book "History of the War in the Crimea" - Mr. Fawcett, who was the blind Postmaster General - Mr. Henry Birkbeck, head of Gurney's Bank - old Lord Normanby, who was particularly kind to me, etc. Various Troubridges often came. They had lovely complexions and white hair, though they were quite young. They were the daughters of my father's first cousin who had been Louisa Gurney. She married Admiral Sir Thomas Troubridge whose legs had been shot off in battle. The Troubridge girls always rather annoyed my father because they could not come down in time in the morning. My mother's people stayed a good deal. The Willington Tomkinsons were often with us and mother's sister Sibella stayed for visits which were much too long. She was a most trying aunt, always saying the most tactless things. Her husband, Jack Bryans, and the two children Marjorie and Maurice were very nice. They are all dead now.
In the summer I had good many Country Holiday Fund children down from London, boarding them out in the cottages. Many of them had never seen the country before and found it strangely quiet. They once thought the rabbits were babies! Then I had three Waifs and Strays children adopted in the village, also a Bible Class for boys on Sunday. Of course all this easy life stopped when my father died. It was very different having a small London house and having to economise. It was comforting having Helen and Dick with me and our old nurse Warner, to say nothing of the two dogs. We had a new manservant called Robinson and two maids. Robinson stayed with the family for 40 years till he died, and his wife also worked for us. She is still living though growing very old. Whenever I am in London I try to go and see her.
Music and reading were the two things I most enjoyed. I learned the violin from Herr Piniger as a child and afterwards with Herr Wolff at the Hertford School of Music and afterwards in London. My father gave me a lovely old violin dated 1760 with a beautiful tone. I also learned the piano but soon dropped it. I have never cared for playing or hearing piano music. When we lived in London I joined the Audrey Chapman Orchestra. We had weekly practices and gave concerts and it was for an amateur orchestra a very good one. I also played in quartets, trios, etc. After my eyes went wrong I had to give up all this as I could not see to read the music.
The first small bicycles were a great innovation. Before there had been only "Penny-farthings". The curate from Bramfield used to call on one of these and gave me rides when I was a small child. There was one large wheel and a small wheel behind. Huz and Buz, my cousins, once rode on a Penny-farthing from Cambridge to Cromer. When the present bicycle came in I asked if I might have one. My father went to, see Mrs. Clinton Baker and Lady Bloomfield to ask if it was ` fast' for girls to ride a bicycle. Both advised him to allow me to have one and to my great pleasure a lovely new bicycle appeared. Riding it, cleaning it, etc. was the joy of my life and it was most precious. My feelings were outraged when Mary, my sister, who was just married and came to stay, insisted on learning to ride on my precious bicycle. Of course she tumbled about, scratching the paint and even twisted the handlebars. My father realised my disappointment and hired one for her to learn upon. After a few blissful years bicycling a London doctor stopped me using it. It was a sad blow and, looking back, I think he must have been an old-fashioned and silly old man.
Some of our nearest neighbours when we were children were the Longs at Bramfield. They had four boys and Teddy was my contemporary and friend. When we were very young we had a most happy afternoon in their farmyard playing with the animals and baby chicks. All the poor little things died the following night. We were both very much surprised and sorry but were forbidden the farm buildings in future.
The other neighbours at Bramfield were the Harrisons. Mr. Harrison was a clergyman and a great friend of my father's. They talked and walked and played golf together and we often went to afternoon church at Bramfield. I still remember the sermon he preached about Our Lord anointing the blind man's eyes with clay, though I shall be sorry after all these years to have to repeat it. The Miss Harrisons were very dull and they always had to be invited to every party and cricket match that we had. The boys would never talk to them more often than they could possibly help and poor Helen often had to leave her other guests to entertain Dora and Effie.
After the Longs left Bramfleld (Admiral Long had a home appointment) old Lady Bloomfield took the house. She was a most cultivated and charming old lady and a great pleasure to my father. She had been Lord Ravensworth's daughter and I think she was one of 14 children. She told me a story of going out in her pram as a baby and meeting her father. He stopped the nurse and said, "What a lovely child, whose is it ?" "Yours, my lord", replied the nurse. She married Lord Bloomfield who, like her father, was in diplomacy. I think they were both ambassadors. She spoke several languages, wrote books and was full of amusing and interesting talk. She also, thought herself very musical and thumped on her piano. She liked me to go over with my violin to play duets with her. I found it very difficult as she played so loudly and with such queer time and with so many wrong notes. (Perhaps it was my fault) .. She had numerous nephews and nieces and friends staying with her: when she got tired of them she put them into her wagonette and sent them off to us to entertain. Very often we had to spend the whole afternoon taking complete strangers round and round the garden and giving them tea.
After Douro, and Mary married, my father, Helen, Dick and I went on living at Marden very happily together and having constant visits from Douro Hoares and Wrays. The Douro Hoare children constantly came to us with nanny Button. Pamela Wray, Mary's eldest little girl also stayed with us very often. (Christine was born after my father's death, so were John and Barbara Hoare.)
My father was a very happy healthy man and hardly ever had a days illness until his death which I have already described. After he died we had a hectic time turning out of Marden. Just before his death we had taken a house in West Halkin Street for six weeks. My brothers thought it wisest to leave home as quickly as possible and not prolong all the partings, therefore Helen, Dick and I moved to West Halkin Street and let Marden furnished for six months. We had taken Marden on a Gentleman's Agreement", no lease or any stipulations - I think my father had promised to give six months notice before we left. The Cowpers were most kind about it and fitted in with our plans. They wanted us to have a small house somewhere on their estate but for Dick's sake we decided on living in London. He wished to give up his rooms with Guthrie Watson and to share a house with us, but he did not want the daily journey to Hertfordshire or to break off his London life. So we went to West Halkin Street and then took a small furnished house in Wilton Street until 26, South Eaton Place was ready for us.
The last weeks at Marden were so sad but they were helped by our very kind friends and neighbours, the Nairnes, Leslies, Brands and Buxtons. Etta Butler and indeed all of them came to see us. Douro and Ida stayed with us most of the time helping with papers and clearing up. I vividly remember the last day leaving in the high dog-cart, Staines, our coachman, who had been with us for 25 years, driving us to the station. The Nairnes were at the door to see us go . I never saw the place again until I went there three years ago except on the day when we divided the furniture. Pleasant people are living there who were very nice to me but I hated seeing it. When we were in London we still saw the village people sometimes when we were staying with our Hertfordshire friends.
After we had settled at 26, South Eaton Place things grew easier. Our poor old terrier Sting never forgave us for having moved him. He took no notice of us, attaching himself to Robinson the new manservant and was busy helping to bring up the kitchen cat's kittens: becoming quite senile, he soon died. My little Scotch terrier was with us for some time but then he was lost. It was horrid going down to the Battersea Dogs Home day after day to look for him and never to find him-I expect he was either run over or stolen. Some time after this I was staying with the Buxtons at Fritton and they found me a delightful puppy in their village, Dan. He was of no special breed but had great good looks and character. Dan lived to be quite old and was rather a celebrated person.
I had several friends in London which made a lot of difference to me: Mary Egerton, the Brands some of the time, Daisy Head (whose son is now Minister of War), Blanche Grenfell, etc. Helen and Dick had most of their friends in London too. We saw a good deal of other people going through or staying up for short visits. The Douro Hoares were then living at Eaton Place and the Wrays at Walton Street so that we had plenty of the children in and out. Helen and I went to theatres, concerts and picture galleries sitting in cheap seats. I tried hard to educate myself a bit with lectures, museums and reading. I had had such a very bad education. Helen and I once sat all through Wagner's "Ring" in the top gallery of the Opera House on hard forms with no backs-a most tiring experience. We all three read a great deal and spent most of the evenings over our books. I joined the Westminster Division of the Red Cross and went to practices and lectures.
After we left Marden and lived in London we took seats in Holy Trinity Church, Sloane Street. It made all the difference to our Sundays-the lovely organ and choir and the celebrated preachers who came there, Gore, Inge, Percy Dearmer and many others. The incumbents were all interesting men - Bevan - Gamble - Duddon - Chesshire.
I was on the Church Council for several years. Holy Trinity Church was badly bombed in the last War and its beautiful organ destroyed. The Church has now been restored.
I was very lost at first in London without the village people, so I asked for a district there and was given one in St. Peter's Parish, Eaton Square, working under the Mission House. They gave me a number of houses in the Vauxhall Bridge Road: old Church pensioners to see weekly and everyone else in about 20 other houses. They were chiefly tenement houses holding several families and very high and narrow. I climbed many stairs and knocked on a great many doors, then had to report to the Mission House any cases of want, sickness or distress. There was a regular Charity Committee (which my brother Dick was on) to look into each case brought up by visitors. My only experience of the London poor had been my weekly visit to the London Hospital which I had started doing while I lived in Marden. I found them most charming people and so much more amusing than the Tewin people who had never left their own village or ever been as far as London. I bobbed in and out of the London houses just as I had done at Tewin, not in the least realising all that was going on.
One day a very nice elderly clerk's wife with whom I had made real friends talked with me very sensibly. Did I realize what some of these houses were? Was I not rather too young to go in and out so freely? They turned out to be bad houses and one of my most welcoming friends kept one of them, against the law but for some reason not very often discovered. The landlady in one of these houses was caught and put into prison. After a time she was sent out of prison to the Cancer hospital where she died: I often used to visit her there. One day she told me the whole history of her past life but she was so indistinct and mumbling that I could only pretend to understand. I had many other strange experiences in Vauxhall Bridge Road and got very fond of some of the people and enjoyed going to see them. Some were pathetically poor, living in damp cellars with half naked children. Some were old and oh! so lonely, knowing no-one and just struggling to live on their tiny pensions. Some of them were really saints and taught me a great deal. A few were Roman Catholics but they made me most welcome. "More roads than one to Heaven, my dear" one woman said to me.
One woman who drank had an adopted "gentleman's" boy and finally passed him on to me when she went into the workhouse. It is too long a story to tell here but by a long train of circumstances I traced his relations and got help for h n but it was too late as he died from neglect in childhood. We had him at Cromer for one autumn boarded out in a cottage. He was so happy and loved the sea and the freedom and being with Helen and me. Douro was very good to him and took him out in his dogcart. We used to see him perched up by Douro with a long cock pheasant's feather in his cap. His aunt had taken him as a small baby to Mrs. B. in Vauxhall Bridge Road, given her £100 and the baby and said she never wished to hear of him again. After he died she was very full of remorse and often wrote to me about him. Her brother, his father, had been an artist - who the mother was I never knew. Occasionally I had postal orders sent me anonymously with a slip of paper saying "for Artie" and always imagined they were from his poor mother.
One almost unbelievable thing happened in the Vauxhall Bridge Road. I went to see a very nice landlady who kept most respectable lodgings and had a ticket in her window advertising her rooms. She was very much worried as a nice-looking young woman, well dressed and pleasant, had just arrived with no luggage and no credentials. She told the landlady what seemed to me a most foolish story. She had travelled up from Scotland, the first time she had ever been to London, and was on her way to Australia to live with some relations there. She had arrived at one of the big London termini, hired an outside porter to wheel her box for her and to direct her to a respectable small hotel. He did this and she booked in and went up to her room, leaving all her things in her box, and proceeded to walk out and get a view of London. The silly girl wandered about sightseeing until she felt very tired and decided to go back to her hotel. She then found she had completely forgotten the name of the hotel and the street it was in. What was she to do ? She only had a few shillings on her. She finally landed in the Vauxhall Bridge Road and saw the notice in the window and asked for a room. How was she to find the hotel and what was she to live on until she found it ? However, after talking it over with the nice landlady, I took her to the office of the "Friends of the Poor", a Society I worked for and from whom I often got help for my difficult cases. They took on the case at. once, lending her money and clothes, and put the police on to finding her luggage. They searched for the porter at the station who remembered taking a girl to a hotel and directed the police. They found the hotel and all her possessions so that all ended well. She was so relieved and grateful and gave the Society of the Friends of the Poor her father's beautiful vestments-he had been an Anglican Priest. She asked the Society to give them to whatever Church needed them and in due course she started off to Australia.
Another interesting case was a desperately poor old woman living on a tiny pension, half starved and no friends. She lived up in the top attic of a very high house. St. Peter's Church gave her coals, milk etc. and a small pension to keep her going. I visited her pretty regularly and do not know that anyone else ever went to see her. She fell ill and I asked the District Nurse to go and see her. A few days later she died. After the funeral the Nurse was tidying up her room and bed. She thought the mattress felt very hard and lumpy, cut it open and found over £100 in gold sovereigns hidden in it. Why had she pinched and saved when she had no-one to leave it to and she was so badly wanting comforts herself?
At the risk of boring my readers I must tell one more rather pathetic little story. An old woman living in a top attic and also seeming completely alone. She had no relations, friends or visitors but she was always bright and cheerful but, oh, so terribly dull. I gave her a canary in a cage and all her life was changed. She loved her bird, talked to him and gave him titbits and he responded by becoming very tame and responsive to her, singing and talking to her all day long. I was away when she was taken ill and had to go to the hospital. She asked the landlady, who lived on the ground floor, to feed and water her bird. After a short time in the hospital Miss Betson came home pleased at the thought of seeing her bird again, the only thing she had to love. As she walked up the stairs her room seemed strangely silent. She whistled and had no reply. Reaching the cage she saw a little body lying on the floor, no food or water in the cage. He had been completely forgotten.
Later on I worked for a time at the Outpatients Department in Bayham Street, Camden Town, as a V.A.D. I was allowed to do small dressings and to sit with the patients coming round from accidents and anaesthetics. I remember one young woman with lovely long golden hair to her waist but thick with mud and slime. She was brought in by the police, having tried to drown herself in the canal near the hospital. I was put to sit with her and by degrees she told me her history. Three small children, a brutal and drunken husband and a fourth baby coming. She had taken the children to her mother and in despair stepped into the water. She was taken in to the Hampstead Hospital and from there to prison but she was released before the baby was born. I kept up with her for a long time and saw her in the Infirmary with the baby and very often afterwards- I do not know what has happened to her now.
I think I visited Vauxhall Bridge Road from 1901 to 1914. I do not remember if I went back to it after the 1914 War. Helen and I visited the London Hospital weekly. The Sister of the Men's Ward that I visited was a friend of mine, Lucy James. She had nursed me through influenza some years before. I still see her at Budleigh Salterton. Helen had her Mothers Meeting and crèche at Clerkenwell so that the time generally seemed pretty full. Most days I took my dog and Dick's into one of the parks, generally meeting Mary Egerton, Alice Brand, Pipps or Phil Hoare or one or other of my friends there. Helen made a point of always being in to tea so that Dick generally came back and various people dropped in, knowing that she would be at home. One afternoon I came in rather late and found her entertaining a new curate and his wife. She was sipping tea from her teacup and eating cake: Mr. and Mrs. Curate were sitting rather shyly on the edges of their chairs with no tea and no food! When I came in I asked them if they never had tea, upon which Helen got very red and said she had completely forgotten to give them any
In the summer evenings we generally went for a walk with the dogs in Hyde Park or St. James's Park. Except for the longing for the country which never really left me, they were very happy and peaceful years. We let North Cottage, so managing to pay all expenses, going there ourselves every Spring and Autumn. All this life was broken up by the 1914-18 War.
Several days before War was declared there was intense uneasiness everywhere. Helen and I were in London and went with the crowd on most days into St. James's Park where everyone collected round Buckingham Palace or stood about just waiting for news. The Westminster Division of the Red Cross was getting ready and collecting its various members together.
As I have said before, some of us had been working in Hospitals and attending Lectures for several years before the War. When War started our Westminster Division had taken a large Warehouse near Victoria Station. We fitted it up to give temporary lodgings for refugees. The Belgians poured over and we met them at Victoria Station and took in all of them that we could into the warehouse before moving them on to hostels. It was very sad work seeing them so frightened and miserable, hardly any belongings and many of them had seen their relations killed. One old grandmother especially stays in my memory: she had seen her son and daughter-in-law killed, had collected the three children and escaped with them.
Our Commandant for L.58 was Dr. Hay. After a short time he went off to more important work and put me as the Commandant in his place. L.58 was a very small detachment but before long it numbered over 100. Everyone flocked into the Red Cross to see what they could do to help. A good many of my friends and relations joined L.58 which made the work much more interesting for me. My job at first was to interview the new members, give them uniform permits and get them posted to various hospitals or hostels. The combined Westminster detachment ran a hostel at Wimbledon where I worked for a short time. The V.A.D's cooked, scrubbed and slaved while the Belgians sat about doing nothing. The Division also started an Officers Hospital in Park Street where a good many of my V.A.D's worked. The Red Cross asked us to undertake a canteen at the Y.M.C.A. in Tottenham Court Road, and my detachment was told off to do the job. One of my new V.A.D's, Adele Gerstley, suggested after a time that we should start our own hospital. She was prepared to furnish it and pay all expenses not covered by the War Office grant. For some time we searched for a suitable house and finally were lent a beautiful house in Cadogan Square, No. 53. We had about 500 patients through our hands during the war and spent a most interesting four and a half years there. She and I ran it together and managed to work it very smoothly between us: she supplied the money and worked very hard, accounts, house keeping, etc. I ran the whole staff of V.A.D's and generally supervised the patients and hospital. We had a most odious Matron, and four trained sisters. In the course of the four years we had badly wounded patients brought in to us, some of them straight from the battlefield. Many of them returned twice or even a third time. King George and Queen Mary visited us and afterwards Queen Alexandra. At the end we were both offered the M.B.E. which Adele refused and I accepted. Matron got the Royal Red Cross. My great friend, Dr. Nairne, was our Chaplain most of the time. Adele left the whole of the religious arrangements to me as she was a Jewess. We had lovely services in the wards, patients and staff attending. Dr. Nairne also visited and talked to the patients and arranged to have Holy Communion celebrated in each ward for any patient who wished for it. They nearly all did. There was a wonderful atmosphere in the place.
As I have said before, Dick was busy in the office all day and at the Search Lights by night. Helen had a good deal to do with her women at Clerkenwell, her district and her crèche. Any time she had to spare was spent in the hospital workroom. She catered for us at home in a wonderful way and owing to her we always had a comfortable house to return to. I have no recollection of the rationing except for shortage of butter though I suppose it existed in the way that it did in the last War. I slept at home and had meals at home to save the hospital expense. Every morning I started with Pat my Irish terrier and walked to Cadogan Square from Ebury Street, arriving about 9-30, walked home for luncheon and a short sit or walk in the park, and back to the hospital until about 7 p.m. then back in time for dinner and bed. The telephone never left me alone either at home or in the hospital but I thoroughly enjoyed the work and the responsibility. We were such a very happy party, all of us friends both V.A.D's and the patients. The only drawback to the hospital was the disagreeable Matron. She spent a good deal of her time in her small sitting-room communicating with her `dear ones' on the astral plane. She used to come out looking quite `gaga'. I longed to part with her but as Adele Gerstley was paying most of the expenses and wished to keep her I could not do much about it. We carried on for several months after the Armistice ending up with a hospital dance for all the old patients and nurses and V.A.D's To my great surprise the band suddenly stopped and Adele and the Matron and I were made to go on to a small raised platform where I was given a gold watch and a hundred pounds, and she was given a beautiful bag from the patients and staff with lovely tooled leather books containing signatures. I tried to make a speech but found it quite impossible.
On looking back on our four and a half years at the hospital at 53 Cadogan Square, I must add how grateful I was to all my fellow workers. I did not like the Matron as I have said before, but it may have been prejudice on my part as Adele trusted and approved of her. With this exception I had nothing but affection for them all. The trained sisters were very nice and did good work, fitting in well with the V.A.D's. Most of these latter were my friends before the War or friends of friends and we were a very united party. They put in most unselfish and devoted work in the wards, kitchens, pantry and workroom. It was a huge house and took a great deal of cleaning. Some V.A.D's stand out in my memory as especially good but it would be rather invidious I think to name them. As to Adele Gerstley (Mrs. Jim Gerstley) I can only say that our friendship deepened as the years went on. She was so good to me and so true and completely generous and never let me feel it was not my money but hers alone that enabled us to do the work. She did all the jobs that I was completely unfitted for-housekeeping with the Matron, accounts, War Office forms and so on. She could not put in as much time at the hospital as I did as she had her husband and three children and home to run. She was completely tolerant of my religious views although she did not agree with them, and she gave me a free hand in arranging the hospital services in the wards. I shall always owe her and all the staff a debt of gratitude for making our work so worthwhile and easy. Except for the sadness and horrors of war, it was a really happy time. The doctors and surgeons, all voluntary, were kind and pleasant to deal with. It was really a sad time when we had to break up and find our job was finished. The courage and cheerfulness of the officers was extraordinary for we had some very bad cases and men who suffered much pain and illness. We only had two deaths. All the depression of the outside world was taken away when we were with them, so many jokes and happy times together. Of course we had difficulties and worries but they have faded with the past and only the easy and happy times stay in my memory.
Our immediate family had no one fighting except Ralphe Hoare and Cecil Wray and they both came safely home. We lost several cousins and friends. Phil Hoare, my special friend, died of wounds. Just before the War he had made a most disastrous marriage and I somehow feel he was not very sorry to go. Another young cousin, Rawden Hoare, son of Gerry and Rosie and Uncle Frank's grandson, won the M.C. and D. S. O. He had been such a highly-strung and nervous child but he did more in the way of winning honours than any of the family. In the second War his battery did so bravely at Dunkirk that it was awarded the highest distinction possible while he was in command.
We little thought that another and far more devastating war would be on us again in less than 20 years and that the "war to end war" had not taught the nations to live at peace.
I still have the photograph of my V.A.D detachment L.58 in a large group. Most of the girls were very nicelooking and wore their uniforms most neatly. I was proud of L.58 and all its good work not only in Cadogan Square but elsewhere. Some went abroad or to other hospitals at home. Wherever they were it was my job to keep in touch with them and we came to know each other very well.
After the hospital closed, Helen and I went to Cromer for a good change, Dick joining us as often as he could. Our faithful servants and friends, Mr. and Mrs. Robinson, looked after him in Ebury Street whenever we were away. We took to Cromer with us our housemaid Hackett who had lived with us for 15 years and whatever cook we happened to have at the time, and of course my dog Pat. By that time Dick was earning a good salary. He had always paid the rents, repairs, rates and Robinson's wages, we paying for food, fuel, maids' wages etc. Robinson, our little man servant, was an amusing person. He had come to us when we first went to London. At one time I found my shoes very uncomfortable and discovered that Robinson had been wearing them. Another time one or two letters were steamed open and read, but these little failings were very small considering all that he did for us. On one visit to Cromer when he came down with us the life boat went out. In those days it had to be pulled out by ropes to the sea and the Cromer people waded into the sea up to their waists to launch it. Robinson came home very pleased with himself and telling us that he had helped to pull the lifeboat down. I said "You don't seem very wet, Robinson". "Oh no, Miss" he said, "I wasn't going to spoil my shoes!" When Dick married, Robinson went with him. He died a few years before Dick's death.
After the War old Warner my nurse thought she would like her own room so she left us to move into a room in Pimlico. For years she was a constant worry always changing her room. She finally went into an Old Ladies Home kept by some Anglican Sisters. There she became a bit senile and very difficult so that she soon was moved to another home in Primrose Hill. After Helen's death Mary and I did all the visiting and she expected to see us very often. At last she became so senile that we moved her into the Chelsea Infirmary as a paying patient. By that time I was a Poor Law Guardian so that I could see her when I liked. One night I woke up and knew that she was dead. I wrote down the time-3.z0 a.m. Next morning I had a note from the hospital telling me that she had died at that time. This has happened to me several times before and since.
A short time after the War came the General Strike when everyone all over the country ceased work. For a long time I kept the tiny sheet of newsprint which was all we had at that time. The year after the 1914 War was uneventful. I found it a bit dull without the regular work at the hospital. Helen and I spent a good deal of time at Cromer and our annual visit to the Barclays at Hanworth. Both Willington had been and Hanworth always was like second homes to us. Then came my sister Helen's death, which I have described in Dick's life. We were all so involved with each other that it is difficult to keep things in their order of events. After her death I went to live at 40 Halsey Street with my dear friend and maid Hackett, a young cook, and my Irish Terrier, Pat. I carried on as usual for some time seeing Dick and Florence and all my relations and friends, all the time getting more and more sleepless. At last this insomnia gave me a break-down of which I was greatly ashamed. I think I was treated all wrong. The doctor put me to bed for weeks. It was lovely summer weather and to be indoors was always a penance to me. I was not allowed to see anyone except Dick: he used to come round every evening. (Dora Arnold, who came to nurse me for a time and who lives here, tells me it was not wrong treatment at all and that I was very ill and it was the only thing to do.)
After some time the doctor allowed me too go down to Cromer with my nurse, maid and Pat, but he wrote to the doctor there to keep everyone from seeing me. I felt terribly lonely and deserted. I had always lived in a crowd and the sleeplessness and silence were terrible. Hackett and Pat were my only comforts. After what seemed months, but I believe was only a few weeks, the nurse left: I had never liked her and was thankful to see her go. Dick and Florence and the baby Helen came to stay with me and I began seeing people and to lead a normal life again. I never could express my gratitude to all my friends before and after this time. Especially Alice Brand, Dolly Fielding, Mary Egerton, Daisy Head, Barbara Hodgson, Joyce Tomkinson, Una and Peggy Barclay and their mother, Humphrey and Evermar Barclay, Charlie Tomkinson, Pipps Hoare and too many others to name. Then came Hope Preston, whom I had not seen for years: she was really Helen's friend and her understanding and sympathy were wonderful. She had lost her husband and two sons and so knew what it was to feel lonely. Until the time of her death several years later, I often stayed with her at Happisburgh and she stayed with me in London. She was much older than me and I found that an older person can understand better than ones contemporaries sometimes. We had a very happy time at Happisburgh, driving about in her small pony cart, walking, sitting in her drawing-room, talking or reading-she sewing and I reading aloud and discussing what we had read. I think we talked more about religion than anything else. Years later she died after a long illness and I was thankful to be able to be with her and help her a little bit through it. Her daughter, Hope Esincourt, is a great friend of mine and I always see her when I go to London.
When I got strong again I wanted to get some work to do. I did not feel well enough for some time. I stood for election on the Chelsea Board of Guardians and got in. Marie Mallett, an old friend, helped me very much. I remember one woman telephoning to ask if I was Samuel Hoare's daughter as she thought that if I was I should be a great deal too young for the work. I reassured her by telling her that I was eight years older than he was and that he was my cousin. The Guardians work was hard but most interesting. I went onto a great many Subcommittees and was especially interested in St. Luke's Hospital which we were then trying to modernise (this was badly bombed in the last War). I did a great deal of visiting hospitals, workhouses and children's wards. They put me onto the Banstead Poor Law School where we spent Friday of each week. I also had to inspect Chelsea patients in various mental asylums. I shall never forget the horror of seeing some of the poor things in the padded wards looking exactly like wild animals. This Guardian work was a whole time job and a very absorbing one. After Helen's death Mary had taken on her Mothers Meetings and Alice Brand her crèche. Alice wanted me on the committee of this with her, so that we did that work together.
I lived alone in Halsey Street though I had several paying guest boys to stay with me, Reggie Hoare, John Hoare (my nephew), Bill Tomkinson and others. I went to Cromer for holidays, letting the Halsey Street house while 1 was there: also by letting the Cromer house when I was in London I managed to pay most of the expenses of born. For, I think, seven years Mary Egerton and I went abroad for a month every year. We visited the Italian Lakes twice, Florence, Venice and other parts of Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, etc. One year we went to the Bayreuth Festival and another to the Salzburg Festival. I also had six weeks at Hyeres with the Bertie Barclays.
After about ten years, the Guardians were disbanded. The L.C.C. took the work on and put me on some of their Committees. The most interesting one was St. Luke's Hospital of which I was made Vice-Chairman. I was also on the Committee of a big hospital near Sidcup. After two years of this work I felt I must go to live in the country so I sold 40 Halsey Street (for more than I had given for it) and settled at Cromer, buying a Baby Austin with some of the surplus money. If I had known that my brother Dick was going to die so soon, I would not have left London then as it meant seeing much less of him.
Several weeks after his death I again had a bad go of insomnia and was very ill. Nurse Bass came to me from Norwich and was a great help to me. On the top of this I suddenly lost the sight of my right eye, a detached retina. I went up to London and had a new operation which had just been invented in Moorfields Hospital and a clever replacement was made by Mr. Hepburn but I could no longer see to play the violin or drive my car. I also had to give up very extensive reading and could only read big print rather sparingly. Nurse Bass stayed with me for six years and everyone was very nice to me, especially Phyllis Williamson and the Robinsons who lived quite near in Cliff Avenue. The years before I got ill I had taken up Hospital Committees and Care Committee work in the schools and sick visiting at Cromer. I started on all these again as soon as I got better. The Cromer Hospital was my greatest interest as I was on the Building Committee and was on it from the start. I went on visiting there until three years ago, when my visits were stopped. I also gave up the Committees at the same time.
About 17 years ago the Christopher Gurneys asked me to call on some new people at Hill House, Northrepps. I was very lazy about paying calls but I took a taxi and went up there, little thinking that it would change my whole life. It began a very great friendship with Lord and Lady Sanderson. They were very good to me and I often went to their lovely home. It is an old red brick house and they made it very beautiful with their things. (In old days the Prestons had lived at the Hill House and it belonged to the Gurneys.) Lord Sanderson had been the Principal of Ruskin College, Oxford, and had worked very hard for the Labour Party, the W.E.A. and various other activities. Though he was blind he had done well at Oxford and had become a celebrated economist. Lady Sanderson was a Miss Nicholl. Her father had a place near Wargrave in Bucks. One of her brothers was Captain of the Eton XI and Charles Nicholl, her eldest brother, was a leading Freemason. When I first knew the Sandersons they had been married about 38 years. Lord Sanderson had a weak heart and had been told to give up his work: he settled in Norfolk. They both liked the Hill House and the country round it and were very happy there. After two years Lord Sanderson died in London. When Lady Sanderson returned to the Hill House I was constantly with her. I arranged that whenever she was without relations of friends staying I went up there so that she was never alone. The world was very unsettled and anxious and in September 1939 War was declared with Germany. Lady Sanderson (Avie) was away at the time. She had promised to be W.V.S. Central Organiser in North Norfolk if War should be declared. Meanwhile she had already decided to leave Hill House and to take a smaller house elsewhere. To my great pleasure I had a telegram from Avie "May I come to you as paying guest for war work?" Of course I was delighted and in a few days she arrived. Mary Wray was staying with me and insisted on taking me for a long drive-of course we got back too late to welcome Avie. I was very much annoyed but I hope that since then I have always been on the door step to meet her when she comes home.
Avie was busy preparing for W.V.S. work in Cromer and district, and I did what I could to help her. Evacuee children poured in from London. They were very thinly dressed in summer clothes having left home in such a hurry. Avie realised the cold winter ahead and started a working party, buying a large quantity of warm material. The Arthur Buxtons most generously lent us Upton House where there was a large workroom and plenty of places to store clothing. My nurse, Mrs. Bass, managed the workroom for some time. Then she felt she must go home to Mr. Bass and her daughter Norah in Norwich as bombing was expected to make every city dangerous. (They had a terrible time for several years)
Avie and I settled down to evacuee work, clothing the children and visiting them in the villages and schools, for they were all over this part of Norfolk. Avie's clothing scheme was a very good one as the school teachers made the parents pay for the clothing whenever possible. About two years later the Ministry of Health took over her scheme using it all over the country but no credit or thanks ever came to her. A London dressmaker came down to help us and ran the workroom very well, cutting out little coats and dresses and so on. These were made up by all voluntary members. We were very much interested in the children and got quite fond of many of them and so did their foster parents. I gave up Care Committee work at the Cromer schools and most of my other jobs, though I still visited the Hospital and was on the Hospital Committee. The War was getting worse and worse and the bombing very serious London and most of the large cities had it terribly. We had three small raids at Cromer after the evacuees had left, one of which demolished Dr. Vaughan's house which is about 500 yards from mine. Mercifully he and the children were out at the time but Mrs. Vaughan and the cook were buried in the debris. The cook had a fractured pelvis, Mrs. Vaughan only slight injuries. (their house is now rebuilt.) In all about 20 Cromer people were killed by bombs, and the Church had several windows broken. I was in North Lodge field with our two dogs when the Vaughan bomb fell. Perita, Avie's little poodle, was terrified and ever afterwards hated fireworks or any loud noise. The Jack Davies's lost a son and his wife and three children. That funeral was one of the saddest I have ever been to, most of the town and the fishermen all round this coast attending.
After about a year the East Coast was considered too dangerous for children and all the evacuees were moved to Staffordshire. We went to see them off at the station, such a weeping and wailing, children and foster parents all in tears.
Lady Sanderson gave up the workroom, office, etc. and moved to Cambridge to do evacuee work there. She took a furnished house in Silvester Road where we stayed for two years, a great friend, Rachel Hall, joining us. She lived with us and her husband, William Glenvill Hall, her son, John, who was in the Air Force, and her girl Allison who was at school came backwards and forwards to our house. My niece, Helen, who was in the W.A.A.F's at Bletchley, used often to come over for weekends. Peter Dunlop, my great nephew, was an under-graduate at Cambridge and came in and out every day. He became a very favourite nephew to both of us. Avie and Rachel worked a large clothing store at Cambridge filled with American gifts. I had a district, Kendall's Way, a building estate at the edge of the town. I visited and reported on women and children evacuees there. I made many friends with them and was sorry to leave them two years later when we came home again. I also helped at an evacuee women's club and visited the Leys School Hospital.
After two years to my great pleasure we came back to Cromer. I had not at all liked going away and was thankful to get home again. I took up my usual jobs with the Care Committee and so on. Avie took a small flat in London so that she could go on with her housing committees there - she was on the Central Advisory Housing Committee, Ministry of Health-going up and down. from here. One evening in the blackout she was pushed off the platform on to the line at Liverpool Street Station, and broke her arm very badly. Charles Nicholl, her brother, was sent for to Barts. where they had taken her. He took Perita her poor little poodle home: she had been with her and was terrified. He telephoned here to me. In two days he moved her to the Royal Masonic Hospital of which he was Chairman. I went up to London so as to be with her, staying at a boarding house in Kensington : it was not very comfortable but I knew two people there; Miss Pixly and Edith Buxton. The boarding house did not provide luncheon and with a war on it was worrying work getting anything to eat and meant standing in queues for a very long time. I found it so trying that I consulted the Hospital Porter to see if he knew anywhere nearer the Hospital where I could go. He suggested a public house, I think it was called The White Horse, in Chiswick. There I got an excellent meal for 2/- with no crowds or waiting about - sanded floor and bare table and a very strong smell of beer but most warm and cosy.
I spent most of my days with Avie and a good deal of time with Mary Wray, my sister, who was laid up with influenza some of the time. After a few weeks I caught influenza too and had to leave poor Avie there. Rachel Hall saw me off at Liverpool Street and was rather nervous about me as she said I was quite dotty. My own bed at Cromer felt lovely and I had a great greeting from the dogs and Mr. and Mrs. Hill, the dear old couple whom we had then. They took great care of me and I soon got better. After a bit Avie came home too. A few months after this I had a bad operation for gallstones and had my gall bladder removed in the University College Hospital. Avie was very good to me and spent nearly the whole of every day with me. It used to be rather a worry to me as the rocket bombs were falling then and she had .o go home in the blackout. She paid all my hospital fees for me and Mary Wray paid the surgeon. After the operation I had pneumonia and phlebitis and after a bit was moved in an ambulance to her tiny flat in Cranmer Court. She and Molly Pope, her cousin, and a very nice nurse were waiting there for me. As soon as I was fit they moved me back to Cromer. Not very long after this the Armistice was declared. Jim Dunlop came home from his German prison camp and John Hoare from the East where he had been on the ground staff of the R.A.F. Harry was in a big military hospital very badly wounded, and Hugh came home from the Navy. We had two sad losses in the circle-Edward Tomkinson my first cousin, Uncle Bob's son, went down in a submarine. Tony Tomkinson, my Godson, Jimmy and Marion's youngest boy, was killed flying. (In 1952 their eldest son Jimmy was killed skiing.)
The last year that Avie had her flat, in Cranmer Court, she and I were staying alone there. She started with a bad cold which suddenly turned to very acute bronchial asthma. It came on late at night and I could not get any help. The doctor refused to come though I telephoned twice. All night I sat by her side thinking she was going to die. She was hardly conscious and gasping for breath. At last in desperation I telephoned to a Nurses Agency and implored them to send some one along. To my great relief a very nice nurse arrived soon. She was horrified at what she found and did what she could and relieved Avie's breathing a little. She telephoned to the doctor a third time and by 8 a.m. he had come round. He was very much shocked and I think thoroughly ashamed of himself. By that time she 'was pulling through and after several days of very serious illness she got better. I ought to have got the night porter at the flats to get me another doctor but it is easy to be wise after the event. I shall never forget that awful night when she was really better, my nephew John drove her back to Cromer taking the nice nurse with us. Since then she has had three more of the same attacks but our clever nurse, Elsie Bagg, who always lives with us, has injected her at once and saved her life. After this experience she gave up the flat, greatly to my relief as I had never liked it, and was thankful to settle down again at Cromer.
After the bad illness the doctors advised Avie to go to Torquay for the winter. We went off together to the Osborne Hotel, Heskith Crescent, a most lovely place. We knew no one there and I found the first few weeks distinctly dull. Avie could do very little, the dogs were left at Cromer with old Mrs. Hill, the cook, and Elsie, the little maid. (Old Mr. Hill had died the year before.) I made rather friends with a fellow guest at the hotel, then found she was a Spiritualist and she told me I had "the look in my eye", so that friendship cooled off very quickly. Avie had some friends at Postbridge, the Slessors. They came over to see her and gave us an introduction to the Cyril Maudes. Through the Maudes' great kindness we met a great many acquaintances and a good many friends. The hotel was so expensive that we moved to a small furnished house "Miranda Villa". Mrs. Hill the cook and Elsie the little maid and the two dogs joined us there. It was a most hectic winter, Avie was still very delicate and we had terribly cold weather. We were almost snowed up once which is an unheard of thing in Torquay. Then Mrs. Hill had a thrombus in her heart and had to go to a Nursing Home where she was critically ill for some time. We were left with Elsie, aged 15, and the two dogs, Perita and Bambi, going for most of our meals to a small hotel next door. The house was haunted, the dogs growled when they entered and there was a most queer feeling there and part of it was most deadly cold. Avie asked her priest to come and hold a service there and I think the poor ghost was not so troublesome after that. We could not find a permanent cook but had temporary ones one after another. A very charming, educated and nice-looking woman came from the Registry to us bringing with her a sweet little girl. This was indeed peace and happiness. One day we went for a longish walk, too long for Avie, and got in very tired. On arrival we found little Elsie in tears and saying that a strange lady and gentleman were upstairs. We did a most odd thing-and to this day I cannot think why we did it. All we said was "Never mind, go and fetch us some tea please." After a very comfortable tea over the fire we went upstairs. There we found a C.I.D. man and a woman police officer, the child in tears and the woman very very much upset. It turned out that she was guilty of bigamy and several thefts and they had only just been able to trace her. Poor thing, she was so nice in many ways and we liked both her and the child very much. She wrote a letter later from prison asking us to take her back. We consulted the Dean of Exeter in whose service she had been and he strongly recommended us not to attempt it. The child went back to her father and we have never heard of them since. Mrs. Hill was too delicate to come back to us and eventually settled in a small house in Cromer where she died after a few months.
We returned to Cromer that Spring and life went on much as usual. Relations and friends to stay and different jobs to do. We have taken a house at Torquay every winter ever since as the East Coast is too cold for Avie, but we both love Torquay and the beautiful scenery and have such very nice friends there. I have found some old invalids in the cottages to visit. After the first winter in Torquay Avie had another bad attack of asthma at Cromer. I telephoned to Miss Bagg, the nurse who had been with my cousin Bertie Barclay at Hanworth until he died. She most kindly came at once - she was living at Cromer - and she has been with us ever since. She has saved Avie many a bad illness and helped her through many more. She also nursed me when I had a slipped disc. She helps us in every way and we shall always be most grateful to her. She is the most unselfish person I have ever met and it is difficult to stop her doing too much.
Avie Sanderson and I have now lived together since 1939. We have never had a quarrel yet and I do not think we are likely to have one. She is so good to me and very nice to all my relations and friends. We have many of them to stay here at Cromer, both hers and mine. I very seldom pay visits myself now as I feel very much happier at home. Now I am old, the young people can come to me which they certainly do. We are both busy over small jobs and do a good deal together as well. It is a joy to me not to live alone any more and to have such a very congenial companion. Our financial arrangements are very amusing. It is my house so that Avie has no rent to pay, also I pay rates, taxes and repairs. I give her a monthly cheque and extra for visitors. She provides everything else and does all the housekeeping. In fact I am a paying guest in my own house. It is such a relief to leave it all in her capable hands. I was never a good housekeeper and she says I used to live on baked beans! Avie's car makes a great difference to us at Cromer and at Torquay. (I had to sell my car when I had an eye operation.) Last year Avie also had an operation for cataract but it was most successful and she still drives a little. Luckily for us Miss Bagg had herself taught and takes us everywhere both here and at Torquay. We three and often a friend and the three poodles drive all over the place. From Torquay we have picnics on Dartmoor and in some of the country around. From Cromer we go to Cley, Blakeney, Norwich, etc., or to see various friends and neighbours.
I shall soon be 80 and I can look back on a very happy life.
I must now end this sketch which I have very much enjoyed writing. I hope it is not too egotistical. I am the last left of my generation on my father's side. My brothers and sisters are all dead and all my first cousins. On my mother's side I have five first cousins left. I should feel much bereft but Avie is so good to me and thinks of me in every way that there is not much time to be lonely. All the same as I think and write of the past I feel a pang of longing for all of them, especially my father, Helen and Dick who were my nearest and dearest.
Many old friends have gone too. Alice Brand left a great blank; we were so much together and shared each others lives so fully. Her last illness was caused by a motor smash she had when she was driving to Cromer to help me after Dick's death. I was with her when both her parents died, in fact she and her sister Dolly and I have shared most of our lives. Then Charlie Tomkinson, my first cousin, who was so good to me, died a few years ago. His two sisters, Barbara Hodgson and Joyce Tomkinson, I am thankful to say, I still have near me and we are in constant touch. I feel very strongly that these deep affections that come into our lives will go on throughout eternity and that some day we shall all be together again where there is no limit of time or space. This makes death easier to face. I often think of my old Aunt Bessie who said "I may have a physical fear of death and dying but I feel certain that all is well when the passing is over". This all sounds rather priggish but I had better end this little book without any more philosophising. I have liked doing it myself and I hope perhaps it will please the nephews and nieces for whom I write it, and a few of my friends.
(NOTE. Since writing the above, I have remembered more of the things my father, Richard Hoare, told us of his younger days. As these date further back than any of the more modern history in this book, I will add them as an Appendix.)
One story always amused us. He went abroad with a party of young cousins to see some of "Europe". At one place they failed to get their post and found themselves short of money. With the assurance of youth they went into a large Bank - I think in Paris - explained their position to the Manager and asked for a small advance. He was most polite. Certainly he would oblige them but what were their names? Each told his name - RICHARD HOARE, HENRY BIRKBECK, JOSEPH BARCLAY, JOHN GURNEY.
The Manager remarked drily "Next time you try it on, young men, mention one of the well-known English Banks, not four - that is too much for any fool to swallow". I think after some talk they showed their credentials and papers and so proved their identity!
On the same holiday an older man joined them, a Frenchman. He said he could not speak or understand a word of English. After a week together they got bored by him and said so freely to each other, discussing him in rather unflattering terms. At last he said he had to go on to an engagement elsewhere, thanked them for their company and added "I have had a most amusing week. I can speak and understand English as well as you can".
My father was hunting in Hertfordshire. At the end of the afternoon he went into a hotel for a meal. In the room he saw two old Quakers sitting in full quaker dress. They looked at him again and again, talking in low voice to each other (he was in his red hunting coat). "May we speak with thee, friend?" "Certainly, sirs" said he. "We have a concern for thee, friend - dost thee know the cruelty of hunting?" My father who loved the sport found it difficult to reply but thanked them for their "concern".
Before my parents moved to Hertfordshire they lived for a short time in Harley Street, their house in St. James's Street being too cramped to hold the children. My father started a beehive on the flat roof of his new house. One day the bees swarmed and settled on to another roof further down the street. He put on his beekeeper's clothes and rang the bell at this house. The butler told him that Sir Moses Montifiore lived there. He was shown in and found a very old man waiting for him. He said "May I claim the Englishman's right to follow his bees wherever they swarm?" Sir Moses was most kind and led the way to his roof where the bees were safely captured and taken home.
This led to a lasting friendship between the two men. Sir Moses was a strict practising Jew and had phylacteries over every door of the house. My parents stayed with Sir Moses in his country house somewhere near Dover and found him most clever and interesting.
Strangely enough in the 1914 War one of my best V.A.D.s was a Miss Montifiore (I suppose a grand-daughter of my father's friend). We all (the hospital staff) went to her wedding in the Synagogue. It was most interesting, the bride not coming in until nearly the end of the long ceremony. The young couple stood under a canopy-which symbolised "The protecting Love of God".
One of the first stories my father told me was the strange history of his `inkstand'. It was made in plain silver with two inkwells and a place for pens. He had bought it with the money he had received from the Hoare property in Ireland - his ancestors, Colonel Hoare, had fought with the "Roundheads". Cromwell gave him a: much land as he could plough round between sunrise ant sunset. This property was divided among all his descendants. With the few pounds that came to my father, h4 bought the inkstand with the history engraved on it.
I remember spelling it out to myself with great interest and picturing the slow plough working on and on until the dark.