Friday, 22 July 2016

Rhoda Baillie of the Well Hall Pioneer Circle

Original post:

Rhoda Baillie was a key figure in the Well Hall Pioneer circle. Meetings were usually held at her house – 34, Prince Rupert Road – and in August 1916 she held the role of Secretary, a post which she was re-elected to in November 1917.

Rhoda’s birth family name was Gilder.  She came from a local Plumstead family and was born on 9th November 1884 into a family with several other children – Frederick (8), Charles (6) and Fanny (4).  Later on there was another child, a younger brother Alfred Henry.  Her father Charles was a metal turner.  In 1881 and 1891 the family were living in Hudson Road, Plumstead.  Ten years later when Rhoda, by then 16, was a draper’s assistant they were living in Plum Lane.  Rhoda attended Vicarage Lane and then Burrage Grove Schools.

Rhoda married Roger Thorne Baillie, an explosives worker at the Arsenal at St Anne’s church, Lambeth on 16th June 1906.  He was thirteen years her senior and it is puzzling to work out how they might have met, although its possible that by then Rhoda had left home and was working in the Lambeth area. However, as was common at that time even when a woman was working, no occupation is shown on her marriage certificate.  Roger at this time was a storekeeper. Less than ten years later, the couple became eligible for a house on the Well Hall Estate, as by then Roger was working at the Arsenal, and the couple moved into their new Class 3 house at 34, Prince Rupert Road in 1915.  Shortly after that the Pioneer Circle formed and we find Rhoda had an important role in that.

It was either Roger or Rhoda Baillie who is the likely author of an article on the estate printed in the Pioneer newspaper in December 1915.  Initials only are given – R.B. – but given the involvement of both of them in the affairs of the estate, it is tempting to attribute to authorship to one of them.

Rhoda and Roger lived in the same house throughout their married life.  I don’t know whether they had any children but I can find no evidence that they did.  Rhoda died in 1965, some ten years after Roger.

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