Saturday, 1 October 2016

Eda Kathleen’s Diary: Some Neighbours

Original post:

From Eda’s diary (being researched by the Greenwich Women at War "Here Come the Girls" team), we can learn something of her immediate neighbours in Dickson Rd, Cobett Rd and Sandby Green.

Eda noted the death of a neighbour, Louisa Luff, in June 1918.  Louisa was relatively young at 53.  She and her family lived at 16 Sandby Green which is round the corner from the Biddlescombe house in Cobbett Road.  It’s not clear how they came to have a house on the estate.  Her husband had been a druggist assistant in 1911 which seems an unlikely background for Arsenal work; she has no recorded occupation and her youngest son was too young to take on the tenancy.   Louisa Luff had ten children, six of whom were still alive in 1911.  Her son Albert Edward born in 1900 enlisted in April 1918, joining a cyclist battalion in the Essex Regiment.  He survived the war and is recorded as living at the same address in the 1920s just after the death of his father, James.  Louisa Luff was buried at St John the Baptist Church, Eltham.

Another neighbour mentioned by Eda is a woman who sold her mangle to her mother.  Mrs Parry sent the mangle round by a local Carter called Paterson.  Having the mangle must have made the household chore of washing a lot easier.

On 2nd January the Biddlecombe’s neighbour, a Mr Perkins, moved leaving Eda to hope, ‘I do hope someone nice moves in.  I want a friend.’  When the neighbour moved in a week or so later Eda wrote she believed they had a girl her age for which she was glad.  However, there’s no further reference to a young neighbour.  It is interesting to note that there was some population movement here, even before the end of the war and before the need for so many employees at the Arsenal diminished.

Mrs Bright a neighbour from next door at number 4 gave Mary a lot of books and toys and later on Eda’s mother gave Bertha Bright some of their vegetables from their relatives in Devon.  Arthur James and Bertha Bright had five children during their twelve years of marriage They were then living in Enfield where James was a worker at the Government’s small arms factory in 1911.  By 1918 her youngest child was seven and so the items passed to the Biddlecombe’s must have been just right for Eda’s young sister.

Another resident is Mrs Delaney who Eda believes had been ‘turned out’, though by whom and for what reason is not clear but she left someone behind called Jack who might have been a friend of Eda’s brother, Tom.

New neighbours opposite included a man who Eda thought was ‘not very strong in his mind for he was building a rare house at the back today. Ah. I think he is one of our brave soldiers who have been ruined for life all through the ghastly Hans.’  I have not yet been able to work out where this family lived or who the poor soldier was.

Eda certainly showed a keen interest in those around her as well as the events of the war.

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