Snippets of Family history, 1915-2006
Transcriptions of letters received and stored by Joan (Swindells) Miller
Horley 248. Benhams Horley Surrey 30.7.33
My dear Joan,
What time did you post your Letters on Friday night or was it Saturday morning. According to the Post mark you caught the 3.30 A.M. Post. It will be quite alright for you and Norman to come after Bank Holiday. You can come on the Tuesday or Wednesday 8th or 9th, please let me known in good time, so that I can make arrangements to meet you in the car at UCKFIELD. NO,I did not receive your letter at JUAN-LES-PINS. I was expecting at least three from you and received none.! I hope you are going to write to me at least three a week!, especially when you return to St. Margarets. I do hope you have passed your Exams. I want you to make really good headway and try and become a Leader in Music. Perhaps Bessie has told you that Auntie possesses Lots of Diplomas for piano playing. She is really my clever.
I am watching your career may much, just as I want Bessie, Stephen & Norman to become, or what I generally call make good in life. I think you know what I mean. The weather here is wonderful, we are sitting out in the garden, Patrick at my feet sleeping soundly. Now and again, the peaceful surroundings are distorted by my young pigs out in the fields, probably the cows are chasing them!!
You would scream with laughter if you could see the bantams sitting outside on the kitchen door step, waiting for their food. They have little trousers of feathers, which make them look quite picturesque. We haven't decided about where we are going next weekend, but I think we shall probably motor down to Devon or Cornwall, a lot depends upon the weather. Last Friday we motored down to HOVE and bathed then had Tea at the “GRAND” Brighton. On our way back we stopped at one of the swimming pools which probably you have heard of.
We have several of them quite close to our home, but this one was absolutely wonderful. When you come and stay with us, we must go and pay them a visit, so bring along a swimming costume.
I heard from Bessie that Norman is quite a good swimmer. I hope he won't be attempting the Channel!
Must now close with all love,
Yours Ever, Uncle Norman.
Unclear date, but must be 1930s
Horley 248, Benhams, Horley, Surrey
My dear Joan,
Thank you for your letter. I am afraid I'm rather broken-hearted my poor Patrick died in his sleep yesterday afternoon. He must have had a weak heart and this heat was just too much for him.
I feel as if I have lost everything he meant so much to me, he was part of my life. I loved him more than life itself. We were so devoted to each other, it's just broken me up completely. He was so wonderful, so faithful and loving never left my side. I can't take it in, even now. He was just like a child to me. He had a soul that many a human being would be so proud to have, my poor old boy. He can never be replaced. It has been a dreadful blow to me.
We are not going away now for the Bank Holiday.
Can you come on Wednesday Joan, instead of Tuesday. 'Cos we are having two new maids coming in on Tuesday. Any time on Wednesday will do, let me know where and when I can meet you in the car, if possible take a train to the LAST stopping place before you have to change, then I will meet you there, wherever that is. Just let me know where and the time. The idea is so that you will hnot have to change trains. With Loving thoughts always,
Benhams, Dorley, Surrey
My dear Joan,
Your letter ar. You will be surprised to hear that we had to take SINGER back, he was I'm afraid to old to train for a House Dog. He also had a most nervous disposition. Terribly afraid. I think he had been seriously punished when a puppy; or had had a severe fright. We were frightfully sorry he had To be Taken back, he was such a magnificent dog and would have probably grown into the biggest dog in the world.
However, it is all very sad.
We went To some wonderful Kennels at RIPLEY on Wednesday. They Kept Bloodhounds and GREAT DANES only. You certainly would have enjoyed the sights. We saw wonderful dogs there, & we bought a GREAT DANE puppy. He is so sweet & already follows me about all over the place. He is just 2 months old & will of course be as big as Patrick when he is fully grown. I haven't given him a name yet, of course he is too young.
We are having glorious weather here, and not so warm as has been. You know of course you can come when you want too[sic]. We were sorry not to have Norman with us again, he certainly was a wonderful little boy. Auntie had sent up speically for some Tickets for the Zoo, however they will keep! Must now close with loving thoughts always,
Letter postmarked 1934 from Betty to Joan, she talks about not being able to get out of her boarding school except for a few hours and under close chaperone, to go visit Joan in Folkestone in Kent? Was Betty at boarding school in Eastbourne area or near Kent? Betty also talks about her options for finishing school, what language or other Certificate to go for.
postmark 3 Spr 1934, 6:15AM, Wolverhampton, Staffs
to Miss Joan Swindells at St. Margaret's School, Folkestone, Kent
88 Tettenhall Rd. Wolverhampton
I expect you are sorry that Easter is so early this year. Gossip about Rachel Sour at Adcote School, child of family friends who stays with Agnes at Easter?
I am going to stay with a cousin at Shiplake, near Henley-on-Thames tomorrow – for four days. I am to return to 88 next Saturday, I shall be very pleased to see you, Bessie & Rupert any day. If you choose Wednesday, you could play “London Street Cries” etc. again with Rachel, but I am afraid you won't see Bunty this time. She has spent a few days with me in each Easter holidays since she left Wolverhampton, but I wrote to her 3 or 4 weeks ago when my sister, Mrs. Cox, was so seriously ill, and told I should have to put off her visit this time.....
Please give my love to your Mummy, & thank her for the Easter card she sent to me. I will write to her soon & tell her how much I appreciated the verses in those cards.
Your loving auntie
Billy sends his love. He will be glad to see you – also Bessie & Norman
Who is Rupert? Did she mean Norman? Cousin? Who is Agnes?
addressed to Miss Joan Swindells, St. Margarets, Earls Avenue, Folkestone; pm=3 Oct 1934
4 Chatsworth House, Devonshire Place, Eastbourne
Oct 1st 1934
(Have you wished & said Rabbits.
My darling Joan,
I am glad to hear you received the money safely.
It was quite a nice change for you to go blackberrying on Saturday. I think Norman hopes to go sometime but at present he is very busy. He is in the 5B now & working mostly with Mr. Epic Laming, & it has been decided for him to have lunch at school, to have the little quiet rest after & also to stay for tea & do his prep with the others. & Mr. Eric corrects & helps at the same time. There are several working for scholarships for next year & we all hope Norman will rise to the occasion. So you can just put in a note of encouragement to buck him up sometimes, as, like you, it is the steady work & concentration from the very beginning – to get a good grasp of the ground work.
Stephen had a topping day on Saturday, being invited to tea by a school prefect, on Study Floor – at the top of the building where there are a dozen studies, with 2 boys in each, They made their own toast I should think. He was up there till just after 7, & when he got down to his own part the chaplain had an “At home at 7.45 for Senior Common Members. Orangeade awaited them, he does not say what else & they were entertained with his grammy, which is excellent, he has about 160 records all classics. Anyway Stephen reckons he will not be able to indulge in such again for a long time, as he will have his time more occupied with prep &c.
Daddy is having a bilious turn today so I am writing this whilst he is just dozing. He will be writing you perhaps next time. No letter has arrived as yet from Miss G. You gained a certificate for drawing at Milton Grange if you remember.
Bessie is busy at Claremont today so will be writing you some time.
Love to all & yourself, from your loving Mother.
Uncle Norman's illness, Norman talks about painful operation on his leg in another contemporary letter, this is shortly before Joan's own illness, so we can see why he was keen to write & keep her spirits up, too in Feb 1935
4 Chatsworth House, Denvonshire Place, Eastbourne Nov 8-1934
My darling Joan.... visit of the Queen...
Daddy paid a surprise visit to Uncle yesterday. He does not look at all well & was rather down-hearted, but perhaps the visit will cheer him up somewhat. The dog & cat are still at the kennels. Aunty is tired too, as she has no help though she may be having a daily start next week. She is up at 6-45 to get thro' with the work & 2 fires, besides having to fetch things from the bus stop about ¼ hrs walk away as the shop keepers do not deliver goods near their house, but she loves the house nevertheless.
I hope the daily will prove satisfactory. Dorothy will be leaving here tomorrow. I am not bothering for a few days about another girl, probably shall try a daily especially as Norman is away all day, & Bessie some of the evenings, too.
….It cheers Daddy up tremendously to hear you are doing better. He is not able to write as he had to go out & may not be back in time for the post.... Stephen has his concernt on Sat night & communion on Sunday but we are not able to go.
Must now close with fondest love from yr loving Mother, love to all
At St. Margaret's Folkestone
The Apiary Sidlesham Harbour, Sussex. Tel. Sidlesham 45
1st Dec 1934
My dear Joan
I expect you have been wondering what has happened, but I only received your letter, & a card from Norman,at the beginning of this week! It had evidently been off on a journey by itself with the card! Thank you very much indeed for all your good wishes, which I was so glad to receive. I have had a very busy week, as on Tuesday I took Uncle Norman as far as Brighton on his way to Eastbourne since then I have had a lot of work to do which had got behind owing to his illness. Never? I am just by? writing helps going off to Brighton to bring him home again! With love & many thanks your affectionate Auntie Mona --
That's Mona Hunting married to Norman Swindells, I have a letter from him on 6.11.34 where he talks about the opn. On his leg, first letter he's written in 5 weeks, he said, something that had been troubling him for nearly 3 yrs before that. ?I thinking maybe a Hernia?
No date, this is obv. In midst of her appendicitis op period, symptoms started about 27 Jan & she was operated on 5 Feb or so 1934
Chatsworth House, Dev. Pl. Eastbourne
My darling Joan,
I expect you were somewhat surprised to see Bessie walking in to see you.
I hope you will be none the worse for the visit. I suppose she will be coming by the late train, as it is nearly 10.p.m. I hope you are feeling more yourself & that the scar will soon be healing up.
I am sending on these cuttings, perhaps when you have finished with them you can destroy them, as I will send some more to pass away the time & they will be too many to save.
I suppose you will heard plenty of news today.
I must now close with fondest love
from your loving Mother.
Do not overtire yourself as you need building up now.
13 Feb 1935 Eastbourne postmark
4 Chatsworth House
I expect I shall b over tomorrow, all being well – don't rely on it though.
Well & how are you feeling now – much better I hope. I'm sorry not to have written for such ages – only I wasn't too sure if it was safe you seen. & I'm very worried as to where all your other letters are ok – I hope you've got your diary safely.
The letter from Guy which arrived the middle of last week I didn't dare send because I'd heard you were having it out. I didn't know whether it would get you O.K.
Jan? & S went home on Sunday as he asked me to see his letter. As he wanted to know all about you. He'd got the afternoon off from school & he'd managed to pinch the car so he took us for a short run as it was already 3-30. You had to be infor too being his birthday. I thought I'd better be too otherwise we might have gone somewhere exciting. Gosh we were doing about 75 miles on for? Along the Burling Gap Rd. when we suddenly realized we were passing a police car. Whether they took the number or not I don't know – Gosh it's a marvelous car & does 103 miles an hr. For: you & S went for a walk in the morning to Holy Well had some coffee & then strolled back. We did u 'C' go to church in the end. But we really will have to go this Sunday. I gave Dor an the in the end rather a nice one as a matter of fact I don't know if I told you in my last letter but I leave been introduced to his Aunt. She is awfully sweet. I like her frightfully. I passed Lis Nas in the tour the other day at least I thoguht it was her & I stared – because she did a bit & I asked for it was her – it was she was ap by Thaiwtes was wating for Nancy (his sister). Oh yes we passed Nancy morning & of course her friend & she tried to follow us them at much Lis. Pa asked Jancy if we were walking arm in arm or holding hands but Nancy said 'No'. Poor gov got thoroughly teased anyhow. Daddy knows now he's furious as usual says I'm too young & to wait at least another year. They've tried to pick him to pieces as much as possible about his work etc. I really he's a terribly clever boy – it does annoy me going on like that when they haven't even bothered to meet him to see what he is like - & they say he can't be much Laughing around after girls at his age too. So I brought up & said the Bradford boys. I knew were just as bad etc; Take Roy. Fuse? Posh? I think they'd have a fit if I said they went to tea dances sometimes with each other.
More about boys?
...Then Stephen anylod? I've told them that. They were rather annoyed at that I think.
Row with a friend over several paragraphs...envy of a friend getting married, mention of Guy wanting to drive over to see Joan... friend named jessie Matthews has adopted a baby girl because she couldn't bear to see an empty nursery which they had prepared for her own.. If I can find the cutting I'll let you have it. Fred will write, can't help with knitting more furious parents...
all my love to you, Bessie
“Bilious attack” means indigestion, maybe with vomitting, migraine and feeling wiped out
14 Feb 1935 Ramsgate Kent postmarked
Tower House, St. Lawrence College, Ramsgate
14th February, 1935
I am so glad to hear you are getting on all right. When I received a letter from Daddy yesterday saying you had just had your op-n I was very surprised, to say the least of it. I am sorry I could not write yesterday, but my time was full. Today is a half-holiday, however, so I am not so pressed.
I suppose they forwarded my letter to you at the beginning of the week and, in my ignorance, I wished you good progress, I believe. It must have been funny to read in that I was rather behind hand with news. No doubt something or another will have happened to you when you get this. Still suppose you can hardly have gone back to school just yet.
I am pleased Mummy was able to come over and see you. It was back luck in that she had to leave because of Daddy's bilious attack.
Now I suppose you are on a diet, but no more need for those little tablets and no restraint on 'greens' etc. when you are better again.
I must stop, but I will be thinking of you.
Cheeerio! And good health
Love from Stephen
14 Feb 1935 postmark
4 Chatsworth House
Well I got home alright. 1'd nearly missed the train if I hadn't leave ? I should have missed it I arrived on the train in an exhausted condition after trying to run up that slope at full speed then after that all that sweatly youud myself going up to the city, because D asked if S changed & the block said “No” but at Aslford Sluade sure IS did lower ToCloupe. Of course you was waiting for the train. He is a sureall. He said 6-30 again the 8-35 & then the last one because he wasn't sure which one I was coming on. I gave him the note. He'll write if he can find time – S will try I collect Fred's on my way to the Claremont. I hope you have had lug other one by won + Guys.
I had to start the Rippingale gives off this morning because they were late arriving from London & I enjoyed taking them. They are rather nice girls. They are giving a big demonstration in Brighton on Tuesday & getting a doctor to open it [sic] orsomething & some of their people are demonstrating P. is talking. J is doing an expressionistic solo set. I she has asked me to do a wetset alone but I hate the idea of doing it alone so she'll daiiu. To do it with me. I have got to go early in the morning with them & for the whole day. Poor I or doesn't like the idce at all. Jeans missing a day without seeing me & he's trying not to break the record. I went the Haines in town this evening? Just after my music 1 oclock. & I can't talk long because I was meeting you. Joan & Dodge went riding this afternoon lucky devils.
I have stuck in a few old cuttings they may or may not interest I don't know. Buts thats all I can find. Well I shall have to stop for now. If I have time later on I will toy & think of something else to say. Princess Davina has twisted her ankle by the way. Cheerio for now.
All my love Bessie
Unclear date, but I presume mid-early-1930s, some kind of reward from George if she does well!.
You have my very best wishes for your success on Wednesday morning. Forget all about the hotel where you play. Your part is to concentrate on your pieces & do what the examiner wishes. Remember what your tutors have told you & have? The expressions required when you play.
I wish tho' you could have a try on the piano beforehand. I suppose you couldn't do it tomorrow, Tuesday, if not just go to it. Like you would any piano & remember success. I shall keep my promise if you get honours.
With much love
Im[sic] in a big hurry. Get your fingers warm before playing.
Postcard, 7 Feb 1935 Ramsgate Kent postmark, I can't explain date he put on card
I hope to be able to see you on Sunday. At what time I do not know, so I may phone up tomorrow to find out visiting hours. I may be along about 12.50 or perhaps not until 2.50. Must catch 458 back at least.
Towner House, M. Lawrence College, Ramsgate
10th February 1935
I am very sorry to hear that you have been in pain while I was walking round feeling fit. Still I am glad you are feleing better and hope you will continue to improve.... I am due to take the college entrance to Merton, Oxford in March, in case I will be able to go up next October....We have had 2 school hockey matches (if this interests you). The first was drawn 2 all, the second was won 3- against Dover College.... Good luck to you and good health
Yours with love
The Wengs, 22 West Parade, W. Worthing
Feb 17th 1935
We were very sorry to hear of your illness, but very glad to hear from your mother that you were going on well.
I am sending on this book by the Authoress you said, but I hope you have not already read it, as it was the only one I could get by that Authoress in the whole of Worthing. I don't know her at all, so must get one myself to read.
I have put in a stamped addressed envelope as I should like to hear how you are going on. With love & best wishes from
Auntie Gertie & Uncle Fred
4 Chatsworth House, Devonshire Place, Eastbourne
My darling Joan,
Now you are definitely taking S. Cert you will have to give your mind to your work & then you may stand a chance of getting through. It would be very nice if you could manage to get through without too big a strain – especially as you have the others to work with, & it will mean working through the hols for part time in spite of any outside attractions but it would be worth it in the end.
Norman came in 18th at the festival with 79 marks. There were girls as well as boys. Some of them are over here today & N. & others are going on Sat Aft for Verse speaking.
I hope you will get on well with your other papers. I expect you will be a little behind hand but still you can but do your very best.
The porter was doing the kitchen window today & asked how you were getting on. He had been surprised to hear of your opp: as he said you always looked so well. & I was just coming today in at the gate & Mrs. Gillingham (no. 2) was just coming out & she also asked after you.
Mrs. House moved out on Monday to Grange Gardens & the men are busy doing her flat out & yesterday the men were busy brushing down all the walls to paint them again, so we are very dusty at present.
[sic]tomorrow the gas Co are to send to clean out our boiler, then the kitchen ceiling is to be whitewashed. So we shall be dining off sandwiches I expect.
It will soon be hols now.
Ste. Comes home on Tues & Norman breaks up on Fri:
Well I will close with fondest love from your loving Mother.
Love to all
Daddy will be writing.
Postmark 1 Jul 1935 Eastbourne Sussex, from George to Joan
4 Chatsworth House
Devonshire Place, Eastbourne
27 June 1935
I shall have to hurry if this is to reach you by morning. We have been busy today & little time has there been for writing. Mammy apart from usual routine duties has been giving frequent attention to Norman's finger, it is rather nasty. He has been at home all day & I think it will be a few days before it is better. It is unfortunate because his music exam, is in July. Mammy had to go to the Dentist this morning & again tomorrow at 5.30. She had three teeth out on Monday afternoon but I'm glad to say that her mouth & gums are healing nicely.
Letter continues with scripture questions for Joan to study. Other letters often mention Norman's health, as though he were a delicate child of the family
Postmark 22 Jul 1935 Eastbourne Sussex, from George to Joan at St. Margarets Folkestone
4 Chatsworth House
Devonshire Place, Eastbourne
July 18, 35
Nurse Bem has been here for some hours & although I've been in bed for a greater part of the day am now up ther? Has been little change to gel wyme letter. We are ever so glad that you have so far had good paper s& trust that you will continue to do so....
more about her exam work
Norman thinks he did quite well was pleased with the examiner.
I say fancy your finding & having time to play tennis. Anyway I hope you will be successful & keep well..... Love Daddy
undated Christmas card with 3cute spaniels on the front, secular msg on front, and inside text reads
To George and Edie
From Ada and Jim.
could that be Ada Swindells & wife? Or Jim Swindells & wife? Or someone else?
St. Barnabas' Mission
PO NTLAZA, Pondoland W. Via Umtata
26th October 1937
My dear Auntie and Uncle,
I was sorry to hear from Father that Uncle was not too well, I hope by now you are much better and well on the way to recovery and that Auntie, Bessie, Joan, Norman and Stephen are all well....
Lots of paragraphs about life as a missionary in rural south Africa, politics, rural travel, weather, fighting, etc. Missing cousins Joan+Betty et al,fond memories of time spent with them.
I hope you have had a nice autumn and that the winter will be a kind one, tho' you never get it severe in Eastbourne like we do in Wolverhampton. I wish Father and Mother would move to a warmer spot, it seems rather essential that Father should winter down south, his chest being so weak....
With lvoe to ? All,
return address in Durban Natal
?Nephew on Edie's side, no doubt a son of her … brother?
Typed letter dated 10/1/40, on stationary headed Northease Farm in Lewes, Sussex, about Joan's brother taking lodgings and gaining work experience with somebody called Harris.
Long letter from Betty, undated, but looks like she's joined the Women's Land Army, and is writing Joan to say good and bad about the training camp (very busy/many other women there). Rife stealing in the camp, many of the others “dreadful”, obvious”conscripts”, women trying to run away, one by jumping in the river. Innoculations. Betty herself put in a preference to go to Suffolk. Says at start & end that she has no settled address but will write again when she does.
Amongst Joan's papers are various documents (newspaper clippings, etc.) which refer to her friend Marjorie who married Leslie Alexander Joseph in June 1938; In the war years, Marjorie had an affair with a Commander Jack Peterson, R.N.; Leslie Joseph sued for and won damages (300 quid) plus a divorce soon after, and it looks like Marjorie & Jack married & stayed wedding for decades afterwards. Joan had letters from Marjorie over decades.
4 Sgt. Kidd's Squad, 13th Coj. Coldstream Guards
Guards Depot, Caterham, Surrey
1st June 1941
fragment of a letter?, must be from Norman
See the Commandmant of the Depot. He is the deciding factor, really, although we shall have to go to London & appear before a Board. We are both trying to keep it from the rest of the squad because they are not in a position to apply. You see, they are all Northern blokes & haven't any of the necessary qualifcations if... present we....
34 Osborne Road, Bedminster, Bristol 3.
20th June, 1941
I have just had a three-day Retreat at Glastonbury, near Wells, conducted by an ex-bishop. It has been an enjoyable and refreshing time, with a rule of silence – but that can be endured and even used.
Originally this was to have been the start of a month's holiday, which the Vicar offered me, but I am going to wait and see when Norman gets his leave and when you get yours. I was sorry not to have seen you when I had my week at Solihull – but it would not have been worth it for you. Again at Whitsun you had bad luck in not getting a longer time there. Anyhow I am contemplating having a fortnight in July sometime and possibly another in September – though I don't feel too happy about taking it when others can't in the present circumstances. If you know when you will get yours would you please inform me as soon as possible – for one thing my Vicar may fix up some visiting preachers so he wants to get good notice. With luck we may overlap and I shall also write to Norman on the subject.
Things have been comparatively quiet, though a couple of parachute bombs fell in an adjacent parish recently – but shelter life still goes on for some people.
We are settling in at our Mission Church though it can't be quiet the same. War can't take our spiritual possessions and treasures whatever else may go.
However I must close for it has just gone one o'c. and I'd intended this note to go 12 hrs earlier.
All the best, Your loving bro' Stephen.
Blank rounded edge small Card with handwritten note:
Your Prayers are asked for Stephen Swindells to be made Priest of The Lord Bishop of Bristol in his Cathedral on Sunday, September 21st, 1941 now serving in the Parish of St. Paul's, Bedminster, Bristol.
34, Osborne Rd. Bristol 3
25, Claremont Street, Easton, Bristol 5, 9th September, 1942.
No great gulf separates our respective birthdays, so all in one breath I must thank you for your card and your thoughts and send you mine. I wish I could have invited you to lunch today (at the 'Berkeley') with Betty, who came in this morning. I ordered soup for two and added 'chicken soup' (as I thought) indicating that we wanted 'cream of chicken soup.' We finished that and, hey presto, the next course appeared – chicken! Well, the opportunity is rare and the result was we went on with the 4/- menu! Failing that neighter Betty's brain nor mine could rise to thinking of any specific want that she or I could supply for your birthday. So here's a letter instead.
I am very sorry not to have had longer with you up at Solihull – especially since our holidays normally clash. But there, it couldn't be helped. I am glad, though, that I was able to go to the camp for the Crusaders and lend a hand. My Oxford friend enjoyed every minute of it too. We were out at N.Gray's to 'country' house on the Tuesday evening when Eastbourne got its latest knock. Some time I must write to both of them in reply to their letters. But as usual all these thigns pile up – though last Monday I was in the digs most of the day and apart from a re-organisation of bookshelves and odd piles of things all I wrote was an Airmail p.c. To Dick Prior. But writing the 800 words or so on this, using half the front, took up a good time! Then I had to push off later in the afternoon to try to hunt up a suit which I badly need. So my day-off was spent – though in the evening I saw two clergy in turn in connection with our Youth Fellowship. This letter is taking up some time – preaparing for the coming winter's programme and especially the Plays and Entertainment in aid of our Piano Fund.
So live seems very full with no free evenings except Monday – even running a Scout evening takes up nervous as well as physical energy! Perhaps you find the opposite, although I believe you said you filled them in all right.
I do hope you are happy in your new rooms – this is one thing I have to be thankful for (but not the only one by a long chalk!) So far it looks as though you will be unaffected by the new comb-out of women for the services, n'est-ce pas?
Well, all the best – for your birthday and the days to follow,
With much love, Stephen
2664482 Gden?? Swindells,
Room 5, Wireless Squadron, S.A.T.W.
Coldstream Guards, ?Pirbright Camp, Brookwood, Surrey
My Dear Joan,
Many thanks for the long letter. Am very sorry to hear that Bill is not yet back, but hope for his early return. Pity that the last parcel 'went down! And I don't envy you having to fork out for a previous parcel. I hope that you have been able to straighten everything up by now. The cigarettes should keep O.K. As they are supposed to be airtight. I'm afraid that I missed the broadcast. I can't quite understand because I seem to hear most of them now, at least from about 5.30 onwards. I did listen to the Saturday programme but heard nothing about him unfortunately. By the way Joan & I rushed up to Solihull on the Sat. afternoon returning Sunday afternoon. It was very good Yesterday I was again up at Dulwich. And now for the wedding. The Church is booked for 1 p.m. Sat. 19th Dec. There is a spot of bother at present – rather embarrassing. Joan has known the Minister for years now, so of course he wants to officiate. Daddy wants Stephen or Mr. Coombes (now at Streatham from Welland) at least to officiate. And of course, it will be on Non-Conformist lines – he wants it to be C. of England! Apparently there seem to be two or three Gods! Isn't it just damn silly? Anyway, I guess it will work right in the end. By the way, the “calling of the bans” is a little troublesome so we'll have to get a special License. I am trying to have a long week-end this week, but it will be very busy even if I get it as there is much to be done yet. We have to get a couple of bridesmaids rigged up hoping that the coupons will hold out! They are 10-year old (second) cousins. By the way, will you come down to Town on the Sat: or Friday? I shall have to stay the night in Town, probably the Strand Palace or wherever there is room. Actually, it will probably need advanced booking. I guess Betty & Ste will also come up Friday. I don't yet know whether the old folk will both get up.
Well, I guess that must be all for now; so I'll close & wish you & Bill all the best. Hoping to see you soon,
P.S. Did not go to E'bourne as you couldn't, so chose Solihull, using the Eastbourne passes. Shall probably honeymoon down there though. Roll on! N.
Scrap of a note, undated, but must be late Nov or early Dec 1942, in an envelope dated 1 Dec 1942
My Dear Joan,
Just a hurried note. Many thanks, first, for the letter of the Luck Stripes – please convey thanks to Bill; hope to heavens he is back for the 19th. Have booked a couple of rooms at the Strand Place (W.C.2)., one for you & Betty, t'other for Ste & myself. Have you any' idea as to what time you will be there? I don't know where the hell the Old Folk are going to stay – I've told them about the Strand, so maybe they'll be there, too.
By the way, Joan's surname is McNaughton. The wedding will be ripped bits...enclosing this with the invite to save stamp. Hope you don't mind.
Well, I guess that's all for now -----. Hope all is well with you & to see you soon.
That goes for Joan too.
Norman's wedding invite; printed bits in quotes, plain text is written in Norman's hand (not Edie McNaughton's)
By all means extend this invitation to Bill if he is available, and we hope very much he will be.
“request the pleasure of the company of”
Miss. Joan Swindells.
“at the Marriage of”
her daughter Joan
“at” St. James's Church, Goose Green, Dulwich.S.E.22
“on” Sat: 19th December
“at” one “o'clock
Reception at: 63, Ondine Road, Dulwich. S.E.22.
Undated, can I work it out? Written in fountain pen, I think it's written during WWII, is from George about his son Norman, but why written from Solihull??evacuated due to raids? Obv. After the marriage of Joan+Norman
Tuesday 8.10pm, 32 The Crescent, Solihull, B'ham
preface A cruel raid at E. last Sunday week at 1pm. People killed & injured much devastation. 10 plans over the town.
Just a hurried note in case you have not heard from Joan re Norman. We had a letter from her, which she wrote yesterday, by P.O. Express delivery, in which she says that Norman had a relapse on Saturday with severe pain right down his left side from the shoulder. She could not visit him herself for two days last week as she was in “hed mil thu olronchitis”. On Sunday they took an Xray of this chest & back the results was expected yesterday or today but as J. has not wired the results we may hear something tomorrow. I 'phoned direct to the Connaught Hospital at 1.30 today & the reply I finally got was “Quite Comfortable, & if anything, a little easier.” We wired J. after 6 (the 11 wire) & gave her this information was the wire was prepaid we may have an early reply tomorrow. So far as we know Betty was expecting to visit N. today. We shall be eagerly awaiting any news she sends if she is there.
I sent you Norman's hospital address but as you have not replied am wondering if you received it. Here it is again in case 4up S-- Tringham West, Connaught Hospital Knaphill nr. Woking. I suppose it is not too easy for you to get off but if it could be managed a visit from you would ?doubtless? Cheer him up. If the news we receive is not good tomorrow I must try to get down there but long journeys are not good fro me. Excuse scribbled note. And mother is very tired after a heavy time in the garden. This so difficult to get help in that way. We can't get anyone as yet to dig over the kitchen plot in the orchard. Fruit trees Are coming into bud already with the mild weather. Not good so early in the year.
With Love, Daddy
In a letter dated 21 Dec. 1943 one of Joan's military correspondants (Alan) says something about her getting married 6 Jan.... does he mean 1943 or 1944? Must be 1943, as I have documents in early 1943 which mention William Miller's application for married man's allowance.
Invoice dated 1st Jan 1943 for two hire wedding cars with ribbons and a car to the station on 23rd December, Newmarket (Joan's wedding date?)
A load of wartime era letters (1940-1945) from “Fred” in the military, to Joan; he signs with affection, obv. An admirer, even after her marriage. He was Fred G. Prebble which I know (from a newspaper clipping) was stationed in the Middle East (among other places?, including Sudan). He got to rank of Sergt at least, and was living in Eastbourne before being mobilised (1939). Was with Sussex battery of the Royal Artillery.
No date, but enclosed with another letter from Oct. 1944
Dear Joan, Sorry to hear of the flu & Jaundice troubles but glad to learn that you are on the mend & trust that you will soon be quite fit again.
Are you able to return to E. soon as 6 Gorringe is likely to be empty from about the 7th December & I have been wondering if you would like to go there & share part of the house with Norman & Joan, that is, if they are able to go.
And when Bill leaves the service he could join you there until he or both of you wish to go elsewhere. Or if it satisfactory you could stay on for a time at any rate. There is ample room there. If N's Joan went there & N. remained behind in London until he is demobbed would you like to be here with her & baby? Think it well over & let me known soon as I shall have to set about letting it if neither of you is keen. Houses flats are very difficult to get & accommodation even for a night is hard to obtain. I went down three weeks ago & experienced it. Ee is according to the Chronicle the most attacked town in the South Eastern Region. 475 Houses destroyed, severely damaged houses 1,000 slightly damaged 10,000 671 High explosive bombs dropped., Fly bombs destroyed 15, Incendiary bombs dropped 3625 & 96au? Raids. In addition 3 Fly bombs exploded just inside the town. This is only a part of the damage & ok recorded in the local press.
You will gather from this that accommodation will be difficult to get.
If you want a job at Ee. I should think you could get one when things get moving.
By the way there would be some expense at 6 Gorringe but less than you'd pay elsewhere especially if it were shared.
Excuse hasty note in a very big hurry.
Don't be in too big a hurry to get into the cold wind after jaundice & avoid the hot stuffy places.
Stoke Bishop Parish Magazine, Vol 84, No. 9, September 1944
THE REV. S. AND MRS. SWINDELLS
Hearty congratulations and good wishes to Mr. Swindells on his marriage to Miss Molly Liddington which took place at Stoke Bishop Church on August 24. Although there had been no “broadcast” announcement of the date and time, a large number of friends were present at the service, which included a Celebration of Holy Communion. Mr. Geoffrey Higgins was at the organ and as many of the choir who could manage to be there at 10 a.m. Attended. The Rev. G. Swindells, father of the Bridegroom, officiated, assisted by the Rev. J. Jackson and the Vicar. We extend a cordial welcome to Mrs. Swindells and pray that God's blessing may rest upon the life and work of the young couple. They will shortly take up their residence at 8 Rockleaze Avenue.
Bristol 12 Sep 1944 postmark
8 Rockleaze Avenue, Stoke Bishop, Bristol 9, 12th September
I must apologise for letting your birthday slip by this year. I could think out all sorts of excuses, but they can't condone the fault. So you must accept my good wishes this time a little cote?. It was last evening that Molly asked me at supper whether it was not your birthday and only then did I realise the significance of the date. Strangely enough I had come back from a 2-hour committee which agreed that we start the Youth Fellowship on the 25th and I thought of Betty's birthday without connecting yours for some unknown reason.
Molly and I also want to thank both of you for your wedding present with which we are both delighted. As you know, Molly was unable to see it until we returned, but it is going to be very useful besides being a lovely asset to a dining table. In a letter from home we learned that both of you had been to Solihull and returned to duty. Not having Bill's address I sent some wedding cake to you, so that you could forward it (Only half of it came back from the Berkeley!)
Life is pretty busy, though my Vicar is not away, so I must close. I was very glad that you were able to come to the Wedding – a pity Bill could not be there too. We are settling in very well, getting pretty ship-shape and it's a great thing to have a wife and home to come to!
With love from Molly and myself to you both, Stephen
No year on this... but in an envelope postmarked 15 Feb 1945?
Wednesday evg. Feb 14
11 Burlington Pl. Eastbourne
So your leave will be starting sooner than expected & as we shall be seeing you all being well next week this will be a short letter, which I'm attempting to write as Mammy is still very busy. As I have hurt my finger I can't write us I should like to ease it, I've put on a glove but find it difficult to write with it on.
If you haven't used the typhro taps tea we gave you on one of your visits Dsol. With you please bring it with you as we are running short of course your emergency ration cards.
Also will you bring your marriage certificate with you as I will be neccesary for it to be shown at the Eastbourne Building Society to have your account transferred in your married name & also you'll need your Pass Book for it to be brought up to date. If you've lost it you'll have to send (or present at the counter) a letter of indemnity pay 2/6 for a new passbook the following are the early morning hours from Victoria to Ee. (List enclosed).
When you know Bettys proper address forward the Ee papers to her. She wasn't sure about the stay at Ilfacombe. Some move to be sure!!!
I heard from Stephen beginning of the week & his letter to you is still unfinished I expect you'll hear by & by. He has been fairly busy. Still, when Molly might have finished it for him as your gift was to them both.
Today has been one of the nicest days since we came back with a fair amount of sunshine & it wasn't necessary to Kindle a fire in the sitting until about 5pm or so. Of course, had we been sitting in there for long it would have been, but we've never had any time during the day, so far, to sit pretty. Even this one has been sitting part of the evening the time has been occupied with correspondance so that by bed time we've been glad to get between the Sheets.
We are expecting the last three mattresses from the laundry either tomorrow or Friday. They do keep the things a long time these days due to being so busy & short of labour.
Let us know please as soon as you can the day & time of arrival because of the preparation.
So very glad to hear your legs are easier. What is the germ that is upsetting people's stomachs? Sounds queer! Hope a breath of ozine wil clear it away. So sorry about my scribble
8 Rockleaze Avenue, Stoke Bishop, Bristol 9
16th April, 1945
I've put our home address, although we're at Eastbourne, since it may even be the first I've written since we moved there. I still start letters without finishing them, with the idea of writing a long one to make up for the lost time, and I'm afraid that that is what has happened to yours – and having discovered that you had heard indirectly from Betty that we have received the present from yourself and Bill. I allowed the letter to be there. However, may I belatedly acknowledge it and thank you both very much, on Molly's behalf as well as mine. It hasn't been at all easy to find suitable presents, but this was certainly one and it has already graced our dressing table.
We've been fortunate in having glorious weather for my week off – and it will most likely be our only seaside holiday this year, since the coming of the baby, all being well in June will make a difference. We have been able to pick up one or two things here that we don't usually see in Bristol. It scarecely seems polite to say so, but Betty, it occurs to me, comes into this category! She was up fairly often for a time and then we didn't meet her after her move to Devon until she came on an unexpected leave last Saturday.
We are back at Fern Hollow (the name of the house) and exchanged deck-chairs for a garden seat and a vicar? Of the fairly crowded beach for a garden full of trees and flowers of all sorts. Then tomorrow there will be much to do again.
Betty was saying that Norman doesn't expect to be demobbed for another two years, but I expect Bill will get his release before then since he is no doubt in possession of a lower number. What are your plans for the future?
Molly has reminded me that there is something else waiting for this letter to be completed – the wedding photograph. Norman's and John Jacksons' are likewise waiting. Since Bill was unfortunately able to be there we decided on a large group and hope you will not mind our doing this.
I must just add a note, since I just can't start another fresh letter, to say that Molly gave birth to a lovely little daughter yesterday evening – and they are both going on fine.
Though let me see – it may be you'll have had the news by the time you read this, if you are now down at Eastbourne.
With all the best wishes to yourself and Bill
Your loving brother
To Joan in Newmarket, postmarked 22 June 1945
11 Burlington Place, Eastbourne, June 21.45
My dear Joan,
Daddy & I were glad to hear that you arrived back at New.t after a fairly comfy journey, but it was a pity there were no taxis available, still it was fortunate you were able to use your bike to lighten the load somewhat.
How are you getting on with the evacuee work.
Lucky you to have had some strawberries. I saw some in Elliott's one day last week, several boxes full all wet & squashy. They looked terrible what a great pity that had evidently reached them in that state. Of course no one was buying them. We have had 2 or 3 lots of nice cherries – not enough to bottle tho' unfortunately, as we were limited to 1 lb.
Thank you for the very pretty card for my birthday, which was very quiet. One cannot do much these days. However Betty & I went to Bobby's for lunch. But at 12.35 – when we arrived there were no tables – however we waited & hoped for ¾ hour – then no joint aft but we had a nice vege pie – Betty is losing her cough a little, but it must have been very trying & she has gone thin & lost all her color She could do with a month instead of a fortnight.
Keep on to those 2 tiny buttons. Last night I was using that needle case & ther ewas the 3rd button sewn on to fasten it up with – Do you remember it. I was sorry I ought to have noticed it whilst you were here. I had a card from Ste: but no other news as yet. Far too busy to write again. But Betty knows how busy he is & is scarecely ever at home – just like Daddy used to be, so I can well understand & then the back'd forwards up those hills, it must be a strain on him. Several times a day I suppose. However he seems very happy with it all. Norman may come down Sat. Sun.& probably J&P only Paul fell out of a bed at Streatham & must have gone on his head & nose – but no bones broken fortunately so Joan thought they had better not come but as we were able to hire a cot from Maynards she may change her mind. She might stay on with Paul if she does come. We shall hear more from Norman about his work when we see him. The Authorities think the blokes need a little brain work for a change & Norman may be the one to teach them. English & Politics I think, so far, up to school Cert.
Betty has managed to get a bike from Stubberfields – a James make – somewhat heavy I think but she seems to like it. She'll be writing you sometime.
There is a gorgeous sunset here, just now. 10-15 p.m. Perhaps you are having it too.
I went for some tariffs as Mrs. Barrah might be coming in Sep.r – 9 grin wk at Sea View – 30/- pr day at Alexandera, 35/- pr day at the Queens & 8-11 gun: at Trinity Mansions. I didn't go anywhere else as she likes to be central. They used to stay at the Imperial. But what prices.
The roses are all finished over the wall but Manners broke a branch or two off & said they might strike”.
Maloney's were here for a week – he was back from Belgium but goes to Germany tonight. They were fortunate in the weather until yesterday - when they were going to picnic the whole day on the beach & it just poured all the time. They went off this mg. Well, that's all for now with much love from yr loving Mother.
Postmarked 29 June 1945, Westbury-on-Trym Bristol, to Mrs Miller Eaton Newmarket
8 Rockleaze Avenue, Stoke Bishop, Bristol.9.
We received your parcel & letter safely & let me say how very acceptable your useful gift is, especially as it is so hand-knitted. Thank you also for the postal order. I hope it won't be long before we see you & can thank you personally.
Stephen brought Mary & I home from St. Brenda's Nursing Home last Friday. Although we received the best attention & the food was excellent, I am very glad to be home.
The Doctor called last night & he seems to think we are both making good progress. Mary was 7 lbs 6 ozs at birth & is about 8 lbs 2 oz now.
I suppose every Mother thinks her baby wonderful but Mary really is a sweet baby. She gives very little trouble at all.
Her hair at present looks quite auburn.
There were three other people in the Ward with me, & one of them had twins. I simply can't imagine how she will manage when she leaves her Mother's house.
I am so glad you were pleased with the wedding group we sent, after all this time.
It will be lovely if Betty manages to get her release soon. She has been so unfortunate. We miss having her at 'Fern Hollow' very much.
How lovely it will be when Bill & you have a home of your own at last. I do hope it won't be very much longer now.
Love to you both from all of us
Can't find a date, war years (addressed to Mrs. W. Miller Eaton Centre Drive Newmarket)
My dear Joan,
Hope you got my letter card OK. Sorry to be so long in writing, but theought I might as well wait till after the chirstening. Mary Swindells' christening
I went up on Sat: morning & came back yesterday afternoon. I wish I could see Mary, oh she is so sweet, & so far has the most glorious auburn coloured hair which is all sort of culy. She is more like Stephen, definitely.
The christening went off very well, indeed & she (torn back of letter, so missing text)... I was godmother & managed to get a nice silver serviette ring, couldn't think of anything else.
They gave a small tea party after, & Auntiey Lothe made a super cake o[sic] marzipan, I do ? Remember the two old ladies from Svet the road of I don't think ? Went them anyway, one of them ?d it beautifully.
Molly, as you can imagine, makes a wonderful Mother & she seems to be coping very well. I think they hope to get her photo taken as soon as posisble now. I hope they do, for Mummy to Love a rough idea of her, I wish she could see her.
Well you will be pleased to hear I Love gift my leave got the 4th & to my surprise I always went my pass swalout? Came this morning & it didn't go in till SAT morning - & usually they take about a fortnight; so I finish early? & Fri morning at 9 AM. So stell will be ghastly travelling but still, can't be helped.
Everything has fallen through for all my hopes & posting on out. The M.O. was only able to say us & land give to Esceter I was out of Lis Laurels & so far I don't think they have heard anything from the hospital. I feel so mad about it all, I just can't bear to think about it, & I can see another flaming winter in this jacket? I think that will just about finish me off . Still one might as well be dead as this life. Four sodding years & no tiace of hope & signs of getting out. Why all these married women whose husbands are out in the far east & going out – started leave all the priority – especially when home leave only alme? About 2 years & are only about 21 or 22 at Blivenor, & Pady dropped into sick bay to get au? S.T. & Warwick (the dog) – was outside & when I called him he remembered me. I didn't like sausage dogs much over but they are really quite sweet things. I didn't see the old man thought Probably still in Barnstaple as I saw living in the distance while I was waiting for the bus to go to Hauntn.
Ken says he'll be home by Sept.!
Well I don't think there's any more for now. So hope to see you on the 4th.
So long for now
Sorry about the language but that isn't really strong enough as to how I feel about it.
8 Rockleaze Avenue, Stoke Bishop, Bright 9
13th September 1945
It was a lovely surprise pracel that you sent yesterday (or rather arrived then). Honey is something we both enjoy and don't see anything of these days, although a man who lives off route has a few hives in our garden. It arrived safely in its watty? Box, which I hope will not get damaged in return.
Betty was here from Sun. evg to early Tues mng and we hear about the rest of the family, including you and Bill from her! This demov. problem is a big one, though I imagine Bill will be able to do more “picking and choosing” than most. As for housing....
We flourish again, though life is busy with icar away (but he returns after 3 weeks holiday tomorrow) and no Verger. I'd hoped we could have gone to Auntie Lottie's (you stayed there 24th Aug '44) to give Molly a break for a week, but she has the Camerons with her & they will probably take her back to Stoke Gabriel with them by car.
The Misses Aviddas have had very good weather in the North this last fortnight, but your description firs what we've had here.
I hope you and Bill will be able to look us up sometime.
With love to you both,
from Molly and Stephen
Joan Miller National Insurance No. ZP243514D
Enclosed with a clipping about the funeral of Mr. William F. Lamb, headmaster of Kirtline School for 22 yrs, was 54yo, mourners present include Mr. D. Lamb (son), Miss Margaret Lamb (dd), and a huge number of other people.
2nd Jan 1949
My Dear Joan,
Thank you very much for your letter & card. I have thought so many times that I must write & tell you about Billy & have put it off: It was so very sudden that I find it difficult even now to believe that he has gone, but I am glad that he suffered no more pain.
We went to North Devon in August 1946 and whilst we were there he was taken very ill with general Pesitonitis?. He was in Barnstaple Nursing Home four weeks & really made a remarkable recovery (we thought) but twelve months later he had Coronary Thrombosis, and after that we both realized that he would never be able to enjoy life to the full again.
He managed his school job but beyond that he couldn't do much, but in spite of all this he retained his amazing sense of humour and was always touch? A wonderful Companion.
I miss him so much – time alone will ease the terrible heartache I feel.
Margaret – was married on 23rd Dec: This was all arranged before daddy died so I asked her to go on just the same.
Colin finishes his training with the Forestry Commission next July and will then be given a job with a house. So Margaret will remain at Chivers until July.
Derek will be entering a University next Oct: he couldn't get in for this year, they were filled before he returned from India.
I am moving to S'Luidge? Next week. I haven't a house but shall place my furniture in line with my sister. I just couldn't stay here.
My memories of our life here together are very happy ones, but the associations are much too strong for me. He was such a big, part of Kirtling.
Derek & I went away on Christmas Eve so your letter didn't reach me until we came back on 1st Jany.
You do not tell me any news of yourselves. I do hope everything is going well with you.
I had a card from Vera addressed to Billy & J – I must write & tell her. Also the same from Mrs. Mason.
Please excuse this scribble, but I am writing on my knee by the fire.
With very best wishes to you both
Yours very sincerely
P.S I am enclosing a newspaper cutting I thought you may like to see it
Burlington Rd., Sep 8
My dear Joan
We are so glad to hear your good news & to know that you are going so well. & that the Baby is too.
We saw Bill on Sunday & again on Monday. I went along with Betty in the morning & saw Bill having a sun bathe – enjoying it near the tent, after he had seen you.
He popped here just before train time & hoping to see you again on Thursday. (or Friday is it?
All being well I hope to come along with Betty to see you in the afternoon I hope you are able to enjoy a bit of the sunshine anyway.
Hoping you will both be progressing with much love
A kiss for the babe. Mummy
59 Sherwood St.
Wolverhampton 9 Sep 1953
My dear Joan,
Hearty congratulations to you and Bill. I'm so glad to know you have a dear little baby daughter, and hope that you both are still doing well. She is sure to grow up to be a lovely companion to you and you will both be very proud of her.
I am sending a little gift which I hope you will like. I've been into tell your Auntie Annie. She is very pleased and says she will write soon. She is still very poorly but she keeps cheerful and gets up each day and sits up near the window where she can look across to the park. Anne and David went away this morning to stay for a fortnight with friends in Cumberland.
David is such a dear little boy. Everyone becomes fond of him.
Well, Joan, give my love to Bill and may God bless you and your baby.
From Bill's side of the family, methinks
also obv. Sept 1953
150 Fort St.
Just a line hoping it finds you well. I was thrilled at the news, a little girl too, I'm so pleased it's all over for you. I have a weeks holiday next week, I only wish you were nearer to come & see you, I feel I'd love to, Kenneth too seems very pleased to have a new cousin, what are you going to call her Joan?
I believe Mam asked you where we had to send, do let us know.
Isn't it funny, Bill's birthday is on the sixth too, & was born on a Sunday too.
Aunty has been doing some nice knitting, I'm afraid I don't have much time now, getting behind on all my sewing too, still, we must keep the home fires burning.
So with all my love, I must say cheerio for now, & keep well,
Nancy & Kenneth xxx
postmarked 10 Sep 1953 Co. Durham
From Bill's side of the family, methinks
Wednesday Sep 9th 1953
My Dear Joan
Many thanks for your very welcome card. I am very pleased to hear the Good News & also you are both well. It is a most anxious time I have had been worrying about you we have just received the wire from Bill today 1-48. I am delighted. It is a Baby Girl now you will have good company I only wish I could see you both how lovely a young baby is I expect you are both Delighted with ?her?.
Well Dear when you get time Let me know wnen we can send our parcels & where to send them Dad and I are very happy It is all over and hope you will soon be well again: Well Joan we are very busy at present paperhanging the front room but It is a big Job for old people we are only joggling along(.) It will take us a good while to get It done however It will be done for Xmas.
Well Joan I must close now & wish you a quick recovery. Love to you both I feel as though I would like to fly to you but when you get to 74 you just can't do it my legs are failing me but when we win the Treble Chance I will come in my car(.) Dad & myself Send our very good wishes to you & Baby give Bill our Kind Regards we never hear from him.
So cheerio & all the Best
Love from Mother & Dad
xx Joan XXO for Baby
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
P.S. Aunty Jenny sends her love to you both & Nancy is writing you.
My dear Joan,
It was a quite a shock to get your letter this morning and to hear that Aunty had passed away althought I knew she was very ill. Thank you for writing. She was such a dear kind Aunty and I always felt a better person in her presence. She always said such nice things and David loved her. I have not told him yet. I should have liked to send some flowers but you say Aunty did not wish it.
Please give my love and sympathy to Betty and Stephen and Norman.
We had so looked forward to seeing Aunty and Eastbourne in the holidays. I feel lost about it. It is so sudden.
My love to you and Bill and Jennifer and if you feel like a change – do come and stay again. I know you will be busy for a time.
With much love
P.s I am glad Jennifer is with friends. I think I remember them.
59 Sherwood St,
19 June 1959
My dear Betty and Joan,
Thank you very much for the parcel of some of dear Mummy's underclothing which Mr. Jones, for Stephen, brought round yesterday afternoon. I shall find them very useful next Winter.
My dears, I hope you are feeling better after your sad and anxious time. Dear Mummy, I wish I would have seen her aagain, but we all have such lovely memories of her, she will never be far away.
You will both have so much to do but if one of you could spare the time I should love to have a letter telling me of Mummy's last hours and of the service at All Souls'.
What has happened to Cook and Miss Plummer? Mummy and I have had such lovely times together which I could never forget and I had hoped to be with her for her birthday tomorrow. But it is a time to rejoice over her happy days and to know she is in peace and joy. I went into the Church at Llandudno at the time you were at All Souls.
My sister and I had a quiet, restful holiday. We did not get about a great deal because my sister has very swollen feet and legs but we enjoyed the glorious sea and sunshine. Unfortunately, since my return, I have been ill. On the Friday evening I was taken with severe sickness and diarrhea which persisted until Wednesday. However, I'm feeling much better now and am hoping the Doctor will tell me today that I can get up and be about again. I hope the children are all well and that you are enjoying the wonderful sea and sunshine. Remember me kindly to Jack and Bill and my love to the children.
With much love to each of you
1959 postmark, but can't quite read date, addressed to Mr. & Mrs. Miller, 45 Eyns Rd., Eastbourne
2 Lane Marple Stockport, Cheshire postmark
Auntie (who is still not very well) as well as myself are anxious as to how you are getting along. WE hope you are keeping well & [sic] and getting used to the great change which has happened in your life. It will be good to hear from you & if possible we would like to have a Gazette published at the Time of Mummy passing. Our Best Wishes to you all.
No idea who that was from!?, Stephen?
Sep 1959? postmark, Spanish postcard of Calella de la Costa
Dear Aunty Joan,
Having a lovely time here in Sunny Spain the weather is fairly good but the grub is a mixture of all kinds one day you get a german Food and the rest of the week you get all the foods of the continent. Spain is a lovely country and so are the people but its[sic] very poor. On Sunday we went to a bullfight in Barcelona and it was very good but its[sic] really cruel, they have no love for animals like we have. I hope you are all keeping well and you had a nice holiday in Ramsgate, give my love to all the family and tell Jennifer to stick in at school. So Bye for now
12 Feb 1961 postmark, Wolverhampton, Staffs
59 Sherwood St., Wolverhampton, 12 Feb 1961
My dear Joan,
Thank you for your letter. I was so pleased to hear from you for I shall always be interested to know about all the family.
I am very much looking forward to my visit to you and if convenient to you would like to come about the 19th of April.
We are not going to Llandudno in June after all, but my sister is having a fortnight here in Wolverhampton instead. She is very much looking forward to it. At Easter, she is going with her late husband's daughter and family to St. Leonard's. The daughter's mother-in-law lives there. She is hoping to fix up a holiday for us for a fortnight in September if she likes the hotel she is staying at. If she does not like it we shall probably fix up for Landudno in September.
I can hardly realise that Jennifer will soon be eight years old and do hope you will be able to get her into another good school, preferably a much bigger one than that she now attends. That has been a very good one for her age and she is happy there and she has had a good training for a larger school.
I'm glad you still have Cook to help you one evening a week and I shall be pleased to see her again.
What long hours Bill had to be away from his home but I hope he keeps well, and I hope that Betty's children will soon be better again. Please give my love to them all. With much love to you, Jennifer and Bill
from Aunty Nellie
postmark Bridport 1 Nov 1964
53 Greenwich Cottages
My dear Joan,
How very nice of you to send me such a beautiful picture of the Gardens facing the Burlington Hotel.
It is good to have a reminder of places in which we may have had great pleasure and I which we have spent many happy days.
Of course places like Eastbourne reminds[sic] us of other aspects of life besides the happy ones! For me there is the essences of Sweetness and sadness or sadness in the sweetness. Such is the way of life for all of us.
Anyhow, then I received the p.p.c. And saw it was from you I wondered for a moment whether you had written to say that you were coming to stay with me for a day or two: However I soon found out that such was my own wishful thinking. Yet if you do, at any time, feel like coming here, I shall be only too happy to welcome you. I would do my very, very best to make your stay one to be remembered.
Life in the village goes on its own sweet way, even manifesting itself in a Dramatic, Burlesque and also in a way of comedy: Sometimes a darling incident will occur such as a loaded lorry turning completely over on its side, after leaving cracked into a knocked down two thatched porches of the cottages adjoining our small lane after which knocking down the telegraph pole, which stood at the top of the lane, before the lorry turned over.
Needless to relate the village people turned out in numbers to view the sight.
Knocking down the pole made it so that we had no electricity until near 9.0 pm the same evening.
The garden takes up a considerable time the [sic] the household chores keeps me fairly busy. I hardly have time to do what is more interesting. There are my books almost asking me to use them.
I am glad of the faint glimmer that you have got back to the piano; make a go of it and realise what you are capable of doing along this line.
How I do hope you are keeping well if not Come over here and I will care of & for you.
Love to you,
Kind Regards to Bill & Jennifer
14 Feb 1965 Dorset postmark
3 Greenwich Cottages, Chideock, Bridport
My Dear Joan,
How glad I was to gt your letter, a few days back, telling me that the operation had been successful & also you were feeling better & more pleasing was the news of your return to home. I think you have done very well indeed nowithstanding the fact that we can, I would like to, do without the physical upsets which occur from time to time. Anyhow I am relieved to know that all is well with you. Now let me apologise for being so late in answering your letter. I have been very groggy this last two weeks & what has been done, especially house chores has been accomplished with much effort. Even now I feel no drive but I do the needful things.
I have had a bad cold & a chill so you will understand the condition I am in especially being on one's own, which is alright for some things when one is well but not otherwise.
If I am spared & as soon as the weather is favourable I will come to see you. Best it is yet necessary to remember we are still in winter and therefore spend a lot of time indoors.
There is not much news to tell. The village life is quite quiet with me as I have not yet yielded to any of its influences. I do not know if I mentioned to you that after I had been here just a few weeks the Vicar asked me to read the lessons from the pulpit. I replied to him, at that time, I would seriously think it over. Now I am glad I do not take it on for several reasons which some time when I am with you I may relate.
You will overlook the scribble of this letter particularly the first part. I have had the pad on my knee a rather difficult place to place a pad when writing.
Now my dear good lady I shall await a letter from you which will let me known how you are progressing., I do sincerely hope all will be well with you.
With love to you
1965 Italian postmark postcard of Ed. Nuova Libreria Riviera del Fiori - Alassio
Yesterday it poured cats & dogs – but it's pretty good again today. We went for a Petle? run right along the coast yesterday first time we have been out of Alassio, it was too hot last week. It's an an? Away up place real, you can stop till really 11pm & the people here, never seen anything like it. The road's are murder. Our hotel ?few es Dieppe Monday about 1.30. if we're there in time. Love from all Betty
Undated, but I guess 1967
“Estoril”, Dunkeld Avenue, Bishopscourt, Cape Town
I thought perhaps you had better have my address in case you need it, especially in case of filling in papers etc, and in case of letter writing to you. The above is for your private use. Take care of yourself and let me know if you want anything.
Telephone: Whitfield 228
The Rectory, Whitfield, Hexham, Northumberland
7th Nov 1968
Thank you for your letter and enclosures of 3rd November.
There is not much to say about them, but I can see Mr. Salway's point about cutting our losses and getting the premises sold or re-let. I am prepared to sell at a proper figure, as I said earlier.
Without knowing the extent of re-wiring that would be wanted it is difficult to know to what extent decorations would be affected. It would be better to accept an agreed sum in lieu of decorations. I would have thought; although Mr. Salway appears to think that the decorations should be done. So perhaps this is the only way of getting Mr. Griffin to keep to his obligations.
I find a discrepancy between this line of action in the Salway's letter of 28th Oct. and the solicitor's later letter of 31st Oct., point no. 4 – maybe this is one of the antiquities to which you refer in your covering letter.
The other ambiguity is in the Reddich: first paragraph – 'Grathe[sic] in any event' 'even of the leaves surrendered'. Surely if we accept remainder of the lease, Mr. Griffin is then free of any further obligation.
In fact: the more clearly I look at Mr. Reddich's letter, the more critical I become of it – I wonder what his opposite member has made of it! Or Mrs Arnold!
Do you think we could get another solicitor to take over? I think I could have done better myself, except for his point no.2!
Perhaps we'd better wait and see what sort of reply is forthcoming, except of course, that if Mr. Arnold is going to do the decorating – and do it herself, do you know? – there's little time left. Can you find out from Mrs. Arnold yourself what sort of condition the premises were in when she first went as far as decoration was concerned?
So there are more questions to add to those of my letter of 28th Oct.
At the moment I'm not deprived? To take up more time putting Mr. Reddich's letter & pieces, but it's pretty unsatisfactory.
Thanks for Judith's address. Molly is in London for Church Assembly this week.
Love to all,
What property are they referring to? Something inherited from their parents?
Undated, addressed to Mrs. J Miller
Dear Mrs. Miller,
Thank you for the beautiful flowers and the donation to the Hospice, it was very kind of you. It's wonderful that even though we all live so far apart we still keep in touch and we hope this will go on for many years.
It was extraordinary that we should meet up after the funeral, it seemed like old times. We hope you're keeping well and maybe see you next time we come over. With love
Sally, Sandra & Jeremy
no year, but obit for William Miller, says he died 28th June ?year
Postcard of Half Dome Yosemite, California, 4-23-80 to
Mrs. Wm. Miller
15 Kings Drive
Eastbourne, Sussex, England
Bill + I are spending a few days here in this beautiful place. Snowed all day yesterday and it's very cold but our rooms are well-heated & comfortable. The falls are very full due to lots of winter rain. Lots of serious hikers + mountain climbers here. Hope all went well at home. I was thinking of you. Have a good holiday in Devon. Will go down to Mary's on Friday. Love, G.
From Grace Swindells, Who is Bill, why not travelling with Norman (still alive) There is another postcard dated Sep 1980 to Joan from San Fran CA, which talks again about Bill + Mary.
Fairlight, 1, Newpots Close, Peldon, Colchester,CO5 7PP
9th July 1984
Thanks for your letter and glad to know that you are coming up with Jennifer. I am not sure whether you will be coming straight here, perhaps on the Wednesday, or going straight to Ipswich on the Thursday and coming back here after the jollifications and even staying until Saturday morning.
I am enclosing a rough sketch which should help you find your way out of Colchester. There is in fact only the one road to Mersea, so it will be a case of following road signs to Mersea into and through Colchester. Abberton is about 5 miles south of Colchester and we are about 2 ½ from there.
Looking forward to seeing you and Jennifer, sorry that Bill cannot make it, As you said, 'more news later'.
Norman typed except for signature
Joan's brother Norman, lots of hand-written driving directions in pencil, and a phone number
Documents dated early 1986 about the physical condition of (Uncle) Norman Swindells, detailed his cardiac decline, described as “This delightful patient...”
Newspaper clipping as follows:
36 THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, THURSDAY, JULY 3, 1986
SWINDELLS – On June 28, at home in Eastbourne, Sussex, NORMAN, aged 86, much loved husband of Grace, dear uncle of Joan, Betty, Stephen and Norman and brother of the late Reverend George Swindells. Funeral private. Family flowers only please.
Funeral bill and service info for 12 noon Friday July 4th 1986 of Norman Swindells
note that those present =
Bill Richardson, Mary Hodger, Bill+Joan Miller, Jennifer Miller, Sister Pettit, Mr. Williams, Stephen (conducted the service) & Molly Swindells, Norman & Joan Swindells, & Mrs. Grace Swindells
Any chance that any of those was a sister of Norman?
Sermon preached by the Bishop of Newcastle in Newcastle Cathedral on Saturday 11th March 1989 at a Memorial Service for Mrs. Molly Swindells
lots of religious text....
These qualities, both compassionate and bracing, were evident in Molly's work in connection with Marriage Guidance: for many years she was a formative influence in the work of marriage guidance on both sides of the Tyne; in setting it up and in setting forward its work. To this task she brought vision and imagination about what could happen; organising ability; skill in personal relationships with colleagues and public bodies;.....skills which Molly brought to her other work: the Family Conciliation Service.... more praising words, back to religious refs.
Additional Thanksgiving service for the life and work of Molly Swindells, at Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 1PF, 18th March 1989
Essex County Express newspaper cutting, dated 12th April 1996
On 2nd April in hospital after a courageous fight Dearly loved husband of Joan, father of Paul Sandra and Melanie and much loved Grandpop of Clare-Louise, Sally, Simon, John and Peppi.
Funeral service on Friday 12th April at Peldon Parish Church at 2.00pm followed by cremation.
Family flowers only, donations if desired to St. Helena Hospice, c/o W.H. Shephard Funeral Director, 93/94 High Street, Colchester
Peppi is Mel+Geoff's dog
letter from Grace Swindells, chat of Tennis, Grace's address = 1560 Circa Del Lago D301 Lake San Marcos CA 92069
5th October 2004
Dear Auntie Joan, Jennifer & John,
Thank you so much for the wonderful wedding gift you kindly ave us. We are looking forward to using the beautiful napkin rings in our new house. We move on 20th October, so not long to go now!
We have had an absolutely wonderful wedding day & have so many lovely memories. We cannot wait to see all the photos that were taken on the day!
We have just returned from our honeymoon in Lake Garda where we had a fantastic time. It was very relaxing + we also enjoyed various sporting activities which were great fun!
Thank you for your wedding gift.
Lots of love,
Sally + Guy
Letter dated 17 Mar 2005, has Joan's address as
2 Ashdown Court
Eastbourne, BN21 4BH
Southways, Hillside, Rothbury, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE65 7YE
14th January 2008
Thank you so much for the Christmas Gold and the M& S voucher. I put it towards a warm jumper in a cheerful colour! Sheila loves M&S food so we are usually in Newcastle once a week – though we have a well stocked small freezer in case of snow!
Last week when there was snow we could enjoy watching from the warm bungalow without having to go out, except to feed the birds. So none of the worry about getting to work.
I was quite shocked when Jennifer in her email said that her hours were reduced especially as Jane has no floristy training. Hopefully trade will pick up soon.
Sheila and I had a nice time at Christmas and New Year. We went to church services in Rothbury so that felt good being part of the community. The church bells started to ring at 11.30pm on New Years Eve – until 12.05. We were glad not to be too close.
Fortunately no one came to visit us to party after midnight – not what we have been used to. It brought back memories of living in Rock Vicarage when that village certainly celebrated New Year.
Hope you are keeping well
Mary and Sheila
The elusive Winnie?
Ms. W Sherwood
19 Northfield Grove
Wolverhampton West Midlands WV3 8DW
Thank you for your Easter card, & I expect your weather was as cold + bleak as it was here... It is just the first time that Brian's Birthday has fallen on Easter Sunday. He is still looking after Margaret & says she sleeps most of the time....
more about Brian not exchanging presents...
much talk of Audrey, is she a cousin? Audrey in other letters, too.
...N. Ireland... When Audrey & Ted got married they used to go over there for holidays...
Love from Winnie
I still hear from Pat...
I think Audrey is Winnie's daughter, Brian too?
Newspaper quality Obit notice, as follows.
Passed away peacefully at home on April 17, 2008, aged 89 years.
Adored husband of Claire and father of Sue, Jane and the late Judith.
Funeral at Eastbourne Cremetorium on Thursday May 1 at 12:15 p.m. And afterwards at the Cooden Beach Hotel.
Family flowers only, donations if desired to either the British Heart Foundation or the RNLI c/o Mummery Funeral Directors,
31 Devonshire Road,
East Sussex TN40 1AH
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