Phyllis Alice Page
Phyllis Alice Page
(1913-90). My Father's Mother. My
Phyllis is remembered by my parents' generation for being ahead of her time. Although she came from an extraordinarily poor working-class background, one where few families had aspirations, she was a great believer in education, especially for girls. She ensured that all her own children worked hard at school, all five of them winning scholarships to grammar schools. She was very proud when the first of her grandchildren went to university.
In the early 1930s, Phyllis's older brother Arthur left Ely looking for work in Yorkshire. There, he met the Kent-born Joe Knott on a road-building scheme, and brought him back to Ely where he met Phyllis. At the time, the Page family were living on Fore Hill in Ely. Joe went to work for British Sugar at Cantley in east Norfolk, but he married Phyllis at Ely Register Office on 15th August 1932, when he was 24 and she was just 19. The witnesses were Phyllis's brother Percy and her sister Violet.
They went to live at 9, Council Cottages, Cantley, and then in 1933 they moved to Ipswich, Joe firstly living in lodgings in Tacket Street in the town centre, before they both moved into rooms in Cavendish Street, the same street that I would live in almost exactly half a century later. They moved to 20 Fletcher Road on the new Gainsborough Estate in Ipswich, where their first child and only daughter was born. You can also read an account of Joe and Phyl in Ipswich.
They returned to Ely in 1935, where they would remain. They lived at 25 Willow Walk off of Waterside, where my father and his brothers were born. The house has since been demolished. After her husband returned to Ely from Italy where he had served during the War, the family moved to a new council house at 37 Chief's Street in 1947. Phyllis and Joe lived there for the rest of their lives. Phyllis died of a heart condition in Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, in 1990, a few weeks after she had attended my wedding. She was 77.
Phyllis was the youngest of seven children. The others were:
Arthur Thomas Harry Page, born in Bull Lane, Ely on 22 November 1901. He was baptised in Holy Trinity parish on 18th December, probably at St Peter's church. He was named after his father, and his two middle names were those of his grandfathers. He was the one of my grandmother's siblings that I knew best. He lived in Ely. He would often call around to my grandparents' house while I was visiting, and I remember him as a gentle, quiet man who always had time for me. My father photographed him in the early 1980s. He died in Ely in 1988.
Violet Eleanor Page was born in Broad Street, Ely on 6th August 1904. She was baptised in Holy Trinity parish on the 31st August, probably in St Peter's church. On a photograph taken in the 1920s she is strikingly beautiful. She married Frederick William 'Bill' Cooper in the Lady Chapel of Ely cathedral on 30th November 1929. Violet's brothers Arthur and Percy were the witnesses. Violet and Bill lived at Stuntney. She was a witness at my grandparents' marriage in August 1932, and was photographed holding me as a baby in 1962. I remember her in later life as rather eccentric, given to wearing what I thought of as unusual hats. She died in Cambridge in 1978.
Beatrice Page, known as Beatie, was born in Peterborough in 1906. It isn't clear why my great-grandparents were in Peterborough. One possibility is that Cutlack & Harlock, who owned the main Ely brewery, also had a brewery in Peterborough. Another possibility is that the following year her father's occupation would be recorded as a railway worker. No baptism appears for her in the Ely Holy Trinity registers, and although it is likely that these registers are not complete, Beatie may have been christened in Peterborough. She married Frederick Pepper in Ely in 1928, probably at the registry office.
Florence May Page was born in Back Hill, Ely on the 28th May 1907. She was baptised on the 9th of June in Holy Trinity parish, probably at St Peter's church, when her father's occupation was shown as a labourer on the Great Eastern Railway. She died in Addenbrookes Hospital Cambridge at the age of 17 in 1924.
Percy Page was born in Back Hill, Ely on the 10th May 1909. He was baptised in St Peter's church in Holy Trinity parish on the 31st May. Percy was one of the two witnesses at my grandparents' marriage in August 1932. He died in Silver Street, Ely at the age of 27 in 1937.
Dorothy Louisa Page, known as Doll, was born in Back Hill, Ely, 26 August 1911. She married Kenneth Long in the Lady Chapel of Ely Cathedral on the 8th June 1932, and they lived in Stuntney.
LIFE GOES ON: AN INTRODUCTION
MY GRANDPARENTS - I - MY GREAT-GRANDPARENTS - I - MY GREAT-GREAT-GRANDPARENTS - I - MY GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GRANDPARENTS
THE SIXTEEN FAMILIES
KNOTT - I - BOWLES - I - WATERS - I - HARRALL - I - PAGE - I - WISEMAN - I - CROSS - I - CARTER
CORNWELL - I - HUCKLE - I - MORTLOCK - I - MANSFIELD - I - REYNOLDS - I - CARTER - I - ANABLE - I - STEARN
CHRONOLOGY - I - DRAMATIS PERSONAE - I - WHERE PEOPLE CAME FROM - I - CALENDAR
MAP OF ELY - I - MAP OF MEDWAY
MAP OF CAMBRIDGE AND DISTRICT
WORLD WAR I - I - WORLD WAR II
simonknott.co.uk I home I e-mail
LIFE GOES ON