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

THE WORKHOUSE

WORLD WAR I - I - WORLD WAR II

simonknott.co.uk I home I e-mail

LIFE GOES ON

Phyllis Alice Page
born Ely, Cambridgeshire, 26th April 1913
died Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, September 1990

on the Page family tree
part of the
Page, Wiseman, Cross and Carter family stories

married to
Vincent Helgia Knott

daughter of
Arthur Page
and
Sophia Cross

niece of Herbert Cross, Henry Page, Herbert Page, Robert Page and Thomas Page






1986: Phyllis at Joe Knott's 78th birthday Phyllis and Joe Phyllis Page

1986: Joe Knott's 78th birthday 1986: Joe Knott's 78th birthday 1988: Joe Knott's 80th birthday

1951: Phyllis Alice Page 1950?: Phyllis Alice Page 1959: Phyllis Alice Page 1957: Phyllis Knott

Phyllis and Joe 1958: Phyllis Alice Page 1953 1956

1957: Phyllis Alice Page and Dorinda 1959: Brian and Audrey's wedding 1959

1956 June 1961: my Christening day

Phyllis Alice Page (1913-90). My Father's Mother. My Grandmother.

Phyllis Alice Page was born in Ely on the 26th April 1913 into a large extended family who lived in the poor streets off of Back Hill and in the Waterside district of the city. Her parents were Arthur Page and Sophia Cross. Phyllis Alice Page was given her middle name Alice from her grandmother Alice Page, who had died a few months previously. Her grandfather Henry Page died in the Ely workhouse when she was a few months old, and her father would be killed at the Battle of the Somme when she was less than three years old. Her father's brother and her mother's brother were also killed in the First World War.

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. His middle names were those of his two grandfathers, Thomas Cross and Harry Page. As the eldest child, Arthur must have been aware of the death of his grandfather Harry Page in the Ely workhouse in 1913, and he became the man of the family when his father was killed in the Battle of the Somme in July 1916, when he was just fifteen years old. Arthur was living and working in Yorkshire in the 1920s, and in the second quarter of 1926 he married Ethel Gertrude Elizabeth Payne in Wortley, to the north of Sheffield. Ethel was pregnant at the time, and their son Arthur Percival was born in Peterborough on 24th September 1926. I'm not sure how long they lived together as man and wife, or if they stayed in Peterborough or returned to Sheffield, but my grandfather Joe Knott met Arthur in the early 1930s in Sheffield before returning home with him to Ely, where he met Arthur's sister who would become my grandmother, so he certainly stayed in the area for a while. Thereafter, the Electoral Rolls of the 1930s through to the 1950s show Arthur living with his mother Sophia Page at 20, Waterside, Ely.

It did not become clear to Arthur's family for several years that he was married and had a son. The boy, Arthur Percival, married Dorothy Irenea Brooks in Poplar, London in 1946. They had five children. Arthur Percival died in 2003, Dorothy in 2010. Arthur Page was the one of my grandmother's siblings that I knew best. In later life he continued to live in Ely, the electoral rolls of the 1960s showing him living at 185 High Barns. He would often call around to my grandparents' house while I was visiting, and visited us in Cambridge from time to time. 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. The 1936 Electoral Roll shows Violet and Bill living at Soham Road,Stuntney as does the 1939 Register. She was still there in 1960. 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 eccentric, often wearing what I thought of as unusual hats. She died in Cambridge in 1978.

Beatrice Sophia Page, known to the family as Beatie, was born in Peterborough on 30th January 1906. Her father's occupation was given as a railway porter. She was given her mother's Christian name as her middle name. Beatrice appears to have given birth to an illegitimate child called Ronald Page in the Holborn registration district in London in 1925, when she was nineteen. Presumably, she was in service. She then married Frederick Pepper in Ely in 1928, probably in the registry office. However, she returned to London, and a second child, a girl, was born at Wandsworth in south London in the 3rd quarter of 1931. The baby was registered under the surname Midwinter. The father appears to have been one Wilfred Midwinter, and the maiden name of the mother was given as Page, with no mention that Beatrice's legal surname was actually Pepper.

In the early 1930s, Frederick Pepper was living in the Round House, Mepal, Cambs. And then, on 11th July 1934, he died in hospital in Chatteris, Cambs. In his will, proved on the 28th August 1935, he left his entire estate to his estranged wife, Beatrice Sophia Pepper, the value being 200. In the fourth quarter of 1935, Beatrice Pepper married Wilfred Midwinter in the Mid Surrey registration district. Does this mean that the news of her legal husband's death had taken some time to reach Beatrice? Or was she waiting for the will to be proved? A third child followed, another girl, in the 4th quarter of 1939 in the Mid Surrey registration district, and the mother's maiden name was now given legitimately as Page. Curiously though, when the fourth child, a third girl, was born in the Mid Surrey district in 1941, Beatrice gave her maiden name as Pepper. Is it possible that the registrar had asked the wrong question, or, intriguingly, that Beatrice wanted to hide her real name at this stage? It is also intriguing that all three of the girls were given the same middle name, Violet, the name of Beatrice's older sister. Was she remembering the terrible time after the death of their father in the Battle of the Somme, and paying tribute to the way that Violet looked after the younger children? When Beatrice died in the Sutton registration district in south London in the 3rd quarter of 1973, her death was registered correctly under the name Beatrice Midwinter.

Florence May Page was born in Back Hill, Ely on the 28th May 1907. Known to the family as Florrie. 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. On 24th September 1913, Florrie was run over by a cart in Broad Street, an accident considered so serious that it made the pages of the Cambridge Independent Press (see below). She recovered from the accident, but 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 married Ada Bell in about the same month. The 1935 and 1936 Electoral Rolls show Percy and Ada Page living at 31 Silver Street, Ely. He died in Silver Street, Ely at the age of 27 in 1937.

Dorothy Louisa Page, known to the family as Doll. She was born in Back Hill, Ely, 7th April 1911. She married Kenneth Long in the Lady Chapel of Ely Cathedral on the 8th June 1932. On the 1939 Register they were living at 7 Potters Lane, Ely where Ken was shown as a general farm labourer. Also in the household was another general farm labourer, 41 year old John Cross, who was likely a cousin of Dorothy's. Ken and Dorothy were living in the same house without anyone else on the 1960 Electoral Roll.

 


1911 census:

Back Hill

Phyllis was not born at the time of the 1911 census. The Page family were living on Back Hill, Ely, Cambridgeshire.

Phyllis's father Arthur, my great-grandfather, is shown as a general labourer. He was 32 years old. Her mother, Sophia Chapman, was 29 years old. They had been married for ten years.

Phyllis had four older siblings in the house on the night of the census: Arthur aged 9, Violet aged 6, Beatrice aged 5 and Percy aged 1. Another child, 3 year old Florence, is entered on the form and then crossed out because she was living and sleeping at Mrs Sophia Stubbins Back Hill. She had probably been farmed out because her mother was nine months pregnant - her daughter Dorothy was born three days after the census.

Phyllis's father and mother were both born in Ely. The children were also all born in Ely, with the exception of Beatrice, who was born in Peterborough. The transcript for their entry is here. You can view the original form here. The form for the household where Florence was staying is here.

 

Back Hill St Peter's, Ely font
1913: Phyllis Alice Page
was born on the 26th April at Back Hill, Ely, Cambridgeshire. There is no baptism of her listed in the Holy Trinity parish registers, but it is likely that these do not contain all the baptisms which took place at St Peter's church in the parish, and appear to be in some disarray for this period.



1916:
Phyllis's father Arthur
was killed shortly before first light on the 20th day of the Battle of the Somme, 20th July, just to the west of Delville Wood near the village of Longueval, to the east of the town of Albert. He was 37 years old.

 


1921 census:

Phyllis was eight years old at the time of the 1921 census. The Page family were living on Waterside, Ely, Cambridgeshire.

Phyllis's mother, Sophia Chapman Page, was 39 years old. She was recorded as a widow, and worked as an agricultural help at Woodhouse Farm, Chettisham. As well as Phyllis there were four other children in the house on the night of the census.Nineteen year old Arthur was a bricklayer's labourer for JJ Ambrose, builders. Sixteen year old Violet was a jam factory hand at the Ely Fruit Preserving Company, Brays Lane. Beatrice aged fifteen was recorded as being on home duties. Percy was twelve and was in whole time education.

As in 1911, fourteen year old Florence was entered on the form and then crossed out. And, as in 1911, Florence was living with Sophia Stubbings, a widow of Powells Yard, Newnham Street. Florence was recorded as her grand-daughter (in fact, Sophia was her great-aunt).

Ten year old Dorothy was also not at home on the night of the census. Everyone in the household was recorded as being born in Ely, although in fact Beatrice was born in Peterborough. The census return is here.

 



My grandparents get married
1932:
Phyllis married Vincent Helgia "Joe" Knott at Ely Register Office on 15th August. He was 24 and she was 19. She gave her profession as a fruit factory hand, and his was general labourer. Her address was given as 29a Fore Hill Ely, and his was 9 Council Cottages, Cantley. Phyllis gave her father (deceased)'s profession as general labourer. The witnesses were Percy Page and Violet Cooper, Phyllis's brother and sister. After the marriage, they went to live in Cantley, Norfolk.

1932-35:
Joe and Phyllis moved to Ipswich. They lodged briefly in Tacket Street and Cavendish Street before moving to 20 Fletcher Road on the Gainsborough Estate. You can read an account of
Joe and Phyl in Ipswich.

1935: Joe and Phyllis moved to Willow Walk, Ely.

Chiefs Street
1947: the family moved to 37 Chief's Street, Ely where they would live for the rest of their lives.

1990: Phyllis died in Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, at the age of 77.

 

   

 

 

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

THE WORKHOUSE

WORLD WAR I - I - WORLD WAR II

simonknott.co.uk I home I e-mail

LIFE GOES ON