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Fulwood Cottage Homes Elsie Gregory 1930 to 1946 & John Wilson 1917 to 1925

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Hi. My mum, Elsie Gregory born roughly July 5th 1930, was in the Fulwood Cottage Home for all of her childhood. She and her brother, Arthur Gregory, were put into the Cottage Homes when my mother was just a few days old. She never knew why but her brother was taken out shortly afterwards and she was left in. It appears that her birth was never registered as we have never been able to find any records. I remember that a lot of correspondence took place between my Dad's sister and the Education Authority in Sheffield and it seems that the only records for Elsie were held in the Education Authority building in Sheffield which was bombed and destroyed during the war, so there's no surviving information on her family or as to why she was put into the Homes .

She always suffered with a very sensitive scalp which she puts down to being pulled around by her hair by the House Mother! Elsie was always cheerful but she could be a hard woman when it came to emotions or dealing with a child who's hurt himself somehow. One of my earlies memories was her telling me " Never let anyone know you're upset or hurt" and this is undoubtedly from her times in the Homes.

She only spoke a couple of times about her life in the Homes. One was that she couldn't keep her mouth shut and stop answering the House Mother back and this led to her being beaten frequently. The other was a happy memory of her walking to school, which entailed her walking through the fields, and being chatted up by the Italian prisoners of war who were working on the fields.

 

My father, John Wilson born June 30th 1911, went into the Cottage Homes along with two of his sisters when his father was killed in 1917 during the WW1. He was one of six children but when his father was killed his mother kept the three oldest siblings and the three youngest went into the Homes. Dad was six when he went in and never talked about the Homes at all. Ever! After leaving the Homes, i think he got a job at a cutlery foundry, and in 1929/30 he joined the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and was posted out to the North West Frontier of India in 1930 ( think Pakistan/ Afghanistan region today). In the late 30's he left the army and rejoined the foundry, becoming a crane driver. In 1939, he was called back to the Army and was posted to the Northumberland Fusiliers and was sent over to France as one of the British Expeditionary Force. He was a machine gunner in the rearguard at Dunkirk and was captured by the Germans. He spent five years as a prisoner of war before being repatriated back to England. That was when he found out that his wife had taken up with another man so he divorced her. After several months in hospital, he was discharged from the Army and he got a job as a gardener back at the Fulwood Cottage Homes. I think this was where he first met my Mum, Elsie, and, depite the age difference, they married in 1953 and later had one son, me. Despite both of them having had no experience of normal family life, i don't think they did a bad job of raising me!

 

Life was hard for both of them and it's been illuminating to read the previous threads on this site. It has helped me understand my parents a bit better.

Edited by Kevin Wilson
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26 minutes ago, Kevin Wilson said:

Hi. My mum, Elsie Gregory born roughly July 5th 1930, was in the Fulwood Cottage Home for all of her childhood. She and her brother, Arthur Gregory, were put into the Cottage Homes when my mother was just a few days old. She never knew why but her brother was taken out shortly afterwards and she was left in. It appears that her birth was never registered as we have never been able to find any records. I remember that a lot of correspondence took place between my Dad's sister and the Education Authority in Sheffield and it seems that the only records for Elsie were held in the Education Authority building in Sheffield which was bombed and destroyed during the war, so there's no surviving information on her family or as to why she was put into the Homes .

She always suffered with a very sensitive scalp which she puts down to being pulled around by her hair by the House Mother! Elsie was always cheerful but she could be a hard woman when it came to emotions or dealing with a child who's hurt himself somehow. One of my earlies memories was her telling me " Never let anyone know you're upset or hurt" and this is undoubtedly from her times in the Homes.

She only spoke a couple of times about her life in the Homes. One was that she couldn't keep her mouth shut and stop answering the House Mother back and this led to her being beaten frequently. The other was a happy memory of her walking to school, which entailed her walking through the fields, and being chatted up by the Italian prisoners of war who were working on the fields.

 

My father, John Wilson born June 30th 1911, went into the Cottage Homes along with two of his sisters when his father was killed in 1917 during the WW1. He was one of six children but when his father was killed his mother kept the three oldest siblings and the three youngest went into the Homes. Dad was six when he went in and never talked about the Homes at all. Ever! After leaving the Homes, i think he got a job at a cutlery foundry, and in 1929/30 he joined the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and was posted out to the North West Frontier of India in 1930 ( think Pakistan/ Afghanistan region today). In the late 30's he left the army and rejoined the foundry, becoming a crane driver. In 1939, he was called back to the Army and was posted to the Northumberland Fusiliers and was sent over to France as one of the British Expeditionary Force. He was a machine gunner in the rearguard at Dunkirk and was captured by the Germans. He spent five years as a prisoner of war before being repatriated back to England. That was when he found out that his wife had taken up with another man so he divorced her. After several months in hospital, he was discharged from the Army and he got a job as a gardener back at the Fulwood Cottage Homes. I think this was where he first met my Mum, Elsie, and, depite the age difference, they married in 1953 and later had one son, me. Despite both of them having had no experience of normal family life, i don't think they did a bad job of raising me!

 

Life was hard for both of them and it's been illuminating to read the previous threads on this site. It has helped me understand my parents a bit better.

Nice read mate, well done. I hope you're OK.

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46 minutes ago, Kevin Wilson said:

Hi. My mum, Elsie Gregory born roughly July 5th 1930, was in the Fulwood Cottage Home for all of her childhood. She and her brother, Arthur Gregory, were put into the Cottage Homes when my mother was just a few days old. She never knew why but her brother was taken out shortly afterwards and she was left in. It appears that her birth was never registered as we have never been able to find any records. I remember that a lot of correspondence took place between my Dad's sister and the Education Authority in Sheffield and it seems that the only records for Elsie were held in the Education Authority building in Sheffield which was bombed and destroyed during the war, so there's no surviving information on her family or as to why she was put into the Homes .

She always suffered with a very sensitive scalp which she puts down to being pulled around by her hair by the House Mother! Elsie was always cheerful but she could be a hard woman when it came to emotions or dealing with a child who's hurt himself somehow. One of my earlies memories was her telling me " Never let anyone know you're upset or hurt" and this is undoubtedly from her times in the Homes.

She only spoke a couple of times about her life in the Homes. One was that she couldn't keep her mouth shut and stop answering the House Mother back and this led to her being beaten frequently. The other was a happy memory of her walking to school, which entailed her walking through the fields, and being chatted up by the Italian prisoners of war who were working on the fields.

 

My father, John Wilson born June 30th 1911, went into the Cottage Homes along with two of his sisters when his father was killed in 1917 during the WW1. He was one of six children but when his father was killed his mother kept the three oldest siblings and the three youngest went into the Homes. Dad was six when he went in and never talked about the Homes at all. Ever! After leaving the Homes, i think he got a job at a cutlery foundry, and in 1929/30 he joined the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and was posted out to the North West Frontier of India in 1930 ( think Pakistan/ Afghanistan region today). In the late 30's he left the army and rejoined the foundry, becoming a crane driver. In 1939, he was called back to the Army and was posted to the Northumberland Fusiliers and was sent over to France as one of the British Expeditionary Force. He was a machine gunner in the rearguard at Dunkirk and was captured by the Germans. He spent five years as a prisoner of war before being repatriated back to England. That was when he found out that his wife had taken up with another man so he divorced her. After several months in hospital, he was discharged from the Army and he got a job as a gardener back at the Fulwood Cottage Homes. I think this was where he first met my Mum, Elsie, and, depite the age difference, they married in 1953 and later had one son, me. Despite both of them having had no experience of normal family life, i don't think they did a bad job of raising me!

 

Life was hard for both of them and it's been illuminating to read the previous threads on this site. It has helped me understand my parents a bit better.

From Sheffield Indexers, may be of use, 

 

GREGORY, Elsie (of 373 Penistone Rd, born 1930-07-05).
     Baptised July 23, 1930, by R B Irons at St John the Baptist Church, Owlerton.
     Parents name(s) are Ada & Harold (Cutler).
     Note: ~
     Godparents: ~ :Page No 41 :Reg No 325

 

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1 hour ago, Kevin Wilson said:

Life was hard for both of them and it's been illuminating to read the previous threads on this site. It has helped me understand my parents a bit better.

I also enjoyed reading this. You must be proud of your parents. There has been a few lovely stories on the history section and yours is one of them.

 

You might enjoy reading, Letter from Australia, if you haven’t already done so.  The poster is Downsunder, it’s not about being taken into care, it’s when he and his wife emigrated to Australia and his early years living in the country.  You need to search for it on the history thread.

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Although the OP is very interesting, can people refrain from quoting the whole thing as it makes it very difficult for those of us posting on or reading the forum on a mobile phone.

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2 hours ago, retep said:

From Sheffield Indexers, may be of use, 

 

GREGORY, Elsie (of 373 Penistone Rd, born 1930-07-05).
     Baptised July 23, 1930, by R B Irons at St John the Baptist Church, Owlerton.
     Parents name(s) are Ada & Harold (Cutler).
     Note: ~
     Godparents: ~ :Page No 41 :Reg No 325

 

Many thanks, retep. How on Earth did you get this information? Harold was a cutler, i take it, but what's the reference to Godparents?

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Just now, Kevin Wilson said:

Many thanks, retep. How on Earth did you get this information? Harold was a cutler, i take it, but what's the reference to Godparents?

Sheffield Indexers baptisms, apparently their are no godparents as the ~ denotes.

http://www.sheffieldindexers.com/

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3 hours ago, Bash Street said:

Nice read mate, well done. I hope you're OK.

Yes, i think so. No more screwed up than most.

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2 hours ago, hauxwell said:

I also enjoyed reading this. You must be proud of your parents. There has been a few lovely stories on the history section and yours is one of them.

 

You might enjoy reading, Letter from Australia, if you haven’t already done so.  The poster is Downsunder, it’s not about being taken into care, it’s when he and his wife emigrated to Australia and his early years living in the country.  You need to search for it on the history thread.

You were right about Letters from Australia. They were fascinating. I think we must be due another soon?

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My dad was in the homes from 1929 to around 1943, when he then went onto a farm in Derbyshire to work. He told some tales about life there, usually involving him getting into trouble over something! Thinkit was a hard time for them,with no love or affection from the older generation. His name was Gordon Rowe , passed away 3 years ago.  

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