Pauline Austin Recalls

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From a telephone conversation with my aunt Pauline Austin, about wide ranging family history. March 15th, 2003 and transcribed by Adrian Wadley

The Fairlies

Some Approximate dates
Children of James Fairlie and Edith Pratt

1894 John?? Died in infancy before Gwen was born
1896 Gwen (died in her teens or early twenties)
1898 granny, Kate Eleanor, Kitty >> Wilfred Wadley
1900 Dora >> Coward
1903 Jess >> Harries
1906 Harold William
1909 Olive Margaret (Mangie) >> Royan

See also Mary Harries list of these children.

Jess Fairlie >> Eric Harries, a congregational minister, very welsh and very religious. His Sunday routine apparently didn't include helping with the Sunday lunch, which may have been typical for the period (1930s and 1940s). They had two children

Mary b. 13 Nov 1928 or 1929
Jimmy (younger)

James Fairlie (Granny’s father) had three sisters and possibly two brothers. They would have all been born in about the 1860s. Mary, the eldest sister died in ~1938 in her 70s. James was probably the next child. Mirab was the next sister and Pudge remembers her as a very straighlaced old fashioned lady. She had only two teeth one up one down in the front and she eat with a gnashing action. Rose was the youngest sister and was “lovely, a school teacher”. These three sisters never married and lived together. Pudge visited for a few days holiday in about 1937 or 1938, before Mary died.

There may have been two brothers Joe and Sid. Tony might remember more.


The Royan parents William and Mary lived in Folkestone.

Audrey Royan >> Alan Stebbens and had four children.

twins Paul and Penny


1936 Gravel Hill

Wilfred died in the summer of 1936, probably June time. They lived at the time in Elstree. Nick is 2, Peter is 4, Tony is 13, Pudge is 9. Wilfred worked at Elstree Film studios. Something strange went on. No money in the family. Family conference, HWF (Great Uncle Bill) called on to take Ma (Kitty) and the children to live for a month in a holiday cottage in Selsea, out of the way (I assume while things were straightened out). However it wasn’t getting any better. The bailiffs were in the house and everything was lost. It was at this time that Wilfred committed suicide. Granny/Ma/Kitty went back to London when that happened, I think Gt Uncle Bill took her up there. Then the children returned to London and they all 5 lived with Grandad Fairlie in Mayfield. Mrs Veal was the housekeeper, deaf as a post, all six of them were quite a handful for her. They stayed there over the summer holidays for about 6 weeks and there was another family conference (probably were many actually) and the house at 13 Gravel Hill was found, where Granny and children went to live, in Addington. Pudge remembers this as being in time for the September term.

This was terrible for Tony as he had been going to public school at St Albans, and was taken out to be put to work as an apprentice on the factory floor at Creeds in Croydon (they made the first teleprinters). Tony WILL NOT talk about this. He may be persuaded to talk about St Albans or the RAF.

WWII and Evacuation

Early during the evacuation from London Pauline was living in Holbeton with Nick and Peter, with a nice couple. This was an odd arrangement because Auntie Elsie’s school was in that area so they weren’t official evacuees, but placed because of relations.

Pauline was very unhappy down there and returned to London (Addington), but her mother Ma, Kitty thought it was too dangerous as the raids were getting worse and sent her to Exmouth.

Mrs Lavers was the wife of the nice couple, she became ill and Nick and Peter went to another house. They weren’t looked after at all well and eventually when granny (Ma, Kitty) visited she found two scruffy unkempt boys in the lane and removed them and they went back to London. The Harries in Exmouth received a telegram to put Pudge on the train immediately and she went back to London to look after Nick and Peter because Granny worked in London.

Nick had had whooping cough and couldn’t eat: the bad couple had presented him with his lunch to eat at teatime and when he didn’t eat it locked him in the coal cellar. That was one example of the treatment they received.

Dora Fairlie (not married yet?) and Jess and Eric Harries and Grandad Fairlie spent time in summer bungalow in Exmouth. Pauline was evacuated to them and thought their children (Mary and Jimmy) less fun to play with so she used any excuse to get out and play with the cousins Audrey and Sheila (I think) when they visited. Approximate time : about summer 1942.

Home at that time was 13 Gravel Hill, Addington

Bedford Wadleys

Jennifer Wadley’s husband Michael Charlton was a Yorkshireman, a teacher, but not a typical type. The general consensus seems to be that his choice of career as a school teacher wasn't the best one.

The Cowards

Dora Fairlie married Arthur Coward about 1925. Christopher was born in October 1926 (a month older than Pudge). Jeremy about 1928 or 1929 and died in the 1980s. Jeremy married Jane -- and they had at least two children: Timothy and a daughter, probably in the 1950s so they are our generation and we should be able to track them down. The third child was Nancy and she married a South African Peter Stratten. They have four children and some of them live in the UK. Ask Audrey – she is likely to know. Nancy used to stay with Shiela when she visited the UK.