Jessie HILDA Josephine Lyons, 1910 -2009

above is Hilda Columbell, nee White,with husband Richard/Harry Columbell.

Born 6/2/1910 at 21, Portsmouth Bldgs, T ower Bridge Road to William John & Jessie (nee Sullivan) Lyons. Eldest child of 7. Baptised 27/02/1910 at the Church of the English Martys,Walworth..Godparents Compton &  Elizabeth Amos: great uncle & aunt [Timothy’s sister] : this is odd since Elizabeth had married in a protestant church in 1898 .

hilda lyons baptism

Attended Paragon School Primary, Paragon Mews. Bermondsey and Mina Road Central School for Girls, Bermondsey (navy uniform).

Father was "strict", installed a work ethic into all his children, & ‘did well for them all’. Mother, Jessie was ‘ very loving’.

Family still living in Portsmouth Buildings in 1911C. Parents had moved into first floor of 10, Darwin Street by 1912. This was where Jessie's sister, Maud, lived with her husband, George White, and 3 children from 1909-c.1930.

Moved to 21 Darwin Street about 1916.Later her father, William John, bought[ outright with cash] 9, Kenton Gardens, Harrow in the summer of 1932.

On leaving school in 1926? , she joined "Crowther & Goodman", part of the Argus Press Group, working in the Co Secretaries

Had a fiancee, Fred Suckling, who was believed to have lived in Brockley near the Whites, [at 57 Endwell Road , other side of the railway, & not in Brockley Gardens!] but died of TB, probably Frederick Robert Suckling Deptford, Mar 1931, aged 23..

When she went on holiday with her brother Frank once, her mother made her sew their spending money into her underwear as a precaution.

hilda-fred . . hilda-fred2

2 photos of Hilda with fiance Fred Suckling

Married William C. H.[Bill] Neil in 'Hendon Mar 1938 .3a 836', Jessie H.J.Lyons. Philippa has no photo of this, but maybe Bill Neil's family do??. Hilda said she got married in St. Ann's church wearing a blue suit. Was her father present ?- family myth suggasted WJL did not approve of Bill Neil

Addresses given for H. Neil in the address book of Arthur White, Hilda's cousin, were 6 Bellamy Court, Stanmore, and, later, The Firs, Park Estate, Prestbury . tel: Che 7367

London Electoral Rolls do not seem to have them registered

Lived in Stanmore until the war, buying 8, Kynance Gardens at a reduced price due to impending hostilities, presumably ~1939, but then moved to Cheltenham, where Bill worked for Smiths Instruments. ( this was an essential war equipment firm). Her sister Jessie/Jean lived with them there, working for the US AirForce. My mother Joan, with baby Hazel, also stayed there for a short while.

1941. Philippa A.Neil , born Cheltenham, Dec 1941.. She married Bryan S Jones Sep 1974 Harlow and had a son, Austen. Austen married Monica and they have 2 children.
1944. John W.Neil, born Cheltenham , Jun 1944 . Served in the Merchant Navy. Has a partner Maria.

eileen-hilda

Probably, Philippa, Hilda, Bill & Eileen

On the death of Bill , aged 41, in Cheltenham Sep 1948 , probably due to his diabetes, she moved back to Stanmore . Her youngest brother Dennis Lyons lived partly with her and partly with their brother Bill in Harrow until he married in 1950.

Hilda remarried in Harrow Sep 1950 Harold Ferrier, who had been a boyfriend prior to her 1938 marriage. Harold James Ferrier died in Harrow Sep1989, aged 82. [He had been born 1/09/1907]. She told me in 2008 that Bill had been the love of her life.

Nothing on London Electoral Rolls for them: do not think Harrow/Stanmore kept their lists for 1938 onwards.

hilda-wedding

1950 Wedding of Hilda to Harold Ferrier, her 2 children & Dennis & Joyce in the photo.

hilda-eileen
Seated Hilda, John, Harold with Philippa, John Lyons and Eileen behind
Seated Harold & Hilda, with brother Frank behind, ~1985?
philippa-john john-maria
Phillipa with brother John in blue
Seated John Neil and Monica with Maria and unknown- to me- behind

Hilda stayed living at 8 Kynance Gardens well into her 90s. Eventually she had to go into a home, Manor House, Manor Road, Kenton, where she was well looked after by caring staff. I last visited her there in August 2009 and we shared a few laughs on her past life.. Finally, just 7 weeks before her century, she was admitted to Central Middx Hospital and died within a few hours, 16/12/2009. She was cremated at the Chilterns Crematorium in Amersham 19/1/2010.

For her family tree see

William John Lyons, biography of her father