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Grigg Stories

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Elsie's Autographs

My grandmother, Elsie Vera 'Veronica' May GRIGG kept an autograph book between the years 1926/1928. She was an auxhillary nurse at Netley Hospital, Hampshire, and later also at the Royal National Hospital, Ventnor, Isle of Wight. The majority of the book is made up of scribblings from patients in her care at the RNH; but it also includes some intriguing pieces from Netley Abbey.

This list may be of interest to anyone who had a relative at the RNH between these dates. I note that a local history book was asked not to name patients in a photo because of the confidentiality of patient records. However, I believe this list might be invaluable to some researching a family history.

Elsie appears to have worked at Netley Hospital around 1926, where she seems to have started an autograph book . For some reason she made the crossing to the Isle of Wight and got a job as an auxiliary nurse for the Royal National Hospital, Ventnor, in blocks 7 and/or 8. Before leaving she filled the remaining pages in her autograph book with rhymes and illustrations by the patients, nurses and doctors of the RNH creating a humorous window on life in the hospital, which it must have been far from on occasion.

On the front of her autograph book Elsie calls herself Elsie Vera Veronica May Grigg. She was around 19 years old when she started the book. On the back cover she has a poem of hers written in 1928.

The glow of dawn for glory,
The hush of the night for peace
In the garden, at eve, says the story,
God walks, and his smile brings release !

This next one, on one of the first pages in the book seems to be from an advertisement by John Noble Ltd of Brook Street, Manchester; perhaps indicating a trip to Manchester by Elsie prior to 1926. It obviously caught her eye:

In Queen Victorias golden reign,
when ladies wore long tresses,
They came to Nobles with a swish,
and bought their Sunday dresses,
And even today when locks are shorn,
and knees appear in fashion,
John Nobles firm is sure to please,
no matter what your passion
Though long or short, though thick or thin,
though round, oblong or oval,
Well suit you with the greatest ease,
just tell the world were Noble !

Another entry near the front of the book is a toast from a wedding, of a Miss K Brown at Chelsea Mansions, London. Presumably Elsie attended this wedding in London and perhaps Miss K Brown was a cousin. It is called A Toast from Mother:

Heres health to the Bride
likewise, the Bridegroom,
Heres health to the company,
here in the room;
Let the single get married,
without delay,
Heres health to the couple
thats married to-day !

When Elsie worked at Netley Hospital she recorded the names and birthdays of the Ross family that lived (?) at Netley Abbey in her book. Netley Abbey was a 13th Century Cistercian abbey that was converted into a house in Tudor times. Maybe she lodged with the Ross family, became acquainted with them, was courted by one of the boys, or perhaps she nursed one of them at Netley Hospital; anyway, she must have known them very well to have noted the following information:

Frances Henrietta Cicely ROSS (Mrs)
Henry Genge ROSS (Mr)
Robin Henry Samuel ROSS - 31 Jan 1906
Bernard Richard Llewellyn ROSS - 12 Feb 1907
Eric Louie Genge ROSS - 10 Feb 1908
Charles Arthur Frederick ROSS - 30 Jun 1909
Grace Elizabeth Mary ROSS - 12 Dec 1914
John Leslie McKenzie ROSS - 13 Oct 1916

It is interesting to note that my father was also born on 13th October and named Dennis Reginald Genge Arnold !

Further on in the autograph book there is a scribbling from a PC David Fawcett of West Street in Ventnor, a touching farewell to a pet cat, a limerick from Elsies step father George Boyce about a young girl of Kilkenny; and a drawing by Elsie of her siblings Vera and Joan entitled Sewing Time.

A lovely pen portrait of a girl with a twenties hairstyle by a T Hodgkinson in Nov 1926, could possibly be of Elsie herself. Later on in the book she tries to copy it unsuccessfully herself.

The following verse says love Nan, 2 Nov 1929 which probably means it was written by Reginalds sister Nan.

"Oh ! Let me kiss your hand" said Reggie,
with looks of burning love.
"I can remove my veil," said Elsie,
"much quicker than my glove."

Another scribbling, this time from a FKD on St Andrews Day 1926 in Fenchurch Street, London. There are also illustrations and poems from 1926, Netley Abbey, Hampshire by an MG Neal. Who was he I wonder ? His illustrations have the look of a professional illustrator about them.

A Nurse Hamel, of Ba Lanli, on 1 Jan 1927 lets slip something that was later scribbled out. "Heres to (Cecil A Mayo) and you dear ! May all your troubles be little ones" Cecil A Mayo seems to have been an old flame, maybe a fellow colleague at the RNH, that Elsie might almost have married, having met him some time before Reginald Arnold. There are some poems about Ventnor which go hand in hand with this liaison. They suggest that Elsie, already having moved from Hull, to Shrewsbury, and then to Southampton in her short life, saw Ventnor as rather quaint and countryfied.

The following information was accompanied by coats of arms torn from headed paper and the back of a matchbox (?). As it happens, it is a valuable piece of family information on her brothers that she could have so easily not have written about.

Reginald Arthur Victor Grigg (25 years)
Mesopotamia, Persia, Egypt 1919 1921
India "Deccan" 1921 1926
Retired from army aged 24 years
7th Dragoon Guards (Princess Royals) 1919 1926

William James Henry Grigg (23 years)
Sailed to India from BAOR Germany
On the Printz Ludwig for 2 years
arrived on Huntsend
2nd Battalion Duke of Cornwalls Light Infantry
(Coat of Arms One and All)

Ironically, Elsie died at Netley Hospital in 1979, returning to the place where she had worked in 1926.

Elsie with fellow colleagues at the RNH in Ventnor, Isle of Wight circa 1927. Elsie is on the extreme right.

from Elsie's Autograph Book circa 1926 - 1928

Genge Story

My grandmother Elsie Grigg worked at Netley Hospital in Hampshire as an auxhillary nurse. It was a TB hospital at this time. While she was there she recorded the names and birthdays of the Ross family that lived at Netley Abbey (a Hampshire village) in her autograph book circa 1928.

Maybe she lodged with the Ross family, became acquainted with them, was courted by one of the boys, or perhaps she nursed one of them at Netley Hospital; anyway, she must have known them very well to have noted the following information:

Frances Henrietta Cicely Ross (Mrs)
Henry Genge Ross (Mr)
Robin Henry Samuel - 31 Jan 1906
Bernard Richard Llewellyn - 12 Feb 1907
Eric Louie Genge - 10 Feb 1908
Charles Arthur Frederick - 30 Jun 1909
Grace Elizabeth Mary - 12 Dec 1914
John Leslie McKenzie - 13 Oct 1916

She seems to have had a keen romantic interest in unusual names to which she later subjected her three sons. It is interesting to note that my father was also born on 13th October and named Dennis Reginald Genge Arnold!

Then I suddenly started thinking, maybe this wasn't just her picking up an unusual name. Perhaps it was a family name? Perhaps they were relatives that she stayed with? Her grandmother Louisa Commerford was married in Alverstoke, Hampshire in 1862, and her g-g-grandmother Emily . . . . . was born in Gosport, Hampshire in 1809.

One day it might suddenly make sense!

Louisa's Story

Henry Flowerday and Mary (?) had at least six children, all baptised at Saint Matthew, Bethnal Green, London: Mary Ann and Rosina baptised 22 Nov 1818, Charles Henry baptised 11 Feb 1821, Elizabeth baptised 25 May 1823, Henry William baptised 23 Oct 1825, John James baptised 1 Jan 1832.

Henry William Flowerday was a soldier in his late 30's when he met, a probably young and impressionable, 18 year old Louisa Commerford. Shades of Lydia from 'Pride and Predjudice'? On the 3rd March 1862, in Alverstoke Parish Church, Louisa married Henry, a Corporal in the 24th Regiment, both of Gosport. Henry was the son of Henry Flowerday, a Plumber. Louisa was the daughter of John Commerford, a Bricklayer (also a Musician and a Mariner!), born in County Wexford, Ireland in 1802, and Emily, born in Gosport, Hampshire in 1809. In the 1881 Census John and Emily were living at No 19 St Johns Square, Alverstoke, Hampshire.

Louisa and Henry had at least eight children: Emily Louisa born Dec 1862 Aldershot, Henry Albert born Mar 1864 Aldershot, Arthur Edward born 1866, Rosina born Mar 1868 Chiswick, Alice Maud born Jun 1869 Chiswick, Caroline born Sep 1870 Hammersmith (?), William born Mar 1872 Hammersmith (?), Maud Mary born Dec 1873 Chiswick. The first child, Emily was deaf, either from birth or childhood illness. At first they seem to have been living in Aldershot, maybe near the barracks. Then a move to London, shifting between Chiswick and Hammersmith.

Henry William seems to have died around Jun 1873, aged 46 years, in Chiswick. Baby Maud was born a few months later, only to die aged 1 year around Mar 1875.

Louisa to fell gratefully into the arms of Charles Fisher, marrying him as widow Louisa Flowerday on 26 Sep 1875 in Chiswick.

Louisa's son William Flowerday died Sep 1879 aged 7 years, and also Arthur Edward Flowerday died Mar 1883 aged 17 years.

In the 1881 Census Charles and Louisa were living at 21 Chester Terrace, Chiswick, Middlesex. Charles Fisher was aged 31 years, born in Huntingdon, his occupation being a Smith's Labourer. Louisa was aged 37 years, born in Jersey, Channel Islands. Four of the children were from Louisa's first marriage: Emily L Flowerday was aged 18, born in Aldershot, Hampshire, deaf, occupation being a general servant. Rosina Flowerday was aged 13, born in Chiswick, occupation being a scholar. Alice M. Flowerday was aged 11, born in Chiswick, occupation being a scholar. Caroline Flowerday was aged 10, born in Hammersmith, occupation being a scholar. The final three from her marriage to Charles Fisher: Charles aged 3, Eliza aged 1 and Amy aged 11 months. All born in Chiswick.

It is in fact Eliza Fisher who is my great grandmother, but there was something about these Flowerdays!

from birth and marriage certificates and the FreeBMD website with assumptions: Suzanne Arnold

Reginald Grigg

Reginald Arthur Grigg was born on 9th June 1879 at 11.50 pm, at 2 Magola Terrace, Stratford, Essex, a twin to Lillian Maud A Grigg. He was the eldest son of Elizabeth Harriet Matthews and William James Grigg. There is a family tradition that his father William was a saxophone player for the London Symphony Orchestra, and may have taught Music at the Hogarth School for Girls in Chiswick.

Reginald Arthur Grigg met Elizabeth Fisher and they were married in Chiswick Parish Church on 16th June 1900. Reginalds address was 11 Hunt Street, Chiswick, Middlesex, and Elizabeths 3 Alkenden Road, Chiswick, Middlesex, at the time of their marriage. Reginalds occupation at the time of his marriage was as a Turner (which can be an electrical profession.)

I couldn't find a Reginald Arthur Grigg in the 1901 Census. However, I did find, at 7 Northumberland Park (?), near Erith in Kent, a 'Ather' Grigg, aged 22, occupation Machinist Engineer, born Cornwall. This person's wife is 'Lily' Grigg, aged 22, born Chiswick (??!!??)

Their first two sons were born in Acton. The second son, William James Henry Grigg was born on 15 January 1905, at 73 Whellock Road, Acton, Middlesex; son of Reginald Arthur Grigg and Lily Elizabeth Fisher. Reginald was a Boat Builders Machinist at this time.

Again there is another move, this time from Acton in Middlesex to Hull in Yorkshire. On 24th January 1907, Elsie Vera May Grigg was born at 5 Lees Court, Great Passage Street in Hull, the daughter of Reginald Arthur Grigg and Lilly Elizabeth Fisher. Reginald has now become an Electrical Engineer.

Reginald was not content with Hull, for between 1907 and 1911 the Grigg family possibly moved to Burton-on-Trent. Maybe this was where Reginald became the Bandsmaster for the North Staffordshire Regiment, music having been instilled in him from an early age by his accomplished father William.

Then the family moved on to Shrewsbury. In Shrewsbury they lived at a house called Oakengates, 14 Church Street. Church Street is in the heart of Shrewsbury which still retains many of its lovely Tudor style buildings and atmospheric alley ways. Possibly another child was born here that died in infancy.

On 13th July 1911 Reginald Arthur Grigg died. He was just 32 years old. He died of exhaustion, valvular disease of the heart, at Salop Infirmary, Shrewsbury, Salop. Today it would probably be termed a heart attack. He had been working as an Iron-Worker . . . but the story goes that he died playing the trumpet!

For further comparison of occupations and locations:

~ Elizabeth's father: Charles Fisher is a Coach Smith in Chiswick in 1875, and a Hammerman in Chiswick in 1879, a Smiths Labourer in Chiswick in 1881 and a General Labourer in Chiswick in 1901.
~ Elizabeth's paternal grandfather: also a Charles Fisher, is a Brewer in Huntingdon in 1849.
~ Reginald's father: William James Grigg is a Signal Fitter in Bow in 1878 and 1879, a Labourer in Bow in 1881, a Tiller (?) (which can be an electrical profession) in Chiswick in 1900, and a Steam Engine Maker (?) in Chiswick in 1901.
~ Reginald's maternal grandfather: William Thomas Matthews was a Coach Smith in Bow in 1848, and a Licensed Victualler in Bow (?) in 1878, and a Beer and Wine Retailer in Acton in 1881.

from birth, marriage and death certificates, Elsie's autograph book, and hearsay from Vera Scott and Tony Grigg