Anne Gilbert turns 100

Anne Gilbert
Anne Gilbert

Story: Elizabeth & Gordon Shaw

Photo: John Mellor

Anne celebrated her 100th Birthday on 15th March and we went to her home to talk about her life. She received so many cards that there were just too many to display them all at once.

One of the cards bears a photograph of the Queen; no prizes for guessing who sent that one! The biggest card is an A3 sized hand made design done by her great granddaughter, who is in the Brownies. The card is well designed, neat and individual; Anne is clearly very pleased with it.

Anne was born and grew up in one of the farm cottages at Manor Castle. She left school in March 1928, aged 14 years. Her mother had just had a baby and was confined to bed for 3 weeks. Anne was needed to help at home. In September of that year she started work as an errand girl at a dry cleaners’ on Leopold Street. In an upstairs room the clothes were packed in big baskets ready to send by train to Liverpool for the dry cleaning process. She carried on working for the same company and eventually became a relief manageress travelling to Worksop and Derby to cover for staff on holiday.

Since the age of 17, Anne has been a member of All Saints Church (now St Peter’s) on Lyons Street, attending Sunday services and taking part in many of the social activities attached to the church. Besides the Girl Guides, which she had joined in 1923 as a Brownie, she mentioned a football club, civic group, operatic events, tennis and swimming. I asked if she had taken part in any of the drama productions she said, “No, more behind the scenes sort of thing.” She was secretary of the Tennis Club and played regularly on courts belonging to a private school, Oakwood, on Norwood Road, and also on one of the two courts at Crabtree Lodge. Friday night was swimming club at the baths on Sutherland Road followed up with a penny’orth of chips from the chip shop opposite or a 1d Hovis loaf from the bakery.

It was through the church that Anne met her husband Wilf, a Precision Engineer, and they were married in All Saints Church on 16th December 1939. The couple moved in with Wilf’s mother and lived on Lyons Street where they brought up their four children, Jim, John, Pat and Tony. “It was very busy, there were always people coming about the church, or the Scouts or Brownies.”

In 1951 Anne took over a draper’s shop on Petre Street. There were quite a few shops together, several butchers’ shops one of them next door to her, hairdressers’, cobblers’, newsagents’ and fish and chip shops. I asked Anne what sort of things she sold in the shop, “cottons, wool, knitting needles, sheets, clothes and I knew all the customers. They came in regularly and could pay for things weekly.”

As well as attending the church services and attached activities, Anne also helped to clean the church. She told of the damage done to the church in the gale in the early 1960s. “There were over a thousand tiles came off the roof and a lot of dirt came in.”

For nine years she worked as a Home Help before retiring at the age of 65. It was during this time that her husband died. She took one week off and then returned to work. She went from one job to the next on foot. One day a regular cancelled at short notice and so Anne was sent over to Halifax Road on foot only to find when she got there that she had to collect some washing to take to Southey Green Laundry!

Clearly Anne has had a very active life – tennis, swimming, walking. She did yoga for 16 years and is currently attending a weekly class doing a half hour of carpet bowls plus a half hour of chairobics. She has been a member of the Girl Guide movement for 91 years, as Brownie, Guide, Helper, Leader and is now part of the Trefoil Guild. She is enjoying every bit of it. However, she laments the fact that there is a waiting list of girls wanting to join but there are not enough adult volunteers willing to run the groups.

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The content on this page was added to the website by Graham Jones on 2014-03-28 15:59:02.
The content of the page was last modified by Graham Jones on 2014-03-28 16:28:50.

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