Irene Mary Hyde (née Gowers)
27th May 1926 – 12th September 1989
As strange as it may seem, I know little about my mums early life other than snippets that have been talked about over the years, but what I do know is the she was born on the 27th May 1926, the second daughter of Frederick James and Emily Mary Gowers and the second eldest of their seven children.
(Check birth certificate for details of where born)
She attended Lymingenton Road School in Green Lanes, Dagenham, Essex until she was fourteen and then when to work in a local sweet shop.
Once she reached the age of eighteen she had to register for war work so she went to work in a factory in Ilford, East London called Ismay’s. They manufactured light bulbs and during the war years they produced bulbs for aircraft, airfield runways and for search lights among other things. For obvious reasons the factory was high on the Germans target list and was bombed out, but fortunately mum wasn’t there at the time.
I know that she also spent some time working in the Houndsditch Warehouse, a large Jewish owned department store in London who’s main focus was apparently on clothing, but I’m not sure if that was before or after she worked at Ismay’s.
She first meet Tom (my dad) while visiting her cousin Pat and eventually, with a bit of encouragement from her they started ‘going steady’.
They married on 11th May 1946 and started a family almost straight away.
Their first daughter, Catharine arrived prematurely at the start of 1947 but she had a hole in the heart and sadly she only lived for eight hours. Rene fell pregnant almost straight away and Keith arrived in October 1947, Michael followed in September 1949 and then there was a seven year gap before Susan (me) arrived in September 1956. During the years of bring up her family she suffered many health issues, some were gynaecological and others were to do with her breathing and she was diagnosed with emphysema.
With both the boy out at school and just me to look after Rene decided that it was time to find a little job where she could take me along too and fortune was shining on her because Tom's boss was looking for someone to do a bit of cleaning in his home a couple of days a week as well as a spot of cleaning in the offices at the factory and making the teas at lunchtime. The three litttle job were perfect and the money coming in each week helped to make ends meet.
Once I started school Rene went back to work full time at the Bank of England Printing works in Loughton, Essex but due her deteriorating health she later went part time and eventually retired early due to her ill health.
There followed many years of outpatient appointments and stays in hospital as the emphysema took hold and Rene slowly became house bound, needing a permanent oxygen supply to aid her breathing.
Her fight with chronic emphysema came to an end on 12th September 1989 in Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow Essex and her ashes now lay in the church yard of St John’s in Loughton Essex, the same church yard as her first daughter, Catharine.