Emily Mary Gowers (née Waters) 1891 - 1975
Emily Mary Waters, my maternal Grandmother was born to Edward John Waters and Mary Eliza (Hill) Waters on the 18th December 1891 at the family home, 11 Ruth Road, Stratford, West Ham (Essex) and was one of seven or eight children. (need to check this)
She worked in service for a time before marring my Grandfather Frederick James Gowers at West Ham parish church (Stratford, Essex) on the 31st October 1918.
She was almost 27 and Frederick was 29.
After marring they moved house to 49 Meeson Road (West Ham, Stratford, Essex) and later to Agnes Gardens, (Chadwell Heath, Dagenham, Essex) where they brought up their family of seven children, Rose, Irene (my mother), Ronald, Roy, Freddie, Nelly (Joan) and Winifred who was a twin, but the other baby was still born.
Understandable bringing up seven small children with just 11 years between them had its difficulties, so she took in washing from people; to help make ends meet but it was hard with so many little ones running around.
Tragically Freddie, her son was killed during the war at just 19 years of age and just a year later Emily lost her husband Frederick to lung cancer. It was so hard for her to see ‘her boys’ go especially as no one expects to see their children go before them but I guess it was a fear that every family lived with during war time. It couldn’t have helped that she didn’t get to say good bye to her son because he was buried in Tunisia, where he fell on Sunday 28th February 1943.
The family later moved to 299 Valence Avenue, Dagenham, Essex, which is where my very first memories of her are based.
As a small child I found it strange that her front door was not on the front of the house at all but on the side and I can still see her standing on the step waving good bye to us after visiting her.
Fred and Emily’s home was always open house.
Her sister and family lived with them for a while when they were bombed out during the war and also some of their own children lived there for a while after they married, until they found a place’s of their own so there was always a house full.
In later years, Emily moved from the big family house to the one bedroomed maisonette at 15 Dunstable Road, Harold Hill, Romford, Essex, to be closer to her family now she was on her own and I can remember going to visit for the day with my mum.
It was always an adventure for me because I would get to go on a little train (London Underground) and a big train (Over ground) and then we would buy cakes to have with our tea. If time allowed we would also visit mums three sisters who lived nearby and then dad would drive over after work to bring us home again.
But the lasting memory I have of my nan is of the jolly little old lady sitting in the chair beside the fireplace in her little flat.
Sadly, she passed away aged 84 in Harold Wood Hospital (Romford Essex) having suffered a stroke.
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