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2015

Fifth Generation

EMAIL TO ANN

ETHEL PHOEBE
10 April 1877 - 14 August 1947

Photograph taken by Percy Everard in the Northampton garden while Phoebe was visiting there.

 

Eldest daughter of William Lawson and Ellen Gossling.

Phoebe with Stewart and Harold January 1882

 

Royal dressmaker with a boutique called 'Mary Brown' in Wigmore Street. Entitled 'Mademoiselle' she dressed nine Queens - not British Royals. Margaret, Tony's wife, tells us that Phoebe had a partner in the business by the name of Mrs. Tyndley Atkins - the wife of a Harley Street Physician. There was also a French pattern cutter named, Marcella.

Phoebe was a wonderful seamstress and this is a picture of yours truly (Ann) wearing one of her beautifully smocked dresses. The lamb was a gift from Great Uncle Wilfred and has been used for many a nativity play over the years - a little worse for wear now but still in my possession - sadly not the frock!

Phoebe lived at 'Blue Shutters' in Bushey Heath, Hertfordshire. The house became a memorable venue for many family events and is remembered with nostalgia by all who spent a happy time there. It had a large garden, part of it full of cottage style flowers, with an 'S'' shaped open-air swimming pool. Phoebe was much missed when she died.

 

Blue Shutters (One) - Blue Shutters (Two) - Blue Shutters (Three) - The swimming pool - looks inviting!

Small painting of Blue Shutters Discovered by Nigel in 2010 amongst items in the roof of his mother's house in Lymington.
The painting is signed CWG.

 

Betty's reminiscences - "Another special person was Phoebe. Sometimes we would all clamber into the Austin 7 and drive the 100 miles or so to stay at Blue Shutters. Sometimes we would be taken to stay individually and we would enjoy the luxuries of the pool, garden, house and trips to the flat in Baker Street. When the war threatened Phoebe sold her emerald ring and bought an Andersen Shelter for us to have in the garden for our families' safety. We seldom used it; it was warmer under the stairs indoors where we retreated many nights. We all mourned her when she died."

 

Phoebe with Stewart and her Bentley Tony, youngest son of Reg and Eda, learned to drive in Phoebe's Bentley. In later years, with great pride, he also owned one.

In 1941 Phoebe was attacked in her Bentley. She was punched in her chest by a soldier and gagged with a wad of grass and then thrown in the ditch. She was also robbed. The car was found later, abandoned in the ditch - "looking like a stepped-on gasper tin" to quote Phoebe's own words. She suffered from bruising and it shook her up considerably. She spent some time convalescing in Lymington at Ivy House with Madge, and at The Rowans with Leslie's family.

Jack (John Neville) and Pip's 21st birthday

 

Attending Pip's wedding at Wellesley House, Cirencester
(Reg, Phoebe, Nancy, Ann and John.)

The Life and Times of THE PHOEBE TEAPOT

In 1829 the London silversmiths, Alice and George Burrows, created our teapot. It was the last year in the reign of the dissolute George IV, and children were working twelve hours a day in the coal mines. Stevensonís steam engine was creating a stir and in Europe, Rossini was producing the opera The Barber of Seville. Phoebe Green and Robert Klitz, the ninth son of George Philip and Elizabeth Lane were both 14 years old and lived in the town of Lymington. Chances are they knew each other at this time as they both attended church at St Thomas. Robertís older brother Philip was organist and the Green family had their own pew in the church.

In 1839 Phoebe and Robert were married, just before the young Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. At an unknown time in their 38 years of marriage Robert gave his wife this teapot. They had eleven children, six daughters including twins Fanny and Mary and five sons. The eldest daughter was born February 20th 1847 and named Amelia Phoebe.

The first Phoebe died in 1877 and the teapot was passed to her daughter Amelia Phoebe. There is no information about Amelia Phoebe Klitz, but her death certificate, which is signed by her sister Fanny, states that she was a spinster and died at Moss Cottage in Guildford June 15th 1931 at 84 years of age.

Ameliaís brother William Lawson named his eldest daughter Ethel Phoebe, born on April 10th 1877 so now the teapot came to her. Phoebe, who was my aunt and godmother, was a delightful character with a puckish sense of humour and doubtless capacity as a dressmaker as she had a very successful business in Wigmore Street, London. She made dresses for the crowned heads of Europe and had a large staff of girls working for her. She drove her own car and had many friends of both sexes. Outside London in rural Bushey Heath, she had the loveliest home with a thatched roof, magnificent garden and a swimming pool. All her nieces and nephews would visit her and be cherished by her and her faithful housekeeper Mrs. Allsop. Phoebe was a wonderful storyteller and would bring alive the various fairy tales such as the Tin Soldier.
Phoebe frequently visited her sister Madeleine and brother Leslie in Lymington. It was at her sisterís house that she died in 1947 aged 69. This followed several catastrophes in her final six years - she was robbed in her car highway style, her beloved Blue Shutters caught fire and she had a nasty fall, which permanently damaged her shoulder and elbow.
It was thus that I; the second daughter of Phoebeís brother Leslie, born December 20th 1933 became the fourth Phoebe Klitz to own the teapot at the tender age of 14. In 1956 my husband John and I emigrated to Canada so the teapot has crossed the Atlantic and seen Winnipeg and Calgary as well as Victoria and Sooke.

There may not be another Phoebe Klitz so upon my demise the teapot will skip a generation and go to my eldest son, Billís daughter, Christina Phoebe Harding born April 12th 1990. It is to be hoped that, after 175 years of direct inheritance, Christina will find a suitable successor for this family heirloom.

Caroline Phoebe Harding

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Ethel Phoebe