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A Shout From The Attic: Intimate Whispers

...Somewhere among the wealth and opulence of Edgerton, my Nanny, Margaret Ann Myers, had worked as a cook. Of her life there at one of the great houses, she recounted many stories. These were told in intimate whispers and silently mouthed words as, if they were too terrible for our young ears...

Ronnie Bray vividly recalls his early life in a Yorkshire town, Huddersfield. For earlier episodes of Ronnie's engaging lautobiography please click on A Shout From The attic in the menu on this page.

New North Road didn’t go north! That needs saying, and my boundary was the traffic lights at its junction with Edgerton Grove Road and Blacker Road. Beyond that, we would venture only for the annual sled run in the field behind the wooden tram shelter that still stands and serves as a bus stop. Beyond that lay Edgerton and merchant wealth, marked by grand detached houses with servants ‘below stairs’ and at least one Rolls Royce in the stables, standing in their own well-cultivated grounds reflecting the manicured look of that jewel among Victorian parks that served as my playground. Huddersfield’s mill owners and traders who brought oriental teas, South American coffees, wool from the backs of exotic goats and llamas, romantic perfumes, oriental furniture, peacock feathers, and cheap tin trays into our dingy market town until the outbreak of Hitler’s War made import difficult, lived in these palatial homes.

Somewhere among the wealth and opulence of Edgerton, my Nanny, Margaret Ann Myers, had worked as a cook. Of her life there at one of the great houses, she recounted many stories. These were told in intimate whispers and silently mouthed words as, if they were too terrible for our young ears. When she recounted some tale of her battles below stairs, even with the mistress of the house, where she had emerged as victress and kept her position, she was more strident.

Her sense of drama may have been due to her spatial proximity to James Mason, who had not at that time abandoned Huddersfield for less insipidly charming but more rewarding municipalities. It is doubtful that any part of her histrionic displays were attributable to Huddersfield’s first film star scion, Harold Huth, who went to Hollywood when they were still struggling to get rid of piano players in film theatres.

Nanny had a servant’s sense of position and maintained hers as a lowly but dominant cook who had exchanged her stirring spoon for a sceptre once she took 121 Fitzwilliam Street when it was a good address as a lodging house to secure her income.

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