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A Shout From The Attic: Nanny

"Of her life at the great house, she told many stories. These were frequently recounted in intimate whispers and silently mouthed words as if they were too terrible for our young ears.'' Ronnie Bray tells of his grandmother who once worked as a cook for a wealthy family.

To read more of Ronnie's life story - a work in progress - please click on A Shout From The Attic in the menu on this page.

Somewhere among the wealth and opulence of between World Wars Edgerton, when it was a different kingdom inhabited by the rich and famous, and by the rich and not-so-famous, my Nanny, Margaret Ann Myers, had worked as a cook. Of her life at the great house, she told many stories. These were frequently recounted 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.

She pronounced her maiden name as ‘Meers,’ and became a Bennett when she married my grandfather. To her inner circle, she was known as Maggie, all respected or feared her, and some did both.

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 very good address as a lodging house to secure her income.

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