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Lansdowne Crescent: Chapter 5

Jean Day continues her story of the families who lived in a crescent in the city of Worcester in the early days of the Twentieth Century.

1910 continued

Now that I have mentioned who the others are, let me tell you a bit more about my family. We are a very large family, although many are away at the moment. My father is Warren Williams Arrowsmith Tree, and he is a very successful solicitor and has his office at 10 High Street in the city. Actually, my oldest brother, Frank, who is now 22, works there now too and Father has changed the sign on the door to read, Tree and Son. My mother, Juliana Beven Brown Tree, is a very happy home maker, and enjoys her large family. She doesn’t see much of her birth relatives who come from Plymouth and Redruth, but she keeps in touch with them.

My father’s sister, Miss Louise Tree, whom we call Aunt Louie, is unmarried and she also lives with us. She’s the same age as my mother and they are good friends.

I suppose my sister Margaret, 27, who is plump and sweet, and I, thought of as thin and spiky at 25, both being unmarried could almost be called spinsters. We are both quiet and shy, and find it difficult to make overtures to suitable men. I spent some time studying in London over the past few years, taking courses in social history and economics but of course women are not allowed to take degrees, so I have nothing on paper to show for it. I help father in his office most days. Margaret is the Secretary for the Charity Organization Society, which meets daily at the Dispensing Buildings, Bank Street. She works with the Mayor, and our minister, Rev. Hough who is the chairman of the committee. Mr. Cherry is the Honourary Treasure and Mr. Jones the Agent. But Margaret does most of the work. Their objective is to improve the conditions of the poor by helping them only after carefully enquiry as to how permanent results can best be effected and also to check as to possible mendacity and fraud.

Our next sister, Elizabeth, called Beth, 24, is a musical prodigy. We all love music and play instruments, but Beth has exceptional talent, and is teaching music. She also is unmarried, but still has aspirations in that direction. She went to music school at Queen Margaret’s in Scarborough, and then stayed on as a teacher there. It is pleasant to have a relative in a seaside town for us to visit and we have all been up there at some time to see how she is getting on.

Then we have our sister, Catherine Mary, whom we call Carrie who is 22. She is the prettiest and most outgoing of the bunch of us girls, and she is engaged to Tom Stinton who is also 22. She is in her final year at Manchester University where she is reading mathematics. She will be the first in the family to get a degree and one of the first women ever to do so. We have known the Stinton family for perhaps 10 years – and our fathers knew each other before that. We all like Tom and enjoy his company and are pleased that he is going to be part of our family.

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