Thursday, 28 May 2009

Memories of Dunley - June Gracey

Sir Alfred Herbert with his daughter, Gladys Hollick, grandaughter June Vapenik (now Gracey) and great grandson Gavin Vapenik - taken from his book, Shots at the Truth (1948). He was married three times and had four daughters from his first marriage to Ellen Ryley. Gladys was his eldest

June Gracey's memories of Dunley include:

Miss Tidd (Sir Alfred's Hampshire secretary) had four adopted children - Penelope who went to Australia; Ursula, Belinda and Carol.
Miss Tidd and her mother are both buried at Litchfield
Busby - was 1st chauffeur and had a son, Ernest
Harry Piper - 2nd chauffeur and trusted friend
Pickett - bootman and odd-job-man. He used to fetch the dogs from the billiard room after dinner and take them to be bedded down.
Benham - the head gardener
Mrs Barnes - was cook
Mackenzie - ruled the dining room and the under-parlourmaids went in great fear of her.
Maud - was an under-parlourmaid and married Pickett's son and lived in Coventry
Apocathary - was a housemaid who bathed the three Yorkshire terriers and the daschshund.

Michael and David Pugh had a fierce Sealyham, Taffy, who June was allowed to take on walks. On shooting party days he had to be shut up as he fought with the gun dogs. They also had a pony, Myfawny, which Piper used to drive to the shops on petrol rationing days

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  1. Meyrick Pickett12 May 2012 at 00:45

    Pickett was my great grand father his first name was Alfred. I was always told he worked for Sir Alfred but was never sure in what capacity. My father, Derrick and his siblings as well as his cousins were some of the children evacuated from Coventry to Dunley during WWII. My grand father was Edward, probably better known as Bill. I have a photo of Alfred Pickett, Edward and my father in front of a barn. Alfred's wife was Emily, presumably she worked as a under-palourmaid. The reference to Pickett's son marrying Maud puzzles me I wonder which son it was?

    1. I am researching the background of Gordon Godfrey-Pickett (Coventry/ Leamington Spa). His housekeeper recalls that Gordon's father worked for Sir Alfred in Hampshire. Her verbatim notes state: "george I believe worked with his father as a pig farmer on the estate of someone Gwen (George's wife) only ever referred to as Sir Alfred.... he spotted something in George and felt he'd go far. He brought him up to Coventry to work in his factory where he did very well. I'm not sure what he did. She said that during wartime George was sent to Italy to help them develop their factory. He had to teach them everything but I remember particularly that for these machines to work properly, george had the whole floor levelled, then they could be set precisely."

  2. Thank you for your comment, Mayrick. Most interesting. I'll let June Gracey know as well, but sadly she's not so well at the moment.