Adapted from notes written by Joan Goddard

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Fred and Bill Wilson

Fred and Bill were left at home alone when not at school while their mother Martha was working – perhaps Rose went with her mother.

The story is told that when left alone one day the boys decided to switch the kitchen into the garden and vice-versa, and on her return Martha found all the furniture arranged in the garden and the bare kitchen covered in earth and neatly planted out with flowers. Knowing Gran, I bet she wasn’t cross but exclaimed how pretty it all looked:

Bill had run into the road while his mother’s back was turned as she locked the front door on the outside as they were setting out one day. Bill ran into the path of a milkman pushing his churn of milk swung between shafts, and with two curved prongs in front to steady the little cart when standing still. One of these prongs damaged Bill’s back, and his spine grew crooked. He spent a long time in the Childrens’ Hospital and went to school pushed by my mother in a long wicker invalid chair in which he lay all day. She had to go and mind him in playtime.

When he grew up both he and Fred learned to drive the then new­ fangled motor lorries and during the first World War, while both in their mid-teens they both drove lorries. Bill continued to drive all his life, but Fred became a carpenter and later a builders’ yard manager.


Nellie Tattersell

When Fred the older boy married Nellie Tattersell in 1931, they took over the two rooms upstairs to make their home together (as was quite customary in those days), so where poor William (Bill) slept I am not sure, probably Rose had to share her mother’s room.

Fred and Nellie continued to live in the house after Martha died and within a short while Rose, who had promised not to marry all the time her mother was alive, married George (Jim) Linden.

At the time of Joan’s birth, a year after their marriage, Rose and Jim were also living in Washington Street, presumably sharing the house with Fred and Nellie. Eventually Rose and Jim moved on, and Nellie’s parents moved into Washington Street with Fred and Nellie. Bill lived with Rose and Jim and died in their house in Roundhill Crescent, Brighton in 1938.

Fred and Nellie had no family, and they both died in the 1970s.

Here is Fred talking in 1961

      Uncle Fred 1961

Continue reading: Rose Wilson