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A brief introduction to Florence Eveline Jenner by her daughter, Grace Russ (Grace Enid Baglin 1933-2006).
My mum (Florence Eveline Jenner 1901-1994, aka Eva) was born in Stapleton Road, Bristol but was brought up in Abertillery and Crumlin, Caerphilly in South Wales until she was in her early teens, when they returned to Bristol. Upon their return they lived in Ashley Road, Bristol later moving to Thicket Avenue and from there to Ridgeway Road, Bristol and finally to the Haven (between Pool Road and Middle Road. Bristol). All the children, including Eva, married from the Haven; their parents Lillian Maud England (1879-1958) and Frederick Thomas Jenner (1877-1954), later retired to West Park Road, Downend, Bristol.
Florence Eveline Jenner, aka Eva, was the eldest of eight children and was therefore the one who had to stay home from school whenever her mother (Lillian Maud England 1879-1954) was ill, or having another baby; Eva was quite often `in charge' of the broad because their mother (Lillian Maud England) was a sick woman who was always in and out of hospitals.Some of Eva’s (Florence Eveline Jenner’s) early memories include: -
- How as children they once put a halfpenny on the railway line (in South Wales) expecting the train to squash it into a penny!
- Her brother, Russell Frederick Jenner (1904-1947) used to get into arguments with boys and then say, "My sister will get you", and she would then find herself fighting the boys on his behalf, and then in turn, get into trouble at home for fighting!
Florence Eveline Jenner courted Fred Wymark for six years, engaged for two. His parents had a shop in Bristol and he wouldn't get an independent job, at it was expected that when they got married they would live in with his parents and help run the shop. Eva’s parents were unhappy with this arrangement, and she felt the same way; so they finally parted. Eva then went out with a Leslie Lang and said he was a nice man, but was very tall; over 6ft. One day she overheard someone remark, "There goes the long and the short of it"; and after that she wouldn't go out with him anymore. Then she met my dad (Edward William Burgess Baglin 1906-1969, aka Ted) and the rest is history...!
An Autobiography by Florence Eveline Jenner (1901-1994), aka Eva
When I was young I used to pinch the nuts from my Granmother's red and grey talking Parrot, and then eat them. On another occasion I broke her umbrella, and hid it behind the ivy growing up the house because I was too frightened to tell her. She found it years later when she was cutting the ivy back.
We had a great time in Wales, and when we first moved down to what we called the `Branch' we had no water laid on. So, in order to get water for drinking, washing and that sort of thing, we had to go a little way into one of the caves in the mountain. The water was icy cold; but so beautiful for drinking. I remember how we used to have to get down to our school. We had to go across the countryside, over the `branch line' (railway line), over two stiles, then down a hill onto the main road. The last bit being twenty steps or so to get onto the road. One day at school I was looking up words in the dictionary and happened to pick on `confined'; the teacher thought I was daft or something because I didn't know the meaning of the word. So to punish me she shoved me between two boys; I had the time of my life!
Why kids can't enjoy themselves now like we used to, I don't know. We never had TVs and the like in our days; we had to make our own fun. I don't know what we would have been like if we had TVs to watch with all the violent programmes they put on now. Mind you, we were a bit cheeky ourselves; there was one dear old soul, she was a lot bigger than our Grace (Grace Enid Baglin, Eva's daughter), about 20 stones, and we'd say "Clear the way, clear the way, phantom tank coming". All the boys and girls would then make a clearing for her to walk through; she could have killed us (meaning the teasing upset her). In fact, the only one real naughty thing we done was to get up on the bank and throw stones down at the teachers going home. I had the blessed cane for it the next morning; Wallop, wallop, wallop, right across the hand. We never minded though, because we deserved it, we deserved all we got; and I was always getting the cane.
In those days we went around in gangs. I was always the head of our gang, and Charlie Applebee was the leader of the boys' gang. We used to have hundreds of fun; but we were never destructive like the kids are now. You know, we'd dare one another to climb trees; except our Lil, the one who died (Eva's sister, Lillian Maud Jenner 1903-1939), she was so different to me; so dainty. I used to call her "mum's creep".
Sometimes we used to pretend to be all the old actors and actresses, like Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. We used to get up on the trucks (railway trucks) and pretend to be ladies, and the boys would chase us up and down the railway trucks; how we never broke our necks, I'll never know. Once or twice we were driven off the branch line, we didn't see a bobby often though.
Or we'd tie our legs together to simulate the tight skirts women used to wear, and pretend to be `Suffragettes', and the boys would pretend to be policemen and would chase us; and we would try to get over stiles, and that, and all sorts of other ridiculous things.
Then we'd get to the top of Wimberry Mountain, in Abertillery, Wales, and pick wimberries (bilberries) coming down, then pick watercress from `Watercress Stream'; and afterwards we'd go into the fields and craw or run under cows, as the chance arose (a kind of chicken game). Mine you, Russell (Eva's brother, Russell Frederick Jenner, 1904-1947) used to get into arguments with the boys and then he'd say, "My sister will get you", and I did; I would fight the boys on his behalf, and then get into trouble at home for fighting.
Once I put a halfpenny on the railway line to see if it would turn into a penny! Well, that was the last time I saw that! That reminds me of the time I put Edie (her sister, Edith Louisa Jenner 1911-1987) in the pram and pushed her down the railway embankment to see if she'd stay in; I got a right walloping for that, but I didn't mind as I knew I deserved it. And another time I got a right walloping was when I got caught for putting squibs (a kind of firework) through the door of our neighbour, two doors away; We did that to people we didn't like.
When I was a kid we had to be in bed by 7pm. There was never any staying up late; and we had to earn our `penny' pocket money. Our mum was so prim and proper; she would say "A place for everything, and everything in its' place". We all had various jobs that had to be done during the week, and on Saturdays' we had to clean the steel fender, the hearth, tidy up and put all the papers away; even the potatoes had to be done Saturday night, as Sundays' were `sacrosanct'. We were never allowed to do anything on a Sunday. That's how we was when we got married; but it went all different after that.
1st World War
An Autobiography by Florence Eveline Jenner (1901-1994), aka EvaI can't remember much about the 1st World War. I was about 13, and we were living in Crumlin, Wales, at the time. I can remember a man that used to walk with a great big bear; he used to treat it like a child. As it was so unusual to see a bear in those days, we'd wait for him to come across the big Viaduct Bridge; but were afraid of him because we didn't know whether he was Russian, a spy, or what. We were always thinking of spies because of the big Viaduct Bridge, Its been taken down since.
The only other thing I can remember is that our dad (Frederick Thomas Jenner 1877-1954) volunteered for the war; our mum (Lillian Maud England 1879-1958) was so mad because he needn't have gone; he had a key job (Manual farmworker); a kid of 19 took his place so he went to war, leaving six kids behind, and our mum never seen him for five years after that. He had more than he bargained for though; his job was to drive to the front lines with the ammunitions. When he came back (from the war) it was "blinking" everything; our mum would get so mad "Can't you stop blinking it" she would say. Like I used to say "blooming" and sometimes I would say, "blessed", and our Norman (Norman Henry Davis 1936-1987, husband of Eva's sister, Edith Louisa Jenner 1911-1987) would say "Now why is it blooming", or "Why is it blesses". And I'd say (reply) "Cus that's me". I'd say "Oh that blessed thing", and old Norman would tick me off, like mum used to be always ticking our dad off about "blinking".
An Autobiography by Florence Eveline Jenner (1901-1994), aka Eva
When we were kids our mum (Lillian Maud England (1879-1958) was always involved with social work and the like, and used to take in waif and strays. Our mum would say "Well that saved them from going to prison". So we didn't take much notice, well except Arthur (Eva's brother, Arthur Jenner born 1920); he said all his family were years older than him except Ken (Eva's youngest brother, Kenneth Jenner 1924-1944); there being about a 20 year gap between them and the rest of the family. So, when all these waifs and strays kept coming and going he felt, being so much younger than everyone else, that he couldn't be part of the family and thought that he must be one of the waifs and strays.
Carrie Parks was one that we brought up; she was with us from her mid-teens until she got married, but she thinks the world of me, so I don't mind; she use to read all my love letters! (Carrie Parks died February 1993)
One time I remember was when Mr Skidmoor came over and said "Do you mind if a few of us come over to tea, Sunday", of course our mum reckoned on about four or five, six at the most; so she had the shock of her life when the whole Corps (Salvation Army) from Frampton Cotterall walked in. Fortunately they bought their own food with them, but our mum had to put on the big boiler to boil the water for the tea, because there was so many of them. Mind you it was a big house we had there; right opposite the Citadel in Ashley Road, Bristol. It was a double fronted house with eight rooms in the front and as many in the back. Then there was a double storey out-house, the upstairs for the washing, and a place to hang your washing during wet weather. It had a long garden with a tree in it, and at the bottom a lane that led to Picton Street, Bristol; and that's where we used to do all our courting, behind the gate because of the long garden and the tree so nobody could see us. I think most of the big houses that are left, are now all bed-sitters!We never had a lot of money in those days, but we always had plenty of fun, and we weren't dissatisfied like they are now-a-days: Although I've had to work hard all my life. I was the oldest of eight and with my mother always being ill; in and out of hospitals so I've always had kids tugging at me. I bought up our mum's last two, Arthur and Ken; I smacked their backsides more than once. Our Arthur (Eva's brother, Arthur Jenner born 1920) made Grace (Eva's daughter, Grace Enid Baglin, 1933-2006) laugh once; he was telling her how I used to spit on my handkerchief and wash his face with it. I told him that's how we got such good complexion. Our Arthur says that I used to grind my teeth at them when I got annoyed, and he says that's how I got my false teeth. In fact, the dentist said there was nothing wrong with my teeth; they just went soft. I was all right when they were first taken out, but shortly afterwards I had a haemorrhage and was laid-up in bed for a week.
When our mum was at home, she had it like clockwork: -
- Tuesdays - clean and tidy up the bedrooms,
- Wednesday nights - was `Patch night'; when we patched our cloths up, do any sewing and things like that, and
- Friday nights - was `Bath night'; we had to stay in to wash our hair and - Bath.
We each one of us had jobs we had to do before going to work, or going out; washing up; clearing away; polishing; cleaning - things like that.
And when I wasn't working, everything had to be done before dinnertime; it was like that until I got married.
My working life
An Autobiography by Florence Eveline Jenner (1901-1994)
I left school at 14 and started work at Rawlingsons, the Newsagent/Tobacconist opposite Crumlyn station, Wales. Everybody would come in for their papers and baccy - twisted tobacco that they would chew. We would have to cut pieces off from them, eeeehh - the worst thing was selling snuff; we'd sneeze like mad when we had the snuff. It was long hours but the apprenticeship I did afterwards at Tubbs, the clothing factory, was much worse. I was 18 or 19 at the time, I think. I had to work such long hours, 8 in the morning until 6 or 7 at night; I only did that for a few months. When I got paid I had to take my wage packet straight home to our mum (Lillian Maud England 1879-1958), she would open it and give me back 18 pence. Most young people had to do that in those days, so we saw nothing wrong with it. We were just glad to have our bit of pocket money. I'd say the kids wouldn't do it now, would they? But then 18 pence went a long way in those days.
I was in my late teens when we moved back to Bristol (from Wales), but with our mum in and out of hospitals a lot, I spent most of my twenties at home looking after my younger brothers and sisters’; working in between times. Although when I was in my mid twenties I left home for a while and served in the pub; they don't know about that up here (Salvation Army - Staple Hill Corps), I don't say anything about it; but one of Les's relations had the Railway Pub, down by Stapleton Road Station, Bristol. I was living in and wore a black skirt and red blouse. I really enjoyed that job until the Salvation Army people came in to sale `War Cry'; Not the first time, but the next time I was recognised and they told our mum. That was the end of Eva; our mum was so prim and proper so I had no choice but to give my job up and go back home, where our mum could keep her eye on me.
Then I had a job helping to make artificial teeth, at Greets the dentist in Zetland Road, off Gloucester Road, Bristol; I had to polish them and that sort of thing. It was tricky holding them in one hand and a brush in the other. I know that on one occasion I was polishing a pair that had just been fixed; I dropped them so they had to be repaired again.
Then our mum was ill again and I had to come home and look after her and the family. When she was better I took a job down Todds, the Tailoring factory, Bristol. I was doing the finishing of the sleeves, coats and that sort of thing. I remember the first Christmas there; I played a prank at the Citadel that backfired on me. I was always doing daft silly things that hurt me more than anybody else. I pretended that I had gone to the Christmas party at work; I was chatting to my mum and other people afterwards at the Citadel pretending that I had too much to drink and that I was drunk; I almost got suspended from the Salvation Army for that.
The last job I had was at Wards the Solicitors; the big old house down over Cleeve Hill, Bristol. The son's still there now, Malcolm. I had to bee's wax all the floors, except the bedrooms. The floorboards were all new, it took several months, and it was hard work. I did the Hall first, then the reception room. I only got ten bob (50p) a week for that; but when it was finished they put these big Indian like rugs in the centre of each room, and it looked really beautiful.
My courting days
An Autobiography by Florence Eveline Jenner (1901-1994)
I was always with the boys at school, and went out with three or four before I was 19. When I was 19, I was in the concertina band at the time, I had to choose between two chaps; Fred Wymark and Harold Jeans. Harold is now at Plymouth Congress Hall. I don't know why, but in the end I chose Fred. We courted for six years, and were engaged for two of those. I had an engagement ring with three stones set into it. It looked like a wedding ring, and people often thought we were married, especially when they saw us with Ken and Arthur (her two young brothers Kenneth Jenner 1924-1944 and Arthur Jenner born 1920) mistaking them for our kids. I could have got married to him and gone and lived with his mother and father; they wanted us to. They owned an Ironmonger shop in Milk Street, near Newfoundland Road, Bristol (Milk Street no longer exist, as the M32 now ends there). It was good money but our mum and dad (Frederick Thomas Jenner 1877-1954 and Lillian Maud England 1879-1958) wouldn't have it. They were worried that after the income from the shop was shared out I would have had what was left over; after his mother had her share I might not actually get much, especially if nothing was coming in one week. I felt a bit like that myself. He wouldn't or couldn't get another job; our dad tried to get him a job but he just didn't seem interested. So we split up; we didn't row or anything, I just said to him "The best thing we can do Fred, is to go to `Watch Night Service'", that's the 12 O'clock one in the Salvation Army you know, "and then afterwards you can take me home, and then you go your way and I'll go mine"; and that's how it ended. We still stayed good friends after, because every birthday he'd send me a card.
However, after I'd finished with Fred I had a sort of a breakdown and went to stay with my Uncle Arthur (Arthur Edward England 1885-1969) in Plymouth for six months, but he had twins; Phyllis and Evelyn, my millionaire cousins; so I was a sort of glorified servant.
I remember years later, Ted (her husband, Edward William Burgess Baglin 1906-1969) and I met Fred in town, and he invited Fred to tea. I said to Ted, "You're a bright spud Inviting him to tea" I said "He's an old, old flame; you're asking for trouble". He said to me, "A bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush".It was while I was in Plymouth that I picked up with Les. He was 6ft something, and we had lovely outings around Dartmouth and places like that, and then we'd sell `War Cry's' in Looe; we had a smashing time. Then I moved to Bristol and he came down and stayed with his Aunty at Eastville, Bristol. I went out with Les for a couple of years or so, but one day we were walking along and, because of my keen hearing, I heard someone say, "There goes the long and short of it". That hit me flat; That put Eva off, and that was the end of our relationship. I did love him so I suppose that it shouldn't have put me off; but it did. We wrote to each other for a long time, but eventually it filtered out. He's still in the Salvation Army, and if anyone goes down to Exeter, or Plymouth, I ask them to send my love to Les. However, I tell them to send my kind regards, if his wife is with him! I think last time someone went down, he was with his wife, so they gave my kind regards.
After I finished with Les I had two or three other boy friends, but nothing serious until I met Ted; I was 29 then, and the first time he walked me home he gave me a quick peck on the cheeks and ran all the way home. I met him in the August in 1931 and we were married by the December. Just before our wedding I shaved all the hairs off my legs, and it was a couple of weeks before he saw my legs for the first time, by which time the hairs had grown back.
The War years
- Mother Eva and Daughter Grace talk about their memories of the 2nd World War.
- (Grace Enid Baglin 1933-2006 and Florence Eveline Jenner 1901-1994, aka Eva)
Eva, "Grace knows about the war years - She'd tell you how we used to get in and out of that shelter."
Grace, "Yeh - They were exciting times - But you spent most of the war in the Havens shelter."
Eva, "Yeh - we did, Cus theirs was so much nicer - she'd say about that now, if she meets you."
Grace, "We had an Anderson one - It was quite small, and partly buried in the ground. Theirs was a brick built one - like a garage - which had lights, benches, a radio and things like that.
"Eva, "Yeh - but they had theirs by the house, and if a bomb had gone off, we wouldn't have been safe though."
Grace, "No - ours was by the house once! But we must have moved it - as later on it was down the end of the garden by the greenhouse. That was the time Grandpa Jenner (Frederick Thomas Jenner 1877-1954) came up for dinner, and during the evening we were in the shelter during a raid. There was a lot of, sort of bomb flack, and what not - and Grandpa Jenner kept opening the door to see what was happening, and Gran Jenner (Lillian Maud England 1879-1958) kept telling him to shut the door. There we were - me and Grandpa Jenner trying to see out to see what was happening, and everyone else trying to keep the door from opening."
Eva, "Yeh - that's right and one time I had to stay in the house during a raid cus our cat was having blessed kittens."
Grace, "Yeh - and I know our dad (Edward William Burgess Baglin) didn't go down every time either."
Eva, "And sometimes we'd put you under the piano and push the table over to it - And then we'd put our heads under the table with our backsides sticking out. I used to think that to be so funny. But our Ken (Kenneth Jenner 1924-1944, Eva's youngest brother) was thrown-down by a blast once, the sleeve from his suit was all blown-off, and he was all shaken up - Otherwise he was alright, although he didn't want to go to work after that. Then there was the aeroplane that came down by Manor Park, Fishponds (Bristol)."
Grace, "Yes, I remember that. I also remember the time grandfather Jenner (Frederick Thomas Jenner 1877-1954) looked up at a plane while he was on his bicycle and went into a ditch - the lid from one of his tins of paints came off, and the paint went all over him - He was a painter and decorator at the time."
Eva, "Yes, and that was it, when we all sat on that wall watching some planes going over - I think you was with us then - We looked up and said "Ou-ah, there's a lovely lot of planes" - Until we saw the swastikas on them. Then we all scattered like mad. They dropped a bomb and some incendiary devices, they all landed in the railway embankment (Staple Hill, Bristol), and fortunately none of them went off. We had to be ready to be evacuated in an emergency, you know. We prepared - ready to be hooked out of our windows quickly, but it never happened."
Grace, "The best thing I can remember about the war was the `British Restaurants' - they sprouted up everywhere, didn't they, like mushrooms. And you could get - sort of cheap meals there - like subsidised meals - it was smashing. I can remember my dad taking me to one - In Castle Street (Bristol) I think."
Eva, " - where the main shopping centre was. And then there was that raid while we were in the Salvation Army Hall (Staple Hill, Bristol) - singing the halleluiah chorus. We weren't allowed to leave cus there was a terrific lot of flack around - that could kill you, you know. So we kept on singing - mind you we were worried about Grace, we were on the platform and she was in the main Hall - we wondered if we could get to her in time if anything happened."
Grace, "Yes, and I remember that exciting night, on the Sunday, when we came out - And looked down towards Bristol and saw the sky was all bright red - that was really exciting - that."
Eva, "Yeh - and it was awful."
Grace, "That was the night the Bristol Blitz started, it lasted for several days."
Eva, "And if it had started on the Saturday night I would have been in that - Cus Ted (Eva's husband) and I used to go into town every Saturday night. Many a time, everybody had to dive under the shop counters during raids. Then there was that time when a bus load of school children going up Clifton way had a direct hit - Oh it was so dreadful, all the children were killed."
Grace, "And there was that time when a coach load of people from Yate, I think, went up this way - everybody on board seemed to have blood pouring from them."
Eva, "Yeh - it was so awful - though they were exciting times - they were."
Grace, "It was - It was really exciting."
|Offspring of Florence Eveline Jenner and Edward William Burgess Baglin (1906-1969)|
|Grace Enid Baglin (1933-2006)||27 April 1933 Hospital, Keynsham, Bristol, England, United Kingdom||23 February 2006 Queen Elizabeth Hospital, London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom|| Ernest Raymond Russ (1929-)|
|Offspring of Frederick Thomas Jenner and Lillian Maud England (1879-1958)|
|Florence Eveline Jenner (1901-1994)||5 December 1901 Stapleton Road, Bristol, England, United Kingdom||16 January 1994 London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom|| Edward William Burgess Baglin (1906-1969)|
|Lillian Maud Jenner (1903-1939)||17 June 1903||6 August 1939|| Clifford Taylor|
|Russell Frederick Jenner (1904-1947)||28 November 1904 England, United Kingdom||16 February 1947 Bristol, England, United Kingdom|| Ivy May Pool (1903-1987)|
|Grace Dorothy Jenner (1907-?)|| |
|William Thomas Jenner (1908-?)|| |
|Edith Louisa Jenner (1911-1987)||20 September 1911 England, United Kingdom||14 March 1987 Bristol, England, United Kingdom|| Norman Henry Davis (?-1987)|
|Arthur Jenner (1920-?)|| |
|Kenneth Jenner (1924-1944)||25 February 1924 (England)||26 October 1944 Bristol (Bristol+ England)|
Family Records now published on Nathanville
- The Life and Times of Eva Baglin, Florence Eveline Jenner (1901-1994) For further reading on relative's website.