Edith Nancy Alston "Nancy" FENN 
- Born: 2 Feb 1917, 8 Lancaster Plc. Hamstead London
- Marriage (1): Dudley Manning HADWEN  on 15 Apr 1950 in Kew Parish Church SRY
- Died: 26 Sep 2003, Wimbledon London aged 86
- Crem.: 6 Oct 2003, Putney Vale Chapel Wimbledon
Cause of her death was ischaemic heart disease.
Fenn - On the 2nd Feb., at 8 Lancaster place, Hampstead, N.W. the wife of Captain C. E. Fenn R.A.M.C., of a daughter.
Edith was always known as Nancy, she was born at her grandmother's home at Belsize Park 8 Lancaster Place, Hampstead, and educated at a number of schools (8 in all) including Ipswich and Worthing High Schools passing her G.S.E in 1934. A career in music (harp, she was a pupil of Edith Mason) was interrupted by WW II when she became a Land Girl. She worked first on a dairy farm near Sherborne, then moved to work at Home Farm, Ham House London enabling her to look after her parents who were in poor health.
Nancy was unable to return to instrumental music as wartime farm work had damaged her hands with arthritis, however music remained a lifelong passion. She developed her singing voice, achieving competition success as an amateur into her 80's when this was written (1999). A common love of music brought Nancy and Dudley Hadwen together (Nancy joked that noticing Dudley had an appreciation of Mozart's Clarinet Quintet she realised his sometimes hidden qualities). She was living in her late parents home at 8 Priory Rd Kew at that time.
Nancy was a member of the Wimbledon Friends Meeting.
Since 1987 Nancy regularly travelled to NZ to spend February with her cousins.
Nancy formed a charitable trust in 1985 from which she donated tens of thousands of pounds over the years in support of music in England particularly the English Sinfonia, the Society of Friends, opera, animal welfare, OXFAM, Hospice, and many other worthy causes.
A quote about Nancy which the compiler has only added posthumously, at the request of the writer Christopher Alston , although he is sure Nancy would have had a good laugh. Writing about Alston Court that his Aunt Charlotte  had painted, he continued "Actually it was she who tried very hard in the 30's to marry me off to Nancy Fenn, a spinster of somewhat plain but pleasant features! My aunt thought it would be a good idea to return to my roots and live at Alston Court. I fear that in those days of my youth romance did not include family history! it was a nice thought though" Nancy's father became the owner of Alston Court about that time, but rarely lived there.
2003 - Nancy recalls memories of a time during the 1st World War when her father and his family were stationed on Sailsbury Plain, probably operating at Longleat, where he was involved in early work with plastic surgery. Richard (Dick) Fenn was also stationed in the area for a time and a family story is of Dick bringing his platoon to a salute as Nancy was wheeled by in her pram.
Charlie and Dick Fenn used to write each other doggeral describing Nancy's progress as a child:
"Edith Nancy Alston Fenn has a temper well I ken
She has got the fat of ten
Edith Nancy Alston Fenn"
Nancy Hadwen 2001
Some time ago, as a long-time member of the Clarsach Society, it was suggested that I might like to write down some of my memories over the years.
I first joined the London Branch in the mid 30's, and attended several celidhs. I was studying the pedal harp and clarsach with Miss Edith Mason at the time, who also introduced me to Prunella Stack and the Women's League of Health and Beauty (Prunella was another of her pupils).
I was living with my parents at East Sheen, before the war, and remember Canon Hood, Rector of Keithley in Yorkshire coming to preach at Mortlake Church - afterwards he lunched at our house and I was thrilled to hear that Patuffa Kennedy Fraser was his wife! Later on, Miss Brown Douglas (whom many of us remember with affection) sold off some of her harp music, amongst which I found the second volume of 'Songs from the Hebrides' that had actually belonged to Patuffa, and was signed by her inside, and dated 1917.
During the war I worked on a farm in Dorset, and one day, bringing the cows in for afternoon milking, was astonished to see Edith Mason the other side of the herd. She had come down from London unexpectedly, to seek some peace and quiet in the country!
I see from the London branch newsletter (April 2000) that during the war Miss Rouse and Miss Mackinnon (the two Secretaries at the time) moved down to Bournemouth, where they continued to play and teach the harp. They very kindly asked me to stay with them for a weekend - and what a treat it was for me to have a brief respite from my farm work
My membership of the Clarsach Society lapsed for a time after the war (having to handmilk the most difficult cows my fingers were finding it hard to cope with harp-playing once more!). I was attending a singer's workshop at the City Lit however (where incidentally I met Marigold Dick just starting her harp career!) and a friend suggested I should go with her to a celidh at the home of Gwendolen and Edith Mason in Kensington, and so I was drawn into the net once more!
The newsletter (no 13) again brought me in touch with interesting people. There was an article by Penny Sibson about John Thomas's harp, that was now in New Zealand - my Grandmother had been a pupil of John Thomas, so I was immediately interested. It was a fascinating story about a Doctor Charles Nalden, a professor of music at Auckland University and founder of the first Conservatorium of Music there. He had just written his autobiography called "Half and Half - The Memoirs of a Charity Brat". At just three weeks' old, he had been deposited at the Foundling Hospital in Coram Fields, where the discipline was very hard for a child. However, he was sent, with other boys, to train in a military band. Later he worked his way up to become Director of Music at Kneller Hall.
Amongst many instruments that he played was the harp (he studied with a pupil of John Thomas), and when he heard the great man's harp was for sale, he made several bids to buy it, and was eventually successful. Later he decided to emigrate with his family to New Zealand and the harp went with him! As I was about to visit my cousins in Auckland, it was suggested I should call on Dr Nalden at his home, to purchase my copy of his book. I received a most kind and friendly welcome - he not only got the harp out to show me, but also gave me a tape of his playing on it. I, in my turn, was able to give him a copy of John Thomas's 'History of the Harp' which he did not know about.
Needless to say I found Dr Nalden's book absolutely fascinating, and counted myself fortunate to have met him. Sadly I have just heard of his recent death - but he was an active musician well into his 90's, so perhaps harping may help to keep us all young.
Hadwen - Edith Nancy Alston at her home in Wimbledon, twenty-sixth of September 2003, peacefully aged 86.
Funeral, 2:15 PM, Monday sixth October, Putney Vale Crematorium, flowers, or donations to the Nancy Hadwen charitable trust, to homes and daughters funeral directors, for sixty-one Upper Richmond Road W. Tel: (020) 8392 1012
The Times, Personal Column, Saturday, October 4, 2003.
During the evening of the 26th Sept 2003 Nancy died peacefully of heart failure while watching TV, ending a life well lived in humble optimism, avoiding judgement and accepting of all. Her friends and family gathered first at the Putney Vale Chapel for a Quaker service of rememberance and committal to cremation, then to the Wimbledon Meeting House for a tribute of music and song organised by Anna Shuttleworth, and tea.
On the 24th of June Anna Shuttleworth, David Sellen, Jeanette and Edward Fenn, Kevin and Valerie Richmond-Price and David Wells gathered at the grave of Charlie and Ella Fenn in Richmond Cemetery London for tributes to Nancy and a symbolic scattering of part of her ashes on the grave. Unfortunately the grave surround had been engraved in Nancy's maiden name "E Nancy A Fenn 1914 - 2003" All present agreed this would have caused Nancy a great laugh.
Further to this, part of her ashes were scattered on Wimbledon Common, in Bathgate Rd and in the West Country by the Richmond-Price family.
A Celebration Of The Life Of Edith Nancy Alston Hadwen.
Putney Vale Chapel
6th October 2003
Order of Service.
Music by Mozart sung by Emma Kirkby
Welcome by Eric Bramsted of the Wimbledon Friends Meeting.
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation
Joachim Neander 1640.
Contemplation and sharing on the life of Nancy Hadwen.
The shaking of hands
Recessional Music - Bach
Everyone present is warmly invited to gather again from 3.30pm today to continue this celebration with pictures music and song including a performance of the Mozart Quartet in D Minor by Nancy's musician friends, followed by refreshments; at the Wimbledon Friends Meeting House 40 Spencer Hill Rd Wimbledon SW19 4EL. (see page 4)
You are also invited to pick up your, or any floral tribute and bring it to the Meeting House and/or take it home with you.
Nancy Hadwen, many years ago found the Quaker tradition of quiet contemplation in accord with her spiritual needs.
Quaker funerals have no set form, gathering together in silence, all present, are invited to enter into a communion of prayer and contemplation, bearing in mind those who are bereaved.
Anyone who feels moved to do so may speak, with helpful words, as well as messages, which may testify to the qualities the deceased displayed in life.
In this way loving remembrance and thankfulness may rightly find expression, together with thoughts of comfort and sympathy for those left behind.
Whether in silence or otherwise, all who are present may help by their thought and prayer in the fellowship, into which we are brought together, by the Spirit of Christ, our Christian Heritage or other beliefs.
The worship ends with the shaking of hands, each with the other.
It is in this way we gather today to celebrate the long and full life of Nancy Hadwen, who in her serene unselfish way brought much good to this world.
Nancy profoundly expressed her joy for life through her love of music, which she approached with uncomplicated universal enjoyment.
NANCY HADWEN -- 02.ii1917 - 26.ix.2003
"Remember that we all share responsibility for the meeting for worship, whether
our ministry is in silence or through the spoken word." (Advices & Queries No.12)
For Wimbledon Friends, Nancy was as much a part of the Meeting as were the flowers on the
table - which often she herself had grown and brought. Their presence made the meeting room just that little bit more welcoming for those coming in on a Sunday morning to worship. And like the flowers, Nancy's presence lifted our spirits, her ministry being more often than not of the silent kind.
When she did feel moved to share something with us in words, they were words of faith and quiet conviction, and they were the more valued for being infrequent. Friends recall her ministry as clear and deeply sincere; she did not speak at length and her ministry was the more effective for it.
Edith Nancy Alston Fenn was born at her grandmother's home in north London on the 2nd
February 1917. In later life she recalled memories of a time during the First World War when her father and the family were stationed near Salisbury Plain. He was a medical doctor, involved in early work with plastic surgery, and a brother, Richard (Dick) Fenn was also stationed in the area for a time. There is a family story of Dick bringing his platoon to attention and saluting as Nancy was wheeled by in her pram. After the war the family moved to Sussex, and Nancy became a pupil at the Worthing High School for Girls. In her teens she became skilled enough at billiards to compete at national level. She also had a great love of music, and was particularly fond of the harp, which her grandmother played. By this time the family had moved to East Sheen, and she began studying the pedal harp and clarsach (Celtic Harp) at the Royal College of Music in London, joining the London Branch of the Clarsach Society in the mid 1930s, and attending several Ceilidhs.
However, her studies and indeed her career aspirations were interrupted by World War II,
when she had to become a
Land Girl.' She worked first on a dairy farm near Sherborne, Dorset, then moved to the Home Farm of Ham House, London, which enabled her to look after her parents who were in poor health. Sadly, after the war ended, Nancy was unable to return to instrumental music, wartime farm work having led to her fingers becoming plump and her hands arthritic. In an article she wrote for the Clarsach Society, she noted: "My membership of the Clarsach Society lapsed for a time after the war (having to hand milk the most difficult cows, my fingers were finding it hard to cope with harp-playing once more). I was attending a singer's workshop at the City Lit however, and a friend suggested I should go with her to a Ceilidh . . . . . and so I was drawn into the net once more."
Music remained a lifelong passion. She developed her singing voice, achieving competition
success as an amateur into her 80's, and it was a common love of music that brought Nancy and her future husband Dudley Hadwen together. They were married on the 15th April 1950 in Kew, and Nancy moved into the house in Bathgate Road, Wimbledon, which Dudley's parents had bought. Sadly, he was a compulsive smoker, and after more than 30 years of marriage, he succumbed to lung cancer. He died on 14th May 1982 after a lengthy and painful period of ill health which proved a testing time for Nancy.
Following Dudley's death, Nancy began to travel again, including several journeys to
relatives and friends in New Zealand. She also returned to the clarsach, and once more took up singing, joining a local class at the Adult Education Centre, where she made many new friends. She also joined the Putney Music Society, regularly attending talks given by eminent musicians, and offering lifts to those who would otherwise have found it difficult to attend, particularly evening events.
Nancy began attending Wimbledon Meeting in 1960; she joined the Religious Society of Friends on the 18th September 1976 ("by convincement" as it says in the records) and proved a loving and committed member of the Meeting. She attended the meetings for worship regularly and steadfastly, and also came to the business meetings as often as she could. In due course she became the organiser of hospitality and refreshments, especially when it was Wimbledon's turn to host its monthly business meeting, and she filled this role for many years. Rather than press others into service, though, she was very relaxed about the job, believing that the Meeting responded best when gently led by example. She served as an Elder over many years and was most effective in her quiet convinced way. She was also a loyal supporter of the Meeting's discussion groups, and occasionally helped with the Children's Meeting. She was especially glad that Wimbledon Meeting included a group of children, possibly because she never had any of her own. Summer walks or picnics on the Common sometimes concluded at her lovely house with its well-kept garden for a delicious tea - needless to say, she was a keen gardener, hence the flowers for Sunday mornings.
Nancy had many other fine qualities: she was warm, sociable, cultured and very modest. She had a gift for friendship and this was very much in evidence from the many testimonies at her funeral. She was a very balanced person and this led to a serenity, which was an essential part of her personality. She was a good listener, too, and had much empathy for other people. Being young of heart, she took a strong interest in the world around her, and very much endorsed the modern Quaker acceptance of the arts and the rejection of that Puritanism which had denied music, theatre and literature its proper place in life. All these many positive qualities and her years of steadfast attendance at the activities of the Meeting made her a pillar of strength for our small community. However, her life was not bounded by Quakerism. Her vision was too wide for that, as the above record shows, and in all her many friendships she respected and appreciated the faiths of others. She could happily join with others in their worship, but her words: "Quakerism is right for me" encapsulated her belief. She loved the Meeting, and the Meeting loved her in return.
In 1985 Nancy set up a charitable Trust and appointed as a fellow trustee a friend from her late husband's firm of accountants who shared her love of music in general and opera in particular. Almost immediately she was asked to help the English Sinfonia, whose principal cellist at that time was a cousin of Nancy's, Anna Shuttleworth. The orchestra urgently needed a new office and in liaison with Graham Pfaff (its then Chief Executive) they were able to acquire a property in Sandy, Bedfordshire. When this was sold in the mid-990s, the Trust bought larger premises which were later donated to the orchestra in 2001. One of the first grants made by the Trust was in response to an appeal for funds to buy Mendelssohn's house in Leipzig and establish a museum there. Nancy was thrilled to be invited to its opening.
Both Nancy and her husband were devoted supporters of Glyndebourne. She liked to take her friends to the festival, where they enjoyed not only the music but also Nancy's excellent picnics. The Trust also supported the Musicians Benevolent Fund, but its beneficiaries were by no means confined to musical associations. The Trust reflected Nancy's concern for those in need, and made regular donations to the British Red Cross, Oxfam, NSPCC, RNID, Shelter and Trinity Hospice, and supported a number of Quaker projects. At a local level, it helped the Wimbledon Guild of Social Welfare and the Chamber Concerts Association of Wimbledon.
George Fox urged Friends to keep their Meetings,' and Stephen Allott, writing in The Friend of 30th January 2004, reminded us that: "we need a solid body of Friends who will ensure, by their regular attendance, that the Meeting is there, both for newcomers and for less regular attenders." Nancy Hadwen belonged to that body in Wimbledon Meeting. She is greatly missed.
Approved by Wimbledon PM on the 9th May 2004, and signed on its behalf by Jenny Ellam, Clerk. Drafted by Kurt Strauss on the basis of material kindly provided by Anna Shuttleworth, Edward Fenn and David Wells, with additional material from Eric Bramsted and Ann Strauss.
It is the custom of the Society of Friends to create a panegyric of a deceased member, which becomes part of the Society records. ELF
Nancy's ashes were partly scattered about her favourite haunts in Wimbledon the remainder on her parents grave in Richmond Cemetery (Ref section 13 grave 10075) where she is remembered with her parents on the grave site. Due to a confusion her name is recorded as Nancy Fenn, this was not remedied as all involved felt Nancy would have been amused at the error.
1. Nancy Fenn: Her early years, 1917 to WWII Land Girl.
2. Nancy Fenn and Grandmother Edith Hadwen: Billiards, Cir 1933, London.
PRACTICING WITH GRANNY
Nancy Fenn is not competing for amateur billiards championship, but she played a practice game with Mrs Shuttleworth, her grandmother, one of the entrants in the Women's Billiards Championships
Mrs Shuttleworth brought along her granddaughter to act as mascot at the Championships now being held at Burroughes & Watts billiards hall in Soho Sq.
Nancy was thrilled. She plays a bit herself, and to see grannie play in a real championship was wonderful. The sacred calm of Burroughes and Watts could scarcely repress her enthusiasm. When grannie knocked up a nice little break Nancy's eyes shone with undisguised pleasure. But grannie was not quite good enough for Mrs. Sills, of Cambridge, who won the match 200-163." The tense silence as the match neared its end was almost too much for Nancy. She bit her lips in excitement, and watched with bated breath. An almost inaudible sigh left her lips when Mrs Sills made the winning stroke, and her eyes were suspiciously bright. She impetuously, ran across to grannie, and tucked her arm in the loser's, with an air that said, " Never mind, grannie dear, I'm sure you could have won if you'd tried".
Whistle For A Miss
Grandmother At Billiards
by James Dunn
Watching women play billiards is a study in grace and temperament. Since Miss Ruth Harrison become a professional player last year there is no amateur women billiards champion of Great Britain, so they are seeking one in a competition that, among other places began at Burwat Hall Soho Square W yesterday.
In this London qualifying section they were 21 competitors including Lady Constance Childe-Pemberton who is 62.
Mrs Shuttleworth, who had bought her granddaughter, charming Nancy Fenn, to watch her play Mrs Stills in the preliminary round enjoys playing billiards, but she does not believe that the billiards room is a sanctuary of silence.
When she misses an easy shot she whistles in disgust; when she gets into an awkward position she does not hesitate to denounce the balls as "blighted" and when her opponent makes a good stroke she cheerfully calls "Oh good shot"
Mrs Sills plays billiards as if she were bent on making the balls behave when she accidentally potted the white she said "Sorry" and chalked her cue with the determination of a woman who would see to it that such a thing never happened again.
During the game of 200 up there were no big breaks but the game was good to watch if only for the grace and sportsmanship shown by the players. Every time Mrs Stills fluked, Miss Nancy Fenn sniffed, but Mrs Shuttleworth smiled her jolly smile.
Mrs Stills ran out winner by 200 points to 163. Her best break was 19, and Mrs Shuttleworth, the jolliest of losers, broke down as an unlucky 13.
Lindrum may be the world's greatest billiards player, but I would sooner hear Mrs Shuttleworth whistle after a bad miss, than I would watch him make a 1000 break.
GIRL BILLIARDS PLAYER At the top of the page is a picture of Miss Nancy Fenn, the Worthing girl billiards player. She wears her hair in plaits down her back Last week-end, Miss Fenn was beaten in the semifinal of the girls' amateur billiards championship in London. Her father is a doctor and the family live at West Avenue, Worthing.
Dr and Mrs Fenn told me the other day that Miss Nancy is a pupil at the Worthing High School for Girls. Owing to the fact that she is studying for her school certificate examination, she has not been able to practice billiards of late although she is a member of the Worthing Women's Billiards Centre. She is 16½ years of age, and intends to have another shot for the girls' title next year. Her tutors have been Miss Eva Collins who instructs the Worthing Women's Centre, and Mr Jaggard, the marker at the Forum Club. London. Better luck next time Nancy.
3. Nancy's Letters: WWII and later, 1940-1982.
(Images of Originals in Event Pictures.)
October 25, 1940
My dear uncle Harry and Margo,
We have just got your letter today with the great good news of the birth of your son and heir, I can't tell you how glad I am, it really is splendid, my very best congratulations you have set the ball rolling again, after everyone thought the Fenn family was going to peter out with me! As soon as the war is over I want the three of us to come out to visit you in New Zealand, the parents seemed quite keen when I suggested it the other day, it would be so nice to see you both again, and of course the great Edward Liveing!
I've now been on the land for nearly 4 months I've been so lucky in getting onto a very suitable farm, we came on it by pure chance. One day we came to Sherborne to see the school, and liking it so much, we stayed here for a week. Mummy and I went out to see a farm the first day, and two ladies in a car gave us a lift. We found one of them knew a great friend of ours and the other was a farmer's wife, they asked us to tea the next day, and we arranged I should start work on their farm in a fortnight. The farmer, Mr Foot is such a nice man though he was very sceptical about a land girl, he said "Let the girl come she will be fed up with it in a fortnight" he knows differently now. I got in for the haymaking and of course the harvesting for both of which we had perfect weather, though it was hard work as we were so very shorthanded. One day when we were through threshing we were up milking at 5.30 and didn't get our tea till 8 o'clock at night. There were some bombs dropped near us that night but they didn't keep me awake! We started milking in the usual way at 6 A.M. I do eight cows now morning and evening my fingers were terribly stiff at first, then I go to another farm to fetch the four horses, huge beasts, as big as Suffolk Punches. After breakfast I clean out the cow sheds and pigsties and feed two sets of calves, after that I do the job of the day whatever it is on, at present it is Mangold pulling and hauling, until I go for the cows for the afternoon milking. I enjoy the work very much and it is a very good thing to have plenty to do in wartime - Mr Foot and our two men are in the home guard. One night they were all called out and Mrs Ford and I were left with the prospect of milking forty-two cows in the morning. Luckily it was a false alarm and the men were back the next day there are two dear little boys at the farm, Michael and Freckles aged 9 and 7. I've learned quite a lot about small boys since I've been there! They're much nicer than I'd always thought! Mrs Ford has a brother at Dunedin New Zealand called Asten, she was a nurse and one of her patients she took to the South of France, is living at the farm at present. She is the boy's godmother, a Mrs Adams and very charming, her flat in town was bombed last week. I was so worried about my parents in London, we've had bombs all around our house, but so far we've had no worse than broken windows. M and D spent most nights under the dining room table last month as we have no shelter! It really is splendid the way everyone is carrying ................... page missing.
Written on both sides of two pages of writing paper. Endorsement on the front page. "I suppose this will reach you about Christmas time my love and very best wishes for it and the New Year"
37 Grosvenor Gardens
Sept 5 (43)
My dear Margo,
I'm afraid it's a long time since I wrote you, but these are such busy days, as you well know! Have I thanked you for the very interesting New Zealand paper? I was so glad to get it. You may have heard by now that after having tried to live at Alston court we came to the conclusion that it was really more than we could manage. Daddy said he could not stand the winter is down there, and of course there are endless difficulties and expenses running a house of that size (and garden) in war time, the Labour problem is steadily getting worse. Eventually we decided to offer it to Alston Fenn, he jumped at the chance of having it and as he can afford to run the house properly and is one of the family, it seemed an ideal solution to our problem, although we can't help feeling rather sad too, in spite of of the discomforts we have had to endure living there! The Fenns have two daughters, a little younger than I am, who love old things and are fascinated with the house (they have never had a permanent home with their father being in the army) Houses are very difficult to get in town now but we have managed to get quite a nice little one off Kew Green - where I think we all ought to be very happy together. I am still on the farm at Ham so can live at home, it is on the flat for daddy and of course we all love the gardens. It's an easy place to get up to town from too. We are parking daddy at my grandmothers at Hampstead, and I have got some time off to help mummy with the move which is on September 23 our address will be 8 Priory Road Kew Surrey. I went to see an excellent play at the arts Theatre Club the other day - it was G.K.Chesterton's "Judgement of Dr Johnson" - the member who took me was a Nancy Grigg (and niece of Sir James Grigg I believe) she lived near Timaru when young and apparently knew a lot of the Julius's - she mentioned a certain "Fenny" who I oppined to be my uncle! She was in the land Army but left it, and now works with a friend of mine at the War Office. This year we have doing a good deal of evening work - but one night I felt I had earned a treat so I dashed up to town (complete in breeches!) to hear a prom at the Albert Hall - it really was a most grand programme, all Bach and Handel Leon Goossens, Harriet Cohen, Thalben-Ball were some of the soloists. It was rather interesting to, as the Queen had decided to take Princess Elizabeth to her first prom concert that evening - I couldn't understand why everybody was standing up and clapping, until I looked just above me and saw them in the Royal box!
I was swimming in the open air pool at Twickenham last week and saw a notice of a concert to be given by an amateur orchestra, so I crossed by the ferry and thoroughly enjoyed Handel's Water Music which seemed most suitable! My annual weeks holiday I am having in October, I thought we would enjoy it better when the move was over. We haven't decided whether to go to Buxton or Malvern yet, I'll get back in time for Marigold pulling! I'm in digs at present in the house of a very nice girl whose husband is in the RAF in India, there is just the two of us and her dog.
I do hope this letter reaches you safely.
My best love to you all especially young Edward how I'd like to see him come and see us all.
Written on both sides of three sheets of notepaper
8 Priory Road
Dec 3 (44?)
My dear Uncle Harry,
I really am filled with shame when I realise we shall be feasting on your beautiful cake at Christmas time and I have not even written a letter to send you our greetings - we also have to thank you for the most interesting local papers which arrived last month. I expect you are settling down in your new home, do you feel lost without your farm? I also, have retired from agriculture after precisely four years and four months. Daddy was again taken ill in the autumn and so was my grandmother, so that my mother had a very hard time with both invalids and trying to run the house (which we still have not got straight!) So I resolved that if the Labour Exchange would release me to work at home I ought to do so. Somewhat to my surprise they were most understanding and told me to give a weeks notice which I did forthwith. So now I'm back at women's work! And there's no shortage of that at home, even though it is slightly less strenuous than the farm.
I got the farmer safely married to a great friend of mine before I left, they had a very quiet wedding in September and spent their honeymoon in Devon and Cornwall - the housekeeper went off in a bit of a huff beforehand so I helped the secretary prepare the house for their homecoming.
I met the wife of the new director of Kew Gardens, Dr Salisbury, at a friends the other day, she was rather an interesting woman, and so I prevailed on mummy to call on her - unfortunately the day we asked them to tea mummy was unwell, so I had to be the hostess-in-chief luckily Muriel Julius came along too, and they appeared to have a great many professional friends in common, so we had a most entertaining afternoon. I miss my open-air life somewhat (though I've the garden to tackle in the spring) so whenever I go into Richmond to shop, I walk through the length of Kew Gardens, it's grand being so near them - we still take a lunch in there on sunny days and even Daddy can get slowly over the green to them on mild days (he is better now but has to take everything very carefully and always has a day in bed a week)
I dashed out to Kew church this morning - it's only a few minutes over the green - old Lord Lang preached today but we have two very alive young clergy who really have turned the church into a going concern! We had a sale last week, much to my amazement they took L522 - my grandmother managed to have her poppy party for Armistice Day, again this year, and she got L42 which really was very good. As I haven't much time to practice the harp now I'm having some singing lessons from a very charming Scandinavian friend of ours - I do so enjoy it. Her husband, who is half Dutch and half English moved from his city offices to what used to be a games club down at Teddington I lunched with him one day as it was just by our farm but it was a bit too much of a rush in my dinner as I had to polish myself up a bit before entering civilised society, it was enjoyable but I found it more restful to flop down under a hay rick!
My mother and I went to quite a good production of the Beggars Opera the other day which we much enjoyed - my cousin Anna Shuttleworth is now studying the cello at the college, she is in both orchestras and wanted me to go up to her end of term concert. There were about a hundred in the orchestra, and I thought played exceptionally well. I expect you heard a Doodle Bug fell just behind the Todd's on a garage in Old Palace Yard - and they suffered very badly from blast although neither of them was hurt mercifully - poor Aunt Adria (the Great-half one!) was very upset at the ruin of her precious glasshouse. Mummy and I have made several journeys to Wentworth House to save some of the poon plants from the winter's blast, as we have a little conservatory here. Both aunts seemed as well as could be expected, although A.A. has a rather awful time running the house with an invalid and only one somewhat emotive maid.
When we left Nayland we gave the Giles Chinese Dictionary away to Col Rundal but hearing they were very short of them at the School of Oriental languages he consented to present it to them. The next day a beautifully made parcel arrived from Ray which mummy said she had better take straight up to the school. At the last minute I suggested it might be better just to look in the parcel - on opening it I found "With love from Alston Court"! And the contents rows of lovely Suffolk Spice Pippin's - I should love to have seen M handing apples round to the Oriental professors. However the dictionary did arrive later and was received with enthusiasm. My best love to Margo and Edward and to yourself.
Written on five sides of notepaper, year uncertain.
8 Priory Rd Kew Surrey.
July 13, 1945
My dear Margo
We were so delighted to receive your long and interesting letter, I love hearing about your new home, it sounds so attractive and in such a glorious position - we have been thinking of you all this month and the little new arrival, how thrilled Edward must be - although there are many advantages of being an only child - I must say I wouldn't mind some brothers and sisters at present - I've had Mummy in bed lately I think she got thoroughly run down last winter - still if I could get my family all away to the sea for a bit it would do them a lot of good - daddy is better but I'm afraid he would find the crowded travelling conditions of the present day very trying - Aunt Alison then paid us a visit last week on the way from Northampton to her daughter Olive George at Eastbourne. She hired a car for the journey, which I believe cost her a fabulous sum. She arrived for lunch complete with chauffeur and maid!
August 12th. As usual I couldn't write the letter straight through, one seems to get so little time to settle down to things nowadays! Mummy seemed no better so my grandmother put daddy up for a week - I think he was really better for the change - and enjoyed several little bridge parties! Everybody now is trying to get away to the sea for the first peacetime holiday so we had great difficulty in getting anywhere to go to however we remembered two lady gardeners we often talk to at Kew - (they look after the Rose Garden and herbaceous borders) they had told us they had a little house at Broadstairs where they had a gardening business, which they had to leave at the outbreak of war - we ask them if we could picnic in their house and they very kindly agreed - we had such a happy peaceful week - the air is so bracing there and the sea glorious. I bathed and we had picnics & in the evening went down to listen to the very good military band on the front. Mummy's people had a holiday house there years ago when she was a girl, and she says it has altered very little since then even the same old concert party and the only new cinema was hit by a bomb! We only had two grey days which we employed in visiting Sandwich and Canterbury - I was fascinated by the latter though it is sad to see the devastation all round the cathedral, the sun came out as we reached it, and it looked very fine, it is grand to feel it is practically undamaged by the horrible war - budleas seemed to grow in profusion on bomb sites - we already have brought one home with us from Bath now we have one from Canterbury unfortunately Mummy was no better when we returned so visited our Dr, who sent her up to a specialist. She had had some bad glandular swellings - he was rather serious about it and she is having to go up to London each week for some sort of light treatment - oh how I hope it will make her better. Still I'm so glad to be near London where one can get the best treatments it would have been very difficult if we had still been at Alston Court where incidentally they seem very contented and happy. Now I must thank you for the perfectly magnificent cake which arrived safely a short while ago. It really is good of you to send me such a rich and beautifully baked cake I know the time it takes - and especially with all you have to do - we do appreciate all your kindnesses to us during the war - I am saving the cake for a very special tea party.
Sept 1st I have just received your letter with the gladsome news we are all so delighted at the arrival of Katherine and send our best love and congratulations. How nice of you to Air Mail the news we were all so anxious to hear, we toasted your health at supper - Adria Fenn is staying with the Todd's in the weekend, we expect her to tea today - mummy has started her treatments and they are doing her good I'm glad to say love from us all to you all
Written on six sides of 3 sheets of letter paper..
8 Priory Road,
Nov 25 (1945)
My dear Margo,
I'm afraid this will arrive a little late for Christmas but I do send all my love and best wishes to you and your family, mummy embroidered this little coat for Katharine so I am sending it off for her, as she has had rather a hectic time going to and from the hospital for her treatments lately. She just finished a course last week and is having a break from them now, I think they really did her good. On top of everything else my grandmother was taken ill last week, the doctor thought it was all up with her, and we had to keep on dashing over to Hampstead, however he underestimated her North Country constitution! and this week she has rallied amazingly, and really seems on the mend. She had been doing too much lately with her various charities, for Poppy Day she had her usual party and made over L57 which was a splendid total. There was a terrific crush, and during the musical interludes I sat halfway up the stairs, the only seat I could find! Daddy seems better I'm glad to say, I've been with him to various tea parties lately and he thoroughly enjoys meeting all his old Richmond friends. One day we went to the Salisbury's, he is the director of Kew Gardens, they have a lovely old Georgian house on Kew Green very picturesque, but bitterly cold in winter with our fuel shortage. Today the gas people have gone on strike! And I've been trying to cook the meals with hardly any heat. Luckily we have an open fire in the drawing room where I keep a kettle going, but we generally do all our heating and cooking by gas, though I really prefer electricity. My greatest friends when we lived at Streatham were the son and daughter of the vicar of Christ Church, the girl was married last month at Holy Trinity Brompton (the third wedding running I have been to there) they flew to Ireland for their honeymoon as the groom was in Imperial Airways. The music at the wedding was lovely (there was a bishop and a couple of vicars to marry them properly!) And afterwards a very good reception at the Rembrandt Hotel. I dash down to the farm at Ham whenever I can, the Secetts always give me a warm welcome, I helped in the dairy and fed cows last time, it was fun for a change. Have you seen "Johnny Frenchman" filmed in Cornwall, the "Seventh Veil" (parts filmed in Richmond and grand music) and "Perfect Strangers" a naval film? I enjoyed them all especially the second one.
Mummy and Daddy join me in love to you all
endorsed at the top of the first page "daddy sends photo of U Harry in youth as he thinks Edward resembles him so much"
Written on both sides of three sheets of notepaper.
8 Priory Road
January 16 (1946)
My dear Margo
I do hope these trinkets reach you safely, I know my mother intended to send you the blue enamel brooch, that belonged to my grandmother (Uncle Harry's mother) the other things also belong to her, except the little turquoise ring and bracelet, which I had when I was small, and I wanted Katharine to have them. The bracelet looks rather nice on a chubby wrist!
We are thankful to be nearly in Spring again, today has been glorious, sunshine all the time, I got daddy out for a bit. He gave me a bicycle for Christmas (my old one had had a hard time during my farm years!) I always bike whenever I can, to get fresh air, it's very useful for shopping when one cannot get goods delivered to one's house too.
Uncle Van is coming to stay with us in February, he wants to see the King's Pictures at Burlington house, (I have been twice already they are most interesting). Later in the month I really hope to get away to my friend at the Isle of Wight and grannies maids are coming to look after daddy.
Your tinned meats have been most useful during this wretched transport strike, the only dissatisfied one is Cymbeline the cat, who doesn't like tongue! We handed over my grandmother's house on December 31 I was relieved not to have to journey over to Hampstead any more, it took so much time. I went to a New Year's Eve party on Kingston Hill, it was great fun, we ended up with Sir Roger de Coverley. As there was no other way of getting home, I had to cycle in spite of wearing an evening dress which I hoiked up on an elastic band like a pintle. London is very full, everything booked up very much. I tried for the circus at Olympia, the Proms, with no success.
With love to you all from us both
Written on both sides of two sheets of notepaper, Nancy ran out of room at the end.
July 29, 1947
My dear uncle Harry I feel quite guilty not to have written to you and Margo before to thank you for your letters papers and perfectly delicious cake, and another parcel of food, also very welcome - the latter so very useful to have - it is such a treat to have a change in our somewhat monotonous diet! It is more than kind of you both to continue your generous presents. As you see by the above address I am staying at Jersey - I came with a girlfriend of mine who lives at Richmond and we are both thoroughly enjoying a fortnight's holiday here. There are many remains of the German occupation here - including a large underground hospital built with Russian labour - we have been very lucky in our hotel and weather; the bays around the island are perfect for bathing. One day we went by the mail boat to Sark - it is too small for motor traffic and a most beautiful spot. We had an excellent crossing from Southampton but as we could not get berths didn't get much sleep that night! We return by day via Weymouth so will see more of our journey. I still have the Conways in the top floor at home - really very kind and helpful people to have in the house - while I am away Jenny (my maid) and her old mother are also staying in the house and enjoying visits to Kew Gardens and Richmond Park. I am so thankful to have Jenny she was with Granny for twenty-six years and really takes an interest in my well-being! And is a very true friend. I have just received a letter from the farm I was on in Dorset, inviting me down in August so I am going there to give a hand with the harvest. I expect you heard I had a few days at Alston Court, Aunt Adria was there to - they seem very happy and are making aEight Priory road good job of village life these difficult days. Did you hear of Jack Bateman's death last month, I believe it was quite sudden. Soon I shall be settling down for the winter and will let you know how I am getting on. Very much love to you all from Nancy
Squeezed into an Air Letter addressed to Mr and Mrs HL Fenn Taiko RMD Timaru NZ.
Sept 20 (1947) 8 Priory Road Kew Surrey England.
My dear Fenn family - I do hope all is well with you - I have been meaning to write to you in case you wondered what had happened to the watch and ring I was going to send it off sometime ago but found the watch was not going, so I took it into Richmond to be mended - it ought to be ready in about three weeks time - the man said being an old watch - you probably would not have been able to get it repaired in New Zealand. So I'm glad I noticed it before I sent it off - I have been very lucky with holidays this year - think I last wrote to you from Jersey where I had a glorious time lots of bathing etc. I had not been home more than a week when the farmer's wife at Sherbourne (where I worked in 42) asked me to spend a fortnight with them - the harvest was so early this year, I got up for all the cutting and carrying of the corn, but I enjoyed it and found I had not lost my skill with a pitchfork. Then the widow of our old vicar at Streatham - now living with her son - who is a rector near Worcester - also asked me down for a week - they are very old friends of ours - and I was so glad to be with them again, and also to see that part of England which was new to me - the Malvern Hills, Tewkesbury and Worcester - I intended going over to Cheltenham but A(unt) Adria was away. I did enjoy moving about a bit this year, I have been so stuck in the past and with direction of labour coming on again here probably will be in the future! To safeguard myself from being put in a factory I have taken a part-time job at my old farm at Ham - which I hope will allow me to carry on with my musical studies at the same time - life is a jigsaw puzzle nowadays! And one is restricted more and more in every way! I never thought I would take up farming again. The other evening I went to Covent Garden to hear Mozart's "Cosi fan Tutte" done by the Viennese State Opera Company. It really was most thrilling and very nice to see people turning up in evening dress as they used to in prewar days. I can't tell you how I appreciate all food parcels you send, the cake is still being reserved for a suitably important occasion before I cut it. Much love to all Nancy.
Squeezed into an Air Letter addressed to Mrs Fenn Gleniti Taiko RMD Timaru NZ.
8 Priory Road Kew
4 Jun 1947
My dear uncle Harry and Margo,
Thank you both so much for your kind sympathetic letters - it is just as you say I shall miss Daddy very much - we were such friends - but I realise how he would have hated to have been dependent on other people - it was wonderful how much he did manage to do - and it was much happier that he went before his life became too much of a burden - he missed Mummy very much to of course. I had just been away for my first holiday for nearly 2 years I stayed with a friend at the Isle of Wight for a week, granny's two good maids looked after D whilst I was away - he was so nice in wanting me to go. I shall always be thankful I was firm about coming home to be with him for what were to be his last few days with me. I took him into Kew Gardens in a wheelchair (the first time this year) the cherry blossom was out, and everything looked beautiful - it is such a mercy I had just got the nurse and her husband living upstairs - they both could not have been kinder and more helpful. My grandmother's maid, Jenny comes to me three days a week and is an absolute treasure. All my friends have been so kind asking me out. Today I have been planning with a girl to go to Brittany in the summer holidays and perhaps to Jersey - all new ground for me when at the Island last month the peowrittenple who on six sides had just moved to the next house were the Dudgeons from 2 Portland Terrace Richmond, of course they know all my friends and relations, it was.......... to meet there! I may do a bit of farm work this summer but as singing is becoming so interesting to me I want to keep my home together, I shall not take up agriculture seriously again! Now I must thank you for your wonderful food parcel I can't tell you how I appreciate and enjoy it it really is very kind and generous of you both, such a great help. I wanted Edward and Katherine to have his watch and ring so I will send them off soon by the safest route.
With much love to you all - yours affectionately
P.S. Mrs Gray (nee Ada Julius) wrote she was returning to New Zealand shortly.
Written on an Air Letter addressed to Mr and Mrs HL Fenn Taiko RMD Timaru NZ8 Priory road Kew Surrey
10 Bathgate Rd London SW 19
Jan 3rd 1962
My dear uncle Harry and Margo
I really should have written to you earlier to say how absolutely thrilled we were with your wonderful tape! We do appreciate all the time and trouble you must all have taken to record it. Uncle Harry sounded just as he did in 38 when I last saw him (and very interesting to hear about his life in New Zealand) and Margo just as if she was talking to us in the room - your garden I'm sure would put ours to shame. I enjoy gardening up to a point but there are so many other things I want to do, my aim at present is to cut things down to a minimum flowering shrubs and grass! I hope for more help from my Gingers next season! Last year the weather was so often bad when they came over they couldn't do much. We had a very happy Christmas, our cousins came up to stay with us and brought their cat with them! It was fairly cold but so far no snow - then on New Year's Eve we had a regular blizzard - we were going to a party in North London but it was impossible to get out - cars were being abandoned in the snow everywhere - I've managed to keep the house warm and no frozen pipes so far - but travelling is still pretty bad - I haven't dared take the car out yet - poor Dudley took three hours getting to the office (usually takes him about an hour) I'll be thankful when the spring comes you talk of lilacs etc sounds to heavenly! Yet on the continent now they're wanting snow for the winter sports. Adria just missed hearing your tape - she came up for a day before Christmas - but she's longing to hear it - so hope she will come up again soon. Will get her to speak on the next tape we send you. Thank you for your lovely calendar (so far only one arrived)
Best love from Nancy
Written on a Air Letter
10 Bathgate Rd London SW 19
22 Aug 1962
My dear Margot,
Thank you so much for your letter with the great news that Edward has actually booked his passage - I expect you can all hardly believe it yet! I'll be under the clock at Waterloo Station on June 3rd! We will probably have a holiday in May, as I find Dudley badly needs one about that time, after having got the firms accounts out but will certainly make a point of being home when Edward arrives - I just want him to feel he can use this place as a base and feel free to make whatever plans he wants - and to come and go as he pleases - I hope it will be a better summer next year - it has been most unsettled this year - and occasional glimpse of the sun - and then the high winds and storms. We had another lovely visit to Glyndebourne last Friday to see Monteverdi's "Poppea" we enjoyed it enormously, glorious music and a wonderful performance. Though we had our picnic supper in the car park in the usual thunderstorm! We haven't gone around the gardens at Glyndebourne once this year, most disappointing, although it's more difficult to keep private gardens up to the mark in England the ones open to the public are really lovely - we went to the Savill Gardens which are in Windsor Great Park last Saturday - beautiful herbaceous borders and roses etc. On Sunday afternoon we walked over Wimbledon Common to White Lodge in Richmond Park - it is now the Junior Royal Ballet School - a glorious place for hermits open to the public during August well worth seeing.
Love to you all from us both
Written on a Air Letter
nr Bideford N Devon
Aug 7 82
My dear Edward
At last I've managed to get away to stay with Brenda for a holiday and am really enjoying myself and feeling the benefit. I spent two nights en route with Angela and Ken at Winchcombe - Angela has been splendid helping Adria - I think I told you she had been moved to a nursing home connected with Faithful House - but Angela rang me shortly after to say she was not at all happy about the home - where Adria was just in a ward - so together we found another nursing home where we liked the Staff and she could have a nice big room - ground floor level - they did it up for her, and we've moved her furniture pictures books etc in and it really looks much pleasanter than her previous rooms - at FH - Mary Legge is now ninety - but visits Adria frequently! Adria was wandering in mind (& body) and really needs twenty-four hours a day attention which FH said they could not give - I saw Adria three days running in the new home and she was beginning to look better already - although she did say she had to get back to her mother at Alston Court! But she's perfectly sensible most of the time - and her walking is improving, so we are hoping to get her out in a car sometime. I really got to know Angela & Ken which was good, and enjoyed staying with them lovely to get back from a hot sticky day in Cheltenham to have a swim in their swimming pool in the garden - with a glorious view of the Cotswold Hills! I've got Jenny and brother George and his wife and sister (The Ginger Family) looking after Charming (the cat) and Homebush whilst I'm away - which is a good thing also burglaries arrive in London (I've had two break-ins since May and with the insurance money would probably install a burglar alarm) I'm really enjoying my holiday in Devon (first for four years) and Brenda makes one so welcome - Kevin her son is very busy restoring old furniture in his workshop and I couldn't resist buying a country Hepplewhite chair he brought virtually in bits and made a beautiful job of. We went to the North Devon Agricultural Show day before yesterday - great fun but it poured with rain in the afternoon! Brenda the last few years has had a Subaru car which she has been delighted with (I expect you have them in New Zealand being Japanese) at the show her Barnstable garage had a stand and a super second-hand 1981 one owner car was amongst the exhibits. My old Rover is now ten years old and needs a lot spending on it - so after sleeping on it - we rang the garage - I had a run in the car - and we made a deal so now I'm going home in it! And good old Rover stays in Devon. It's a changeover I knew I would have to make sooner or later preferably sooner! I'm hoping to call in to see Alison and Ray for an hour or two on my homeward journey, haven't seen them for ages and I would be passing quite near them. I've had some good bathing here you can surf ride near Bideford. Been to a concert where some friends of Anna's (and mine) were performing at the North Devon music festival and am now really feeling much better for a holiday.
Written on four sides of two sheets of note paper
Do hope you and the family are well
Lots of love
4. Nancy Fenn: Later pictures.
Nancy on the harp before WWII, in Austria, then in NZ, her 70th birthday in Auckland NZ, har love of singing.
5. Nancy Fenn: Article in Kingston Quaker Magazine, Summer 1992.
VISIT TO NEW ZEALAND
I am fortunate in having relations in New Zealand, many of whom have been over to stay with me in Wimbledon, so for the past few years have been happy to be at the receiving end of their kind hospitality,
I flew out at the end of January and when I heard that my neighbour on the plane was travelling to Christchurch to spend his 90th birthday with his son, while I would be celebrating only my 75th while I was away, I felt quite youthful. It was glorious to arrive in Auckland on a hot summer's day with Hibiscus, Bougainvillea, Agapanthus, Roses and many other flowers growing in profusion in the rich volcanic soil.
Auckland is becoming quite a cosmopolitan city, with people settling there from all over the world. There were many good concerts and exhibitions on when I was there in their splendid new arts centre, the Aotea. When I was there last year I attended a concert given by the Moscow Soloists Chamber Orchestra and this year, by contrast, I went to the musical 'Chess', which rather to my surprise I really enjoyed! It was good to he in a city that has so many fine beaches within easy reach, clean, with long stretches of empty shores. Nearly everybody has a boat of some sort to go sailing round the beautiful islands.
I flew down to Invercargill at the southernmost point of South Island to visit more relations. This town is very Scottish in character and it is not surprising that many Scots have settled there. We were lent a 'Bach' (or little holiday house) at Queenstown on Lake Wakatipu, looking out towards the fine range of mountains called The Remarkables.
A friend I had met last year came to join us, and remembering a conversation we had had then, had brought me a copy of Matthew Fox's 'Original Blessing' which I am still reading with great excitement!
On the last Sunday, back in Auckland, we went to Mount Eden (Quaker) Meeting. Several of their members have visited us in Wimbledon and they gave me a warm welcome. After Meeting for Worship we were taken round an adjoining house, now owned by the Meeting, which provides very comfortable self-catering accommodation for visitors. I was asked to tell titiendf: at home they would be very welcome to stay there if they were ever in Auckland.
I left New Zealand in early March, with their Autumn approaching, to arrive back in Britain for the first signs of Spring.
Nancy married Dudley Manning HADWEN  [MRIN: 140], son of Arthur Henry HADWEN  and Eleanor Kathleen "Kitty" JOPP , on 15 Apr 1950 in Kew Parish Church SRY. (Dudley Manning HADWEN  was born on 1 Dec 1903 in Putney London, died on 10 May 1982 in Wimbledon London and was cremated in Putney Vale.). The cause of his death was haemopericardium, dissecting aneurism of the aorta, carcinoma of the lung.