Author Topic: Looking for workbag doll owner  (Read 721 times)

Offline halcyon.64

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Looking for workbag doll owner
« on: Monday 06 May 19 01:27 BST (UK) »
Hello. My husband and I have a a war and social history collection/museum on our farm in Western Australia. One of the things I am interested in is what disabled soldiers did for rehabilitation and work after the Great War.
I recently purchased a sewing workbag which comprised the top half of a bisque doll with a skirt used to place sewing items. There is still a cotton reel inside. It was made at The Royal Star and Garter Home for Disabled Sailors, Soldiers and airmen in Richmond, Surrey.
In a pocket on the skirt was a note - photo attached. I have established the authenticity of the note as Fydell House in Boston Lincolnshire was indeed hit by an incendiary bomb on Good Friday 1941, starting a fire. Supposedly at the time, the only person living there was the housekeeper named Phoebe Rennell who appears to have been a calligrapher of repute. However, I don't believe that she had any children and I can't find any links to people with the names Clara, Mollie or Peter . I'm willing to be corrected though!
I am hoping someone here is a better detective than I am as I would love to uncover the story behind the doll and its former owner.
Many thanks,
Kathryn.

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Online Mckha489

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Re: Looking for workbag doll owner
« Reply #1 on: Monday 06 May 19 07:09 BST (UK) »
Thinking aloud..

Aunt Mollie was given it by Clara.   So Mollie and Clara were either related or friends. But definitely of the same generation

Aunt Mollie gave it to 2nd recipient who had also been given a similar item by "Aunt Clara"

Makes you think Mollie and Clara are sisters.

Clara and Peter moved to Exeter in 1935. And Mollie was living in Exeter

text implies Clara and Peter are husband and wife - good for a working hypothesis anyway.
However there are no Clara and Peter couple showing in the 1939 that I can see.
currently concentrating on NUTCHER & MARSHALL families, Hampshire.
and family of Thomas ANDERSON a Tailor of Perth, Scotland

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Offline halcyon.64

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Re: Looking for workbag doll owner
« Reply #2 on: Monday 06 May 19 07:44 BST (UK) »
I think your reasoning is sound. So sorry that I’ve got you going round in circles like me! Thanks for your help.

Online Mckha489

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Re: Looking for workbag doll owner
« Reply #3 on: Monday 06 May 19 07:53 BST (UK) »
in 1939 Phoebe is at Fydell House. She is single

BUT there are two redacted entries. So is one of them the owner of the bag that was destroyed?

Its a long way from Boston (Lincolnshire) to Exeter!

Phoebe was born in 1883 so seems old to be the recipient of a new workbag from an Aunt in 1941.
currently concentrating on NUTCHER & MARSHALL families, Hampshire.
and family of Thomas ANDERSON a Tailor of Perth, Scotland

Online Mckha489

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Re: Looking for workbag doll owner
« Reply #4 on: Monday 06 May 19 08:03 BST (UK) »
"Phyllis is my only joy"

Phyllis is my only joy,
Faithless as the winds or seas;
Sometimes coming, sometimes coy,
Yet she never fails to please;
If with a frown
I am cast down,
Phyllis smiling,
And beguiling,
Makes me happier than before.

Though, alas! too late I find
Nothing can her fancy fix,
Yet the moment she is kind
I forgive her all her tricks;
Which, though I see,
I can't get free;
She deceiving,
I believing;
What need lovers wish for more?

Charles Sedley
currently concentrating on NUTCHER & MARSHALL families, Hampshire.
and family of Thomas ANDERSON a Tailor of Perth, Scotland

Offline halcyon.64

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Re: Looking for workbag doll owner
« Reply #5 on: Monday 06 May 19 08:42 BST (UK) »
I found that too and thought it was a rather strange name for a child's doll! I wonder what she looked like?

I have contacted the people at Fydell House and they are intrigued by the connection with their building. They are going to post the same pictures and story in their upcoming newsletter to see if anyone locally can shed any light.

Thanks again.

Online sparrett

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Re: Looking for workbag doll owner
« Reply #6 on: Monday 06 May 19 08:44 BST (UK) »
Phoebe RENNELL made lovely documents of  poetry in calligraphy I think.

Maybe the thing which was replaced was an illuminated manuscript of the poem lost in the fire.

Sue
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Re: Looking for workbag doll owner
« Reply #7 on: Monday 06 May 19 08:49 BST (UK) »
Thats a thought Sue.

When do we think the second lot of writing was written?

However - if the piece of paper with the first writing on it accompanied the doll, it seems logical to add your own bit of writing soon after receiving it.
So I don't believe the second recipient was a child.
currently concentrating on NUTCHER & MARSHALL families, Hampshire.
and family of Thomas ANDERSON a Tailor of Perth, Scotland

Offline Viktoria

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Re: Looking for workbag doll owner
« Reply #8 on: Monday 06 May 19 09:00 BST (UK) »
Oh, gosh that is the exact same doll I had,it is French Jumeau,not sure of the spelling.
Mine  had a papier mache body with jointed arms and legs as originally they were little fashion mannequins for couturiers.
Her hands would have been very elegant ,which made dressing her as a child’s doll very difficult.
I got mine about 1941 or 2 when I was evacuated during the war.
Second hand of course as toys were hard to get and Mum ( aka FatherChristmas ) got me some little treasures .I did not know and would not have minded that they were not new.
She was named Miriam,as I had a little boy doll and he was Moses as he slept in my auntie’s sewing basket so to me like Moses hidden in the bullrushes  in a floating basket from the Egyptians,Miriam was Moses’ big sister.
Closing eyes,and tiny teeth peeping in her mouth.Real hair .
A red white and blue “ target “ trade mark on her back and a number on her neck.
Strung together by very strong elastic cord.
Tiny little kid shoes.
I think a Jumeau Head has been used.
Made specially for the purpose you have,her arms also in porcelain unlike  my full length doll which had the jointed papier mache limbs.

As to what ex servicemen made ,well I have a little sewing stool,opening lid and four small bun feet.Upholstered but now recovered by me but over the original fabric.
Label says:-“ Made by British ex Servicemen at the British Legion Village”.
The original fabric is classic 20/30s Art Deco.
I think small,items of furniture, toys, pegged rugs etc would be made by the ex soldiers ,sailors.
AlsoI think  a type of woven furniture,Lloyd Loom, which was wire  covered by twisted paper and woven . We had a chair  and washing basket with a hinged opening and glass  top.Very handy, painted in pale green with a little gold paint brushed on the corners. They were wedding presents to Mum And Dad .1933, it went out of fashion but is now very collectable.
I think the factory employed ex servicemen.
It is lovely to see “ Miriam “ again.
Thankyou,
Viktoria.

PS The Star and Garter Home was for retired stage people but stage people who hsd served in WWI would be there of course too.