I received the following memories from Maggie about her family and although not strictly all about Rodbourne I felt it best to publish them virtually in full to give a more complete history of her family. The photographs mentioned will eventually will be entered on the website. Secretary
9th March 2020
First, although I’m in Seattle, my roots are in Swindon, and on my mother’s side at least, in Rodbourne. I was born in Swindon (VIctoria Maternity Hospital, 1947): Drove infants, Clarence Street Juniors, Commonweal, the Art School at The College.
My mother was at Jennings Street School Infants School around 1920 – you probably have a photo that I think I sent some years ago. Her family moved to Wales when she was 8 and then to Westbury. They returned to Swindon when she was about 16. She first worked in the office at Garrards, but having passed the entrance exam for the GWR offices she started there as soon as there was a vacancy some months later. She and my Dad (George Thomas Brunger, eldest son of George William Brunger, Chair of the GWR Medical Fund Society from 1916 – 1948) met in the Wages Office and married at Christ Church in 1937.
I’m not sure if you and I met, but I did talk to you or one of your colleagues around 2013 when Mum was 100 (did you come to her party at Immanuel Church Hall?) At the time we were trying to get her together with 2 of her contemporaries, all three in the Jennings Street school photo, for an interview for your archive. Sadly it didn’t happen, through illness of one or other of the women, and Mum had a massive stroke a few months later in July 2013. She lived for a further 15 months but speech was difficult. She was so interested in what you were doing with your very active Historical Society, and was very disappointed that her memories were not recorded. I know quite a lot, but it would have been better coming straight from the horse’s mouth!
I moved to the US in 1979, and have lived in Seattle since 1980, but I returned to Swindon to live with my Mum in 2009 and remained in Swindon until late 2016. Mum died at the end of October 2014.
I have some addresses and photos which I will gradually dig out and send you. But here are some names and tidbits!
My mother: Marjorie Florence Haines 1913 – 2014
Her mother: Florence Edith Burgess 1892 (need to check) – 1946 she had 2 sisters, Alice and Evelyn)
Her father: Charles Edward Haines 189? – 1914 (died of TB)
Her maternal grandfather: George Burgess (at one time Caretaker at Jennings Street School)
Florence (Burgess) Haines worked at the Coop confectionary shop In Rodbourne before her second marriage around 1921.
The Burgess grandparents lived ‘kitty-corner’ (diagonally across) from the (St.Augustus?) Vicarage in ? Street. Sorry, haven’t got my notes out and can’t remember the name of the street. Their house was an end of terrace and backed on to allotments I think. The vicarage had a high stone wall around it. When I was in Swindon with Mum, we went to a fundraiser tea there (Mum was a friend of Margaret Williams and an active member of Immanuel Church). She was pleased to be able to see what was behind the high wall that she’d known as a little girl!
10th March 2020
I did just come across my mum’s Haines (paternal) grandparents address – 67 Montagu Street – so I was mistaken in my previous email. The Burgess (maternal) grandparents lived at 48 Deburgh Street.
Because my mother’s father (Charles Haines) died of TB when she was a baby and her mother had to work, I think she was used to ‘living’ at several addresses in the area. She was the first grandchild in the family and was much loved. Several aunts, and her grandparents helped out.
I’m attaching a picture of my Great-Grandma Haines (1914) at the side of 67 Montagu Street. Not a particularly thrilling photo!
Please feel free to enter anything if you wish. I’ll take a look at the Memories page ASAP. I have seen it in the past – did I already enter anything? Can’t remember!
Oh! I also just came across the attached – not strictly Rodbourne but GWR Offices related. When they had an office outing, each person going received a little programme. I have them for 4 or 5 years in the early 30s. The attached photos show one. In the photo of the women, my mother is at the top of the group and her very good friend (Doreen?) Plimley – known as ‘Plim’ – is next to her. You can see from the front of the card that she organized the outing that year. Plim emigrated to New Zealand with her husband and baby daughter around 1938.
Also a photo of my maternal Grandmother (Florrie Burgess) taken in 1910, two to three years before her marriage to Charles Haines.
And one more, my mother and her little cousin Colin Foyle, son of Alice (Burgess) and Fred Foyle. Taken about 1920-1921. Colin was later a musician and I think played clarinet (??) in local jazz bands. I didn’t know him but Ken White is related to him on the Foyle side and knows more about him.
I did indeed meet Maggie and her Mum at the church. It was packed out as she was a very popular lady. It was fascinating to hear her memories of Jennings Street School and I was devastated when we were unable to record them and her classmates into the Archive.
Gordon Shaw – RCHG Secretary