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  • Writer's pictureWendy Percival

Another #familyhistory #7UP

Updated: Nov 20, 2021

I came across this lovely photograph of my gran, Edith Alice Diggory, at about 14 years of age, (possibly taken on the occasion of her confirmation). It inspired me to do a 7UP Life Story, as I did for my mum and my dad on earlier blog posts.

7 UP

Edith was born in 1898, the youngest of 6 children to Thomas and Eliza (nee Roberts) Diggory when the family lived in the lodge at Park Hall, Goldthorn Hill, Wolverhampton (now a hotel) because Edith's father worked as a groom and gardener on the estate.

In the photograph above - one of my most cherished family photos which hangs in a frame above my writing desk - she's standing beside her mother holding her little doll. This picture was taken when she was a little younger than the first 7 year milestone, but close enough!

Shortly after this was taken, Edith's eldest sister, Mary Ann (standing at the back) walked out of the family home and never returned. A mystery which I've only ever partly solved!

14 UP

By the time she was 14, Edith's family had moved from Park Hall lodge to The Wergs, Tettenhall, Nr Wolverhampton. She's standing outside their new home with her parents

21 UP

It's 1919 and Edith has already met her future husband, Ernest "George" Shelley, who she'll marry in 1921.

28 UP

By now Edith and George have had their first son Raymond and he's 4 years old.

35 UP

By Edith's 35th birthday, the couple have had another son - Percy "John", my dad! He's now 4 years old and his older brother Raymond is now 11.

42 UP

This is the year Edith's mother, Eliza Diggory, (nee Roberts) dies aged 82.

49 UP

By now Edith would be caring for her widowed father, Thomas James Diggory (senior), who dies two years later, in 1947.

56 UP

When Edith is 56, her older brother, Tom, who had been badly wounded in WWI dies, having been bedridden for several years. He was much loved by my gran and his photograph was always proudly displayed on her mantelpiece.

63 UP

By now Edith has her first grandchild - me! Here we are, Gran, Granddad, Mum and me, standing beside the family caravan in which we had many happy holidays.

Edith was always cheerful. Other than a brief period in the 1950s, she wore her hair long in a bun at the nape of her neck and washed it in rainwater. She used phrases like "presently" and "bedroom slippers", and called the knots in your hair "lugs". She would cut slices of bread horizontally off the loaf, buttering the end first!

She inspired my character, Polly Roberts, in my first novel, Blood-Tied.

Edith died in 1992, aged 94 but not before being reunited with her sister, Mary Ann (known as Annie) in 1982 shortly before Annie's death. Whether Annie confided in her younger sister the reason she left home all those years before, in 1904, I don't know. If she did, Gran kept her secret.


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