Winifred Margaret Downs
born September 14th 1901
I have shown you some of the treasures
I own which belonged to my Great Auntie Win
so I thought I'd show you and tell you about the great lady herself.
The drawing is by my mother's cousin Joan Morton
showing Auntie Win looking out to sea
at my mother's house on Anglesey
Auntie Win had two brothers - a younger one, Eric
( who later became The Mayor of Southport )
and the older Gordon - my Grandfather.
Mary was a Yorkshire lass and Eli a draper from Glossop.
They met in a Southport boarding house on holiday with their respective friends
and moved there sometime later where Auntie Win and her brothers grew up.
So the family story goes Eli wanted to marry Mary's sister Aida
but their father insisted that he marry the eldest Mary.
Aida and a third sister Fanny also moved to Southport
and ran a boarding house together in Bath Street.
Neither ever married.
They were not rich or posh
but lived by good hard working family values.
Winifred & Gordon were members of a tennis club which is where he met Molly his wife to be
Molly, daughter of Rosa Hannah Edwards and Harry Whitehead of Manchester
The three were great friends
and Auntie Win was a bridesmaid at their wedding
( standing on the right )
Below are the holiday snaps taken in Largs which I mentioned in my previous post
and a hand written copy of a poem called
A boy about Largs
Let others sing of distant lands
written by John M Hill 1868
I just loved Auntie Win's handwriting
Molly, my grandmother's was very similar.
Winifred's great friend was Peggy Lithgo who had a terrific sense of humour
once when mum & I were staying with Auntie Win in Southport
mum rang Peggy to arrange a meeting
she answered the phone & put on a funny voice and said
" Yellow Top Taxi Cabs "
That was just her kind of humour.
Photos below of Win & Peggy together
and bottom right
Win and Molly
Auntie Win worked in Ladies' Gowns in Marshall and Snellgrove, Southport.
She was very smart & fashionable herself
always trimming a hat or collar.
I don't know anything about the voluntry work
she did in the second world war war
but she was obviously some kind of nursing assistant.
Winifred never married though she did have suitors
judging by the formal invitations hand written in the form of a letter
dance cards and Valentine's Cards
She adored watching horse racing
and loved gardens & would never miss a Southport Flower Show.
She behaved a bit like the Queen Mother at these events
a woman whom she greatly respected
Below is my favourite of all the old photos I own
I have had it blown up and given as gifts to family members many times.
It shows ( left to right )
Molly's mother ( my Great Granny ) Auntie Win,
Peter ( Molly's eldest son- my uncle & Godfather now in his 80s )
and Molly. It is taken at a beach hut they hired on Pagham beach in 1931.
Unseen but in the background is my mother a baby in a basket
Here is Winifred in the beach
with my mother Rosemary Winifred Downs
( she says she never had her own name ...
Rose from her Maternal Grandmother, Mary from her Paternal Grandmother
and Winifred from her Aunt ! )
Mum was very very fond of Auntie Win
and so in turn was I
Auntie Win was so " with it " and up with the times.
She was so interested in what we did
Here is a note from her to me
The card was designed by Joan and it
is just how I imagine Auntie Win walking along Lord Street Southport
When I sent her a picture of an out fit I wanted to copy for our VI form leavers' dinner,
she sent me a silk blouse & lace to trim it.
It looked exactly like the New Romantic style I was trying to copy.
Later she sent me several cardboard bundles of lace
but sadly they were lost to me forever when we moved back to the UK from Spain
I have Auntie Win's writing case though.
Here she is with my own daughter at my Mum's house
on Anglesey in the summer 1993 aged 92
she thought my daughter was such a hoot playing with her walking stick !
So proud to have known you Auntie Win
I know you wanted to make it to 100 and get a telegram from the Queen
but you did have a grand 94 years