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Life history of BRENDA MAY SURRIDGE.

1924 ---- 2005

Brenda May Surridge, my cousin, was born on the 17th May 1924 at the British Military Hospital, Samual Street, Woolwich. Her father was Herbert George Surridge, and her mother was Kate Elizabeth Surridge.

Herbert George Surridge, married my aunt, Kate Elizabeth Hume on Christmas day, 1914, four months after the start of the first world war, at All Saints Church in Plumstead. Herbert was aged 25 and Kate was aged 22. Herbert’s sister Hilda May Surridge and grandfather John Hume signed the register as witnesses. Herbert and Kate were known to the family as Bert and Kitty. Herbert was born at his family home in Finchley, Middlesex, on 26th Feb. 1889, and Kate was born at the Hume family home in Portland Place, Plumstead, on 18th June 1892. The marriage certificate identifies that Herbert Surridge was a Police Constable.

Brenda’s grandparents were Herbert Surridge and Ellen Warner. Grandfather Herbert was born in 1866 at Pavenham, Bedford, and grandmother Ellen was born in 1865 at Brentford, Middlesex. They were married in 1888 in Barnet, Middlesex.

Brenda’s father Herbert was the eldest of six children. Following his birth in 1889, Violet was born in 1893, next was Hilda in 1894, then Harold in 1895, William in 1898, and finally Olive in 1900.

When Brenda was born, her elder brother Gordon Herbert Surridge was aged nine and her sister Marjorie Constance Surridge was seven. Her brother Gordon, was born on 18th October 1915, at Belsize Rd, Hampstead, and her sister Marjorie was also born at this address on 31st May 1917.

Two years prior to Brenda’s birth, our grandfather, John Hume had died on 6th April 1922, he was aged 71 years, and was buried in Woolwich Cemetery. The death certificate states that the cause of death was Carcinoma of the throat. His body was borne from the family home of 101 Barnfield Road, Plumstead, to his grave, on a Royal Artillery Gun Carriage as a mark of respect for his long service in the Regiment of the Royal Artillery. He was buried in the same grave as that of his daughter Margaret who had sadly died on 9th Feb. the previous year. Margaret was 34.

Brenda’s uncle, Frank Hume aged 22, married Marie Violet Kemp aged 20, just before Brenda was born on 19th January 1924.

At some time before Brenda was born in May 1924, the Surridge family had moved back to Plumstead, from Hampstead, and were living at 76 Princes Road, very close to where Kate was born, and within a stones throw from the ‘Hume’, family home at 101 Barnfield Road. At this time Herbert’s occupation was that as Canteen Steward, still with the Metropolitan Police. It is thought that Herbert suffered with a stomach Ulcer and was medically unfit to carry out the duties of a Police Constable, and had transferred to a job in the Police canteen.

The General Strike took place in 1926, when Brenda was just two years old. Most working class families were seriously affected by the strike, but as Herbert was in the Police force, their regular family weekly wage would still have been coming into the household.

On 4th January 1927, Kate’s brother William Thomas Hume, her elder brother aged 38, married Edith Agnes Sherbourne at the Woolwich Register Office. This was the second marriage for both of them.

One of Brenda’s earliest memories was of my dad, John Robert Hume, placing her on his shoulders, while he was wearing his full Grenadier Guards dress uniform, and she remembers burying her head in his Busby, she was probably aged three or four at that time.

On the 2nd May,1930, Kate’s brother, my father, John Robert Hume was demobbed from the Grenadier Guards, after a seven year engagement. Later that year on 3rd November John married my mother Kate Parslow, at Woolwich Register Office. His younger brother Frank and his older sister Isabella signed the Register as witnesses. My father was aged 32, and my mother was aged 25. My mother and father lived with grandmother Mary Hume at 101 Barnfield Road. My mother was called ‘Queenie’, as her mother was also called Kate. My mother’s family lived in Bristol, but my mother was working at 228 Blackfriars Road, London, in service, when they got married.

On the 26th January 1931, my brother John Robert Hume was born at 101 Barnfield Road and was baptised on 1st March at All Saints Church, Herbert Road, and it is likely that all the Hume family attended the Christening service. Brenda would have been aged almost seven and there would almost certainly have been a family get together afterwards.

On 14th November 1932, my sister Mary Agnes Isabel Hume was born at the British Hospital Samual Street, Woolwich. My family were still living with grandmother at 101 Barnfield Road at that time.

Brenda’s mother Kate sadly died on 21st March 1933, aged 40. The death certificate identifies that she died of Pulmonary Tuberculosis at their home at 4 Brookhill Row, Herbert Road. Herbert was present at her death, and registered the death the following day. Herbert had changed jobs at that time and was recorded on the certificate as a Butchers Outfitter’s Packer. Kate was buried at Woolwich Cemetery, in an unmarked grave. Brenda was almost nine years old

At some stage prior to Kate’s death, possibly as early as 1931, Marjorie and Brenda had gone to live with their aunt Agnes, at 76 Flaxton Road, Plumstead. Aunt Agnes was unmarried and shared the house with a friend Miss Miskin who was a teacher at a local infant’s school. It would appear that aunt Agnes carried out the housekeeping duties. They were both very religious, and regularly attended ‘The People’s Hall’ The Slade, Plumstead Common, which was situated very close to their house not far from Plumstead Common. Brenda was aged about seven years, and Marjorie was aged 14. Gordon who was aged almost 16, was working at J Thorn & Co. Long Lane in Bexleyheath, and was living with grandmother at 101 Barnfield Road. Gordon was studying for an accountancy degree.

It would seem that Brenda’s father, Herbert Surridge, decided that he was either unable or unwilling to keep the family together as a unit after his wife Kate died, and agreed to the arrangement with his daughter’s living with aunt Agnes and Miss Miskin. There may have been a problem with trying to hold a job down and looking after his family at the same time, combined with financial constraints and medical problems.

After leaving school, possibly in 1933, Marjorie worked as a clerical assistant at the Woolwich Equitable Building Society, in Woolwich. David Hume my brother, was born on 11th November 1934 at the British Military Hospital, Samual Street, Woolwich, and the family address listed on the Birth Certificate was now, 4 Brookhill Row, Herbert Road, Plumstead, the same house that Brenda’s family were living in prior to Kate’s death, so it would appear that after Kate died, my family took over the tenancy of the house in Brookhill Row. David was baptised on 13th Jan.1935, at All Saints Parish Church, Herbert Road.

Brenda attended Bloomfield Road, Primary School in 1935 and was academically quite good, as she entered a competition and won an award certificate for writing a ‘Safety First’ essay. She also was gifted musically and attended the Woolwich Centre of the Guildhall School of Music, and was awarded certificates with Honours, in April and December. 1936 for passing examinations in the Rudiments of Music, and Pianoforte playing.

Although Brenda was now living at 76 Flaxton Road, each Saturday morning she would walk to 101 Barnfield Road to visit our grandmother. She recalled sitting with her in the back room of the very small terraced house, in front of the black fire range, while grandmother would tell her stories about the Irish little people, and the Leprechauns, as they looked into the burning embers of the fire. Grandmother would always have one of the old stone bottles of ginger beer sitting in the hearth, together with a jar of mustard pickles. On occasions grandmother would smoke a clay pipe. Brenda would stay for a couple of hours and then walk back to 76 Flaxton Road. Brenda also remembered that the house had a long narrow garden, with a long path, and that an aspidistra was in the window of the small front room.

Brenda attended Sunday School at ‘The People’s Hall’ The Slade, and was also an active member of the Girls Life Brigade. One of her very good friends was Audrey Clarke.

101 Barnfield Road was situated on the left hand side of the road at the top, approaching it from Plumstead Common Road, and Brenda remembered that the neighbours were very kind people. Not far from the house was a council yard where the road steamrollers were kept, and Brenda was fascinated by the noise and smell of these vehicles.

In 1936, Brenda attended King’s Warren Grammar School for Girls that was situated by Plumstead Common.

My brother Geoffrey Allan Hume was born on 20th March, 1937, at the British Military Hospital, Samual Street, and was baptised at All Saints Parish Church on 2nd May. Also on 2nd May a son Malcolm Hume was born to Frank and Marie Hume at home at 64 Barnfield Road. Frank’s occupation listed on the Birth Certificate was ‘Central Market Butcher’. Malcolm was baptised on 30th May at All Saints Parish Church.

On December 11th 1936, King Edward V111 abdicated the throne, and the next day King George V1 ascended the throne. On the 12th May, 1937, the Coronation of King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth took place. All school children in the Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich were presented with a suitably inscribed book to commemorate this occasion, we have Brenda’s copy.

Brenda was awarded a Pupils Certificate with Honours, Junior Division, in December 1937 from the Trinity College of Music, for the following subjects: Notation, Time, Intervals, and Terms. Brenda was also awarded another certificate in June 1938 for an examination taken in 1937 at the Woolwich local centre of the Trinity College of Music, for Junior Theory.

Brenda won the first prize with honours for Scriptural Diligence at The Slade in 1938.

On 6th June 1939 I was born at the British Hospital, Samual Street, Woolwich., and on 2nd July, my sister Mary and I were Christened at All Saints Parish Church, Herbert Road. Mary was aged seven.

On 3rd September 1939 England declared war on Germany.

At the outbreak of war in 1939, Brenda was evacuated to live with a family in Maidstone, Kent. She was aged 15 at that time. She was very unhappy with this move and only stayed there for a month before she returned home to Flaxton Road. Audrey’s mum and dad brought her home.

Brenda’s brother Gordon, married Eileen Nora Kennedy, on 16th December 1939. Gordon was aged 25 and Eileen was 22. They were married at St Michael and All Angels Parish Church, Plumstead. Their addresses were 11 and 12 Congress Road. The marriage certificate identifies that Gordon’s occupation was that of ‘Clerk’, and that of his father Herbert, ‘Boot repairer’. Sadly it would appear that no members of the Hume family, other than Marjorie and Brenda attended Gordon’s wedding, and neither did Gordon’s father. Marjorie and Brenda stood outside the church but were not allowed inside to see the ceremony, and were also not allowed to attend the wedding reception which was held at Eileen’s parents’ house. Eileen and her family appear to have been treated rather badly by the Hume family, although Eileen and grandmother Mary were close. Unfortunately Gordon’s friend who was taking the wedding photographs, experienced problems with his camera, and the only picture that survived of Gordon and Eileen at about that time was taken a week or so later in the garden of their new house, when Eileen put her wedding dress back on and they posed for the picture.

In 1940 Gordon Surridge enlisted in the RAF Volunteer Reserve, aged 25.

Sometime in 1939/1940 grandmother’s house, 101 Barnfield Road, suffered serious bomb damage. The 1938/39 Electoral List shows that grandmother, auntie Isabella, Gordon Surridge, and auntie Annie Louisa (auntie Ciss), were living there at that time. Following the house sustaining the damage, grandmother went to live with aunt Agnes and miss Miskin at 76 Flaxton Road.

Schooling was seriously disrupted by the war and the bombing raids, and in early 1940 Brenda attended ‘Home Tuition Classes’, that were organised from the LCC Plumstead Central School. Brenda was preparing for the London University Matriculation examinations. She was due to sit the examinations in September 1940, but the air raids on London made this impossible, however her Tutor Eileen Humphrey, wrote a reference for Brenda on the 23rd September 1940, explaining the situation, and stated that had she taken the exams she would undoubtedly have passed. The reference also outlines that Brenda had always expressed a desire to enter the nursing profession, and that her tutor felt that she would ideally be suited to undertake a nursing career, and had the right kind of qualities.

On the 24th September 1940, The minister of The People’s Hall, The Slade, Rev. Russell – Jones, wrote an open reference for Brenda, for a specific position, which was probably as a child helper at a children’s nursery run by the Bucks County Education Committee in Slough. Brenda stayed in lodgings while she worked at the nursery, and was there from September 1940 until June 1941.
In July 1941, another reference was written for Brenda by Walker Heddle, who was The Peoples Hall, secretary, and Sunday School superintendent, recommending her to a future employer, this was almost definitely to enable Brenda to be accepted into her nursing training position.

On the 2nd August,1941 Brenda commenced her nursing training at Oldchurch County Hospital, Romford in Essex, aged 17.

On 23rd March, 1942, aunt Agnes married a widower Mr Arthur Henry Wood at ‘The Peoples Hall’, which was probably where they first met. Aunt Agnes was aged 59, and Mr Wood a widower aged 60, Both Brenda and Marjorie moved from 76 Flaxton road and went to live with Mr & Mrs Wood at 67 Vernham Road Plumstead. Brenda was away undertaking her training most of the time but she would travel back for the odd weekend when convenient, and when she had periods of leave.

On 27th April, 1942, Gordon Herbert Surridge died after being shot down and fatally injured on a bombing mission over Rostock, Germany, the previous day. He was a Sgt Gunner/ navigator, and his plane, a Stirling Mk 1, was attacked by a Messerschmitt 110. He died of his wounds in Tondor Hospital, Rends, Denmark. He was buried in the Allied Military Plot, Aabenraa Cemetery, Denmark. He was aged 26.

On 6th June 1944, the D day landings took place.

On the 16th July 1944 Mary, Geoffrey and I were evacuated to Ugborough in Devon after the enemy bombing became intense. This was the last wave of evacuation for children from London under a Governmental programme called ‘Rivulet’. The Germans were targeting Woolwich Arsenal, and the ‘Buzz bombs, (Flying bombs) and V2 rockets’ made the whole of SE London a very dangerous place to live. John Robert remained at home to complete his education, as he had just won a technical scholarship.

On 12th August 1944, Brenda’s father, Herbert Surridge aged 54, married my aunt, Isabella Hume aged 50, at the Woolwich Register Office. The marriage was witnessed by my father John Robert and my mother, Kate, ‘Queenie’. Herbert’s occupation was listed as Asst. Storekeeper, Motor Works, and Kate’s occupation as that of Coil Winder at Seimans in Plumstead.

On Wednesday 1st November 1944, at 2.30 am, our family home at 140 Eglinton Road, took a direct hit from a V2 rocket. My father, mother, grandmother, brother John Robert, and my aunt Isabella were all killed.

The awful news was told to Mary, Geoffrey and me on Saturday November. 4th, by the Headmaster of Ugborough Primary School which we were attending while evacuated in Devon, his name was William George Beare. Mary was aged twelve, Geoffrey aged seven and I was aged five years.

The funerals took place on Monday 6th November at the Woolwich Cemetery and aunt Agnes, uncle Frank, uncle William, Marjorie, Brenda, and many other members of the family attended. My mother and father, together with my brother John Robert, and my aunt Isabella, were buried in an unmarked grave, while my grandmother was buried in the grave of my grandfather and aunt Margaret, also unmarked at that time.

At some time following the funerals, Geoffrey and I were sent from Ugborough to Dartington Hall, in Devon, and Mary was sent to live with a family in Hope Cove, Kingsbridge, Devon.

On 7th May 1945 there was an unconditional surrender by Germany.

In May 1945, both Geoffrey and I returned to London to live with aunt Agnes and Uncle Wood. On 17th May Brenda celebrated her 21st birthday, with a party at 67 Vernham Road. Plumstead.

On 7th June 1945, Brenda was admitted to the General Nursing Council Register as a Registered State Nurse, having completed her nursing training at Oldchurch County Hospital, Romford, Essex. Having qualified as a State Registered Nurse, Brenda continued working at the Oldchurch County Hospital, and began specialised midwifery training passing her first examination set by the Central Midwives Board on 3rd June 1946, and the second exam on 23rd December 1946.

On 20th November 1947 the Royal wedding took place of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.
In Febuary 1948 Marjorie commenced training as a Teacher, and attended Oakley College at Cheltenham Ladies Teacher Training College, having previously worked for the Woolwich Equitable Building Society.
In June 1948 Brenda commenced at Causeway Lane, Maternity Hospital, Leicester. Positions attained were Night Sister and Ward Sister.

On April 5th 1950 Eileen Nora Surridge nee Kennedy, married her second husband Herbert Archer Scott at St Michael and All Angels Parish Church in Plumstead. Eileen was aged 32 and Herbert 34. Their respective addresses at that time were listed as 11 Congress St and 61 Borstall Lane, Abbey Wood.

Brenda’s father Herbert, married his third wife Edith May Stanford on 27th May,1950 at Hendon. They were married at St Paul’s Parish Church, Finchley. Herbert was aged 61 and Edith, who was a widow, was aged 41. Herbert’s address was listed as 10 New Trinity Road, Finchley, which was the same address as that listed on the marriage certificate when he married Kate Elizabeth Hume on Christmas day 1914. This address was presumably his parent’s home. Edith’s address was listed as 215 Long Lane, Finchley.

In Nov.1950, Brenda attended a Midwife Teacher Training College at High Coombe, Kingston Hill, Surrey for a six month residential course, which she successfully completed in May 1951.

Aunt Agnes died on 16th February 1951 aged 67, at the home address of 67 Vernham Road, Plumstead. The death certificate states that the cause of death was Carcinoma of the Oesophagus. Uncle Wood was present at the death. I did not attend the funeral and stayed with some friends of the family at that time.

In September 1951 having passed my 11+ examination, I commenced school at St Olave’s and St Saviour’s Grammar School at Bermondsey aged twelve.

In December 1951, Brenda passed the Midwives Teacher’s Diploma examination, set by the National Midwives Board.

On 6th February 1952, King George V1 died.

In Feb. 1952, Brenda returned to work at the Oldchurch County Hospital, Romford.

In May 1952 Mr Wood put Geoffrey and me into the care of the London County Council. Geoffrey worked in London as a Commis Chef, living in digs, and I was sent to live with a Mr & Mrs Nash, who lived at 33 Burney Street, Greenwich. Geoffrey was aged 15 and I was aged nearly 13 years.

On 15th August, 1952 auntie Ciss married Andrew Faldon at The Register Office, Dartford, Kent. Andrew was aged 56 and Auntie Ciss was aged 55. Uncle Frank and auntie Marie signed the marriage certificate as witnesses,

Towards the end of August 1952, the family home at 67 Vernham Road, Plumstead, was sold by Mr A Wood now retired and aged 70, and he bought the bungalow at 133 Pickford lane, Bexleyheath. This was now the new home for Marjorie and Brenda, who lived with Mr Wood, and between them kept house for him. Marjorie was now aged 35 and Brenda was aged 28.

On 1st September 1953, Marjorie and Brenda’s father, Herbert George Surridge died at his home, 215 Long Lane, Finchley. His wife Edith was present. Herbert was aged 64. The death certificate states that the cause of death was Carcinoma, Pancreas. His occupation was listed as that of Interior Decorator.

In October 1955 Brenda successfully underwent an operation at Southmead Hospital, Bristol.

Brenda went to Kampala, Uganda as a Midwife in early 1956 and undertook a couple of overseas tours up to 1959. In 1958 Marjorie and Brenda went on a safari holiday to Uganda.

Brenda was at Southmead Hospital in 1959/60/61. It is understood that at sometime during 1960/61 Brenda damaged her back and was off work for about a year.

On 5th March 1960 Michael Hume aged 20, married Carol Christine Finch aged 16 at St Barnabas Church, Dulwich. Marjorie and uncle Wood attended the wedding at the church.

From 22nd to 28th January 1961, Brenda attended a refresher course for Midwives at Bath.

In 1961 Geoffrey Allan Hume aged 24 married Yvonne Curtis at Westminster Registry Office.

On 1st January 1962 Andrew Faldon died aged 65, at his home at “The Elms, Lesney Park, Erith, Kent. He was cremated at Eltham Crematorium.

In September 1962 Brenda attended a course on photography at Effra Road, Evening Institute, Brixton. At that time she was staying at lodgings at 52 Trinity Rise, Tulse Hill, SE 2.

On 27th September 1963, Mary Agnes Isobel Hume aged 30, married Rupert Horace William Pleece, aged 52 at The Register Office, Worthing.

On 11th August 1963 Arthur Henry Wood died at Queen Mary’s Hospital Sidcup. He was aged 81, and his death was notified by Brenda, as Marjorie was on holiday at that time. In his will Uncle left the bungalow at 133 Pickford Lane, Bexleyheath, and his personal chattels to his two nieces, Marjorie and Brenda in equal shares. The properties that he owned in Eltham, he left to a number of charities. Brenda took care of all the funeral arrangements.

On 9thJanuary 1964, uncle Frank aged 60, died at his home, 44 Ridgeway Road, Sidcup, Kent.

In 1964, Brenda accepted the position as Deputy Sister Tutor at the Redhill County Hospital, which is where she met and became friends with Audrey Dodd, who had been working at the hospital since 1946. They remained good friends right up until Brenda died. Brenda shared a flat whilst at Redhill with Chris Hudson, and they had a cat called ‘Ling’, they were both very fond of cats. The position of Head Sister became vacant later in the year, and Brenda applied for this position. Unfortunately she was not successful, and resigned toward the end of 1964. Whilst at Redhill, Brenda also made a good friend of Anne Geraghty, and they kept in regular touch.
After Audrey married Bill Dodd, Brenda met up with them every year and they went on holidays together. Bill was a Vicar and Bill and Audrey were located at vicarages in Herefordshire, Abergavenny, and Aberdeen, before finally settling in Lugwardine in Hereford in 1983. On a few occasions they went on holiday to the Dordogne in France. After 1983 Brenda and her very good friend Rachel used to visit Audrey, and when Brenda had her operations on her hips and knees, Audrey would visit Brenda in Bexleyheath.

Brenda accepted the position of Principal Midwife Tutor at the East End Maternity Hospital Stepney, and was there between 1965 to 1968.

In 1968 Brenda secured a senior Administrative position with the Lewisham Health District as
senior Divisional Nursing Officer based at Lewisham University Hospital. She held this position for some eleven years before retiring in 1979 aged 55 years, after spending 38 years in the nursing profession.

On 17thJanuary 1970, Geoffrey Allan Hume aged 32, married Linda Elizabeth Wyatt aged 20 at Hitchin Register Office. This was the second marriage for both of them. Linda’s maiden surname was Allen.

On 18th October 1970 Mary Agnes Isabel Hume died, aged nearly 38. at the Mount Alvernia Nusing home in Guildford, Surrey. Her son David who was then aged three came to live with us at Luton.

On 5th January 1978, Aunt Mary Ellen died in the Bromley Hospital, Bromley in Kent. She was aged 88. She had been living at the Robert Whyte House, Oldfield Road, Bickley, Kent. The certificate states that she died of a Heart attack.

In 1978, Brenda went on a Cosmos coach holiday to Europe.

On 10th February 1979, Annie Louise Faldon, (aunt Ciss), died aged 81, at a care home in Bromley. Sydney House, Hawkwood Lane, Chislehurst, Kent.

In 1979 Brenda retired from her job as Senior Divisional Nursing Officer at Lewisham district Council after an eleven year period, and to commemorate and recognise her 38 year nursing career, she was invited to a tea party at Buckingham Palace.

On 17th May 1980, Marjorie and Brenda went on an Oriana Cruise visiting, Athens, Rhodes, Cyprus, and Egypt. From 24th October through to 7th November they went on another cruise on the Oriana to Barcelona, Tenerife, Palma, Madeira, and Vigo, Spain.

From 15th May through to 29th May, 1981, Marjorie and Brenda went on another Oriana cruise to Casablanca, Alicante, Cannes, and Lisbon.

On 18th April 1986, Marjorie Constance Surridge died aged 68. She died in the Ambulance on the way to Brook Hospital, Greenwich. Certificate states that cause of death was due to Myocardial Infarction, and Coronary Atheroma.. In Marjorie’s Will, she left her share of the Bungalow at 133 Pickford Lane to Brenda.

In June 1987, Chris and I made contact with Brenda, not having seen her for some 35 years. She recognised me after all that time, and made us most welcome. She gave me some very precious documents, which had been kept in the safe, these consisted of my father’s army documents, and some of my family’s birth and death certificates.

In 1988 Brenda went on a Canberra cruise.

Brenda underwent an NHS operation to replace her right hip in 1990.

In November 1991 aunt Marie Hume died aged 87, widow of Frank Hume.

In 1992, Brenda underwent an NHS operation to have her left knee replaced, and in November 1994 Brenda underwent another operation to have her right knee replaced.

In 1996, Brenda went into hospital for her left hip replacement operation; this was done privately as the waiting list on the NHS was too long.

On March 4th 2000, Michael and Chris renewed their wedding vows celebrating their 40th Wedding Anniversary, at the New St Barnabas Church in Dulwich. Brenda and her good friend Rachel attended the service.

I retired from Dowding and Mills, as a Company Director in June 2002, and in August while Brenda was on a cruise with her close friends Rachel and Di, Chris and I stayed at 133 Pickford Lane, and carried out some tiling in the kitchen, and some decorating following the installation of a new gas boiler.

Brenda kept in regular telephone contact with all her good friends, and she would phone Audrey Dodd every Friday night at 6pm. She would also phone Chris and myself every Sunday morning at 9.45 am, and we would phone her every Saturday morning at 9.45 am.;

In late 2004, following a visit to Chris’s cousin in Toronto, Canada, Chris and I decided that the time was right to start tracing our family history, of which we knew very little. At every stage of tracing the family we kept Brenda informed. Initially she seemed almost disinterested, but as we began to piece together all the family history, she became more and more interested, and provided some priceless information, although we believe that she had wiped out quite a few of the unpleasant memories from her childhood. I produced some quite complex family trees, and kept Brenda supplied with all the latest updates.

Following a publication in a local paper in December 2004, about trying to trace my cousin John Hume we received an invaluable lead that led us to find his children, although sadly John had died just three weeks earlier. As a result of that publication Brenda contacted our cousin Malcolm Hume and we managed to find out even more background information on the Hume family, and obtained a picture of my dad.

Continued searching for the ’Parslow’s’, my mothers family, led us to their family who originated from Bristol. In a major breakthrough, we finally found my auntie Amy, my mother’s youngest sister who was born in 1928, 25 years after my mother Kate was born in 1905. We visited auntie Amy in May 2005. It was a very emotional meeting and she gave us a picture of my mother with my brother John Robert sitting on her lap. The picture was dated 21st December 1931.

In October 2005, Chris and I travelled to Thomastown, in County Kilkenny, Southern Ireland, and visited Pleberstown, where my great grandparents lived and where my grandmother was born and christened. We managed to obtain a copy of my grandmothers christening certificate, and also visited the church of St John in Kilkenny where my grandparents were married on 8th February 1881. On our return we compiled all the information and gave it to Brenda. She was so interested, as she was unaware of the history of our grandparents, although she knew that grandmother Mary was born in Ireland.

Chris and I visited Brenda on Saturday,17th December 2005, just before Christmas After lunch, at Brenda’s request I visited a few local residential care homes, just to get some idea of waiting lists, financial costs etc. as Brenda was resigned to selling the bungalow and going into a home. She had come to terms with the fact that she could not look after herself, and she was really only being able to manage with the help of Di looking after her. She was obviously not looking forward to loosing her independence and leaving the bungalow, which had been her base home for the past 54 years. We talked a lot about what it would entail, and we agreed that prior to any firm decisions being taken we would make further enquiries and arrange a visit to some of the more acceptable care homes to get her agreement on whether she felt she would be happy making one of them her new home.

Brenda was extremely fond of all animals but especially cats. During Brenda’s lifetime she had had many cats as pets, and I well remember when I first went to live at 67 Vernham Road, at the age of six years, the pet cat ‘Tiger’ a very friendly tabby, was Brenda’s cat and she idolised him. Her last cat ‘Ebby’, a black cat who she had rescued from a cats home, became very poorly towards the end of 2005. He had diabetes, and Brenda used to inject him daily, it’s ironic that Brenda also suffered from diabetes. When ‘Ebby’ became progressively worse Brenda had him put to sleep, and she was obviously devastated. Looking after ‘Ebby’ was one of the main reasons for her to face each day, and since that day in October, Brenda’s health had also deteriorated.

On Wednesday 21st December 2005 we were notified that Brenda had died in the Lewisham University Hospital, at 11.06 pm while undergoing an emergency operation for an Acute Ruptured Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. She was 81 years old. She had been taken ill earlier in the day and was suffering intensive pain in her tummy. Her very good friend Di, who had stayed with Brenda, on occasions while her health had been progressively deteriorating, had called the ambulance and she was taken to Woolwich Hospital for the initial diagnosis, and later transferred to Lewisham University Hospital for the emergency operation. At her request Brenda was cremated at Eltham Crematorium, following her funeral service at St John’s Baptist Church, Erith, on Friday, 6th January 2006. Her ashes were buried in the grave of her mother Kate Elizabeth, in Woolwich Cemetery, on 27th Feb. 2006, and a headstone was erected to both Brenda and her mother on Thursday 25th May, 2006.

Michael L Hume June 2006

Gordon Herbert Surridge RAFVR

Letter from Russell Jones...Peoples Hall...

Gordon & Eileen Marriage Certificate.

Gordon & Eileen Kennedy c1941/42.

Copy of Cert for scriptural Diligence.

Hume Family Group c.1939/40 possibly in garden at 101 Barnfield Road. Left to Right Brenda's father Herbert, aunt Isabella, grandmother aunt Ciss, aunt Agnes in front of Brenda, Eileen and Gordon Surridge.

Trinity School of music Certificate for Brenda Surridge.

Herbert George Surridge c1939 age 50.

Gordon Herbert Surridge c1941 age 26.

Marjarie Constance Surridge c.1950 age 33.

Brenda May Surridge c1950 age 26.

Brenda as a baby 1925.

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