Family search

I wonder if anyone who has lived in Exmouth for more than 80 years can remember Dorothy Whalley, Whally or Wally (nee House), my late mother’s second cousin, who lived at 35 Rosebery Road until her death in April 1981.

She had a daughter, Mary, who was slightly mentally retarded, and a sister, Violet, who was also elderly and who I last saw in a rest home in Exeter Road, just up from All Saints Church, in about 1984.

Dorothy’s husband, Charlie, worked on tugboats in Southampton and, in his early days, worked with Marconi. Charlie died in the mid to late 1950s, when I was a young child. In her later years, Dorothy worked for a family by the name of Puddicombe or Puddicome, as well as being a church cleaner.

I believe Mary used to do part-time work packing shoes at a Clarks distribution centre, in Salterton Road. They are all, sadly, no longer alive, but I am trying to discover where any of them could be buried. I managed to establish that Rosebery Road residents could have been buried at Littleham or Withycombe.

On a recent visit to Devon County Records Office, I checked the burial records for Littleham, but found no trace. I also checked the three cemeteries in Exeter, in case they were cremated. I also found out that Withycombe burial records were held locally, but I had no idea that there were two St John’s churches in Withycombe.

Eventually, I found a cemetery at St John in the Wilderness Church, but, after spending three hours looking at all the gravestones, I could find no trace. I did speak to the graves man, who had been there since 1976 and left him the details so that he could contact me if he found anything.

I now live in Southampton, but was in Winchester until 2006. I spent two week holidays in Exmouth every year from 1951 until 1968, as a child with my parents and my sister. Since then, until 2004, I paid visits on day trips or holidays with my own family. Unfortunately, my mother, my sister and I all experienced depressive illnesses and eventually lost all touch with my mother’s cousins altogether.

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My mother also had another second cousin called Winifred Court, who lived at Woodstock near Oxford. Her husband was a guide at Blenheim Palace. They were also regular visitors to Exmouth and they probably would have had more contact. However, they are also no longer with us.

I hope that there may be some of your readers who might have some recollections or memories.

I always enjoyed my visits to Exmouth and I have many happy memories. The town has changed so much during my lifetime - not always for the better; just like Winchester and Southampton. My parents honeymooned there in 1950 and stayed at 35 Rosebery Road every year until 1954, then with the Southwells, in Halsdon Road until 1957.

For two years, we stayed with a Mrs Doran who lived next to the laundry in Rosebery Road. Then we stayed with her daughter-in-law until 1966, followed by the Nortons at the Haven in 4 Bicton Place.

That is all the information I can give you, but I hope that your readers are able to help me in my search.

Thank you.

Richard Rattey

(via email)

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