Saturday, February 08, 2014

(1) Mrs IEJ Hawthorne RIP 28th October 1916 to 4th February 2014

Mum having died at St Helier Hospital on Tuesday evening there is little else that I can reflect on at present. It is good to be a member of a large family (7 children) at a time like this  but very hard  for dad who himself will be 94 later this month.

Mum was from Bethnal Green and dad is from Whitechapel East London. In their childhood days there, many neighbours in that part of London were Cockney English, Irish  immigrants and Jewish people working their ways up. Of course refugees and other poor immigrants  later  began to arrive as the older inhabitants began to move out and so in many ways it is still today.

Mum herself was the daughter of a protestant mother who I knew and loved as 'nana' until her death and  an Irish catholic father who died in 1949 just before I was born.

Mum reported that the only  help for poor   London families in her part of the East End  at the time was that:
"...of the workhouse; the teachers at St Anne's (catholic) School Whitechapel and Notre Dame Southwark..."

Mum's father fought for jobs at the East End docks; and she recalled how hunger was often the worst burden to bear. Mention is made in the foward to one of her 17 books of: "...Dutch herrings taken from great smelly barrels, the saveloys and hot salt beef and cucumbers pickled but not too sour,  the jellied eels..."

Dad loves jellied eels but I have never been able to stomach them despite her description of their being "such a lovely glassy green."

Interestingly  she mentioned the desperate conditions of  the late 1920s and early 1930s  giving rise to extreme fascist and communist groups of the East End which the Catholic Church denounced.

Later she passed an examination for Plater College Oxford which I believe used to be called "The Catholic Workers College". Life has changed in many ways since then of course but I believe Plater College was named after Father Charles Plater SJ.

 In one of her books mum mentions with gratitude the Jesuit  principal of Plater College "for furthering working class education."

Mum, in addition to dad and my six   sisters and brothers  leaves  many grand children and great grandchildren including the newest great grandchild Emma  who happily shares mum's date of birth 28th October, albeit 97 years later in 2013.

Mum will be remembered by many with great love and affection.

May she R.I.P.


  1. The mass for mum's funeral will be held at the Sacred Heart Church, Edge Hill, Wimbledon, London SW19 at 10am on Friday 14th February 2014.

  2. My condolences, Maytrees.
    May your mother rest in peace.


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