WILFRED JOHN (1892-
Wilfred John was born at 9 a.m. on 12th November 1892 at No. 224 Victoria Park Road, South Hackney. His mother was Elizabeth (née Yull) and his father Thomas William Daggett. Shortly before, on the same day, Wilfred's brother Cyril Francis was born. They were a striking likeness to one another, but as they grew older it was easier to distinguish between the twins because Cyril remained a little more slender in features. Even so, there are stories of certain embarrassing moments when one was mistaken for the other in the street!
When the boys were about four the family moved to Walthamstow. Wilfred went to St.Mary's Infants' School, next to the parish churchyard and subsequently to St.Mary's Boys' School in Orford Road. This later became the Girls' School. He also attended the school for older boys in Queen's Road. At the Infants' school he was taught by Miss Stacey who was later to take young Wilfred Francis, Joyce Lita and Ilene Florence Foreman under her wing 25 or more years later!
As a choirboy at St.Mary's Church and later as a keen amateur cricketer, Wilfred John made a number of long-
The Daggetts have been practical men who would tackle most jobs about the house and garden long before the term "do-
While a boy he had some lessons on the violin, but these were discontinued after he fell off his bicycle and broke his arm.
The twins had their first job in a clothing firm at about the beginning of 1907 when they were just 14. Later on Cyril went to work with his father, while Wilfred was with P.M.Ross and Co., 9 Bread Street, London, E.C.4 off Cheapside. About 1908 another friend of the twins, Bob Wilcox, chanced to live near the Hebdon family in Ravenswood Road and he introduced the two boys to the 14-
While working at Ross's Wilfred also helped his father's business from time to time. By 1910 he had formed a strong attachment with Lita, whom he would see most evenings. He was living at 125 Orford Road, only about five minutes' walk from her home at 36 Ravenswood Road. There were many occasions when Wilfred found he would be late for their rendezvous because he had to work late. So he hurriedly sent a postcard to Lita advising her of this. The postage on these cards -
On one occasion he went to the trouble and expense of sending a telegram. This was in November 1911; it was handed in at Cannon Street Post Office at 3.15, received at Orford Road Post Office at 3.39 and, presumably, delivered to Lita in good time to inform her that "Shall be round at 5 tonight". Lita was a very anxious person all her life and it appears that these frequent messages were sent to prevent her unduly worrying if Wilfred did not turn up promptly at the appointed hour!
Early in 1912 Wilfred John left Ross & Co. and went to work full-
There appears to have been some rift between the twins a year previously. Their father had asked Wilfred to go abroad on business, but as that would have meant leaving Lita behind (although she was living with her parents) he declined. Cyril was sent instead. He went to Chemnitz in Germany at the beginning of 1911, and for the next twelve months he wrote regularly to Lita, sending a total of more than 18 picture postcards with short comments on his German experiences. He did not enjoy his stay there and he constantly referred to his longing to be back in England. These cards were written in a formal style "Dear Miss Hebdon" and always signed "C.F.Daggett" or just "C.Daggett" without any mention of Christian names! "We do not know whether Lita answered the correspondence or why he wrote so often. The student of calligraphy will note that, although Wilfred's handwriting much resembled his father's (and his mother's too), Cyril's was entirely different.
Thomas William and his family were in the habit of spending their summer holidays at Cliftonville, not only before the 1914 War but for many years afterwards. Numerous post-
By July 1913 Wilfred and Lita were on sufficiently close terms to be allowed to go on holiday together to Clacton. On 1st July 1915 they were married at St.Mary's Church, Walthamstow. The bridegroom was described on the marriage certificate as "salesman" and his father as "agent".
The War had been in progress for a year now, and Lita's brother-
Meanwhile, the newly married couple had taken a down-
Soon after the end of the War Wilfred got a job with a firm called Matthew Rose, where he returned to his earlier involvement with textiles.
About 1919 Wilfred senior went into the Connaught Hospital, Walthamstow to have his appendix removed. This was a very serious operation in those days and it naturally created a lot of anxiety for Lita. One of the nurses who tended him -
During the early 1920’s Wilfred found himself working at Selfridge’s in Oxford Street behind the counter selling cloth. He also again worked with his father for a short time. During the 1926 General Strike, when travel by train was impossible and by bus extremely uncertain, he had to walk from Walthamstow to the City to work. In more settled times he became one of those hundreds who arrived at Hoe Street Station every evening between 6 and 7 o’clock, having left home in the morning about 8.
It was about 1927 that the owner of the Howard Road flats, a Mr Percival, decided to offer them for sale to their tenants. Wilfred bought the whole of the double flat and then proceeded to let part of upstairs. His own family used the two front upstairs rooms as bedrooms. In 1932 he sold the Walthamstow property and moved to a new semi-
Since 1928 young Wilfred had been a pupil at Walthamstow Grammar School and it now became necessary for his father to take him by car each morning on his own way to work in Eden Road. The new house had a separate garage and so it was possible for the firm's car to be kept at home -
During the 30's Wilfred and Lita bought a beach hut at Holland-
In 1934 Wilfred's younger brother, Claude, moved to Woodford with his wife and family, taking, a house opposite "Jowilta".
The pattern of life did not significantly change over the years. Lita suffered from various neuroses to which she gave in rather easily. On one such occasion she was in bed upstairs with a nice fire roaring in the grate when she became alarmed by the smell of burning wood and smoke entering the room. The joist under the fireplace had caught fire and it took the efforts of the fire brigade to put it out and ensure that there was nothing left smouldering. The smell of smoke pervaded the whole house for many days afterwards. 'I had been to a dance -
He left home and got married in September 1938. Joyce married Sydney Brown on 6th September 1941 and continued to live at "Jowilta" during Syd's absence abroad on active service in the Army. Their daughter Valerie Elizabeth was born in January 1948 and the couple moved with their baby to a flat in Snaresbrook in the middle of 1950.
Wilfred senior continued his job throughout the war years, but immediately afterwards he left Schoolwear and went into partnership with his old friend, Will Brand, with whom he had played cricket in his youth. They opened a small factory in Raven Road, off Chigwell Road, Woodford Green and started manufacturing school uniforms under the name of College Outfitters. Wilfred organised the production and selling of the goods, Will put up the money, and his wife, Madge (an old school friend of Lita's) looked after the accounts. By 1949 it was obvious that the venture was a failure and so it was decided to close down.
Meanwhile, Wilfred had arranged for some outworkers to make school blazers and other articles in their homes which he then arranged to sell to his previous customers. About 1953 or 1954 he took a small workshop in Leytonstone High Road, which he managed to keep going for eight years. This was on the same lines as his previous attempts, but his increasing age, failing health and over-
In 1958 Wilfred and Lita had moved to a new bungalow at Theydon Bois, a couple of minutes away from where Joyce and her family had settled. The bank foreclosure in 1962 raised the possibility that Wilfred's ownership of his home might be in jeopardy. At the last minute, young Wilfred managed to persuade his own building society to grant a mortgage on the bungalow sufficient to pay off the bank's debt although, of course, this meant that regular repayments would have to be made to the society for the ensuing years. Wilfred senior then took a part-
The brothers and sisters of Wilfred John
Wilfred's twin brother Cyril has been mentioned several times above. He married May Willis in the Hackney District during the summer of 1919. They had a daughter, Eileen, nine years later who, in 1952, married a man by the name of Michael Batt. By then Cyril and May had moved to a house in Buckhurst Hill, High Road.
Cyril remained working with his father and eventually took over the running of the business of manufacturers agent when Thomas William retired. After Cyril himself retired he remained at Buckhurst Hill until he died just before his 92nd birthday in 1984. May lived on until the following autumn.
Gladys Alice was born in Hackney on 16th June 1894 and was thus the same age as Lita. She married William J.Ough early in 1918 and they lived for a few years with Mr. and Mrs. Ough senior at 43 Leyspring Road, Leytonstone. They had a daughter, Audrey, and moved to a house of their own in Hainault Road, Leytonstone. A very severe blow to all the family was the untimely death of Will Ough early in the 1930's. Subsequently Gladys took a house at 45 Wanstead Lane, Ilford where she remained for many years. Audrey married Leonard Morley and had two children, Allan and Christine but later she divorced. Gladys later moved to a house at 52 Station Road, Burnham-
Claude William was born in Walthamstow on 13th September 1899. He became interested in flying and served in the Royal Flying Corps (later the R.A.F.) towards the end of the 1914-
A few years afterwards, the family moved to No.6 Parkland Road, Woodford Green, opposite the house of Claude's brother, Wilfred. After the 1939-
This branch of the Daggett family -
Wilfred's younger sister, Hilda Winifred, was born in Walthamstow in the spring of 1902. In 1926 she married Clare J.Hillock at Wanstead, after which the couple continued to live with Hilda's parents for a while. They had a son, Trevor. Subsequently they lived in Ilford, East Sussex and Corsham, Wiltshire.
The youngest of Wilfred's brothers was Thomas Kenneth, born in Wanstead on 3rd March 1916 after an interval of 14 years following the arrival of Hilda. He was, therefore, a contemporary of the younger Wilfred but at the same time was his uncle! He was educated at Wanstead High School and later worked for the Post Office Experimental Division at Dollis Hill, North-
Ken and Eileen had a daughter, Anne, born on 20th February 1945. When Ken's employment as a communications research engineer with the Post Office was moved to Martlesham, near Ipswich, he took his family to live at Bucklesham nearby about 1969. They had lived with Thomas William, Kenneth's father, at 12 Lake-
Lita, Wilfred senior and Joyce.
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