ELIZABETH LLOYD "MISS ELIZABETH"

A personal memoir.

By Lewis Smith (child at Caldecott 1949 - 1963, aged 2-16)

 

With much help from Gill Cook who was close to her after her move to Suffolk.

Also Craig Fees for her family details.

[I had a special relationship with Elizabeth Lloyd because, unusually, I did not have a home to go to during holidays, so had to be dumped here & there as a baby and child, and I guess that included Elizabeth as well as a foster family, and others.]

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Elizabeth Lloyd was born on 16th of June 1912. She had just turned four when her oldest brother, Antony Charles Lloyd (July 15, 1916 - 1994) was born. Her bother Oliver came along two years later, in 1918, and died in 2004.

Their father, Charles Mostyn Lloyd, lived for a time at Toynbee Hall, was a barrister, a member of the Fabian Society and active in the Labour movement, journalist, editor of The New Statesman, and Head of the Department of Social Administration at the London School of Economics from 1922 to 1944, where a prize continues to be given in his name.

Oliver worked in the Colonial Office before joining the United Nations in 1952, working first in the office of the Deputy Director-General at the Food and Agriculture Organization for seven years before moving to the International Atomic Energy Agency for sixteen years (see p 113 of “A Guide for researchers to the United Nations Career Records Project at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford”, https://bafuncs.org/wpb/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/UNCRP-Guide-for-Researchers-2016-30-9-17.pdf.)

Antony was a Fellow of the British Academy, and there is an extensive British Academy obituary which details his life and career, with details of growing up and the family: https://publications.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/pubs/proc/files/97p347.pdf.

I (Lewis) knew Elizabeth from an early age, when she sometimes took me for short periods during holidays. Then, her family (a very Victorian mother, and brother Anthony) lived at Harrietsham - "Foyle's Cottage", I think. Later, when Tony was professor of philosophy at Liverpool, they moved there: 43 South Road, Grassendale Park, I think.. They rented permanently a holiday home - an old farmhouse called Carwed Fynydd, Llanefydd, near Denbigh. I visited them as a boy first at Harrietsham - I recall a dramatic blizzard when we had to abandon her Sunbeam Talbot on the A20, walk to Lenham & get the train; later in both other places. Elizabeth got to know the area around Llanefydd well, and took me everywhere.

She had friends in the West country, Desirée Martin at West Porlock, and others (a Peter) in the middle of Dartmoor at Thornworthy near Chagford. She took me with her on visits to them when I was very young, and I have scant memories of these places. She also treated herself in earlier years to a week's B&B at Marazion near Penzance during the summer holidays, and again took me down there a couple of times. In those days it was so far that it needed 2 days motoring from Kent, even in her Sunbeam Talbot 'sports' car! The AA (she was a member) furnished individually typed detailed itineraries then, which I would read out for her. We used to overnight at the Mitre Hotel in Salisbury.

On a different occasion, we spent a week or so chez Marjorie Seaver's sister Nora (who later moved to live with her at Alderwasley) at Bray in Ireland while she was away, to look after her cat. That holiday was notable for prolific blackberries, and mistakenly making pastry with baking powder instead of flour! And in earlier times, I recall a week's holiday in a rented cottage in Somerset.

Eventually her mother died, and Tony retired from Liverpool to Brighton. When Oliver retired, he lived at Rapello in NW Italy, where Elizabeth visited him a couple of times. He was always faithful about telephoning her at Alderwasley, where Elizabeth retired to from Caldecott: a tiny cottage - "Elm Cottage" - in a tiny village near Wirksworth in Derbyshire. Oliver visited her when he was in the UK. The cottage was owned by Marjorie Seaver, who lived next door. I was by now a working young man in London, and visited her at Alderwasley often over the years. As for her cars there, I recall a Ford Anglia, then a Renault 5, then a Mini. Elizabeth even beat a trail to me once in W Wales, with her dog Chloe. At Caldecott she had Jasper.

I liked Marjorie: a delightfully scatty Irish lady who cooked great feasts for the birds in winter, while she herself ate little. I usually did something for her while up there; Elizabeth always had a little list of things to do! Marjorie once lent me her car for a week's holiday, believing it would be better for it than not being used while she was away!

Marjorie died, but Elizabeth had security of tenure. The Browns were Marjorie's executors, and it was they who organized Elizabeth's move from Elm Cottage - where she was starting not to cope; she had already fallen, and broken a wrist - to a flat in Woodbridge, which she never liked if only because it had no bath. But she did like the town & the area. She was by then very subject to the Browns. I made periodic visits, and she - now carless - liked going out to places like Aldeburgh, deigning to use the buses.

Elizabeth did me a great deal of good over the years for most of my life, especially when a boy. I never could repay her.

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In the late 1990s she had a fall outside the flat and unknowingly fractured a hip. She lived with it a couple of days before first Gill Cook & Genevieve Bourne, visiting, realised she was hurt, alerted the Browns who took her to their home in Ipswich, realised she was badly hurt, and their doctor diagnosed it; she was operated on as an emergency.

In mid October 2003 she suffered a significant stroke which kept her in Ipswich Hospital for a week. I last visited her just afterwards, in late October, immediately before leaving for New Zealand for several months. I am eternally grateful for having seen her, at home, just before her final decline. At the end of that month, she went into an Ipswich respite home, whence she was quickly transferred to Colchester Hospital. However, she did return home, only to have a bad fall in Woodbridge, which returned her to Colchester Hospital; she never recovered, dying there on 21st of November 2003.