Nellie's Story

Nellie Greathurst nee Herridge was born in the closing months of 1901 and the following account of her life is in her own words.
Nellie Herridge taken outside Alexandra Farm in Church Rd
Nellie Herridge taken outside Alexandra Farm in Church Rd
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum (Opens in a new window)

I was the fifth of 7, my maiden name was Nellie Herridge, I was born in 1901, at No 2, Town Cottages, which was later named 45 High Street.

I was at the age of 14, found a job, at Mrs. Pullingers, of High Street, to live in, for 2/6, a week, which I did not enjoy, the war had just started.

My three older, sisters, were made to go on ammunitions, away from home, but I wanted to help my parents.

At 16, I learnt, that it would be useful to do something to help the country, I was too young to start my nursing career, which I wanted to do.

They were asking, for woman to deliver milk, so I decided to get a job at Mr Sheldons Farm, at Alexandra Rd dairy.

I got a £1, a week for 7 days, my round consisted of getting up at 5 o'clock, doing two rounds a day no holiday.

I started at Church Rd, Albert Rd, Pikes Hill, Station Rd, part of Church Street, part of High St, then East St, Vicarage Place, Prospect Place, Slones Rd, Middle Lane, Lyntons Lane, back over, the railway bridge to the farm, I had then, to wash all cans, & churns clean, some which were brass, then had to start another round at 1 o'clock & repeat the first round. Leave all the cans in dairy ready for the morning.

I worked at the dairy, until the age of 21½.

The war had been over for 18 months, I was then 21½, I decided to start my nursing career, at Long Grove hospital, I became a Ward sister, I left to marry at 26, my husband, was at West Park Hospital.

I had a family of six but when the second war broke out, I was able after two years to return to Long Grove on night duty, for six years, & then I became a Ward sister, on days, & we both retired & came to Cornwall, in 1961 I was 61.

I am now a widow & have to sell my house & return to Epsom to live in Epsom, again to be near my children, who have be so good to me since their father died. They say I worked for them, as the hospital wages were not enough, to give them a start in life.

Ashley House where Jonathan was Head Gardener.  This picture was probably taken before the building was used as the local Registration Office where Nellie was married.
Ashley House where Jonathan was Head Gardener.
We know that this picture was taken by a Reginald White but don't know when
but it probably was before the building was taken over for use as the
local Registry Office where Nellie and Harry were married.
Image courtesy of Surrey Libraries and is held in the
Epsom & Ewell Local And Family History Centre Collection (Links open in new windows)

My father was a gardener at Lawyer White for Ashley House for over 60 years.

Ashley House is now the Registrar Office.

My Father was well known by all in Epsom & lived to 93.


Nellie Greathurst nee Herridge (1901 - 1980)


We are very grateful to Nellie's family for providing the the following additional information.


Family Group at Nellies Wedding in 1927
Family Group at Nellie's and Harry's Wedding in 1927
Image courtesy of the Greathurst Family ©2009

Nellie was born on 07 September 1901 and her parents were Jonathan and Emily Herridge. Jonathan was born in 1864 and came from Odiham in Hampshire. He was head gardener at Ashley House and married Emily TICE, who was born in Send in Surrey in the last quarter of 1868. They were married in Guildford, Surrey during the second quarter of 1892 and set up home at No 2, Town Cottages, which was later re-named 45 High Street, where all their children were born.

Nellie was the fifth of their seven children:
Emily (known as Em) born in 1893*
Lily Jane (known as Lil) born in 1895*
Amelia Kate (known as Mil) born in 1897
Annie Mary (known as Pops) born in 1899
Nellie (known as Nell) born 07 September 1901, baptised St Martins Epsom 06 October 1901 by Vicar John Samuel
Lucy Rose born in 1904 (died in September 1905 aged 1 year 8 months)
William Henry (known as Bill) in 1907
*(Incidentally Em and Lil married two brothers called Englefield)

The National School East Street Junction with Hook Road
The National School East Street Junction with Hook Road c.1870
Image courtesy of Surrey Libraries and is held in the
Epsom & Ewell Local And Family History Centre Collection (Links open in new windows)

All six surviving children went to the Church of England School in East Street Epsom. Emily died aged 70 in 1939 but Jonathan lived till he was 93.

Nellie and Harry on Honeymoon in 1927
Nellie and Harry on Honeymoon in 1927
Image courtesy of the Greathurst Family ©2009

Nellie married Harry James Greathurst at Ashley House Registry Office in 1927. Harry, whose birth was registered in the second quarter of 1903 in Epsom, became the Laundry Manager at West Park Hospital. However in 1923, before working at the hospital, Harry acted as golf caddy for King George VI during his honeymoon stay at Polesden Lacey, Great Bookham. Initially Nellie and Harry lived at 19 Miles Road, Epsom where the first four of their six children were born:
Gordon Henry born 05 November 1930 (Died 1973)
Brenda Patricia born 17 March 1932 [Patricia as born on St Patrick's day] (Died 1987)
Edna born 30 July 1934
Jean Margaret born 05 November 1935 (Died 2007)
Muriel born 12 April 1938
Michael born 05 November 1939 (Died 1986)
(Webmasters note: Yes that's right 3 of Nellie's children were born on Guy Fawkes night)

Nellie and Husband Harry in Cornwall c.1960s
Nellie and Husband Harry in Cornwall c.1960s
Image courtesy of the Greathurst Family ©2009

In September 1937 they moved to 14 The Crescent, Wells Estate, Epsom, where both Muriel and Michael were born. Harry and Nellie lived there till they retired in the early 1960's and moved to Chacewater, Cornwall. After Harry died of heart failure in March 1973 Nellie, who had been having sight problems, decided to move back to the Epsom area to be close to her family. Initially Nellie moved into her own flat in Burgh Heath, but as her sight deteriorated she moved into Swail House for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Epsom during 1978 where she had frequent visits from her family.

Following a slight stroke and short illness Nellie died peacefully in Epsom District Hospital on 24 November 1980.