These letters belong to my aunt Joan Punter ( nee Toller ). They contain interesting home front information and political views of the war. They were written by my Great Aunt Marie Cruden( deceased ) to her husband George Cruden( also deceased ).
Marie refers to George as Peter Precious in many of these letters, this was because she was a Catholic ( originally from Ireland ) and when they first got together she didn't want to introduce him to her family as George because that was the Kings name! Some of these letters are written from London and from Nottingham where she lived at one point and also from Cambridge where they finally settled.
Friday. the. 16th May
138 Harrow Road.
Nottingham. ( plus Park of course )
My Own Dearest Peter Precious,x.x.x.
Anyway, the first thing to do is to apologise to you Mr Cruden, Dear Sir, for the omission to call you something, however, meagre, when sending an epistle. Its the old story, many around, and I leave the address until the last thing before closing the letter, and then forgot all about it while postbag is being closed up. As regards the X.X.X.X.X.well....... there's not the slightest excuse as you will notice.
Thanks for your long newsy letter, and ere this I hope you will have got the one sent you with the little photos in it. If you want the one with the hat on- keep it, but there's not a bit of stipulation about this. Well, I'm sorry that you had all that trapse around to get to G's. Anyway, it was nice to know that they made you so wecome. I say, I really was suprised to know that it had come to Smith going to 134. Old Margy has things all her way nad no doubt- even to mucking things up in her married life. Well, that's that, they cant marry, but have got to go on being pals. I'm sorry really, for the old people's sake, as they are such a dear old pair, that it must worry them actually, when they have such high moral principles. Now dear, as regards the weekend which you say you might possibly be able to get during my holiday. If it would be on the 6th, love, I really don't think it would be worth the rush and expense, because I should have to come back on the Saturday the 7th, in case there are no buses back on the Sunday, but still, if you could get leave so that YOU need not report back untill the Monday midnight, it would be worth it from your point if view. However, dear, I know you will do what you think is worth it. I could help with your fare if necessary, but my point is that unless you can have the benefit of a good few hours stay, it would not be worth risking a longer time of later on. What do you think?
It makes very sad reading indeed to hear of how London is gradually disappearing, and more especially the City as we know it. I take it Gamages are still going strong, in spite of Holborn being a bit knocked about. I somehow felt that the Houses of Parliament would be unlucky. Of course it was a nice building architecturally, but it was under 100 years old, as I see by the encyclopedia, that it was built in 1858.
This Hess business is certainly as bewildering as the events in the war in different parts of its theatre. Anyway, Bevin spoke his mind in no uncertain terms, and also the papers tone generally seems to be for more stronger measures to be taken as regards his person. It is ironic to read of his getting eggs, chicken, and everything else that is good, when the poor people of Plymouth and Liverpool, are probably looking for somewhere to house themselves, never mind, feed. I want to know why he should have wanted the Duke of Hamilton above all other personages, and WHY????? even when Hess was on the way to hospital was the Duke of Hamilton sent for to interview Hess as he had requested?????
Have we some fifth columnists amoung our- or rather the Scottish nobility? It rather looks as though they are after getting seperate Government, if they are adopting these king of tactics. Perhaps there was some arrangement for troops to be landed in Scotland- its a wild and rugged country in many parts, but the fact that Hess machine caught fire, and he himself was injured, rather than mucked the whole thing up. Personally I feel it wants a lot of explaining. Do away with the soppy senimentality which some of the press articles seem to try to indulge in, and use the third degree to the fullest on Hess, and then stick him up against a wall, and put all the bullets that his body will take into him. That would br the fate of any of our blokes who tried the traitors stunt, anyway. And what about the rotten French too. Fuelling the Jerry planes from Syria. Well let 'em, and may the R A F bomb and bomb em to blazes, for their treachery.
Well, darn the war talk.
Had another warning last night, or rather this moring 2 to 5. Jerry passed over, not much noise from him, and we did not have any guns. Our windows in the premises are now in, so thank goodness we are out of the dungeon like place, which until to-day has had thick wooden shutters up. Well, its wind up official in our house now. Mrs Wilde had all her case packed with clothes and valuables. deeds of the house, probate, etc. etc. which action has been caused through the evacuation which has gone on during the past few days of people from their homes on account of D. A's. Anyway, the whole idea is not a bad one ( I mean as regards getting some things packed up ) they might drop a few in Wollaton Park sometime.
I hope by now you have got the little photo back. Yes, I thought Boots were taking a long time over them- but I didn't ask why, because photographers who do the printing and developing seem to be few and far between here. The one nice place where I got the others done is no more, so that is why I took them to Boots.
Well, now, love I must ring off there are three or four certain persons, who suddenly find there are many things which must be answered tonight, and that is why I feel it in my bones that if I dont finish this now, you wont get it.
Cheerio, darling, all my love, and thoughts, and I hope you have a nice weekend. They have got the "son of Monte Cristo" running here and at the moment I am not sure whether to go, or wait a bit and get over my last weekend expenses. Do you want any cash by the way?
All the very best of love, thought hugs kisses, and I am so very sorry that you have such a bad cold. I somehow felt that it was unwise even in the heat of the last weekend, to leave off that pullover, and on one occasion you went without it altogether didn't you?????? I should have hagged if I had started on you, I know, but you will do what you think sometimes, and take a chance. Anyway, love I do hope you are feeling better. Mine is still hanging around, and my poor old lips couldn't be kissed even gently by you now.
Ever and always
Toller Family Tree notes by Joan Punter [nee Toller] (my aunt – transcribed by Michelle Bullivant Dec 2010)
John (1727-1807) probably born at Everton, grew up and married Elizabeth. They moved to Upper Caldecote around 1759, to Temesford in 1779, died and was buried in Temesford in 1807.
James (1762- 1826) born in Upper Caldecote, married Mary Swanell in 1786, took over the farm at U.C., moved to Kings Ripton in 1788, and farmed Rectory Fram. Moved to Sailhill, farmed Old Rowney 1803-26, and was buried there.
John (1791-1872) born at Kings Ripton, married Anna Maria Swanell in 1811, farmed Recotory Farm for his father , until 1813, moved to Sapley (Sapley Park Farm) in 1831, farmed at Fenstanton in 1851 at Tollers Farm in Hemingford Grey, at Anstey Hall Farm in Trumpington in 1842, also Moor Barns farm in Madingley, later bought s…Farm at Streatley, also land at Dunstable.
In 1871 John came back to Anstey Hall, and is buried in Trumpington Church. He seems to have been the most successful and rich farmer.
Frederick Swanell – born in 1813 at Sapley Park Farm – farmed his fathers land at Fenstanton in 1840. He married the ‘house-keeper’, Betsy Brown, an Irish woman, in 1852. They farmed at Hemingford Grey until the lease expired, when his father refused to sign it so that he lost his livelihood. Cut off by his father he worked as a bailiff in Hardwick until 1860. Then moved to Cambridge (67, Newmarket Road) where 5 of their seven children died in overcrowded, unsanitary housing, so different to the healthy life in the country they were used to. Frederick died of TB in 1874. Betsy moved to Harston and married Josiah Pestell, who ran a bootmakers shop.
Richard 1864-1937, born in Newmarket Road, and moved with his mother to Harston at 10 years old. He came back to Cambridge (1892) where he met his second wife, Florence Clifton, married and lived at 29 Perowne Street, Mill Road. He died there in 1936. He spent his later life as a painter and decorator.
Alexander Edmund (Ed, Eddie) 1915-1987 born at Perowne Street, his only sibling, sister Peggy , died of pheumonia aged 5. Eddie worked at Cambridge University Press in Trumpington Street from the age of 15. He married Constance Beatric Broom in 1934, they had four children and he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps 1939-45, fought in France, retired at 65. They lived at 110 Oxford Road until 1954, when they moved to 59 Netherhall Way. Eddie died of cancer of pancreas aged 69.
Elsie Joan born 1940, during World War II at Oxford Road. Attended Richmond Road Infants School, then Park Street Primary School. Went to Cambs High School for Girls in 1951, left in 1956 and went to work at University of Cambridge Exams Syndicate, Mill Lane (opposite C.U.P., where her father worked). Joan married Michael Euyene Brown in 1959, and lived at 10 Church Street Chesterton. She had Christopher david, then moved to 116 Fishers Lane Cherry Hinton, where she had Jacqueline Susan. They moved to 57 Glebe Road, and she had Andrew Paul. In 1976 they moved to 15 Shaftesbury Road near the University Press buildings. After the break-up of her marriage Joan married Richard Douglas Punter and they lived at 7 Drayton Road [Cherry Hinton] where she had Mia Jane in 1979 and Eleanor Claire in 1983.
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