Weller-Ernest-George-ErnieMary-nee-Smith-EdithWinnie-living-in-Bury-End-in-1911-
Ernest George (Ernie) Weller, Mary-nee-Smith, Edith, Winnie living in Bury End in 1911-

This typed account by his daughter Sheila Maureen Boyle – nee Weller

I do not expect the following narrative to be a best seller or a world-wide success or anything like it, but if it conveys all I wish it to, to any reader then I am satisfied.  I was born the son and heir not to a vast fortune in estate, but to a life very dearly and carefully directed in the straight and honourable way, my mother and father had taken before me.  My father has worked for his living in various ways from his early years and is still doing so today at an age over 65.  Two daughters have been before me, Edith was named after my fathers’ sister, Winifred after a child my mother was nanny to in her single days.  Then in 1909 I was born; I dare to say I have given them a deal of trouble but neither of my parents would admit this, I am sure I was a very trying child.  The other members of our family are brothers, Reg. Maurice, and Bert.

As I sit in this dreary barracks room a driver in His Majesty’s Royal Engineers, I recall many happy occasions, it took the war to separate this happy family for any length of time but still we meet as often as we can by Gods will.  One of the first times my mother saw my father was while he was driving a horse in a tip cart and for some reason the cart tipped up and threw Ernie (Ernest Harry Weller) into the road and (Mary Ann Smith) who was passing stood and laughed heartily.  I do not know if father would say he fell off the cart into love or if he was more concerned with the hard road on to which he fell.  However, this proved to be the start of their courting days and mother often related incidents of how she contrived to get her charges to sleep and then to steal out to meet Ernest.  In those days’ restrictions were severe on a girl in service and my father would have his problems too.  He could not jump on a bus to meet his girl, he had many a long walk to meet her.  Not along lighted streets but along dark and lonely lanes.  Today a girl would feel badly treated if she was not out every evening either to a dance or the cinema but I would question if romances today are more colourful.  Never the less my parents grew to know each other enough to marry, the more dedicated were these lovers when you consider dad had worked as many hours during each day than many do in 3 days and for a wage which was only a pittance.  If you had done as I have often done on a Sunday morning to walk to visit relatives 10 miles away you would realise what good walkers’ people were in those times.  I hope the modern lady will forgive me when I say she uses her legs more as an ornament than for means of travel.  I do not recall dad studying maps before we started our walks but we walked as straight as possible through the lanes, woods and fields, sometimes through farm yards and the return journey was often made in darkness,  where I had only the dark form of my father to follow and he never lost his way even though the way was through dark woods and trackless fields.  I think I shall always remember those excursions they were a highlight of my childhood.  Another outing we used to enjoy was when father could find enough money, he would hire a horse and wagonette, we had it on several occasions the same white mare fondly named as Polly Perkins, they were grand days, the weather was not always kind even in the summer but we always came home happy if a trifle wet.  My father was a good example of the old saying Jack of all trades and master of none. 

George Weller, Stan Pratt, unknown, Maurice, Ray, Ayres, Les Keen, Reg Weller. Photo left to right
George Weller, Stan Pratt, unknown, Maurice, Ray, Ayres, Les Keen, Reg Weller. Photo left to right

In 1918 the time of a terrible influenza epidemic he was working all night as a stoker in the local gas works, and a pall bearer for the local undertaker by day, while my mother and her six children were ill in bed with the flu; but still he kept going, nursing us all by day doing the household duties also between attending funerals which were very frequent indeed.  At night he would give each of us our dose of medicine, lock us in for the night the key was placed where the doctor could find it when he called during the night time, and then off to stoking all night.  I remember in one week he carried out 2 sons and one daughter from a family 2 houses apart from us. Outside help was unobtainable as almost every family was affected.  Our doctor gave up hope for mother and Reg, but thanks to the grace of God, my fathers and the doctor’s care we all pulled through.

As young children our Sundays were spent usually in the same way.  Sunday School followed by morning service, home for dinner, Sunday School 2pm – 3pm then a long walk home to tea and at 6.45pm we were all back for the evening service, Edith singing in the choir.  To this day we are frequent visitors to the same Baptist church. As the years rolled by years in which no doubt our parents had many worries that we boys were unaware of, but our sisters took a very active share in the work and worries of the family and our parents would be the first to admit to this.  They would go to their daily employment and return to help with the work of running the home and family.  Even the shopping for us boys was undertaken by Edith as the shops would be closed before we had finished work and she also arranged for Willie Devereux to call late in the evenings to measure us when we could afford a new suit.

As the eldest son I was the first to start work and my first job was a paper round early morning, then a grocers assistant for the rest of the day, for the sum of 10 shillings a week, working some evenings as late as 10 p.m., after walking 3 miles with a heavy basket of groceries to deliver and two gallons of paraffin in my other hand, both of which became very heavy before the end of 3 miles.  By the end of my first year I found a better job as a learner gardener on the estate of England’s largest privately owned brewery for a millionaire whose name was the same as my own George Weller.

Ernest Weller (George), right Mr Mead left, lily pond. Assume Wellers Plantation Amersham
Ernest Weller (George), right Mr Mead left, lily pond. Assume Wellers Plantation Amersham

I spent 6 happy years there where I made several good friends including the cook, and Mr Jack Lane who imparted to me a great deal of his vast store of knowledge and experience in indoor and outdoor gardening. 

Weller George, Plantation Estate-
George Weller, Plantation Estate

The other boy Joe Hance and myself had some grand larks which cause Tom Wall the groom to chase us into the orchard with his coach whip. One unhappy memory was the death of Jack Lane and one of the happiest when a new maid arrived Evelyn (Evelyn May Fountain) a quiet reserved girl who lived (1 Sunnyside, New Road, Amersham) only a quarter of a mile from the establishment where we all worked.  I fell in love with her and after a great deal of persuasion she agreed to come out with me, first she would only walk round with me to make the greenhouse fires up but longer walks were to follow.  At this time the governor died, in his will everyone of his staff were left 6 months wages. The boss left the estate to Mrs Fawcett his daughter, who I saw quite a bit.  Evelyn was asked to stay on to be employed by her but she didn’t like her and left what was called “The Plantation” but I remained for another 6 months in charge of the eight glass houses with the daughter of our late employer and his son in law as bosses of a lovely estate, which in my opinion they ruined as far as natural beauty is concerned.  An estate that had taken generations to bring to maturity.  I left with little regret and worked for a fortnight on another estate, but I was not happy there so I left there to become a chauffeur gardener near home.

My new employer the Rev. J.F. Richards he had me taught to drive his daughter’s car and I was given a smart uniform to wear when I was driving.  I spent 9 happy years in this job.  The Rev. Richards taught Goring the Nazi Boar to speak English, when he was studying in England in 1914.  It was during these 9 years that I married Evelyn on 18th January 1936. The Rev. Richards loaned me the car for the day, we also chose our home (36 The Meadows, Amersham) with his car and his wedding present to us was a most welcome £5.  After his death I became a landscape gardener during which time I came in contact with a Mr Fields a retired banker, and I designed and laid out his new garden for him choosing the trees and shrubs and plants myself also laying 4,000 turves. Here too I was provided with a smart uniform and an Austin car to drive.

 Morris Ten. At 3 cornered Stanley where George works and that is the name of the house
Morris Ten. At 3 cornered Stanley where George works and that is the name of the house

Alas I allowed myself to be tempted away from him by a job nearer home a better car and extremely nice people.  I was very happy there but I retained a soft spot for Mr Fields, Mrs Fields was very kind to my wife and our son who I have forgotten to mention, he was now 3 years of age Donald by name and our pride and joy and also his grandparents, and he is a blessing to his mother now I am in the forces. It was a sad day when I had to leave them.  I do hope that all the sacrifices which are being made will bring a life for all worth while and stop greed and world troubles with one nation coveting another, that we may all be allowed to live a life of happy if humble heritage.  Man was bestowed with a sense of right to live and thrive in honest light, but has he the strength to carry it out.  The state of this world leaves much room for doubt.  We fail to adhere to a family tree or work for homes of humanity.  We live in a cruel, evil age and forgotten is all human heritage.

 

Evelyn Weller his wife added this later: –

George was working for a Mr and Mrs Underwood monumental mason, at the time of him being called up for the forces, he was their chauffeur and took Mr Underwood to his business in Finchley most days. I worked for them also cleaning the house. Mrs Underwood used to go by train to Aylesbury and used to do very well with meat as we were rationed, so she always gave me a meal before I finished work. After George was demobbed it was a problem to get settled with work.  He went on the buses as a ticket collector and from that he then worked at Browning’s of Amersham ironmongers, as the storeman.  I Evelyn worked there also in the china stores. George worked there up until his death in 1958.

 

 

Ernest (George) Weller born 29th January 1909 – Died December 24th 1958

Evelyn May Weller nee Fountain born 5th April 1910 – Died August 17th 1994

Both of their remains are in The Platt, Old Amersham

Son Donald Ernest Weller born 23rd May 1938 – died 11th May 2020

Daughter Sheila Maureen Boyle (Nee Weller) born 18th December 1948

 

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