Who used to live in my house?
We are having some building work done -- to put in a shower, after 15 years with just a bath. The kids are pleased, but point out that we are installing this new technology just after they have 'left home".
Anyway in the course of demolishing the bathroom, the builders discovered that it had been lined with newspapers from 1958. Now, for all kinds of research reasons, I spend hours looking at old papers in the University Library, and am used very to looking at (and mining) old news stories -- but it means something quite different when the paper in question has been peeled from the interstices of your own bathroom.
Anyway the Cambridge Daily News, as it then was in 1958, is full of the celebrations of "Ceylon Independence Day" -- with a picture of the High Commissioner "amusing the company at the Bombay Restaurant, in the company of his two daughters. And there are the usual Cambridge flurry of bike thefts (including the arrest of some unfortunate nine-year-old on the said charge). Meanwhile the Sunday Times was praising the virtues of the New Years Honours List (Julian Huxley's Knighthood "can hardly appear premature"... and the same for Lord Nuffield's Companionship of Honour apparently).
But who was it who had the papers stuffed in to the wall?
Well, when we moved in to the house, we got all the previous paper deeds for the property (they were all going online, so the solicitors said we could have them). So it is clear enough that in 1958 the place was changing hands: the Librarian A. N. L Munby was selling it to Ursula Mary Thorne for £3900 (at a loss, as he had bought the place in 1948 for £4500, and I think had spent quite a bit on new bookcases). But who was doing up the bathroom... Munby to sell it, or Thorne in a make-over when she moved in? As the papers date from January and the sale was in late February, it looks like Munby was re-doing the bathroom to get a better price.
But who was Miss Thorne? I havent found much about her on the web, but she must be the Ursula Mary Thorne who was promoted in the WRNS on 27th November 1939. And I wonder if she was the same Ursula Thorne who died in July this year, aged 98, in Dorset.
Any leads? Do tell me.
(We are keeping the bath by the way, which is the 1880s original.)