Elsie Louisa Tate

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Elsie Tate was living at Quenington Court during World War 2. She was the widow of an industrialist and like other tenants of the Court, she was wealthy and kept servants. She had retained her house in Surrey and returned there when the war finished.

Elsie was born Elsie Louisa Jelf Petit in 1881 in Longdon near Lichfield, Staffs, daughter of a barrister. She was married in Chelsea, London, in 1910 to Alfred Herbert Tate, son of Sir William Henry Tate, bart. The occupations of both him and his father, and also Elsie's father, are shown as "gentleman", but in the census of the following year Alfred is Managing Director of a sugar refinery. In 1911 they were living in Wales and kept six servants, but after the first war they were in a house called Chaleshurst in the village of Chiddingfold near Guildford in Surrey. Here, apart from the spell in Quenington, Elsie would live for the rest of her life.

Alfred died in 1930 at the age of 58 and Elsie remained at Chaleshurst probably until at least September 1939 at first with her son Thomas Herbert. At some point after that she moved to Quenington Court. There are no records during the war and the next record is in 1946 when she was at Quenington Court with six probable servants. However a local inhabitant who lived opposite The Court recalls the presence of American troops (GIs) there during her tenancy; also a military attack exercise involving the gatehouse in front of The Court. This must have been between 1942 and 1944, during which time Americans were in the UK in preparation for D-Day (June 1944). By 1947 she had returned to her house in Surrey, where she remained until her death in 1957 at the age of 75.

Elsie Tate was used to keeping a large number of servants. These included at her house in Surrey in 1939 butler, children's maid, parlour maid, cook, kitchen maid, scullery maid, head housemaid, housemaid and ladies maid. Things were perhaps a little more modest in Quenington Court, with six women registered there with her in 1946. At least two of these went to Quenington from Surrey and returned there with her after the war - Rose Blanche Kerr and Louisa Lumbert. The other four at Quenington have not been further identified and were perhaps locally employed. Edith Taylor and Sarah Walters left Quenington Court at the same time as Elsie Tate, but Minnie Rance and Elsie Sharpe stayed on to the following year, leaving on the arrival of the next tenants, the Pellys. The source (electoral registers) identifies only live-in help aged 21 and above. There may well also have been day staff and live-in staff below that age.

As for the house in Surrey, two of the servants who were there in 1939, Thomas B Osborne the butler and Typhosa K Cook the parlour maid, were there with Elsie in 1947. It is not known whether they had been with her in Quenington, now undetected, and returned early, or whether they remained throughout the war to look after the house.

As might be expected, hers was a wealthy family. Her husband left 342,820 16s 3d (equivalent to about 20m in 2017); she left 37,392 2s 3d (about 857,000 now). Enough to afford the lease of The Court, albeit for only a short time! It was another family of baronets. Alfred's grandfather Henry started the sugar business. This was very successful and he rapidly became a millionaire. He was a philanthropist who supported many good causes. His name is immortalised in the Tate Gallery. When he gave his collection of pictures to the nation he built the gallery to house them, now known as the Tate on Millbank in London. He was awarded the baronetcy, which passed to his son and then grandson (Alfred's elder brother).

datesourceplaceageoccupationdetail
1881gro,39Lichfield,Staffs  born 23rd Nov, birth registered 4th quarter
1881parLongton, Staffs  20th Dec, baptised
1891cenLichfield9 at home, father barrister-at-law
1910parChelsea, London28 31st Mar, marriage to Alfred Tate, see footnote
1911cenGresford, Denbigh29 at Burton Tower with husband, son, 6 servants, husband MD of a sugar refining company
1920-39erChaslehurst, Sussex  initially with husband, later with son Francis Herbert
1930gro,probSurrey  death of husband age 58, buried Chiddingfold, Surrey, estate 342,820 16s 3d
193939Surrey private meanslocation unclear, born 23rd Nov 1881, widow. eight servants
1942-44locQuenington   memories of US troop training during Mrs Tate's occupancy of Quenington Court
1946erQuenington  at Quenington Court with [servants] Rose Blanche Kerr, Louisa Lumbert, Minnie Rance, Elsie Sharpe, Edith Taylor, Sarah Walters
1947erGuildford   at Chaaleshurst with servants, including Rose Blanche Kerr and Louisa Lumbert who had been with her at Quenington Court
1957gro,probLondon75  16th Jul, died St Thomas Hospital London SE1, death registered Lambeth, home address Chaleshurst, Chiddingford, Surrey,, buried Chiddingford probate
1957probLondon  probate London to Cyril John Holberton Walker, solicitor and Frank Herbert Tate, company director. 37392 2s 3d
footnote
married at St Saviour's, Chelsea, address Bodhyfryd, Llanrwst, father Louis William, gentleman. Bridegroom Alfred Herbert Tate, 37, gentleman of Highfield Woolton, Lancs, father Sir William Henry Tate, gentleman