Louise’s Family, Dear John

Let’s have a look at the first two generations of Louise’s Jervis ancestors, her parents and grandparents, both Johns:

  • John Jervis (F) b. 1902 m. Edith Mary Helen Patey
  • John Jervis (G) b. 1878 m. Ada Edith Heath

John Jervis and Edith Patey (F/M)

John and Edith are Nick and Tim Longworth’s grandparents, and Louise’s parents.

John Jervis (1902-1965)

John (Jack) Jervis was born November 20, 1902 at Hanley, Staffordshire. His parents were John and Ada Edith Jervis. The family lived at 5 Albert Place, Hanley, Staffordshire.

In 1910, John’s family moved to Pontefract, Yorkshire, and he grew to adulthood here.

Edith Mary Helen Patey (1913-1977)

Edith Mary Helen Patey was born August 13, 1913 in Derbyshire to Henry and Sarah Patey. Her family lived at 92 Princes Street, Derby.

Occupation

My father was a musician, playing banjo and guitar with a pianist (Billy) and a singer (Gloria Gaye). His stage name was Jack Desborough. He and his partners ‘made it big’ when they appeared in a long running show at The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. But sadly for his career, the coming of the Second World War closed all the London theatres (apart from The Windmill with its glamorous ladies).

All family stories by Louise Jervis Longworth
John Jervis – Louise’s Father

My mother was a dancer in musical theatre. Once she was in a ballet based on “Four and Twenty Blackbirds Baked in a Pie.”  Dressed as a blackbird, she emerged from the pie, tripped, got the giggles, grabbed the side curtain and slowly slid down to the floor. Her male partner waited to continue, convulsed with laughter. The audience loved it but, quite rightly, she got a ticking off by the manager.

Edith Patey – Age 17 – Louise’s Mother

Marriage and Children

Jack Jervis and Edith Patey married November 20, 1935, in Pontefract, Yorkshire. Louise was born a year later.

ENSA Concert – Normandy – July 1944

In WWII, John joined the RAF, but was badly injured in an explosion. When he recovered, he went on tour with ENSA – the organisation which entertained the troops.

After the war, he took an administrative  job offered by a family friend which took the family up to the North of England, and when I was old enough that’s where I went to school, but my father was only really happy when making music, and missed the theatre for the rest of his life.

Later Life

The family was living at 20 Lowther Road, Castleton, on the outskirts of Rochdale. 

John Jervis died in the hospital in March 1965.

Edith died in December 1977 at The Pippens, Mill Road, Llanishen, Cardiff, South Wales.


John Jervis and Ada Edith Heath (G)

John Jervis (1879-1930)

John Jervis was born 1879 in Longton, Staffordshire. His parents were Henry Jervis and Rosa McDonald Jervis. John attended school from age 8 to age 12, when he left school to work.

Ada Edith Heath (1879-1965)

Ada Edith Heath was born April 23, 1879 at Tunstall, Staffordshire to parents John Heath and Emma Bromfield Heath.

Marriage and Children

John Jervis and Edith Heath, both 21, married May 20, 1900 at Wellington Church in Hanley, Staffordshire. Witnesses were John’s brother Harry, and Elizabeth Ryan.

John and Edith lived at 5 Albert Place, just behind Wellington School and Church.

John and Edith had 9 children:

Occupation

Hewing coal – Brinsley Colliery

While in Staffordshire, John was a wood sawyer and worked in a timber yard.

In 1909 the family moved to 13 Kassell Street, Wheldon Lane, Castleford (Pontefract District).

John was a coal mine hewer, the miner responsible for removing the ore from the mine face.

Later Life

John Jervis, 51, died in Castleford, Pontefract in 1930.

Edith continued to live in Castleford with her son Kenneth. She died in March 1965.

Edith Heath Jervis (center) with her son Kenneth

The Times


Nibbles Extra Credit

Meet Louise (Part 2)

Louise, tell us a bit about your childhood

I wasn’t exactly born in a trunk, but, as was the custom, I was carried on stage at the age of three months.

After the war, my father and mother were able to join some companies on tour, and, at one point I was allowed to go with them! I had to go to school in whichever town they were appearing, but at the weekend I was allowed to stand in the wings at the theatre during the show. I knew everyone’s parts, and would stand there, all fired up, desperately hoping that one of the cast would have to leave the stage for some reason, and I could take over.  I was all of eight years old!

A chip off the old block. And how did you meet George?

At the age of 14, together with friends from school, I joined a local tennis club – being, like my father, very keen on the game. There we were dubbed ‘kiddiwinkies’ by the older boys. To us these guys were ancient, being at university. Nevertheless we admired them from afar, and when we were older, were allowed to go to see a movie or go swimming with them as a group.

One of these ‘oldies’ was one George Longworh. He must have been all of 19.

What about school?

A few years later, I realised my dream by being accepted at drama school in London. I was only 16 when my parents agreed, somewhat reluctantly, to allow me to take up the offer. My father traveled with me to London and deposited me in  a hostel for young ladies.

On my first day at drama school, excited but dreadfully nervous – dressed very primly in dark suit, sensible shoes and hair in a bun, I walked in and found a throng of confident looking students.

One stood out. She was wearing lots of make-up, was dressed in a polo neck sweater, white duffle coat, tight jeans, wore huge gold circular  earrings, a lot of impeccable make up, winkle picker shoes – and was smoking a colourful Sobranie in a very long cigarette holder. Wow! It turned out to be Jackie Collins. She was something of a rebel, but a great personality.

I just loved everything about drama school and can say that it was one of the happiest times of my life.

And what happened to George?

George and I had lost touch at that time. I had left drama school and was working all the hours that were sent in the theatre, loving it – playing in everything from Shakespeare to Oscar Wilde.

I had been visiting my parents and had set off on the long journey back on the local bus. Looking out of the window, I saw George walking up the hill. At this point I was extremely shy at coming forward, but in a brave moment, I picked up my bag and got off at the next stop.

Walking back down the hill, I bumped into George. What a coincidence!  I pretended I was on my way to visit a friend who lived near to his parents.

From then on, although working many miles apart, we would meet up whenever we could, and then came the momentous decision to leave my first love, the theatre, and get married. I wonder how my life would have gone if I hadn’t got off that bus?



Sources

  • Photo of 92 Princes St. Derby – Google Street View
  • Map of Albert Place – OS Map Staffordshire -XII.14 (Stoke on Trent) – 1900
  • Photos of Jervis family – Jervis/Longworth family memorabilia
  • Photo of ENSA concert – Midgley (Sgt), No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit – http://media.iwm.org.uk/iwm/mediaLib//49/media-49067/large.jpg This is photograph B 8050 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums.
  • Image of Hewing Coal, Brinsley Colliery – photo courtesy of Charles Snarski –
  • Timeline – some events based on Project Britain- British Life and Culture – by Mandy Barrow – http://projectbritain.com/history/tudorbritain.html
  • Image of offstage – lens.blogs.nytimes.com
  • Image of girl on bus – WikiCommons

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