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Happy 90th Birthday Mavis Bullwinkle!

May 18, 2022
by the gentle author

From June, THE GENTLE AUTHOR’S TOURS are also happening on Thursdays to coincide with the Spitalfields Antiques Market

Mavis Bullwinkle

Today we are celebrating the birthday of one of Spitalfields’ best-loved residents, Mavis Bullwinkle. We count ourselves favoured that, apart from her six years enforced exile as an evacuee in Aylesbury during World War Two, Mavis has shown the good sense to spend her entire ninety years here.

In this picture, you can see her standing at the door of the church house in Buxton St where her grandfather Richard Pugh lived when he came from North Wales as a lay preacher in 1898 to minister to the people of the East End, and it was here that Mavis’ mother Gwen was born in 1899. I regret that we cannot turn back the wheels of time, so that Richard could step through this door to wish his granddaughter a happy birthday, but the unfortunate reality is that he died of pneumonia in 1905 and left Mavis’ grandmother to bring up seven children alone – an event which created repercussions that resonate to this day for Mavis.

Yet Mavis displayed her characteristic good humour, amplified by her bright red ankle-length raincoat, when I met her on an especially grey and cloudy morning. And it was my privilege to take a stroll around the neighbourhood with Mavis, as she pointed out some of the landmarks on her personal landscape, because after her ninety years, there are few who know Spitalfields as well as Mavis.

Although Mavis remembers Christ Church (or “Spitalfields Church” as she knew it) when her Uncle Albert Pugh was caretaker at during the nineteen thirties, she did not come here regularly until 1951 when her local church All Saints in Buxton St was shut. “I found it very gaunt with all that dark masonry,” she recalled, rolling her eyes dramatically and casting her gaze up to the tall spire looming over us. Then, in 1958, death watch beetle was discovered at Christ Church and this was shut too. “They found it on the Thursday and it was closed by the weekend,” Mavis revealed in a disappointed tone, “My sister Margaret was due to be married on the Saturday and she had to make do with the horrible hall in Hanbury St.”

Already the rain was setting in, so we set off briskly towards the Hanbury Hall and Mavis ameliorated her opinion of the place by the time we got there. “My uncle and his family lived here on the ground floor,” she explained, “the bedroom was on the right of the entrance and the living room and kitchen to left.”

Mavis told me there was so much unemployment in the nineteen twenties that young men were encouraged to go to Australia and, eager to relieve the burden on his mother, Albert emigrated at nineteen, only to have an accident in the Outback that left him with a curvature of the spine. On his return, he found it even harder to get work until the rector of Christ Church appointed him caretaker. And when he died young in 1943, leaving a wife and two girls, the Rector arranged for them to have a flat in the market building at the corner of Brushfield St. Mavis taught at the Sunday School here at the Hanbury Hall from 1951 until 1981, while the congregation was in exile, and she stood in the rain looking up at the building in disbelief that so much time could have passed.

Then we set off towards the the north-easterly quarter of Spitalfields, once known as Mile End New Town, to the small web of streets which Mavis counts as home and that remains the focus of her existence. Taking a minor detour down Brick Lane to visit the former Mayfair Cinema where Mavis came in her teens with her mother during the nineteen forties, “We didn’t come down here much otherwise,” she admitted with a shrug, “We did our shopping in Whitechapel or Bethnal Green.”

The nature of our odyssey caused Mavis to peer in wonder at her familiar streets. “When you live in a place so long you take it for granted, until it’s not there anymore and then you can’t even remember what was there before.” she confessed as we turned from Brick Lane into Buxton St, approaching Allen Gardens. Before the green field that we know today, Mavis recalls a warren of little streets here surrounding All Saints Church, the centre of her emotional and social universe growing up in Albert Family Dwellings in Deal St. This was the block her grandmother moved into in 1905 and Mavis moved out of in 1979 when it was demolished.

“The Reverend Holdstock used to give wonderful Christmas parties, and I had some of the happiest times of my life in here,” she confided to me as we stood outside the square rectory, one of the few old buildings remaining in the street today. “Around 1913, when my aunt Esther was young, she remembered meeting the cows coming up Buxton St to be milked, each morning as she was on her way to work at a factory in Shoreditch.” Mavis informed me, gesturing back towards the Lane and conjuring an image of the herd.

When Mavis’ grandfather died, her Aunt Esther had to give up her training to be a teacher, working first as a nanny in the vicarage and then at a clothing factory. “She never got over it that she never got to be a teacher,” recalled Mavis tenderly, “and when she used to go on about it, I’d remind her that if she’d never gone to work in the factory she’d never have met her husband, Uncle John.”

Then we reached the patch of green where the church of All Saints once stood. “It was a very pretty church, late Victorian,” she told me, “built at the same time as the terraces round here. In those days people wouldn’t live somewhere unless there was a church. It was damaged by the bombing and once, when the rain came in the roof, the vicar made a hole in the floor with his umbrella so that it could drain away.”

From here, we walked down Deal St where Albert Family Dwellings formerly stood on the south corner of Underwood Rd. Only the the iron bollards labelled M. E. N. T. remain today to indicate that this was once Mile End New Town. Yet in Mavis’ mind it all still exists – the Prince of Wales pub on the corner of Buxton St, Davis’ Welsh Dairy on the north corner of Underwood Rd and Mrs Finkelstein’s sweetshop opposite, where for penny you could put your hand in a bran tub and pull out a miniature gift for your dolls’ house.

Standing outside the former entrance of  Albert Family Dwellings, Mavis recalled the evening of 2nd September 1939 when she and her sister Margaret were summoned to the school to be evacuated without being told where, and Mavis’ mother went home alone clutching a card with her daughters’ address in Aylesbury. Today, Mavis is the only witness to the former life of these streets that still resides in this location and the empty pavements are crowded with memories for her.

Mavis gave up a career in the City in preference to a lower paid job as a secretary at the Royal London Hospital because she wanted to be of service to people, and she worked there for forty years. Her grandfather Richard Pugh, the lay preacher from Wales, would have been proud of Mavis, following his example. The last of the Bullwinkles in Tower Hamlets, she fills with delight to speak of Spitalfields, and more than a century of striving and thriving in her family in this corner of the East End.

Out of almost everyone I know, Mavis could most be said to be of this place. With a self-effacing nature, she has shown moral courage and selflessness in her work at the hospital, and in caring for her mother and two aunts until they died at ripe old ages. After ninety years, Mavis Bullwinkle knows what it means to live, and we salute her example and applaud her spirit.

Gwen Bullwinkle holds up Mavis in Hanbury St in 1933. “Every time my mother saw this picture, she would say, ‘Fancy taking us outside a pub!'”

Mavis by the War Memorial at Christ Church which her father Alf tended. “He used to grow flowers around it and keep it tidy.”

All Saints Sunday School in 1939 – seven year old Mavis is in the second row on the extreme right and her five year old sister Margaret is on her right.

Mavis outside the former rectory of All Saints Church. “I had some of the happiest times of my life here.”

Mavis & Margaret’s evacuation card, 1939.

Mavis stands on the spot where All Saints Church used to be in Buxton St until 1951.

Spitalfields’ celebrations for the coronation of King George VI, 1937.

Mavis in Vallance Rd outside the house of Quaker philanthropist Mary Hughes, daughter of Thomas Hughes. “Mary Hughes came up to my mother pushing me in a pram in the Whitechapel Rd in 1932 and exclaimed ‘Oh you wonderful mother!’ She was a little old lady dressed in black silk, from the nineteenth century, and my mother pulled away in fear. Only later did she learn who it was.”

PLEASE LEAVE YOUR BIRTHDAY MESSAGES BELOW FOR MAVIS

87 Responses leave one →
  1. Jane permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy birthday, Mavis! What a lovely lady you are. May God bless you.

  2. Frances Homan Jue permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Dear Mavis – MANY congratulations on your birthday and your wonderful lifelong achievements, faithfully and beautifully detailed, as always, by the Gentle Author. I also love your very stylish red ensemble! With best wishes for a splendid rest of your birthday year!

  3. James Harris permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy birthday and many happy returns Mavis.
    All the best wishes in the world to you.
    James Harris

  4. Irene Potter permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Many happy returns Mavis. What a fantastic walk down memory lane. You look wonderful and I love your outfit. Thank you for sharing your family history and delighting me with a glimpse of the past. Congratulations on this magnificent milestone. 👏

  5. Susan Levinson permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Congratulations, Mavis! You look *fantastic* for 90, and I hope you have many more years of happiness & good health. Have a wonderful day!

    Greetings from New York City –
    Susan Levinson

  6. Lisa Vining permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy birthday from Texas!

  7. Eva Browne permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Wishing you a very happy birthday, Mavis! It has been fascinating to read of your wonderful life and service in this lovely area. Your memories have helped to bring the area to life from me, as I only lived there for about six weeks in the 1970’s. I loved reading about your happiest days being in the Rectory. You must have had great fun there with all your friends, in this close knit community. You have obviously been a great treasure to many people. May God continue to bless you in the years ahead, and Happy Birthday, Mavis!!

  8. Helen Morris permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy, happy birthday dear Mavis! I remember the joy and sunshine you brought into Christchurch Primary School whenever you came in to volunteer, thank you! Wishing you many more years of good health and happiness xxx

  9. Pauline St Clair permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Have a great birthday Mavis. Fascinating memories.

  10. Vera White permalink
    May 18, 2022

    I so enjoyed reading the memories that Mavis has vividly recalled of her life living in Spitalfields. The photographs and pictures are great too. More please, Mavis!

    Marvellous Mavis, resplendent in red, thank you for sharing a glimpse of your life with us.
    I wish you a very Happy 90th Birthday today. Have a wonderful day.

    I feel very inspired, thank you!

  11. May 18, 2022

    A very special life story, indeed. The great coronation ceremony of King George must have been sensational, even for the children!

    Congratulations, Mavis Bullwinkle, on your 90th birthday and many happy years to come.

    Love & Peace
    ACHIM

  12. Andy Willoughby permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy Birthday Mavis, I hope you have a lovely one, and many more. You look splendid and fit for another twenty, at least! ❤️❤️❤️

  13. Alison Lynch permalink
    May 18, 2022

    What a wonderful article. Thank you.
    Wishing Mavis Bullwinkle a very happy birthday.

    Alison xx

  14. Sally permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy birthday Mavis! What a wonderful life you are having.
    You look beautiful in your splendid red coat

  15. Sharon Joste permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy birthday Mavis! Lovely to read your personal history of the area, Thankyou!

  16. Howard Davies permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Dear Mavis,
    Wishing you a very happy 90th birthday- inspired by reading about your life and that of your family. You look amazing i your red coat. Many happy returns – Howard.

  17. Jeanie permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy Birthday Mavis. And thank you for this wonderful post and great photographs.
    It’s also my daughters’s 36th birthday today. I’ll forward you to her! And you’ll be an inspiration. Have a lovely day. Best wishes. Jeanie

  18. May 18, 2022

    Happy Birthday Mavis! Thank you for sharing your story with us, and I hope you have a wonderful day.

    Vivienne

  19. Gordon Macniven permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy Birthday Mavis – enjoy your day!!!

  20. Susan martin permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Wow! This lady looks 20 years younger than her actual age! Fantastic red coat too. Happy Birthday!

  21. Julie permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Mavis
    Happy 90th birthday
    What a full and interesting life so far. Many there be more years to enjoy.
    I adore that red raincoat – as bright as you look
    Many happy returns
    Julie

  22. Amanda permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Congratulations Mavis B – so stylish and so pretty at 90.

    All those years ago your mother too had a beaming, radiant smile for her baby, sporting a chic identical ankle-length coat. (and so taken with her that she did not realise mother and child were ‘loitering’ outside a pub)

    So lovely to read your very happy recollections and of your contented longevity in a place you can truly call your forever home.

  23. Spencer Smith permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy 90th Mavis, you look amazing!

  24. Philippa Maw permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy Birthday Mavis!
    I loved reading about your life.
    Xx

  25. Beatrice Frei permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Wishing you a very happy special birthday, dear Mavis. You are an inspiration and made my day.
    Take care and keep smiling.
    Love
    Beatrice

  26. Deborah Merrett permalink
    May 18, 2022

    90 years young! Happy birthday Mavis. What a stylish lady! What an interesting life! Enjoy your birthday. Very best wishes, Deborah.

  27. Andy Rider permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy Birthday Mavis
    Sorry not to celebrate with you in person.
    Much love and congratulations from Crete.
    Andy & Carol

  28. Carol Himmelman-Christopher permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy Birthday, Miss Bullwinkle! May there be many, many happy returns of this day. I so enjoy seeing Spittalfields through your memories. So much rich history to enjoy through your life experiences. Thank you for so generously sharing with us all. Warmest regards and wishes for a beautiful day.

  29. May 18, 2022

    Happy 90th birthday Mavis.
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful story and memories with us.
    Wishing you many more happy years in Spitalfields, you look amazing for your age!

  30. Dorothy Druitt permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy Birthday Mavis, what a wonderful portrait of you, both the photograph and the narrative of such an interesting life. I can hardly imagine the cows being walked down the street to be milked, and your mother’s comment about the photo being taken outside a pub made me smile as it is just the sort of thing my mother, another East End girl, would have said.
    Many happy returns

  31. Ian hilton permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Wishing you a very happy 90th birthday Mavis.
    Enjoy your very special day you lovely lady xxx
    Ian Hilton

  32. Linda Hird permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Many happy returns of the day Mavis. You’re a
    Wonderful lady – and a Londoner born’n’bred!
    All blessings xL

  33. Roger Tiller permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Have a great Birthday Mavis and lots more.
    X Roger

  34. Cherub permalink
    May 18, 2022

    I would never have thought Mavis was 90, she looks 20 years younger in her fabulous red trench coat. Her youthfulness and joy are a sign of a life well lived. I hope she has many more happy birthdays.

  35. Ros permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy special birthday Mavis and many congratulations!

  36. Helen permalink
    May 18, 2022

    God bless you Mavis on your 90th Birthday. I hope you will have a fantastic time celebrating with your family and friends.

    Thank you for sharing snippets of your interesting life with us.

  37. Jane permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy Birthday Mavis – hoping you have a wonderful day.

    This is such an interesting account of a fascinating life. It is wonderful to read the details of much earlier decades and ‘healthier’ times (despite many difficulties for so many people).

    You look very tremendous! So fit, lovely smile, gorgeous dress sense – an example to us all.

    What a lovely photograph of you as a baby outside the pub with your mother.

    Warm wishes for many more healthy years.
    Jane

  38. Sylvia Duff permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Congratulations Mavis. May you have many more happy years to come. Your life story and knowledge are fascinating. What a lovely lady you are. God bless you. 🙏

  39. Jim Keltz permalink
    May 18, 2022

    What a wonderful tribute. A very happy birthday, auntie Mavis. See you in Prawle soon,I hope. Jim

  40. Jill Wilson permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy birthday Mavis! I hope you have a great day… x

  41. John C. Miles permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy 90th birthday Mavis. We met many times when I was a server at St James Garlickhythe – and how well I remember your smile, positive outlook and wonderful fashion sense. You are truly an inspiration to us all! With all best wishes, John xx

  42. Leonie permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy birthday Mavis
    All the very best for your year ahead .
    Kind regards
    Leonie

  43. Pauline Taylor permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy Birthday Mavis. How attractive you look in your lovely red coat it is hard to believe that you are 90 years old. I hope you will have a great day and thank you for sharing your memories with us.

  44. Nita Heaton-Harris permalink
    May 18, 2022

    A very happy birthday Mavis you look great

  45. Joan permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy Birthday Mavis. I know the value of people who have lived in the same location for many years – you are able to remind the rest of us of the lives lived in the place we now call home. I have neighbours who at 90 have lived in the same house for 67 years and another, now in his 80s, who has had the same address since he was a toddler in 1938 (his family appear in the 1939 government register). They have all added such richness to my understanding of our Stratford Victorian terraced street – which was particularly important when lockdowns constrained us to the very local. I find myself walking down it sometimes and silently greeting the long dead who I have been told about, or read about in the census.

  46. Mary permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Wishing you a very happy 90th birthday Mavis and many more to come!
    You are a true East Ender. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful memories with us.
    With very best wishes, Mary

  47. Mandy Thorne permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Congratulations Mavis on your 90th birthday. You look amazing!
    Hope you have a magical day. X

  48. May 18, 2022

    Happy birthday, Mavis. I enjoyed reading your memories, and I cannot believe you are 90. You look amazing!

  49. Lorraine permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Many happy returns Ms Bullwinkle. Lovely stories but also sad that you are the last of the Spitalfields Bullwinkles. I am distantly related to you by marriage! My great grandmother’s sister Johanna Behnken married Heinrich (Henry) Bullwinkle/Bullwinkel (mid-19th century German immigrant families). I’m going to try to find out how our families are linked. We’d love to hear more stories of your time in Spitalfields and your family.

  50. Jan Dewhurst permalink
    May 18, 2022

    I am so proud to know you Mavis.
    Your loyalty to your Christian heritage and values are inspirational
    Happy Birthday dear friend

  51. Mark permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy birthday Mave!
    Great story.

  52. Josephine Eglin permalink
    May 18, 2022

    You look fabulous, Mavis. Have a very happy birthday. I hope it comes with lots of cake. Thank you for sharing your fascinating memories. I love the photograph of you with your mother.

  53. Rupert Neil Bumfrey permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Well Mavis, not too sure when or where you will read this, I send my very best wishes to you from Somerset.
    TGA has done you proud over the years, always a delight to read one of his pen-portraits.
    Rupert

  54. May 18, 2022

    Have a wonderful birthday, Mavis…you really are an advert for London life

  55. Pauline Causton permalink
    May 18, 2022

    I have tried 3 times to send a message. Happy Birthday precious friend. I will see you later to celebrate. You are witty, fun and young at heart. Love you lots. Pauline xx

  56. Sue permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Wishing Mavis a Very Happy Birthday and many more of them.
    Lovely to hear her story.

  57. David O'Brien Jr permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happiest of days, Mavis. Your photograph and story brightened my day. God bless.

    From Fort Worth, Texas
    David

  58. Philippa J Barrett permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy 90th Birthday Mavis, you look great for 90 ! Lovely hearing your memories.
    Have a lovely birthday
    Pip xx

  59. Dudley Duiaper permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy Birthday to Mavis. My mother’s family, lived in Buxton St from the 1850s and from about 1919 to 1965, at 1 and 2 Albert Dwellings. The parents George and Liz Saunders met in the Prince of Wales where Liz was a servant. I am sure you knew my mother Talitha (Tilly), her sister Dorothy (Dolly) and their 3 brothers George, John and Charlie. They all went to All Saints School. Dolly was a year or two older than you and I imagine they were all at the 1937 party. Tilly and Dolly would have been evacuated when you were, but their dad kept them at home for a year or two so they were sent to Cornwall instead of Aylesbury. Charlie mentioned Finkelstein’s sweet shop many times. I visited my grandparents at Albert Dwellings in the 1950s and 1960s, and I went back with a camera in 1985 but the church, the school, the Prince of Wales and the dwellings had all gone. I did snap the rectory where you are standing in Buxton Street, the Two Brewers and the brewery. If my mother were still living, she would join me in wishing you happy returns.

  60. Rondeau Baker permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Hello Mavis!

    Happy 90th Birthday from Whitby, Ontario, Canada!

    Cheers to you on your marvellous milestone.

    You are looking great!

    Our family has a connection with Christ Church too.

    Rondeau Baker

  61. Maria Rogers permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happiest of birthdays, Mavis, and thank you for sharing your memories! With appreciation and congratulations from Wisconsin, Maria Rogers

  62. May 18, 2022

    Happy Birthday, Mavis! If ever there was a person whose spirit shows in their countenance, it must be you. Many, many happy returns!

  63. Teresa O Clark permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Mavis, What love and dedication you have given to so many people. I have loved reading this post and I wish you a very special birthday surrounded by love and fun. (and you look so stylish in that red coat)

    best wishes from Virginia,
    Teresa Clark

  64. Tony Glover permalink
    May 18, 2022

    You look great and are a connection to a world I hear about as a child. Happy birthday from Mexico!

  65. gkbowood permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Best Birthday Wishes to the youngest looking 90 year old on the planet! Would that we could all be like her with our minds and bodies still in fine fettle. Thanks for sharing all those wonderful memories and hope you get to make lots more in the years to come.

  66. nora permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Mavis!
    Best wishes from Ottawa, Canada for a very happy birthday.

  67. Barbara Rose permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy Birthday to you Mavis!

    Everybody is saying how young and wonderful you look in your red coat and I am saying it too!

    It has been joyful to read about your life in the East End and to see all of the photographs.

  68. J. Kerr permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy 90th Birthday, Mavis! Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your life.

  69. Lee martin permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy birthday Mavis you look Incredible 😊hope you have many more birthdays too come

  70. Lorraine Whebell permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Many Happy Returns Mavis on your 90th Birthday 🎂 🥳
    Xx

  71. Richard Kirker permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Sure you weren’t a catwalk fashion model as well Mavis?! Great dress sense. Happy birthday and thanks for sharing your life here.

  72. Colin Eastaugh permalink
    May 18, 2022

    Happy birthday, an uplifting article about an uplifting individual. Many happy returns.

  73. Maria permalink
    May 19, 2022

    Happy Birthday Mavis 🎂🎉. Thank you for sharing your stories. Sending you well wishes from Los Angeles, California, USA

  74. Bill Goodall permalink
    May 19, 2022

    Birthday Blessings on you, Mavis. You remain a wonderful Christian example to us all. From Bill and Alice (the Crypt in the 1970s and now retired in Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia).

  75. Biddy permalink
    May 19, 2022

    Happy Birthday dear Lady. I loved reading your story. Many more healthy years to you. 🙂

  76. Tricia Kelly permalink
    May 19, 2022

    Happy Birthday Mavis. You are the splendid embodiment of a very special part of town and I hope you have many more years to celebrate.

  77. Jim M. permalink
    May 19, 2022

    Happy Birthday, Mavis.

    Resplendent in red, long may you continue to walk and talk among us.

  78. Miriam McDonald permalink
    May 19, 2022

    Happy Birthday, Mavis. You are a stylish and fine looking woman! Thank you sharing your memories of Spitalfields. Best Wishes and many happy returns. Miriam xx

  79. Carol Harrison permalink
    May 19, 2022

    Dear Mavis – I can only echo all of the above; both the compliments and the good wishes for your birthday and future. Happy Birthday.

  80. May 19, 2022

    I hope you had a very happy birthday Mavis. I love your outfit almost as much as your spirit. A true inspiration to us all. Thank you xxx

  81. Nigel permalink
    May 19, 2022

    Dear birthday girl Mavis , 🎂🍰🎉🎊 I’ll raise a glass to your health and happiness 🍾🥂 Happy Birthday 🌹

  82. Nicky Webb permalink
    May 19, 2022

    What a pleasure to read about your long and eventful life, Mavis Bullwinkle! I wouldn’t have put you a day over 70 in that fabulous coat. Congratulations, and here’s to many more birthdays!

  83. Ruth Richardson permalink
    May 19, 2022

    Wishing you a very happy birthday, Mavis! The Gentle Author has given us all a treat with this lovely portrait of you. I am full of appreciation of the years you have lived, and the changes you have seen, and of your love of life, and cheerful optimism – embodied in your smile and your lovely red raincoat. May you have many more healthy and happy years yet! You are so right about the many families that kept themselves immaculately clean, despite the slum conditions. Very hard work, as you say… but it shows in the family photo. You also describe very well the sensation of missing buildings, knowing something has gone. Too much of that, ever since the Blitz!
    I would like to hear your recollections of Aylesbury, and of the London Hospital.
    Sending you warmest wishes.

  84. Nichola Snudden permalink
    May 20, 2022

    Wishing you a very happy birthday Mavis! Hope you celebrated well!
    Thank you for sharing your fascinating photos and memories 😍

  85. Leah permalink
    May 20, 2022

    Happy Birthday Mavis! Thank you for allowing The Gentle Author to share your story. As everyone is saying, I am also in disbelief that you are 90 – you radiate such youthful energy – what an inspiration and asset you are to Spitalfields.

    Wishing you a wonderful 90th year in our neighbourhood.

  86. Carol Hinchliff permalink
    June 7, 2022

    Happy 90th Birthday from Canada, Mavis. You are amazing!

  87. Marcia Howard permalink
    June 20, 2022

    She sounds, and looks AMAZING! Happy belated birthday Mavis.

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