(This is based on a blog post March 2021)
Emma Powell was a twin born 2 Sep 1902 alongside Thomas, in Cross Houses, Berrington Shropshire. They were baptised on 5 Oct 1902 Berrington, Salop (Salop is an old name for Shropshire).
Her parents were John Richard Powell (1871 – 1904) and Ethel Jones (1877-1948)
In addition to her twin Tom, she had a brother John Richard Powell 6 apr 1904 – 6 May 1962. Her mother remarried and so she also had half-siblings Frederick Hill and Edward Hill, who were both born in Cound Shropshire
Sadly her mother was not able to keep both twins, so Thomas stayed with Mum and Emma went to her Aunt. She was brought up by the Lockley family, but kept in touch with others especially Tom.
Genealogists always hope their ancestors will marry someone with an unusual name. Morris son of John Jones, a village shop keeper in North Wales doesn’t quite fit the bill! Morris had wanted to work for a gentleman’s outfitters (Bradleys) from a young age because he admired the navy suit worn by their assistants. He eventually became the manager.
Morris and Emma both worked in Shrewsbury, where they met. Emma had trained to be a milliner, making hats and serving in the shop. Somehow the gentleman’s outfitter and ladies milliner seemed to be a perfect combination. Banns were read in Wotton Under Edge, Gloucestershire, Morris’s Parish of residence but they were married in Wellington, Wrockwardine, Shropshire, Emma’s Parish on 18 Jan 1928.
His middle name was Lloyd and Emma always wanted to be Mrs Lloyd-Jones, so much so that she changed her name by deed poll 16 March 1955, stating that she had used the new name for at least 10 years.
They moved to Wotton Under Edge, where they had their daughter Ann Rosalie Lloyd Jones (later Bowden1934 – 2015).
When Ann was 3 they moved to Bristol (78 Northville Road, Sodbury) and Morris worked in the aircraft factory at Filton. They are at this address with Tom, who was also working at the factory, and a lodger. Morris continued to work at Filton even when they moved to 210. Dovercourt Road to open a green grocer’s shop in Bristol later in 1939. During the war Ann was sent to Wotton Under Edge to family friends, the Beakes’, rather than join the mass evacuation. The war brought challenges for the grocery business but it survived.
Ann went to Exeter to study maths at university and just as she was coming home at the end of term, Morris suddenly and unexpectedly died. In fact Ann thought for a few moments as she approached the house that day 20 June 1954, that the crowd of people had gathered to welcome her home.
After the birth of her grand-daughter in 1960s, Emma moved to Sticklepath to be near to Ann and family. She lived in Bracon Cottage, in the centre of the village, opposite the Finch Foundry.
Her religion was Church of England, though when you know the details it makes you question what religion meant to people. She attended on Sundays but I happened to be visiting her one day when she spotted the Vicar doing his rounds – we had to hide in the back toilet for a while, as she didn’t want him to know she was at home!
When we look at the facts, so much loss and emotion is hidden within the story. She never knew the love within her own nuclear family as a child. There was clearly a strong tie with her twin but she spent most of her childhood away from him. Marriage and a child meant loss of her role as a milliner and times were changing in terms of demand for hat-making. Her daughter had to move away in her early teens due to the war. Then soon after coming to terms with her daughter leaving for University, her husband died. Loss of health had another major impact.
It is not clear at which point Emma’s mental health first deteriorated. She suffered manic depression (now called bipolar disorder) and had several courses of ECT treatment and a number of admissions both in Bristol and Exminster. Ann’s letters to her future husband show the turmoil this caused her as a young adult, and we get some idea of the severity of Emma’s illness.
On a lighter note, on one of her manic spending sprees she booked to go on a long voyage, to visit New Zealand with stay with family. Unfortunately she suffered greatly from sea sickness and consequently lost her false teeth on the journey out, not replacing them until her return!
Old age brings more loss, and I remember her telling me how unhappy she was at having to go to ‘the Workhouse’ for day care. The Okehampton Castle Hospital was previously the workhouse, though not during the time Emma had lived locally. Its reputation though continued for many years! Nevertheless she seemed to enjoy herself there. Emma died in Okehampton District Hospital in 1979, when it was where the GP surgery is now.