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Family at War The Rowntree Family Friends Ambulance Unit

An Introduction to the Rowntree Family 
 One Branch in the First World War Era

Contents - Index page

Letters from Fred and Annie to Colin

05 November 1914 From Fred To Colin
Details: 11 Hammersmith Terrace
Fred Rowntree FRIBA Douglas Rowntree
Tel Hammersmith No. 268
Telgrams ARCHICRAFT, HAMMER, LONDON
Content
Fred is pleased to hear from Mary that Colin has got there.
Willy C heard from Harry.
Reference to the Hermes incident and joking comment about Donald {Gray} expecting the Iron Cross
Harry says the Colin not quite up to the mark on Sunday - not surprising - Fred hopes he has plenty to do with the French wounded.
Will be pleased to get details.
Fred would be pleased to receive any sketches of Belgian Furniture - the kind of thing you see in peasants or middle class houses. Fred is interesting in designing Belgium Furniture to be made here.
Scarlet Fever among the Belgian Refugees.
Black family on route to Jamaica
Mary called on Winkie in good spirits. - Doodie says Ann has another tooth 3 in all
Comment
Written on business notepaper - note the telegram name.
Colin for Dunkirk 6 days before.

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13 November 1914 From Annie To Colin
Content
Fred was at 123 Pall Mall packing parcels for your lot. Do any of you need anything - cigarettes..
Ella Rowntree and Lady Newman are collecting shirts etc for your wounded. Molly has got article..
You must have got a terrible lot of victims this week according to the newspapers the carnage seems dreadful
Arthur Rowntree to stay tonight. He and Ella were here last week - Joan coming to live in London to work at one of the LCC schools.
Badda ??(Dadda = Fred) Is at Jordans - thinking of buying Dean Farm
Always looking for a house for you and Mary with cheap rent - There is one, Picton House on Strand on the Green but you would be far better this way - it’s a bit dull up there.
No. 12 is let unfurnished I believe…The Harveys have left No. 13 for good
Peps going to get an appointment to boss a concentration camp for Germans so we are hoping he will let our Belgians have his house from Jan to March when hopefully the war will be over.
Comment
Arthur was Fred's brother
Ellen Rowntree was Fred's sister in law
Lady Newman wife of Sir George Newman - Quaker who chaired FAU.
Dean Farm, Long Bottom Lane, Jordans, Beaconsfield

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18 November 1914 From Annie To Colin
Details: Signed as Maman = Mary Ann Rowntree
From 11 Hammersmith Terrace
Content
Complaining about the time letters touch refers to morning and night post.
Refers to Colin's vomits !
How is Harry
Reference to La Doctor coming and insisting the Germans would not get Antwerp or Ostend and having to eat his words
Reference to Houses - Picton House - Black Lion on the Mall Lady Gregories House @ 5 guineas a week. Going to get Mary to look aroung Turnham Green. If nothing else then take Ozel's house for a while - ( Ozel says Elsie may want it. She is only just out of danger.)
Fred is with the Royal Commission about workshops for the Belgians -
reference to Fred Ralph Molly self and 2 others to spent Xmas week at Jordans Hostel
Bought some bargain furniture for Colin
Comment
On Rowntree work notepaper
"La Doctor" may have been Dr Albert Alexander Gray who specialised in ears.

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19 November 1914 From Fred To Colin
Content
Pleased to get letters although late.
Pleased to hear indigestion getting better.
"It must be sickening work when you aren't feeling quite up to the mark. - In fact at any time it must be fearfully distressing - but what a lot your Unit has been able to do. It seems so odd that it took so long to find where you were needed and then for such an enormous amount of work to be waiting for you. I expect you would like to be nearer the front and hope you will soon feel quite fit.
The Belgian workshops are in full swing and making Belgian Furniture. English workshop is in being and 2 men employed. Toy barges for Heals at 25/- each
Ozel still with us working slowly on the Admin block for China {Chengtu University} He has some rather good wood carvings in colour.
Letter contains more details of Architecture work
Difficult to follow what is happening in the war but it must be interesting to be in Ypres.
"The Doctor is due here tonight - so I suppose I shall be up till 2 am listening to all the latest news and to hear from him what the next week will do with the Germans." Say if there is anything we can help Mary with.
Comment
Dr Albert Alexander Gray would have been 46 years old at this time and Fred 54.

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07 December 1914 From Annie To Colin
Content
Hope indigestion better.
Fred has taken on No. 3 for 6 months from March 25. The Fishers leave then.
Further discussion involving house involving Mrs Draper, Linguard House and Mary not wanting Ozel in his top toom. - Ozel wants the house for Elsie in September.
Tell us how Harry, Chas {Charles Gray}, Donald {Gray} and {Wilfred J}Bird and Bob and yourself are all doing.
Comment
Ozel lived No. 3

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01 July 1915 From Annie To Colin
Details: Signed Mamam
Content
Reference to Mary thinking about letting Strand on the Green.
Story about Lieutenant Turnham arriving at No.11 on Sunday night by taxi
Supper, a glass of wine and all of us making a big fuss of him.
He made a speech to Willy and Ada about their marriage then a taxi to :Liverpool St for Hull
1st Leicesters, out of 1200 all but 50 killed and 2nd Leicesters out of 1200 all but 300 killed
They had Zeppos in their camp in broad daylight.
Willy to get married tomorrow week in same register office as yours.
The downstairs room to be painted black - Fred's idea. No one has seen a black room.
Comment
Estimate date -- July Aug Sept 1915
Turnham may have been J.E.Thurnham who was in the first corps of FAU with Colin until March 1915

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06 August 1915 From Fred To Colin
Content
Reference to birthday
Fred has had 10 days in Holland . Cottages are progessing fine
5 sent to an exhibition - a Belgian Contractor is looking after them and can put one up in 3 hours.
Harold Ellis is talking of an up to date cow shed at Scalby for 40 cows.
Will C {maybe William Gray Cruikshank }and Douglas are away
Douglas Winkie and Ann stayed with them for a month.
Hear that Harry and Donald going to Italy
Mary looks well
The Drapers are leaving Kelmcott House for Hampstead as they want their boys to have a university college education.
Comment
Harold Ellis refers to Harold Thornton Ellis son of Maria nee Rowntree and chairman of Colliery Co. Father of Mahlo Ellis from the Scalby / Scarborough Area.
Warwick Draper lived in Kelmscott House from 1905 to 1915, and subsequently at Bedford House on Chiswick Mall. Besides writing histories of Hammersmith and Chiswick, he was an influential local figure. He led successful protests against building a new road through Hammersmith and against siting a gas-works on Dukes.....-

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29 December 1915 From Annie To Colin
Details: signed Nan
Content
Reference ot Colin's old pains
And she states:
"An old tabby at Jordans who talked about ailments and religion until you were about driven mad, told me if I ever had indigestion or constipation NOT to go to Arbuthnot Lane as he invariably took the Colon out , a very servere operation. I asked what the colon was and she said why the large bowel of course.. For any obstruction or exerescence ( words she kept on using all the time we were there) never go to any London Surgeon , each one is more unscrupulous than the last. Go to Collier Gates, he breakfasts you with Bismuth which leaves a black mark all though your insides and then Rontgen Rays { X Rays }you and then he really sees where the obstruction is and treats accordingly - no operations even for exerescences. She had visions before each of her babies were born and saw them and knew whether boys or girls and whether they would live or not. Only one has lived."
And regarding family:
"You will have heard Nicolas was born 1/2 hour after Xmas day 12.30. He is a character and a half. Winkie said she never saw anything so appallingly ugly when he was born. He had enormous fat cheeks with head up to a point no forehead, absolutely black in the face, the cord was twice round his neck and he was almost suffocated. He certainly is ugly but a fascinating fat course good natured lump with enormous hands. I banged him about for 1/4 hour yesterday but he wouldn't wake. He is so lazy they can hardly make him feed but when he does he pulls so strong like a horse Winkie nearly faints. He is not like anyone except a course edition of Michael , so I think the cousins will be very much alike when they grow up as Nicolas will really be a fine handsome specimen. . He weighed over 9 lbs at birth but he won't go on nearly so well as Michael who is marvellous and nearly weighs as much Molly's baby at 6 months. Nicolas is a character- he made a great big fountain directly after he was born and Dr Shuten said "well I'll be damned." Michael sent us a beautiful plant for Xmas - Molly thoughtfully enjoyed having tea with Mary yesterday.

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20 February 1916 From Annie To Colin
Details: Date is estimated
Content
Fred saw Mary and Michael at Fairfax Road. Mary happy with Michael
Mary and Michael came for Ann's Birthday - Doodie in pirates clothes
Winkie possessive of Ann - comparisons between Nicolas and Michael
House been full up for two weeks with the Doodie Rowntrees in 2 offices.
Harry coming next week to join his lot - Aunt Mabel
La Doctor for few days, Teddy for 2 weeks Willy and Ada as Nora and Babe recuperating at Sideot from Whooping Cough.
"I wish you could see the downstairs lot setting off just now for the Hickmans . Doodie in pirates clothes wheeling the pram, Ann dressed atrociously like a scotch highlander tano'shanter and all to match red socks and high lace boot. Doodie is really good, he does hard drill in very hard boots and comes home to very hard work and then either Ann or the baby and Winkie and he are all in a single bed all night. If Nicolas isn't crying then Ann is. There is a single bed that takes up and down but some nights they are so tired they can't bother to make it. They have the office to use for a bedroom and the other office make a lovely sitting room. I fancy Doodie will be going away next week but then Harry will have to stay for 3 weeks."
400 workers have been asked for orderlies for the Mauratania which it to be a hospital ship.
Dadda going to Holland next week
Comment: Doodie = Douglas
Dadda = Badda = Fred
Willy Ada Nora and baby ( Stephen) are Cruikshank unsure who Nora was -maybe a nurse or maid
La Doctor is probably Dr Albert Alexander Gray
Mabel was Dr AAGray wife
Donald Gray also with FAU was one son of theirs
Harry maybe Harold Rowntree son of John Watson Rowntree in Scarborough Fred's nephew. He worked with FAU Jan/15 to Feb /19

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01 April 1916 From Annie To Colin
Content
Discussion about cleaning up No. 3 as the Fishers left it very dirty. Details of people (family and friends ) to move in and in which room.
Joan
Booth
Captian Powis
Mrs Wheeler
"Laurie Rowntree has struck lucky - he was in the Crème de Menthe Tank and stepped out to see why the Captain was so longcoming - he was struck by shrapnel and the tank went off without him and none of the men came back either killed or take prisoner. He was put on Ralph's train and later to Edinburgh where he is still in hospital.
Charles Teddy and family were there at No.11
Ann Betsy and Nicolas all got diarrhoea Dr Shuter says it’s the water.
"Two men were taken and cuffed from the works next Picton House . They had been flashing signals from the bridge behind your house to Zeppo for some weeks. There were 3 of the workers in the ???
but one not caught."
Comment: Date estimate sometime 1916 after Mar 25th
Laurie must be Laurence Rowntree of Scalby son of John Wilhelm Rowntree
Working for FAU Nov/14-Jan/16 then 2nd Lieutenant Royal Artillery Fell in Action 25/11/1917 Grandson of JR2
Joan Hurndall Rowntree daughter of Arthur Rowntree - sec. To Gen. Smuts

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01 January 1918 From Annie To Colin
Details: Estimate date 1918
Content
Harry to be trained at Exeter - ref. to cadet uniform spurs and all - cavalry engineers.
He was glad to get away from Romford although Exeter a bitter pill.
Had a glorious time at St John's Wood but Exeter is severe.
Ref to Teddy going and to met up with Willy and Ada before going.
Douglas passed his exam and was Captain of the Battalion football team
Doodie homesick hates the whole machinery and Camberley -- Denham ok. as authorities kind.
Germans in a bad way now - war end not long now
Joan loves being at No.10 - lots of entertaining
Nice to see Margaret now and then- she wouldn't know yet that Teddy had gone.
We have all got or had influensa
Mrs Powis upset the her husband Capt Powis has to go to India for 6 years. Will send daughter Isobel to boarding school and follow him.
Donald and W.. Soon coming for a 2 week holiday in November.
Nora going to Sidcot
Comment: This Harry is not Harold Rowntree - FAU all War
maybe Henry Woodville Gray born 4th quarter 1902 so this letter may be 1918 although unlikely because of his date of birth and not ref. to war experience
Joan Hurndall Rowntree
Sidcot is a Quaker School in Somerset

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Letters Between Colin and Mary