Travels with Tony 1958-1973

(Anne Rieber insisted that I should write this record)

In 1957 we were a small family living in London in Cecil Road, Muswell Hill.
View from The Hill

We were content to be there.

Tony was working as a Senior Registrar at the Royal Northern Hospital. He had succeeded in the exam to become a member of the Royal College of Physicians MRCP. In a few months he should have gained a post as a Consultant in General Medicine.

At this time there was a bottleneck in the system so that there were too many Senior Registrars and many did not get the consultant posts for which they had been trained.

Three possibilities were open to them.

The first was to become a member of a GP partnership. This was not as easy as it would seem. Many Gps felt a highly trained specialist would not fit in with their practise.

The second avenue was to wait in the hope of eventually getting a consultant post. This was frowned upon as Senior Registrar was seen as a short term post.

The third was to become a consultant abroad.This appealed to Tony as he had wide cultural and linguistic interests.

So it came about that in February 1958 he accepted a post as Consultant to the NIOC (National Iranian Oil Company.)Perzie_1958_325-03
Robin had been born in 1955 and Clare in February 1957.


Clare was less than a year old when we travelled to Masjed Soleyman a village with a nearby oil company camp and hospital.


We arrived when it was not too hot and were given a furnished bungalow with a large bare garden to live in.

We had already started to learn Persian and went down to the Souk to practise it buying Persian textiles for curtains and table napkins.

Buying meat there was less pleasant as the carcasses of goats and lambs were hanging up in open stalls, quite covered in flies.

In the kitchen the first thing I noticed was a large stoneware vessel. This I was told was the water filter. It was to be used for drinking water as tap water was supposed to be dangerous. Otherwise it was a simple old fashioned space.

I was not expected to spend much time in it as we were expected to employ three local servants.

This was a change which took some getting used to. But the one I most appreciated was the gardener. He used a sort of pick axe to dig the ground which was hard and arid. He planted aubergines and peppers and marigolds.

The children enjoyed being in the garden at first but as the temperatures rose it was impossible to spend much time outdoors. We had a big air conditioning unit to cool the house.

We were visited by travelling traders, one came regularly to sell us eggs. My neighbours taught me to bring out a bucket of water and to put eggs in it, then to buy only those which did not float.  Also when cooking to break each egg separately into a basin to avoid contaminating all with one bad one.

We used to have tea parties with the Persian doctors wives and with Audrey O’Donaghue whose son Clive became a friend of Robin.


After a year in Khusistan we were transferred to Teheran.

To me this was a wonderful change.

Teheran was not a city of high rise buildings at this time.

It was a relatively small city without a gloss of modernity.

There were open channels in the streets called Jubes. Twice a day water flowed down them.We could manage well without a car and used the public taxis called Dolmahs by users as they stuffed a few people in going along the same route.

Most shops were small and open to the street and there was also a huge souk with separate areas for different sorts of artisans.

I loved the view of the Alborz Mountains to the north of Teheran and in winter we could visit the ski resort of Ab Ali and we benefited by having normal seasons.

Tehran, Iran

Most foreigners lived in the north of the city but as Tony was working in the NIOC hospital in the centre we rented a flat there not far from the French Embassy.

Before we found it we spent weeks in a hotel which I found very tedious. Chantal was due to be born in April and I lacked the energy needed to keep my two small children from running under the feet of the other residents.

So it was a joy to find a ground floor flat with a small garden and an even smaller pool. Our landlady was called Madame Rosa and she lived above us.

The flat was unfurnished and we bought some items form other foreigners who were selling up at the end of their time in Teheran.

Tony was very happy that he had the chance to design our own furniture and have it made by a local craftsman.

He was an artist manqué though he had a vocation for medicine and this talent was inherited in different ways by my children.

Sadly we had to sell it when our turn came to leave.

My first preoccupation was the impending arrival of Chantal.

There was no difficulty about the place of birth as I could go to the NIOC hospital not far from our flat and a lovely English girl called Janet was my midwife.

All went well thanks to Janet. I found her well 13 years latter when I visited Teheran from Kuwait.

We needed a trustworthy nanny to help with the three children and had become friendly with the Anglican Community in Isfahan.

They recommended Minu Hakimpur, an Iranian girl of good family, who wished to learn English.

This proved to be a great success. Minu enjoyed living with us, her English improved and she loved and cared for the children.

When we left Minu asked if she could go to England with us. She thought that she would in due course study to be a nursery nurse.

We were happy to take her, but a huge obstacle appeared.

It was virtually impossible to obtain a passport and visa without bribery. Tony had a very moral stand and refused to bribe, but eventually he was forced to agree.

So Minu came with us to London and we had another happy year with her.

One day she came to me with a letter she had received and told me it was from Iraj asking her to marry him.

She asked me should she agree or go on to study to be a nursery nurse.

I asked her for some information about him and found that he was like her an Iranian, by race a Jew, and by religion an Anglican.

I said it seem to me unlikely you will ever find so perfect a match but do you like him very much.

Yes, she said and in due course they were married.

At the time Iraj was an Anglican priest and eventually he became a bishop and they had three children: Mary, Martha and Joseph.

They came to England later for a course at Canterbury where we met.

Alas the coming of the Ayatollahs caused the whole Anglican community of Isfahan and Teheran immense difficulties and we did not communicate much because we realised that contact with English people would make life even harder for them.

In spite of everything they survived and the children grew up, Joseph lives in Canada and Mary in Shropshire now and Minu and Iraj in their retirement visit them annually.

Daily life was pleasant. It was easy to shop for fruit and vegetables as traders walked down out little Kutche or street and we could buy vegetables and fruit on the spot from their barrows.

We were near two main streets Khiaban e Shah and Khiaban e Firanaceh, (France) where the French Embassy was situated and also a big Catholic Church where Chantal was baptized. So I did not have to walk far to do my shopping. We also had deliveries from a local farm of their butter and cream and delicious cherry jam.

Image from page 701 of "Russia, with Teheran, Port Arthur, and Peking; handbook for travellers" (1914)

It was a wonderful change from the arid desert of Khusistan.

We had also left the limited oil company friends for a much wider social circle of people from embassies, traders, and not least the British Council.

This was where we met Will and Winifred Roberts who were to become our friends for life.  One day Tony came back at lunchtime very excited saying he had met some wonderful people at the British Council and it had been arranged that I would meet them soon for lunch. He told me Will worked as an accountant for the Council and that they had lived in Iran for a time. They had many Iranian friends as acted as god parents to some of their children who were students in England. They had three teenage daughters. One of them Liz became an artist and eventually married an architect Tony Thompson. They too are good friends and we, Ros and I, see them quite often.

The Roberts lived in a small but beautiful old Persian house in the north of the city which we loved to visit. In the garden was a pool which must have been fed by a mountain spring. One day I jumped into it and was nearly in a state of shock because of the extreme cold.

Among our other friends were Antony and Ada Octapodas. Antony was a doctor and Ada taught me how to make many delicious greek dishes such as Pasticcio and Spanakopita which became part of my standard repertoire.

We liked them so much and were happy later when they came to London for a year. Their daughter Nadia was educated at the French lycée in Teheran and continued at the lycée in London. Their older daughter Ersy married Rick in England and we were all at the wedding in Richmond.

Eventually they went to South Africa and we lost touch with them.

Our cook Mohammed was an agreeable young man who showed me how to make Persian khoreshts and kebabs. He often grilled luleh kebabs minced lamb moulded onto little swords and barbecued. There was an American womens’ Institute which produced a useful book of Persian recipes.

I later bought more scholarly books but this little one provided all the groundwork.

England 1960

We returned to England in the summer of 1960 to our flat in Muswell Hill. It was already too small and we were awaiting Rosamund our 4th child in December.

The most urgent task was to find a house before we went to Borneo for Tony’s next contract.

We had in the past talked longingly of buying a span house in Blackheath. These houses were considered at the top of the architectural tree  in ready made houses, but we could not afford it.New Ash Green

Now one of our neighbours in Cecil Road was a nurse who worked with Tony in the Royal Northern Hospital. She was Clare Rayner who later became famous as a writer of advice in newspapers. She suggested that we look at another development in south London, built by Waites in Forest Hill.

Forest Hill

It was, like Span, built around a central green area with a small wood for common use, the house design was similar but not as elegant as span.

Because of the urgent need to settle we did not look at any other part of London or any other house, but bought the last house in the group on London Road. It was still unfinished.

We were so happy to have 4 bedrooms and a large open plan living space which was perfect for our small children.

Borneo 1961

It was hard to leave our new house in the hands of tenants and travel to Borneo in November. Tony went first by air and I travelled slowly by ship to Singapore with the children. As I was 8 months pregnant it was not easy to look after the children, but there was a charming French lady on board who became my friend and helped to amuse the children.

It was on this ship that I first heard the word ‘bingo’. As we slowly progressed we saw the phosphorescent waters and flying fish of the tropics.

From Singapore we travelled in a small plane to Brunei, a small country in Borneo but the Sultan was one of the richest in the world thanks to oil revenues.

Tony worked for Shell. We lived in a small community between Seria and Kuala Belait. Our friends and neighbours were Dutch, American and English. We lived in bungalows within a grassy area with no fences between the houses. In this way at least it followed the ideals of Span; the architecture was practical rather than elegant. We were raised about a metre above the dusty sandy like soil of the ground. The rooms were cooled by fans, but one bedroom in which the children slept had air conditioning. In the evenings with lights on and windows open huge numbers of insects many of them huge black flying beetles about 3 cm. long passed through our house.

bugging off

The insects were the cause of great misery at first. It was impossible to avoid their bites and in the humid climate many were infected and my legs began to swell, I longed for the birth of Ros but it was about 6 weeks before that happened.

In the middle of the night of 30 December 1960 we drove to the Company hospital. The nurses put me in a side room to wait as it was hours before the baby would come according to the nurses. Later they came back and realising they had miscalculated started wheeling me on a stretcher across the central courtyard saying don’t let the baby come.

I had no way of stopping Ros who came into the world under a dark starlit sky. I later heard that it was good not to be born under bright lights. In spite of the climate which made most babies look pasty Ros thrived and was a really beautiful baby.

We had learned to drive and passed the test while in England so we bought a little car and were able to drive to the little town of Seria and visit a religious book shop where we bought the big Larousse dictionary which I still use here. I like the old fashioned slang which it uses to translate many words. It is a comforting reminder of a time when a dictionary did not include the word computer.

In the opposite direction was the village of Kuala Belait. There was a street of little shops and a large open air fish market. We often bought wonderful unknown fish there and our Chinese cook lovingly prepared them.

Tony was not so happy that after cooking the fish he would take 10 minutes to decorate it.

The Director  of the hospital Keith Sweetman was an Australian. His wife played mah-jong and entertained large numbers with Chinese meals served in the correct Chinese bowls.

Other friends who made life good were Michael and Valerie Quick. But somehow we lost touch  with them after leaving Borneo.

The best thing about Borneo was getting to know John and Doreen Darvell who became life long friends.

John was the Shell Dentist. We found getting a filling not so alarming when we were in his hands, but he was so much more than an excellent Dentist.

Doreen was a nurse in the hospital and both of them were so special that life in Brunei became good.

After our return to England they married and later Doreen became God mother to Tom.

Tony was godfather to Francesca and I to Alexandra.

1939-1944 A little girl in Paris

I was 6 years old in 1939. My father was mobilized and I stayed home with my mother and my brother who was 1 year old. We received gas masks and we were allocated a shelter because our house had no cellar. But life went on as far as I was concerned as usual… I suppose it was the time of the “phony war”!

In October I should have started school for the first time. I was not accepted due of a lack of school teachers. Only the pupils who were prepring for exams were allowed, that has been my first great disappointment. So my grandfather decided to teach me how to read, to write and to count and in October 1940, when I went to school, I was accepted in the second class!! I was very proud!

But by that time “events” had changed. The Germans had invaded Belgium and rushed to the North of France. A lot of refugees were on the roads and many were killed by Italian military planes. Rumours about behaviour of the German soldiers spread: they cut the boys’ right hand and injured the young girls. Most of the people who had family in the country left Paris. But to leave Paris we needed a car with petrol and of course we could not find petrol. May be it is owing to this fact that I am still alive. Because the day my mother got petrol we met the first German soldiers. They were 2 in a sidecar dressed with long rain coats, helmet, boots and special large glasses. They stopped in front of the Town Hall. The Germans were here in Fontenay, East side of Paris and 9 km from the dead center of the capital. We had not been bombed and we did not even see a tank or a gun. They had not cut boys’ right hands and not injured young girls but they organized restrictions: we received tickets for every thing: food, coal, clothes, shoes etc…

The food intake for girls of 7 was very poor and my cousin who was older then I taught me how to steal bread tickets at the baker’s.

My grandfather had a garden with lots of beautiful flowers. The following year all the flowers disappeared and he grew vegetables.

The winter 40/41 was terribly cold. We had a lot of snow – people skied in Fontenay and since I never saw that again – I had a pneumonia and we had no more medecine. So I was treated with cod liver oil… My mother one day had to queue 2 hours to buy 1kg of frozen turnips. That was all she had to feed the family… and the dog. I forgot the dog. It was a little dog which was abandonned and of course the pound did not exist any more so the policemen killed all wandering animals. My mother could not resist and took it home! I suppose it was on that day that she decided to open a shop. It was a greengrocer. Thus she could make some “exchanges”.

On the other hand my father bred rabbits. (I know you don’t eat rabbits, but during the siege of Paris in 1870 Parisians ate rats). The only trouble with rabbits was to feed them. So every week end we rode by bicycle to the country in order to gather grass. (I promised to myself at that time that I would never ride bicycle any more after the war).

To come back to German soldiers I have only 3 souvenirs:

1°- I saw them one day (It should be in September 41 or 42 ? ) marching past through Fontenay dressed with only swimming suits, helmet and boots and singing loudly! ( Recently when I explained this to former German soldiers they said it was surely a punishment?)

2°- Another day I was with my grandfather in the metro and as we stopped at a station German soldiers appeared suddenly inside the wagon taking rather roughly some people who were sitting there, then lining them up on the platform and they shot them. I still can hear the noise of the guns in my ears and the noise of the wagon door closing.

After that day we never again went in to Paris with my grandfather. Later on it was said that a German officer had been killed nearby. I discovered the existence a French secret army called “Resistance” who wanted to get rid of German Soldiers.

It was quite usual to see on the wall a displaying place with posters giving names of men who had been shot as hostages. One of these displays was just in front of my school.

3°- I remember also when they arrested Jewish people. (I saw them because I was behind the bow window).

One of my friends at school wore the yellow star but that was nothing compared to what happened to her family. All her family was sent to concentration camp except her father and her. Why ? I never knew and never asked her.

It is said that French policemen arrested Jews but there were some exceptions. In fact the lord mayor of the town was not obliged to transmit the order of arrestat if he had not signed allegiance to the French government of that time. This was the case of Fontenay’s lord mayor who did not transmit the order and that is why the arrest of Jews in Fontenay was the act of the German army.

My grandfather had Jewish tenants in a suburban house in Fontenay. I used to play with their son whose name was Guy Forget (exactly the same name as one of our famous tennis players). All the family disappeared one night just before the Germans raided the Jews in Fontenay. A few months later Germans came to move all their furniture, paintings, carpets, everything even the curtains!!

Time was passing with not very much to eat, nothing to heat the house and nothing to wear. We had special shoes with wooden soles. Fortunately my grandmother knew how to sew. So she could make “new” clothes out of old ones. From time to time we heard air raid sirens but we did not care. We knew it was RAF or US Air Force planes flying to Germany to bomb them! And except when we were at school we never used a shelter. On the contrary we tried very hard to see the planes which were so high in the sky.

Nevertheless one day a plane was hit by the FLAK (the German anti-aircraft guns) and it fell down in the fields not very far from our home. When we saw it coming over our house we could see very distinctly the men inside because the nose of this kind of plane was like a window. (according to Paul this was certainly a B17 Flying Fortress). The plane touched the ground but when the Germans arrived near it the men had disappeared and that day I realized again that “Resistance” existed. Sure the men had been rescued by members of this organisation.

Some French men were requisitioned to work in Germany. I had an uncle belonging to this category.

To come back to bombardments, only important railway stations and factories which worked for the German army were bombed. I remember one night, (it was the first time my father woke us up saying: “Take whatever is the most precious for you” – I took my 2 new combs!! – and we stayed near the exit ready to run to the shelter. The bombardment was directed against an entire German regiment ready to leave by train for Russia. A fortnight later when we went to gather grass (for the rabbits) pieces of rails were still stuck in the street. We never knew how many dead there were but I can remember that I was not feeling sorry at all!! It’s queer but even now I don’t feel sorry. Sure I am as barbarian as they were.

On the 6th of June 1944 when arriving at school I already noticed a special excitement. What was going on? Older girls were pleased to tell us “Allied troops landed this morning in Normandy”. That was going to be the end of the war I immediately thought.

When we entered the class room our teacher opened the blackboard and we could read the words of “La Marseillaise” and all together we started singing!

The end of the war really was approaching. The “Resistance” became more and more daring. In Fontenay we could see cars with FFI (French Internal Forces) written in white and with French flags, men with armbands and with guns where going without any fear.

In August things became very serious. The policemen had disappeared to join the Resistance. (We could recognize them because we knew them but they did not wear any longer their uniform. It was said that in Fort de Nogent (about 1,5 km from us) 300 SS tank men were about to leave. We feared they’d came down to Fontenay to join Paris. So the Resistance went up to fight. My father who was in the garden near Fort de Nogent explained to us it was very serious. He kept laying down between 2 rows of potatoe plants without being able to move. 27 resistants were killed but the German had other plans and left towards East.

Two days later we saw our first “libérateurs”. They were Canadian and they drove 3 half tracks and were looking for quinine because one of them had very bad fever. One or two days after (I don’t remember precisely) when I woke up the streets around our house were full of American soldiers. Two of them were sleeping in front of our door taking the first step of our outside stairs as a pillow. When I remember that even after 65 years I feel like crying.

One of the first thing I noted was their shoes. The German made a terrible noise when they walked and the American had shoes with rubber soles, very silent and not frightening at all.

That was the end of a 4 year nightmare for us. We could again find food. I was very happy to eat a piece of real bread just for the taste of it. It was also at that time I had my first coat made specially for me (because my clothes were only old ones coming from my cousin too small for her). My coat was made out of 2 US blankets which my mother had dyed. Unfortunately the dye did not come out of the same colour. But never mind the couturier arranged this difference very artisticly.

For those young men who came to save us (not “you” but “freedom” as it said one day to me an old American lady) the way to Berlin was still very long and I am sure painful and dangerous.

Long after the war I spoke with former German soldiers about the war… but this is another story.u

The Yawn

I sat on the bench to wait for the 185 bus. One lady sat there already and yawned. She smiled and said Sorry.

“Life is hard” I replied.

“No its not that, its because I stayed awake painting 5 pictures last night.”

“Wonderful” I replied. She fished in her brief case and pulled out a folder with her pastel works. The first was a nice design, then came a Jesus like figure holding a communion cup.

“oh no” I thought, I’m with a religious fanatic, but the bad moment passed. She showed me a portrait of a child, not outstanding. I concluded her love of painting was greater than her talent.

Sometimes I give them to my friends” she said, but then a 185 bus came over the horizon. The bus was full and I had to sit next to her.

She continued her story “Well I have to put my paper on the floor and lie down to do my drawing and it gives me a pain in my back.”

I remembered that I have a wooden easel left by the girls and unused for 15 years and asked her if she would like it. “How much would you like for it?”

“Nothing” I replied I just don’t need it and would give it to you gladly. I was doing my 2 stop journey up the hill and it was time to get off . That is my house I pointed out as we passed and she got my telephone number before I alighted.

What a yawn had led to… for years I had wished to find someone who would use the easel. I have a slight worry supposing she is grateful and offers me one of her pictures.

1952 Retirement in Park road.

From January 1952 until July 1953 I lived in Austria. from the letters which I received at this time I have a good picture of my parents’ life in Park Road, Pendleton.

On Tuesday 15 January my Mother wrote she was practicing an hour a day. On Monday she had been to Accrington for a lesson with Mr. Bridge who very pleased with her work.

“I had a piece by Grieg which was not very successful last week. This week I asked him to play it for me and he said, I shall not play it any better than you have just played rather exaggerated, but so very kind…

Burgess and Maclean are said to be in prison in Russia.

She asked me about the food in Austria. Britain was still rationed with very small quantities of staple foods. Austria was quite different no shortages, good food in the Moser Hotel where I was living at first and amazing ice cream shops with wonderful ices in hazelnut and real fruit flavours. The contrast in the two countries situations was so great that I sent food parcels home. One arrived on March 21.

During the Easter holidays mother came to spend a holiday with me. We visited Vienna and Triste.
Dad who stayed at home wrote flatteringly to me on April 10,

“If you go on writing such interesting letters we will be having a second Madame de Sevigne, but instead of writing to her daughter (Madame de Grignan) it will be you writing to your Mother.

I had of course read Swiss Family’Robinson but not seen the film, indeed did not know it had been filmed. I fancy it would be a most difficult story to film and departure from the narrative would be unavoidable. Talking of films and books .. I have just read a book by A.G. Street, the frequent broadcaster in “Any Questions”, it was quite good, the title was quaint, “Already walks tomorrow”.

That remark reads strangely in 1994. The letter he was writing which was to provide material for a portrait of him in this year was an illustration of that quaint title.

I had evidently told him that our Ambassador’s name was Goschen.

“That Ambassador’s name is not a common one. I remember as a young man reading of Lord Goschen. He was First Lord of the Admiralty and was connected with Joey Chamberlain. I often smile when I think of old Joey. The story goes he went to America to approve his son’s choice of a wife, a Miss Elliott, if I remember rightly, and approved so well that he married her himself.

I see from the morning paper that the long drawn out litigation between Fergusson of tractor fame and Fords has come to an end. Fergusson having been awarded over a million pounds for infringement of patent rights. The case reminded me of that celebrated one in Charles Dickens novel Bleak House. You remember it don’t you? Jarndyce v. Jarndyce.


Davies / Patrick timeline

Thomas Davies family search

Earlier The Davies may have run B&B at Sutton house ? is this the davies that he later marries?

1821 Thomas Davies christening: 3 February 1822 Whitchurch, Shroshire, England birth: Weston, Shropshire, England. father: William Davies, mother: Elizth
1881 census: Billingsley, Shropshire, England spouse: Eliza Davies, children: Matilda Davies, Cecil Davies, Ada Lawra Davies, Lambert Davies

1859 James Patrick GRO Salford 10b 276/8 Q1
1859 (Sergeant GMP 21 Thomas st,Cheetham 1881 21 yrs old, proposed Emily Davies, Rose Hill, Moss Bank)
1889 records – James marries Emily Ester Davies Bridnorth June 1889 (GRO 6a 1145)
1893 Laura born 30 jan (GRO Q1 6c 725)
1881 Census Davies
1901 Census 5 Church St Eccles
1909 James Patrick buys Sutton house
1923 Bernard Bateman marries Laura Patrick in Barton q4 1923 8c 995
1926 Sybil born
1928 Benny born
1933 Laura leaves Sutton House,to buy 3 Haydn rd, Didcot
1935 Emily Ester Patrick dies in Barton summer 1935 (GRO 8c 603) 75 yrs old born 1860
1936 Laura bought dress shop 23 gilda brook rd Eccles later moves to park rd Pendleton – later to barnes rd bournmouth)
1939 Mr Patrick comes up to Manchester
1940 Mr Patrick died in Hope municipal hospital GRO Salford 5/11/1940. Probate finalised 22/8/41 £1994 3s 6d
1953 Park road big house sold in for approx £1600
1958 Charlie + Cheryl
1971 Laura dies 78yrs GRO Q1 7c 261 Poole

Sutton House





Sutton house and 25 Acres bought by James Patrick (retired Police Inspector) about 1909.
1933 Laura his daughter leaves Sutton house with her husband and children both born in Sutton House.
74 yr old George Breakwell ‘befriends’ James Patrick in 1935.
In 1936 Breakwells move in with Mr Patrick. In 1935 Mr Patricks wife dies.
In 1939 James is thrown out of his house with only clothes on his back.
Daughter Laura was not allowed near house and felt cheated out of her / our inheritance. Had house been ‘sold’ , ‘given’ or had the Breakwells just ‘occupied’ it and destroyed wills and deeds refusing to talk to Laura Bateman.



LAND REGISTRY – filed for first time 1 June 2006 for Rupert Bebb and others.

Deeds constructed but only start transactions in 1936 – no mention of previous owner ie Mr Patrick and Laura bateman (daughter). Deeds possibly ‘merged’ with other property called “sutton farm” which WAS rented by Rupert Bebb’s mother in law who died in 1935. Mortgage by George and wife relates to Sutton house farm! BUT no such property exists!!
The epitome of title shows ownership jumping from George Breakwell (dad) to daughter and possibly back again!

In 1962 some woodland was sold by Noch Deightons Auctioneers Bridgnorth ( 01746 762666 ) to Rupert Bebb current occupant probably acting for Mary Westwood and Catherine Breakwell. Robin Nettleton auctioneer of Nochs and friend and neighbour of mr Bebbs has no recollection of selling the house to Mt Bebbs.


JAMES “James Patrick of 23 Gilda Brook Rd, Eccles, Lancashire died 5/11/40 at 91 Eccles Old Rd, Eccles. Administration Manchester 22/8/41 to Laura Bateman married woman. Effects £1994 3s 6d“


EMILY “Emily Ester Patrick of 5 Church St Eccles near Manchester (wife of James Patrick) died 3 April 1935 at the Eccles & Patricroft hospital Eccles. Administration Birmingham 16 September to the said James Patrick retired Police Inspector and Laura Bateman (wife of Bernard Bateman). Effects £1679 12s 5d“

A surviving relative not involved in the ‘deception’ Jack Breakwell (born 1922) recalls gossip in village that the Breakwells are contriving to acquire Sutton House and rumour says that the deeds were set alight.


  1. Electoral register entries for associated properties
  2. Notes on epitome
  3. Land Registry extract – Sutton house
  4. Epitome of Title
  5. Map showing difference between Sutton house ( map ref 76 ) and Sutton farm ( map ref 139 )
  6. Last Will of violet bebb
  7. Letter of administration James Patrick


James Patrick born spring 1859 Salford
George Breakwell marries Jane Breakwell spring 1895 Cleobury
DAUGHTERS ( of george and jane ) –
Catherine Francis Breakwell born winter 1899 Cleobury
– Mary marjorie Breakwell born autumn 1916 Cleobury
Emily Patrick dies summer 1935 Manchester
Rupert Bebb marries Violet Mottershead summer 1936 Bridgnorth
Jane Breakwell dies summer 1944 Bridgnorth
George Breakwell possibly dies autumn 1950 Bridgnorth
Violet m Bebb dies spring 2005 Bridgnorth
South Staffordshire Building society ( later Portman B S ) probably destroyed records 7 yrs after redeemed.


Jane Breakwell of Sutton house,chelmarsh bridgnorth
Shropshire(wife of geoge Breakwell) died 24 mar 1944.
Administration Birmingham 23 October to the said
george Breakwell . Effects £1370


George Breakwell of Sutton house chelmarsh near
bridgnorth Shropshire died 22 september 1950 Probate
Birmingham 14 November to frederick Sydney Breakwell,
farmer. Effects £1020 7s 1d

Compiled by

Charles Bateman

Paleolithic cave paintings at Lascaux


A story for today which links past and present. Today I heard on France Culture a programme about Lascaux and it set me thinking.

In 1949 I was teaching history to a class of 11 year olds in Paddock House Grammar school, Oswald twistle ( the very name of the place is redolent of English History and Language.) They were eager to learn and I had something special to tell then about. It was a discovery which had been made 9 years before on 12 September but because of the war and the remoteness of Montignac it was known to very few.

I had heard of it on the radio so I started telling my class about the boys in the french countryside walking with their dog when suddenly he disappeared down a rabbit hole, it was a true story of Alice in Wonderland.

One boy enlarged the hole to try to find his dog, found himself in a small tunnel and then slid down into a cave. There was hardly any light but he came out telling the others that he had seen wonderful paintings of animals on the walls. They told their schoolmaster and that was how the world knew about Lascaux.

Seven years later in May 1956 I was travelling in the Dordogne with Tony, our friend Eric Jewesbury and Robin, then 8 months old. We visited the fabulous cave and saw the paintings made by cromagnan men.

Many other people came and the visits damaged the cave so much that they were closed to all but scientists in 1963. None of us can see them anymore, the wonder of masses of people was destroying them. Since then an exact copy of the cave of Lascaux has been built next to the real one. So now people go to this musem to see what the reality a few metres away looks like.

I do not want to draw a moral but it seems to me that Lascaux points clearly to the strange and destructive relationship modern man has with pre history.

April 23 The feast of St. George

April 23 The feast of St. George

Bernice and I are both starting diaries.

I think that as we learn history to find other mens’ experience it is useful to record one’s own personal experience and emotions for future reference, for later on when we contemplate our lives we will remember only outstanding events, smaller ones will be forgotten and then partially wasted as if they never had been experienced.

Moreover it will be interesting and amusing to look back on my own thoughts when I am older ( and I hope wiser) to consider how immature I was and to wonder how I could have done such things, thought such thoughts…

I got up at 6.30, Mass and Holy Communion. Breakfast 7.50 Eggs and Oranges.

Afterwards we discovered we came back unnecessarily yesterday as lectures do not begin until tomorrow.

Nevertheless we enjoyed the International Society yesterday. A brains Trust with interesting questions. We had a long discussion on the equality of the sexes. Sa’ad Haffar was in very good form; Peter (Meisl) his urbane self. Later we went to Austria House where we heard the beginning of a talk on the Salzberg festivals.

Sedgley is astonishingly green. When we went home at half term the trees were bare. There is a magnificent one outside our window. I used to lie in bed watching the moon wandering among its branches. The tree is majestically bare and has two lovely notches. Now all the trees are green and the lupins have grown from 1 to 12 inches high.

Our room is darker…Summer is wonderful but the tree looked more dignified in its nakedness. I wonder if sculptors feel like that about the human figure, and about austerely beautiful Gothic churches which have been spoilt by over decorative carving.

Last summer two Robins whom we christened Alaric and Benny were making their nest in the low stone wall just behind a lupin. I don’t see them fluttering about now and feel as if I had lost a friend: Mais revenir a nos moutons, after breakfast I went home to retrieve my ration book. I read a little of my new book “Art and Scholasticism” by Jaques Maritain.

Had dinner with Bernice, Betty, Margaret, Justin and Hilary, a girl who has apparently just lost her husband after 5 weeks of marriage and who is thinking of taking up teaching and doing the Sedgley course. She has not even School Certificate, we warned her she would have a hard time.

In the afternoon B.B. and I went to see “Between two worlds” at the Regal. Paul Henreid was in it. It was about people who are dead in a ship waiting for judgment. There was one quite Dickensian line in it “with which terse remarks I shut my mouth”. It made us roar. Afterwards we ate tea cakes and talked.

I did my holiday prose at night. Bernice and I talked until midnight. This is probably why we did not get up for Mass on the next day.

Tuesday 24th

Rise 7.25. First day of term.

I have resolved to live my life as well as possible this term. How long will this last?
But I must do some reading, pass my exams in June, get exercise, sing well etc. The last resolution is rather unnecessary as I put my heart and soul into choral practice on Thursdays.

I am in Prof. Cheney’s essay class this term. I am awfully disappointed as he does medieval history and I had hoped to remain in Prof Atkinson’s and do ancient history at which I was quite successful last term. I believe we are to have lectures from Prof. instead of Mrs. Atkinson. If he is as good as she I will not need to grumble.

We still have Miss Wrong – mixed feelings personally I like her very much but I do not think I get very much benefit from her lectures. I expect this is because of the vastness of the subject and my inattentiveness rather than her fault. I went to her room for my exam paper. She was marvellous about it not mentioning the lack of reading which was surely evident, but the writing which as she aptly remarked “seemed to have deteriorated under the stress of the occasion.” Also the English grammar and some of my wild statements.

They are now ringing class bells which is rather a good idea as it stops Mr. A. within two minutes. Also had first Lecture from Mr Beloff in American history. [Max Beloff, later Baron, founder of Univ. Coll. Bucks] True to legend he walked up and down, speaking out of the corner of his mouth.

At French Practical we had Madame Mainfroy. She is rather a tartar actually making us work-disgusting!! She gave me the task of preparing a speech on modern French art for next Tuesday.

At dinner Teddy Usher suggested speaking on Picasso.

B.B. and I went to the park to study. We read little and talked much. Afterwards I played on the Chaplaincy harmonium, then tea with Margaret (Boyle). Later we saw Bernard McCabe in Cafeteria, the first time since the going down dance. He went before we could talk to him. I followed to Burlington Street but he was gone so I went to Main building and found my latin result 57/97 far better than last time but still a III . I also have French a IIi.

April 25th Wed.

We got our ancient history back. I have IIi. Prof Atkinson appears to be as good and rather like Mrs. Atkinson.

We saw Prof Cheney. He is rather insignificant looking but seems to be quite nice.
Bernard was at out table in Caf. for a few minutes. We talked to Frank Coombs when he left. I spent the afternoon in Christies (the Arts Faculty Library) At 4 tea with B.B. and Frank.

Saw Bernard again. He said he is going to London to read for the Bar (Is this right? I don’t know the technical terms in law. My dictionary definition of lawyer is ‘a long climbing thorny plant.)

Bernard also told us that John is coming back on Monday.Hurrah! (late Fr Herbert OP editor of Blackfriars and author of many theological books but at this timer a student of chemistry.)

Frank Coombs (an architecture student) and I are usually very melancholy when together. I wonder whether we react on each other or is it some external influence? I like Frank and feel sorry for him for some obscure reason.

We walked back with Joan Lancaster (a Domestic Science student and a great sport.)
Back at Sedgley MMP Mother Mary Placida the Principal, announced we have an extension only to 5.20. I wonder what is up?

We played some records instead of dancing. We played Joan Graham’s Jean Sablon and my Air on a G string, Ave Verum, Adoramus and sides I and 2 of Mozarts 40th Symphony when we had to stop. (The recreation break at Sedgley college was only half an hour after supper, followed by prayers in the cold drafty Hall and then to our rooms for the night.)

April 26th Thursday

Latin set book paper returned 64%. Congratulations Sybil!!

Max Beloff made a rather good crack. Every time when he has taken his register he finds a fresh batch of people so he said if there are any further extensions of this class we will have to take over the Gaumont Cinema. He gave a very interesting lecture.

Dr. Redford returned out Economics papers. Mine was marked B which he said equalled 60%. He made some nice remarks about it being sensibly written and clear so I feel rather elated. Redford is awfully nice. He gave everyone a second and said our papers were better than the average first year papers of recent years.

Dinner in the Union snack bar. I saw Da’ad Haffar who is nice enough to be Sa’ads sister.

Mrs. Marks returned French Prose in the afternoon. I got nearly 50% (28/50). Afterwards I drank tea and ate ice cream in Caf.

Then Choral. We did some hymns for the broadcast, a service on May 13th. Proctor-Gregg said we sang “Falmouth” extremely well at the anniversary concert on 19 March and “Draw on sweet night” and “Haste thee nymph” quite well. Bernice came for the first time and enjoyed it as much as we forecast. Coming back to Sedgley Park we had coffee at “Alf’s” milk bar.

After dinner we went to the Sedgley International Society meeting because it was 19th and 20th century poetry with a special talk on T.S.Eliot by Maureen Ward. We enjoyed it a lot. Mother Cecily and I monopolized the discussion. Afterwards Mother Cecily thanked the visitors i.e the university students who had been stimulating in contributing so much to the discussion. Afterwards she asked me if I did English or History. On hearing History asked if I did Medieval? I indignantly refuted the suggestion. (It was expected that Catholic girls would be more interested in Medieval.)

I said I was more interested in Ancient and in economic history which seemed incredible to her judging by her expression however she was nice to me and invited me to come again as doing history I would find much to interest me.

Bernice and I discussed poetry in bed. Dr. Knights from the University is apparently coming to Sedgley to lecture on T.S. Eliot. He sounds super I will go whatever happens D.V.

Friday 27th.

Mass and H.C. breakfast egg!

I went to Dr. Niklaus lecture to get my unseen I had 32/40 —80%. He told me it was good as he gave it to me and I was pleased especially as I was the only one he commented on whose paper he had marked.

The lecture was the most uproarious fun. Nicky was in one of his brilliant moods. He told us some people had translated “La Mairie et la Femme” as the husband and wife.
Others had made the whole affair into a funeral. It was actually a the end of the lecture we were weak with laughing.

At 11.30 we got our latin comp. back. I had 48% for prose and 37% for unseens. Rather a pity after a good set book paper.

Dinner with Justin, his brother Vincent, Margaret Bernice and Betty.

The afternoon was miserable. I tried to get books for my essay on trade routes and for modern french art, but achieved very little.

Had tea then went to hear Sir Richard Acland address the Socialist Society -one of the founders of the Commonwealth party and of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. He made a few noteworthy remarks – property has no rights but its owners have. Then applied his statement in the sense that only small owners who work for their property have rights.

He was very elated as the Commonwealth party has just won the bye-election in Cheltenham, a Tory stronghold. He prophesied that the June election would return 400 Labour and hopelessly defeat the Tories. Also that when the British say they live in a socialist, not a capitalist country they will get it. God preserve us from it.

Sat. April 28th

Read history for my essay in the history room. It started snowing in the laburnam tree. Very cold. Mother Placida lit the Gas fire D.G. I found a copy of “1066 and all that“ in the library and determined to read it as Prof. Namier always quotes the title and also as I very much enjoyed Garden Rubbish. I went home, got some money then went to the Catholic youth Conference and Diocesan youth Parliament. Father Fitzsimmons gave a good talk.

A great tea with many cakes.

A debate on “Does highter education create class distinction?’. Julie Lynch proved it did not. S.D.Y.P. report not so good.

Their chairman was hopeless. He never counted votes, had never heard of abstentions and even imagined he as chairman could vote!

Afterwards Margaret Boyle persuaded me to go to the informal dance. I was reluctant to spend 1s.6d at the time and very glad later. As soon as I entered M.D.H. I bumped into Harry Schofield and John Grusker. JG spent most of the evening talking about the Club, John McCabe and summer hikes. Albert Tawil was also there unfortunately. He is most distasteful to me and has a way of edging near one which makes me squirm. This is the first time I have felt such real distaste for anyone. The most glorious moment of the day came when Harry came up and said “See who I have got here” It was John McCabe with a dazzling smile, both arms outstretched saying how good to see you. He had left the University to go coal mining but had changed his mind as he thought it would be too much for him. He was very pale and thin. Justin, Vin and Saad Haffar were also at the informal. Unfortunately I had to leave at 9 (strict rules to get back to the hostel of Sedgley)

Sunday April 29

Mass H.C. I read about the Impressionists in the morning. In the afternoon down to the village we waited for Alfs to open and froze in the perishing cold, but he did not open.

In the evening went to the International Club General Meeting. JG elected chairman because both Peter and Saad refused to stand as they were leaving soon. Mervyn Silgardo elected treasurer, Olga Beck secretary, Joan Lancaster social sec. ordinary members Kurt, Saad, George Bessos and Harry, the latter being also head of the cultural and social committee. I am on the committee with Shirley Grigson. I had been proposed as Treasurer but refused…Kurt elected honerary President.

A hike was planned. Saad rather sweetly offered to ring up M. Placida to get us permission to go. Of course it is no use.

I had a long talk with Peter Meisl about teaching and how it restricts a woman’s life etc. Peter said he is going to North Wales but only a 10s6d train ticket away. How killing , Sa ad and Peter the nicest people there are leaving.

Fernando gave a talk on education in Portugal. Then Sa’ad explained the 4th Dimension to us. Also Newton’s 3rd law-every action has its equal and opposite reaction with special reference to a donkey and cart. Later had an argument with Peter about it as applied to tables.

How is it when weight W is placed on table resistance equals R.
When w is there resistance r. If table is dead matter how can it vary resistance?
Finally Peter said it is used the curvature W makes large curve w a small one (Obviously I did not and still do not understand this and probably reported it wrongly.)

Then Sa’ad produced the problem of 3 crocodiles of equal length starting to eat the tail of the next at the same rate and moment. What would happen? Peter said they would be circulating but keeping the same distance.

We only arrived back at Sedgley at 10 oclock. Warning from Mother M. Placida!

Monday April 30

Saw George Bessos in the central library.

First lecture on Hannibal. At dinner I started by being with Justin, but saw Peter Meisl all alone so sat with him. I think we could be friends if he were not going away. We continued talking about crocodiles tables etc. Peter went on to say he was angry with himself for being weak and sorry for Kurt and not preventing him from being honorary President. He went on to say Kurt did no work for the Club and does not deserve the position. It should have been a man like Alderman Wright-Robinson. Peter also told me that he does not like Albert altogether but thinks he is keen on the Club….

Peter thinks the present committee is a good one and JG is an excellent man but he has not quite enough initiative. Apparently some people have been saying that Peter wanted all the power in the Club and have not appreciated all his work. Too bad! Peter really has been splendid giving every thing for nothing. He is a marvellous organiser. He has been reading Shakespeare and appears particularly struck by Hamlet in which he sees himself and by Othello which he says has a marvellous plot. Sed satis de hoc: reliquos ordiamur in the immortal words of Cornelius Nepos.

Mr. Ahrnt now gives the Monday lecture. I was late waiting for Prof. Hicks to go in first. They do not always remember to ring bells and kept talking until 3 when Ahrnt was made by the stamping to stop.

John Houghton had left a note for me to go to the Madrigal Society. We went and sang four. There were not many people there so it was hard work except when I shared a copy with Betty Handcock who is a great lead.

Then I went to the Chaplaincy which has been miraculously transformed painted, new lino, new cupboards, stove cleaned. A telephone has been installed which works. There is a new floor in the lecture room. Everything works more smoothly since Mr. Wright became chairman of the house committee. T. Coady was playing the harmonium. He played part of “in dulce Jubilo”and asked about my “Ave Verum” We ate toast with Joan and Shirley…it snowed back to Sedgley again and so to bed.