Tenants at No 42

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TENANTS OF NO. 42

Granny Gardner, lived originally at No. 43 which was originally called Vine Cottage because of a grape vine growing against the wall.

It was as Miss Margaret Elizabeth Bennett, related to the Bennetts and Bambrooks of Clifford, she met and married Mr. Gardner, a sign writer, at Oxford. Their son Bert (Herbert) was born there, but when he was still very small, they moved to No. 42 Clifford Chambers. It is thought they moved into her granny's house for Margaret Clifford (nee Gardner)has always been led to believe that she is the fifth generation to live in that house. - fifth generation of Bennets and Bambrooks as her Grandad Gardner, of course, came from Oxford!

Tragedy struck the family during the first few years of their life together at Clifford. Young Mr. Gardner tackled the hedge in the back garden and a few hours later, died suddenly of a heart attack. His widow was left with two small children (Bert was only 5). In desperation she took the only job going – doing laundry for people in Stratford.

Every Saturday, she would fill the little cart she had, with clean laundry, and push it all the way to Stratford, and delivered it to the houses. To begin with, her small children went with her until they started school, though, during holidays they helped her. On Mondays she collected the dirty washing and brought it to Clifford for washing and ironing. Years later, when her daughter married and lived in Stratford, she would stay in Stratford for Sunday and have a day of rest.

The house, at the time of her husband's death, consisted downstairs of a living room, and the minutest kitchen,. Rev. Pippet, who owned this house and the adjoining one, heard of her plight and had a lovely large kitchen built at the rear, and all day Monday to Friday, the kitchen was hung with washing – during the winter.

Margaret Elizabeth Gardner did the laundry for Stratford until she was in her 60's and then she slowed down a bit. She dropped the Stratford laundry and just dealt with Clifford laundry, tackling, amongst other things, Miss Weldon's black riding habit and Col. Rees Mogg's white hunting gear. The latter was white cord trousers – several pairs a week and not a mark must be seen on them. Margaret Elizabeth and her grand-daughter Margaret, scrubbed those trousers regularly until they were spotless.

At the age of 70, Margaret Elizabeth broke her wrist and the laundry was given up, but when she was dying aged 92, she relived those days again and her son and grand-daughter had great difficulty in keeping her in bed as she imagined the laundry had to be done.

Margaret her grand-daughter, married Ted Clifford, and when I arrived in the village in 1965, she and Ted had been living there many many years. Yet, those early years stuck in people's minds, and she was always referred to as Margaret Gardner. I did, - thinking Ted was her lodger – until I found out who he was.

Ted was – and still is – a keen gardener, and the garden both front and back has always looked a delight, but only a little washing is seen on the line now – just once a week. In this aerial view of the village taken in 1938, can you spot Granny Gardner's washing blowing in her back garden? Photo -Aerial view of Clifford Chambers 1938