February 10, 2010
Ada Elizabeth Plewis was born in 1880 into a teetotal household. Her new husband, George Cleaves had been born into a pub-owning family. The Cleaves family managed the pub, "The Plough and Chequers" in Gillingham since about 1850. That must have lead to an unusual wedding reception!
Poor George died in 1909 of tuberculosis. But before that - in the 11 years Ada and George were married - they had 8 children but only 2 lived. May, Percy, Harold, Doris, Leonard, Ronald, Ivo and Cyril. Apart from my Grandmother Doris and her brother Ron, all of them died before they reached 9 months of age. Despite the shocking fact that she may have been pregnant with the twins May and Percy before they were married, Ada never let her husband see her naked.
A year after George died, Ada married one of his friends. Frederick Godfrey Walkefield Oakley Holmes had been a piccolo player with the Royal Engineers since he was 15 years old. Mr. Holmes was a rotter (at least in my books). Poor Ada had been through 7 pregnancies and the death of her handsome husband, but Fred Holmes didn't want her children around - therefore my Grandmother and Ron were raised from the ages of 7 and 5 respectively by their grandparents. Luckily for them, their Grandfather was a wonderful man. More about him in a future post maybe.
Ada and her new husband Fred had a baby of their own within the year - the intensely spoiled Freda.
Ada, Fred and Freda moved to Dover where she owned and managed the local post office and gift shop.
She was around to see both World Wars. In the years between the wars Ada welcomed her grandchildren to the seaside town. Buckets and spades were bestowed upon my Mum and Uncle Ken. Probably some Rupert books too.
Ada died in 1953. Both pubs thrive today. The Plough and Chequers' Petanque team has a world class reputation and is known for it's live music. Maybe one day...