A hundred years ago today, Dorothy Alice Colgate was born to her mother Augusta, and father Ernest Colgate, in Bletchingley, Surrey. Augusta was the youngest of a large family of Browns, she was born in 1891, the youngest of eleven children. Ernest, in contrast came from a family of four, three sisters and he was the only boy. One of his sisters had died as an infant so his childhood must have been very different from Augusta’s.
Ernest was born in 1881, and he appears on the census for that year; his father John was an agricultural labourer, and his mother Sarah already had two baby daughters to look after. Ten years later John is still a labourer and the three children are at school. ten years further on, and Ernest is now working as a farm labourer, his father works on the roads, and his sisters have left home. Alice is living with her husband and baby daughter nearby, he works at the limeworks, and sister Annie is also married and living with her husband who is a cowman. Ernest became a groundsman, and continued to live with his parents until he married Augusta in 1911, but after the census was taken that year.
Augusta was born into a very different situation; her father, also named John, was a bricklayer. When she was born, before the 1891 census, many of her brothers and sisters were still living at home. William was an under gardener, George was a bricklayer’s labourer, Alice was a general domestic servant, and Edward, John Rufus, Alfred, Charlie and Amanda were all at school. No doubt the family, especially the mother, Emily, was quite relieved that Ellen had left home, but sadly another son, also called John, had died. Ten years alter, there are still a lot of Browns living at home; George, Edward, John junior, Alfred, Charles, Amanda and Augusta. John is still a bricklayer, as were two of his sons, the others are a gardener, two were labourers. In 1911 Augusta was working for two elderly rich gentlefolk, brother and sister, Mr and Miss Noy. Later that year she married Ernest.
Dorothy Colgate, who would have been 100 today, married and moved to Newhaven; after the war she and her husband had a brief spell in London before moving to Cornwall. However the family ties were too strong for Dorothy, and she and her family moved back to Surrey where she lived until almost the end of her life.
The featured photo shows where Dorothy was born; she was born in the upper room on the corner of the building in the photo.