# 2002
Young Dorothy and in 1996

Dorothy Edith Alexander

1912 - 2006

Born 9 August 1912 in Ascot, Berkshire.
Her father Alfred George Alexander aged 34 was a General Labourer
her Mother was Rosina Edith Alexander (nee Parker)aged 31.

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1911 Census

In the 1911 census, a year before Dorothy's birth, the family lived in Woodside, Winkfield, nr Windsor in Berkshire and comprised:-

Name Relationship Age Occupation Birth Place
Alfred G AlexanderHead 33 General Labourer Winkfield, Berks
Edith R Alexander Wife 30   Ermington, North Devon
Eva R Alexander Daughter 11 School Winkfield, Berks
George W Alexander Son  9   Winkfield, Berks
Frederick V A AlexanderSon  5   Sunninghill, Berks

As far as I know Dorothy had a normal upbringing, for those days. She attended the local school at Cranbourne. Her Father Alfred was a Carter / Coal merchant and they lived in a wooden house in Kiln Lane. My mother says that she had helped to nail the boards of this house. I remember tails of a pig hanging above the back door. I thought at first that this was a bit cruel but it was dead and they just cut off bits as required. Small house, three children, large garden, lots of hard work.

Dorothy also attended The Royal School, Windsor Great Park, Windsor, SL4 2HP. Later when she was 26, she attended the school's summer reunion.

About the school

Our history commenced in 1843 when Her Majesty Queen Victoria and Her Royal Consort, His Royal Highness, Prince Albert, decided that a school should be built to provide permanent provision for the education of the children of families in Her Majesty’s immediate service within The Great Park. It was hoped that ” being thus brought under the influence of sound religious training and education in its true meaning, that they may not be forced to trudge through weary life without the aid of intellectual implements and tools”.

Since the opening of The Royal School in July 1845, successive monarchs have continued to demonstrate a close interest in its development and in the well being of its pupils.

Even today this tradition is kept

As an extract from their brochure shows:-

  Children of parents who are resident in The Great Park or The Home Park.

  Children of a parent who is in full-time employment with the Crown
  Estate Commissioners at the Crown Estate Offices at Windsor.

My guess is that either her Father or Mother worked for the Crown estate but I do not know.

On leaving school she became a dressmaker in Sunningdale, posh frocks for posh people.

There is a story about George and Dorothy and a meeting in Ascot. A bike was involved but I know nothing else.

Dorothy aged 26 married George Edward Rawkins aged 28,on 9 Sept 1939
in the Church of St. Peter, Cranbourne, Windsor Forest.
George was a "Carpenter" Living in Woodside Cranbourne. His father was Frank Rawkins, a Railway Guard
Dorothy also lived in Woodside Cranbourne. Her father was Alfred George Alexander a Labourer.
The witnesses were ? ? Wates and Alfred George Alexander.
- View Certificate -

They moved to their first and only house in Guildford soon after their marriage, I know that Dad was painting the window frames when war was declared. During the war she worked at the Dennis factory in Guildford. They made tanks and she was an inspector of "brake drums"! She could read a micrometer but did not understand why somethings got through and others did not.

I was born in 1946 and she became a full time Mum. I never had school dinners so she would take or fetch me six times a day plus make a dinner. We would sometimes go into Guildford on the bus after school. At about eight years old I was trusted to get on the bus on my own pay my fare and meet her at the bus station. Monday evening Swimming club, followed by a milk shake are events I remember.

She would always encourage me to have my friends home and the house became the base for the Waltham Avenue Gang. She even took seven of us to London to see the big events at Earls Court and Olympia. She would queue we would jump in when she got to the front of her queue.

I left home in 1969 she had students from Surrey University as lodgers. Dad retired in 1971.

Gradually her work load lessened but it did take a long time. Dad grew the vegetables in the garden she had to wash, cook or store them. I would buy a pack of frozen veg they had a freezer full of last years Plums, Apples, Beans etc. with no room for anything else.

In 1989 they celebrated their Golden wedding a grand day first to renew their vows at Cranbourne Church. Followed by a large gathering of friends and family in Guildford.

Slowly but inexorably old age took its toll, various illnesses and accidents occurred but she took it all in her stride.

Things got to a head at the end of 2001 they were both in hospital and now not coping and the hospital is getting fined £50 a day for "bed blocking". I asked for a "live in" nurse at their home. This worked so well and gave them both another two years of enjoyable life together.

Christmas 2003 saw them both in hospital again, and the nurse with nothing to do had to go. In March 2004 they moved to Steep House nursing home in Petersfield. In April I moved to the Isle of Wight and in May George Rawkins died.

Dorothy lived another two years, never really with it, she coped. She died on 10th October 2006.

Her Funeral October 2006

  My Mum,

      Dorothy Edith Rawkins (nee Alexander)

      Born 9 Aug 1912    Died 10 Oct 2006

   Born into a hard working family in Ascot her father was a carter,
   with a horse and cart, who later became a coal merchant.

   She was one of four children Fred, George and Eva were older.

   She told me how she  nailed the planks of wood that made up their small
   wooden bungalow opposite the brick works in Kiln Lane Ascot.

   Just imagine; small bungalow, BIG garden, one or two horses lots of work
   for all the family

   On leaving school she became a dressmaker in Sunningdale, posh frocks
   for posh people.

   I don't know when she met dad but they were married in 1939, a week
   after war was declared.

   He made aeroplanes at Vickers in Weybridge she made tanks at Dennis in
   Guilford, that's the story anyway.

   The war and a new house with another BIG garden and chickens and rabbits
   and digging for victory and evacuee children. And some nights spent in
   the air raid shelter, Mum, Dad and the howling dog, who didn't like the

   And the babies, before I came along in 1946 there had been 5
   miscarriages and one after me. Pregnant 7 times and just me to show for

   I had an ideal childhood, with a mother at home who would cook, wash
   take me to swimming club, teach me to use the bus and do day trips to

   But still there was the BIG garden. Rows and rows of cabbages, carrots,
   parsnips all needed picking, washing, cooking or storing away.

   And the fruit trees, apples, pears, plums and cherries had to be bottled
   or converted into Apple Crumble (Every Sunday) or jam.

   Latter when I was the leader of the local Cub pack and the boys had to
   light a fire in the grate, she would be in the cold until my little cub
   had lit our fire because his house had central heating.

   Even when I left home in 1969 she did not stop. She had a student lodger
   from the new Surrey University each year.

   In 1979 her only grand child Rebecca was born. But Mum would not belive
   it until the day she was born, a perfect baby.

   Then out came the sewing machine and the dressmaker was on the go again.

   The garden did not go away, little  by little the work got less. Dad
   only grew what they needed, the fruit went unpicked the chickens were no

   It was about fifteen years ago, that she said that she wanted a rest. No
   more garden no more cooking, washing etc. Just a nice rest in a nursing
   home were other people do the work.

   Then to her horror breast cancer struck, and mild epilepsy and a broken
   hip after falling out of bed in hospital, and a broken wrist again in

   But they made her from tough stock and she came through smiling.

   Nearly five years ago a remarkable thing happened. They had a "live in
   nurse". Twenty four hour care in their own home, wonderful.

   I do believe that they were given an extra two years of life.

   The move to a nursing home became inevitable as did Dads death in 2004

   For the last two year she has enjoyed the life style that she truly
   deserved and was able to sit back and let other people do the work.

   She will be remembered by her many friends and neighbours

   And her family, 10 nieces and nephews and their partners and children of
   which four are abroad, in the USA and Australia.

   And Rebecca, her grand daughter

   They will all remember her I am sure, as I do

   Tough, Tender, Courageous and Caring

   Thank you so much MUM may you rest in peace.


This page was updated on 7 Jan 2018
by Terry Rawkins