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In the 1911 census, a year before Dorothy's birth, the family lived in Woodside, Winkfield, nr Windsor in Berkshire and comprised:-
|Alfred G Alexander||Head||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 Alexander||Son||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.
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.
There is a story about George and Dorothy and a meeting in Ascot. A bike was involved but I know nothing else.
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.
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 aeroplanes. 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 it! 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 London 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 more. 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 hospital. 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. Terry
This page was updated on 18 Feb 2010
by Terry Rawkins