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Joyce Millicent ASHBY (1897-1989)

Biographical Details

Joyce Millicent Ashby (1897-1989) was a pupil at The Grove School, Highgate, and a friend of Juliet Sladden.  She is mentioned in some of the correspondence between Juliet and Eugénie, in one letter by George Sladden, and in two letters from other schoolfriends.

Joyce was born at Elmcroft, Gresham Road, Staines, on 15th May 1897, the sixth of seven children of Ernest Howard Ashby and his wife, Jane Mary.  Joyce’s father was a brewery director and came from a long line of Ashbys involved with brewing in Staines.  Joyce’s great-great-grandfather, Thomas Ashby (1762-1841), had founded a brewery on Church Street, Staines, in 1796, and the company (from 1899 onwards known as Ashby's Staines Brewery Limited) lasted until 1936 when it went into voluntary liquidation.  Joyce’s father, however, died at the relatively young age of 52, on 8th February 1912.  The family was by then living at Roscrea, Cherry Orchard, Staines, having recently moved from Gresham Road (when her eldest brother, Howard, died in 1919, the address was given as Roscrea, Knowle Green).

Joyce became a prefect at The Grove School in the Autumn Term 1914 and was Captain from the Summer Term 1916.  After the death of her brother-in-law, Major Vaughan, in April 1915, Juliet Sladden made comment that Joyce and her sister had not gone into proper mourning, “only dark blues and greys and white blouses with black ties” which she thought was very sensible.

In a little notebook compiled by Juliet and her friend, Helen Black, in about 1914, there are notes on “The future of The Grove School as we have planned it”.  The entry for Joyce reads:  “J Ashby – Do her duty.  Nurses mother till she pops off.  Marries poor man.  Lots of kids and rather a struggle.  Delicate husband.”  A further notebook entitled “The future of the school as it really happens”, written in about 1918, reveals that, on leaving school, Joyce returned to The Grove in 1917 as a mistress.

Joyce was most likely to be the sort of person to “do her duty”.  She may well have nursed her mother until she “popped off”, as her widowed mother, Jane, died at Wanborough in 1938, which was where Joyce was then living.  Joyce never married and so did not have to put up with the “lots of kids” and “delicate husband”.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Joyce was working as a Biology and Maths teacher in the Guildford area and was also an ARP Warden.  She lived at Christmas Pie House, Westwood Lane, Wanborough, with her widowed sister, Dorothy Vaughan, and her sister-in-law, Mary Ashby (wife of Joyce’s brother, Michael), and her baby.

Joyce died at Robertson Nursing Home, Godalming, Surrey, on 28th December 1989, aged 92.

Letters mentioning this person: