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Clementina Hope FERGUSON (née BROWN CONSTABLE) (1894-1967)

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Biographical Details

Clementina Hope Ferguson, née Brown Constable (1894-1967), known as Hope, was the cousin of Mela Brown Constable (the fiancée of Cyril Sladden).

Hope was born on 8th November 1894 at Chelsea, London, the younger of two daughters of Bedford Brown Constable and his wife, Florence Eveline Hipkins (née Turner).  Her father, Bedford, was the younger brother of Mela’s father, Albert.  She was baptized on 7th April 1895 at All Saints, St John’s Wood, Westminster; the family was then living at 8 High Street.

Because of problems with their parents’ marriage, Hope and her older sister, Dora, were largely brought up by their grandmother, Mary Brown Constable, until her death in 1906, and by their maiden aunt, Clementina Brown Constable.  

Hope married Captain Kenneth Bethune Ferguson on 13th August 1914 at Christ Church, Westminster.  Shortly after this, Captain (later Major) Ferguson, who was with the Royal Garrison Artillery, left with the Expeditionary Force.  Hope was only 19 when she married; her husband was twice her age.

To begin with, Hope lived in a little flat at Queen Anne’s Mansions; her cousin, Mela, felt that she had taken to her new life very easily.  By January 1915 Hope had moved to Aldershot where her husband was based.  On 21st May 1915, their daughter, Evelyn Mary Hope Ferguson, was born in a nursing home for officers’ wives in London.  Various comments written by Mela in letters of May 1915 reveal that the general opinion was that Hope was rather young to be tied down and people wondered whether Hope would settle down to domestic life.

In 1917, Hope undertook a six-month training course in midwifery and district through the auspices of Liverpool University.  She called to see her cousin Mela who was staying with her aunt and uncle in Oxton.  Hope said that the experience would be useful to when she was stranded away in the wilds with her husband, and could nurse other officers’ wives and so do some good in the world.  Mela felt it was “rather a quaint idea, and shows how deliciously young Hope is – but still all knowledge is useful, and it is certainly better than idling her time.”  But she did find it ironic that, although she had a good nurse for her baby, she was spending looking after other people’s babies. Mela also bumped into Hope at the university and was astonished to see her in uniform looking quite the part:  “She really is the most curious girl, for she absolutely looked the part to perfection, and really one would never have imagined she could have or would have liked slumming.  The district, her work lies in is in the very worst part of Liverpool, and Hope says she fully expects to be murdered one night on her way to one of her cases!”  Hope was enrolled on the Midwives’ Register on 8th November 1918 having passed her CMB qualification.  Her address was given as Hamilton House, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, at the time.

Sadly, their daughter died in pm 26th October 1920 at Treloars Cripples Hospital, aged five.  Hope and Kenneth had no further children.  In the 1920s, they lived at 107 Albert Palace Mansions, London.

On 24th August 1929, Kenneth and Hope set sail from Southampton, bound for New York; the USA was given as their intended future residence.  The 1930 US Federal Census shows them renting a house on 12th Street NE, Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia.  Kenneth had emigrated in 1926 and Hope in 1929.  Kenneth described himself as a professor giving private lessons and Hope was a clerk in a hospital.

In 1935, Hope appeared on a passenger list leaving for Mobile, USA; she was described as a housewife of The Hall, Barrow-on-Humber.  At the time of the 1939 Register, Hope was staying in a nursing home in Beaconsfield, England.

In 1946 they were living at Macon, Georgia, where Kenneth was acting professor at Mercer University.  In 1953, when bound for New York, her address was given as Mill Brow Mill, Ephrarm, Tunbridge Wells.

Kenneth died in hospital in Dartford, Kent, in 1961, his residence at the time being The Marlborough Hotel, Tunbridge Wells.  Hope died at Tunbridge Wells in 1967.

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