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Lily MESSENGER (née WOOD) (1887-1969)

Biographical Details

Lily Messenger, née Wood (1887-1969), was described as a “kind of sister” or “half-sister” to the Sladden family.  It is not known how the Sladden and Wood families came to have a close relationship.  Eugénie Sladden’s mother’s maiden name was Wood, but no connection has been found. 

Lily Wood was born at Leicester on 22nd September 1887, the younger of two children of Joseph Griffin Wood, a commercial traveller (drugs and essences and essential oils) and his wife, Amelia (née Foley).  At the time of the 1901 census, the Woods lived at 204 Albert Road, Handsworth, Staffordshire; in 1901 they lived at Oakleigh, Richmond Road, Taunton, Somerset; and in 1911 they lived at Westfield, Yatton, Somerset, though by that time Lily was nursing in Southwark.

In January 1915, news came of Lily’s engagement to Henry Leslie Messenger, a dental surgeon.  Lily had met Henry at Guy’s Hospital where she had just finished her course of nursing training.  Lily was now a Sister in a hospital at Southend.  Lily and Henry married on 22nd December 1915 at Yatton, Somerset.

The Messenger family lived at 47 Rosslyn Hill, Hampstead so, when Juliet Sladden was at school in Highgate, she sometimes called on them.  Ethel Sladden also called on the Messengers when staying with the Sladdens’ friends, the Bowdens, who also lived in Hampstead.

Lily and Henry had three children:  John Stanley (1917-2013), Kenneth Guy (1920-1993) and Margaret Helen (1924-2016).  The eldest boy was born when his father was serving in Salonika.

By the 1920s and 1930s the Messengers were living at 11 Alderton Crescent, Hendon.  Some time in the 1940s it seems that Lily and her husband had separated.  By 1947, Lily was living with her son Kenneth, at 31 Langham Mansions, Kensington.

Lily died, aged 81, in the second quarter of 1969 in the Uppingham district of Rutland where her son, Kenneth, was then living.

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