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Green family: 1st generation - my mother

Mary Susan Green


Mary was born 21 dec 1914 at 38 Gladstone Street, Thornaby-on-Tees Middlesbrough, North Riding of Yorkshire.  Her father was James Green, bricklayer at ironworks and her mother Mary Isabel Bell (formerly Adamthwaite)  (source Birth Certificate)


Mary attended the Roman Catholic school in Norton with her brothers and sister.  She came to London in the 1930s and worked at a department store in Oxford Street, living in a flat in Finchley Road at Child’s Hill.


During the war, Mary worked at the UK Optical Factory in Mill Hill and before her marriage was living in a flat at the Quadrant in Hendon. She married Leonard Ward on 19 August 1940 at Hampstead Town Hall and they moved straight into the flat at 51 Grosvenor Road. I was born in 1947 at a nursing home near Whitestone Pond in Hampstead, after my mum had walked up there in the morning for an antenatal check, walked home and then gone into labour and walked back again*; and it was standard practice for all new mothers to stay in hospital for two weeks.  As a child, I pleaded for a baby brother or sister, but my parents refused point blank - perhaps her first experience when having me put her off!

* Google maps tells me the distance is 3.7 miles each way and would take about an hour and a quarter to walk (I'm guessing they are not talking about a heavily pregnant lady!)


Following Len’s retirement in 1975, they realised their dream and moved to Cornwall, where they lived happily for thirty years.  While Len kept himself occupied with his photography and workshop, Mary spent her days creating her perfect garden and furnishing their  house.  


Mary died on 24th Sept 2005 at the Alexandra Nursing Home, where she had been living for some time following a series of strokes which caused vascular dementia.  

wedding mary and en 1

I only recently came across this wonderful photo  of Mary, her brother Bill and parents Jim and Mary Isabella amongst a box of my father's photos - it was labelled 'Stockton 1939' and I THINK this illustrates the reaction my dad received when they drove up to Mary's home to ask her father's permission to marry! My dad had told me that Jim was delighted but Mary's mum was very doubtful whether or not my dad was 'good enough' for her daughter.  She certainly doesn't look thrilled in this photo!

granny green with mary and susan

Her granddaughter Debi's poem about Mary (read at her funeral) can be read here 


Mary's garden in Cornwall  -  it was very definitely Mary's garden, though she allowed Len to deal with paving, sheds and walls! Mary was at her happiest when working in the garden - and made sure it was a blaze of colour throughout the year.

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Mastel Family History

Mastel Family History

moya and mary

Mary and older sister Moya at their First Communion

Above:  Mary with a little me and Granny Green - this photo was taken in Hampstead on one of Granny Green's rare visits to London - and Granny Green looks unrecognisable compared to  the dragon depicted top right - but she's still not smiling (but then neither am I)


Left:  Mary modelling one of her famous hand knitted cardigans, in the garden in Cornwall

Left: Mary and Len had planned a quiet wedding at the Registry Office in Hampstead in 1940 (and planned to ask some strangers to be witnesses) - but when Len's parents heard, they insisted on attending as witnesses, and getting a taxi back to Back Lane (an unheard of luxury!).  This photo, taken in the back garden of 9 Back Lane, is the only one taken of them together on their wedding day (and because Len was on the wrong end of the camera it is too blurred to enlarge!)

stockton 1939
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