Elizabeth Russell 1921-2016
Her cousin, Mary Lambert, writes this tribute:
Elizabeth loved Chelsea, where she lived since the early spring of 1930. A
long and enthusiastic member of The Chelsea Society, she wrote an article
for the 1993 Annual Report, ‘A Markham Square Childhood’ in which she describes
arriving at 33 Markham Square when she was” soon to be nine years old”.
She and her family were moving from Wales “where there had been no
electricity but coal fires, lamps and candles, one bathroom – and two ghosts.
“Then in the autumn of 1929 we were told we were moving to a place called
Elizabeth had been born in Gerrards Cross on 10 April 1921, but her father, Trevor
Russell, died suddenly when she was two months old. As a result of this,
she and her older brother, Johnny, spent the first few years of their lives in
Wales, being looked after by their grandfather and grandmother, Eric and
Agnes Lambert Their mother, Joyce, was a musician and dancer who started
a female band which went on tour, playing in music halls. At that stage she
lived in Gunter Grove.
In Markham Square the young Elizabeth lived with her aunt, Maye Lambert.
She was sent to Miss Hunt and Miss Walters’ little school on the corner of
Tite Street and Royal Hospital Road: Christopher Robin Milne had left the
Year before.Later she went to Francis Holland School in Graham Street.
During the War, she served as a wireless operator in the Fleet Air
Arm of the WRNS, and trained for this at ‘The Poly’ in Manresa Road
Chelsea, after which she went to Manchester and eventually to Arbroath in
Elizabeth had originally wanted to be a doctor, but instead
went into publishing after the War, like her Longman cousins. For many years she worked
for Darton, Longman and Todd.
Like her grandfather, Elizabeth was interested in the history of her family.
I shared many hours with her, exploring where our family had lived
in the past and looking at letters and papers which had been exchanged
between cousins, particularly in relation to our ancestors who had owned
property in Banstead, Surrey.
Elizabeth lived in Markham Square with her aunt until Maye’s death aged
92 in 1977. She then bought her own house, at 2a St Luke’s Street, where she
was very happy. Apart from her love of Chelsea, she loved Wales and until
a few years ago kept a cottage in Llanlltyd, near Dolgellau, where her mother
had lived in her retirement. Many happy visits were spent there by family
and friends. The family grave is in the churchyard there.
Everyone who knew Elizabeth will remember her generous hospitality,
both in Wales and in Chelsea. She had a deep concern and love for her
many friends and took a great interest their lives and those of their
children. Elizabeth was a devout Christian, a member of St Lukes
Fellowship, and later, of the Christ Church Fellowship. Like Maye, she
attended St. Mary’s, Bourne Street.
After several falls, she moved in January 2013 from St Luke’s Street to St
Wilfrid’s in Tite Street, just around the corner from her little school in Chelsea.
Elizabeth died peacefully on Saturday, 27 February 2016, aged 94. Her
Requiem Mass, like Maye’s, was held at St. Mary’s on 15 March 2016. She
is greatly missed.