You will have noticed that all the plaques and information boards that the Society provides are paid for by the ‘Peggy Wells Bequest’. Who was Peggy Wells? Mark Wells, one of Peggy’s nephews, wrote in our March 2019 Newsletter:
Peggy was born on 10 June 1911, the only daughter and middle child of Joseph and May Wells and lived in Village Road, Finchley almost all her life, first at No. 46 and then, after a short stay in Lyndhurst Gardens, at No. 50. The move back to Village Road was a sad time for the family as it was brought about by the death of her father from a heart attack, in his early 50s and the subsequent need to move back to a smaller house. However, I suspect that Peggy was actually glad to return to ‘the Village’. There are photographs in the village archive of the sports and socials held on the green in the years between the wars and these traditions have been carried on by the new generations.
Times were quite hard for the Wells’ as her elder brother Joe, who was around 19 at the time, was the main breadwinner. They also took in a lodger to help finances.
After school, Peggy joined the Bank of England, where Joe also worked, and stayed there until she retired. In the last few months of her life she had lunch with two old friends from the Bank, one of whom told Mark that she sat next to Peggy on her first day at work – 70 years of friendship.
Whilst she never married, quipping once that, having observed the friends of her brothers, she decided that men were a bit of a waste of time! Peggy was a family person and was involved with all four of her nephews and nieces as they grew up.
Peggy was a keen gardener and many people benefitted from her encouragement and physical help.
After she retired Peggy developed an interest in genealogy which was to last some 30 or so years until her death and leading on from that she began to study Latin and Pathology.
Peggy took a great interest in the Village and the people who lived there. She could always tell you who had done well in their exams and who was going to which university. She was keen to try and preserve the uniqueness of a village in a city and with others supported the conservation of Finchley Garden Village as it was called back in 1904 or so, when it was built – it is a testament to those involved that I have noticed little outward change in the 50 or so years I can recall visiting.
Peggy wrote a short memoir of the first 90 years of Village Road: “Between Two Hedges” which she published in 1998. The book details the origins of Village Road, contains a number of photos taken throughout those 90 years and includes many interesting anecdotes of life in the “Village”, as it has been known over the years.
Peggy had such energy and vitality that it was easy to forget she was 90 or so when we would say “could you do this or that for me?” She never went in for titles, always being just addressed as Peggy, but the family all remember her as Aunt, Great Aunt and, most of all, friend.
You can read a review of her memoir here.