Amy Gomm (b.1899-1984)

2:324 GOMM, Amy Frances, ‘Water Under the Bridge’, TS, pp.163 (c.55,000 words). Brunel University Library.

Oxford during the 19th Century. Find this picture here 

Born 1899 in the Oxfordshire village of Charlbury. Father worked as an assistant engineer/electrician on a country estate. Mother also worked in the ‘big house’. 6th of 8 children (5 boys, 3 girls). Educated at village school and Oxford Central Girls’ School (to age 14). No mention of marriage. Moved to Oxford when still an infant; lived with relatives in Charlbury before returning to Oxford; moved to Ealing in 1920.

Helped out in the family’s home laundry business (aged 14); first paid employment was as a sorter in a laundry; waitress and assistant at a creamery/restaurant; unemployed; used 2 years’ savings (£12) to pay for a secretarial course; engaged as a shorthand typist (1920) with a multiple tailoring shop but worked as cashier, book-keeper and tea-maker.

No details of interests or activities.

Jointly written with her sister, Laurie, the narrative is based almost entirely on family life in the opening decades of the twentieth century, first in a small village and then in the city of Oxford. The topics mentioned include ancestry; the blacksmith’s shop; health; anti-vaccination riots; the home; domestic routines and chores; dress; traditional remedies; customs (Palm Sunday); schooling; Christmas celebrations; home entertainments; children’s games; food scarcity and rationing (1914-18); post-war unemployment.

Image reference: http://www.londontaverntrails.com/trails/oxford.html (London Tavern Trails)

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