Dorothy Squires (b.1897): Habits and Beliefs

Dorothy, from a young age had a strong Christian faith. She attended Holy Trinity School in Waltham Cross, as well as the associated church school. Dorothy tells us “we had to go to Sunday school and if we were regular in attendance we had a treat which was tea in the vicarage grounds if fine. Dorothy also attended Band of Hope. For adults It is said that the temperance movement was about leisure and surrounding themselves in the teachings. McAllister says, “A particularly notable case of temperance being central to leisure activities was the children’s organisation, the Band of Hope, whose evening and weekend meetings offered physical training and games, craft work of all kinds, first aid classes and training in music, art and public speaking to children, as well as the more formal temperance instruction. Going to Band of Hope remained a significant part of children’s leisure in many locations, well into the twentieth century.” (McAllister, 2014) This was the case for Dorothy. Frank George Marling also attend band of hope please see Lauren’s post here

Band of Hope, First Aid Lesson

 When Dorothy was an adult she attended Chelsea Barracks Church, she did this as it was the same church that her boyfriend attended. It allowed her to see more of him as he was stationed at Chelsea Barracks, whilst in the Grenadier Guards. She recalls that they sang “for those in peril on the sea.” (16) This lead her to think that if the army were singing about the navy, that the ‘Navy used to sing something relating to the army.’ (16)

Dorothy’s daughters attended the Co-operative women’s guild’s Children’s Circle. It was run by voluntary workers. Children had “games, singing, reciting” (47), and children regular in attendance were taken on days out to Maldon, if the weather as fine. The Children’s circle was not all about tea parties and Play, it had an important message. In July it ran “Internationals Day” (48) to teach the children “to love all people, no matter what their colour was.” (48) Although the message was important it didn’t stop them having fun afterwards. They attended a fete, where there was “free tea and cakes and tickets for various rides” (48). The Children’s Circle was an arm of the Co-operative Women’s guild. The Co-operative women’s guild was established in 1883 as a feminist movement. Scott says that “one of the greatest obstacles confronting the early Guild was the widespread belief that by nature and Custom ‘women’ belonged in the domestic sphere […] unfit for rational activity in the public domain” (Scott, 1998). Dorothy did not believe that she belonged in the domestic space. Dorothy herself became a member of the Women’s Co-operative Guild, She enjoyed working and joined in the War efforts as much as she could. She also liked her children to attend these group activities, actively teaching them feminism.

Dorothy believed in charity, although her husband felt shame when receiving it. After hitting hard times when the war, he got a “credit note for grocery” (41) from the relieving officer. But as soon as he had received a welfare payment “he went straight back to the relieving officer and paid the value of that credit note back.” (41) Dorothy’s husband was a proud man. Dorothy, being deaf, hoped for a big win on the premium bonds, so she “could do some real good to a deaf institute.” (60) She wanted to do this as “no one donates, only those that are deaf, how awfully hard it is to be cut off if natural speaking terms.” (60-61)

Dorothy’s faith in God never faulted, though she experienced many things that would make anyone question their faith. The sudden death of her first love, the passing of her husband and the untimely deaths of both her daughter Joan and son-in law. With all of these losses she believed that it was “in God’s hands.” (87) Even as her daughter laid in a coma she relied on her faith to keep her going, she could not “think of much else but pray that “God” will perform a miracle.” (138) Sadly, Joan never recovered, but Dorothy still thanked “God she was free from pain and worry.” (139)

Dorothy Was not the only one in her family with a strong faith. Her granddaughter worked “for her church,” (87) so Dorothy thought that she was “leading a very good and useful life.” (87) Working within the church is how Dorothy’s Granddaughter met her husband. He also had a strong Christian faith, and whilst Dorothy as writing her memoir he was “training to become a minister” (120).


Primary Bibliograph

2:735 SQUIRES, Dorothy, Untitled, MS, pp.142 (c.18,000 words). Brunel University Library

Secondary Bibliography

McAllister, A. Drink Demon? Temperance and the Working Class. (Amazon, 2014)

Scott, G. Feminism and the politics of Working Women: The Women’s Co-operative Guild, 1880s to the Second World War. (UCL Press, 1998)


‘The first Aid Class,’ from H. Burrell, A Manual of Instruction and Training for All Engaged in Preparing Childhood and Youth for Citizenship (London: UK Band of Hope Union, 1942), P 18

Women’s Co-operative Guild. [image] URL:

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