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William PENFOLD (1899- )

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William Robert PENFOLD, -/William Robert Penfold/-/-

1 William Robert PENFOLD (1899- ) [123], son of Charles R PENFOLD (1865-1917) [93] and Mary Anna TUCKER (1860-1945) [94].

Born 1899, Fulham, London, England.1 Marr Evelyn HOLLYWELL 1942.

WILLIAM ROBERT My uncle Bill was a great ‘presence’ to my sister and I, both in childhood and later. He had a safe and comfortable job as a clerical officer in the civil service and led a sheltered life, in some respect, with his mother and sister Rosalie. He read widely and, in aesthetic matters, had tastes that at that time seemed somewhat above his station. He was a most generous uncle, his gifts always thoughtfully chosen, but could bring us up very sharply if we were over-indulgent. He and my father were of very different temperaments and abilities, but got on very well because each acknowledged the other’s field of interest. He was fastidious in dress and something of a gourmet. Perhaps he was the most highly-strung of the five. His hours of work were very ‘cushy’ before WW2 but he took his job seriously and was very jealous of the incorruptibility of the Civil Service throughout his life. Early in WW2 he had to leave home and find digs in Harrogate (Yorkshire) to work in the Ministry of Aircraft Production. His hours of work were unaccustomedly long and being of a hyper-conscientious nature he showed signs of acute stress. He found friendship there in a colleague, Evelyn Hollywell, who invited him to share her interest in the theatre and ballet (obsession might be an after word). They married and a daughter Anne was born (ca.1943). The marriage was not a success, and some members of the family, who had seen him as a perennial bachelor, were not surprised. In addition he hit his head when he fell into an unmarked hole in an urban footpath. He sought compensation from the local council in an expensive legal battle, and lost. Around this time he had a nervous breakdown, but even before that a schism was threatening, first with his sisters, and finally separation from his wife. Their daughter Anne was adored by both her parents, went to a prestigious school in London, and finally settled (not surprisingly) for a career on the stage. We went backstage when the English Shakespeare Company toured our local theatre and spoke to Anne and her husband, but it was clear that they did not want a reconnection with her father’s family. I should recall an incident shortly after WW2 that typifies the Fulham Penfold spirit. Bill was conscious of falling probity during WW2 in the Civil Service he so admired, and several fishy episodes had attracted publicity. It seems that one of his close colleagues was involved. He invited Bill to have a drink one lunchtime in a pub, and Bill said something like ‘no thanks, I don’t drink with corruption.’ It cost him his front teeth. (Transcription of Letters from Peter Reich by Julie Hughes-Owen, December 2000)

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Sp. Evelyn HOLLYWELL ( - ) [124].

Sources

1"Census 1911 Fulham, London, England RG14 Piece: 355 Reference: RG14PN355 RG78PN11 RD3 SD5 ED18 SN341" (RG14 Piece: 355 Reference: RG14PN355 RG78PN11 RD3 SD5 ED18 SN341).
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Source: Census 1911 Fulham, London, England RG14 Piece: 355 Reference: RG14PN355 RG78PN11 RD3 SD5 ED18 SN341, 1911Census-charles penfold-fulham