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Sad Tidings from the Tower

Sad Tidings from the Tower

Date Sent:   April 27 1911 

 Sender:  Mother – (Rosa May Ingram) 

Recipient: Mrs C V Ingram  9, Campana Road. Fulham, SW 


April 26th 269 Lyham Rd / Brixton Hill 

My Dear N & D 

You will be sorry to hear that Alice’s little daughter was born on Monday morn at 6.30 but it was still born.  She was very ill on Sunday & Monday but have not heard since.  How dreadfully they will feel it. 

The children in Paris 2 or[sic] them are very ill. Lorna is in a serious condition not to be left a minute They have a night nurse.  Poor K & all of them. 

Trusting you are well. Fond love from us both ever yours Mother. 

A framed postcard with the title Tower of London, showingthe white tower behind the tower wall with trees in front of it in colour. All in an oval frame.

Postcards with their inland postage rate fixed at half the cost of a letter offered a vital link in 1900s family messaging. However, one of the early objections to this cheaper form of communication was its lack of privacy. One way to get round this was to write the postcard message upside down relative to the name and address.  

Rosa May Ingram, writing to her daughter- in -law Helen (Nellie) and son Cyril Vernon, had serious news to share. We’ve not been able to identify Alice as yet – she doesn’t seem to have been one of the Ingrams seven children, or their partners. However, we do learn from the 1911 Census that Nellie and Cyril, married in July 1907, had themselves lost a childThe loss of Alice’s stillborn daughter and Rosa’s heartfelt “How dreadfully they will feel it” echoes across the years, contradicting the assumption that a child’s death was less keenly felt in the past. Written on the Wednesday and posted first thing on Thursday, we can only hope that the lack of update was positive, and Alice herself was out of immediate danger. 

Postcards woth hand written text

News of the Paris branch was also grave, and a timely reminder of the world before widespread use of antibiotics and vaccination.  This framed coloured contemporary view of the Tower brings a sobering insight into the past.  

For those who like to tie up the loose ends, Rosa remained in London until her death in autumn 1922. Mr and Mrs C V Ingram moved north, and in 1939 were living in Bishop Auckland, Durham, Cyril working as a cashier and bookkeeper. Helen died there in 1947, aged 64, Cyril 7 years later aged 72.  

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