EMMA GARDNER’S PRIZE 1901
In clearing out the loft in the School, a rather battered book ‘Tales From Fairyland’ was found, with the inscription: “Leigh School. Present to Emma Gardner for regular attendance. 1901. Geo.H.Boby. Head”.
The 1901 census shows that Emma was seven at the time and lived with her family in one of the three semi-detached Parish cottages which used to be in the garden of South View, between the house and the Church. She was the youngest of three children, her full name being Florence Emma Gardner. (Interestingly, in the current debate about older mothers, Emma was born when her mother was 40). Her father was a ‘gunpowder cleaner’ at the Powder Mills. Her family must have been chapel goers because she is mentioned in the Kent & Sussex Courier in June 1904 as being one of ten Leigh children of the Morley Union Congregational Chapel who “underwent the recent Sunday School Union Scripture Examination”. Emma obtained a certificate of proficiency. She was also an active member of the Band of Hope, a non-denominational but largely Christian based movement, performing in their plays and going on their outings.
The last trace we have of her comes from the 1911 census where she is shown as 18 years old. She is lodging at a large boarding house belonging to Mrs Mary Drage at 92 Marine Parade, Worthing. She is shown as a children’s nurse.
We will never know why she did not take her prize with her. Perhaps on the particular day she failed to attend.
Anyone who had a grandmother or great grandmother whose maiden name was Emma Gardner, please let us know.
Parish Magazine Article: Oct 2014: by Chris Rowley and Joyce Field