Joan was born in Littlebury, Saffron Walden in Essex where she was one of six children. Her father, Frederick, worked at local company J Taylor and sons as a foreman. Her mother, Florrie, also worked at the firm but as a cleaner. Joan remembers going to work with her mum occasionally, where she would help to tidy the offices.
In her early years, she attended Littlebury Endowed School and remembers having lots of respect for her headteacher. Her favourite lessons were needlework and history but laughed as she admitted, “I was not good at it though as I could not remember all of the names and dates.”
After leaving school at the age of 14, Joan went to work at Audley End House, where her sister was the ‘Head of House’.
Audrey End House is a large, early 17th-century country house located just outside of Saffron Walden, Essex. It was once a prodigy house, a palace in all but name and renowned as one of the finest Jacobean houses in England. Audley House is now one-third of its original size but is still large with lots of well-maintained architectural features.
While working there, Joan remembers the Lord and Lady had two boys and one daughter. The daughter had a Governess and Joan was the Governess’ maid. She stayed at Audrey End House during her employment and had her own dressing room but shared a room with the Governess. Joan talked very fondly of this job, saying they were all lovely people to work for.
Some years later, Joan was offered a job at the Pye Factory in Cambridge and lodged with her cousin while working there. Joan recalls that the ladies that she worked with swore quite a lot, something she wasn’t aware that young ladies did at the time.
Joan met her future husband, Peter at a dance in Cambridge; he came over and asked if she would dance with him. After the event, Peter walked Joan home. Laughing, Joan said that over the course of the night he had forgotten her name, so as he was leaving he turned around and asked what her name was.
After getting along well, Peter and Joan got together and eventually married at Littleberry Church. Joan wore a beautiful, blue, knee-length dress and remembers having her close friend as the maid of honour. The reception was held at her parent’s house, where her mum had baked and decorated a spectacular three tier wedding cake.
Some years after marrying, Peter and Joan had a son named Clive, who tragically developed cancer and passed away at a young age.
Now living at Brook House Care Home, Joan sat there proudly as she said that she will turn 100 next year and still has all of her own teeth! She said she is very happy with life at Brook House, and ended by commenting on how friendly and kind-hearted the team members are.