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Evelyn, at 100, remembers world wars and shared bath water
TIN baths, the First World War and workhouses – life was very different during Evelyn Taylor’s youth.
A century later and Miss Taylor celebrated her 100th birthday with family and friends at Glebe House in Kidlington on Sunday.
And she said she had reached the grand old age after a lifetime away from drink and cigarettes.
Born in Devizes, Wiltshire, Miss Taylor has vivid memories of her childhood with parents Iris and Charles, and siblings Audrey, Charles and Frank.
She said: “I remember the house well. There was a passage way, front room, living room and kitchen with a toilet off the kitchen downstairs. Upstairs we had three bedrooms and a nice garden.
“We didn’t have a bathroom but had a tin bath in the kitchen. We all shared the same water.
“Six of us lived in the house. My mum and dad, my brother who was two years older than me, and then I had another brother who was 10 years younger than me and a sister 11 years younger than me.”
Like many women of her generation, Miss Taylor’s working life started early.
She said: “I went into service in Oxford at the age of 15. “I was what they called a ‘between-maid’. I kept the bedrooms tidy and made the beds. I earned three shillings a week and only ever had Sundays off.
“When I was about 21 I went to work at The Old Laurels workhouse in Headington, which isn’t there now. I cleaned daily but mostly I helped the cook in the kitchen.
“When the cook died I took over her job and worked there for 28 years until I retired. I really liked that job.”
She said: “The First World War ended when I was only five years old so I don’t really remember that, but I do remember the end of the Second World War. We had a huge party to celebrate.”
Evelyn never married because she did not go anywhere to meet anyone, but said she had a happy life.
Before moving to Kidlington, Miss Taylor lived in Lime Walk, Headington.
She said: “I don’t drink and I have never smoked. We lived a very ordinary life.”
“My mum lived to 96 but I never thought I would make it to 100.”