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Monday, 30 January 2012

Feisty Aunt Edith

I think of my Aunt Edith (1907-1995) as one of a line of "Feisty Danson Females", amongst them  my Great Grandmother Maria   and her daughter, my Great Aunt Jennie.  Aunt Edith played a key role in my life and was a teacher, traveller, and great talker.  She was also a talented lady - and married  for the first time at the age of 73. 

Edith was born 2nd September 1907, followed  just a year and a week  later by my mother, Kathleen, born on 8th September 1908, daughters of William and Alice Danson of Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire.   They remained very close sisters  and most of  the photographs I have of Aunt Edith show her almost always with my mother.  

Edith and Kathleen at Poulton Gala Day c.1912

Aunt Edith was fond of regaling me with stories of the family and her life in teaching.  She was the only one to win a scholarship to Fleetwood Grammar School, riding the four miles on her bike in all weathers.  She became a teacher at Burn Naze School in Thornton Clevelys (a poor area of town in the 1920's and 30's)  and had a keen memory for past pupils (particularly black sheep)  and humorous incidents such as excuse notes, written  for absences. She must have been great to know in her 20's, with tales of the young men she went dancing with in Blackpool.     

Kathleen & Edith

Like her sister, Edith was talented in painting, embroidery and dressmaking, loved dancing, music, reading and baking - though there were some apocryphal cooking moments when my uncle (her brother) stirred a rice pudding, thinking it was very thin - she had forgotten to put in the rice!  Another time she was proud of a tart  with a golden pastry crust and  blackcurrants from the garden - until we took a mouthful - she had forgotten to add sugar to the fruit.  "Scatty" was often a term used to describe Aunt Edith,  as her mind was on so many things at once. 

Kathleen & Edith

Edith  kept home for her father and brother for much of her life and travelled widely, even to Russia in Iron Curtain days, bringing back gifts  to add to my collection of costume dolls.

 She  married for the first time in 1981 at the aged 73. a widower friend of my parent.  and died in 1995 aged 88.  

Aunt Edith (in blue) with her husband George, my mother Kathleen and brother Harry.
You can tell from these photographs that Aunt Edith was someone who enjoyed herself.   She took on the role of my godmother with great gusto and with my mother left me with a wonderful  legacy on how to get the most out of life, plus  many fond memories of a feisty woman
A Painting by my Aunt Edith
Written in response to  the Genealogy Challenge from http://olivetreegenealogy.blogspot.com/  ito create a tribute page to one ancestor.   It has been adapted from an  earlier  posting of 2nd September 2011 on "Two Close Sisters".

Copyright © 2012 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved



  1. Your Aunt Edith sounds like a very cool lady.

    Lovely tribute to her.

    Dee at Shakin' the Family Tree

  2. Many thanks, Dee, for your comment. I was pleased I managed to convey what a special person she was.

  3. Hi Susan,
    My name is suji I am from India, just happened upon your page while searching for a drumset(hard to believe, not sure what the connection is!), enjoyed reading it, very nicely written and presented. Loved the historical photos :) and your photos through different stages of life, loved the pretty school girl photo. It must be some miracle maker stylist that was able to transform the pretty school girl into a Russian spy...hehehe :):)

  4. Hi Susan
    I just found your page while looking for info about my old School Burn Naze. I could not believe it when i saw your Aunt was my old teacher and she also taught my mum. Miss Danson was one of my favourite teachers while i was there and have good memories of her. I have setup a Facebook Group today called "Burn Naze School Past" and have added a link to your page onto it.

    Regards John D-A

  5. Hi, John - I hope you read this as I could not see any other way to contact you via e-mail etc. I came out of Facebook for various reasons, but may well now sign up again. I was so pleased to see your comment on my Aunt Edith. She and my mother were very close and she was an an important person in my life. I would love to hear from you and your mother of any specific memories of her. Thank you for creating the link to my blog.

  6. Loved reading about Aunt Edith. You, your mum and Aunt sure look very similar, in my opinion :-)
    How wonderful that John remembers his teacher so fondly. Thanks for sharing Susan.

  7. Beautiful photos - particularly that first one of Edith - just stunning.


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