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Walter Gerald Longley 1902 to 1985

Walter Gerald Longley 1902 – 1985

Walter Gerald Longley (1902-1985) m Doris (1902-1962) in 1931

Polite note: This page is the text from a document that I maintain, in which there are many images. I have published the words of the document, along with other documents, such that it might prove useful to others. If you get in touch, and we can share research, I’ll happily share images.

This post is part of my broader research into the Longleys of Leeds.  


Grandpa was born at in Conisholme, Lincolnshire – the first son of Reginald Walter Longley. Conisholme was the home of his maternal grandfather, Canon Thomas Longley.

In 1911 Grandpa is living at home at Banham Rectory.

The 1921 census records Grandpa as living at St Philip’s Vicarage, Heigham, Norfolk with his father and the rest of the family. He’s a “Walk Clerk” working for the National Provincial & Union Bank Of England

According to Dad, Grandpa met Doris while he was a school-master in Dovercourt – Essex. I have found nothing to confirm this. Knowing nothing of his education, I don’t know what qualified him to teach.


Grandpa married Doris at All Saints Church, Salhouse (Norfolk) in 1931. It’s witnessed by Alice Monica Longley, (aunt), Olga Mary (aunt) and Reginald Walter (his father). At this point, his occupation is listed as Schoolmaster – following in the early footsteps of his father.

All Saint’s Church, Salhouse

Marriage of Walter Gerald Longley and Doris
All Saints Church, Salhouse, Norfolk

The reception is then held at the Salhouse Old Hall. Looking at Google Maps, and reading a little, this looks like it’s reached either via a footpath directly to the West of the Church, or off Hall Drive.

Grandpa was a school master at Glendale College in Westcliff-on-Sea (Southend). The college appears to originally have been on Anerley Road before moving to Crowstone Road. An advert for a House Parlourmaid dated October 1927 shows it in Crowstone Road. The advert for the prospectus starts to paint a picture of the College:

Walter Gerald and Doris are given a clock on 29th March 1932 from the staff and pupils of Glendale College. This is the clock that has spent much of its life on the windowsill in Guildford. At this point, Grandpa moves back to Banham.

Given that in 1934 the headmaster was Mr Emmett (who presumably replaced Grandpa and Grandma) and the domestic arrangements were made by his wife, can we assume that Walter Gerald and Doris held similar posts, with Doris being the headmistress?

Why Grandpa (Walter Gerald) left Southend to return to Banham is currently a mystery to me. Was it to have the support of family when he himself was about to start to raise a family?

Kelly’s from 1933 paints a picture of what Banham was, and hints that White Cottage may have been relatively close to the church – by the fact that only a handful of properties are listed as being in Banham.

David Longley born 1934.

Grandpa was due to emigrate to New Zealand on the 10th September 1939, and they had passage booked on the steamship Rotorua, however the outbreak of World War II meant that their passage to NZ was cancelled.

According to Dad, they had moved back into Banham Rectory for a short while before they were due to emigrate. With their plans scuppered by world events, Grandpa found work as a gardener at Ludham Manor, and they lived aboard a houseboat – Blue Darr.

Blue Darr, Horsey, Norfolk Broads, 1938 (this is not the location of 1939).

I have a photo of Blue Darr that is dated May 1940 and location Ludham. So, I know that this is the boat that they lived on. It’s not clear to me whether the people on Blue Darr in 1938 (above) are Dad with his parents or not – I don’t think so. The windmill is the Horsey Windpump – which is standing to this day.

The September 1939 census records Grandpa’s address as The Post Office, Smallburgh, with his occupation listed as Private Gardener. On the same night, Doris is recorded as being at Banham Rectory, with the rest of the family.

The family moved to Stowmarket before Dad was of schooling age, living at Chilton Avenue:

Doris died in 1962.

Grandpa married Muriel (Doris’s sister) in 1963 at the parish church of St Paul – Oxford. He is recorded as an Accounts clerk living in Stowmarket, and she is a Head mistress – presumably at Holy Trinity Convent, Oxford.

Muriel was employed at St Denys School Oxford, formerly Holy Trinity Convent school between July 1857 and July 1963.

At some point, and I don’t know the dates, Grandpa moved to Eye. I have correspondence to that address that dated him being there in 1968.

What took Grandpa from Stowmarket to Eye is anyone’s guess at this point. Maybe someone else lived or worked there, or there were family connections in the form of the Martin’s and Smiths who were in Rougham – just a few miles to the west. There were certainly connections with Bury St Edmonds in the Hargrave side, who also found their way further south to Colchester.

Dad once told me that inside the hallway at the house in Eye there was a very unusual decorative pattern on the walls, and that this was designed to ward off evil spirits. Whether Grandpa put this in, or whether it was there when he moved in, is something that I’m unlikely to know.

Muriel in 1970.

Grandpa reputedly worked at Waddington’s in Leeds as a commercial artist. I’ve enquired about this, including the Waddington’s archivist, and can find no trace of this. There’s a real logic to the reputed connection, but it’s currently unsubstantiated. The timings that I was given don’t make any sense.

He then worked as a clerk at Eastern Electricity until his retirement.

In April 1974 Grandpa was living, holidaying, or having his post sent to Grimoldby.

Looking at old census records, the 1901 census shows Eliza Lancaster (b1826) living with her daughter Eliza Lancaster (b1861) – almost certainly Eva Marion’s grandmother. At this stage, my hunch is that Eve had inherited the house, and grandpa was living with her, but this is unsubstantiated. I’m certain that they lived together at Eastgate before they married, and so there’s every reason to think that they lived elsewhere together.

Grandpa married Eva in 1980 (Louth, Lincolnshire)

From the point at which I remember Grandpa Gerald (as he was known) was already in his 70’s, so my memories are of a man in his later years. He was a quiet, softly spoken man. He had kindly eyes, and there was a real warmth about him, hiding under his bushy eyebrows behind his spectacles. He had big squashy hands, though these were skilled hands. He was a fine artist, as well as being highly skilled with wood-working tools. In our garage in Fleet, we had a wooden sailing boat that he had created – that had the most intricate rigging and fine detail.


Grandpa had a succession of small mind testers for us small ones, and one of his favourites that I recall was “There are two ducks behind a duck, two ducks in front of a duck, and a duck in the middle. How many ducks are there?” Of course, to a 7 year old, the answer was “five”, but of course the correct answer was 3! He had another one that relates to camels, and not chopping them up, but that one has been lost to me over the years.

The children of Walter Gerald Longley and Doris

Although Walter Gerald is one of five children, and Doris is one of seven children, they have a single child – David Longley. I suspect that having only one child was the result of Doris’ multiple sclerosis – but I don’t know.