The postcard reads: “Dear Mrs. Stevens, We arrived quite safe at Whitwick & are enjoying ourselves very much. I have seen Mother & Father and they are quite well, I hope you are. Give my love to Mr. Stevens & yourself. It is much quieter here than in Leicester, the air is much fresher. We have been out every night so far & we are going to church tonight, with best love to you all from Milly.” The postmark show that it was sent from Whitwick A on August 6th 1906, to Mrs. Stevens, 74 Montague Road, Clarendon Park, Leicester.
First let’s look at the addressee, Mrs Stevens. John Stevens (born c1842), of Belton in Rutland, married Sarah Ann Jelley (born c1848), born in Burton Overy, in Leicester in 1867, thus elevating her to the exalted position of Mrs Stevens and freeing her from a rather silly name. They started their married life in Leicester. In 1871 they lived at 2 Bethel Court, Black Friars with their daughter Sarah Jane, who sadly died at the end of the year aged just two. She was the only child to be born alive to John and Sarah Ann. By 1881 they were living at 28 Cosby Street in St Margaret’s. In 1881 John and Sarah lived alone at 28 Cosby Street in St. Margaret’s, Leicester. John’s occupation was ‘Grocery’ and Sarah’s as ‘fancy hand’, which is not the disreputable trade it sounds like! In 1891 John and Sarah Ann had moved to Montague Road – number 26, though as the road had only just been built a couple of years previously and may not have been completed (I need to check), it may have been renumbered later. Because John and Sarah Ann spent at least 20 years living at the address on our postcard, 74 Montague Road. In 1901 and 1911 - as with 1891 - they had a boarder, William Henry Thorp, a joiner. That’s 30 years of playing gooseberry. John was a domestic coachman, and I would love to know for whom…maybe for one of the grander houses in Clarendon Park or Stoneygate. Sarah died aged 67 in 1915
Now, as to “Milly”, the author of the postcard…I have looked into various possibilities. Could she have been a sister of John or Sarah Ann? Neither set of their parents seems to have been alive in 1906 so her reference to “Mother and Father” precludes that. I can’t find any obvious links to either the Jelleys or the Stevens but as always, a simple solution has been staring me in the face, in the form of a Millicent Emily Jelly living at 20 Montague Road in the 1901 census. There is absolutely no proof, nor any clue to a relationship, but it does seem more than a coincidence. Millicent and Jell(e)y are two names that few people have attempted to put together (very wisely, I feel. Though in searching I did find a baptism for Kelly Jelly, which amounts to child abuse in my view), and to be living in the same road is enough to satisfy me, in a strictly non-professional way of course.
As to Milly’s remarks, whomever she may have been….she was obviously enjoying her holiday in sunny Whitwick (near Coalville) and who can blame her? Out every night and church on Sunday. The air must have been noticeably fresher, away from the factories and the smog of coal fires in close terraced houses. Though why she chose to commemorate with a postcard of Glasgow is anyone’s guess. If it was Milly Jelley then she would have been 14, just old enough to have started work, possibly as a tailoring machinist as she was in 1911. She went on to marry Albert Hambly in 1922.
I have a small collection of postcards to Clarendon Park. I find them just as interesting as postcards of Clarendon Park. I hope you agree. Regards, Elizabeth.