Cyril Yeates and Gretta Wright
Cyril Ernest Brettargh Yeates
Cyril was born in Brettargh Holt, Levens, Westmorland in the Lake District on 10 July 1875. His parents were George Henry Brettargh Yeates and Caroline “Beatrice” Boulger. Their story is told on a separate page.
Margaretta Mary Teresa “Gretta” Wright
Gretta was the oldest of six children of Peter MacFie Wright and Margaretta Lyons of Dublin, Ireland. She was born in Glasgow, Scotland on 11 October 1884. Her parents story is told on a separate page.
Within three months of his birth at Brettargh Holt, Cyril’s father George Henry Brettargh Yeates died at the age of 34. Cyril’s mother Beatrice, decided to put Brettargh Holt on the market and moved back to London.
Beatrice’s sister Jemima Boulger was married to Charles Webb from Wimborne Minster. Beatrice met and married Charles Webb’s brother William Bridges Webb on 13 September 1878.
William was the Chairman of the Baltic Exchange. The Baltic Exchange is a membership organisation for the maritime industry, and freight market information provider for the trading and settlement of physical and derivative contracts.
Beatrice and William had three more children together and although they were half-siblings to Cyril, they all grew up together in London and he would have known no other family.
When Cyril reached secondary school age he was sent as a boarder to Uppingham School in Rutland.
The photograph opposite was taken in 1890 when he was 15 years old, and presumably on holiday from school as the photograph was taken in Portsmouth.
The Webb family were from Wareham in Dorset and Dorset seems to held a special place in Cyril’s heart as he repeatedly returned to Dorset all through his life.
This photograph of a group of young children appears to have been taken in London.
Cyril is in the second row with the white hat.
Gretta – Early Years
Gretta grew up in an affluent area of the West End of Glasgow. Unfortunately that came to a sudden end with the bankruptcy of her father in 1897. Gretta would have been 13 at the time.
Three of the children were placed in the care of the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul. Gretta’s mother moved to London where by the 1901 census she was living in Fulham with her youngest son Leo.
Gretta’s grandmother, Julia Clare Flynn, who had been living with them in Glasgow, returned to Dublin, where she died in 1905. I believe that Gretta Junior probably moved to Dublin and lived with her grandmother.
She was friends with her cousin James Joyce and they corresponded regularly throughout their lives. This does seem to suggest they were both living in Dublin at the time.
By 1911 Gretta was living in London in Highgate as the Lady Nurse to the Fisher White family. John Fisher White and his wife Edith Blackwell were both famous actors at the time, and Gretta was appointed to look after their daughter Thalia.
Cyril and Gretta were married in St James’ Church, Spanish Church, Manchester Square, London on 9 November 1911. Cyril was 36 and Gretta was 27.
Gretta and Cyril seem to have settled into married life in London, and they moved to 21 Talbot Square, Paddington.
Life in London was relieved by their many trips to Chideock on the west coast of Dorset, in the shadow of Golden Cap. In this photograph, they both look to be in a very relaxed holiday mode.
Cyril’s stepfather William Bridges Webb died on 25 August 1913, and was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery.
Birth of Margery Yeates
Their first and only daughter Margaretta Mary Beatrice Yeates, known as Margery, was born on 14 November 1914.
Two days before Margery was born, Cyril’s mother Beatrice Boulger died. She was buried in the same grave as her husband, William Bridges Webb, in Kensal Green Cemetery.
First World War
Cyril was a member of the National Rifle Association at Bisley and regularly took part in shooting competitions there.
As he would have been nearly 40 at the outbreak of the First World War, he was probably considered too old to be conscripted, but his marksmanship skills would be a valued skill and he served in the Army Training Regiment in Winnall Down Barracks, on the downs to the north east of Winchester.
He seems to have lived in the village of Easton, just to the north of the barracks. His letters to Gretta at the time , show that life at the barracks was quite boring and at weekends, Gretta would come down from London and they would stay at a hotel in Easton or sometimes go to a guest house in Bournemouth.
The Black and White Cat Club
Cyril was a gentleman of independent means, having inherited land in the Lake District. Although he did not work in the normal sense of the word, his hobby was breeding show cats. These cats were bred for show, and were very definitely not domestic pets. Children were not allowed to play with them.
Cyril and Gretta hired the services of a children’s nanny called Mary Fahy. Mary’s family were from Ireland, but she had grown up in a children’s orphanage in Westbury on Trym, Bristol. Mary was Margery Yeates nanny when she was a child.
When Margery was older, Mary worked for several important families in London, but returned to look after Cyril in his old age and also become the nanny to their daughter and son, Anne and Anthony Turner. She is remembered with great affection by the family as “Aunty Mary”.
Cyril’s Photograph Album has many photographs of holidays in Brittany. With only two pairs of shoes on the beach, this was presumably taken before Margery was born.
A very relaxed looking Cyril Yeates, apparently enjoying a walk in the country.
Gretta with Billy Myers
Gretta talking to Billy Myers, who was the second husband of Cyril’s half sister Violet Webb.
Judging by the formal attire this photograph was probably taken at a family wedding.
Gretta – Death
After a short illness in a nursing home in Bexhill on Sea, Gretta died of a brain tumour on 29 August 1937.
Gretta was buried in Bexhill on Sea. The monumental inscription reads:
“In ever loving memory of Margaret Mary Teresa Yeates (Gretta), The dearly beloved wife of Cyril Yeates, who fell asleep 29th August 1937. In our hearts we keep, sweet memories of thee, so rest in peace beloved.”
Cyril Yeates died on the 27 February 1950. He was cremated and his ashes were interred in his mother and step father’s grave in Kensal Green Cemetery. It is thought that a memorial stone for Cyril Yeates was erected in Highgate Cemetery, and we are currently trying to trace the location of this memorial.