Richard Turner and Margery Yeates

Richard Turner and Margery Yeates

Richard Turner

Richard was born in Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire, England on 22 January 1915. His parents were Francis Turner and Bessie Hine. Their story is told on a separate page.

Margery Yeates

Margaretta Mary Beatrice Yeates, who was known as ‘Margery’, was born in London, England on 14 November 1914. Her parents were Cyril Yeates and Gretta Wright. Their story is told on a separate page.

Richard Turner and Margery Yeates
Richard Turner and Margery Yeates

Richard and Margery

Richard  grew up in Chipping Sodbury, where his parents ran the Post Office. After attending boarding School at Taunton School, he moved to London and trained as an accountant.

Margery was born in Pembroke Gardens, Chelsea and attended the Convent of the Holy Child Jesus, in St Leonards on Sea. After leaving school she went to finishing school in Friburg, Switzerland in 1931.

She returned to London, where she worked a secretary to an author.

She met Richard at a bus stop on her way to work.

Birth of Margery

Margery was born at her parents home of 12 Mandeville Place, St Marylebone, London. Her father Cyril was a landed proprietor, having inherited several farms and properties around Kendal in the Lake District.

Margery Yeates Birth Certificate
Margery Yeates Birth Certificate
Margery Yeates as a child
Margery Yeates as a child

Margery – Early Years

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 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”.

Margery as a Baby

Margery’s early years were spent during the First World War. Her father who had been a rifle marksman, regularly competing in the Imperial Meeting at Bisley. As a result he was conscripted as a marksmanship instructor at a military camp near Winchester training the troops, before they were transferred to France.

Her mother would bring Margery down to Winchester at weekends and they would all go to Bournemouth for the weekend, as her father got weekend leave from the camp.

Margery’s parents were prolific letter writers, and just like Margery’s grandparents, retained all their correspondence for posterity. We still have these letters so have a valuable insight into their lives.

Margery Yeates as a baby
Margery Yeates as a baby
Margery Yeates with Cat
Margery Yeates with Cat

The Black and White Cat Club

Margery’s parents shared a fascination with showing cats at competitions around the country. So, Margery grew up with lots of cats around the house.

Unfortunately the cats were show cats so they were very definitely not family pets.

Schooldays

Margery seemed to enjoy the boarding school life in St Leonards on Sea, even sending her daughter to the same convent, the senior school of which  had moved to Mayfield in Sussex.

Both Margery and Richard were only children.

Margery Yeates sitting on grass
Margery Yeates sitting on grass
Margery Yeates on left skiing with Doreen Ransome
Margery Yeates on left skiing with Doreen Ransome

Friburg, Switzerland

Margery seems to have had a carefree time in Switzerland writing regularly to her parents, regaling them with stories of a very full social life. She also wrote to her mother’s siblings in London and New York.

Margery seemed to have managed regular trips to the ski slopes and also outings to the theatre and the ballet.

Richard Turner

Although he grew up in Chipping Sodbury where his mother was appointed as Post Mistress, the family spent a lot of time with his mother’s family in Dunster, on the north coast of Somerset.

As many of the Hines had attended Taunton School, so, in turn did Richard. A report from the school to his parents suggested he might be able to pass the Civil Service Exam, but also saying that he should easily be able to get a suitable position at a firm in the City of London.

Richard Turner
Richard Turner
Margery Yeates in Oare Church, Porlock
Margery Yeates in Oare Church, Porlock

Dunster

During their many visits to Dunster and Minehead, they liked to walk from Porlock Weir to St Mary’s Church, Oare, which is in woodland further along the coast. 

The church stands in a lovely rural setting in the Exmoor hamlet of Oare, in the heart of what is now known as the Doone Valley, east of Lynton.

Oare Church draws visitors from across the world, drawn by its links to the popular 19th-century novel Lorna Doone, by RD Blackmore. It was here that the novel’s heroine, the eponymous Lorna, was shot at the altar during her wedding to the novel’s hero, John Ridd.

Accountancy

After leaving Taunton School, Richard moved to London where te took up a position with a London company in order to train as a chartered accountant.

He worked for various companies culminating in his appointment as Chief Accountant at the Confederation of British Industries (CBI).

 

Richard Turner
Richard Turner
Margery Yeates by lake
Margery Yeates by lake

Marriage

Richard and Margery were married in the autumn of 1939 and they lived initially with her father in Pembroke Gardens, Chelsea.  Her mother had died in 1937 before they were married.

Dorset

Margery’s parents were regular holiday visitors to Dorset, in particular Chideock. Richard and Margery seem to have inherited the same love of West Dorset and eventually decided to buy a weekend cottage in Burton Bradstock on the Chesil Beach coast.

Richard, through his friendship with the artist A R Thomson R A, became a member of the Chelsea Arts Club, eventually becoming it’s treasurer. From what I have gathered, life in the Chelsea Arts Club seemed to revolve around the bar. It must have been a far cry from his father’s vow of temperance with the Baptists in Chipping Sodbury. His daughter Anne had her 21st birthday there.

I remember on one occasion visiting Richard and Margery at their cottage in Dorset. As a prospective son in law I was very much on my best behaviour. I was invited to go with Richard to “walk the dog”. I was a bit bemused by this as they didn’t have a dog, but it turned out that “walking the dog” involved walking round the corner to the Three Horseshoes Pub for a little pre-dinner refreshment! Other coded invitations might include “going to see a man about a dog”.

In keeping with the traditions of London Pubs, Richard alway stood at the bar, ramrod straight, never using a bar stool or other chairs. He would simply pass the time of day with his friends from the village.

Richard Turner with Anne Turner
Richard Turner with Anne Turner
Margery Yeates
Margery Yeates

Margery on Horseback

Presumably taken during their many visits to Dorset.

Milton House, Fernshaw Road, Chelsea

For most of their married life Richard and Margery lived a first floor flat in Milton House. the ground floor was occupied by a famous artist who had been commissioned to paint a group portrait of the extended Royal Family.

As the artist was pre-lingually deaf, the Royal Family agreed to attend Milton House for the sittings, rather than Buckingham Palace. Anne remembers peering through the bannisters of the staircase in her school holidays watching members of the royal family arrive for their portrait sittings.

Milton House, 2 Fernshaw Road, London
Milton House, 2 Fernshaw Road, London
Bramble Cottage, Burton Bradstock, Dorset
Bramble Cottage, Burton Bradstock, Dorset

Bramble Cottage

Richard eventually retired from the CBI and moved permanently to their cottage in Burton Bradstock. He worked as an accountant for Bridport Gundry in Crewkerne, before taking well earned retirement. He always says it was the best job he had ever had.

Richard and Margery

Visiting San Francisco in the early 1980s.

Richard Turner and Margery Yeates
Richard Turner and Margery Yeates
Richard Turner - Burton Bradstock
Richard Turner – Burton Bradstock

Richard Turner

Richard Turner enjoying his retirement, reading a book in the garden of Bramble Cottage, Burton Bradstock, Dorset.