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From the Chappell family archive, transcribed by Jacky Lawrence
The Chappell Family

Rushden 1921 - 1934

The Chappell family on a seaside outing 1928-9
Edgar and Edith Chappell and their children lived in Rushden for some 12 to 13 years, between 1921 and 1933/4, at 8 Queen Street in a house they named ‘Ivy Cottage’. The house was demolished when changes were made to the corner of Queen Street and Rectory Road.

Edgar’s family came from Bedfordshire (Knotting and Sharnbrook) but he was born in London in 1897 where his father was serving in the Metropolitan Police Force. In 1911 his father retired and moved back to Sharnbrook. It was here that Edgar started his long career with the railway, initially with the Midland at Sharnbrook.

At the start of WW1 (although under age) Edgar joined the Royal Veterinary Corps in the 2nd Mounted Division. He was embarked to Egypt in May 1915 and then to Gallipolli where the division was converted to an infantry unit. In 1916, in Cairo, he was commissioned as an infantry subaltern and transferred to the East Lancashire Regiment in Salonika (Greece). In July 1916 he contracted malaria and was evacuated to Malta, then back to the UK. He was promoted to lieutenant and for a while acting captain but in July 1918 was badly wounded by shrapnel from a shell burst on the Western Front at St. Venant, France. He made a good recovery (despite permanent damage to one lung).
Lieut. Edgar George Chappell 1919

Early in 1917 Edgar had married Edith Stanton and moved to Finsbury Park in London where, in October 1917, their son, Allan Roy, was born. After his demobilisation from the Army in 1919 the family moved back to Sharnbrook and lived at Lee Farm (Colworth Estate) with Edith’s family. In 1920 Edgar transferred to Higham Ferrers station and moved to Queen Street, Rushden in 1921. From Higham Edgar went to Rushden Station where he held mostly clerical jobs (including booking clerk).

Edgar Chappell on the right

In June 1922 a daughter, Barbara Mary was born but she had spina bifida and only lived for six days (she is buried in Rushden cemetery). A second daughter, Margaret Gladys, was born in November 1923.

The family enjoyed life in Rushden and Edgar, who had always enjoyed singing, joined the Rushden Amateur Operatic Society and took part in several productions.

Scout camp 1930, Roy Chappell standing 3rd from left, Jeff Jacques holding the staff.
Roy Chappell started at Alfred Street School in 1923 and then went on to Rushden Intermediate in 1929. He attended St. Mary’s Church Sunday School and was confirmed in December 1930 by the Rev. Travers. He enjoyed scouting and joined the 2nd Rushden (St. Mary’s) cub pack and then the scout troop and went to summer camps in Hunstanton, Hayling Island etc. Roy developed a close group of friends including Dennis Jeeves and Jeffrey Jacques. Jeff Jacques was his best man in 1945 and then Godfather to his second child.
From an early age Margaret showed a great aptitude for dance. She was initially taught by Miss Phyllis Robinson and later the Pryor & Robinson (with Miss Ivy Pryor) dance school in Queen Street, Rushden. Between 1930 and 1934 Margaret danced in many public performances including pantomimes, operattas, garden fetes, sale of work and socials etc. in Rushden, Higham Ferrers and Wellingborough. At the Bedfordshire Competitive Musical Festival in 1932, 1933 and 1934 she won first place in the duet category with partners Joy Draper (1932/33) and Margaret Neal (1934). Margaret’s dancing was often reported in the Rushden Echo and Argus.
Margaret (L) and Joy Draper, 1st prize for Duet Dancing at the Beds Festival.

In 1933/4 the family moved to South Wigston (Leicestershire), then Romily (Cheshire) and lastly Heysham (Lancashire). Edgar retired from the railway in 1957 and he and Edith returned to Sharnbrook. Edgar died in 1974 and Edith in 1991, their ashes are interred in St. Peter’s graveyard, Sharnbrook.

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