Phyllis Mary COLLINS, the last Collins of her line, was born in Northampton, Northants on 23 Mar 1915 and baptized at St Giles Church. She was the only child of William Collins and Violet Mabel Moyses and as such was doted on by parents who provided her with everything she could want that was within their means. William Collins was from a family who’d made a living for many generations building boats, and William, like his brothers and his father and grandfather before him, built pleasure boats and sold them along the shore of the River Nen which runs through Northampton.
Courtesy of Mr Gordon W.W. Wood
Those who remember Phyll from her childhood days actually know her as “Jo”, which was the nickname given her by her father who, according to family lore, had wished for a son, but upon discovering his wife had given birth to a daughter, felt “Jo” was a far cry closer to the son he’d wanted than “Phyllis” ever would be.
She was educated at the Northampton School for Girls, pictured here: a very elite, private school that must have cost her parents quite a bit of money.
The Moyses family had some association with Phipps Brewery in Northampton, and eventually an opportunity arose for William to take over the running of The George Hotel, a Phipps establishment on Market Square in Winslow.
It was in Winslow that Phyllis met the charming and dapper Mr Edward George TURNER, employed at Bell’s Garage, next door to The George.
She was married at the age of 22 and a year and a half later delivered her first child at the Radcliffe Maternity hospital in Oxford, which was quite a distance from where she and Ted were living in Winslow. It is said that her father spared no expense when it came to his daughter, and he insisted that she have her child at the best hospital his money could provide.
In the early days of their marriage, Ted and Phyl lived in London, where Ted worked as chauffer to King George’s personal eye surgeon. Shortly after war broke out on the continent, Ted felt the call to duty enlisted in the Royal Army. He went to the front in Africa and did not return for five years.
It was too dangerous to remain in London, so Phyllis and her baby returned to her parent’s pub in Winslow, where they lived for the duration of the war. Their second child was born in Northampton, where the family settled upon Ted’s return from Africa.
After staying home to raise her children, she took a job in town selling shoes at Steve Clarke’s Shoe Store in the center of town, which was home to the famous Clarke shoe brand, still on the market today. She worked there for years.
In her retirement she and Ted traveled abroad often and spent their free time enjoying their six grandchildren, including three who lived in America. Phyllis outlived Ted by a couple of years, missing him terribly all the while, and died of pneumonia on 2 Oct 2002 at the age of 87 at the Royal Infirmary in Leicester. She was a lovely woman, bright and cheerful and is remembered for her kindness, warm wit, and charming laugh.