Miss Nellie Smith, later Abbey
Nellie’s lively, sociable character shines through in her personal diaries and interview. They tell us about the everyday as well as unusual and moving events in her young - sometimes carefree - life in the Wolverton and New Bradwell area.
Her energy, organisation and a director’s eye were key to a number of major charity and patriotic events in New Bradwell during the War. She provides a fine example of how young women contributed to the war effort in any way they could.
Nellie Abbey (nee Smith) was born in 1885 at 105 Victoria Street, Wolverton, Bucks, living during the War at 105 Newport Road.
Her father worked at Wolverton Railway Works and had a fine voice, performing with their Concert Party. Her three brothers volunteered as soon as war was declared and all were badly injured, but survived. She saw at first hand the suffering of her youngest brother from the effects of gas, but her sweetheart - known only as “H” (Harry Abbey) – returned safely.
During her working life in the Sewing Room at Wolverton Railway Works, she used to travel regularly in the local area and to Northampton to entertain the troops and direct charity performances with other girls from Stantonbury Girls Club concert party. She was in demand for years, organising entertainment at Hospital fetes at Bradwell Rec. They included patriotic and character songs in full, handmade costume - to very appreciative audiences.
The collection at Living Archive features her personal diary, lively photographs in costume, programmes of her entertainments and an audio interview with transcriptions, recorded in her retirement years.