Ruby Millicent Davies 30th April, 1911 - 3rd December, 2009

Ruby was born on 30th April 1911 at 1 Manor Place, in Kennington London, the eldest daughter of Evan Davies a Dairyman and shopkeeper and Bertha Amy Davies nee Brown. That made Ruby half Celt and half Anglo Saxon. She was proud to be descended from both. Her younger siblings, Ellaline Beryl 1913 and Stanley Garnet 1918 were both born at Kennington. During the first world war Ruby was evacuated to her grandparents at Llainshed Farm, lanngranog.

The family moved from London To Llangranog in 1918 at the end of World War I, Ruby's first school was Pontcarreg Llangranog, They lived at Gelliwen. Jasper Thorald, the youngest of the four children was born at Gelliwen. Ruby was the only Welsh speaker of the four children and had an uncanny ability to mimic her relatives. She was able to do this, even very late in life and would chuckle at the memories herself. Her father had been Church Warden in Swansea and had lead the Ladies Choir. It is from her parental influence that she became interested in religeous studies. She would accompany her mother to the English speaking Methodist Church at The Duns, Mumbles.

Move to Swansea at the age of 11, her father had bought, 646 Mumbles Road, in Mumbles, a well established Victorian seaside resort, across the bay from Swansea. Harbourne House as it was known, was a tea rooms within a three story house. This is where Ruby grew up as a teenager and helped her parents in the shop/tea room. Especially during the school breaks. It was also the house where I was born.

She went to college in Swansea and later in London where she trained for her life career as a Teacher. When she graduated the Country was in recession and jobs were hard to come by. She started her teaching career in Cheshire at Moreton Hall, a fee paying school, but soon returned to the London she longed for. She joined the staff of The Lady Eleanor Holles School, Hanworth Road, Hampton, Middlesex TW12 3HF, a private School for Girls as a Religeous Studies Teacher and later as a History Teacher. She retired at the age of 59.

Ruby loved Bushy Park, with its deer and Hampton Court Palace, where she knew each room in detail. It was a treat when I was a teenager to be taken around the palace and shown the royal apartments and rooms. I used to stay with her at weekends for private tuition when in my 15th year. She introduced me to family history, which I have continued with a passion. She was proud of her heritage from Abbotts Bromley, Staffordshire and Llangranog, Cardiganshire. She gave me the first charts of her Father’s and Mother’s respective families and ancestry.

She was greatly saddened by the death of her brother Jasper in the early 1990’s and her sister Beryl who died in 2005. Beryl was also a teacher and they travelled the world seeking knowledge and inspiration for the furtherment of their profession. Ruby was very proud of her brother Garnet and accompanied him and my Mother to Buckingham Palace when he was awarded an MBE by the Queen.


Ruby had a very happy and richly varied life, which impacted on many people, and in the short time that we have here this afternoon we will be barely able to scratch the surface. I know that many of you will have your own fond memories of her and I hope that I will be able to add a few facts about her early life.

Ruby was born on 30th April 1911 to Evan Davies, a Welsh shopkeeper and bertha Davies, an Anglo Saxon in Kennington London. She was very proud to be descended from both nationalities. She was the first of their four children or “jewels” as they became to be known. Her sister Beryl and brothers Garnet and Jasper followed but she was the only one to be totally fluent in the Welsh language of her father. In her early years she had an uncanny knack of mimicking her relatives providing much laughter and she would often chuckle about this even in later life.

When Ruby was 3 years old, World war 1 began and she was evacuated to her grandparent's farm at Llangranog in Wales. She stayed there until the rest of her family joined her in 1918. Her grandparents were deeply religious and they provided her with the strong Christian principles that she lived by all her life.

Ruby attended Pont Carreg primary school and when she was 7 her family finally joined her in Wales and they moved into 646 Mumbles road Swansea or Harbourne House as it was known. She spent her teenage years at Swansea High School and in her spare time, assisted in the family tea rooms and shop. It was here that she started her love affair with tea, biscuits and cakes. Her brothers gave her an interest in wildlife and her garden in Albury Close with its birds was a pleasure to her in her later years.

Her mother and father also had a big influence on her life and beliefs. Bertha, her mother regularly took Ruby to the local English speaking Methodist Church and her father Evan, took her to the Welsh chapel where he was a warden and who also led the ladies choir. However, her mother also told her that ladies needed to be independent and equal emphasis was placed on education and religion. As a result, Ruby embarked on an interest that would span her whole life. She began her studies of history and architecture especially that of the Tudor period. It was her interest in the Tudors that decided her to buy a house as close to Hampton Court Palace as possible.

When it became time for Ruby to get herself a job, she was unlucky to qualify in the “depression” of the 1930s. She decided to continue her education and trained in London to become a teacher. This meant that she could continue her studies whilst waiting for an opportunity to work. She started her first job at Moreton Hall in Cheshire and it was there that she realised that teaching was what she wanted in life. It wasn't long before she obtained a post in London.

Ruby was very attached to her family and friends and she regularly wrote to them and never threw any of their correspondence away, treasuring the contact. Ruby loved the written word in all its forms and had an extensive library of books which all bear marks of her intense interest by the many notes added to the texts.

Ruby was delighted when her brother Garnet also moved to London with his family and she did have greater contact with them. I remember many delightful times with my aunt, staying with her and seeing for myself her passion for the Tudors when she took me to Hampton Court Palace. My brother was given tuition at weekends by Ruby when he was 15 and it was then that she introduced him to our family's historical roots which he is still pursuing.

A tribute to Ruby Davies [Given by Patricia (Trish) White, former pupil, member of staff and Deputy Head and now Archivist of The Lady Eleanor Holles School.]

Dear Ruby ….. or perhaps I should say “Dear Miss Davies” as that is how she was known to us pupils, I did not use her Christian name until after I retired from the Staff at School. She is held in great affection and love by many of her former pupils — witness the number of them here today.

Ruby came to The Lady Eleanor Holles School as a young teacher in 1935 aged 24, having graduated from Westfield College, University of London. At that time, the School was in Hackney having moved from the City of London in 1878. The School was then about to move again: it left Hackney in 1936 to come to Hampton. Ruby was left at Hackney to oversee the girls who were not coming to Middlesex.

In the event, only nine girls transferred to Summerleigh, our temporary home in Park Road used while the present site in Hanworth Road was being developed. So, Ruby had charge of a large number of girls (with a few other members of Staff) while they re-located to various schools in the Hackney borough.

In 1937 Ruby came to Hampton and she lived in Burlington House, our Junior Department, which acted also as a boarding house and she was there during the war years. The number of pupils increased greatly during the first two years under the Head Mistress, Miss Nora Nickalls, who had been Head since 1915. Ruby had many tales to tell about the war at the School and she was a knowledgeable source of the Second World War to our Junior girls until 3 years ago. The eight year olds really enjoyed hearing the living history from her and were amazed every year to discover that Miss Davies was also my history and R.E. teacher as I was clearly as old as their grandmothers.

One precaution she recalled was this: Miss Nickalls told the Staff that, if the Germans arrived at the front door of Burlington House, the girls were to be bundled up into the loft space above Miss Nickalls’ flat out of harm’s way. Ruby said “I do not know what the Staff were to do about repelling the Germans”. Fortunately, this situation never arose.

Ruby taught during the reigns of three Head Mistresses. She was head of the Religious Studies Department as well as teaching history and took over as Head of History when Miss Denney retired in 1959.

Ruby was an amazing teacher – one of the greats at L.E.H.S. She was one of the dedicated band of spinsters who gave their lives to the School and “their girls”. She was stern when she had to be, but she had a genuine motherly affection for us and she took our part if she thought that our parents were being unduly harsh. She had a wicked sense of humour and her eyes rarely lost their twinkle. Even during the last year, she and I would have laughs most weeks as we reminisced and she would often burst into an infectious giggle.

After we left School, encouraged by Ruby to achieve heights we did not think attainable, she did not lose interest in us; our fortunes, or misfortunes, our careers, our marriages and our children. She remembered countless small details and made us believe that, individually, we were special to her. The truth is, of course, that she was special to us.

One former pupil asked her if she would kindly write a reference for her. Ruby agreed and her name, Miss R.M. Davies, and position as Head of Religious Studies was sent to the prospective employer, A letter arrived for Ruby addressed “Dear Reverend Mother”. She was much amused.

In the last year or so, Ruby had become frail, but she still identified with the two great loves in her life — the School and the Church.

Her life and quality of life were extended by the wonderful care she received from the social care workers — to mention a few — Linda , Péju (above all), Mary and Comfort. I am very grateful to them and I know that Ruby was, too.

I am glad that Ruby enjoyed the last Holly Club Meeting she attended in October. It was wonderful to see her responding to her pupils as they came up to greet her. I think that she had been to every meeting of this association of former pupils since she retired in 1970. I am very sad that she will not be able to celebrate her 100th birthday as we celebrate our School’s 300th in 2011.

Ruby always taught us that we must remember the topics studied by “key words”. “What are the Key Words, girls?” I am afraid that I cannot remember all of these, but I can remember “key words” about Ruby: integrity. knowledge, generosity, kindness, sense of humour and spirit of adventure, Who else has learnt to drive a car and to swim after retirement?

A light has gone out of my life, and I imagine that I am not the only one to whom that applies.

My Sister, Executor, informs me that Ruby requested donations to Christian Aid instead of flowers.

Below is the name, address and contact details for the Funeral Directors.

The Co-operative Funeral Care
39 The Parade
Stains Road West
Sunbury upon Thames
TW16 7AB


tel 01932 780287