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Marjorie makes a century.
Marjorie Costello of Melrose Road, West Mersea was born in a small room above her father's Peldon hardware store one hundred years ago. Sunday 26 March 1911 was also the birthday of acclaimed American playwright Tennessee Williams, and in the same month, Captain Robert Scott was in the Antarctic preparing for his ill-fated attempt to reach the South Pole; Henry Ford opened his first factory in England to build Model T motor cars; and preparations were under way for the coronation of the new king, George V.
Marjorie's father was very protective of his three daughters (Marjorie was the second) and would not let them near the horse he kept to cart his paraffin and oil deliveries to the surrounding villages. Neither would he allow them to cross the Strood to Mersea unchaperoned, fearing that they would be caught by the tide. Marjorie went to school in Peldon, but like many young girls at that time, left at the age of fourteen to go into service. She was taken on as a lady's maid to look after the wife of a brigadier general at Manwood House, Abberton, and remained in the same job for the next fifteen years. She remembers her years in service with great fondness. "I had a marvellous position there', she said. "I had my own room in a lovely house and the lady I worked for was very kind. I used to look after her clothes and make sure she had everything she needed.
But one summer, while she was holidaying with her younger sister Gwen, she met Patrick Costello. The two were soon married, and in 1940 Marjorie left Abberton and moved to London with her new husband. Almost immediately the blitz started, and Patrick was relocated by his company to Sevenoaks in Kent. Marjorie stayed behind in their house near Clapham Common and endured the worst of the war on her own. "Our street was bombed five times', she remembered 'but we never had a direct hit on our house. The windows came in once or twice, but I was very lucky.'
Patrick returned after the war and the couple picked up their life together in Clapham, but when her husband died at a relatively young age, Marjorie decided to return to Peldon and look after her mother. She remained in the family home until 1980 when her mother died at the age of 97, and then she moved to her current home in West Mersea.
'Being a hundred years old doesn't seem any different to me', she said. "I feel just the same as usual. But it must run in the family because my mother lived to a great age and my sister Gwen was 93. I might be going a bit deaf but I can still see well enough and I don't have to take many pills.'
[ Marjorie's father was Clem Hyam. She died in 2014 at the age of 103.
Date: 26 March 2011
Photo: Mersea Museum
Image ID TBM_MJC_001
Category 1 Places-->Peldon
This image is part of the Mersea Museum Collection.