Press Cuttings (2)
The following article appeared in the Croydon Guardian 12 February 2003
Can you shed new light on letter writer?
McQueeney 13:18 Wednesday 12th February 2003
|When Emilie Crane penned almost 100 letters
to her Canadian cousins during and after the Second World War
from her cottage in Hastings, she had no way of knowing they
would one day be transformed into a book, writes Kerry McQueeney.
The book, Letters from Lavender Cottage Hastings in the Second
World War and Austerity, is the documentation of Emilie Crane's
experience in the Second World War. And, although she wrote
the letters from her south-coast cottage, there is an interesting
link to Croydon.
The book's author is now appealing for any living relations
of Emilie Crane in Croydon, some of which are mentioned, to
contact her with information about the woman she describes as
a "remarkable nobody".
Emilie Crane: kind-hearted, bright, generous, remarkable nobody.
Seymour, who lives in Hastings, said: "Her nephew and extended
family that lived in Croydon crop up towards the end of the
book, and the end of her life when she's ailing in 1955. Some
of them are mentioned in a letter as living in St Peter's Road,
Croydon. It is believed they came to her aid when she became
ill. Her memory must have gone down the family as 'batty old
"She really was a remarkable nobody. She was kind-hearted,
bright, cheerful, generous, optimistic what more can you ask
for in a person? Just a lovely old lady. "She was an educated,
career lady an educational assistant secretary who had lived
through both world wars. She was born in 1871 and died in 1955.
"Any living relatives of Emily Crane still living in Croydon
would, I'm sure, be delighted to know that she has practically
become a celebrity through the letters she wrote to her cousins."
Victoria came across Emily's letters through a website she created
about Hastings. A relative of Emilie Crane's Canadian cousin
Marion had found the collections of letters after her death
and was curious if Lavender Cottage still existed.
Victoria added: "I realised as soon as I saw them that
I had a book. The content describes a very significant time
in history seen through the eyes of an old lady. A lot of her
letters talk about the shortage of food during the Second World
War and her appreciation of the food parcels her Canadian cousins
used to send to her.
"People might think it strange to talk about food so much,
but during the years of harsh austerity the food rationing and
shortage were often more severe than the conflict itself."