The Mayor of Southwark, Councillor Catherine Rose unveiled a new bench at the Dulwich Almshouse Charity (DAC) on Friday, in honour of former long-term resident Elsie Taylor, writes Anisha De…
Catrin Waugh, DAC’s Chair of Trustees, said that Elsie Taylor had lived at the almshouse for over 25 years and sadly passed away recently at the age of 100.
According to the charity, Elsie came to live at the almshouse in 1991 at the age of 75
In 1976, she was awarded an Imperial Service Medal, after a long and successful career in the Post Office as a telephonist – including working as a telephone engineer during the war.
Waugh added: “To be eligible, post office employees had to be established members of staff with at least 25 years of pensionable service. They also need an unblemished official conduct record, or, as it was put in official terms, to have given ‘long, zealous, and meritorious service.’
“Elsie was a remarkable woman who showed an enormous zest for life with a strong sense of community, and she was an inspiration to us all. She was born in Southwark and lived in the area her whole life, so we were delighted to have the Mayor join us for the unveiling.”
Elsie had been born in the heart of Southwark between the Old Kent Road and the Walworth Road, and attended a local school, Minor Road, before going to work for years as a telephonist.
Even before retiring, she had already volunteered with the Royal Voluntary Service. She stayed there for 35 years, while she was well into her 90s.
In her 99th year she continued to enjoy a daily walk in Dulwich Park, and was a popular figure among the regular park users.
Elsie out-lived three of her partners: her fiancé who was killed during the war, Les Middlemore, to whom she was married for two years, and then Arthur Taylor who passed away from cancer after eight years.
Although she didn’t have any children, she was fortunate to have her niece, Pat Crouzieres, took care of her affairs when her health began to fail.
Elsie needed to move to a care home for the last few weeks of her life
Waugh said: “We were very privileged to have Elsie live with us for a quarter of a century. We hope that the bench will help to keep Elsie ’s memory alive, and that it will be enjoyed by many people for years to come.”
Councillor Rose further added: “The DAC has an important role providing homes for older people in our community. Elsie was able to enjoy living independently for longer though the support she received from the DAC in the later years of her life.”