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Life and History of Florence Pike (nee Swancutt) 1888-1974


My Nan Florence Pike (nee Swancutt) born 29 Feb 1888, 2 Holly Lane Smethwick, Birmingham.
Died, 5 Oct 1974
Parents were, Thomas Swancutt and Sarah Ann Swancutt (nee Hartland)
Florence was one of ten children,
Sarah Ann, born 1874
Thomas, born 1878
George, born 1879
Elizabeth, born 1880
William, born 1882
Beatrice, born 1890
Harry, born 1892
Sidney, born 1895
Samuel, born 1897

Florence came from a large family of six boys and four girls, I know very little of her younger days, and as far as I know when she left school in 1902 at the age of 14,
she became a domestic help, suppose that’s posh for servant, which was following her mother’s footsteps.
I have a number of reference letters from previous employers of Florence and they all speak very highly of her, most of the work she did at this time was in the large houses of very wealthy people, in fact she worked for a number of years for the Rabone family in Hamstead, Handsworth, this is the family who were part of the Rabone and Chesterman measuring tool manufactures, based in Hockley Birmingham.
Some time previous to 1911 she meet my granddad William Pike, who at the time was serving with the 10th Battalion Royal Warwickshire regiment.
On the 1 July 1911, they were married in St James Church, Handsworth, Birmingham.
Their first-born was Stanley Pike, 28 Oct 1911, at this time they were living at
Number 4 Ashfield Terrace, Alfred Street, Handsworth, Birmingham.
In August 1913 Florence gave birth to her second child Ruby Florence Pike,
When Ruby was about 18 months old she became ill with Tuberculosis, and
after a long and painful fight, Ruby passed away on the 30 June 1915 and was buried in Handsworth Cemetery on the 7 July 1915.
At the time of Ruby’s illness and subsequent death William was serving overseas
And Florence was on her own trying to look after her son Stanley, whilst spending as much time as possible with Ruby, at the Birmingham children’s hospital.
After the death of her daughter, Florence became very depressed and spent some time at, Marle Hall convalescent home Llandudno, Wales.
There is a photo in the pike family album called, Florence and Stanley
I have worked it out from the year date on the back of the photo that it was taken not long before Ruby’s death, or just after.
If you look at Florence you can see the pain in her face, people say that the loss changed Florence, and she became very grumpy and bad tempered.
Florence and William did not have any more children for seven years, and from all accounts it was a bumpy seven years, but as they say time is a great healer.
In 1918 Florence returned to Marle Hall for a rest bite, I have a postcard sent to Florence wishing her well and telling her not to worry about Stanley,
The the postcard is dated the 24 sept 1918 and is from a Mrs Cole, I have put this postcard in the pike family album.
In 1920, Florence gave birth to Eric, not long after this Dennis was born in 1921, and my Dad Albert followed in 1923.
Although I was never very close to my Nan Florence, and as a child I remember her sometimes being very strict and poker faced,
I was told in latter years she had not always been this way, and at some time in the past she was a kind loving wife and mother.
When I was in my teens the journey to and from school would take me past her house, which was just across the road from my home in Alexandra Road,
she would be waiting for me at her front gate and would call me over,
The first thing she would do is pull her handkerchief from her sleeve, give it a lick and then proceed to rub my face with it, saying “you’ve got a dirty face young David” after about a minute of this she would invite me into her house.
“You must come and see your granny more often” she would say, as she handed me some sweets with a smile on her face,
She would then give me a kiss on the cheek and say, “now of you go, and be careful of the roads”, although I did not realise at the time, she was trying so hard to give and be loved.
I guess somewhere inside my Nan Florence, there was this kind and loving person trying to get out and claw back some of the love she had lost years before.
Now that I know some of the things she went through in her life, I can understand, I only wish I knew then, what I know now.

My Nan Florence, 1888-1974

Linked toFamily: Pike/Swancutt (F2)

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