Miss Marian Hodson

no-picture-square3Miss Marian Hodson is almost certainly a BA student, graduating in 1934, from King’s College, London, born on 11th November 1913, thus aged 19 at the time of the dinner.  The name is not uncommon, but the clincher, I believe, is that on the table is Miss Phyllis Crossley, who also graduated from King’s, in 1935.[1] Thus Miss Marian Hodson is now an ex-mystery guest, though we do need more information to know her well.  Both she and Phyllis may perhaps have been invited by fellow table guest Gwen Harrison, a student then at Bedford College, London – her father Mr A.E. Harrison, joining Time and Tide, and possibly the table host, may have encouraged her to bring friends.  

puzzle-piece2-50Can you tell us more about Marian?


Probably seated with her fellow King’s student Phyllis Crossley and maybe they were both seated with, or very close to Gwen Harrison (who may perhaps have been seated alongside her father.)  If she goes on to be a teacher she may have enjoyed the company and wisdom of Jessie White -and we don’t know anything yet about mystery guest Mr. W.B. Valentine.


This was a quite a remarkable dinner to attend, so perhaps taking it all in.


So far all we can be “certain” of is that she was a student at King’s, London, with a year to go. But we may have other sightings. In 1935 a Marian Hodson on the Electoral Register (so by then over 21) with many other women at 30/34 Warrington Crescent, Maida Vale.  If she was born, as we think, in November 1913 she would have turned 21 at the end of 1934 – hence not appearing in the Electoral Register before 1935, and thus, unlike Phyliss Crossley, not listed at the King’s College Hostel in Bayswater during her time there – though she may have been living there. 

In 1938 No. 34 Warrington Crescent was a College Hostel, advertising for service staff in the Western Morning News on 5th January 1938.

On 17th January 1900 this college was part of the St Mary’s College, Paddington, which was also at 122-124 St James Terrace, Harrow Road. It was advertised thus in the London Evening Standard:

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE, PADDINGTON, W. 122 and 124. St. James’s-terrace. Harrow-road, W 5, Clifton Gardens. Also 32 and 34, Warrington Crescent SECONDARY TRAINING COLLEGE and Church High School with Kindergarten and Boarding Houses Conducted by the sisters of ST. MARY THE VIRGIN. WANTAGE. under the recognition of the Training Syndicate of the University of Cambridge. Recognised also by the Oxford Training Delegacy as Practising School for their Students. Recognised by the Technical Education Board of the London County Council, and by the National Union for the Technical Education of Women in Domestic Sciences. Re-opens 20th January.

This we assume is where Marian followed up her BA, by training to be a teacher. 

However, we have, I believe, more to add.  It is most likely that she is the young Blackpool “Central School” teacher, in the 1939 census, born on 11th November 1913 to Ada Wood and Arthur Hodson, a baker, and the census record also notes she had  a BA.[2]  The age works, the qualification works, the profession fits, as does the name (Marian not Marion) and there are no alternatives in sight.  She would have been 19 when at the dinner, and 20 when graduating in 1934.  Central schools were then schools in between grammar schools and secondary schools: assuming there might be one in any one town, this would be the Palatine Central School of Blackpool.  


Marian graduated from King’s College for Women, with her BA, the next year, in 1934, most probably followed up with teacher training in Paddington, and then, we are assuming, took up teaching in the family hometown of Blackpool, at the Palatine Central School.  

If our research above is correct, Marian married a Blackpool baker (and a son of baker) in 1945, Norman Anthony Howsley (who had served with the Royal Signal Corps during WW2) and whose younger brother was a Japanese PoW in Borneo from 1942. That news came through after 13 months of silence.[3]  Norman was also an Associate of the Trinity College of Music, London and the London College of Music (having qualified in 1934).[4]  As was the rule in those days, she would have had to cease teaching on marriage.

Their Blackpool home, of her parents and then for her and Norman, was 48 Selbourne Road.  It looks like that they did not have children. Marian herself did have a little brother, born in 1917, but he died in 1920. 

Marian died at the age of 94 in Blackpool, in early 2007, her husband having predeceased her in mid 1999.[5]   


[1] University of London Graduates 1934

[2] 1939 census

[3] Nelson Leader, 26.3.1943

[4] Nelson Leader, 9.2.1934

[5] Genealogical data from General Registry Office sources.

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