Born September 2nd.1887 in Bradfield, Berks
Married September 17th.1912 at Coates, Gloucestershire
to Hubert Digby Watson of Guildford, Surrey.
Children: Ursula (1915-2004), Pamela (1916), Jenny (1919-97) & Michael Watson (1918-2001).
Hubert died 9 Oct 1947.
Dorothy ("The Aunt") was a small lady (4ft 8ins) with a huge and generous personality. When her brother Charles' five children were orphaned in 1929 she and Hubert decided to buy a house large enough to accommodate her own four teenagers and their five cousins. They settled at Windrush, Inkpen, close to the Berkshire Downs.
Windrush, Inkpen, Berks
Left to right: Michael, Dick, John, Henry, Jenny, Pam, Dorothy, Hubert, Ursula, Margaret, Tommy.
See early chapters in "John Usborne- schoolmaster by daughter Ann.
Also chapter on Windrush in "I meant to marry him" by Jean McGibbon.
the family I should have chosen to belong to" wrote Jean
McGibbon in her memoirs. The children ranged in age from 12 to 22.
Dorothy, a left-wing radical and a legendary hostess, thrived on a stream of
intellectually stimulating young visitors.
Hubert with a brilliant scholastic record (First at Oxford, Cricket blue) had retired from the Indian Civil Service in 1919 with a substantial fortune. He threw himself into charitable work with the newly founded "Save the Children Fund", first as treasurer and then president (1930-45). He was addressed by Dick as:
A scholar, unfailingly pat in
The Bible and Dickens and such;
Your Greek may be less than your Latin,
But, dash it, by not very much.
Hubert had five slim volumes of Windrush poems privately printed. No birthday or wedding went un-recorded in verse. He wrote the last letter published in The Times in Latin. Awarded OBE in 1932. Family legend has it that he was offered a knighthood but Dorothy forbade acceptance.
"It had become known locally that Windrush was a house belonging to gentry.....but there was something suspicious about them.....the mistress did not attend church...Hubert gathered signatures for the peace pledge..spy fever was making people jumpy since a neighbour's tip-off to MI5...officials called... communist sympathisers? Nazis?...great family amusement." (Ann Usborne)
When Hubert died (1947) and the family had grown up, Dorothy retired with her unmarried niece Agnes Ward to Ryall House, Dorset. The house is sold but the adjacent land and cowshed (Gates Farm) retained and now converted to a family holiday home.