Friday, February 22, 2008

Annette Lawford 1911 - 1998






















My mother Annette Rosemary Pugh was born in Darjeeling on 8th August 1911. Her mother was Marion Fraser Arundel (known as Nina) and her father Lt-Col Archie Pugh, CBE, VD (1871-1923), a solicitor in Calcutta and later Colonel of the Calcutta Light Horse. The family lived at 7 Menlo Park, Calcutta and in Wales, and retired to the nearest hill station - Darjeeling - in summer. Her parents were married in Calcutta Cathedral in 1904 (see a report of their wedding in The Times of India and a photo here).

Annette had five brothers - Archie, Jimmy, Ivor, Michael and David - and the family lived at Cwmcoedwig, Llanfarian near Aberystwyth while her father continued his work in Calcutta, returning for the summer to Wales until he died suddenly at the age of 52. There is a charming memoir written by her cousin Ruth describing her own life in Wales and India during the same period, and a fragment mentioning Annette is linked here. Annette went to school at St Swithun's, Winchester and her brothers went to Winchester and Oxford.

Annette as a bridesmaid to her cousin Tony Powell Edwards in 1933.   She is second from the rear with a white stick 
Although she was quite sporting when young, riding and played tennis, at the age of 22 she had a bad accident in a car driven by her cousin Tony Powell Edwards. Her hip was smashed and as a result, one leg was shorter than the other. Thereafter she suffered from rhumatism and later arthiritis, and walked mostly with a stick, but never complained.

Her widowed mother Nina was married again in 1933, to Sir Alfred Herbert KBE, the industrialist, and came to live at Dunley, the estate next to Litchfield in Hampshire.

Annette was married in 1935 in Litchfield Church to Arthur Luxmoore, and soon afterwards she accompanied him on a posting to Egypt. Fairfax (always known as Fuff) was born in July 1940 but sadly Wing-Commander Luxmoore was shot down over Belgium in May 1940. Her brother Michael was also killed, in Italy, and another brother David, injured.

Annette met Patrick Lawford when he was out riding from Litchfield and she was pushing Fairfax's pram along the lane at Dunley. They married at St Peter's, Eaton Square in 1944. She moved to Litchfield Manor and Herry (Hereward) was born there in April 1945.

The family moved in 1946 to Wadwick, (then part of the Dunley estate) where they stayed for a few months before moving to the Abergavenny's estate at Eridge in Kent and lived at Danegate (where Piers was born in May 1947). They lived there until they bought their own farm in Hampshire, Stocks Farm at Meonstoke under Old Winchester Hill, and moved there in 1950.

Their life at Stocks and at Ramatuelle in the South of France can be found described in Patrick Lawford's funeral notes.

Loving France, she adopted many of Elizabeth David's recipes, turning out wonderful game casseroles and other herb-filled dishes. They entertained - mostly informally - all the time. A list of their many friends who could be found visiting or having them to stay can be found here.

She smoked when young - Sobranies - and loved a glass of wine - always Burgundy as claret didn't agree with her - and had a engaging habit of swopping her glass for her sons' if it was fuller then hers!

She read a great deal, but never threw anything away and so the house was always full of books and magazines. She maintained an account at Harringtons Bookshop in Parchement Street in Winchester for years so that Herry could buy whatever he wanted, when at school. Old Vogues and House & Gardens would date back to the 50s.

She was a great lover of opera and she could always be found listening to her favourite arias, and alway shad a copy of Kobbe by her chair. She also played the piano well, and had a lovely Bluthner grand from her mother as well as an upright Bechstein. Many happy hours were spent - especially at Christmas - while she accompanied us as we sang old nursery rhymes and other songs.

She also loved the theatre and they went regularly to Chichester, often with friends.

She swam in the pool at Stocks - and when that was too cold, at friends' such as the Balfours - almost every day in the summer, and could stand much colder water than any of her sons....

Annette died in June 1998.

Click the heading for more photos and here for Kei's poem about her grandmother.

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