Thursday, January 22, 2009
Granny Nina with 'Step' (Sir Alfred Herbert) at Dunley c 1953 [Photo by Gavin Vapenik, his grandson]. Click the heading for more photos
My grandmother, Marion Fraser Arundel (known as Nina), was born in 1874 in India, the second daughter of Sir Arundel Tagg Arundel KCIS. Her elder sister was called Violet - always known as Vi - who married Evelyn Norie.
She married Archie Pugh - later Col AJ Pugh CBE, VD on 18th December 1904 in Calcutta Cathedral. He was a solicitor in Calcutta and and a member (and from 1912 Colonel) of the Calcutta Light Horse for 32 years. They had six children - Archie ((1908), Jimmie (1910), my mother Annette born in 1914, Ivor (1916), Michael (1918) and David (1922). The children were brought up mainly in Wales, at the family home at Cwmcodwig, Llanfarian. Their cousin Ruth Howard (born 1910) who remained a close friend all her life has written about their childhood in a short memoir here. An excerpt dealing with Nina and her family can be found here.
Col Archie Pugh died in Wales in 1923, aged only 52.
Nina remarried Sir Alfred Herbert KBE in September 1933 as his third wife and devoted herself to his business Alfred Herbert Ltd in Coventry and around the world and his estate at Dunley, in Hampshire. Step called her 'an angel' - and indeed she was a beautiful and gentle soul who loved poetry, studied Ramakrishna and other great texts and became a Christian Scientist. This latter teaching caused the only arguments between Step and Nina, when a doctor would be normally consulted but she demurred.
Nina Herbert beside her husband, Sir Alfred at Dunley. Left to right: Gladys Hollick (Alfred's eldest daughter by his first wife Ellen Ryley), Arthur Hollick, June Vapenik (their daughter), Gavin Vapenik, Ian Hollick, Nina Herbert, Alfred Herbert
After his death in 1957, she moved to Wadwick House (part of the Dunley Estate) with Mackenzie as housekeeper and other staff. She was accompanied everywhere by her spaniel 'Bramble'.
In 1960, she opened the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry as well as conducting a number of other civic duties, such as attending the reconsecration of Coventry Cathedral.
She sadly suffered a stroke in 1963 and was nursed at home by two Sicilian nurses, Maria and Conchita until she died in 1967. She is buried in Wales.
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Posted by Herry Lawford at 11:48 PM