Search

Great-great aunt Ethel throws birthday bash at 104

PUBLISHED: 12:00 28 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:50 05 October 2010

A GREAT, great aunt whose life has spanned the reigns of five monarchs celebrates her 104th birthday at a nursing home in London’s East End on Monday (December 1). Ethel Cushway, born in Hackney in 1904 when Edward VII was on the throne, is busy working on a project with her carers to record her life story. Her recollections will go into a book

A GREAT, great aunt whose life has spanned the reigns of five monarchs celebrates her 104th birthday at a nursing home in London’s East End on Monday (December 1).

Ethel Cushway, born in Hackney in 1904 when Edward VII was on the throne, is busy working on a project with her carers to record her life story. Her recollections will be put in a book.

Her vivid memories include how food was scarce when she was a schoolgirl during the First World War, when her parents kept rabbits which they cooked and then sold the fur to buy more food.

Ethel left school at 14 to work as a tea lady in Howland’s shirt factory in Hackney when the Great War ended in 1918.

Two decades on, the Second World War was traumatic for her as her mother died the day war was declared on Sunday, September 3, 1939.

Ethel recalls the 1943 Bethnal Green air-raid disaster when 173 people, including many children, were crushed to death in a stampeded to get down the narrow stairs when German bombers appeared in the night sky.

She also remembers the following year when she couldn’t reach an air-raid shelter in time as V1 Doodlebug flying bombs fell on East London—and had to shelter under a table at home.

Ethel now lives at Bethnal Green’s Silk Court nursing home in Ivimey Street, where she celebrates her big day on Monday with her family.

She never married, but has five nieces, nine great nieces, two great nephews, three great-great nieces and nine great-great nephews who regularly visit her.

+++

Frank at 101 is probably Britain's oldest carer-and still goes to football

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the East London Advertiser