GOGARTY, Stanborough & Welwyn Garden City, early 20th century

September 2001

Elspeth Lusby.of South Yorkshire writes:  Trying to establish where the late Olga Eileen Gogarty went to school and any facts around her childhood.  She was born 5.11.1916 to James & Lillian Gogarty (nee Tomlin) The birth certificate shows his occupation as soldier in the East Lancs Regiment & (Postman, GPO of Stanborough) and their address as Ivy Cottage, Stanborough.  We visited Welwyn Garden City & surrounds recently, and found some helpful information for a couple of generations ago, but are finding the most recent bits really elusive?  She did tell her family she went to boarding school in WGC? We know her father died in London when she was 9, and her mother remarried a Henry Drapper soon after.  Could it have been 'board' school?  We know Olga did not get on with her stepfather, and we also know that her mother Lillian died in 1934 when Olga was 17.

You replied previously with some information about the above Lillian's parents [TOMLIN, Hatfield, after 1880].  Thanks for that, and please accept my sympathy with regard to your daughter.

I am afraid I don't have any immediate information available on Welwyn Garden City but as it was founded in 1920 it would have  been very much in its early days when Olga Gogarty went to school. I am not sure what school the children from Stanborough would have gone to before building work started on Welwyn Garden City but any school built in the new city would have been in walking distance of Stanborough. You say that Olga's father died in London, but it is not clear whether the family was living in London at the time. If so it is quite likely that Olga was sent to "board" with one of her relatives in the Stanborough/Welwyn area and went to a local school. [I know of several cases in my own family where a childless couple looked after a nephew or niece to help out during a family crisis.] It is quite possible that Olga left school in 1930.

Three possible actions:

  1. Look at a trade directory for the area to see what schools were in the area. (I know Kelly's directories were published for Hertfordshire in 1922 and 1929 and there may be local street directories.) HALS may well have copies - and there may be copies in a Welwyn Hatfield Library.
  2. Contact HALS to see if they hold any school records for the period.
  3. Olga Gogarty is an unusual name and it is possible that someone who went to school with her is still alive. A letter to a local paper could be useful - see Modern Hertfordshire Newspapers.

If you can add to the information given above tell me.

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