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Mary PENFOLD (1888-1966)




Spouse: Edmund James GOODWIN

1 Mary Jane PENFOLD (1888-1966) [110], dau. of John Robert PENFOLD (1857-1924) [86] and Mary Jane WILMSHURST (1856-1905) [87].

Born 16 Mar 1888, Chelsea, London, England.1 Marr Edmund James GOODWIN 28 Jan 1939, Westminster, London, England.2 Died 16 Aug 1966, Queen Mary's Hospital, Roehampton.


Mary Jane Penfold was John Robert’s fourth child and first daughter. She was born on 16th March 1888 at 25 Queen’s Road, Chelsea, where her father ran a bookmaking/repair shop. Her mother, Mary Jane Penfold (nee Wilmshurst) registered the birth on 23rd April.

Mary went to Christ Church national School, Chelsea and later Ashburnham Road School and Horseferry Road School when John Robert and the family moved to the new council flat in Hogarth Buildings on the Millbank Estate.

At some stage in her late teens she fell from a cart and infection set in which resulted in Mary having to have her kneecap removed. For the rest of her life she walked without being able to bend her left leg and had to learn to tuck her ‘unbendable’ leg out of the way.

Extract from Arthur Penfold’s reminiscences (Arthur being Mary Jane’s elder brother):

“About the year 1900 our own mother’s health gave way and gradually worsened to the inevitable end in 1904. Mary Jane who was still quite young and at school had to contrive household matters for her father and brothers who were keeping the home together and did everything possible to preserve its cheerful atmosphere. During his council service, father had been appointed to the Management Board of a group of schools and he found time to attend the schools and interest himself in their manner of working and in the staff of teachers. Mary Jean’s form teacher and the headmistress of Horseferry Road Council School as well, were hoping that she would go into training for that calling. However, the position of the remaining members of the family rendered a continuance at school out of the question, and instead the younger sister Mabel two years later went into training at the centre in Battersea, gained her certificate, married, and became one of the staff of St.James the Less school in Westminster….”

Although registered as Mary Jane, she was known as Mary Jean, and in fact ‘Din’ was substituted for Jean and she was known as Din or Aunty Din by the family.

Being the oldest daughter Din obviously had a tough time helping to run her father’s bootmaking shop and looking after her father and siblings Frederick, Arthur, Charles and Mabel during her mother’s long illness and after she died on 29th January 1905.

Her maternal grandmother who lived with the family had also died the previous august of 1904, so by the age of sixteen Din had a lot to contend with. Her father remarried on 6th June 1906 and he moved to Rampayne Street, Westminster, with his new wife Louisa. Din continued to run the shop (which by now was in Chapter Street, Westminster) and look after the home and family but less than a year later her brother Charles took his own life by jumping off Vauxhall Bridge into the Thames on 6th April 1907. He was 21 years old. The family was devastated but Din courageously continued to hold the fort.

Her sister Mabel must have started her teacher training circa 1910 as she commenced teaching in Gillingham, Kent, in April 1912. She married Edmund James Goodwin on 6th September 1913 at the register office, St. George Hanover Square, and their daughter Daphne Jean was born on 29th January 1914 at 28 Buckingham Chambers, Westminster. Edmund fought in the First World War so Mabel and Daphne moved into the flat above the bootmaking shop in Chapter Street and lived with Din. Mable took up her second teaching appointment at St. James the Less School, Westiminster.

Din's oldest brother Frederick had joined up for the First World War, but during training on Salisbury Plain he developed a growth on the brain and after a long illness he died in 1st London General Hospital (R.A.M.C) Camberwell on 1st January 1918. This was yet another loss for Din and her family to cope with.

At some stage Din became engaged to a young man whose surname was Gable. He eventually broke off the engagement. Could it have been because he was related to Din's stepmother whose maiden name had been Gmble before her first marriage?

Din's father John Robert died on 15th March 1924 at Charing Cross Hospital, but she continued to run the shop.

When her older sister Mabel died in April 1934, Din continued to look after the home for Edmund James Goodwin (Mabel's widowed husband, Din's brother in law), as he had been living there on his return from the war. On 28th January 1939 Din married Edmund James, he being 51 years old and a widower, and she being 50 years old and a spinster and his sister in law. They married at The Register Office, Westminister and witnesses were Arthur J. Penfold, Din's brother, and Daphne Jean Moore (nee Goodwin), Edmund's daughter from his marriage to Mabel Penfold. She now became Daphne's stepmother as well as her aunt. Daphne never felt entirely comfortable with her.

They continued to live above the shop until the Second World War broke out and then they lived in a cottage in Byfield, Northamptonshire for five years. When they moved back to London they found a flat at 285 Putney Bridge Road and Edmund worked as an instructor in woodwork at the Wandsworth Technical Institute. Unfortunately in 1953 he had to have an operation as a result of a previous war wound and died shortly afterward on 15th March 1953. Mary made her will on 18th March 1953 and this was signed by Winifred Stock and Maurice Morre, her niece Daphne's husband.

Din gave up the Putney flat and went to live in Herne Bay with her friend Dee. This only lasted for fifteen months and they Mary was lucky enough to become a resident receptionist for daphne's doctor in Kennington, in fact in the same street in which Daphne lived.

Din sadly contracted breast cancer and suffered a long and unpleasant illness. She had to resign from her Doctor's receptionist job and moved in with her niece-cum-stepdaughter Daphne at 86 Courtenay Street, Kennington, firstly having the upstairs bedroom as a bed-sit and later moving to the front room downstairs. She died on 16th August 1966 in Queen mary's Hospital, London. S.W.15.

She often played 'Patience' to pass the time. She enjoyed reading and writing and frequently wrote leters to newspapers and magazines many of which were published. She also had a short children's story published in 'Kiddies' magazine in the 1950s. She saved many postcards, birthday cards, concert programmes, children's drawings, and family photographs, and made notes of special events and kept them in aspecially made Scrap Book. This Scrap Book has proved to be invaluable for the Family History Research.

Because she was Daphne's stepmother but also her aunt, she was known to Diana and Roger, Daphne's children, as Aunty Granny.

(Notes by Diana Smith)


Sp. Edmund James GOODWIN (1887-1953) [112].


1"Census 1911 Westminster, London, England RG14 Piece: 475 Reference: RG14PN475 RG78PN16 RD5 SD3 ED10 SN163" (RG14 Piece: 475 Reference: RG14PN475 RG78PN16 RD5 SD3 ED10 SN163).

Source: Census 1911 Westminster, London, England RG14 Piece: 475 Reference: RG14PN475 RG78PN16 RD5 SD3 ED10 SN163, 1911Census-john robert penfold-st george

2"Paper Cutting: Mary Jane Penfold - Tree001:W14".

Source: Paper Cutting: Mary Jane Penfold - Tree001:W14, Tree001-W14-Marriage