Home Tours Trees Inventory Search About
Tours The Gilchrist Family Tour
Chapter 1: Summary
Chapter 2: Colin Gilchrist
Chapter 3: Jessie Gilchrist
Chapter 4: The Derrick Line
Chapter 5: Olive Wilson Gilchrist
Chapter 5: Olive Wilson Gilchrist
Olive was born in Queen Charlotte's Hospital, Marylebone on 17 April 1897. Her mother, Jessie Gilchrist, immediately placed Olive into a home where about 24 other babies were being kept. Catherine Crane, living in Brondesbury, took her into foster care. So began Olive's life within the 'Sound of the Bow Bells'.
In london Olive lived through interesting times. She would later record them in detail. As an infant she recalled watching the carnival prossession of the crowning of Edward VII. She was also taken to see the funeral of Queen Victoria. Her account of the 1911 total eclipse was as follows: 'The whole of London became as black as the darkest night. Crowds gathered in the street watching through smoked glasses as the moon completely covered the sun.' But there were other more ordinary stories that reflect a London gone forever: seeing the sights of London in a horse drawn vehicle, the 7 deliveries of post starting at 7am, 'going to first Sunday opening of the Marble Arch Cinema', and many others.
Olive Wilson Gilchrist, 1900
Olive Wilson Gilchrist, 1924
But in the back of her mind was always the long wait for the day when she would be re-united with her true parents. As a child Olive was told that '... on this or that special day that my mother and father were coming to see me, and I better behave and stay clean ...'. But the few efforts to get Olive back to Bristol were unsuccessful, and Olive remained in London until she was a teenager. Finally, when Mrs Crane could no longer look after Olive she was forced to return to her parents in Temple, Bristol.
It was in Bristol that she met her husband to be: Cecil Thomas Withers. After their marriage in 1927 they took off for Swindon selling Kleeneze brushes to make a living. Olive and Cecil had 4 children in the years before the outbreak of WWII: Allan, Derek, Kathleen and John. During the war Olive worked as an air raid warden, and later recorded her war time experiences. These written records were only some of the many records that Olive kept. She had a great interest in family history and wrote down as much as she could recall, by hand, many times. Olive lived to be 92 years old.