Tributes to 100-year-old Gertrude King, of Littleover, who gave knitting demos at Harrods
THE family of a “gifted” woman who once gave knitting demonstrations in Harrods have paid tribute to her after she died, aged 100.
Gertrude King, who lived at Littleover Nursing Home, was born on May 22, 1912, in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire.
She had planned to become a teacher but, when her father died when she was 19, she moved to Halifax to be closer to her relatives and got a job at Patons and Baldwins, a knitting manufacturer.
Her daughter, Gillian Nelson, 73, of Sherston Close, in Oakwood, said: “She used to go round giving knitting demonstrations.
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“She had been down to London and done them in Harrods and other big stores.
“She had always knitted, she was very gifted and often made dresses.”
Mrs King met her first husband, John White, at a dance and the couple married on December 7, 1936, at St John’s Parish Church, in Halifax. They had their son, Jack, 74, in 1938 and Gillian in 1939.
Mrs Nelson said: “Mother and father always wanted their own butcher’s business and in order to try and get some capital they bought a business which was a bit like a boarding house in Halifax.
“It was a Victorian house, they used to have lodgers and officers and they even had refugees from Germany as well as soldiers.”
In January 1943, Mr White was called up to join the Army and was based at the Royal Engineers’ Camp in Harrogate.
When he came out, in 1945, the couple bought their dream butcher’s shop in Halifax.
“My mother learned to drive so she could take people’s orders to them,” said Mrs Nelson.
“It was quite difficult in those days as a butcher. After the war, meat was on ration for quite a long time and when it came off it meant mother and father had to find other places to get it from.”
When Mrs King’s husband died of cancer in July 1957, the business was sold.
She then got a job with clothing firm Bondina, near Halifax, where she worked as an accounts clerk until she retired at the age of 60.
Mrs Nelson said: “She was very disappointed when she had to retire. She enjoyed working and she was always in good physical health.”
She was remarried on February 23, 1963, to Arnold King, who died in 1989. They had moved to Spondon in 1984 to be closer to her family.
In later years, Mrs King enjoyed visiting the care home Perth House, in Chaddesden, twice a week.
“There were various games and activities for her to do which she enjoyed,” Mrs Nelson said.
“The staff were fantastic and they really helped her to carry on going. It gave her an interest and also company where she could chat to people of her own age.”
Mrs Nelson and her husband, Lauri, spent 10 years helping Mrs King to write two volumes of her memoirs, which they printed in 2007, and to visit places where she grew up.
Mr Nelson, 72, said: “Her grandchildren started asking her questions so we decided to put it down for her.
“She had a fantastic memory and she could describe a house she lived in when she was five years old for just one week perfectly.”
Mrs King had moved to Littleover Nursing Home in January last year. She died last Wednesday January 23. 2012
Mrs Nelson said her death was sudden and totally unexpected.
“She never took a day off school or work because she was unwell,” she said.
“Her father used to buy in wholefood supplies and she always used to eat plenty of fruit.
“I think it must have been in her genes. Her sister, Olive, lived to the age of 97.
“She was very good with people and very clever.
“She was very proud of her children, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.”
Harrods, left, was among the large stores where Gertrude King, above, gave knitting demonstrations. The 100-year-old, who lived in Littleover, has died.