Olive and Ernie and Olive's family

This page is being developed from a memorial of photographs and memories collated by Lesley Hall.

Bertie Jenkins, born 24.9.1894 in Bethnal Green, died in September 1971.

His mother was an Irish Catholic who became a Protestant when she married his father, who came from Wales. Both learnt to read and write at the Bedford Institute in Friends Hall, Quaker Street, Bethnal Green. Bertie was the youngest in a family of eight girls and four boys.

Bertie married Beatrice Mary Long in Frome Somerset in the summer of 1919. Beatrice was born 5.12.1897 in Wellow, Somerset. She died about October 1984 in Hackney.

Bertie Jenkins joined the Quakers after military service in the First World War convinced him that God's calling to him was a ministry to peace. He and his wife were both members of Bunhill meeting, which at that time was several hundred strong. To attend meeting for worship, at 11am, one had first to attend the adult school that met at 8am under the supervision of Joseph Bevan Braithwaite (junior).

Beatrice and Bertie Jenkins with Marjorie (left), Olive (on lap) and Muriel

Olive was born in Shoreditch on 7.2.1926.

Olive had two older sisters:

Marjorie Florence Jenkins born 13.2.1921 and Muriel born in December 1923.

Marjorie married Roy Douglas Hall. She died in Greenwich in May 1997. Her daughter is Lesley.

Muriel was the only sister who did not marry and the only one who lived in Hackney all her life. She died in Hackney. Funeral: Friday 13.6.2008

Margarine - Pegtops - Olive Oil - cat

Marjorie and Muriel with Olive and the cat

Their grandfather called them Margarine; Pegtops and Olive Oil.

Then there were five: Marjorie top left, Olive in the middle, Muriel right. Patricia (the youngest) and Kathleen

Kathleen was born 28.2.1933. Patricia was born 11.12.1935.

Kathleen married Ronald Hooker. In the 1980s, Olive and her husband Ernest, Muriel, and Kathleen and Ron and their children Stephen, Janis, Philip, Ian and Alison were the core members of Bunhill Quaker Meeting.

Before 1939, Marjorie and her younger sisters, Muriel, Olive, Kathleen, often worshipped at Bunhill in the morning and went to Hoxton Hall for afternoon Sunday School and evening meetings. The youngest sister, Patricia, was too young for Sunday School.

There was something very un-Quakerly about Ernest Yarrow. Olive's account of how she met Ernest was plain and matter of fact. Ernest's account of how he met Olive sparkled with romance!

When we were children we often went to stay at Aunty Olive and Uncle Ernie's house. On one occasion when we went to stay it was because our family had moved house and Ian and I went to stay with them whilst the move was taking place. I was 7yrs and Ian would be 5yrs. I remember on this occasion when it was dinner time, Ian and I sat at the table for dinner but part of the meal was a portion of peas. Now Ian hated peas and I knew it, but Uncle Ernie had told us that we had to eat our dinners up before we could get down from the table. Well needless to say Ian wouldn't eat his peas and we sat there for sometime before Olive and Ernie realised that I was eating them for him. He did get told off for not eating his peas( as Aunty and Uncle took looking after us very seriously) but I think Ernie and Olive saw the funny side of it. They even suggested to Ian that he should eat them with honey so they would not fall off his fork!

Often when we went around at Christmas time and on other occasions we would be allowed to have 'pop' and Aunty Olive would get Cream soda out of the cupboard and we could have it topped up with milk. It was always something to look forward to. One year we went for the day at Christmas and had tea with them. I think it would have been a salad and or corned beef sandwiches. As Aunty Olive gave Uncle Ernie the tin she said to him ' Be careful and don't cut yourself', unfortunately that is just what he did and I think Ernie and Dad spent the rest of the evening in A and E! After that it was always a standing joke to get the corned beef out at Christmas.

There are many things that remind me of Olive. She was the clerk at Bunhill fields meeting for over 30 years and she was always there when I remember going to Meeting there on Sundays. She was great believer in bringing cake to area meeting and would always make several cakes in one go. The recipe was a secret and she said that she wouldn't tell anyone the recipe. I know that a few people have the recipe now, but I'm not telling who! My husband, Peter, remembers Olive as being someone who always made you feel welcome and always had tea or coffee and biscuits to hand when you dropped around. When we were newly married, both Olive and Ernie made him feel part of the family and welcomed him with open arms. This was their way and they would love people to pop in. Olive used to like to talk about news and what was on the news, she was interested in what everybody was doing and made you feel that your troubles were her troubles and could be sorted out somehow. I will always remember her garden and her love of flowers and particularly Ernie and his love of Fuchsias and geraniums, and she would take you out into her garden and tell you what she had been doing in the garden since you were last there.

Olive, who was fiercely independent, often told me when she had been up town that she had met someone on a bus or train that she had, had long conversations with and what it had been about. Sometimes she would get into difficulties but when she had needed help that there always seemed to be someone around who would help her and I used to joke with her and ask her ' which angels she had met today?' and she would know exactly what I meant as she saw others who helped her as angels when she was in need.

"Olive tried always to be a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ by trying to do the things and living the life Christ wants us to. A few years ago when she was feeling down and during the quiet time she had each day she got the message 'I will be with you always'. She held this message close to her heart and it helped her a great deal in her last years." (Sister Pat)

The picture Olive kept by her

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Olive's funeral was at Wanstead Meeting House on Saturday 1st August at 12.00pm. We buried her body in the same plot that we buried Ernest. This is close to where we buried Chris Vinzenzi. It was at Ernie's funeral that Chris expressed his wish that his body should be buried here. It was a sunny day and the butterflies kept us company.

Small Heath butterfly photographed by Ian Kirk. This one was in Dorset, but they are common on Wanstead grasslands.

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