Imagine her surprise when she listened to the reading of the will of her late father! As the eldest of the clan Rosina thought she would receive a substantial financial legacy, but she did not expect to be given the four properties at 46, 48, 50 and 52 Elton Road, Norbiton, Kingston-on-Thames.
Tears of joy were her first response! She then looked into her step-mother’s shining eyes and sat up a little more formally in the leather chair in the study at 196 Commercial Road, Peckham. She was attending the formal ceremony of reading the will of her late father Samuel John Allery.
“What about all my brothers?” She asked the solicitor.
“They have all been catered for – your father has ensured they will each receive a yearly salary, and their share of the Tailoring business!” Replied Ernest Hopkins Hazel, head solicitor of Portland House, Basinghall Street, London. He then read the entire will to the family gathered there at Jemima’s house. This was the day that Probate of the will and codicil for Samuel John Allery, Master Tailor was granted to Jemima Mary Ann Allery and Dave Bertie Allery, 3 August 1922.
Jemima sat grimly through the reading and held on to Dave’s hand. Dave listened intently to the news of becoming a trustee of the Allery estate along with his mother.
All her boys were there that day, Dave, Benjamin, Frank, Sydney, Ernest and Edward, All her step-children were in attendance too, Henry, Rosina, Jessie, Louisa and George, as well as their families. They were quite a crowd gathered solemnly in the study with its book lined walls and comfortable leather seats. Jemima was proud of her family and had arranged this event herself with the help of Dave.
“Do you think they will all come?” she asked her son. “I will need you send out formal invitations to attend the reading at 196 Commercial Road, please.” That seemed so long ago as she was still reeling from the impact of her husband’s death. She stoically held onto her grief and made the proper plans.
She smiled when she heard of the salaries to be held in trust for the children of her late step-son Walter. Fifteen shillings a week – a legacy that was fitting for that small tribe. She nodded approvingly when she heard that her eldest step-son, Henry John, was to inherit the four properties of 4,6,8 and 10 Crown Street, Camberwell. She smiled again when she learned, for the first time, the sum total of the Allery estate – 9,826 13s. 3d. Her fears were allayed, she and her two sets of children were well catered for.
Jemima thought back to the day of the funeral and how sorrowful everyone had been at the burial site at the Old Cemetery, Forest Hill Road, Camberwell, just one week after the death of her beloved Samuel. From the middle of January 1922, in his 75th year, Samuel became ill and was cared for by Jemima at home until she could no longer do so. The months of May and June, whilst he was in palliative care, were a huge drain on her strength. She knew that on his death, she would become the head of the family and she doubted her own ability to support her large family whilst she was grieving.
However, she was able to lean on her son Dave Bertie, a successful business man, running his own House Decorator firm and employing several of his own family as tradesmen. Jemima felt more confident that she would live out her days in comfort and as the solicitor read out the last portion of the will, she sighed and slumped into her chair.
“Time for fortifications Mama?”, said Henry, as he offered her a tray of sherry. By the time all the glasses were passed around, to all those old enough to consume the liqueur, Jemima had revived and was back in matriarchal mode once more. She took the will in its envelope from Mr Hazel and carefully stored it in the family safe. She knew there was no need for any contesting of the will among her tribe – they were all beneficiaries that day.