Olive Maud Gilman (1903-1996)

Olive Maud Gilman

Olive Maud Gilman

Olive Maud Gilman was born on the 23rd September 1903 at Hoxne to Arthur Gilman [1867-1939] and his second wife Florence Butcher [1880-1953]. Her sisters were Florence, Edith, Ethel, Beatrice, Ellen, Ruby and Muriel and her two brothers were William and her half-brother was Arthur Ivan Gilman [1893-1918] whose mother was Edith Thrower [1868-1894]. Arthur Ivan was in the Manchester Regiment and was killed in World War 1 whilst fighting on the Somme, France and is recorded at the Pozieres Memorial.

Gilman Family

Florence Gilman (nee Butcher), Robert Gilman's brother, Eliza Gilman (nee Perry), Arthur Ivan Gilman, Arthur Leo Gilman and in front Olive Maud Gilman, Florence Jane Gilman, Edith May Gilman pictured outside 49 Low Street.

Gilman Family

Olive Gilman, Arthur Ivan Gilman, Beatrice, Florence, Edith and in front William and Ethel Gilman

At the age of 4+ she attended the infant school [which had been built with monies from Thomas Maynard’s will] at the top of the Little Hill, which later became the Doctor’s Surgery. When she was old enough she attended the school at Heckfield Green with her elder sister’s Florence and Edith. Her infant teacher was Miss Emily Norman the sister of the headmaster at Hoxne School Henry Norman. Miss Beatrice Snell taught the children to cook and they made puddings, pies, rusks, scones and cakes.

Olive played games on the village green in front of 49 Low Street and used a skipping rope, spinning top, hoop and marbles to amuse her and the children she played with. At home she had jobs to do to help mother in the house and in looking after her younger brother and sisters. The Gilman children would also help father with his allotment garden on the Little Hill, planting vegetables and helping to weed them and gather them in to be eaten. Father had worked as a farm labourer during his earlier years and then as a carrier for Henry Mutimer of the Hoxne Post Office and general store. He looked after the horses which were kept in the meadow next to Hoxne Churchyard and made sure that his cart and the harnesses were cleaned and in good repair. Father delivered grocery goods in Hoxne and to Denham, Brome, Horham and Oakley and collected goods from the Eye Railway Station.

Her mother Florence had been born at Weybread and her parents were George Butcher [1859-1947] who worked for the Oakley Park Estate and Jane Smith [1878-1936]. George and Jane were well known for singing country songs and won prizes. George played the flute in the Hoxne Band and Jane made beer, wine and preserves. Florence looked after the elderly and sick people in the village and worked as a midwife and also laid out the dead.

Olive won a scholarship to attend Eye Grammar School and cycled to school each day. She enjoyed sports and played hockey and tennis and was good at most subjects. On completing her education at Eye she became a student teacher at Hoxne before she gained a teaching post as infant teacher at Worlingworth School in 1922. She continued to teach there until 1930. She lodged in Worlingworth during the week and cycled to school on a Sunday evening and home again on Friday afternoon.

Olive Maud Gilman

Olive Maud Gilman

Olive was very strict and took charge of her brother and sisters when she arrived home and they had to do as they were told. During the 1st World War she remembered that a Zeppelin came over to bomb the airfield at Pulham St Mary, but instead the German’s dropped five bombs in a meadow at Billingford Hall, killing several farm horses.

Olive and her sisters were skilled in needlework and embroidery and made their own dresses and clothes, for special occasions and birthdays new clothes and shoes were purchased to be handed down to her younger sisters. In 1909 Alfred Tye came to live at Reading Green, Hoxne. He attended Denham School for a couple of years until it was closed and he then went to Hoxne School, presumably he met Olive at Hoxne.

The pattern of rural life changed with the seasons and in 1923 Alfred joined the 15th/19th The Kings Royal Hussars and was posted to Shorncliffe for training and then to Egypt on his return to England he started to take an interest in Olive, but remained in Egypt until 1928. In 1928 Alfred was posted to India and in 1930 he had six months leave and the courtship of Olive started, resulting in their marriage at Hoxne in April 1930. Alfred returned to India until he came back home and frequent letters’ photographs and postcards were sent home to Olive and her family.

Marriage 1930

Alfred William Tye and Olive Maud Gilman married at Hoxne in 1930

In December 1930 their daughter Freda Muriel was born and Alfred did not see his daughter until 1934. Freda was told that her father was in the army on his return home. He was not in uniform and came home to Hoxne and picked up his daughter, who wondered who he was as her daddy was a soldier.

Later on when Freda had grown up Olive returned to teaching at Wingfield School cycling each day. She was an active member of the Hoxne Women’s Institute and the Hoxne Parochial Church Council and Hoxne British Legion. She lived all of her life in Hoxne [apart from 3 months at Shorncliffe Barrack, Kent] within site of the cottage she was born in. The church and her Christianity was an important part of her life as a member of the choir and as the Sunday School teacher.

Olive Tye

Olive Tye (nee Gilman).

Olive continued to teach at Wingfield until she retired. She enjoyed living at her cottage in Low Street and was visited by family and friends along with her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Olive died at Ipswich Hospital after a short illness in 1996 aged 93 and was buried at Hoxne with her husband and near to her family.

Olive and Alfred Tye

Olive Tye (nee Gilman) and Alfred Tye at Low Street.

Article and Pictures provided by Stephen Govier