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Percy Edwin Ascoli

Percy Edwin Ascoli

Male 1892 - 1928  (36 years)

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  • Name Percy Edwin Ascoli 
    Born 1892  London, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Biography Percy - the delicate one
    There was a day when my mother said to me, with a calm smile on her face,
    "If I had another baby I would call her Mary."
    A month or two before I had heard my mother and father speaking angry words at each other and my mother was in tears. It was years before I connected the two events but apparently the time had come when Mother had accepted the fact that another babe was on the way. So that when, one day in May 1892, I came home from school and was greeted by a stranger in the house who said,
    "Come and see your new brother."
    Of course I was delighted - not so, my sister Elizabeth. She had already started teaching and her response was,
    "What, another little pest?"
    She must have been recalling her sufferings at the last birth when my paternal grandmother was in charge. 
    There was no such upheaval, now things seemed to go rather smoothly. I was well over eight years of age and I promptly took charge of the baby. I watched him having his daily bath and I thought he was beautiful. He was very fair, his eyes the sweetest blue and mother made a long curl on the top of his head, the fashion in those days. I remember admiring his beautifully firm limbs and loved to help in the bathing operations. 
    He was called Percy and from the start he was my baby. I took him out, wheeling him up and down the road in his perambulator. All the neighbours stopping to admire him. He was wonderfully bright and good tempered - very quick and active in his movements. Coming in from school I always waited for some account of his exploits. One day he had climbed to the top of the lattice about eight feet high and then called out, crowing with glee - this before he could walk, he had crawled into the garden and then climbed. 
    Another day when he was trotting round the house he said to my mother,
    "See my pie done."
    And when Mother opened the oven door there was a tin full of cutlery oven-hot and some very discoloured. 
    There was a home-coming of shock for me, though. I arrived home to find Mother rubbing him vigorously with a towel and a neighbour standing by - alarm still on both of their faces. Then Mother related what had happened. It had been a year of drought and water was turned off at certain hours of the day. So my mother, as with all housewives, collected water for use in the house. The water for cleaning was stored in a wooden tub in the garden covered over with boards. My Father was at home ill and Mother was up stairs seeing to him leaving the baby downstairs, as she thought, shut in the kitchen. Hearing a low gurgling noise looked from the bed-room window saw two baby legs waving in the air above the water tub. She just said quickly to my father,
    "I must run down and see what that boy is up to" - dashed quickly and rescued her baby, by this time, blue in the face.
    Shouting for a neighbour to help her, rushed in, turned him upside down to get the water from his lungs then rubbed him back to life and he had returned to consciousness just before I came in. If ever a mother was glad there was such a thing as school for children as young as three, it was when Percy attained that age. 
    I can remember that first day, he had on a little plaid dress pleated from the waist - little puff sleeves tied up with red ribbon, the long curl across his forehead, and wearing a little white frilled pinafore, all these things were fashionable in those days. I took him to the classroom. The teacher was one we knew, a Miss Marks - a quick, lively little woman whom all the children loved.
    "And who is this little girl?" she said.
    "A little boy." I stammered and gave his name and particulars and would she keep him until I called. 
    So, life was full of promise for this beautiful, healthy, energetic child - the youngest of our bunch. He got on well at school too, and was popular with all the children. It was when he was six that trouble began. One morning he woke up in a high fever. There was swelling in the limbs too and he complained of pain. We had a nurse friend of the family named Miss Hunt whom we called Auntie Jenny. She happened to call that day or perhaps Mother had sent for her. My father was nearly frantic, possibly he guessed what the trouble was. Aunt Jennie promptly took charge and quietened everyone down in truly nurse fashion and the doctor was sent for. It was rheumatic fever - not at all uncommon with children in those days. But what a remarkable patient. The pain would come on at frequent intervals when he would call out,
    "Oh! my knee, my knees" and his teeth clenched with pain.
    The moment it had subsided the smile came back, as well as the merry twinkle to the eye, and he would make some childish joke or call the cat and remained smiling until once more racked with pain. 
    Of course, the illness lasted some time and a long convalescence ensued. The round, rosy face and the lovely baby limbs had disappeared and a thin delicate looking child had taken his place. As so often happened in such cases the heart never recovered so he was continually in poor health and had long absences from school. He could not join in any sport - all this was barred to him but he was fond of fun and often he was the author of many classroom jokes. 
    One year he chanced to have a form master who seemed sometimes inept and incapable of class discipline. It was then Percy organised the pin game. Several boys in different parts of the classroom had pins fastened in the seat of the side of the boys concerned, and one would start twanging the pin making a small musical noise. The master would stop, look in the direction from which it came and said,
    "Now who is doing that?"
    This was signal for it to commence at the other end of the room. This mystified the master and he turned in that direction and said,
    "Oh, it's over there is it?"
    It would then start somewhere else and the fun went on until the class was convulsed with laughter. 
    It was a few years later- when Percy had left school, that he attended a heart hospital and saw among the out-patients this same teacher who came up to him and spoke so kindly to him that his conscience smote him and he feared that it was the master's weakness of body which had caused his apparent failure at times to keep the attention of his pupils. 
    So, school days ended and even he must face the world of commerce. He knew he could not take any position which required medical examination. At this time a friend of ours who was a chartered accountant had an opening for him in his office. The friend of course knew what he had to contend with and was sympathetic and Percy was able to learn the rudiments of office work under congenial circumstances. There were many breaks for illness -the trouble was a recurring one, and in 1914 the war broke out. The head of his office saw trouble ahead for himself and quickly joined up as pay-master to the troops and the office was closed. As many young men were joining the forces it was fairly easy for a young man to find employment and he was taken on a firm making cables which bid fair to keep in full, and even increasing, capacity. 
    In his teens Percy had become rather complaining and depressed in disposition - quite a change from childhood days. Why was he so different from other boys? He could not take part in any sport - not even cycling which was then becoming very popular He tried swimming but even getting in the water caused a heart-attack and he was exceedingly discouraged. Then a change took place. It was after he had offered himself for the army and been turned down that he went to our family doctor for advice. I have no idea how the doctor approached the subject but he must have been a clever psychologist. There was an immediate change in my youngest brother's attitude to life. He became much more cheerful he held his head high and there was a light in his eye we had not seen for many a day. His sense of fun and humour returned and he joined his fellows in the country rambles and quiet occupations. One thing the doctor had told him was that he must take care not to let a cold get hold on him. 
    Of course, he worked in town and overcrowded trains were his everyday portion. It astonished him too that men always wanted the window shut and when he was hard put to it to keep well. He then developed some sort of cult. If he felt the beginnings of a cold he would come home and say,
    "I'll wait a bit for my tea."
    We came to know what this meant. He would then lay down on a couch in warm room and one could watch his body become completely relaxed. His breathing would gradually become easier and more even and after a while he would say,
    "That's all right. I have got rid of that," and would sit down to his tea as if nothing had happened. 
    Soon he had the appearance of a healthy young man. He went, occasionally for a chat with his doctor who was exceedingly pleased with his condition and said once,
    "If you keep on like this you could live to be ninety"
    Of course, by this time. he was well into his twenties and although he had been friendly with a few girls, he had never fallen in love. And then it happened. 
    She was a charming girl. I had known her since she was five when I taught her in school. She was several years his junior but a good companion for him and such a happy disposition. But before he declared his love he sought advice once more from Dr Harris,
    "Ought he to marry? And how about having children? Was his complaint congenital?"
    The doctor assured him that he would perfectly safe if he could refrain from excitement. That there was no reason whatever why he should not bear completely healthy children and wished him all good fortune in his wooing. 
    So, at the age of thirty, he married Margaret Ramsay, aged just over twenty. She was quite cognisant of the situation with regard to his health, but was willing to take the risk. Men were by this time returning from the war and the housing problem was difficult. So we decided to buy a house which was convenient for them to live with us for the early days of marriage at any rate. 
    By this time there was just Mother, my eldest sister and myself at home, so it did not require a very large house and as Mother was becoming old it seemed advisable to have someone in the house with her all day.  
    [Visits to emporium for furniture and the party.] 
    A rather amusing incident happened at the first week-end after their short honeymoon was over. Margaret had cooked her first joint and when dinner was finished they came to our sitting room to report, leaving the remains of the joint on the dish. We congratulated them and we all sat for a while laughing and talking together. When the young couple returned to their room the joint had disappeared. Of course, they thought one of us had played a trick on them but we all declared our innocence and detection work commenced. There was a ventilator to the window which was open. Could it be a cat had come in that way and escaped that way? It seemed impossible but on examining the wall underneath there were certainly the marks left by a cat's paws but no other clue was ever found to the mystery. 
    Life went on very smoothly with the young couple, the only slightly discordant note was that sometimes Mother interfered a bit with the young bride. She was only a girl after all and Mother felt she needed some direction. A year or two after the wedding we were all invited into their rooms for tea - a very nice looking iced cake held its central position on the tea-table. We enjoyed the repast very much and all felt that the one time the bride had progressed very much with her cooking and we congratulated her heartily on the wonderful cake. Then the young wife stood up and said very shyly - it is a birthday party. We were non-plussed at first for knew it was not her birthday or her husband's - then we realized this was her way of announcing they were to expect a child. We were very happy about it - Mother most of all. She had two grandchildren both boys and she hoped sincerely this might be a girl. Slowly the idea dawned us all that another room would be required and after a good deal of consultation it was agreed that we - Mother and her two daughters, should look for another house.  
    So we moved away - not far off so that visiting was easy. The months flew by and a girl was born - a very pretty baby from the first with fair hair and blue eyes. As the hair grew it became a mop of wonderful curls and she was the admiration of everybody friends and strangers alike - she was called Lorna. The young mother suffered a good deal after the birth and eventually had to go into hospital for an operation. The babe was sent to Margaret's mother while Percy managed by himself. Margaret was very weak and ill for some time and how solicitous he was for her welfare. Eventually she recovered except that she suffered from headaches a good deal but they were glad to be together as a family once more. 
    Then they gave up the large house and bought a smaller one at Higham’s Park. Percy continued in his search for health and was still successful in warding off illness even through those anxious days of Margaret's illness. When the child was eighteen months old we all spent a holiday together on the south coast. We had a very happy time, the children Molly and Lorna, Elizabeth and I with mother and Margaret and Percy. Walter and some of his family also spent a few days with us. 
    But difficult days were approaching. The great after-war slump was upon us and the fear of dismissal hung precariously over every man. In Percy's office they had to work very hard and put in extra hours during the winter of 1927. Night after night he would travel wearily home then relax for a time to recover his health and spirits but the long hours were beginning to take their toll and to offset this he asked for annual holiday in May. It was that much too late. He was ill with influenza. He tried hard with his relaxation scheme but failed. 
    I went to see him one day and he said to me despondently,
    “It doesn't work any more - nothing happens."
    I tried to comfort him as well I could but the sickness had him in its grip and it held tightly. At last he had to go into hospital where they discovered the germ had got into the blood and he died in hospital in November 1928. He was magnificently brave in his fight against ill health. Gentle by nature and deeply religious, his home was happy and he was a good husband and father.    [1
    Residence London, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died 12 Nov 1928  London, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried London, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Walthamstow Cemetery, Family Grave No. 301 C/A.
    Person ID I6813  Blank Family
    Last Modified 1 Oct 2012 

    Father Mordecai Marcus Ascoli,   b. 19 May 1848, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 23 Oct 1901, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 53 years) 
    Mother Jane Elizabeth Palmer,   b. 1852, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Mar 1929, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 77 years) 
    Married 1874  London, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F4846  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Margaret Ramsey,   b. 1902,   d. 1992, Christchurch, Dorset, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 90 years) 
    Married 1922 
    Children 
     1. Living
    Family ID F4923  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 1892 - London, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - - London, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 12 Nov 1928 - London, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - London, England Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos At least one living or private individual is linked to this item - Details withheld.
    Margaret Ramsey m. Percy Ascoli 12 (?) September 1923
    Margaret Ramsey m. Percy Ascoli 12 (?) September 1923
    Margaret Ramsey m. Percy Ascoli
    Margaret Ramsey m. Percy Ascoli
    Annie Ramsey, Margaret Ramsey m. Percy Ascoli, Jessie Helen Ramsey
    Annie Ramsey, Margaret Ramsey m. Percy Ascoli, Jessie Helen Ramsey
    Percy Ascoli
    Percy Ascoli

    Headstones
    Headstone of Percy Ascoli
    Headstone of Percy Ascoli

  • Sources 
    1. [S176] Memoirs of Alice Ascoli 1884 - 1965, Alice Ascoli.


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