Dorothy Williams was born 28th June 1924.
She was born in Lee Crescent, in Edgbaston, Birmingham, where she lived for a couple of years until moving to Angelina St in Balsall Heath, Birmingham. This was a typical Victorian 2 up, 2 down back-to-back house in one of the poorest parts of Birmingham. Her parents were Albert and Amy Palmer and she was 1 of 4 children- sister to Betty, Albert and Harry. Dorothy moved back to Lee Crescent at the age of 5, to live with her Granny Phillips, where she was granny reared and so spent her early life in Edgbaston.
Dorothy returned to Angelina St with much regret (to start her senior school education) as she loved the time with her grandmother and school friends that she had made at Lee Crescent. She remained with her parents and family until the outbreak of World War 2. This was when she started work for the war effort, by manufacturing and soldering munitions boxes for the troops. Angelina St was where she met her future husband Thomas Williams (Tommy), who she dated for a while and later married in September 1943. This was a difficult time, as she was a war bride: Tommy was in the Royal Air Force and later the Fleet Air Arm stationed away in the Orkney Islands. He worked on aircraft hydraulics, repairing damaged air crafts fuel and oil lines after their return from bombing runs. He prided himself on the fact that he posted eggs home to his wife all of the time he was away without having one break. This was because of the food rationing at home. He was lucky enough to eventually be stationed at Wellesbourne Aerodrome, 25 miles outside Birmingham, so he could cycle home to be with his wife Dorothy.
At the end of World War 2, Tommy returned home to be with his wife and newborn first child, Pamela Anne Williams who was born on 2nd June, 1944. A house came up for rent next to her mother and father’s at Angelina St. It was very humble and they had nothing to their name, but it was home and a home that they built together in their early married life. They enjoyed going to the flicks (Cinema) walking to Cannon Hill Park in the evenings, and having the odd drink in the local pub along with a sing-song around a piano of a Saturday night. Life was simple then. Nobody had anything after the war so you hadn’t got anything to lose, leaving your door open and going out was normal, you had communal toilets at the top of the yard and a brewhouse which you were allowed to use one afternoon a week to wash your clothes. This is where her second child, David Thomas Williams, was born on 5/9/1951. Tommy initially worked at Leveretts, soldering, as this was what he was trained to do in the RAF until he took over his father’s family pewter factory after his death. This is where his wife Dorothy eventually worked with him, soldering tankards and an array of other products, using the skills that she had also learned during the war.
Eventually, new post-war houses started being built. The old ones started being demolished, so they moved to Wynn St in Lee Bank, where there was an indoor toilet and running hot water. What more could you want?! She continued to work here among her growing number of staff and friends, where she was very well respected. Tom sadly passed away in 1994 with a fatal heart attack but her work continued. However, she was now packing the products as she had developed severe arthritic pain, but her work was very thorough, respecting her husband’s high standards. The slightest blemish and it was returned for re-polishing. She remained here until she retired at the age of 86.
Her home life was simple. She loved watching TV, all football (especially Barcelona and Liverpool) and romantic films. She was a very avid reader and was always out shopping. She went on many holidays with her husband before he died and then on many more with her daughter, Pam and son-in-law, Barry. She enjoyed her retired life but sadly it was without her husband who she adored. Towards the end of her life, she ended up with two children, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She started to suffer ill health which stopped her getting out as much as she could. This destroyed her independence, which was difficult for her to deal with, and she eventually ended up living in Bournville to be close to her daughter and son.
Her health declined and she sadly passed away at 11am on 27th April, 2018.