Thursday, 17 May 2012

Florence Melita Bell

Miss Bell with Lowry family in the summer of 1910 on holiday in the Isle of Man.

Born in Oxton, Wirral in 1875. The Lowry's nanny affectionately called "Bey" by the family. She was nanny to Lowry after he was born until 1912 when she left for a short period to be a steward on the R.M.S. Teutonic.

She sent a letter to Lowry on 27th July 1912 from 28 Magazine Lane, New Brighton where she may have been lodging or living with a relative. The letter was sent wishing Lowry "many happy returns of your birthday." The letter told how she didn't like the sea and that she missed the Lowry boys; "dear little baby with the brown face and blue eyes" who sang "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" to her.

There are many references to the sea; "I wonder if you have started to be Admiral of the British Fleet yet.."; "the captain of my ship says you look like a sailor bold especially as you have blues eyes.". She tells of liking big boats, "Tynwalditis" - she had been sea sick on the ferry SS Tynwaldpassing the PS Empress Queen - an Isle of Man ferry in the River Mersey, seeing a lot of "flying fish", looking a the stars on board ship - they look just as if they had been hung up like lamps.."; plus she makes references to nature - flowers, her rose bush in the garden and swallows.

The letter is published in full in Gordon Bowker Malcolm Lowry Remembered Pgs. 15-16.

She was re-employed by the Lowry family after her replacement Miss Long was dismissed. We can presume Miss Bell moved on after Lowry began school at Braeside in 1914. Bowker states that she ran a village shop and post office in North Wales, after which all trace of her disappears. ( Malcolm Lowry Remembered Pg 15).

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