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Whatever Happened to…?

Alan Chambers outside Haggs Farm

Edmund & Sarah Chambers were married in December 1881 & had nine children, two of whom died within a few months of birth. By the time the Chambers family left Haggs Farm in 1910, the family unit was already breaking up. Jessie's life after this period is well documented but those of her parents & siblings are not so well known, although their lives are extensively covered in the publication 'Miriam's Farm' by Clive Leivers.

This section is intended to be a brief summary of their lives, commencing with their first child, Alan Aubrey Chambers born 2/7/1882.

Alan grew up helping his father on the farm & with his milk round. He & D H Lawrence developed a close friendship & it was Alan, who along with Jessie, challenged DHL to write a short story & enter the annual Nottinghamshire Guardian competition in which he won £3 for 'A Prelude.' Alan was also the prototype for George Saxton in 'The White Peacock.'

When his parents moved to the farm at Arnold, Alan initially moved with them but later that year, married Alvina Marjorie Reeve (nee Lawrence) a cousin of DHL. She was the daughter of James Lawrence, whose death forms the basis of the short story 'Odour of Chrysanthemums' & the play 'The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd.' In 1906 she had married Robert Henry Reeve but this ended with his death in 1907. Alvina suffered a double tragedy in her life with her father dying shortly before she was born & her husband after only a year of marriage.

When Alan & Alvina married, they moved to a house near to his parents on Breckhill Road & Alan traded as a milk seller. On the 1939 England & Wales Register, his occupation is listed as 'Dairyman', Alvina is a housewife & their only child, a daughter, Marjorie is an 'Assistant Librarian.'

In a letter to his sister Ada, in January 1927, DHL wrote "Do you Alan used to love the lumps of mince-pie from the pantry?"

Alan died on 20/5/1946. After his death, Alvina moved to Cromford where her daughter had settled. Alvina died in 1968 & Marjorie who never married, died in 2000.


Clive Leivers has a copy of a letter written in 1975 from Marjorie Chambers to Ann Howard, Jessie’s niece. In the letter Marjorie describes how after her first husband died, Alvina took in dressmaking for a living and: ‘It was through Bert Lawrence that she met my father. DHL thought she was working too hard and not going out or meeting people so he winkled her out of her little workroom and took her around with him, and that included taking her to the Haggs.’

Carol Mills

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06. nov. 2019

A wonderfully informative piece...

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