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Hornsey Historical Society pays tribute to two of its oldest members

11:00 21 January 2014

Muriel Fielder, the Hornsey Historical Society

Muriel Fielder, the Hornsey Historical Society's oldest member until her death earlier this month.

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Hornsey Historical Society pays tribute to Gwynedd Gosling and Muriel Fielder – two of its oldest and most loyal members.

Gwynydd Gosling died in December aged 91Gwynydd Gosling died in December aged 91

It seems that love of one’s local history and working hard to pass on the same enthusiasm to others results in amazing longevity – or so the experiences of the Hornsey Historical Society would seem to suggest.

Members in their 80s and 90s are a regular feature – not only at meetings and parties, such as the society’s 40th anniversary event in 2011 and last year’s party at Lauderdale House for the 90th birthday of HHS President and well-known historian Ken Gay, but also on coach outings and visits of a quite energetic nature.

But the society has recently lost two of its older members, including Gwynedd Gosling, a founder member present at the first meeting back in May 1971.

She was in regular attendance at meetings until last autumn, but died following a stoke just before Christmas – two days before her 92nd birthday.

Her dedication as librarian and archivist at the Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution is well known. She had succeeded her mother and her own daughter was due to succeed her – but died prematurely, a terrible blow from which Gwynedd never quite recovered.

Gwynedd’s contribution to the history of Highgate and north London was immense and her contribution to the Hornsey Historical Society’s 2001 video on Highgate invaluable.

Her gentle but firm resolve will be missed by the society and her many friends and colleagues, who were touched by her stoic resolve and genuine friendship.

The society has also lost its oldest member, Muriel Fielder, who died on January 3 at the wonderful age of 104.

Muriel was born in 1909 in Harrington Square, St Pancras, and attended Camden School for Girls.

After Muriel’s marriage to Walter in 1939, they bought a house in Warner Road, Hornsey. Soon afterwards, the Second World War began and London was subjected to intensive bombing during the Blitz.

In her diary, Muriel recorded the bombing in the early hours of the morning of Wednesday, October 2, 1940.

She was evacuated, together with some primary school children, to Combwich – a village on the River Parrett in the Somerset Levels, living in the School House there from November 7, 1940.

The Fielder family returned to London on May 27, 1945. Their home had been requisitioned by the local council in 1944 and there were council tenants occupying it.

So the Fielders lived with grandparents in Mercers Road for six months. The family returned to the house in November – although the first floor was occupied by a married couple who had been “bombed out” and rehoused there by the council until December 1947.

Muriel joined the HHS in 1984 and lived in Warner Road until 2005, when her family arranged for her to move to almshouses, near her daughter, in Whitstable.

She had, until then, always been active in society events, striding out ahead of members on walks and, in later years, taking a folding seat with her on which to sit briefly. Only 10 years before her death, she was climbing church towers on society outings.

She will be remembered by many as a familiar face in the HHS bookshop at the Old Schoolhouse in Hornsey.

Of course, Hornsey Historical Society has much younger members too. It is to be hoped they will be members as long as Gwynedd and Muriel, who will be remembered for a very long time to come.

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