Pittville History Works group recently received a query from Mrs Pauline Paucker. At 95 years young, she is in the process of writing a memoir of the wartime evacuation to Cheltenham of her school, King Edward VII High School for Girls in Birmingham. She approached us to see if we could find any information on ‘the charming Court family, the handsome Regency house and nearby Park’ where she was billeted.

Unable to resist a challenge, we used the 1939 census and located Mrs Paucker, then aged eight, living at (the still very handsome) number 3 Selkirk Street with Mr Wilfred Court, his wife Lina and their family. Mrs Paucker recalls that Mr Court was the manager of the Flowers Brewery and that as number 3 came with the job, the brewery horses were kept in the yard behind the house, the site of which is now the
Fairview ABC playground. She also recalls a ‘full and happy house’ as the Courts, with their two daughters, Doris and Eileen, and Mrs Court’s mother, Ellen, had rescued a Czech Jewish refugee named Liesl who had become one of the family, and had taken in four girls
from the evacuated school.

We found that Mr and Mrs Court were originally from Stratford-upon-Avon, moving to Cheltenham in 1935 on his promotion to brewery manager. Mr Court was also a Special Constable and Mrs Court a Sunday School teacher. In the early 1950s they retired to Moorend Grove, Leckhampton, where they celebrated their golden wedding in 1968, along with eight of their ten grandchildren.

Mrs Paucker was delighted with the information we sent her, which included newspaper clippings, and we are looking forward to receiving a copy of her memoir when completed.

It is fascinating the random facts that researching a simple question can uncover. We found that Mr Court’s family had been the owners of William Shakespeare’s house, now known as Shakespeare’s Birthplace, for many years until it was acquired for the nation in 1847.