Doris Mary Felmingham Yarde

by Andrea Cameron, Brentford & Chiswick Local History Journal 11, 2002

Mrs Doris Yarde died in West Middlesex Hospital on 15 January 2002, in her ninety-first year. She had been a member of this Society since the late 1960s when she joined with her daughter, Gillian Morris. Mrs Yarde came onto the committee as Vice-Chairman in 1977 and served as Chairman from 1980 to 1983 when she retired.

In the 1960s Mrs Yarde was researching Sarah Trimmer, an 18th century resident of Brentford, who wrote children’s stories and started a School of Industry. This was for a lecture to students of a local history course at Isleworth Polytechnic, organised by the late Mr Wilfred Dudeney. Mrs Yarde was also a member of the Hounslow & District History Society which in 1972 published her research as The Life & Work of Sarah Trimmer. This led to further research which resulted in lectures on Boston Manor House, Joseph Paxton, Selina Trimmer and Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, as well as Lady Elizabeth Foster, the second wife of the fifth Duke of Devonshire. Further work resulted in a second book (and another lecture) on Sarah Trimmer. This book, published in 1990, was Sarah Trimmer and her Children of Brentford.

In 1977 her daughter, Gill, had been commissioned to research the history of the Griffin Brewery in Chiswick. Sadly, Gill died in 1978, aged 38; Mrs Yarde took over her work and was appointed Honorary Archivist to the Brewery. Her Fuller Smith & Turner research was the subject of several more lectures and it was published by Fullers in 1995 as London Pride, in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Fuller Smith & Turner partnership. On his visit to the Brewery, it was Mrs Yarde who presented Prince Charles with his copy of the book.Through Anthony Fuller, Mrs Yarde became Honorary Archivist to the Worshipful Company of Brewers, travelling into the City twice a week to work on their archives. In 1993, with sponsorship from Anthony Fuller and the Master of the Brewers Livery Company, Mrs Yarde was made a Freeman of the City of London.

A trip to Australia, to follow a Trimmer trail, provided material for a further lecture, entitled Trimmers Down Under. This was the story of two Trimmer grandsons who in 1829 took local merino sheep to western Australia. Mrs Yarde flew to Australia in 1981 to follow their story and visit the archives at Perth University.

Doris Yarde was born in Ealing, but close to the boundary of Brentford, where she later lived. Her family moved to Isleworth where she attended the Green School. She became a civil servant, but finding it not to her liking, she trained as a teacher. She taught well into her seventies, her final post being that of Headmistress of the preparatory school of Hounslow College. After Gill’s death, with her son-in-law, Walter Morris, she formed the Gillian Morris Memorial Trust and each year many members of this Society attended meetings of the Trust in such venues as the Brewers’ Hall and the Hock Cellar at the Griffin Brewery.

At her funeral, attended by Anthony Fuller and two other Fullers directors, together with the Clerk and Beadle of the Worshipful Company of Brewers, I gave a short address which I ended by using Mrs Yarde’s own words about her 18th century heroine, Sarah Trimmer, and they seem appropriate here: “By the people of her own locality she is remembered as a woman who had an agreeable personality, superior understanding, unshaken faith and unfailing charity. She can well be acclaimed as Doris Yarde – A Lady of Brentford”

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