Edited Biography: David Bernard
Note: this biography is very long even though edited!
The Author of the Home Page!!
David Bernard Audcent was born at 9.55 am on the 2nd March 1939 at Bristol Maternity Home, 50 Southwell Street, Clifton, Bristol, one of twins (born 2nd, the youngest under English Law, and the eldest under French Law) the son of Jacques Louis Alexis Audcent at that time a Commercial Traveller and resident at Glendower House, Clifton Down, Bristol, and his wife Sylvia Constance Peat. He was baptised on the 29th April of the same year by Canon Patrick Long at the Pro-Cathedral, the church of the 12 apostles, having for Godparents his paternal relations, his uncle Bernard Henry Robert Audcent (who was unable to be present due to service abroad in the RAF, and whose stand-in was Edward Henry Peat, (his maternal uncle) and his great aunt, Helene Marie Louise Audcent.
Shortly after the commencement of war, and the subsequent bombing of the city of Bristol by the Germans, the family moved first to stay with his maternal Grandparents, Horace Ernest Peat and his wife Alice Humphrey at Brocks Farm, Newton Abbot, Devon, and then later moved to 42 Charlton Road, Shepton Mallet. In 1944 both David and his brother Anthony, attended the local RC Saviour Convent School, Shepton Mallet, and remained there for just one year until July 1945 when the family moved once again back to Clifton, Bristol. His father Jacques first occupied and then purchased the old family home, built in the time of Queen Anne, known as "Corazon", or 3 Clifton Wood Road, from his Aunt Louise, who had inherited it in her turn in 1941 on the death of her aunt Marguerite Pinot de Moira. It was at Corazon that his sister Jeannine was born in 1947.
The family were to remain in the family home for many years until finally, following a major heart attack to his father in 1976, his parents sold the house and settled in a bungalow in Watchet, Somerset.
The three children were sent to the local Roman Catholic 'Park Place' primary school, Clifton, sited next door to the then Pro-Cathedral. David and his brother Tony received their first holy communion at the Pro-Cathedral, Clifton on the 23rd March 1947 and were to be confirmed by Bishop William Lee around the same date.
He passed the 11 plus examination in 1950 and gained a scholarship to St. Brendan's College, the Roman Catholic Grammar School, then situate in Berkeley Square, Clifton, Bristol. During his time at St. Brendan's he was awarded two prizes, these being at the end of his year in Form 2A, he was presented by Dom. N. W. Passmore, M.A., the then Headmaster of Downside School, with a prize for being first in Religion, and another (the book Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson) for being third in class at the annual Prize Day, held at the Victoria Rooms, Clifton, Bristol, on the 7th November 1951,
A picture appeared in the local press of the prep choir singing at that prizegiving and both David and his brother Tony appear in the front row centre. There is tale concerning this event, David was not a good singer and was considered tone-deaf. The Headmaster Tom Lennon came to hear the choir prior to the prize giving and could hear that one boy was not singing in tune, he quickly picked out David who was told very firmly that he was to mouth the songs and was not to sing under any circumstances. At least he had the consolation of being in a prominent position in the photograph that appeared in the paper. Perhaps this inability had some bearing on his piano lessons.
He left Grammar School at the age of 16 with these 5 'O' Levels. However in the Autumn of 1957, as it was necessary to have English Language in order to be accepted as a Probationer in the Royal Institute of British Architects he retook this subject, and passed it, and thus ended with 6 'O' Levels.
He first obtained a position as a Solicitors Clerk, at Milton Lewis Harris and Draper, also Strickland and Fletcher. The Firm were then located not far from Park Place primary school, in Clifton, so he remained in his own home territory. He got on very well with the partners, all of whom were very old men, much to the surprise and one could say indignation of the Chief Clerk, a Mr. West. Whilst there, and unbeknown to him, his parents had already approached the firm to enquire as to whether it would be possible for David to take up articles with them. Unfortunately, the cost amounted to £250.00 which was beyond their means and that of his paternal grandmother whom they also consulted. This was a great pity, there is no doubt that he had an aptitude for the Law, and got on extremely well with all concerned. Without knowledge of his parents approach, David had himself always considered that he would have made a good lawyer and that an important opportunity had been lost - although he had no way of knowing how, without finance, he could have taken advantage of the situation in which he found himself.
In the event, however, family enquiries through the local priest, found him an alternative profession, that of an Architect, which would cost the family nothing, indeed he would be given a small weekly income. David moved to the firm known as Whitmarsh-Everiss (a Roman Catholic) and Smithies, to learn to be an Architect by part-time study.
The Bristol College of Technology, which David attended, commenced a new full-time Sandwich course in Architecture, and he was invited to join. The new Sandwich Course, only the second of its type in the Country consisted of 6 months of full-time training in College and 6 months practical experience in an Architect's office.
In due course around 1961, the college became Bristol College of Advanced Science & Technology, and the following year the Architectural Department was moved to KIngs Weston House (A famous historic house by Vanbrugh) on the outskirts of Bristol. He also represented the new Architectural Department at the recently formed British Architectural Students Association attending their conference at Nottingham University. In that same year he took special leave from the College, and it was suggested that he visit France and do some research in Architecture.
It was his first visit to France, he left Dover on the 16th September 1961, and made him aware for the first time of his French connections. He remained with his cousins Lefebvre in Paris for about a week, before leaving for Marseilles.
He arrived in Marseilles, tired and exhausted, with no knowledge of where his cousins, the Moutet lived, other than just the name and number of the road. He certainly had no idea that Marseilles was such a huge city, and didn't feel up to asking anyone for directions. He set off, somewhat dis-spirited, and continued to walk, after some time, he noticed with relief that he was, completely by accident, in the Avenue de la Rose. It was a simple matter then to find No. 90, where he was finally welcomed by the family who were more than relieved by his appearance. He remained with his cousins for several happy months, both in Marseilles and visiting other cousins at Avignon, including staying for a short visit in the family cottage at Aix in Provence. However, he learnt very little of the language, for they all kindly spoke English to him. When he left Marseilles to return home, he had just the train ticket in his possession and a bar of chocolate given him and no knowledge as to how he was to get from Paris to his home in Bristol. He duly arrived, once again at his cousin's home in Paris, to spend his last few days in France, and once again good fortune assisted him. His cousin Anne-Marie had some money which had belonged to his Great Aunt Ta Daisy who had died, and she passed it to him for transfer to England. He was thus able to purchase the train and ferry tickets necessary to return home without telling anyone of his financial predicament.
David obtained his Intermediate RIBA in 1962, and Finals Part 1 RIBA in 1964 On the basis of the quality of work produced by him and the few remaining colleagues (many of the original students had already left without finishing the course), who had been the pioneering students, the College was granted immediate recognition to RIBA Intermediate standard.
During his period at College, he had undertaken 4 practical training periods. The first from April 1959-September 1959 was a period during the summer months, when he worked as chief assistant for his former Employer and now Senior Lecturer Ken Smithies, and later during this same year, in the absence of his employer on holiday he visted Troy House, Monmouthshire, taking the young secretary for a ride on his scooter, to supervise the chapel being constructed as an addition to this historic property, which at the time was a private school run by nuns of the Order of the Good Shepherd. He was met by the Mother Superior, who astonished him as she apparently knew all about him and the family Audcent.. The second and third occasion, he found employment during the periods 25th April 1960-September 1960 and early June 1961-mid-September 1961 with the firm of W. H. Watkins, Gray & Partners, of 8 Colston Avenue, Bristol 1 being responsible to the Partner W. Walch F.R.I.C.S. On the first occasion he assisted in preparing the sketch plans and section for alterations and extensions to the Bristol Dental Hospital, a contract amounting to £326,000, and on the next occasion, he assisted in the basic planning of the New Outpatients Department of the United Bristol Hospitals (known locally as the BRI or Bristol Royal Infirmary). His speed was such, that he would sit with the Consultants and the Senior Architects, and sketch the proposed plans, showing intended relationships, as these were discussed, so that by completion of the discussion, the architects could return to the office with plans more or less agreed, and he would then promptly draw up the final plans and issue them to the client. In the summer period for the year 1963, he obtained employment with Tripe & Wakeham of 16 Fitzhardinge Street, London W1. He was not at his best that year. He had travelled to London for interview on his Lambretta scooter, and on the way back had crashed. The hospital placed both of his hands in plaster due to suspected fractures. In the event he was offered a position, and returned to London to take it up somewhat handicapped. He rode his scooter, taking it very carefully, but in the event going through red lights at Chippenham as he found he was unable to pull up the brakes due to the plaster. That summer, he undertook most of his drawing work with his left hand, which was the the best of the two. In the event the firm appeared to be pleased with his work for the following year he was asked by D. B. Nicholson, the partner in charge if he would like to join them again, as they were working on some very interesting projects, but he declined the offer.
|PANTER, Kenneth, ARIBA, ARWA, FRSA.*|
|Kenneth Panter was born in Cardiff in 1920. He was an architect and a member of the Staff of the Welsh Board of Advanced Technology. He moved to Bristol in 1949 to become Head of Architecture at Bristol Technical College, Ashley Down, later Bristol College of Advanced Technology. In 1956 he was elected an Artist Member of the Bristol Savages. He exhibited at the Annual Exhibition from 1957 and also at the Royal West of England Academy, where he was an Associate Member. In 1961 he was President of the Bristol Savages. In 1964 he was appointed Professor of Architecture and Building Technology at the University of Bath. He retired in 1977 and moved to Winifred Cottage, Chideock, Dorset. He died in 1988 (R. S. B.). Ken Panter drew cartoons of Chris Abel, David Audcent, and Ron Brackley when they went on a working weekend with the architects section to Chipping Campden c 1960.|
He left the College in June 1964, the College itself continued until September 1965 when it became the new Bath University, and the Departments of Architecture and Sociology based at Kings Weston and the others based in Ashley Down were moved to the new site, at Claverton Down, which had been built near Bath. Kings Weston House was taken over for use as a police training centre.
During his period at College, he had had a major influence on other younger architects. His greatest error, in his studies was that he was diligent, and always took the greatest pains to be 'too' perfect in his work. Accordingly, he found it very difficult to complete his work, but when completed, he always broke new ground. Many of the younger architects copied his work, and added his original thoughts to their own vocabulary.
He had met his future wife Christine Jean Keeling on the steps of Kings Weston House, when she came for interview in June 1963 to join a new Sociology course which commenced in September 1963. David was in his final year at Kings Weston for his last year 1963-1964, and Christine for her first - and very soon after her arrival, they had both decided that they were both meant for each other.
Having left College, David had been asked if he would like to join John Brendan Sharpe (ARIBA 1955), an Architect who at that time lived and had an office in Chippenham. His good friend Roger Smith was also working there as the second in command. He joined the firm, and moved to live in Bath, residing at 40 Belvedere, Lansdown Road. He didn't know the landlord until he arrived to discuss the renting of a room, and it turned out to be a former student architect from the Royal West of England Academy, Architectural School, called Brian Craik, who had first met David when he worked with Watkins Gray & Partners. He had promised only to remain for one year to help the young firm, and then he decided to move to London, where he anticipated most of the good work was being undertaken.
In the short period he had worked with John Sharpe, he had prepared working drawings and details of houses, road layouts etc. for a major housing development at Chippenham by Laings, prepared outline plans for a central development for Chippenham, of shops and a new Local Authority Office Block and also supervised the construction of an Indoor Riding School at Mill Hill, London in the absence on holiday of his employer.
He accordingly applied and obtained a position with W. H. Saunders and Son, Architects and Town Planners, of 5 Mansfield Street, London W1. He then moved into 9 Inglis Road, owned by a dentist Mr. Luckianowicz and part occupied by his wife and three children, two boys and a girl, and their cat Blackie.
David and Christine were married on the 23rd October 1965 at St. Albans Church, Harrow, their reception being held in the local "Whittington Hotel". He had for bestman his younger brother Paul and she had for bridesmaids, his sister "Jeannine" and the two daughters Linda and ? of her father's best friend (from his RAF days), Arhur Brocklebank who lived at Guisborough. They spent the first two nights of their honeymoon in the ancient and historic pub "The Bull" in Aylesbury (now demolished), the third at a purported haunted pub in Ringwood, and the remainder at "The Bankes Armes" in Corfe Castle, Dorset, finally finishing at Bath where a special celebration party had been laid on by their friends, Roger and Jill Smith. Exhausted and tired they returned to the rented ground floor flat where David had been living.
During his time with W. H. Saunders and Son, he assisted with landscaping a major housing Estate in Epson, and with the working drawings of various blocks of flats for that site using the Gle-system (named after the Sponsors Gleesons who were a large contracting company) being a type of concrete panel construction (which he hated), and the design of a possible shopping princinct at Ringwood, Hampshire - which included the provision of a Masonic Meetings Hall, and lastly the actual design and working drawings for a block of shops and offices at Winchester, Hampshire.
Never used to living more than 10 minutes or so from home, and tired of both commuting to the centre of London and the increasing overcrowding in the underground, he decided to take the first opportunity to work locally and applied to Ealing Borough Council for a position, which he obtained, the chief Borough Architect being at that time Tom Norman IAnson. He was interviewed by his deputy, and duly offered the post of Senior Architect. He joined the general section, dealing with all types of work including that of the social services department (the other sections were more specialist, being education and housing). Whilst there he designed a health centre a joint effort of local doctors and social services, but this wasn't to be built, designed and supervised the construction of a mobile clinic, that make important breakthroughs in medical assistance, and was exhibited at a Royal Show, detailed and supervised the building of a hostel for the mentally sub-normal at Hanwell, and designed numerous schemes that were never actually constructed.
During this time, their first son Justin was born on the 20th April 1967, privately at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital in Belsize Park. Within a short time Christine was pregnant again, and the decision was made to start looking for a permanent home. On the 11th March 1968, they purchased their new home in High Wycombe. Jonathan arrived soon after on the 8th June 1968, to be followed in the years that followed by 2 more children Alexa (1971) and Martin (1973).
Once again, he was having to commute from High Wycombe to Ealing and David once again applied at the first opportunity for a position with a local firm, it being Wycombe Borough Council - which he also obtained. He left Ealing Borough Council on the 6th June 1968, to commence work with Wycombe Borough Council.
During his years working for Wycombe Borough and then Wycombe District Council, he was fortunate to be given the special projects and those that carried most of the responsibility - whilst his colleagues spent their times mainly on housing, which was the prime role of the Architects Section at that time. He did in fact, work and assist others on some housing works. When he first arrived, he was specially appointed to take over the work of upgrading the Town Hall, a fine late Victorian fronted building which faced the Council Offices in Queen Victoria Road, built around 1905.
He remained with Wycombe, when the Borough Council, was enlarged in the 1974 Local Government reforms, to Wycombe District Council, at which time he was given promotion. In early 1975 David was one of the first persons to make a donation to the British Architectural Library Appeal.
One of the few blocks of residential accomodation David designed and built was an infill to a street of old victorian terraced houses in Shaftesbury Street, on the West side of Wycombe, which backed on to the Wye river. Tucked also among industrial developement, the rear garden was set out as a small oasis of peace and quiet. Around 1976 he designed one other small terrace of 5 houses, this time with a traditional frontage, at 5-13 Little Marlow Road, Marlow, on the recommendation of the local Marlow Council, it was put forward, and approved, for a special Queen Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee year award, and a plaque on the frontage commemorates this fact.
In 1983-84 he was responsible for the restoration of the Historic Grade I Guildhall in the centre of Wycombe. In conjunction with private structural engineers, a complete renewal of all rotten timbers, both in the first floor structure and roof were made, a steel frame was inserted and the internal face of the external wall rebuilt slightly further into the building to hide the frame (after the work was completed the only noticeable effect were the steel circular plates on the outside). At the same time, the interior was restored, based on old paint chips to its 18th century appearance, where possible, which turned out to be similar to that at Osterley Park in West London. Throughout this period, alongside his design work, he was given the additional appointment of Historic Buildings Officer for the Council advising Planners and the public on matters relating to Historic Buildings and development in Conservation Areas.
It was also during his period working for Wycombe Council he first undertook external lecturing. He first lectured for one year 1972-1973 at the Slough Technical College on 'Design Procedures', but left and commenced the following year in September 1973 to undertake a similar evening course for the Building Students at Buckinghamshire College of Higher Education, School of Building, replacing the former Lecturer, his Colleague, Architect Michael Hammett.
In due course, his part-time lecturing was to provide him with much satisfaction. He first lectured at Adult Evening Classes in photography at the Ramsay School Adult Education Centre in September 1987. During the period Sept - January 1993, he attended a special day training class, and obtained his Stage 1 for part-time teachers of Adult Education. He was to remain teaching at Ramsay right up to the present date (1996), when his photography classes were no longer viable due to lack of public interest, he began to teach Information Technology, commencing in 1994. The following year in Spring 1995, he added basic Computer training for Beginners at the Holmer Green Adult Continuing Education Centre. This skill at communication was to become very useful to him on his retirement in 1990, and the income was used to enable him to complete his genealogical work and to supplement his pension.
David continued to undertake the prestigious work required by the Council including the restoration of the historic Court Garden House, sited on the Thames riverside, and a new extension. He then moved on to undertake proposals firstly for the very prestigious new Library/Theatre complex, which was not actually built, and then the new major office extensions for the Council. In all he worked for the local Council for nigh on 21 years, until the national economic situation and government funding to councils were reduced, and along with seven others in the Architectural Section of the Planning Department, being those over 50, was offered early retirement. He retired at the early age of 51, at the end of March 1990. Two or three colleagues (over 50) remained (against advice) only to discover that the following year they would be forced to retire with no special benefits.
In the early 1960's David had become interested in the family History. His father had given him, at his own request, the self-portrait that had hung, on the dark intermediate stair landing at 3 Clifton Wood Road, of his forebear Jean Paul Baptiste Henri Pinot de Moira, who was a Staff Officer in Napoleon's Army and is shown standing in front of the town of Stralsund, on the Baltic, at which place, Napoleon's army had beaten the Swedish Forces. Whilst resident in Bath in 1964, David had had the portrait restored. Intrigued by the names of his many cousins, some of whom had visited Corazon or his paternal Grandparents, no one could tell him exactly how some of them were related. One day his daughter Alexa was to ask the same questions and David accordingly decided to set out and document all known information for the use of his children, and anyone else in the family who was interested, before it was lost.
He rapidly became the Archivist of the family, for his father and mother passed him the historic family papers relating to the family, including those of his forebears Pinot de Moira and de St Ouen d'Ernemont. Later he was to receive the family papers on the Peat family held by his aunt Muriel Peat, and his uncle Edward Peat left him all his family papers. For the Audcent family, documentation was very limited, circumstances had dictated that two generations of the family had been brought up as Pinot de Moira's, and no information was available on Prosper Audcent who married Sylvie Pinot de Moira, or his forebears. All that was known was that he had married Sylvie in 1835, and this information was recorded in the Official Genealogy of the family Pinot de Moira, registered at Paris, a certified copy made in Bristol, which was in the possession of the family, and an original copy, registered in Paris, later discovered in the possession of Peter Pinot de Moira.
It took him around 10 years, to finally locate the place of marriage of his ancestor Prosper which came from the documentation of the the birth of his second daughter Armandine in Paris. He discovered that Prosper had actually married Sylvie Pinot de Moira at Rouen, and from that marriage certificate he was able to discover that Prosper had been born in Chateaudun, Eure et Loir.
So it was that in late June and early July 1980, accompanied by his father Jacques he visited France. He first visited his cousin Therese Monton (nee Grasset) and family at Hacqueville, Therese arranged for them to visit their cousin Agnes Frechon and her son Louis at the Chateau de la Heuze, Bellencombre (where his great great great grandfather Yves Jacques Jules de St Ouen d'Ernemont had been born). This latter visit was to prove most successful, for Agnes father had produced his own Genealogy and drawings of Armorial bearings held by the family St Ouen and their liaisons, which then formed the basis for much of David's future work. He and his father then visited Paris, for a week, where they were given free accommodation by their cousin Jean-Jacques Lefebvre who kindly allowed them to use the flat originally owned by his parents Jean Lefebvre and Anne-Marie Carbonnier, and now occupied by him at 23 Rue de Rhumkorf, Paris. Here they were able to obtain only limited information, but could not discover any details relating to the possible death of Prosper or further information on Arthur Audcent.
They then travelled on to Chateaudun, Eure et Loire, staying at the Hotel St. Michel. The two of them spent three whole days at the Mairie obtaining photostats of anything that would prove of interest. Whilst there, they examined the Registers for the parish of St. Valerien in great detail, although the more recent entries were scanned somewhat rapidly, and those of St. Medard and the more recent civil registers could only be cursorily explored. The visit was to prove a great success, which David was to collate and then draw up into quite a comprehensive genealogy going back to their forebear Jacques Odsan who married Perrine Jarry before 1707, before the connections failed.
Whilst in the Mairie, an elderly gentleman, interested in their studies, suggested that they speak to another Authority in case there was anyone of the family still living in the city. Once again fired with enthusiasm David and his father visited the said office, as suggested but were refused assistance. Arguments again ensued, once more they succeeded and again left with much useful information.
Whilst at Chateaudun, he and his father visited the family de Kish de Nemesker at their Chateau at Courtalain, only a few miles from the town, to see the children, George, Elisabeth and Matilde, for whom Marguerite Audcent had been both governess and mistress of the house, during and after the long terminal illness of their mother, many years previously.
Following that most important of visits, David was to spend many years, drafting and redrawing his family trees, checking and rechecking the data provided, drawing the armorial bearings, with a computer, and in the end creating a computer database which would enable him to place not only the basic genealogical information of individuals on record, but also photographs, signatures, armorial bearings, biographies and documentation for their descendants and anyone else who might be interested. The work has proved to be a major task, and continues to this day.
He applied on the 5th February 1987 to become a Member of the Society of Genealogists and with with the support of the then Solicitor and Chief Executive of Wycombe District Council, Laurie Timms. Membership was duly forthcoming, and he remains a member to this day.
During the long period, he has received assistance from a few helpers. His nephew Geoffrey, became interested in Genealogy from an early date, and supplied supplementary information on the family Hotman, and census details and IGI data relating to the families Bailes and Peat, as well as information on his mother Valerie King's direct forebears. His Uncle Gerard, a skilled translator resident at Ottawa, Canada, having shown little interest, when finally having sight of his nephew's research during a visit to England suddenly took interest, and offered to translate the french documents. Gerard himself became so interested that he joined both the English and the French Genealogical Societies in Ottawa, Canada, was able to spend just a little time researching and sent his nephew odd bits and pieces of information. Tragically he died before he could work full-time on the translations or take fullest advantage of his membership.
In the year 1988, David was one of the two representatives of the Parish of St James at the Northampton Diocesan Assembly, which was held over a weekend. The Assembly, called by Bishop Francis Thomas (1930-1988 - 9th Bishop of Northampton) to examine the future vision of the Diocese, was also attended by a number of eucumenical observers. On or around the 11th July 1989 he became the Secretary of the Downley Council of Churches.
Somewhat exhausted after the high pressure of supervising the Contract for the Council Offices, both the new block and alterations to the existing building - he followed his retirement at the end of March 1990 with a holiday with his wife at Edenhall in the Eden Valley. They spent two weeks from the 7th July - 21st July on their own for the first time for many years in this idyllic part of the country, close to the Lake District.
Following his retirement, Wycombe DC Council offered him some part-time consultancy work as Inspector of Buildings, which helped finances (for his pension was a fixed sum, losing value until he became 55), however after 15 months or so, a new full time person was appointed to undertake this work among their other duties, and then for a further period the Housing Department gave him a small contract to design and supervise, being the refurbishment of Gayhurst Road, shops with maisonettes over.
During this period David took the opportunity to teach himself computing skills, and joined a government sponsored training course at ET Slough. He quickly discovered he knew more than they did on the subject, and when his work for Wycombe DC was finished joined them as a part-time tutor. During his time with ET Slough, he was one of the first tutors ever to obtain the new BTech D32 & D33 assessors certificates. After 15 months, as result of reduced government allowances, the training establishment closed down. However, at least now he had just reached 55, and his pension was now index linked for the future.
For the next year up and until August 1995, he spent the time bringing his genealogical database up-to-date. In 1994 he was appointed Chairman of the Joint Management Committee of his local church of St James, Downley and unanimously re-appointed Chairman for a further year, through the intervention and support of Fr Michael Atkinson the incumbant Anglican vicar.
In August 1995 David saw, and applied for a position as Tutor/Assessor for JHP Training Ltd., in High Wycombe. He was offered the position, and accepted subject to the provision of a tutor's machine on which he could undertake preparation work etc., this request was made to both the Head of Centre, an Anna Puddephatt and the Regional Head Tricia Hall, and both thought the condition reasonable, and could see no difficulty in meeting the requirement. In the event, no such machine was ever provided, which hampered his capabilities considerably.
He subsequently discovered that there had been a history of mal-administration at the Centre. On top of all this, the Centre was supposed to introduce the new RSA Level II and III examinations. These had been written in unsatisfactory English, so that no one understood the syllabus, there was no way in the normal course of events, that any Trainee could ever complete these modules, without a complete change in the pattern of organisation and placement. In the event, by February 1996, David had had enough, and he warned his fellow Tutors that he would be leaving, handing in his resignation at the end of that month, offering to continue until March 31st, to enable JHP to obtain a replacement.
So ended a very unfortunate 6 months in David's life. For the first time in his life, he had found himself in a situation, where it was made clear that honesty, integrity and a willingness to work for the good of others, were not acceptable standards of business behaviour. He wrote on numerous occasions to the Head Office who never replied, and on two occasions directly to the Head of the Company concerning the situation, the latter finally, sometime after he had left, wrote a response which in no way addressed the matters to which he had hoped to draw attention.
Somewhat, tired and disillusioned, he there and then decided to formally retire, maintain his part-time lecture work, and continue with the Genealogical Database. Perhaps it was just as well, for that year various things happened. His father-in-law's health deteriorated badly, although he and his wife attended the wedding of their grandson Jonathan in Ireland. Despite a warning to British Airways, Staff allowed him to fall on leaving the plane, and he had to be rushed to the Dublin Airport First Aid Centre for treatment to a very bad cut over the eye. Together with David and Christine his daughter, and following the wedding held in Virigina, County Cavan, he and his wife Jean holidayed for a week in Ireland. They returned to England leaving David and Christine on the last two days of their holiday to visit the spectacular 'NewGrange' an ancient monument which predates Stonehenge, the Hill of Tara, among other sights, and finally return to Virginia where they stayed for their last night with Harry and Carmel O'Connell, their new daughter-in-law Ita's parents.
Dad Keeling was to deteriorate throughout the year 1996, the problem being primarily cardiovascular, with numerous minor strokes to the brain, which left him with Parkinsonian type symptoms. Frequently his daughter Christine, sometimes accompanied by David and sometimes not, visited throughout the period in an effort to assist her mother and father arrange their lives around the new health problem.
This year 1997, brought the birth of their first grandchild, Joseph William Anderson who was born 23 March, the son of their daughter Alexa, and hopefully ushers in the start of a new era.
Sylvia Audcents Memoires
Early Memories of Anthony and David Audcent by their Mother
On the day that Tony and David were born their father was away from home, staying at Crewkerne, as he was a salesman for Eveready Ltd. Although he was unaware that I had gone into the maternity hospital, at just the same time he was struck with severe stomach cramps and had to be given a glass of brandy !
Tony and Davids first few years proved to be very eventful: just 6 months after they were born the Second World War broke out, and this would have a big impact on the family. We continued to live in Bristol during the first air raids, in the top floor flat of Glendower House, Clifton Down, Bristol. When the air raid sirens sounded we would take shelter in the landlady's flat, which was on the ground floor. One particular day high explosive bombs fell in the street. We were in the landlady's flat and the force of the blast was so great that all the windows were blown out (fortunately the window glass blew out rather in to the room). Tony was quickly picked up by my father (Horace Ernest Peat), who was visiting at the time, and we rapidly made our way into the landlady's gas room (a small room which had been specially prepared in case of a gas attack). Once the raid was over we returned to our own flat, and having inspected the damage and collected together some clothes and other essential items, we immediately left Bristol. My father drove us all down to Weston-super-Mare, where Tony and David stayed with their auntie Dor (in Worle), whilst I and Jacques stayed with some friends for the night. The next day Jacques managed to acquire some scarce petrol (from one of his customers) so that Tony, David and I could be driven down to Devon by my father. We stayed with my parents at Brocks Farm, Newton Abbott for about three months during which time the twins learnt to walk.
Whilst Tony, David and I were staying at Newton Abbott, Jacques remained in Bristol to carry on working. He also did some fire watching duty during this time. However, we did not want to take the twins back to live in Bristol because of the continuing threat posed by the blitz. Jacques therefore asked his employers for permission to relocate to Shepton Mallet, in Somerset. He pointed out that it was particularly unsafe for the twins to live in Bristol because the babies had to be placed inside special gas masks and air had to be pumped into them by an adult. If Jacques was away on business then it would be impossible for me to pump air into both contraptions at the same time. Eveready allowed Jacques to move to Shepton Mallet, as long as he provided a room to store the merchandise safely. Shepton Mallet was on the railway line which also meant that he could be kept supplied with merchandise. (As the war progressed the amount of pilfering increased so that in the end merchandise had to be despatched by road instead of rail).
As soon as Jacques found accommodation in Shepton Mallet, above an iron mongers shop in The Square, the twins and I came up from Devon to live there. We lived there until August 1941. A few days before the birth of Paul was due Jacques took me on the bus to Bristol to stay a week with his aunts (we returned to Bristol on the bus, and although I has heavily pregnant nobody gave their seat up for me - fortunately I managed to take the seat of somebody who got off about five miles out of Shepton Mallet). Paul did not arrive in Jacques time off and I went to stay with a friend in Sea Mills. Paul was induced at the end of the week and was born on 18 August, after which I joined Tony and David, who had been sent to stay with their grandparents and auntie Moo in Devon.
We did not stay living above the iron mongers shop for long because one of the ladies with whom we lodged was allergic to my cat (called Peter). Consequently, whilst I was away, before and after Pauls birth, Jacques took the opportunity to look around for other accommodation in Shepton Mallet. He found a run down old cottage in Charlton Road, which was being vacated by a family of Londoners, but which was infested with fleas. Jacques scrubbed the cottage from top to bottom with lysol. When I returned to Shepton Mallet (via a short stay at Newton Abbott, to pick up the twins) we went straight to Charlton Road, where we remained until 1945. We were having lunch in a cafe in Wells when news of the Normandy Landings was announced. We returned to Bristol in the autumn of 1945, and went to live at No. 3 Clifton Wood Road, which belonged to Jacques aunts. They had gone to stay in Paris, and allowing us to move in would ensure that it was not requisitioned for emergency accommodation. The house immediately felt like home because we had visited the aunts there often in the past. We put most of their furniture, squashed tightly together and piled high, in one large room and occupied the remainder of the house. There was no bathroom but Jacques managed to find a very good modern bath which we set up in one room with the gas boiler we had used to sterilise nappies for the babies. It was set up on bricks so it could be drained into a container and poured down a housemaids sink on the landing outside.
Tony and David's first school was St. Saviours Convent School in Shepton Mallet, which they attended for about a year. The school fees were quite expensive, but fortunately they were waived because of the kindly intervention of two elderly ladies who happened to be friends of Ta Daisy. Like us, these ladies had left Bristol to live at Shepton Mallet during the war, and had arranged to leave money to the Convent in their wills. When they heard about Ta Daisy's great-nephews they persuaded the Mother Superior to accept Tony and David onto the school roll, free of charge except for their dinner money and the cost of their books.
Sylvia C Audcent - 31st May 1998