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Sweet Success: The Bennett Family

Eric Feasey

The Bennett family had connections with the sugar refiners, Tate and Lyle. The image shows an illuminated long service certificate for James Alwood Bennett (17th May 1902-17th December 1958). James was the son of William Bennett (1864-1916) a gas worker. James joined the company at the age of 14. He married Eliza Jane Minter (4th July 1901-July 1981) at Holy Trinity, Canning Town on 18th September 1921. They had two daughters Rose Francis Bennett (22nd March 1923-7th July 2018) and Gladys (1925-2011) and a son, James E. W. Bennett who was born in 1932 and emigrated to Canada where he was a minister.

James Bennett was a press attendant at the sugar refinery. Rose and Gladys were ‘Sugar Girls’. Gladys worked in the personnel department. Rosie Bennett is mentioned in Duncan Barrett & Nuala Calvi’s book The Sugar Girls: Tales of Hardship, Love and Happiness in Tate & Lyle’s East End published in 2012. Rosie appears on page 188 where we are informed she worked at the Plaistow Wharf Thames Refinery as a forelady. One Christmas Eve some of the girls she managed on the Hesser floor were rather the worse for festive drinking and Rose ordered them to be shut in the ‘cage’ store, for their own good, until they sobered up.

In 1939 the family was resident at 5 Dare Gardens, Dagenham and in 1958 at 179 Langley Crescent, Barking. James Bennett died on 17th December 1958 and administration of his £3539.26p estate was granted to his widow, Eliza Jane Bennett.

James, Eliza, Rose and Gladys are all laid to rest in plot R/S R 232 at Rippleside Cemetery, Barking.
Bennett Family Grave R/S R232
Rippleside Cemetery, Barking, Essex
July 2018
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