Birthday visit for woman born above parents’ department store in city centre
- Credit: Community Archive
A member of the former Harvey department store in Ely – who was born ‘above the shop’ in 1943 –is on a return visit to the city of her birth.
For Lois Lloyd, nee Harvey, it is both a trip down memory lane and the celebration of her 74th birthday.
"I have not had a birthday in Ely since I was nine but we did manage to pop upstairs to see where the flat had been when we visited 20 years ago,” she said.
“The shop manager let us go upstairs, as he knew our family well.”
Lois and her brother Richard were born in the flats above the shop “and we gather so too was our father John Sidney in 1904.
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“We have often wondered if anybody else was born in the High Street as although we knew all the business people in the area and went to school with their children, even those in the High Street seemed to live elsewhere.
“We did move out eventually to 11 Beech Lane opposite the cemetery which is where all our Harvey relatives now are.”
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Her great grandfather James Mattless Harvey and his wife Hannah originally bought the business having moved from Thetford.
“Then their sons Louis Martin and Ernest Sidney, the latter running the business with his wife Alice, then passing it to their son John Sidney and his wife Eileen, our parents,” she says.
“The business was sold a year after father died in 1954 when we moved away from Ely.
“James, Sidney and our father John/Jack were all city councillors and were chairs with many charities and sports clubs in Ely.
“Jack and Eileen started the Ely Bowmen archery club.”
Lois said: “We have been intrigued ever since a lovely lady in the gift shop in the Cathedral noticed my thrill of seeing an old photo of Ely and she asked if I was visiting,
“I said I was born in the High Street and she knew me immediately, saying you must be Lois Harvey – when I asked why should she recall that, and she said everyone knew your family but only Richard and Lois were actually born in the High Street!
“So, who knows?
Lois added: “We are trying to get a Harvey memorial bench too; the council are looking for a space.
“I've written to the football club as our grandfather Sidney Harvey was president for over 20 years and our father Jack vice president some years later.”
Editor's note: Please call 07918691210 if you would like a contact number for Lois who is here until September 7.