MANY PEOPLE in Southwell were grieved to hear of the death of Miss Doris Dowse on 27th August. Her death brought to an end an era of the town's history which began in July 1884.

That was the month in which William Dowse left his native Lincolnshire to set up business on King Street, Southwell, as a men and boys' tailor and clothier. William married a local school teacher, Mary Ann Kirkland, and they had three children, Doris Mary, William Herbert and Alice Marjorie.

Mr Dowse was diligent and hard working. His business prospered and grew until it occupied three shops in King Street, now occupied by Allens the Chemists, and Stones greengrocer.

He sold clothing of all kinds, haberdashery and hardware and had a shop in Farnsfield and a travelling shop which visited outlying villages.

Following the death of Mrs. Dowse in 1928, Marjorie resigned from her post as private secretary to Sir William Hicking of Brackenhurst and became the family's housekeeper: Doris assisted her father in the business and became a shrewd business woman.

Bertie died in 1936 and Mr. Dowse not many years later leaving the two sisters to become tireless workers for church and community. They were both directors of the business until it was sold some 20 years ago.

Marjorie was a founder member of the Southwell Women's Institute and the prime mover behind the start of the Women's World Day of Prayer services in Southwell.

Doris served on a number of local committees, was a member of Southwell and Parish Council for some years and a magistrate on the Southwell Bench.

Both worked hard in the Methodist Church and the then Southwell Methodist Circuit, Marjorie using her secretarial expertise and Doris becoming a local preacher and choir mistress. Both were stewards, Sunday school teachers and founder members of the Women's Fellowship.

Marjorie's death in June 1983 left Doris the last member of her father's branch of the Dowse family, She continued to work hard for the causes she loved 'and the accolade of her work came when she was one of the recipients of the Maundy Money from the Queen in April, 1984, Shortly after that poor health forced her to give up her home and she moved first to a home for the aged in Newark returning to her beloved Southwell in July 1985, when she became a resident in South Muskham Prebend.

Although there were no family members left to mourn her passing, friends from many parts of the district paid tribute to her life and work at her funeral service in Southwell Methodist Church on 2nd September, conducted by the Rev. George Middlemist.

Donations of £240.80 were received in her memory for the Methodist Homes for the Aged and many more were sent direct to the fund's headquarters.

Olive McSloy

Extract from The Bramley October 1986