Thrale/Thrall history

Shirley Helen Block

Shirley Helen Block
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Female 1937 - 2000  (63 years)


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  • Name Shirley Helen Block 
    Birth 11 Jan 1937  Mile End, Stepney, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Agency: Middlesex Hospital 
    Gender Female 
    Note c 1941  [1
    As a result of Henry Block's military service, Shirley did not know her father until she was 3 or 4 years old. 
    Residence c 1941  Berkhampstead, Hertfordshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Evacuated to Berkhampstead with mother Leah during WWII whilst father was away in service. Enjoyed this very much and liked Berkhampstead. Probably 39 Ellesmere Road 
    Residence 11 Sep 1942  Willesden, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    3 Avenue Mansions, Park Avenue 
    Note Dec 1944 
    Army issue Christmas card sent to daughter Shirley (then aged 7) for Christmas 1944. 
    Army Christmas card.
    Army Christmas card.
    Sent to by Henry to daughter Shirley (aged 7) for Christmas 1944.
    Education Between 1949 and 1954  Willesden, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Dudden Hill Secondary School 
    Prize for general proficiency - a book, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
    Prize for general proficiency - a book, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
    Occupation Mar 1955 
    Shorthand typist, National Bank of India 
    Education 1954-1956  Hendon, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Hendon Technical College 
    Medical Brown eyes, brown hair. 5 foot 8 inches
    Blood group: A. Rhesus +ve. W.R.Kahn -ve 
    Residence 11 Jan 1958  Kilburn, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    3 Christchurch Avenue 
    Residence Sep 1959  Willesden, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    33 St Paul's Avenue 
    Occupation Between 1970 and 1972  Willesden, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    School Secretary, Princess Frederica Infants School, College Road 
    Occupation Between 1972 and 1975  Wembley, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    School Secretary, Chalkhill Primary School 
    Occupation Between 1975 and 1979  Wembley, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Personal Assistant / secretary to Director of Housing Brent Council 
    Property Aft 6 Mar 1978  Kingsbury, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Address:
    96 Birchen Grove 
    Occupation Between May 1979 and 1 Nov 1985 
    Housing Advisor 
    Occupation 1 Nov 1984 
    Senior Housing Advisor 
    Occupation Between Dec 1985 and Apr 1989 
    Senior Homeless Persons Officer 
    Occupation Between Apr 1989 and Dec 1994 
    Principal Homeless Persons Officer 
    Property Between Jun 1996 and Apr 2000  Mandeville, Manchester, Jamaica Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Lot 2 Hopetown Gardens, Dunrobin 
    Will 17 Apr 1998 
    Executors to will: David Henry Thrale (eldest child), Lindsay Cox (only sibling) 
    Death 27 Sep 2000  Kensington, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Agency: Pembridge Palliative Care Centre, St Charles' Hospital 
    • Died at 4 am whilst with sister Lindsay
    Cremation 04 Oct 2000  Golders Green, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Agency: Golders Green Crematorium 
    Address:
    62 Hoop Lane 
    • The service was conducted at the crematorium in front of around 200 people. It was a joint faith service, with Jewish prayers and readings by Rabbi Guy Hall and Christian prayers and readings by Pastor Burnett. Psalm 23 which is used in both traditions was read.

      Her eulogy which follows was written by her Son David Thrale and was delivered by her other son Stacey Thrale.

      "Firstly we would like to thank, Rabbi Hall and Pastor Burnett, for leading today's service. We would also like to thank all the kind people who have helped both Mum and her family. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

      David and I would like to tell you about our mother Shirley ...

      Mum was born before the war in Willesden to a Jewish family. She had a younger sister Lindsay and an elder brother Rodney who died before Shirley was born.

      Mum could be rebellious and as a child, she once decided that she didn't like her bedroom because of a cracked window pane. Whilst her parents were out, she and Lindsay swapped furniture between the bedroom and the living room. Of course, when their parents returned home they were not at all happy so they had to change it back again.

      Shirley soon met our father Ken not far from here in a Golders Green dance hall. Soon after they first met Mum saw Dad from her bus, so she jumped off and deliberately bumped into him pretending it was an accidental meeting but Dad never knew!

      Mum and Dad were well suited as they both liked Jazz clubs, dancing and smart clothes. They often spent many a romantic evening at the pictures, with Mum's 11-year-old sister Lindsay in tow who always insisted on sitting in the middle.

      When her parents decided to move to Dunstable Mum rebelled and set-up a flat with her friend Denise when she was 17. She travelled every weekend back to Dunstable, to enjoy the luxuries of their bath. Her kind-hearted parents would both give her money, saying, "take this, don't tell your Dad", and "take this, don't tell your Mum".

      Ken & Shirley married in 1959, a little while after she started working for the Bank of India and then Handley Page where she was secretary to Sir Handley Page himself. Mum gave up work after we were born,

      Once my brother and I had both reached school age, mum started work again but only part-time so that she could spend as much time with us as possible.

      For a short while Dad was out of work. Mum was very strong and made many sacrifices to steer our family through these difficult times. When the rent man called we remember hiding behind the sofa with Mum pretending to be out.

      Mum was school secretary at Princess Frederica Primary School and later at Chalkhill Primary School. This allowed her to be at home with us during the school holidays. We have many happy memories, of all day, swimming at Kingsbury open-air pool, Willesden Swimming pool, Butlins at Bognor Regis, holidays in Uncle Brian's drafty flat in Hove & Sunday afternoon trips to buy ice cream from our favourite shop in Childs Hill. Whilst at Chalkhill School Mum gave the headmaster Kenneth Rudge - a budding author - the idea for one of his children's books, a story about a teenager going to a big open-air music festival, just like the famous Reading Music Festival that Mum used to help to organise.

      For years Mum worked at the celebrated Marquee club, London's version of the Cavern. When she started there it was a Soho Jazz club. As time changed this small venue became a rock club. Almost all the major bands played there, Thin Lizzy, The Who, Genesis, The Jam & many more. Mum also saw the birth of Punk, and later the likes of Tom Robinson and Adam Ant.

      When we were younger Mum took us to see our favourite band - Slade at the Marquee. Mum even got us into their dressing room. Our young impressionable minds were horrified as Mum took us down Wardour Street, taking time to say hello to the strip club's bouncers.

      Just like at home in Kingsbury, it seemed like everyone in Soho knew her. That was Mum, she liked good food, music and going out, but most of all she LOVED people.

      We often thought that our family was lucky to have so many good friends. It wasn't luck it was because of Mum. People saw her special kindness, friendship, good humour and her special zest for life. Mum would find time to talk to people. She put people at ease and let them know that they were important to her. We remember her many good deeds like putting up a friend of mine whose house had been damaged in a fire. Mum and Dad often told us "You can't choose your family, but you can choose your friends".

      When we were older, Mum returned to full-time work as a Personal Assistant to Brent's Director of Housing. She eventually went on to become a Principal Homeless Persons Officer. This brought out the best in Mum, so many different people to mix with.

      Shirley and Ken had a long and happy marriage and made many close friends. We remember countless long and happy dinner parties held at our home. As they grew older together they enjoyed many happy foreign holidays. Sadly their marriage was cut short by Dad's sudden death in 1987, five weeks before their 28th Anniversary.

      In time Mum met Anton, whilst visiting a good friend in Jamaica. They were married in 1991, and have been together ever since. Mum had a few happy years of retirement living an easy & relaxed life in the Caribbean. Mum lived in Jamaica with Anton for about five years. She made many more good friends there.

      Mum dearly loved Anton She was also devoted to Anton's son, Shane and brought him up as her own. Despite the pain she suffered every day, she continued to look after Shane and helped him to settle into his new school. We can clearly see all the good things that she taught us, in Shane. Shane will miss her terribly.

      In her last days, David had the pleasure of telling Mum that Michelle is pregnant. Mum was delighted to hear that her third grandchild was on the way and told everyone that visited her. David's good friend Lee then told her about his forthcoming marriage. Quick as a flash Mum quipped "About bloody time!" Even in her last few days, she made friends with nurses and cleaners at the hospital, and told everyone that she was determined to "make this a short stay".

      We are all richer for having known Shirley. She has shown so many people that life isn't about money or things, or who you are. It is about family, people, friendship, and love.

      Shirley's epitaph is not in the words that I am now reading or those that will be placed on her plaque but is written in the hearts of the many many people who experienced her love, kindness and humour.

      I leave you with the words that Shirley used after both her sons were married-off. These words are as appropriate now as they were then ...

      "Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I am free at last."
    Memorial plaque for Kenneth David Thrale and Shirley Helen Thrale née Block
    Memorial plaque for Kenneth David Thrale and Shirley Helen Thrale née Block
    Plot: Horder Garden H15
    Memorial plant for Kenneth David Thrale and Shirley Helen Thrale née Block
    Memorial plant for Kenneth David Thrale and Shirley Helen Thrale née Block
    Plot: Horder Garden H15
    View of garden from memorial to Kenneth David Thrale and Shirley Helen Thrale née Block
    View of garden from memorial to Kenneth David Thrale and Shirley Helen Thrale née Block
    Probate 8 Jan 2001 
    Person ID I370  UK Thrale family
    Last Modified 26 Dec 2023 

    Father Henry Block,   b. 6 Jun 1905, Whitechapel, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 3 Sep 1989, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 84 years) 
    Mother Leah Abrahams,   b. 25 Apr 1904, Hoxton, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 5 Aug 1984, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 80 years) 
    Marriage 2 Aug 1931  Great Synagogue, 262 Commercial Road, Stepney, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Henry Bloch and Leah Abrahams
    Henry Bloch and Leah Abrahams
    Wedding day
    Wedding invitation
    Wedding invitation
    Henry Block and Leah Abrahams
    Goides Restaurant
    Goides Restaurant
    54 High Street Whitechapel, London E1
    Wedding breakfast invitation
    Wedding breakfast invitation
    Family ID F182  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Kenneth David Thrale,   b. 28 Aug 1928, West Hampstead, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 31 Jul 1987, Kingsbury, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 58 years) 
    Marriage 04 Sep 1959  Willesden, Middlesex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Agency: Registry Office 
    Address:
    249 Willesden Lane 
    Children 
    +1. David Henry Thrale
     2. Stacey Donald Thrale
    Photos
    Kenneth & Shirley Thrale. 1950-something
    Kenneth & Shirley Thrale. 1950-something
    Ken and Shirley Thrale's wedding day
    Ken and Shirley Thrale's wedding day
    At least one living or private individual is linked to this item - Details withheld.
    Family ID F94  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 23 Oct 2016 

    Family 2 Fitzroy Anthony Douglas 
    Family ID F181  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 13 Feb 2004 

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBirth - Agency: Middlesex Hospital - 11 Jan 1937 - Mile End, Stepney, Middlesex, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - Evacuated to Berkhampstead with mother Leah during WWII whilst father was away in service. Enjoyed this very much and liked Berkhampstead. Probably 39 Ellesmere Road - c 1941 - Berkhampstead, Hertfordshire, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - 3 Avenue Mansions, Park Avenue - 11 Sep 1942 - Willesden, Middlesex, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsEducation - Dudden Hill Secondary School - Between 1949 and 1954 - Willesden, Middlesex, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsEducation - Hendon Technical College - 1954-1956 - Hendon, Middlesex, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - 3 Christchurch Avenue - 11 Jan 1958 - Kilburn, Middlesex, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - 33 St Paul's Avenue - Sep 1959 - Willesden, Middlesex, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarriage - Agency: Registry Office,Address:
    249 Willesden Lane - 04 Sep 1959 - Willesden, Middlesex, England
    Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - School Secretary, Princess Frederica Infants School, College Road - Between 1970 and 1972 - Willesden, Middlesex, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - School Secretary, Chalkhill Primary School - Between 1972 and 1975 - Wembley, Middlesex, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Personal Assistant / secretary to Director of Housing Brent Council - Between 1975 and 1979 - Wembley, Middlesex, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsProperty - Address:
    96 Birchen Grove - Aft 6 Mar 1978 - Kingsbury, Middlesex, England
    Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsProperty - Lot 2 Hopetown Gardens, Dunrobin - Between Jun 1996 and Apr 2000 - Mandeville, Manchester, Jamaica Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDeath - Agency: Pembridge Palliative Care Centre, St Charles' Hospital - 27 Sep 2000 - Kensington, Middlesex, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCremation - Agency: Golders Green Crematorium,Address:
    62 Hoop Lane - 04 Oct 2000 - Golders Green, Middlesex, England
    Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    Shirley Block in June 1940
    Shirley Block in June 1940
    Shirley Block and Mum Leah sometime in 1945
    Shirley Block and Mum Leah sometime in 1945
    Shirley Helen Block
    Shirley Helen Block
    At least one living or private individual is linked to this item - Details withheld.
    Family group photo from about 1940. Two participants are unknown and their identities are sought.
    Family group photo from about 1940. Two participants are unknown and their identities are sought.
    From left to right: Unknown, Bessie Abrahams, Henrietta Sarah Abrahams née Wells, Shirley Block (at front holding Mums hand), unknown child, Leah Block née Abrahams. Maybe the baby is one of Bessie's? Patricia or Alan Lloyd?

  • Sources 
    1. [S47] Lindsay Block.

    2. [S11] David H Thrale.

    3. [S18] GRO index (UK), Entry number: 266; District number: 2391C; Register number: C11C.

    4. [S18] GRO index (UK), Willesden Sep 1959 5f 797 (Reliability: 3).