Memoirs of Mollie Prendergast

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The archive consists of an illustrated typescript autobiography spanning the greater part of the twentieth century. Includes accounts of her family history and background; her rural childhood and her time in service; the education and working lives of herself and of other family members; her life in London, including during the Blitz; her work as a civil servant; holidays and trips abroad; and her involvement with left wing political and social action.

Administrative / Biographical History

Mollie Prendergast (1907-fl.1977) was born in 1907, in Hallthwaites, Cumberland, the daughter of George Shaw, a farm labourer and Mary Shuttleworth. She grew up near Boughton in Furness, Lancashire. Mollie left school in 1920 and went into service in Ambleside and later at Malton in Yorkshire. She then moved to London and held several positions there. In 1928 she married Wesley Packham, a chauffeur and subsequently gave up work. During the Second World War she joined the ARP and trained with the St. John's Ambulance Brigade. In 1942 she joined the Communist Party. During the War she also took evening classes and went to work as a clerk in the insurance conglomeration Amalgamated Approved Societies that became part of the Ministry of National Insurance after the War. She was amongst the first tourists to visit East Germany after the War and she also travelled to Switzerland, Austria, Spain, France, Australia, Czechoslovakia and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Her husband died in 1951. After this Mollie Prendergast became involved in political action in health and housing, especially locally in Marylebone and St. John's Wood, and went on political marches and demonstrations, including with CND. In 1958 she married for a second time, to Jim Prendergast, a railway guard at Marylebone Station. He died in 1974. Mollie then became secretary to Joan Maynard MP, a position from which she retired in 1977.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for consultation. Readers are advised to contact The Women’s Library in advance of their first visit.

Acquisition Information

Given to the Library in Jun 2001 by Mollies' step-son, Christopher Prendergast.

Other Finding Aids

Fonds Description (1 folder only)

Related Material

The records of Vera Joan Maynard (1921-1998) are held at Sheffield Archives.