Hilda Violet Simmons (1892 - 1989)

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Birthplace: Amwell Close, Enfield, Greater London, UK
Death: Died in Ottawa Division, ON, Canada
Managed by: Yolande McLean
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Immediate Family

About Hilda Violet Simmons

Hilda was born at the Fire Station in Farringdon Road in Clerkenwell, Central London. Her father Thomas Simmons was a fireman who served in the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB), which later became the London Fire Brigade, from 1882 until 1910.

Firefighters no longer live at the station: "Three floors of the historic Clerkenwell fire station, the oldest working station in Europe have been lying empty for over fifty years. The space was once well-kept family accommodation for the stations’ firefighters. Now yellowing clown-covered wallpaper peels on the walls of what was once a child’s bedroom and plastic crates litter the floor of an old firefighter’s living room" says an article in 'Islington Now.'

"Local pigeons have made their home in the cracked porcelain sinks of the old laundry and industrial Victorian uniform dryer rusts in obscurity." According to the station's manager, "The top three [floors] are unoccupied now. They used to be for the fire fighters and their families. They would have lived here and worked here. They were working 100 hour shifts in those days."

Hilda was someone who loved to laugh. She spent many summers in the cabin at Wolf Lake in Quebec (now Lac des Loups) where she chopped wood, carried water, and looked after her grandchildren when they stayed there. The cabin had no running water or electricity; water had to be carried up from the lake. Wild strawberries grew in the hills behind the cabin, and sometimes Hilda gathered them with her granddaughter, Yolande.

The rest of the year, every morning until she was in her late 80s, she walked all the way from Patterson's Creek in Ottawa, where she had her own flat in the house with Beverley and Ross, to the Byward Market to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. She'd leave early in the morning, at 5:30 or 6, stop in at Joscelyn's place on Waverley, and get back home before lunch. Indefatigable!

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Hilda Simmons's Timeline

1892
October 28, 1892
Enfield, Greater London, UK
1917
June 29, 1917
Age 24
Lewisham, Greater London, UK
1918
September 11, 1918
Age 25
Lewisham, Greater London, UK
1926
May 24, 1926
Age 33
Ottawa Division, ON, Canada
1989
January, 1989
Age 96
Ottawa Division, ON, Canada
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