Elisabeth "Lisl" Angelika Tyler-James

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Elisabeth "Lisl" Angelika Tyler-James (Walk)

Also Known As: "Lisl"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Death: June 19, 2013 (88-89)
Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire, Wales, United Kingdom (Natural/old age)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Leonhard "Leo" Tobias Walk and Erna "Erny" Maria Walk
Ex-wife of Robert Clabburn Trevenen James
Mother of Antonya Angelika Bryony Cooper; Private; Private and Pip de P. James

Managed by: Pip de P. James
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Elisabeth "Lisl" Angelika Tyler-James

Extracts from Lisl, née WALK's mini-memoir completed in 2004 (in family archives):

I was an only child but my mother had another one which miscarried.

We lived in a large flat in Vienna, Grünentorgasse 9, (mistake - Mama means 16) which was big because my grandfather lived in the other part. ... I was surrounded by lovely furniture and paintings, a grand piano, silver, lace, china. It was a very bourgeois setting. I went to the Schubert Schule only a few doors away in Grünentorgasse. Schubert had been a teacher there. But first I went to a Kindergarten, also in the same road, a few doors opposite.

My grandparents were engaged seven (!) years but their marriage was not happy ...They separated eventually and grandfather lived in Grünentorgasse with us. He was a most stabilising influence in my young life. He loved me and we were great pals. He worked for a newspaper, writing weekly articles and he often took me with him to the newspaper office in the city.

Grandfather was well-known and respected in Viennese society... Grandpa was lovely and sweet, with his white beard, and very kind. He had a library with thousands of books (next to my own room) and a sitting room stuffed with old furniture.

My father was the bank manager of the foreign department of the Creditanstalt, the only big bank in Vienna. He had six languages and these he needed for his work. He had qualified as a civil engineer. In the bank where my father was Manager of the Foreign Department, it was all marble floors, pillars and a vast great hall, richly decorated. There was a lift – called a “Paternoster” lift, which never stopped, you just got on and off, as it had an open front. This fascinated me very much.

My Mother’s birthday came in August, the month of dahlias. I always went to a big dahlia nursery in the village to buy her an extra big bunch. The magnificent dahlias, in all colours, towered above me as I stood there. I still adore dahlias so much.

Sometimes Mother would take me to market, a market quite a long way from home. There all the peasant women sold their vegetables and fungi and you could see trout and carp swimming about in tanks before they were bought. ... Theatre visits were fairly frequent since complimentary tickets came from Hans, also opera tickets. ... On Sundays the family always went to the country. ... Another lovely thing we did for relaxation was to hire a sort of beach hut at a big bathing place along the Danube. ... We took holidays in the mountains at the titled lady’s place, Frau von Mandl (Suse knew her and stayed there often, I later discovered). We stayed at a cottage where my father’s brother, Robert, lived. He was deaf through some childhood illness and worked as a gardener for Frau von Mandl. He loved plants, a love I may well have inherited from that quarter. At Reichenau, the name of the place, there was a huge garden which was a wonderful play area for me. I roamed freely among the sweet-smelling herbs, strawberries and flowers. I particularly remember the pungent scent of dill, some growing freely on the muckheap and looking so fragile and beautiful. There was a well in the centre of the garden where I washed the big, fat strawberries. ... The holidays on Frau von Mandl’s estate were the odd month spent with my Mother while father stayed at work. The holidays which we all spent together, including my grandfather, were spent in a different place in Lower Austria. It was a sort of holiday village, once a (Russian?) military camp, I believe, called Mühling. It was a delightful place where we met with many friends year after year. The food was nice, we had musical and social evenings and the countryside was wonderful for walks. There was a nearby river for swimming, in the woods one found wild cyclamen and by the riverside grew many fascinating wild flowers. The summers were hot, hot and sunny.

Mother and I used to pass the time looking for four-leaved clovers outside our rooms. It got me going. I still have my eye in for four-leaved clovers! There was a long skittle alley for guests. I loved being the person who shunts back the ball and sets straight the skittles for the next turn. I still remember the woody smell of the place and how the sunlight came through the slats. But best I loved the secret places with the wild flowers.

Fungi were very much part of our summer time hunts, Mother was awfully good at finding them. We found “Steinpilze” (Ceps), “Reizger” and Chanterelles ... We also found ordinary field mushrooms, of course. Mother was incredibly good at finding wild foods. She found wild strawberries and raspberries, bilberries, cranberries and, of course, blackberries. ... In one of our holiday places in Styria, a province of Austria, we stayed at the Post Inn. It has beautiful stuccoed ceilings and was a lovely little place with a big orchard behind. A little brook flowed nearby and we could catch crayfish, which were delicious to eat. We also used to find masses of cherries along the roadside, where cherry trees are planted along the country roads. You always find cherries lining country roads, or walnuts. ... (cf. "Tante" Vera GUTH's profile for Lisl WALK's recollections about staying with her family at the Wolfgangsee) ... Have I told yet of the time when I threw an inkwell on a picture of Hitler which was in our classroom? I had to go back to the empty classroom one afternoon to get something from my desk. Not sure if I had a friend with me or not, but I seized an inkwell and splashed the ink all over the face of Hitler. I have no idea what happened later. The shops all had yellow Stars of David painted on where Jews worked. It was horrible. There was a great deal of unrest about. ... When Mother and I came to England in 1938 we first landed in a cook’s job in Sussex. As a refugee from Nazi oppression you could bring no money except one or two pounds and you had to have a domestic job to go to. Mother had studied cake-making and had taken extra lessons and brought with her a “batterie de cuisine"... The job was in a Tudor mansion of gigantic proportions. They had five gardeners and several domestic staff. . The family were a widow, Mrs. Lloyd, and her five grown-uppish children who were at boarding school or just around the house in various stages. Mrs. Lloyd had a passion for Austria and Salzburg in particular and owned a vast collection of dirndls from Lanz, the shop in Salzburg. She was very nice and quite amusing.

When I think of our quarters upstairs I still shudder. The floors were bare boards, the beds very iron bed-steadish and the water usually cold. But Mrs. Lloyd sent me to school, having first kitted me out, and so I went eight miles to school every day on a bus to Rye Grammar School.

The moment then came when Uncle Hans, who came to London, was wishing we were there too, so Mother decided to make a move to London.

So now we are in London and the weather is grey. In those days, I am speaking of 1939, London still had tremendous black fogs. They came from the coal fires lit in every home, sometimes they were yellow and so thick you could not see where you were going!

We put up in a pension with B & B somewhere in Paddington. We were served breakfast on a tray in our room – and we were astonished at what it contained: there was a dish of cornflakes – and, such a thing not existing in the whole of Vienna, we were stupefied. What did one do with it?

We munched it sort of neat and crunchy and had, of course, no notion that it should have milk and sugar with it. So that was amazing and certainly stuck in my memory. Munch, munch, munch – and not very Viennese and tasty! England seemed a culinary desert where people get sort of horse food given on a tray.

We went to Hampstead, no doubt Hansi’s idea, and Mother got a job as what used to be called “Cook General”. That meant one was a cook but had other duties as well. The “rough” was done by a char lady. The house was in “the best” old part of Hampstead, called Frognal. It belonged to a retired high legal person called Comyns Carr QC, the letters meaning Queen’s Council. It was run by his daughter who was incredibly Englishy beautiful, like a painting by Romney. I was very good at making mayonnaise, which needed a lot of patience – adding the oil drop by drop – and my pay was one shilling a week. I think mother’s was two pounds fifty – old money, of course. Mother’s next job was also in Hampstead, only a little way from Frognal, with an elderly couple who were married and were also cousins, as was the fashion quite often in Victorian times. ... INTERNMENT on the ISLE OF MAN - cf. Special notes below:

Eventually, after six weeks in internment and away from my mother – I was “released”. We then lived together at Eton Place, which was really an amazing choice of my mother. The bombs were falling on London every night and the air raid sirens would go. My mother felt it was safer to go and spend the nights in the Underground – which was what everyone else did. The government installed little bunks on the platforms, no trains running of course, and there we slept quite well. It was safe from bombs and landmines.

... I tried very hard to improve my education and read many books, both scientific and literary, but mostly scientific. We just could not afford to send me to college and, anyway, during the Blitz everything was really in confusion. Sad about the college aspect, but really a wonder how we managed to survive and how clever Mother was to keep us going. ... I got a job as young fashion artist with a journal in the Strand. I enjoyed my job at “International Textiles” and loved seeing my drawings published ... The wife of the owner was a professional photographer and wanted me for photos in the magazine ... So much for my career as a model. Not, in fact, a life I would ever be content with ... ... Going to work in the Strand by No. 68 bus you passed masses of buildings which were ruined (like a ruin) from bombs. As you went by you could see the walls standing with the wallpapers on the sides of the rooms that were gutted and in piles of rubbish, often still smouldering. ... Life in London ground on with bombs and food shortages and clothes rationing as well. One day I saw an advert for an assistant to a fur retailer. “must be able to cook lunch for the employer”. I thought this might suit me for the present. It was near the White House, a big block near Regents Park. I applied and got the job. . I had quite a job escaping (my boss) who chased me and became a pest, but I met another fur dealer there, ... one of many brothers of ex-Russian extraction, who owned stores and factories in Birmingham. Maurie (was that his name?) became quite a good friend and when presently I got married he even went to visit me (in Oxford) to see if I was happy. Perhaps I would have done better to marry him, but perhaps I wasn’t Jewish enough.

...

Perhaps this is a good place to end my “Mama’s Story”, with me sitting here surrounded by flowers, view onto the garden, with lots of birds to watch and a woolly dog and cat to keep me happy. I have lots of friends and lunches out and such, but really I want just to be quiet and enjoy a bit of peace, music and painting. It has also to be said that I love the location of where I live, as it is near the centre of Oxford with all its lovely buildings, museums, libraries and I love the lake with the swans and ducks and grebes and the forest nearby. Where do you get ancient forests in Britain? So these are all rarities in themselves and I am extremely lucky to have the enjoyment of them so conveniently. Also the countryside around here is hilly and pleasant and I am near my Mother’s resting place – where, one day, I will go, by the old village church.

LISL WALK'S ISLE OF MAN INTERNMENT:

Included here as cross-reference to the artist Arthur Paunzen, whose fate was intermingled with our family ...

DATES: circa 30th. May 1940 - 5th. August 1940 Address in London at the time: 8 Fellows Rd., Hampstead NW3 Address at Isle of Man: "Hydro" Women's Internment Camp, Port Erin, Isle of Man

cf. Lisl Walk's memoir, completed circa 2001 (in family archives) "... After a while came another job for Mother, in Fellows Road, Hampstead. Bombs were beginning to fall on London. It was getting scary. The family she was employed by had not got a spare room for me, so I was found a lovely little room – all in pink – on the top floor of the house opposite, a large Victorian House a bit like No. 11. I was very happy there. I had a lovely view all over London from my window... Now comes a thing I can’t fit into my memory exactly, probably because of the trauma. At about 5 a.m. one day two men came into my pink room – and arrested me! I cannot describe the shock. The reason was that I was just sixteen and what they called an “Enemy Alien”. I did not see my mother. I was just taken away by these men – and ended up in Liverpool in a huge stadium with thousands of others. I was then sent to the Isle of Man, where I was “interned”, again with thousands of others. How I got in touch with Mother, how this was arranged – I do not know. It was all a frightful shock. Soon she got hold of “my address” and we started corresponding. Her heartrending letters are somewhere in that big suitcase ... The only nice things I can remember about Port Erin, where I was interned on the Isle of Man, are the seaside, having a nice friend called Renate Hirsch from Cambridge and the lovely walks along the beach where one could find little semi-precious stones like Agate among the pebbles. Eventually, after six weeks in internment and away from my mother – I was “released”..."

Plus ... simply because this episode is tied in to this story and also because there is a relatively new and extremely interesting website marking the bombs that landed during the London Blitz ...

Soon after her release from internment on the Isle of Man, Lisl had to leave her "lovely pink room" for good: " But what with the bombing and the worry of it all, Mother decided she wanted us to move to a modern building with steel and concrete, far safer with bombs around. So we moved to 11A Eton Place, only a short distance away, to a nice little modern flat with two rooms, kitchen, bathroom and a lift. Two nights later the house in Fellows Road was completely destroyed by a German landmine. It is impossible to describe our feelings. All six inhabitants died."

cf. Subject: High Explosive Bomb at Fellows Road , London - Bomb Sight - Mapping the World War 2 London Blitz http://bombsight.org/bombs/31600/

High Explosive Bomb : Source: Aggregate Night Time Bomb Census 7th October 1940 to 6 June 1941 Fell between Oct. 7, 1940 and June 6, 1941 Present-day address Fellows Road, Belsize Park, London Borough of Camden, NW3 3JX, London Further details 56 20 SW

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Elisabeth "Lisl" Angelika Tyler-James's Timeline

1924
1924
Vienna, Austria
2013
June 19, 2013
Age 89
Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire, Wales, United Kingdom
????
Austria
????
Rye Grammar, United Kingdom