The Zimapanners

 

 

 

 

                                                

 

Daisy May Clark (1891-1982)

  Biography
 

Daughter of master harness maker (1891)
Daisy May Clark was born on 17 March 1891 at 9 Catherine Terrace, Seven Sisters Road (Stamford Hill end), Tottenham, Middlesex, London. She was the daughter of master harness-maker, Thomas William ClarkFT and Rose Anne Thwaites. Her parents married at St Saviour, Southwark in Q3 1884.

Daisy May married insurance clerk (1914)
On 13 October 1914, aged 22, Daisy May Clark married 23-year-old Ernest Aberdeen, an insurance clerk who worked in a shipbroker's office in Tottenham. Ernest Aberdeen was born on 27 Oct 1880 in 35 Peabody Buildings, Spitalfields, in the Whitechapel area of London, to vegetable salesman Henry Aberdeen and his wife Elizabeth1. Daisy May Clark married at the Registry Office in Hackney, London, in the presence of Eva Collins and Henry Smith. Their pre-marriage addresses were 11 Kenmore Street, Hackney (his) and 24 Woodland Street, Dalston, a village within the Parish of Hackney. Six years later, Daisy May Aberdeen bore Ernest a son, Maxwell Ernest Aberdeen, at Queen Charlotte's Maternity Hospital [ed. prob. Arthur Street, Chelsea] on 5 December 19202. The family lived at 54 Lordship Lane, Tottenham, north London3.

Zimapan (1944)
On 2 September 1944, Daisy May Aberdeen bought Zimapan, in Tregullow, Scorrier and lived there for thirty-four years, making her the longest owner-occupier of Zimapan. She was still the wife of Ernest Aberdeen when she bought the house4. How long Ernest Aberdeen lived at Zimapan is uncertain. However, from around 1949, Daisy May lived there with her second husband until she sold the property in March 1978.

Daisy May divorces and remarries (1949)
Daisy May Aberdeen, a stage actress5, went on to divorce Ernest Aberdeen, who by then had become an accountant. Although divorce was quite unusual in those days, Daisy May remarried on 2 June 1949, aged 58, this time to Joseph Pierre Angèle Etienne de L'Arbre de MalanderFT, who was 19 years her junior, whom she had met when she was in charge of the Red Cross during the war in 1944. Ernest Aberdeen remarried Hilda M. Dinham in Q2 1949—the same quarter in which Daisy May remarried—in Wood Green, north London.

Signed her name 'de Malander'
The marriage took place in the Registry Office in Truro, Cornwall, on 2 June 1949. Although her marriage certificate only shows her husband's name as 'de L'Arbre'6, she would later sign her name 'Daisy May de L'Arbre de Malander' on at least two conveyances in 1953 and 1978. There were no children from this marriage7

Little Mum and Mr Dee
The De L'Arbres, who called themselves the Count and Countess Joseph de L'Arbre de Malander, were great friends of the Straker family from Pinner, Middlesex, who frequently holidayed at Zimapan during the 1950s and 1960s. They always referred to the De L'Arbres as either "the Dee's" or "Little Mum and Mr Dee". During those two decades after the Second World War, Pauline Straker spent many a "blissful" week on holiday at Zimapan, sharing the first-floor bedroom opposite the walk-in attic with her sister. Although she never knew about or met Daisy May's son from her first marriage, Maxwell actually lived at Zimapan with his mother between 1948 and 19498.

Antique collector
Little Mum was an antique collector and she and Mr Dee had collected some "fabulous pieces and paintings", and used to store many of their antiques and artwork in the first-floor walk-in attic room. Little Mum once gifted one of her stage dresses, a heavily sequinned gown, to Pauline's mother. That gown was sold at auction in July 2009 as part of a clearing out when Pauline moved house9.

Additional land (1953)
In 1953, Daisy May bought an additional piece of waste land to the south of the property from Barclays Bank Ltd—land that had once belonged to John Williams 5th of nearby Scorrier House (see the 1953 Conveyance).

Aga Queen
Little Mum was a tiny lady who apparently "could be totally formidable". This may well have caused Mr Dee to take refuge or seek solace, as he did from time to time, in the comforting ambience of private nursing establishments. She always kept her Aga permanently stoked up, and a large saucepan of homemade soup was always bubbling quietly away on the oven's simmering plate. Judging from her fondness for cooking, she must have been a generous, homey housewife, as Pauline recalls that her lunches were "large enough to have fed an army".

Little Mum would bake scones for afternoon tea and would serve them with jam and cream. Among their many visitors was the Dee's niece, Suki, who often visited with her family10.

Beach party at Wiggle Cliff, Whitsand Bay, nr Portwrinkle)
L to R: Unknown man; Unknown woman; Daisy May de L'Arbre de Malander (behind Joseph de L'Arbre de Malander, prostrate);
Unknown woman; Peggy Drew; Malcolm Drew (flippers); Sidney Drew (father of Malcolm) on a Cornish beach;
Roger Drew (photographer)
(Photo: Malcolm Drew, summer 1956) 

Daisy May (Mrs Dee) and one of her Sealyhams
with Irene Fulford on the front lawn at Zimapan, 1964
(Photo: Coutesy of Irene and Alan Adams) 

Daisy May sells Zimapan (1978)
On 13 March 1978, Daisy May sold Zimapan Villa (see the 1978 Conveyance).

Illogan (1978-1982)
Daisy May moved to Karenza, Lower Broad Lane, Illogan, Redruth, Cornwall in 1978, where she remained with Joseph until her death on 19 April 1982, aged 91. She actually died at The Firs, Mawla, near Redruth, the same address at which her husband Joseph died in 1991, which suggests that The Firs may once have been a private hospital or a nursing home. She is described as Countess Daisy May de L'Arbre de Malander on the death certificate, wife of Count Joseph de L'Arbre de Malander, fictional titles they ascribed to themselves! Coincidentally, she died of (i) broncho-pneumonia and (ii) senility, the very same causes that Joseph died of nine years later11.

If you knew Daisy M. Clark or her relatives, please contact the author

Footnotes
1. Marriage certificate, 1914.
2. The existence of a son from the first marriage was communicated to the author in April 2009 by Pierre Luc Joseph Marie Ghislain de L'Arbre of Dienze, Belgium.
PLJMG de L'Arbre (b. 4 Sep 1942, Zottegem, Belgium) was the son of Jules de L'Arbre and Lucette Everaert, and married Amay Cécile Marthe Edgard Jeanne Forgeur, a baroness (b. 8 May 1943) on 17. Jul 1965.
3. Birth certificate, 6 Dec 1920.
4. Abstract to the Title of Mrs Daisy May Aberdeen to freehold property known as 'Zimapan', 1944.
5. Pauline Fanning (née Straker), 2009
6. Marriage certificate, 1949.
7. Same as f/n 4.
8. British Phone Books, 1948 and 1949.
9. Same as f/n 4.
10. Same as f/n 4.
11. Death certificate, 20 April 1982.