Alice Owen’s Final Days by Ellen Maki, Ph.D.

In 1939, Alice Owen was 82 years of age, suffering from dementia and myocarditis. She was a widow, her husband, Daniel Owen, having died in St. Helens, Lancashire in 1928. For some time after her husband’s death, although I’m not certain for how long, Alice lived with her single daughter, Mary Owen, and Mary’s son, Joseph Owen, at 57 Cooper Street in St. Helens.

 At 32, Alice’s grandson Joseph earned his living as a general labourer at a local glass bottle manufacturing plant. His mother, Mary, kept house. So it seems that Joe was the sole source of income for the small household, and Mary would have been responsible for caring for her infirm and senile mother.

Little Sisters of the PoorThe National Health Service did not come into being until 1948, after the second world war. In 1939, it would likely have been difficult for Joe Owen to afford medical care for his ailing grandmother. That’s likely the reason that Alice was eventually taken in by the Little Sisters of the Poor in Toxteth Park, Liverpool.

The Sisters had established a home for the poor, St. Augustine’s Home, on Aigburth Road, Liverpool in 1874. A new wing and chapel were added in 1896, the new building to serve as a home for the aged poor. It was there that Alice spent her last days. She died at St. Augustine’s Home, aged 82, on 9 July 1939.

Brief Bio

Alice was born Alice Bridge on 18 August 1857 in Eccleston township, St. Helens. Her parents were Thomas Bridge and Alice Gee. When she was 21, Alice married Daniel Owen, son of George Owen and Jane Sephton. The marriage took place 9 February 1879 at St. Mary’s Lowe House RC Church, St. Helens.

Sources
  1. Liverpool Mercury. (1896) St. Augustine’s Catholic Home, Aigburth-Road. 5 October. p. 6f. Collection: British Newspapers 1710-1953. http://www.findmypast.com/ : accessed 15 May 2016.
  2. Leroy, A. (1906) History of the Little Sisters of the Poor. London: Burns, Oates, and Washbourne. p. 289. https://archive.org/details/littlesisterspoo00unknuoft : accessed 15 May 2016.
  3. General Register Office of England and Wales. Certified Copy of an Entry of Death. Toxteth Park, Liverpool. 9 July 1939. Owen, Alice. Copy dated 25 April 2016.

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