109-year-old great grandmother from Cricklewood dies

Times Series: Margaret Carter at the polling station in May last year Margaret Carter at the polling station in May last year

A CRICKLEWOOD great-grandmother who was born during the Boer war and was the third longest-living Irish person ever has died aged 109.

Margaret Carter, known variously as Maggie and Peggy, lived in Cricklewood Lane for 84 years and was born in November 1901, just a few months after the death of Queen Victoria.

Born one of four children in County Tipperary in a home with no electricity or running water, she contracted Spanish flu aged 17 during the epidemic which wiped out 50 million people.

After being rushed to hospital doctors feared the worst and she was given the last rites, but pulled through, and two years later emigrated to London to find work.

During her time in service to a wealthy family near Hyde Park she met George Carter, and the couple married in 1927, moving to a rented flat in Cricklewood in one of the new houses built next to the railway station.

In front of the house was a farm and behind was open land, over which you could walk the six miles to Edgware.

The couple had three children who all attended St Agnes’ School, and she raised them while working 10-hour days in the newly opened Handley-Page aircraft factory, where she was a riveter from 1940.

During the Blitz the family regularly had to sleep in a cold, damp air raid shelter, but one night Margaret decided she wanted to sleep in her own bed, so went back to her house with her daughter.

On the same night a bomb aimed at the factory hit the street and brought the ceiling down in the bedroom.

Despite being covered in dust and debris she told her daughter they were staying where they were until the morning as they had just got the bed warm.

George lost a battle with cancer in 1958, but she continued to work, and during her 30 years at the factory she moved to the prototype department.

But two weeks before she was due to receive her long-service award the company went bankrupt and she lost her job and pension.

However, she soon landed herself a job at Great Ormond Street Hospital, but eventually hospital bosses discovered she was nearly 80 and asked her to retire.

In her retirement she enjoyed many pilgrimages to Lourdes, Rome and the Holy Land, as she was a strong Roman Catholic, as well as enjoying the company of her eight grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Despite hip operations and deteriorating eye sight she still liked to get out and about and exercised her democratic right in last May’s General Election by voting, telling the Times Series all MPs caught up in the expenses scandal should be drowned.

She passed away aged 109 and 92 days on February 12 at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead after contracting norovirus, and was laid to rest on Friday, Febraury 25.

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