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PrimroseEVELYN MARY HAWLEY O.B.E.
SECRETARY TO THE PRIMROSE LEAGUE GRAND HABITATION.
Primrose

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Mrs. Evelyn Hawley O.B.E., née Killby, (1920-1989) began working for the 'League' sometime in the 1930's as a Secretary/Typist and when all the male staff members were called up for WW2 Military Service, she was asked to take over as Secretary (Manager). She became the Official Secretary to the Primrose League Grand Habitation (League H.Q.) sometime between 1940 - 1950 and held this post until 1988. Her employment began at 54, Victoria Street, London, S.W.1., and then at later addresses (see the London Post Office Directory entries below), ending finally from her London home. The entry for her O.B.E. appears in The London Gazette (1st June 1953), as shown below, and if you click on it you can view the page in full.

She was always accompanied by her Mother (also an avid supporter of the 'League') when attending Demonstrations. Her Mother was rather domineering and played a major role in preventing Evelyn from marrying much earlier than she did. The family has informed that one of the reasons was to do with the fact that Evelyn wanted to marry a man already twice divorced.
The Primrose League major annual event came when the A.G.M was followed by a Ball at the Savoy and this followed by the Grand Habitation Meeting at the Albert Hall, all in the space of two days. Evelyn was required to plan and organise all three with very limited resources. Only once did she miss it and that was when she contracted TB (see below: 'Letter to Evelyn Hawley - 1953.). He brother stepped into the breach and took over the organising that year.
It would seem from the early 1970's that she ran the Primrose League almost single handed -- Publishing and Writing the 'Primrose League Gazette', co-ordinating with the Secretaries of the remaining local Habitations and undertaking the 'Grand Habitation' Secretarial work. Evelyn Hawley was the last paid employee of the Primrose League. She developed Alzheimer's disease and in the end, through related illnesses including blindness, lost control and it was decided that the League's documentation should be removed from her home and handed over to the Bodleian Library, Oxford. The Primrose League Gazette was never published again. Evelyn Hawley was a very well liked and highly respected Lady, without whom the Primrose League would not have lasted as long as it did.

1940's & 1950's
Letter from W.S. Churchill - 1945
Letter from W.S.Churchill - 1945.
38.62 KB
Telegram
Telegram from W.S.Churchill - 1949.
24.95 KB
Letter from P.M.
Letter from Winston Churchill - 1952.
26.76 KB
Letter from Lord Lyle
Letter from Lord Lyle - 1953.
42.90 KB
1950's & 1960's
Letter from Lord Mancroft - 1953
Letter from Lord Mancroft - 1953.
22.53 KB
Letter to Evelyn Hawley
Letter to Evelyn Hawley - 1953.
43.17 KB
Photograph of Evelyn Hawley
Photograph of Evelyn Hawley - N.D.
14.27 KB
Press cutting
Press cutting - 1963.
52.18 KB
1960's & 1970's
Demonstration 1968
Demonstration - 1968.
46.03 KB
Sample page from Visitors sign-in book 1970
Page from Visitors sign-in book - 1970.
32.20 KB
Demonstration 1976
Demonstration - 1976.
22.71 KB
Sample page from Visitors sign-in book 1976
Page from Visitors sign-in book - 1976.
43.46 KB
1980's
Letter from Lord Home
Letter from Lord Home - 1981.
30.20 KB
NB. The speech given to the Primrose League by Dame Margaret Thatcher on the 31st March 1976 (see 'Demonstration - 1976' above) is available on CD-ROM from the 'Margaret Thatcher Foundation' and is given an importance ranking of 'Major' with a word count of 335.

Malcolm Angus recalls a childhood story, which relates to his Aunt (Evelyn Hawley) and the Primrose League

As a teenager on holidays from my Scottish boarding school I would sometimes visit her office. I knew very little about the League and wasn't really interested. This particular day was the laying of the PL wreath on Disraeli's Westminster Square statue. I think Hamilton Kerr was the grandee but a PL Bud was also expected to lay a wreath on behalf of all Buds.
We set off and at the square waited around for the Bud, who it became clear was not going to show. "Malcolm," my Aunt hissed at me, "I've just made you a Bud. I'll pay your dues later. Lay the wreath". So I did in a very ill fitting suit looking like a character out of 'Just William' with two many bulky objects in my pockets and wearing heavy National Health glasses. The photograph could not conceal the fact that I resembled an urchin compared to the dapper Hamilton Kerr.
I did receive a certificate proclaiming me a Bud, but I did not not renew my membership.

PRIMROSE LEAGUE ENTRIES EXTRACTED FROM LONDON POST OFFICE DIRECTORIES (Kelly's) 1940 - 1973.



London P.O. Directory 1940.

London P.O. Directory 1966.

London P.O. Directory 1951.

London P.O. Directories 1970 & 1973.

All documents and photographs within the Evelyn Hawley
section of this Web Site are © copyright Malcolm Angus.
Acknowledgements are sincerely offered to Mr. Malcolm Angus
for willingly sharing and supplying copies of his family documents.

Return to Main Index Page.
Updated: 15th November 2005.
John R.P.King.
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