The BRIGHTLAND family – Nurse BRIGHTLAND, Isabel Mary (1882-1957)

Brightland 7&9 Loseby Lane
7&9 Loseby Lane. The Brightlands lived above the shop.

John William Brightland (1844-1900) married Martha Markland (1849-1926) in Peterborough in 1880.  They established a “new drapery establishment” at 9 Loseby Lane on 28th February that year, with “special attention to the costume and mantle department.”  The business was a success:  In 1891 John advertised for a showroom assistant “one accustomed to good class trade.”  John and Martha had two daughters, Isabel Mary (1882-1957) and Elizabeth Thirlby (1885-1974).

Between 1881 and 1884 the Brightlands lived at 7 and 9 Loseby Lane, moving in March 1887 to 5 Market Street, where they also lived until 1904.  The family moved to Syndale, Stoneygate Avenue, in 1906.

Brightland 5 Market St
5 Market Street with accommodation above

The Brightlands were significant members of the St Martin’s congregation, which is perhaps why in February 1895 when Canon Sanders’ eldest daughter Millicent married Mr Eunson, Martha Brightland made the bridesmaids’ dresses, which were of “white silk accordian with pleated chiffon bodices.”  In 1899 Martha helped with the Yellow Bazaar and she also sat on the bazaar committee for the Diocesan Home for Waifs and Strays.  By 1909 when Canon Sanders’ testimonial was written, only Martha was left to appear on the list, as John died in 1900.  She was a member of the PCC between 1921 and 1922.

Isabel was born on 3rd January 1882 and baptised at St Matthew’s on 19th February 1882.  She probably attended a private school for girls.  She later attended Leicester Municipal Technical and Art School (which later formed part of the new City of Leicester Polytechnic, now de Montfort University), winning a prize for architectural drawing in In December.  Afterwards she worked as a teacher at a private school and sometimes as a secretary and book keeper.

Isabel served as a VAD in the Leicester/2 detachment, later transferring to Leicester/4.  These detachments managed the Knighton VAD hospital and were on duty for the first convoys of wounded which arrived in Leicester.  She She was first based at Leicester Royal Infirmary whilst she carried out her training.  From 3rd until 31st May 1917 Isabel worked as a nurse at the 3rd London General Hospital.  This hospital was established in August 1914 in the requisitioned Royal Victoria Patriotic School in Wandsworth which had 1800 beds by 1917.  Between June and August 1917 she served as a volunteer at Cottesbrooke Auxiliary Hospital in Northamptonshire, where soldiers were often less seriously wounded and were mainly in need of convalescence.  Gladys Marie Williams, who Isabel would have known, was also there between April 1917 and 1918.  Cottesbrooke Hall had been converted to a hospital in 1914 by the owner Mrs Brassey who took personal charge of fifty beds.  During Isabel’s short time at Cottesbrooke a concert was held, which she almost certainly attended, at which various artistes performed including Private Hamilton, one of the wounded soldiers.  Cigarettes and fruit were provided by the munitions workers of the Hanwell Pendant Co.  After leaving Cottesbrooke Isabel remained a member of the detachment until the end of May 1919 but did no further active work.

Isabel appears to have returned to live with her mother, and to working as a teacher.  By the start of the war Martha had closed the shop premises in Market Street and lived and worked from 39 London Road.  After the war she moved premises to 44 Saxby Street, living at 52 London Road (where she had lived since at least 1924), again above her shop.  She died in 1926  leaving Isabel her furniture and household goods and an income for life.  After her mother’s death Isabel shared a large house – 120 Regent Road – with a group of other single women.  In 1931 she moved to number 50 Regent Road, the home of widow John Leaver West and his daughter Violet.  Isabel and Mary became friends.  After the death of Violet’s father in 1933, Isabel and Violet moved in together at 98 Regent Road.  Isabel retired from paid teaching.  During the second world war she was a part time volunteer with the Women’s Voluntary Service children’s section and also with the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA).  Violet West worked as secretary to an architect and also a part time WVS first aid volunteer.  Isabel’s sister Elizabeth and her husband Richard Watchorn, a chartered accountant, lived in the other half of the house.

50 Regent Road
50 Regent Road

In 1931 she moved to number 50 Regent Road, the home of widow John Leaver West and his daughter Violet.  Isabel and Mary became friends.  After the death of Violet’s father in 1933, Isabel and Violet moved in together at 98 Regent Road.  Isabel retired from paid teaching.  During the second world war she was a part time volunteer with the Women’s Voluntary Service children’s section and also with the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA).  Violet West worked as secretary to an architect and also a part time WVS first aid volunteer.  Isabel’s sister Elizabeth and her husband Richard Watchorn, a chartered accountant, lived in the other half of the house.

Isabel died on 20th September 1957 at The Lawns Nursing Home, 312 London Road and was buried at Welford Road Cemetery.  She left her estate of £933 15s 11d to sister Elizabeth.

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