Old newspapers can give us an insight into the lives of our ancestors that no other source can provide. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to be contacted by two fellow genealogists to tell me about this article in ‘The Worthing Herald’ dated 22nd July 1949.
I have recently produced a post on my family history blog about my research into my grandfather William Robert Victor Wait (1899-1966). I never knew him. All I had was a photograph which showed his fedora hat laying amongst the pebbles on Brighton beach. But down the years I have gradually managed to piece together details about his life. Of course most of my information consisted of names and dates, but this newspaper article brings his life into sharp focus:
HUSBAND FOUND HOUSE STRIPPED OF FURNITURE.
“At Sussex Assizes at Lewes yesterday William Robert Victor Waite, of Neville-Road, Hove, petitioned for divorce from his wife, Lily Waite of Gloucester-place, Worthing on the grounds of desertion.
The suit was defended, and Mrs Eva Clapham of Neville-road was intervener.
In giving judgements the Special Commissioner, Mr P.R. Barry K.C. said that there was ne evidence of adultery on the part of the woman cited and in those circumstances she would be dismissed from the suit.
Mr Waite brought the suit on the grounds that his wife had deserted him for a continuous period of more than three years immediately preceding the presentation of that petition.
The parties were married in May 1942, Mr Waite then being a widower and Mrs Waite a widow. There were no children of the marriage and for a time the parties lived at Patcham and later at Shoreham and Brighton.
Mrs Waite alleged that from December 18 1945 she had just cause for leaving her husband by reason of his association with Mrs Clapham. Owing to housing difficulties in the summer of 1945 they had to part. Mrs Waite going to an institution and the husband going to lodge with Mrs Clapham.
The Commissioner had been told that Mrs Waite readily assented to this course, but he was satisfied that she was reluctant to allow her husband to lodge with Mrs Clapham.
Not long afterwards a house was obtained in Islingward-road, Brighton, and, although the wife went there, the husband did not at once join her. It seemed to the Commissioner that the husband adopted a most unwise course. Finally the parties separated in December 1945. It was clear that during October, November and December, 1945, the parties were living under extremely unhappy conditions and there were scenes of violence, the husband staying out very late at night.
The wife became very suspicious and, when her husband asked for money, suggested that he should obtain it from his mistress. Mrs Waite, he was satisfied, was a woman who was extremely excitable and temperamental, and finally she said she was going to leave him.
Owing to her unbalanced state of mind she had acted, he was bound to say, in a disgraceful way, because when her husband returned one day she had gone and the house was stripped of furniture.
He was quite satisfied, however, that the wife had made offers to return to her husband and although she might be a difficult woman to live with the husband was not justified in allowing three years to elapse before bringing a petition against her for desertion. In view of this the petition would be dismissed with costs and the party cited who had already been dismissed from the suit would also be granted costs against Mrs Waite.”
To read more about William Robert Victor Wait (1899-1966) please click here.