MildredPalaceadjcompThe greatest recognition of Mildred Hooke's achievements came with the award of the OBE in the New Year's Honours List of 1953, announced on 30th December 1952. Perhaps it had added significance as this was the first Honours List since the accession of Queen Elizabeth II. MIldred was now already a respected JP in Bradford.

Here is how her name appears in the Wikipedia list:

Mildred Alice Hooke, J.P., Headmistress, Bradford Girls' Grammar School.

The taking of this photo, as Mildred pauses outside Buckingham Palace, is described below by Ella, one of Mildred's sisters.

By coincidence, one of her pupils from her earliest years of teaching, Christine Savery, received the MBE on the same day! Here is a transcript of a letter Mildred wrote to her former pupil:


27 - 1 - 53

Dear Christine

How delightful that we should share this occasion! I am so much pleased about your decoration & I thank you all for your congratulations on mine. How good those K.E. days were! It was a pleasure to have news of you all. I remember you well. I wonder whether by good fortune we shall meet at the Palace. I have heard to-day that I am to go there on Feb. 24. Do let me hear about you.

With greetings & most kind remembrances to you all,  

Mildred Hooke


Two of Mildred's sisters, Ella and Trixie were given tickets for the presentation at Buckingham Palace. Here is Ella's detailed description of the occasion, including an extraordinarily detailed description of the beautiful, young Queen Elizabeth. Below is a transcript of a letter from Trixie to Elaine Hooke, apologising that only two people were permitted to attend with Mildred and including her description of the Queen and the occasion.

Trixie's letter to Elaine reveals that at this time in 1953 Elaine was staying at Stowford House, Guildford, clearing it after the deaths of her parents, Sir Ralph and Lady Rosa Oakden. Cyril was serving in his final tour of duty for the Army in Gernany.

Ellas description of M receiving OBE WEB


A year later Mildred retired from teaching. This tribute was published in the Bradford Boys' Grammar School magazine.

RetirementTributeadcompjCrosswaysCotMildred retired to Cambridge to Crossways Cottage, a beautiful home in Kingston. More photos taken in 2017 are shown below. Two of her great lifetime friends were Lady Carol Farren and her husband Sir William, a great pioneer of aviation in the 20th Century. The story of his life begins here.

Shortly after Carol's sad death, Mildred took the momentous step for a lady in her 70s of marrying Sir William and becoming Lady Farren. By this time, Sir William's health was deteriorating and for the larger part of their marriage all reports state how faithfully Mildred cared for the ailing knight. He died in 1970 and Mildred just a few years later in 1977.  At the bottom of this page is a postcard from Mildred to her brother in 1968 describing how difficult it was to care for him in the cold weather which made him very drowsy. "W" is Sir William.


In 1969 a 21 year old nurse was employed by Lady Farren to help with Sir William's care. Jonathan Jones has kindly written an evocative account for this website about his memories of that time, as follows:

Crossways Cottage 1969

A slip of paper has the address written on it, Crossways Kingston and the name Farren. At 21 years old I am in my third and final year of psychiatric nurse training at Fulbourn Hospital. The note in my pocket was written by a fellow nurse who recruited me to his team for private duties. Despite my experience I feel unusually intimidated today, not by the task but by the fact that my client is Lady Farren, for the care of her husband Sir William.

My ward shift finished at 2pm and I am due at 4, riding a motorcycle through the spring green lanes of South Cambridgeshire. For this remote call having my own transport is essential and I am relieved to know that payment will be made in cash on the day.  Running a vehicle is something of a luxury on a student nurse's wage and I am recently married to Angie, also a nurse in Cambridge. I find the cottage, hang my helmet on the handlebars, screw my courage to the sticking place and knock.

An upright imposing figure, Lady Farren opens the door. Her cordial greeting dissolves my fears in an instant as she must have put at ease so many children during her years as a teacher and headmistress. In Sir William's room she points out where everything is and leaves me to my task, telling me to call if I need anything else. 'We'll have tea when you are ready.'

At the end of our lives we fail in so many different ways. William in his last years fell victim to a disease laying waste the huge intellect which carried him through his working life. I do my work and make him comfortable in his wheelchair.

Mildred brings tea with bread and jam, three plates cups and saucers making it clear that this is a communal meal, and from that day I am as happy using her first name as she is mine. I feed William as Mildred and I begin to talk, her questions about me and my life so obviously not out of politeness but from a genuine interest in who this young man is and what he wishes for the life ahead of him. It's about as different an occasion as any I could have anticipated. When we finish our meal, seeing a record deck at the side I ask if I may play something. Of course, she says with delight. We listen to Elgar together until I put William to bed. William Farren PaintboxWEB

It was the first of my visits that summer of 1969. Among memories for me over fifty years later are her enormous dedication to William, the delicious cherry jam she served and her recollections as a pupil at St Pauls Girls School. She talked of music lessons with Gustav Holst, who she amused me by referring to as 'dear Gussie', which was typical of the way in which she related to people rather than their status. On fine afternoons I pushed William's wheelchair into the secluded garden and we sat together taking tea like any family group. I remember once turning at the sound of a vehicle beyond the high hedge to meet the eyes of a curious audience, looking down on us from the top deck of a bus.

The restlessness of youth may appear capricious to the man in his 70s which I now am, but a 21 year old doesn't share the expectation that tomorrow will be today revisited. In honest moments I also admit a level of anxiety over the forthcoming final exams to gain my nursing registration. Tests were never my strong point. So I left nursing that autumn and when I took my leave for the last time Mildred, knowing my schooldays love of art, made a gift of William's water colour paints. The mahogany box, now in the care of our artist son Jake, stayed with me almost as long as Angie, smiling at me across the room as I write.
Jonathan Jones    February 2023


Jonathan has kindly provided this photo of the mahogany water colour paint box along with a "work-in-progress" painting by his son, Jake Jones. You can see more of Jake's beautiful work at his website, here.

Photographs of the Kingston Crossroads and Crossway Cottage, 2017. Click on a photo to enlarge and open the slideshow.

Finally, below is an assorted album of 18 photos derived from many sources showing my Great Aunt Mildred enjoying happy days with her family: her brother Cyril, sisters Ella & Trixie, and later on with my own Dad George (her nephew), my Mum Valerie and me (Graham) and my twin sister (Kathy) when we were babies.

Mildred Hooke - Funeral & Tributes

Mildred Hooke - Letters of Affection

Sir William and Lady Mildred Farren / Hooke 

Mildred postcards 1968 Kingston Front WEBTRANSCRIPT of the postcard.

To: Colonel & Mrs Hooke, The Clinches, Collington Lane, Bexhill, Sussex.

Kingston, Camb. Dec 13, 1968

This is an effort to raise money towards further restoration of the Church. I am so tired of East Wind - gets in everywhere. [crossed out: The cold makes W very sleepy] (W is William) What time do you get up in the morning? W is very sleepy this week - probably the cold though we strive to keep him warm - not enough exercise.

v m l (Very much love) Mildred

Mildred postcards 1968 ref William Farren Back WEB

Here are some letters from Mildred to her nephew George and Valerie Hooke in the 1970s demonstrating her generosity to her family.