Sunday, 1 May 2011

My Old Man - The Tale of Bill Dury, Part 1

Bill Dury, posing for the camera. Photo courtesy of Jemima Dury

One of the joys of researching Ian’s biography was to uncover little known facts about his family background and, in particular, his father’s genealogy, aspects of which had been a bit of a mystery up until this point. I am of course grateful to Jemima Dury for pointing me in the direction of Ian’s cousin, Margaret Webb. It was Margaret who told me all about the family’s Kentish roots and gave me a few names and places to explore. I soon set off for the (now sadly closed) Family Record Centre in London for hours of fascinating research. Two or three visits yielded Bill Dury’s birth, marriage and death certificates.

Bill was born on 23 September 1905 in Southborough, Kent

Although the certificates provide only scant, yet crucial, detail, with the help of family and friends’ reminiscences and Ian’s own recollections, it was possible to piece together a portrait of Bill Dury, the suave and upwardly aspirational ladies’ man, who yearned to rub shoulders with toffs. Although it is part conjecture on my part, I feel sure that Bill was knocked off his feet when he met his wife-to-be, Margaret (Peggy) Walker. Peggy was descended from a family of wealthy Irish Protestant land-owners. It was quite a contrast to Bill’s working class roots and his occupation of bus driver.

Bill Dury, third from left at back, with work mates at Western National, c.1937. Photo courtesy of Margaret Webb

Bill and Peggy married in London on 23 December 1938, at:

All Souls Church, Loudoun Road, London NW8

The tale of Bill Dury, to be continued...

Ian Dury: The Definitive Biography Facebook group
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Will Birch website

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