Margaret “Gretta” Oram 1888 – 1967

Born: 8 Jan 1888 at Wilford Lodge, near Newport, Co Mayo, Ireland and baptised 22 February 1888.

Parents: Arthur Talbott Oram 1853-1919 and Catherine Love Anderson 1854-1920

Siblings:  Jane Oram 1882-1882Anderson Oram 1882-1882John Oram 1884-1953Arthur Oram 1885-1965James Oram 1890-1964Emily Oram 1890-1942 and Isabella “Isa” Oram 1891-1959 

Married: Sydney Hardisty Thomas 1886-1970 on 7 Apr 1915 at Newport, Co Mayo, Ireland

Offspring: William Terence Thomas 1916-1929Arthur Thomas 1922-1962, and Catherine Thomas 1925-2006

Died: Early 1967 at Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, England

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Gretta’s daughter Catherine was Daphne’s source for Gretta’s entry in “The Oram Family Saga” written in the 1960s

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Eldest daughter of Arthur and Catherine Oram born at Wilford Lodge, Co. Mayo, on 8th January 1888.

Gretta first went to school on April 3rd 1894 at the local Protestant school. Her father took her along on the first morning. In 1903 after a visit from her aunt Maggie Anderson to Wilford it was arranged that she should attend Atholl Crescent College of Domestic Science in Edinburgh  and live with Aunt Maggie and Mrs. Weddell.

Gretta, seated on the far right at The Edinburgh School of Cookery and Domestic Economy, known locally as ‘Atholl Crescent College’.  It was the founding institution of Queen Margaret University.

This she did until 1906 when she became assistant matron at the Dudland Agricultural College at Kingston-on-Soar, Nottinghamshire.

Margaret “Gretta” (nee Oram) & Sydney Thomas

In 1910 Gretta joined the staff of Melton Mowbray Grammar School, where she met and fell in love with a Yorkshireman, Sydney Herdisty Thomas who taught science at the same school. They married April 7th 1915.

Certificate of marriage at St Catherine’s Church, Newport in the parish of Burrishoole

During the war Sydney served in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and Gretta and her son Terence went to live at Wilford for a while. Sydney then transferred to the Royal Naval Air Service; having also helped to run the Army Cadet Service at school he could rightly claim to have served in all three armed services. He was also a Freemason and a keen member of the Conservative party.

Gretta was a founder member of the Melton Mowbray Business and Professional Women’s Club.

Gretta and Sydney in 1964 in their garden at Melton Mowbray

Gretta and Sydney had three children. Their eldest William Terence (b. 22 April 1916) was a bright boy. He unfortunately died of blood poisoning at the age of 14 as a result of a bicycle accident.

Arthur, their second son, was mentally handicapped. Both Gretta and Sydney devoted their lives to this boy’s welfare, whose mental age stayed at about 5 years old. Their daughter Catherine assures us that although many folks pitied Gretta she received much love from Arthur for her devoted service.

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