Archway’s 103-year-old: ‘I don’t know what all the fuss is about’

Violet puts her longevity down to having been brought up properly and being well fed

Friday, 28th February 2020 — By Sam Ferguson

Violet Udall

Violet Udall celebrating her 103rd birthday at Cheverton Lodge care home

A 103-YEAR-OLD woman who has lived in Islington her whole life insisted she “doesn’t know what all the fuss is about” as she celebrated her birthday in style, but admitted she was looking forward to turning 104.

Violet Udall grew up in and around Holloway Road, where she met her husband Vernon, who was a clinician at a local chemist shop.

The pair met again by chance on a bus heading to the Nag’s Head market from Wedmore Street.

After a local dance, Violet said she went home and told her family Vernon “couldn’t dance for toffee”, but that didn’t stop the couple getting married and having three children.

Violet always dreamed of following her father into the print trade, which she thought would be “quite romantic”. But her first job in a “worn-down” old printing room south of Islington did not live up to her expectations.

So in 1948 she went on to became one of the first employees of the newly formed London Transport organisation, that has now become Transport for London, working for the company until she started her family.

“Everything has changed so much now,” said Violet.

“My grandmother used to play piano for the silent films at the Marlborough Theatre in Holloway Road. That was before the talkies came along, of course.

“My favourite memories are when the whole family used to walk up to Waterlow Park, or sometimes catch the tram for a penny.

“From there we used to walk down to Hampstead Heath, and often ended up in a local inn. My family still do similar things now when the weather is nice.”

Asked to explain the secret of her longevity, Violet said she put it down to her upbringing.

“There is no real secret, there can’t be,” she said.

“But I was brought up properly and I was kept well fed. Maybe that’s the reason I’ve lived so long.”

Violet celebrated her birthday with a family party at the Cheverton Lodge care home in Archway, where she now lives.

“I am happy to be here,” she said. “Everyone is kind and I am very well looked after. I am privileged to be 103, but I don’t understand what all the fuss is about.

“However I am looking forward to 104 next year, and my hope is to remain as independent as possible.”

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