Lady Prudence Cradock-Hartopp interview: Background

Please could you give your full name, date and place of birth.

Prudence Cradock-Hartopp, 25 February 1922, Paris

What were your parents’ names, their backgrounds and how big was your family?

Frederick and Prudence Leith Ross. I was the third of four children, one brother and two sisters. 

Why were you in Paris?

My father was in the Treasury and had been appointed to the Reparations Commission after the First World War.

How long were you living in Paris?

I left when I was two and half so I never learned French. 

When did you move to Wimbledon and what were the circumstances?

In 1955. We had been living in a flat in Hammersmith. We had a baby by then  and my husband  wanted to live further out, preferably near a golf course. He was a very keen player, a scratch player when I married him and Wimbledon was one of the courses we were looking at. Wool Road came up and because it adjoined the golf course he could look up and pretend it was his private estate at the back of the house. It was the Royal Wimbledon Golf Club.

Which number house did you live in at Wool Road?

Number 27. We were there until 2001. I moved here then. My husband died and I was living on my own. It was too big and I couldn’t cope with the garden any more.

Could I ask you about your husband and his name?

His name was John Edmund Cradock-Hartopp. He had been brought up in Derbyshire and had left school in the middle of the recession and had the offer of a job in Sheffield and his father said you had better take it. He was 18 and he was with them – John Brown’s, they were developing stainless steel at the time – he stayed with them all his working life. The part that was a shipping company was nationalised and he elected not stay with that but to go with the un-nationalised company which was the machine tool side. It no longer exists.

Could I ask you about your title? Was he knighted?

No, he was a baronet and inherited the title.

Does the title live on?

It went on to his cousin as we had three daughters. His cousin and his wife had one daughter and they were killed in a car crash about four years after he died so the title is now extinct.

What year did your husband die?

In 1997. I have lived alone for 15 years.