Miss Anne Wynne Thackeray, whose father's first cousin was the
famous Victorian author William Makepeace Thackeray, was an important person in
the Botley/Cumnor community during the first half of the 20th century. As well
as having a house on Cumnor Hill she was one-time President of Botley WI and a
Vice-President of Cumnor Rise Hospital (demolished for housing in the early
1990s - now Hutchcomb Farm Close).
Born in India, she was the youngest daughter of Colonel Sir Edward Talbot Thackeray, VC,KCB. After working for the poor in Whitechapel, she went to live with Professor (of Law) and Mrs Albert Dicey at The Orchard, Oxford (no. 80 Banbury Road - now demolished). Here she led a busy social life entertaining the many distinguished visitors who frequented The Orchard - Mrs Dicey being an invalid - and she was here for many years, almost a daughter of the house, until 1914, when she came by the great wish of her friends the Venables family to make her home with them at 26 Norham Gardens, Oxford.
In 1907 she had helped a Miss Townsend in opening the first 'Home for the feeble- minded' (Cumnor Rise Hospital)off of Cumnor Rise Road. In the same year she and her friend Mary Venables built a house on Cumnor Hill where she usually spent the summer months and which became 'a centre of hospitality and friendship'. The house was designed by Clough Williams- Ellis (1883-1978) who was also architect of Portmeirion,Wales and in Cumnor, the newer part of Cutts End House in 1911 for novelist and theological author Lily Dougal [1858-1923) as well as Hurstcote for the Brooke family. Lily Dougal was acquainted with Miss Thackeray as Lily's companion Sophie Earp recorded in her diary on 22 February 1911 that they visited and accompanied her to Cumnor. This house (now 85 Cumnor Hill) was called Larkbeare presumably named because William Makepiece's mother and step-father once rented a house at Larkbeare near Ottery St Mary, Devon. She came to live there permanently in 1939. She also had Larkbeare cottage built which was nearer to the Cumnor Hill road.
Both Miss Thackeray and her friend Mary Venables were accomplished musicians. The City Concerts for Children were given great support by them. A special music room was built on the grounds of Larkbeare and presented to Mary Venables in 1924. Holst and Vaughan Williams were just two of the distinguished people who played there.
Miss Thackeray's talents in art, decoration, needlework and bookbinding were put to good use at Cumnor Rise Hospital. The embroidery made there under her direction and supervision won high recognition when exhibited in London and as far afield as Australia.
She 'warmly supported' Women's Suffrage and was actively involved in civic life in Oxford. In 1899 she was elected as one of the first women Guardians for St Giles Parish and became a Liberal Councillor in 1919 and an Alderman of Oxford (1932-1938).
Judging from reports, it appears she was someone who could be described as conscientious, hard-working with a 'highly intelligent mind' and 'wit'. One of her maxims was 'If you want to have a friend, be a friend' - and those who got to know her well would call her 'Tandy'. Dame Myra Hess referred to the infectious 'glow of Tandy's enthusiam and enjoyment'.
Researched by Martin J Harris,2001, assisted by Charlotte Chesney, Jonathan Sinclair-Wilson, Douglas Durand and Peggy Inman.