8. Later life

In the late 1930’s Wilf finally settled into a relationship with his girlfriend  Margarita “Meg” Masters (who was also part of Margaret Barr’s Dance-Drama Group). They didn’t marry but they did have a daughter. Meg & Wilf were together for about ten years before breaking up in the late 1940’s. Wilf was separated from their daughter and sadly never saw her again.

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Wilf holding an unknown child, Hampstead, 1952.

Wilf married Daphne Rudd in 1951. She was a Yorkshire girl who had moved to London to help with the war effort, joining the A.T.S. She had grown up on a stud farm and was an expert horse trainer. When the war ended, she joined Mr Portlock’s Travelling Circus, where she trained and rode the horses. Shortly after they met, Daphne nursed Wilf back to health after he fell ill with meningitis. During the illness Wilf said to Daphne, “If you don’t marry me I think I shall die!” She said of Wilf, “He had the most beautiful green eyes I had ever seen”.

granny with young stratford
Daphne with her horse ‘Young Stratford’.

They started married life in Finsbury Park, North London, before moving to Highgate. They lived in North London for ten happy years, where their older children Jess, Michael and Rosie were born. Wilf worked as a sculptor on the design team at the Ford Motor Company in Dagenham during this time.

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Wilf and Daphne’s wedding. 1951
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With his son Mike in 1958.

In the early 1960’s the family moved to Daphne’s home town, Stokesley in North Yorkshire. Here Wilf and Daphne’s younger children, Alison and Helen, were born. Wilf worked as a design lecturer at Leeds Polytechnic during this time, where he was well-known to the students as a political activist. Throughout his life Wilf maintained a strong belief in his Trotskyist politics, and he would never miss an opportunity to share his opinions on the subject. He always enjoyed a full-blooded and passionate political debate.

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With his daughter Rosie in the mid 1960’s.
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Holding grandson Tom in the garden of The Linthorpe pub.  Middlesbrough, 1994.

Wilf taught art at Yarm School well into his 70’s. One of his students from this time, Alex Armitage (now an art teacher) recently said of Wilf: “He was and still is an inspiration to me.”

In 1985 Wilf & his family moved to Orchard Road in Middlesbrough. During this time he gave occasional lectures at Cleveland College of Art & Design.

Gardening in Spain aged 93.
Gardening in Spain aged 93.

Wilf and Daphne moved to Andalucia, Southern Spain, in 1999 to live with their daughter’s family. He enjoyed an active life, walking and gardening right up to his death in 2003. He was 95-years-old.


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One thought on “8. Later life

  1. Hi, I was very interested to read about Wilf. Many of the pictures reminded me of him. I was one of Mikes friends, Angus (Gus). I have lost contact with Mike. I wondered if you could be of any assistance.

    Like

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