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Oxford Inscriptions: Irene Frude


Irene Frude

HOC IN LOCO IRENE FRUDE
COLLEGII KEBLENSIS ALUMNORUM BENIGNISSIMA ALTRIX
INGENTISSIMA IENTACULA
XXXV FERME PER ANNOS COTIDIE SUPPEDITAVIT
CUIUS REI BENE MEMORES EIDEM ALUMNI
HOC MONUMENTUM FACIENDUM CURAVERUNT.
A.D. IV KAL. NOV. MCMLXXVI

[In this place Irene Frude,
the most kindly foster-mother of alumni of Keble College,
supplied huge breakfasts each day for almost 35 years;
and in memory of this, those same alumni
arranged for the making of this memorial.
A.D. 29 October 1976]

The above cast-iron plaque is on the breeze-block wall of an alleyway off the south side of Little Clarendon Street, and shows damage caused by a wheelie-bin fire in about 2008. It is situated behind 130 Walton Street, which was the university lodging house where Mrs Frude cooked breakfasts for Keble students from 1935 to 1969.

Mrs Irene Frude was born on 27 February 1899. She was Irene Langrish (possibly a widow) when in the third quarter of 1934 in the Tetbury registration district in Gloucestershire she married Albert Edward Frude. Albert (born in Aylesbury on 14 January 1875) was a former coachman and latterly a retired stud groom, His first wife Alice Frances Wicks had had died at Lower Hill Lodge, Wick, Pershore at the age of 48 on 9 August 1931.

Up to 1935 Kelly's Directory listed a man called Gerald Harris running a university lodging house at 130 Walton Street, but from 1936 it is listed as a university lodging house licensed in the name of Irene's husband, Albert E. Frude.

The 1939 register shows Irene and Albert (described as a retired stud groom) living alone at 53 Walton Street. Albert died there at the age of 66 on 16 April 1941 and was buried at Wolvercote Cemetery on 19 April. Soon after his death Mrs Frude started to take in students again, and from 1943 to 1968 Kelly's Directory (in its Commercial section) lists Mrs A. E. Frude thus: “Frude A. E. (Mrs.), university lodging ho 130 Walton Street”.

Mrs Frude died in Oxford in 1977, but is not buried with her husband.

130 Walton Street is inscribed BEDFORD HOUSE over the front door, and from 1873 to 1875 it was the premises of the original Bedford House School.

Stephanie Jenkins