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Nellie Boxall

Born: 1890, November 2nd. Baptised 25 January 1891.

Place of Birth: Farncombe, Surrey.

Died: Farncombe, 19th November 1965.

Parents: Henry Strudwick and Sarah Boxall, nee Marden.

Marriages: Never married.

Children: None.

Occupation: Cook.

Notes: In the 1891 Census Nellie was living with her now widowed mother and siblings at 198 Summers Road, Farncombe. In the 1901 Census she was again living with her mother and siblings at 108 Summers Road, Farncombe. In the 1911 Census she was employed as a school cook and living in at Southfields, London Road, Guildford.

In 1912 Nellie joined the household of Roger Fry the artist, (known as Durbins, which he had designed and built) as cook. Fry was as friend of Virginia Woolf the author and part of a group called the Bloomsbury Circle. In 1916 Nellie became the Woolf's cook, the start of a tempestuous 18 year relationship. Virginia made many unflattering entries in her diaries regarding Nellie and equally Nellie may many unflattering remarks about Virginia. However, in later life, when interviewed for a BBC programme, she only recalled the goods things in their relationship. Nellie was dismissed in spring 1934, refusing to accept her payoff money. She later became cook for Charles Laughton the actor, a relationship much happier than that with the Woolfs. While with the Laughtons, she prepared food for many personalities of the time, such as Marlene Dietrich and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.  On the return of the Laughtons to the United States in 1939, Nellie returned to her birth place, Farncombe in Surrey. She became the first member of her family to purchase her own home, it was here, 30 North Street, Farncombe, she passed away in 1965. Nellie's friend and fellow employee of Virginia Woolf (dismissed in 1924), Lottie Hope, also lived at 30 North Street and as with Nellie she never married. Click here for more about Nellie.