> Skip to content

Frances Woodsford

Book for an event

Frances Woodsford was born in 1913. She was exceptionally bright at school, and an academic career looked likely, but her father died in 1927 the day she took Higher Matric. She left school to work as a secretary, to help provide for the family during the Depression. After taking an administrative job at a local garage, she taught herself engineering and ran practical workshops during the Second World War. When the war ended she took a position as secretary in the Public Baths Department of Bournemouth Town Council, where she worked for the duration of her correspondence with Mr Bigelow. Frances had eighty or more correspondents, but Mr Bigelow was particularly special and she wrote to him for twelve years up until his death in 1961.
She continued to work for the Council until her retirement in 1974; her final position was as archivist. Extraordinarily, in 2006, her letters to Mr Bigelow came to light and were returned to Frances. They are the testimony of an ordinary life but their vigorous prose suggests that with other opportunities, Frances could have been a professional writer.
Frances never married. She is ninety-five and lives in Bournemouth.

Books by Frances Woodsford

Dear Mr Bigelow

Lively and vibrant, Frances Woodsford's letters to America from austerity Bournemouth have recently come to light to give a heartwarming glimpse into post-war England.

Read more