Mary Florence Mallett born- Grendon Underwood 27th April 1903, died 1979.

Doris Edna Mallett born- Bicester 24th January 1907, died 1986.

Both lived at 88, West Street Marlow, but before that the parents are listed at 4, South Place.

These were two slightly eccentric but well-liked unmarried sisters who ran a dressmaking business from their home which backed onto the Colonel’s Meadow.

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My mother knew them and often told me stories of their very simple lifestyle and their regular habit of walking to the woods and returning with wild flowers, loudly singing, arm in arm or holding hands.

I have a few bits of related ephemera, the most interesting of which is the above page from Mary’s diary that covers the death and funeral of General Sir George Higginson, who lived just along the road from them at Gyldernscroft.

I think you will manage to read this OK without me copying it out, but Mary obviously used a dip-in pen, which accounts for the ink running out and words often fading mid-way through a sentence.

The bit which starts “We were very wicked and peeped…..” sounds like it was written by a little girl, but Mary would have been 23 in February of 1927.

The card, postmarked 1943, is addressed to “The Misses Mallett, Dressmakers” and is from someone called James, apparently also a lover of wildflowers, who promises “see you next week”.

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The picture dates from the 1960s and is one of photographer Barrie Lea’s collection: he also lived close by. Just captioned “Miss Mallett” but I am fairly sure this is Mary rather than Doris.

There also existed a brother, and the rumour that often used to be passed around by locals was that he was kept upstairs in a spare room, and only came out once a day in the hours of darkness to walk around the fenced and enclosed Colonel’s Meadow.

Possibly there was a connection to Second World War service, but if anyone can add to that story, then please let me know.

Higginson’s death and funeral received nationwide press coverage.

The preferred newspaper of the Mallett sisters was obviously the Daily Sketch, and I have attached some very faded press cutting photographs of the funeral procession that were paper-clipped to that page of their diary.

Contact Michael at or 01628 486571