SYLVIA PERRY (née Morris)
(Information kindly supplied by Mrs Sylvia Perry)
Sylvia Perry began working for Kelways in 1948, and retired when she was 60. Even after that she went back part time to help with the preparations for Chelsea and the green holly wreaths at Christmas time.
Her boss at the time was Owen Lloyd – a proper gentleman. James Kelway was the manager and lived at Gladioli Villa. They were strict timekeepers. James used to go home at 11.30 each day for coffee, and then come back. He was a quiet sort of person, mainly interested in peonies.
Sylvia’s first job was upstairs in the office. When orders came in they were put on cards and kept in order of country. She also had to type out the addresses for the distribution of their catalogues – which amounted to 60,000 in those days. There were five office staff in those days, and ten outside staff.
This photo was taken in December 1950. From left to right, it shows Alma Mitchell (née Ford), Harold Castle, Jack Badmin, Reg Sims, Sylvia Perry (née Morris), Mac Clarke, Joan King (née Standen) and Maurice Haskins.
As a reward for long service, she once went to the Chelsea Show. For Kelways’ centenary in 1951 everyone had the day off, and some staff were lucky enough to go to Chelsea. In the early days the show stands used to display each flower separately, but nowadays they are arranged more like a garden. Six to eight people used to go up to London by train and stanéey up for the show, but nowadays it’s all transported by lorry and people just set the display stand up.
Sylvia has the distinction of having an iris named after her – ‘Langport Sylvia’.