Family’s hoping for a double centenary

Family’s hoping for a double centenary

William Talmage with his wife Cecilia, who is 99, and other family members. Picture:OX59085 Denis Kennedy

William Talmage, who is celebrating his 100th birthday. Picture:OX59085 Denis Kennedy

First published in Oxford
Last updated
The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by

MOST families are lucky to celebrate one relative reaching their 100th birthday.

But the Talmages are marking not one but hopefully two, in the next year.

On Thursday, William Talmage celebrated the milestone with relatives at the Bear Hotel in Woodstock.

And the family is hoping his wife Cecilia will chalk up her own century in October.

The great-grandfather said he couldn’t believe how quicky the years had passed.

He added that he was looking forward to more time spent with his large family, and hoped he would be able to celebrate his wife Cecilia’s centenary next October.

He said: “I hope I’m going to be here next year.”

Born in Chilswell Road, South Oxford, on May 9, 1913, Mr Talmage became a clerk with accountancy firm Wenn and Co in St Giles.

He met the then Celia Beckett at a dance at the old Carfax Assembly Rooms, and the pair married in 1939, just before the Second World War, when he joined the RAF.

After returning home to his beloved Oxfordshire, Mr Talmage worked for Adamson’s the Tailor, in High Street, Oxford.

He rose through the ranks, becoming a director, and went on to work for Stephenson’s the builders’ merchants, based in Botley.

The Talmages, who live in Manor Road, Cogges, Witney, have two sons, Richard, 69 and Brian, 67, three grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Richard said: “They’re still really independent, it’s really amazing. She still cooks every day and goes off to Sainsbury’s in a taxi, and he goes into Witney on the bus.”


WHEN Mr Talmage was born in 1913:

  • The Prime Minister was the Liberal Herbert Henry Asquith
  • The average annual wage was £51
  • In the news: A guerrilla army captured the town of Al-Ahsa in Arabia from the Ottoman Turks, expanding what was later to become Saudi Arabia
  • The Post Office began parcel post deliveries
  • A proposed Women’s Suffrage Bill to give women the vote failed to pass the House of Commons, by 266 votes to 219.

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