Mrs Eileen Mary Thorne
6th May 1939 -27th October 2019
Eileen Thorne was a member of Manor’s domestic team for over a decade and she is still fondly remembered by many of the former residents of corridors 2 and 3 East, and latterly 1 East, in the main building where she worked. A real Manor character, she was a warm, out-going Mancunian, smartly turned out and with flaming red hair. She was direct, called a spade and spade, and took no prisoners, but she had a soft spot for ‘her boys’ (main building corridors were single sex during her time at Manor). She chivvied them along, checked on them if they were unwell and let the Warden know if she had concerns about them and, on occasion, to ward off the Domestic Bursar’s ire, would tidy up their messy kitchens.
The elder of two daughters of a close Catholic family, she was proud of her paternal grandfather, a prosperous bookmaker, known as ‘John the Gent’ - always dressed in high Edwardian style, he was well known on the racetracks of the North West - and very attached to both her parents and younger sister. Honest, gregarious and fun loving, she was interested in people and made friends wherever she went.
Eileen was actively involved in the Labour Party from an early age, (and remained a member until Tony Blair became its leader), and was a union rep in the factory where she worked. She had two children, to whom she was devoted, with her first husband, a Trade Union official. Widowed, she subsequently remarried Mr Frederick (Fred) Thorne and moved to Bedminster, Bristol where he had a steel construction works. Eileen had a good head for business and took responsibility for the accounts until Fred retired and they moved to the Wythenshawe area of Manchester where Eileen could see more of her children and grandchildren and enjoy her new garden.
It was shortly after the move to Bristol that Eileen came to work at the University. In addition to her responsibility for some student corridors in Manor, she also looked after the Wardens’ accommodation in both Manor Hall and Clifton Hill House; she very much admired the soignée chic and charm of CHH’s then Warden, Mrs Annie Burnside. Following her retirement from the University, she continued to work for Manor’s Warden, Dr Martin Crossley Evans, by then living in Goldney House. He remembers her very fondly and recalls that her visits were often somewhat like a party as, a glass of Tia Maria by her side and a cigarette in hand, she would belt out her favourite songs as she worked.