AUDREY Whittington, born just months after the end of the First World War, was the youngest of the five children of Craven and Elizabeth Gilpin, late of the Mansion Hotel, Roundhay Park, Leeds.
The Mansion Hotel was a very busy hotel in those days, with several busy bars, a dining room, a thriving dinner and ballroom dancing facility on the first floor, all in all a rather exciting place for a young girl to grow up in with two older brothers and two older sisters having a regular stream of friends calling and with the Gilpins being a large wider family, there was never a dull moment.
Aged 93 at the time of her death, she was educated locally.
She had a steady stream of young male suitors, but chose a local young law student (Thomas) Alan Whittington, the son of the late George Whittington – himself a prominent Leeds solicitor and an even more prominent Mason with a high position in Guard Lodge before his death in 1936.
Alan was a young officer in Leeds Rifles when they were married at the beginning of the Second World War but the war was to take him to India for some time.
The new Mrs Whittington lived with her first son in a house at the top of Old Park Road which was bought for them by her father. Her husband returned from India and became a qualified solicitor in 1945, joining the practice of Markland, Robinson and Peake, which shortly afterwards merged with his late father’s firm Whittington and Talbot, to become Marklands, itself taken over by Lee & Priestly in 2000.
Craven Gilpin’s catering business had been enlarged by his two sons, Jack and Geoffrey, who ran the Guildford, the King Charles Hotel near the old Theatre Royal Hotel in the Headrow, Leeds, and the Victoria Hotel at the back of the Town Hall, Leeds, as well as having started an outside catering business.
They asked Mrs Whittington to help them by running the catering at The Mansion Hotel and Lakeside Cafe in Roundhay Park.
This she did from the early fifties until she moved with her husband to Rishworth in 1972, on his appointment as the first Circuit Administrator of the Northern Circuit, following the Courts Act of 1972 which merged the Assizes and Quarter Sessions into the then new Crown Court.
Mrs Whittington ran the Roundhay branch of the Gilpin family catering businesses very successfully for over 20 years. She shuffled a fairly busy working life with being a mother of four boys, born between 1942 and 1955, aided by the fact that her sons were away at school for a large part of the year, she herself making a substantial contribution to their horrendous school fees.
When her husband moved over to Leeds as Circuit Administrator of the North Eastern Circuit in 1974, they moved from Rishworth to Collingham Bridge, to live in a cottage in School Lane which had originally belonged to Mr Whittington’s grandfather.
In later years after her husband’s passing, Mrs Whittington continued to live in the family home where she was a keen bridge player.
She leaves four sons, six grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren and is the last real link with the Gilpin gamily’s residence in Roundhay Park at The Mansion Hotel.
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