Court dress maker celebrates her centenary

Photo Neil Cross
Louisa Park celebrating her 100th birthday at Churchbrook House, Penwortham
Photo Neil Cross Louisa Park celebrating her 100th birthday at Churchbrook House, Penwortham
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As she looked back over her 100 years, celebrated earlier this week, centenarian Louisa Park believes walking everywhere has had a lot to do with her longevity.

Also, she says, “being a fighter” and letting “nothing get her down”.

Surrounded by friends and family, the perky 100-year-old celebrated her birthday with a party at her home in Penwortham and where she also received a telegram from the Queen.

Originally from London, Louisa Elizabeth Hines left school at the age of 14 and says she felt very fortunate to be given the opportunity to train as a court dress maker, describing it as “lovely work, beautiful work,” hand sewing outfits for people attending events at Buckingham Palace. She also exhibited dresses at the British Industries’ fair.

She recalls her journey to work involved a lengthy route across the city.

She had to walk a large part of the way, from the Houses of Parliament to the back of Oxford Circus and back every day as, she says, her five shillings a week wage didn’t cover her bus fair all the way.

But this, she believes, set her up for life, and she says: “I have never owned a car, I always walked everywhere.

“I cannot believe I am 100,” she says, adding she is still able to “look after herself,” doing her own cooking, cleaning and washing.

The Second World War saw Mrs Park carrying out war work, which eventually brought her to Preston 
where she met her late
husband Gerard and where she worked at the electricity board for many years on the front counter.

But sewing still played a large part in her life and she has made her own and friends’ clothes over the years.

Voluntary work too, particularly with Age Concern in Preston, has played a large part in her special life.