"I was two weeks old when I first came into this bungalow. It wasn’t like this then… it was original then. It belonged to my grandparents and it’s only ever been owned by my family. And Lord Austin."
Rita has lived in The Austin Village her whole life. After growing up on Hawksley Drive, she now lives in the house her grandparents lived in on Central Avenue, when her Grandfather, Mr White, was employed at the Austin Motor Co. a century ago. Her grandfather moved to Birmingham after working as a panel beater and coppersmith in Liverpool, including working on the Titanic. He was a self-taught painter, and the painting of a ship in Stephen Burke’s photograph of Rita, opposite, now hangs on the same wall it did a hundred years ago.
Rita attended school a small private school at 53 & 55 Hawksley Drive, until she was 8 or 9 and worked at the Cooperative shop around the corner from the village. Her husband, David, was also born in the village, as was their son.
Below, Rita discusses her family's rich and storied history in The Austin Village, including her time at Miss Leach's school.