"Mr Selfridge loved all the girls": Former Selfridges worker celebrates 100th birthday

Margaret Marsh with Ruth Walmsley and mayor Penny Shelton

Margaret Marsh with Ruth Walmsley and mayor Penny Shelton

First published in News
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Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter - 020 8722 6313

The secret to a long life?

Good luck, apparently.

That is what centenarian Margaret Marsh – known to her family as Peg – told the Surrey Comet as she prepared to celebrate her landmark birthday this week.

She said: “The only thing I can say is I have always been lucky, with very good health.

“I have been able to have all my jobs year by year with no problems.”

Born in Chiswick, Miss Marsh left school at 16 to work at Selfridges in Oxford Street – the high end department store that became the subject of the popular ITV drama Mr Selfridge.

Miss Marsh said the workers there “were lovely people” and owner Harry Selfridge “loved all the girls”.

She said: “I was [at Selfridges] seven years, and war broke out. I had to do national service.”

She worked as a lathe operator during the Second World War.

A young man she knew, who was in the armed forces, advised her not to join up and to train for manual work instead, so she could sleep in her own bed at night.

But after her training she was sent to a factory in Stoke on Trent.

Surrey Comet:

Margaret Marsh

After the war she spent time in the motor licensing department at Surrey County Hall and at the Phoenix Theatre in London.

She said that, after retiring: “We used to do the stately homes and cathedrals in all the cities.

“I had friends who would take me around.”

Now she is a great lover of audiobooks and radio.

And she admitted to an interesting quirk of memory: “The older I get the further back I go.

“I keep remembering things when I was a little girl that my mother used to say to me.”

There was a double celebration, when Miss Marsh joined fellow members of the Surbiton Club for the Blind for its 65th birthday.

She said: “I go as often as I can. I have made a lot of friends there.”

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